Jul 6 2009 6:26pm
The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Fires of Heaven, Part 17

Greetings! Hopefully everyone who was in a holiday way this past weekend has recovered from their hangovers and/or questionable-barbecue-meats-induced indigestion, and are scrubbed and ready for another Wheel of Time Re-read post!

So, YOU munch on saltines and chug Gatorade and Pepto, and I will blather to you about Chapters 41-42 of The Fires of Heaven. Deal?

I thought you’d like that!

Previous entries can be found here. This and all other entries contains way big spoilers for all currently published novels in the Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, go read and then come back. We’ll still be here. Swear!

So let’s get to it, shall we?

Chapter 41: The Craft of Kin Tovere

What Happens
Rand stands on a hilltop and surveys his forces camped below, noting the three camps: Tairen, Cairhienin horse, and Cairhienin infantry, all as ready to fight each other as the Shaido surrounding the city. He in turn examines their nominal commander, High Lord Weiramon, flanked by two younger Tairen lords; Rand thinks it was good that Weiramon had pushed his forces to arrive at Cairhien once he’d heard of the Aiel invasion, but bad that the man fully expected to defeat the Shaido just with what he had, and worse that he had just as much contempt for Rand’s Aiel.

One Aiel was no different from another to Weiramon. To the others, too, for that matter. One of the young lords pointedly sniffed a scented silk handkerchief whenever he looked at an Aiel. Rand wondered how long the fellow would survive. And what Rand would have to do about it when he died.

Weiramon sees Rand looking and reiterates his opinion that one good charge would scatter the Shaido “like quail”, and Rand cuts him off to ask if he is certain about the news from Tear. Weiramon is sure, but dismissive of the notion that the Illianers are moving on Tear with any official backing, and Rand politely ignores him, thinking it made no difference whether or not Weiramon believed Sammael was the one really in charge in Illian. Weiramon goes back to promoting his plan of attack on Cairhien, and Rand brushes by him, mentally deciding he is a fool. He sees Aviendha talking with a dozen Wise Ones, and she smiles at him briefly; she had been much friendlier since that night (except the one time he had brought up marriage again), but nothing more. Rand thinks it bizarre that she seems so relaxed around him now, while he was tenser than ever; he’s also surprised the Maidens haven’t seemed to have spread their certainty about his and Aviendha’s relationship to anyone else.

Sighing, he walked on, still not listening to Weiramon. One day he was going to understand women. When he had the time to apply to it. He suspected a lifetime would not be enough, though.

Rand passes Mangin, who asks him cheerfully if he would like to go hunting “sheep in a sack”, with a wry glance at the Tairens that they miss completely; Rand refuses politely, and reflects that it would have been easy to make friends with Mangin if he’d only had the time. He reaches the highest part of the hill, where Cairhienin refugees have built him a tower platform over twenty spans high. Moiraine, Lan, and Egwene are at the foot of the ladder, and Rand asks Egwene if she has decided; she hesitates and avoids looking at Moiraine as she replies that she will do what she can. Rand hadn’t thought it would be a problem for her to help him against the Shaido, since unlike Moiraine she hadn’t taken the Three Oaths which prevented the Aes Sedai from using the One Power against the Shaido, but the request had greatly upset her. Moiraine’s disapproval is silent but obvious, and as he prepares to climb the ladder, she suddenly asks why he is wearing a sword again; caught off guard, Rand just mutters “Why shouldn’t I?” and keeps going. Rhuarc and the other chiefs follow him up, and then Lan, but Weiramon stays below, as does Moiraine and Egwene. A Cairhienin craftsman named Kin Tovere is up top, berating his two apprentices as they align the second of the two large looking glasses on the tower. The apprentices give starts at the sight of the Aiel, and then bow very low to Rand; Tovere bows as well, but his manner is gruffly respectful rather than awed or fawning as he tells Rand that this tower was a wonderful idea, and if Rand gives him time, he’ll build a glass that can see all the way to Caemlyn. Rand thanks him, and gently suggests that he take his still-bent-double apprentices down.

The apprentices barely straightened enough to follow him, gazing round-eyed at Rand even more than at the Aiel as they vanished down the ladder. Cail was a year older than he, Jol two. Both had been born in bigger towns than he had imagined before leaving the Two Rivers, had visited Cairhien and seen the king and the Amyrlin Seat, if at a distance, while he was still tending sheep. Very likely, they still knew more of the world than he in some ways. Shaking his head, he bent to the new looking glass.

He studies Cairhien, and sees that the Foregate has burned down completely, and that the towers in the city proper fly either the crescents of Tear or the Dragon banner, not one rising sun banner to be seen. He sees a group of Shaido surrounding a man whose arms seem to glitter, and is sure it’s Couladin. Then he is startled by two spears shot from the city walls that actually reach Couladin’s group and kill some of them, to their shock and Rand’s, since they should be far out of range of any spear throw. He looks at Rhuarc, who had been looking through the other glass, and asks if he saw that; Rhuarc nods, just as puzzled as he, and remarks it was too bad none of the ones who fell was Couladin. Rand is not so sure Couladin deserves such an easy way out, and strokes his sword hilt.

Ugh, Weiramon. There’s someone like him in just about every single war story I’ve ever read. They tend to vary in their specifics according to the author’s personal politics (or whatever qualities particularly pisses the author off), but it doesn’t matter whether this character is the bigoted warmongering martinet, the bleeding heart obstructionist pacifist, or the blusteringly incompetent beneficiary of nepotism/noble birth; he or she can always be defined, more or less, as The Guy Who’s Going To Fuck This Up. And every time, I want to kick them in the head. Repeatedly.

Despite the disparity of their particular ideological biases, these characters generally share a base similarity, in that they all appear to enjoy a certain freedom from the burdens of reality. In other words, the world is the way they see it, and it cannot be any other way, and if something is not that way, then that thing is Wrong. This is a brand of shiny impenetrable willful blindness that cheerfully transcends all political, religious, and cultural dividers. These idiots are everywhere, and they will inevitably wreak havoc. This is why the world has problems.

Stepping off the soapbox for a moment, despite my general contempt for Weiramon (that Rand shares this contempt immensely solidifies my good opinion of him), I never once thought he could be a Darkfriend. I could see him being an unwitting dupe for the Shadow, but actually a chartered member, no. Partially because it would be too obvious, but mostly because I can’t imagine why the Dark Side would want him. Far better to let him screw things up for the Light, I would think.

I honestly cannot remember at the moment what the hell actually happens to Weiramon later on, but I think I would remember if he’d been killed (because I would remember the “YAY!”), so I’m assuming he’s still alive and obnoxious as of KOD. If he’s done something to disprove my theory of “too stupid to be a Darkfriend” in the interim I shall be very Put Out.

This chapter does a lot to more sharply pinpoint at what stage the state of technology in Randland actually is, and brings home the fact that despite many people (including myself) referring to it as a “medieval” world, it really is not one. The presence of telescopes and clocks, as well as the evidence of widespread literacy and the relatively common availability of books (which argues for the presence of printing presses, though I don’t know if they are ever specifically mentioned in the narrative) pegs Randland as more of a Renaissance-level setting than anything else. And, of course, someone’s inventing the better spear launcher in Cairhien as we speak. This is something we will come back to later, especially once we meet Herid Fel.

Chapter 42: Before the Arrow


What Happens
Mat stares at the roof of his tent, thinking that matters have gone beyond serious.


I am no bloody hero, he thought grimly, and I’m no bloody soldier. Fiercely he pushed down a memory of walking fortress walls, ordering his last reserves to where another crop of Trolloc scaling ladders had sprung up. That was not me, the Light burn whoever it was! I’m... He did not know what he was — a sour thought — but whatever he was, it involved gambling and taverns, women and dancing. That he was sure of. It involved a good horse and every road in the world to choose from, not sitting and waiting for somebody to shoot arrows at him or try to stick a sword or a spear through his ribs. Any different would make him a fool, and he would not be that, not for Rand or Moiraine or anybody else.

He thinks that he’s tired of seeming to get all the burdens of being ta’veren without any of the benefits, and says aloud that it’s time for him to go; Rand doesn’t need him anymore. He knows that that’s not true, exactly, and that he and Perrin were both tied up in some way with Rand and Tarmon Gai’don, and then there is the Horn of Valere, but he hopes the time for that is a long way off, and now for the first time he can say he’s leaving without feeling that pull back to Rand or being diverted by the smallest thing. He tries to convince himself that Rand can take care of himself, and leaves the tent. He crosses the camp, noting Kadere’s wagons surrounded by Aiel guards, and wonders if Rand realizes he’s giving Moiraine everything she wants. He reaches Rand’s tent and ducks inside, only to find it empty except for the gleeman Natael, and realizes Rand is probably still at the tower, an idea which Mat approves of.

Know the terrain. That was the second rule, close behind “Know your enemy,” and not much to choose between them.

The thought put a sour twist to his mouth. Those rules came from other men’s memories; the only rules he wanted to remember were “Never kiss a girl whose brothers have knife scars” and “Never gamble without knowing a back way out.” He almost wished those memories of other men were still separate lumps in his brain instead of oozing into his thoughts when he least expected.

Natael inquires lazily if he’s having stomach troubles, and Mat grimaces and asks if Rand will be back soon. Natael shrugs and replies the Lord Dragon will be back when he wants, and Mat tells him he’ll wait. Natael studies him, and Mat moves to study the maps laid out on the floor in an effort to ignore him. He winces as the counters on the maps tell him that Couladin has almost a hundred and sixty thousand spears with him, and the undecided clans behind them total almost the same. Rand has twice the numbers of either one, which was fine if he didn’t have to fight them both at once. But that might be what he had to fight.

“A pretty situation, wouldn’t you say?”

Mat’s head jerked up at Lan’s voice, but the Warder had entered the tent alone. “Just something to look at while I waited. Is Rand coming back?”

Lan says Rand will be along soon, and remarks that tomorrow should be the largest battle since Artur Hawkwing. Mat makes a noncommittal reply, and asks about the undecided clans, but Lan says no one knows yet what they’ll do; the only thing for sure is that Couladin is going nowhere. Mat almost leaves, but decides to wait, uncomfortably hoping Lan will stay silent, but Lan turns to Natael and asks what he thinks: should they rush down on the Shaido with everything they have tomorrow? Natael replies sourly that it sounds as good as anything else to him; he leads no armies.

Mat grunted, and Lan glanced at him before returning to his study of the maps. “You do not think it a good plan? Why not?”

He said it so casually that Mat answered without thinking. “Two reasons. If you surround Couladin, trap him between you and the city, you might crush him against it.” How long was Rand going to be? “But you might push him right over the walls, too. From what I hear, he’s nearly gotten over twice already, even without miners or siege engines, and the city is hanging on by its teeth.” Say his piece and go, that was it. “Press him enough, and you’ll find yourself fighting inside Cairhien. Nasty thing, fighting in a city. And the idea is to save the place, not finish ruining it.” Those slips laid out on the maps, the maps themselves, made it all so clear.

He frowns and squats down, fascinated in spite of himself, and says it’s better to shove the Shaido away instead: hit them from the south, with a blocking force to channel them to the River Gaelin and force them across the bridges.

It was like Cuaindaigh Fords, too, late in the Trolloc Wars, and on much the same scale. Not much different from the Tora Shan, either. Or Sulmein Gap, before Hawkwing found his stride. The names flickered through his head, the images of bloody fields forgotten even by historians. Absorbed in the map as he was, they did not register as anything but his own remembrances.

He adds that it’s too bad they don’t have more light cavalry for the harrying, but Aiel should do as well. Lan asks quietly for the other reason, and Mat snorts and replies that Lan knows as well as he does that if any of the undecided clans decide to come in on Couladin’s side, they’ll take Rand’s force from behind while Rand’s people are still dealing with the Shaido. The only thing to do is take only half the force against Couladin, just in case, which makes it an even fight, but at least Couladin still has to worry about a sortie from the city. The other half should be split as the blocking force to channel Couladin and the rest between the undecided clans and the city. Lan approves this as very neat, as long as all four clans do not come in with the Shaido.

Mat laughed aloud. “Everything always changes. The best plan lasts until the first arrow leaves the bow. This would be easy enough for a child to handle, except for Indirian and the rest not knowing their own minds. If they all decide to go over to Couladin, you toss the dice and hope, because the Dark One’s in the game for sure. At least you’ll have enough strength clear of the city nearly to match them. Enough to hold them for the time you need. Abandon the idea of pursuing Couladin and turn everything on them as soon as he’s well and truly begun crossing the Gaelin. But it’s my bet they’ll wait and watch, and come to you once Couladin is done for. Victory settles a lot of arguments in most men’s heads.”

Mat realizes the music has stopped, and turns to see Natael staring at him like he had never seen him before, and suddenly realizes what he has been saying and curses himself for a fool. He wonders angrily why Lan had picked now to be talkative all of a sudden.

At least he had not been babbling in the Old Tongue. Blood and ashes, but I hope I wasn’t!

He turns to go and finds Rand standing just inside the tent; Mat wonders how long he had been standing there, decides it doesn’t matter, and blurts out that he is leaving at first light. Rand replies he’ll be sorry to see him go. Mat blinks in surprise, and Rand adds that he never tried to make Mat stay, which Mat concedes.

Rand had never tried to make him stay, true. He had just done it without trying. But there was not the slightest bit of ta’veren tugging, now, no vague feelings that he was doing the wrong thing. He was firm and clear in his purpose.

Rand asks where he will go, and Mat says south, not that there is much choice in the matter; this is no place for him. He says he doesn’t know anything about battles and doesn’t want to know, and promises mentally to punch Natael or Lan in the mouth if either of them say anything, but both keep silent. Rand wishes him a pleasant journey and shakes Mat’s hand, and Mat leaves the tent to find a crowd of Maidens outside, along with all the clan chiefs and the three Tairen lords, who eye him disdainfully and then dismiss him from consideration. Mat glares at them until the two younger ones look uneasy, then takes off, feeling much better about everything; the dice seem to be spinning in his head.

Rand stares at the tent flap for a moment, then remarks that he only heard the last bit; was it all like that?

“Very nearly,” Lan replied. “With only a few minutes to study the maps, he laid out close to the battle plan that Rhuarc and the others made. He saw the difficulties and the dangers, and how to meet them. He knows about miners and siege engines, and using light cavalry to harry a defeated foe.”

Rand notes that Lan does not seem very surprised, nor does he ask the obvious question, for which Rand is grateful. He wonders what miners have to do with battles, but thinks the more important thing is that he’s now sure Mat had gained more in that doorframe ter’angreal than a tendency to spout the Old Tongue occasionally, and that he would make use of it. He grimaces at his own callousness, and hopes Mat and Perrin both enjoy themselves as much as possible while they’re free of him.

Moiraine had named it no coincidence, three such growing up in the same village, all nearly the same age; the Wheel wove happenstance and coincidence into the Pattern, but it did not lay down the likes of the three of them for no reason. Eventually he would pull his friends back to him, however far they went, and when they came, he would use them, however he could. However he had to. Because he did have to. Because whatever the Prophecy of the Dragon said, he was sure the only chance he had of winning Tarmon Gai’don lay in having all three of them, three ta’veren who had been tied together since infancy, tied together once more.

He grimly commands Natael to play “March of Death”, something to make even his soul weep, if he still has one. Natael goes pale and obeys, and Rand asks Lan to send in the others; Lan makes a formal bow before leaving, which he had never done before, but Rand only notices absently, thinking that it was a polite fiction that he had helped plan this battle, and he was not ready for it.

I’ve planned a hundred battles this size or more and given orders that led to ten times as many. Not his thought. Lews Therin knew war — had known war — but not Rand al’Thor, and that was him.

The chiefs file in, and the Tairens follow, affronted that they were not given precedence; Weiramon moves behind Rand, muttering furiously, which the Aiel do not like at all. Finally Weiramon sits down, and Rand sees that at least one of his lackeys has the grace to look embarrassed at his behavior. Rand makes a mental note to do something about Weiramon, and they begin tactical adjustments to their plan; the chiefs and even the Tairens seem affected by the mournful music, but Rand knows that tears are no longer a luxury he can afford.


Back in the day, sometimes when I was bored I would pick up various WOT novels and skip through them and reread my most favorite parts. So guess, if you will, where my paperback of TFOH falls open to naturally.

Did you guess it was this chapter? I bet you guessed it was this chapter. I certainly hope you did, anyway, since I made the answer kind of completely bleeding obvious, eh?

Yeah. Hands down, no question, one of my absolute favorite chapters in the entire series, right here. Love love love happy dance aw yeah.

You remember a loooooong time ago when I was talking about self-realization moments, and how they’re my favorite thing ever? Well, that’s still true, but self-realization moments are twenty-two million billion times more fun when done with an audience (of other characters, I mean) to do the realizing along with the character. Those are the BEST. And this is one of my favorite examples of it. The secret badassery is unmasked, ha!

Part of the reason this scene works so well is that it’s so masterfully set up and blocked, and the reveal just perfectly executed. I’ve seen other sf authors have moments similar to this and positively mangle them (an unforgivable error, in my book); it’s harder than it looks to get everything to fall into place so that turning point of “Oh” in the scene hits just right, for both the character(s) and the reader. A very large part of the reason I love this series as much as I do is because Jordan has got these kinds of scenes DOWN.

The other reason why this works is the unmistakable ring of authenticity in Mat’s spiel. I ain’t no military historian, nor am I any kind of tactician, but I’ve been reading stories with battles set in historical and quasi-historical and just-plain-made-up-but-did-the-research settings for most of my life, and you do pick up a few things. Anvil-and-hammer tactics (and ways to circumvent them) have been around since war has been around, so maybe I’m being easily impressed here, but Mat’s battle plan strikes me as having been written by someone who very much knows of what they speak. Hardly surprising, given Jordan’s background, but there you are. Verisimilitude FTW!

Love love love happy dance aw yeah.

Rand has a couple of nice moments in this chapter too, with the Lan bowing and all, but the main thing that struck me about his POV section is the Lews Therin quote, which seems to me like the first time Lews Therin says something that could be construed as a statement “to” Rand, as a separate entity, rather than just kind of generally directed at the world (or popping up as not a thought so much as a bit of knowledge or a memory). Which is a nice bit of foreshadowing for what’s about to happen.

...Which we will get to next time, so as to keep all the battle bits bodaciously bunched. Like bananas! So see you Wednesday!

Elroy Skimms
1. elroyskimms
IIRC, printing presses are mentioned in the text, in LoC I believe. Part of the "schools" that Rand starts. One of the inventions mentioned is an improved printing press, which would imply that "regular printing presses" are already out and about.


PS - From this point on in the series, I believe Matt becomes permanently Made.Of.Awesome. I always loved his character up to now, but from here on out, his POV's become my favorite.
Richard Fife
2. R.Fife
Yes, this scene, along with Mat's attempt at avoiding battle but not being able to help himself in being a leader are both very well done scenes of self-realization. Golf clap indeed.

I don't fault Wieramon all that much mainly because he is a product of his time and upbringing. It does not absolve his sins, but it is a good point about high and mighty muckety-mucks in general. I would like to point to a real life one, the supreme commander of the English and French forces during WWI (home I cannot remember the name of... d'oh), who was an ex-cavalry officer and thought the way to beat machine guns and trenches was with cavalry charges. Lost a lot of brave, young men that way....
Captain Hammer
3. Randalator
Leigh, do the Dance of Joy!

Poor Mat, you just can't be a badass and have other people not notice.
Michael Thompson
4. TrollocBait
I agree wholeheartedly with you, Leigh. This chapter is awesome. Nothing sets up a good battle scene as somebody describing the strategy who actually knows what he is talking about. Also enjoyed RJ's nod to Sun Tzu on "Know your enemy". One of the classics books on strategy. That Wheel just keeps going round and round.
Hugh Arai
5. HArai
Historically, it seems like in any military that has had the concept of cavalry charges, someone has proven overly fond of them. When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail style issues.

In general Weiramon = the male Elaida.
Rand Al'Todd
6. Rand Al'Todd
Agreed: Mat has IT.

Re Weiramon in the future, Per the Enc Wot:

Rand orders Darlin to raise an army that will be sent to Arad Doman. Anaiyella and Weiramon will go with him. (KoD,Ch21)

So he is still around. Lord protect us from prejudiced, high born dummies in position to get good men killed due to said dummy's (preventable) ignorance.
Hugh Arai
7. HArai
Rand Al'Todd@6: One can only hope he pulls some stunt in Arad Doman and Ituralde or Darlin shorten him by a head for it.
Rand Al'Todd
8. alreadymadwithMat
I think Cadsuane uses Weiramon as an excuse to slap Rand when he gets back to Tear.

And Mat's attempts to escape, while humorous are also a bit disappointing. Too bad, Thom never has a story about "the great general Zhun".
Captain Hammer
9. Randalator
elroyskimms @1

IIRC, printing presses are mentioned in the text, in LoC I believe. Part of the "schools" that Rand starts. One of the inventions mentioned is an improved printing press, which would imply that "regular printing presses" are already out and about.

You're right.

A great hulking shape of levers and huge flat plates was a printing press, much better than those already in use, according to its maker.
(LoC, ch. 18)
Luke M
10. lmelior
See, I was starting to come around to thinking the menagerie scenes weren't that bad, and then we come to this. Mat is so awesome, his name should simply be taken to mean "that which is more awesome than awesome." As in, Leigh, this re-read isn't just awesome, it's Mat awesome.

Now I remember why my eyes glazed over whenever I got to any scene with team ENEMA from here pretty much up until KoD, because I couldn't wait to get back to the good stuff.
Rand Al'Todd
11. Aegnor
Weiramon is almost assuredly the Tier High Lord that was seen at the dark friend convention at the begining of TGH. He was seen conspiring with the darkfriend ashamen later on. It isn't enough to be totally certain, but there is fairly strong circumstantial evidence that he is a DF.
Rand Al'Todd
12. RobMRobM

1) Weiramon is as dark-friedy has they come. Think about the upcoming battle - he sends his troops forward without scouts to get wiped out by the Shaido, who will then attack Rand's platform from the back. The same thing happens in Altara during PoD -- his flank gets overrun by Seanchan and almost leads to Rand's death. The fact that he is seen in deep conversation with Taim's two lieutenants who try to kill off Rand in Far Madding seal the deal. If he's not Demandred (and I have it in the back of my mind that he could be) he is one of Demandred's proxies. Recall that there was a Tairen lord at the darkfriend social in TGH and he easily could be it.

2) Strongly agree that this chapter and the three that show Mat as the reluctant warrier are among my very favorite in the entire series. I'll second your happy dance.

Pete Pratt
13. PeteP
I love seeing Mat's struggle with destiny, and I think his personal rules fit him perfectly. Mat does not feel Rand's ta'verenness stop him from leaving, as Mat's destiny is made by leaving.
Hugh Arai
14. HArai
Aegnor@11, RobMRobM@12: I don't really have an opinion one way or the other, but as Leigh pointed out the counter-argument would be he's such an idiot he'd be a prime target for any DFs looking for someone to dupe. After all, Elaida chats with DFs all the time.

edit: RobM, pretty sure we'd seen Weiramon by the time RJ denied we'd seen Demandred's disguise on-screen. Proxy still possible though.
Tess Laird
15. thewindrose
Agreed on the happy dance!

Mat was caught up in it, now. He more than merely liked gambling, and battle was a gamble to make dicing in taverns a thing for children and toothless invalids. Lives were at stake here, your own and other men's, men who were not even there. Make the wrong wager, a foolish bet, and cities died, or whole nations. Natael's somber music was fit accompaniment. At the same time, this was a game that set the blood racing.
Rand Al'Todd
16. RobMRobM
HA@14. Agree he could just be an idiot but the text of his discussions with Taim's darkfriend assistants in PoD is particularly suspicious - especially when linked by the harm to Rand's interest that invariably would occur if Rand or someone else (i.e., Mat) pay attention to what he was up to and fix the problem. I seem to recall the same thing happening in Illian as well in Crown of Swords. Rob
Susan Brownhill
17. SusanB
lmelior - If all the chapters were Mat Awesome, then they wouldn't seem so awesome anymore. You need a few dull or duller chapters to drive home the awesomeness.

Randalator - loving the dance of joy
Sydo Zandstra
18. Fiddler
Weiramon always reminds me of a character in a comic series I used to read when I was a kid.

The series is set during the American Civil War, and the 2 main chracters are put under command of a Captain who thinks a Cavalry charge is the best tactic in every possible situation. Sounds like Weiramon to me...

I recall a quote in it saying something like 'In normal battles, the Artillery is preparing the battlefield for the Cavalry. In this army Cavalry makes sure Artillery has enough time to line up the cannons in a nice way.'

Because of his singleminded stupidity, you'd almost forget that Weiramon is a DF. I still think he's one of Demandred's proxies, knowingly or not.

The scene with Mat watching the Battle Charts was very well written.

Bring on the Band of the Red Hand!
19. MasterAlThor
Let's talk about Mat.

This is the point for me where i start to really enjoy Mat. Now lets get this straight, battle Mat not womanizer Mat.

Battle Mat just appeals to that I'm so bad I can kick ass in my sleep part of me.

Womanizing Mat. I've been down that road and then I grew up, got married and still thought I could pull it off. Nearly got burned at the stake. So then I really grew up. Just don't like that aspect of Mat's character. Funny as hell to read though.

Mat is not my favorite, but he can be so damn cool at times. How do you not appreciate the fighting skills and the general skills. Plus he is about to make cannons ya'll.


While Rand is my fav, I feel bad for him. He has to use his friends. He just wants to go back to the way it was, but he knows that he can't. Duty being heavier than a mountain an all.
Dale Norman
20. dokipen
Regarding Weiramon and the Noble buffoon, it was a sad fact of the English army around the time of the Peninsular War, afterwards and a long time before that commissions were purchased, rarely earned. Essentially, some twerp with far too much money could buy an officer's rank and be immediately in charge of a number of men (depending on the rank he bought) without having ever even seen a sword. It became quite popular during the heat of battles for soldiers to kill their own officers to stop them causing the murder of so many men due to basic incompetency.

Mat. Made Of Awesome. That is all.
21. Freelancer
Leigh, I would have expected your commentary on this sequence to include a thought about why Mat stopped feeling the ta'veren tug to stay with Rand.

We've been told (Loial's words IIRC) that a very strong ta'veren turns the Pattern to himself for a time, while other ta'veren are simply bound tighter to the weave. Until this point, Mat's binding to the weave has kept him from leaving Rand. Suddenly it feels to him as if he's free of that. Not so fast, gambler. It is no more than a false sense of freedom, so that you'll be out in the field where the Pattern needs you, to keep men from dying, to lead them to minor battle victories, and to finish Couladin.

Leigh, you mentioned what you liked about Rand's bits here, and I think there is much more to add. Whatever anyone seems to believe, this young man is still very humble. He admits he's no less clueless about women now than before. He sees a great joke in Tovere's apprentices being in awe of him, when they are both older and probably more worldly knowledgable than him. He's willing to maintain Mat's secret, even from Lan and Rhuarc, just because it's Mat. He wishes Mat and Perrin as much pleasure as they can have in life before his duty demands that they join him for the end.

This is not a power-hungry egomaniac. He's under immense stress, about to start a war, but he is as far from insane at this point as he could possibly be.

While I'm at it, the quote from Lews Therin is knowledge Rand couldn't have had in any form, and like his return blast at Lanfear (Mierin), for me settles the question of Lews Therin being real inside his head, rather than just a schizoid coping mechanism.

As for Mat's self-realization, he has more than one layer of it. There has been the Old Blood, the Luck, the Added Memories, and now the tactical genius. Perrin has really only the Wolfbrother one. Rand has one huge one in several parts. First it was channeling, then being the DR, then having a dead man sharing space in your head, ascending steps on the same stairway. Mat's are not so closely linked, though they do work together for him.

RE: Weiramon

It was mentioned during the last few threads that he is a possible DF. I find myself in this camp, based on the fragment of a conversation between him and one of the DF Asha'man. It felt like just short of a neon sign that he was serving somebody he considers more important than Rand, and to be arguing about following the directions of an Asha'man in those regards leaves few possibilities. Taim, Demandred, Moridin. Two forsaken and one power-hungry male channeler, Dem-proxy or not. It could be a big red herring (or some other fish only Siuan Sanche would know of), but it feels right. Is he really such a huge fool, or has he been "letting the Lord of Chaos rule" for several months now?
Vincent Lane
22. Aegnor
The way I see it, this world is quite a bit different than the ebb and flow, with general advancement, that we live in. The closest we've gotten to what happens in Randland, in recorded history, was the collapse of the roman empire. But even that was a minor setback, and localized, when compared with what happened in Randland.

Not only the breaking, but also the Trolloc Wars, and then the 100 years War. So you have an advanced society that is thrown back into survival mode on three different occasions.

So it isn't the same society as one that naturally evolves technologically. Instead you have a hodgepodge of things that were preserved that would be an anachronism in a naturally evolved medival society. Such as pocket watches. They are very complicated devices, that took extreme ingenuity and evolving knowledge over generations to bring about. But in Randland, they were invented long ago, but were small and easy to preserve (as well as the tools to make them). Its much easier to reverse engineer a pocket watch, than to invent one from scratch.
Vincent Lane
23. Aegnor
Note: Posting without registering seems broken. I made my first post to this thread without having registered, but I attempted several times to post another comment, but was unable to until I registered. It kept saying that my comment was posted after I hit the preview comment button (well before I got to the point of entering the capcha), only it didn't actually post it.
j p
24. sps49
I think RJ intends for us to suspect Weiramon is a Friend of the Dark. I also think Rand should've killed him for sure after his second "mistake". Snob stupid is his cover.

This chapter is very good, but I am awaiting the battle with bated breath.
Hugh Arai
25. HArai
Master Al'Thor@19: Be fair. Mat has not chased anyone else since acknowledging Tuon as his wife. Womanizer before that, certainly.

Freelancer@21: RE: LTT, what is it about this memory or the one about Mierin that clinch it for you compared to all the other things that he "just knows how to do"? Not arguing one way or another, but why these in particular? Agreed on the Rand-goodness.

sps49@24: I'm hoping someone less forgiving than Rand takes care of him in Arad Doman.
Lannis .
26. Lannis
Ah, Mat. I ? Mat!

Also primo in this chapter is Lan. Smmooooth.... he's so frakking cool!
Rand Al'Todd
27. ZamIt
I was going to post about Weiramon being a darkfriend, but Aegnor@11 and RobMRobM@12 did a much better job than I could have. I always figured he was either the good-guy idiot or the bad-guy genius. Now I'm more convinced he's been acting like Mat does sometimes, as an obvious fool so that others don't look any deeper.
Yes, the good parts are starting. Mat's POV in the next few chapters in my favorite part of the whole series.
28. Freelancer

I agree with you, the "just knows how to do it" should be enough to believe that there's information in his head that could never have been his own. But this has been debated with some insisting that there's nobody else in his head, that the LTT persona is merely a schizophrenic split. To me these thoughts prove otherwise, and my comment is that this, like his reference to Lanfear as Mierin, settles the question. These are by no means the only things that do so, but are part of the preponderance of evidence which is convincing.

Regarding Mat, some will argue that he is not really a womanizer, since he never chases those that say no. Different times have different definitions of the same term, or different terms for the same definition. Yesterday's womanizer is today's "player". The former is meant to be an accusation, while the latter is meant to be an appelation. This speaks more to the debasement of culture than to the shifting of language. Mat has a good heart, but not as close a relationship with his conscience as most people of his culture.
razor buck
29. razorbuck
Is Weiramon a stupid dark friend, or the Darfriend version of the Scarlet Pimpernel?

I think a fitting punishment for Weiramon and Elaida would be to have them marry and send them to the land of madmen as the duke and duchess, LOL.
Rand Al'Todd
30. Cowboy Funk
My question is did Lan and Rand plan this from the beginning to see what Mat really knows or was Lan just curious on his own account?

I know about this time we start to see a fissure grow between Lan and Moiraine for him sticking up for the boys at times and helping Rand with certain missions she didnt approve of. I was wondering if this was one of those cases?

Or was Lan doing it for Moiraine and Rand just happened to pop in at the right moment? I dont know if he do get further clarification in the text (cant recall and no access to my book at this moment) but thought I would throw it out there.
Tess Laird
31. thewindrose
High Lord Weiramon - where to find him in the books. I find it suspicious that his armor is always clean, even gleaming. I don't think he is one of the forsaken, but maybe one of Demandred's lackies could be a good possibilty. I think it was him at the 1st dark friend gathering Ishy had.
Rand Al'Todd
32. RobSS
Before I start reading the coments of this post, I want to say...

This is the BEST...

Matt becomes my fav here, till The beheading!!

How could any body say, " Matt sucks"

Rand Al'Todd
33. DamnThievingHobo
Dokipen@20 while i agree that the purchase of commisions in the British army was a bad thing, the Penisula war isnt the best scenario to show that fact as the British army won just about every battle they took part in. The Duke of Wellington was an exceptional general.

As for Mat he is certainly my favourite character, no matter what bad shit happens to him he always keeps his sense of humour.
Rand Al'Todd
34. ShadowShivers
Maybe Mat didn't feel the ta'veren pull when he tried to leave because even the Pattern has to allow for free will. If Rand ordered (or bullied) him to command would the outcome be the same? Did Mat have to choose of his own free will to get involved?

How significant is the concept of free will in Randland? Even when we see characters with knowledge of their future (for instance, Moiraine) they still have the option to choose another path. They may think that those other choices lead to disaster but can they know for sure? To stick with the same example, MO knows that not being at the docks (I know, I'm getting ahead - sorry) could lead to a future where Rand calls Lanfear his lover and is in her thrall...but what if that future was really a subterfuge on Rand's part and he is setting up the remaining Forsaken through his relationship with Lanfear? MO can't know for sure but she chooses of her own free will to take out Lanfear. Likewise, to embrace his destiny, Mat has to choose freely to become involved.

And just like "slower" chapters make me appreciate the "good" ones more, I always felt that I wouldn't like Mat so much now and in the future if he hadn't been such a slacker in the past!
James Jones
35. jamesedjones
We're back to the good characters and good chapters and good action and good inner monologues and good badassery and good - well, everything (except Perrin). Yay!!! Dance of joy, indeed!
Alice Arneson
36. Wetlandernw
Re: printing presses, there is also a comment in The Strike at Shayol Ghul, which says ...we can only be thankful that the art of printing survived the Breaking of the World when so much else did not...

Freelancer @28 Mat has a good heart, but not as close a relationship with his conscience as most people of his culture. LOL! That's one way to put it...

I loved each one of the behaviors in the Mat-reveal scene. Lan with his casual questions and "idle chat" thing, and complete cool over what he's just turned up; Natael's open-mouthed stare; Rand's calm "I'll miss you but it's okay" reaction to Mat leaving, and then the "was it all like that?". It really tugs at me when he nods to himself at the confirmation that Mat got more in that doorframe than he had admitted. He knows that he and Mat will make use of that knowledge, and he's both grateful it's there, and sad at the thought of "using" his friends, but knowing he has to do it to have any chance of winning. *sigh* Poor Rand.

And, of course, Mat. SO cool the way he answers a casual question and ends up designing the best strategy the other battle leaders had been able to put together. I love the way he gets so caught up in what he's doing that he doesn't even realize he's doing it. Until it's too late... And I love the way no one rubs his nose in it. These guys are great.
Rand Al'Todd
37. alreadymadwithweiramon
dokipen @20
The idea was that men of means would have an education and would therefore be promising, intelligent leaders. There's no accounting for the chaos of battle, though, nor plain combat experience. Still, some of those blokes do actually turn out well.

razorbuck @29
Except if Weiramon and Elaida were to marry, she would finally have something in common with the rest of us. She's bound to realize Weiramon's a fool.

CowboyFunk @30
Rand specifically admits in his POV that he sent Lan up there to try and test how much Mat knows.
john massey
38. subwoofer
Hi Leigh, great post, as per usual- made even better by Mat:)

My dance of joy

Couple of things. First Wieramon... reminds me very much of Henry Fonda in Ft. Apache where the cavalry goes down in flames. Bright spot was Shirly Temple Black and Ward Bond. Am a big fan of cavalry, from men on horse to mechanized divisions. Awesome stuff in motion.

Secondly, big fan of either General Mat or Gambler Mat. To me they are one and the same- the anti-hero. Birgette mimes a similar sentiment in a latter book- something to the tune of "wahoo- once we get over this hill it is nothing but good wine and well set up men..." or words to that effect. Ah, if it were a different time. Memories...

-edit- added link to montage of movie-
paul Hend
39. tugthis
I have a lot of affection for Matt as a character but this chapter highlights a bit of squimishness about him that I feel. He often seems to be a character possessed, and while he talks a good game about free will and living the free life of the rover he is compelled not to by forces that seem to control him, rather he them. Whenever he gets into a spot of trouble the dice start rattling and he gets what he needs.
I like Matt's character, but as a character he does not develop, he is essentially the same person he was in the begining, with a whole set of cool new memories and abilities. It is good that he is a gambler and a player, cause he sure never seems to have to work too hard.

I was also stunned when the battle was described and the Shaido, one tribe of the Aiel, was described as having 160000 spears. This is what I envisioned the entire population of the Aiel to be. They are after all living in a desert. . . and when you extrapolate the other tribes, and the women, children, young, infirm you come up with an immense population living in the most inhospitable area of Randland. The Apache one of the most well known tribes in the American west had a population of 5000 at their height.
Richard Fife
40. R.Fife
The One and Only dance for Joy, least in my opinion.

Oh, to the Mat Awesomeness over his actual tactic. I think I've read a little too much of the fantasy wars, because it seems they are always a hammer anvil with a bit of flanking. Yes, it was a great maneuver, but, iunno, I kinda would not mind seeing something a little more unique to surroundings or circumstances. I think Mat's true shining was when he started applying new technologies with the fast crossbows.
Roger Powell
41. forkroot
Oh come on R.Fife - do you seriously expect me to click any link you have put up?

(Don't get me wrong - I enjoy your postings here ... but we've all learned our lesson.)
John Fitzingo
42. Xandar01
I missed the post on Friday so today was a super bonus day!!

I always like the aspect of Randland's inhabitants rediscovering what was lost. I always thought of these telescopes as a recent rediscovery, now I am not so sure. This rediscovery of things lost reminds me of the History Channel documentaries the show how smart ancient civilizations were at times.
Richard Fife
43. R.Fife
...maybe? There might be candy in it.
Rand Al'Todd
44. toddywatts
Ugh. Mat. I get so tired of his reluctant hero crap. He's always moaning about how he doesn't want to do it, doesn't want to be involved. I admit that his knowledge and skilz are wicked cool, but he still makes me mad sometimes.

And don't, "Poor Rand," about him having to use his friends. He doesn't have to use them, they could be pragmatic and decide it was important to fight the DO together and enjoy what time they have together as friends. Instead they're too busy wondering how nuts he is today. Of course, he furthers that problem too.

Hmm. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood today. Sorry! I know I read these books because I like the characters, but I can't seem to find any charity today.

Except maybe for Weiramon. I could see him following someone else's lead because he thinks he'll get the glory he deserves, not necessarily because he's evil. I think I would be disappointed to find out that he's evil and smart, rather than good and stupid.
craig thrift
45. gagecreedlives

No way am I touching that link

*edit* Candy you say? Hmmmm in that case maybe

I think Weiramon is a red herring. There has to be one person for the light that has nothing going for them right?

Matt's a great character and a hoot to read. Besides having to be there at the last battle he is living the dream. Spending his youth travelling, drinking, chasing women and earning money through gambling. Colour me jealous.
Roger Powell
46. forkroot
Jealous? Of a guy that has to marry a short bald chick with a 'tude? Not me!
craig thrift
47. gagecreedlives
yeah well alright except for having to be at the last battle and having to marry a short bald chick with a 'tude.
sandi vogel
48. sinfulcashew
As we will see, some of us are not so clever!
Guess I should read further -before- clicking!

41. forkroot
"Oh come on R.Fife - do you seriously expect me to click any link you have put up?

(Don't get me wrong - I enjoy your postings here ... but we've all learned our lesson.)"

It has been awhile since he has put in a link?
I forgot who was the culprit for those links?
I can't come up with any more excuses?

Bad man-bad man!
(Finger shaking at RFife)
Aidan Young
49. aidanyoung1102
Darkfriend or not, Weiramon is the Leroy Jenkins (watch the first 1:30 of it) of The Wheel Of Time.
Rand Al'Todd
50. Balance
Weieramon: See my problem is I don’t post much, and if I do its usually pretty late. I brought this bastard up before. I knew he was coming up in the story. I’m in the camp of W being a darkfriend genius. The cover is too good. Plus I like characters who can suppress his own ego by acting like an idiot (and making the Dragon Reborn, AND his Aiel chiefs, and his Saldea super-general, and the DR’s boyhood friend / super-super general, all believe he’s a complete idiot. ) but really be like George Cloony on the inside. That would be a great scene. The only argument against this is the Demondread one. He was set up great as a Red Hearing. So mabey we are getting smacked around again, but I’m betting against it.

Lews: Correct. #28, 25, ect. Lews is not a schitzo-split. IMO. Another chapter shows LTT explaining the importance of taxes, and increasing commerce, creating jobs, yadda yadda. There are a few of these. I believe its LTT talking to Rand. Same soul, two different life experiences interacting. Thus portrayed as a persona. Rand is talking to himself. He is just talking to Rand who grew up in orchards, in the AOL, lead the forces of Light, and was one of the greatest men of that time.
Hugh Arai
51. HArai
Balance@50: Well lots of people thought Elaida was too perfect an idiot too until we got a POV that proved it was the Elaida Effect and not DF cunning.
Hopefully Gathering Storm will settle it. It's possible RJ was just providing a man to balance Elaida. Weiramon Witlessness? Doesn't have nearly the ring to it :(
Rand Al'Todd
52. buddhacat
Hmm...Seem to have misplaced the Ch 39-40 recap. It's not on the index page either. Has anyone seen it?
razor buck
53. razorbuck
Mat is perfectly awesome, like this reallly awesome link, as opposed to an R Fife link that is nothing like candy, LOL
Rand Al'Todd
54. buddhacat
D'oh. Found it.
Rand Al'Todd
55. CalaLily
"I think I would be disappointed to find out that evil and smart, rather than good and stupid."

Maybe he's just evil and stupid. :D
Ryan Thistlethwaite
56. shintemaster
As far as Rand goes, I tend to lean towards Lews Therin being a mental split - yep, Rand is going batsh*t insane slowly. He's been suffering from the taint, numerous nasty wounds, attacks both indirect and direct from everyone up to and including the Dark One and everybody is either out to get him, out to use him, or expecting him to save them - all the while plotting against him. I think that the memories are there however the personality is of his own making. I also think that RJ specifically set things up so we would think of Lews Therin as real for as long as possible.
sandi vogel
58. sinfulcashew
Had weird things happen at first but got through.

.....NOW you put up a regular link.

Thanks anyway, for the 'awesome' vid!!!!!
Rand Al'Todd
59. thxdsai
I kinda like Weiramon and his foolishness / get under Rand's skin annoyingly single-minded advice. To me he seems like a person raised up knowing what is in store for the world when the Dragon is reborn and then realizes that he is going to have to living as it is happening.

I've heard a lot of stories about war and each one has held some mention that the only way to fight in one is to realize that you are already dead. Weiramon, in every part of the story I read about him, seems to know that he is dead. The cool thing about him is that no matter the odds or circumstances he is ALWAYS willing to lead a charge. It wasn't his fault that he got chosen by birth to be a military commander. His fate is tied into the pattern just like any other non-ta'varen.

He doesn't know much (although i think he knows enough not to tell others that, unlike the heroes) but what he does know is the charge. Everyone calling him stupid or yelling at him because that is what he does best is probably why he sniffs with his nose in the air all the time.

Then again, I could be drinking strange kool-aid.
Alice Arneson
60. Wetlandernw
aidanyoung1102 @49

Leroy Jenkins - ROFL!!!
Alice Arneson
61. Wetlandernw
...and razorbuck - awesome indeed! Those guys are amazing.
john massey
62. subwoofer
Fife- fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice... well, that's not gonna happen.;)

Weiramon, I think that people may be reading too much into him. Over analysis of something that is not there. The guy is a doof and that is all. He came out of nowhere, does a masterful job of getting in the way and taking up paragraphs of type, but beyond that, it is, once again, much ado about nothing.

Mat is awesome regardless. Mind you, I am partial to dirt bags. Much more believable than a flawless character.

-Bachelorette is almost over- can go to sleep finally! Later.
Pete Pratt
63. PeteP
The High Lords of Tear are all vicious people that no one in the right mind would trust for a minute, but only 1 went to the DF Social. The rest are merely evil and aggressive individuals. Of the High Lords, only one appears to be stupid. No only is he stupid, but he has odd conversations with known DFs. He wrecks havoc against his own side again and again. Weiramon is putting on an act, bringing chaos to the world. I like interesting bad guys, so I really hope it is an act, and that before he is toast, he does some really interesting stuff.

Mat needed to go the Rhuidean or he would die. What is this was not about the memories (Mat would have been a great general anyway, maybe), but for the foxhead? Just a thought.
craig thrift
64. gagecreedlives
Mat didnt die at Rhuidean. He was almost dead and Rand resuscitates him. Mat, Asmo and Aviendha all get killed during the attack on Caemlyn but are brought back to life when Rand balefires the hell out of Rhavin.

I had a loony theory that Mat had to go to Rhuidean to get the ashandarei to attract Tuon's interest and to get the memories to fullfill Lidya's prophecy.
Rand Al'Todd
65. jafco
Leigh wins!!

For this comment, the Nynaeve of the Week Award:

"...And every time, I want to kick them in the head. Repeatedly...." ;0

@21. Freelancer: Good post.

Yes this series is probably more "Early Modern Era" than Medieval, although Tear certainly is way backward compared to Andor and maybe other states (and Seanchan is definitely 10th-12th Century). Progress moves fast here. Steam engines are already being designed - and soon become workable.

This book has so many great chapters, but this one of Mat really integrating all the military memories he has been given by the Foxes into his persona is simply outstanding. But it's one thing to plan a battle; it's another to execute the maneuver part of battle. Mat shows the full extent of his military prowess, and his own martial skills, in an upcoming, even better, chapter - all while trying to get out of Dodge with a whole skin. Typical Mat stuff.

He's a dude. Yet I truly wonder how far his womanizing goes (with Tylin and Melindrha there's no doubt that he's bedding (being bedded is actually more accurate). Otherwise, he thinks in terms of dancing, and "a kiss and a cuddle" and never runs afoul of the management of the inns where he pursues his pleasures with the serving maids (not hookers). Further, we've never had a scene - outside of those two women - where Mat is caught with his pants down, so to speak. Personally, I think he was a virgin until Melindhra got to him.

Later, Tylin was almost too much (both for him and for me) but then, Mat finally decided to take what was offered and live with the negative or derogatory effects of it. Probably a good decision, since he was going to be there for an indeterminate period, and Tylin would have made life impossible. Too bad they don't have trial lawyers out the wazoo in Randland; he'd have a hell of a sexual harassment case against Ty. Heh.
Joseph Blaidd
66. SteelBlaidd
I'm in the camp that says that Weiramon is both evil and stupid
Andrew Lovsness
67. drewlovs
This whole tory arc has got to be my favorite part of the series, hands down. From the time Rand FINALLY smooches a girl he cares fo (in an innocent, and completely believable sort of way besides using the one power to go halfway around the world; talk about a romantic evening in Paris) to Mats battle scenes, its all sorts of awesome.

It's funny, my brother-in-law hated the Mat "fight scenes" mainly because there wre no fights; but I told him Jordanhad actually fought in life and death struggles, and I completely understand if he didn't feel the need to get into thegore of the matter. He didn't agree, but there you go; he likes the book, I love them.

Oh, and don't forget...the Rand/Rahvin one power battle is the "epiloge". Yo ot to love this boo... really!!
Bill Reamy
68. BillinHI
@ Leigh Getting harder to find the latest posts as neither Part 16 OR Part 17 is in the index.

Otherwise I got nuttin, cept for Mat's super awesomeness, especially in upcoming chapter(s?).

Oh, and I was kind of surprised at Asmodean's apparent total shock at Mat's plan. I wouldn't have thought the Music Man would have a great deal of military knowledge. Maybe he's just surprised at this country lout's grasp of military planning.
Asger Grunnet
69. asgerix
Someone in the FoH16 thread asked me for a total word count per poster over the whole re-read. I have counted a total of 1165 different posters, so I will post only the top 50.

A couple of notes:
(1) I have merged all the posts from alreadymad* including the fake ones, but I don't think that makes much difference.
(2) I assume that "Wetlander" is the same person as "Wetlandernw". If these posts are merged, Wetlandernw moves above subwoofer with approx. 52000 words and 370 posts.
(3) I noticed a couple of people who had misspelled their names. I did not merge the posts, and I don't think it would make any difference in the top 50.
(4) The numbers include all re-read threads from the introduction up to and including FoH16.
(5) The first number is the word count, the second number is the count of posts and the third number is the average number of words per post.

Here is the top 50:

1. Freelancer 65235 / 317 = 205.8
2. alreadymad... 57355 / 489 = 117.3
3. R.Fife 53249 / 482 = 110.5
4. subwoofer 44994 / 489 = 92.0
5. Wetlandernw 43805 / 316 = 138.6
6. Randalator 42624 / 275 = 155.0
7. Wolfmage 31688 / 91 = 348.2
8. Lsana 31002 / 164 = 189.0
9. RobMRobM 27471 / 189 = 145.3
10. odigity 24060 / 191 = 126.0
11. Lannis 23192 / 199 = 116.5
12. Toryx 23094 / 131 = 176.3
13. Rebecca Starr 21176 / 101 = 209.7
14. UncrownedKing 21147 / 298 = 71.0
15. Aiel1219 19471 / 152 = 128.1
16. HArai 17956 / 181 = 99.2
17. Fiddler 16980 / 134 = 126.7
18. SteelBlaidd 16294 / 75 = 217.3
19. Shimrod 16144 / 166 = 97.3
20. sinfulcashew 16067 / 196 = 82.0
21. gagecreedlives 15546 / 135 = 115.2
22. JamesEdJones 14111 / 248 = 56.9
23. drewlovs 13639 / 69 = 197.7
24. Eswana 13202 / 83 = 159.1
25. Roxinos 12906 / 33 = 391.1
26. elroyskimms 12310 / 63 = 195.4
27. birgit 11854 / 83 = 142.8
28. lmelior 11724 / 103 = 113.8
29. CalaLily 10796 / 96 = 112.5
30. elvyelvy 10622 / 103 = 103.1
31. GatheringStorm 10440 / 173 = 60.3
32. Sidetrack'd 10356 / 44 = 235.4
33. darxbane 10186 / 75 = 135.8
34. jafco 10125 / 55 = 184.1
35. Erdrick 9873 / 60 = 164.6
36. PeteP 9791 / 35 = 279.7
37. bchurch 9592 / 109 = 88.0
38. almuric 9585 / 40 = 239.6
39. sarcastro 9537 / 52 = 183.4
40. hoping to be of the blood 9440 / 115 = 82.1
41. thewindrose 9420 / 121 = 77.9
42. Rikka 9327 / 54 = 172.7
43. Siuanfan 9230 / 56 = 164.8
44. Egglie 9145 / 49 = 186.6
45. TAmyrlinring1 9144 / 63 = 145.1
46. forkroot 8955 / 85 = 105.4
47. hoping 8911 / 129 = 69.1
48. bkaul 8736 / 69 = 126.6
49. tonka 8692 / 86 = 101.1
50. Isilel 8373 / 27 = 310.1
Michael Catapano
70. hoping
Too busy here this time of year to do much more than lurk, but am still enjoying the discussion.

razorbuck great video, thanks

Rfife great link, as always. It never gets old. You know I love the boy.

Weiramon- Put me in the camp that W represents arrogant stupidity at its worst, but no DF

Mat is coming into his own here and I love his character, but I have something good to say about all of them.

impressive work thanks
hoping to be of the blood = hoping (vaulting me up to 16th place) :)

Ah, Roxinos. A short but prolific career

Subtract the rickrolls and rfife drops below subwoofer
craig thrift
71. gagecreedlives
Wow well done asgerix!!

Im kind of surprised how high up I am considering how long it took me to work up the balls to start posting.

It seems we also may have left a few people behind. I wonder if a few have just changed log on names.
Kurt Lorey
72. Shimrod
@69 asgerix.

Ah, that "fits" my assumptions a lot better. I still missed on who I thought would have been number one in "words per post" though.

I love it when the data all comes together. (Sorry, GP).
Rand Al'Todd
73. RobMRobM
Woo- top ten, baby. I would like to thank the members of the Academy and special thanks go out to Tam and Morgase, who are responsible for most of my lengthy posts. (Guess that's one result of being in the re-read virtually from the start.)

Rand Al'Todd
74. Smatt
Great job asgerix. I hold my hands up and admit it was me who asked.

I guess I now know why my school report always said 'could do better'.
Captain Hammer
75. Randalator
I'm in the Top 10. Huh. Wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing...
Rand Al'Todd
76. RobMRobM
Thanks, by the way, to asgerix. We are not worthy (bows).

Also, yes the composition of the list will change as people go through it. For example, the two Wetlanders are different but the two separately listed "hoping"s are the same. I'll leave the rest to the participants.

I'm still in shock that I'm down for more than 27,000 words. If one assumes 250 words per a typewritten 81/2 by 11 page, I'm at well over 100 pages. Perhaps this can serve as the backbone for my first novel Better watch out Brandon....

Rand Al'Todd
77. CJB
I'm a little surprised that there was no mention of Rand advising Mat not to bother with saying goodbye to Egwene, and Mat agreeing and replying with something along the lines of "She's left Emonds Field further behind than any of us, and misses it the least."
Rand Al'Todd
78. birgit
Weiramon is as dark-friedy has they come. Think about the upcoming battle - he sends his troops forward without scouts to get wiped out by the Shaido, who will then attack Rand's platform from the back.

Weiramon is already on his way to Tear. The incompetent leader of the troops is one of the lordlings who were following him around (Melanril), and he gets killed.
Rand Al'Todd
79. MCSwan
Loial also remarks that "They print many very fine books in Caemlyn..." When he asks Faile to carry his manuscript to Camelyn. This is when he thinks Faile is leaving the Two Rivers in The Shadow Rising, Chap 53, The Price of a Departure.
Maiane Bakroeva
80. Isilel
I am with the people who think that Weiramon is a brilliantly effective DF. Think Emperor Claudius, who had them all fooled until they handed him the ultimate power and then showed his true colours. This way Weiramon's quite substantial sabotage just gets chalked up to his foolishness, with relatively minor consequences to him and opportunity to do further harm. If he wasn't working against tav'eren, he probably would have had Rand toppled by now.
While "stupid noble" is a popular cliché, the Aiel War was just 20 years ago and Tear participated in it. I can't believe that even a fool could honestly think that Aiel would scatter like quail.

As to Mat, "dons asbestos underwear", this chapter exemplifies for me why I can't respect him as a character.
I mean, the world is about to end and it would take everybody pitching in to prevent it. Mat is in the rare position to contribute significantly to the Light Side's efforts.
And all he can think about is slinking away, hiding like a coward and cheating people out of their money. He'd abandon his best friend for it, too.

His awesomeness has nothing to do with real Mat - it is all borrowed from people who came by it legitimately and from the Pattern. Anybody would have done just as well with all the handouts Mat has received. Billy Congar. Elaida. Sevanna. Etc.

Now, I don't dislike Mat, because he is funny and witty and I'll forgive a literary character much for this.

But apart from very rare instances when Mat does something positive of his own will - like going into the Stone for the SGs, he is not a hero to me.

The contrast with Rand in this scene is stark. Where Mat is shallow and selfish, Rand gives his all to do what he can. He doesn't rely on his tav'eren and innate powers alone either, but tries to improve himself to become more effective, tries to make the right decisions.
He is also a reluctant hero, yes, and who wouldn't be in his position? But he does what he can. And if their situations were reversed, I don't see Rand wanting to run away and leave the world to fend for itself. Ditto Perrin (much as I deplore his association with Faile and resulting storylines) .

I just feel that even without all the Pattern flim-flammery real Rand and Perrin could have become impressive people in right circumstances, people I could respect. Mat - not so much. Which is kinda sad since Mat in the EoTW seemed to be the least hide-bound of the boys and the most likely to go seek his fortune.

All IMHO, of course.

Oh, and yes, Randland is similar 17th-18th century, only without the gunpowder, religion and subjugation of women. But then, China had gunpowder for thousands of years, as well as a version of the printing press. There is nothing implausible about societies not making the next step.
Rand Al'Todd
81. johntheirishmongol
Excellent post Leigh, and I agree that we are in the best part of TFoH.

I think you can take it as implied that there were printing presses all the way back to early in the first book because you don't have casual reading if every book is being written by hand, and Rand is reading the Jain Farstrider stories. Farmer and herders simply couldn't afford books til the printing press was invented.

I too have wondered how a desert people had that many fighters and came to the conclusion that its pretty spread with territory equal to the size of the map that we dont see to reduce the population density to manageable levels yet support that total number of people. Remember that historically, the same kind of territory supported the Moors who conquered Spain.

As for Matt, nice touch how he lays out the battle plan but he just agreed with the plan, and it could have been even more cool if he had found a flaw or set a trap as a part of the battle. Rand did sent Lan in to get Matt's comments.

My comment on the LTT argument is that the idea that its a all in his head is not really true. LTT is there, because the things he says are way to specific for him not to be there. However, it will make everyone else tend to think he is going mad because he is talking to himself, which is not a good sign.
Brian Kaul
82. bkaul
Freelancer@21: I agree with you that LTT is real and Rand isn't insane. However, I don't think these instances can prove it, since the opposing theory as I understand it is that Rand really does have LTT's memories, but comes up with the personality as a coping mechanism. That is, the voice is invented to allow him to deal with the memories that he shouldn't have. The scenes you mention prove that the memories are real, but both sides already agree on that point. It's whether the personality/voice that's talking to Rand is real, or a "coping mechanism" to deal with having extra memories that's debated.
Brian Kaul
83. bkaul
asgerix@69: Impressive. Thanks for compiling the stats!
Tess Laird
84. thewindrose
Wow asgerix!

I have to admit I am surprised to be in the top 50, I caught up to the reread and comments(yes I read them all) on TSR10. Thank goodness I caught up then, as I would have quailed at the size of TSR10!
Rand Al'Todd
85. alreadymadin2ndplace
Un-effing-believable. I actually weigh in at second. I have way too much time on my hands.

As for LTT, I think it's a fabrication. RJ states that it's two personalities, one soul. Hence, in any given situation, Rand's two personalities each have their own distinct reactions. Since Rand believes (without proof or basis in fact) that allowing LTT's reactions will allow him to take over, he sets them apart from himself by imagining a voice that sounds insane. That's the dead giveaway right there that the voice is fabricated, because we all know that LTT died sane. LTT very much exists in Rand's head, it's the insane voice that doesn't.
James Jones
86. jamesedjones
69 Asgerix

Hats off to you! Thank you for the info. :)

And I just have to ask Wolfmage, and Roxy (if you're still lurking), how the *&%@# do you average over 300 words per post?!?! Dear Lord!

IMHO Wieramon's just an idiot with way too much power. Check out Obi Wan in the Bridge over the River Kwai for an example with a little less power. :P
James Jones
87. jamesedjones
85 Already Mad

Have to disagree on this one. LTT did not die sane. He was driven insane with grief. If it had been the taint, then he would not have had any carryover once he died. Being cleased of the taint's effect was what made it possible for the insanity to leech through to his next life.

So, as long as he's insane and Rand is sane, the integration will not occur. Only in my Humble opinion.
john massey
88. subwoofer
What? 4th?!!! Puts me off the podium- grrrrrr. Damn squirrels! Keeping me away from posting. Thanks asgerix- good times. In my defense I was away in Jamaica getting married in April and am doing home renos now and can barely find my computer. Of course I am also trying not to ramble- like I am now about everything.

I think LTT died sane. Wasn't that one of the Forsaken's (Sammael?) last thing to do so LTT dies knowing the horror of what he did? Thus the Dragonmount thingy.
Tess Laird
89. thewindrose
subwoofer - It was Ishy with the True Power. The argument is that after Ishy brings him back to reality, LTT realizes he killed everyone that has drop of his blood(LTT) in them(wife, children, relatives) thus becoming insane from grief and horror at what he has done, but not taint insane.
Marcus W
90. toryx
Wieramon reminds me a great deal of General McClellan in the U.S. civil war. He was a master at organization and training but he was all bluster when it came to actual combat. Furthermore, he actively attempted to undermine Lincoln and even opposed him in the election of 1864.

I'm unsure at the moment as to whether or not he's a DF. I'll wait until we get to the appropriate scenes where he's talking to the evil Ashaman.

As for now, though, I don't think he's evil so much as arrogant and rash.

Freelancer @ 21:

Ironic that those lines convince you that Lews Therin is real, because it does the opposite for me. I actually think that all of Lews Therin's knowledge is buried away in Rand's mind (soul, whatever) and that the taint is weakening the barrier between one life and another. LT is simply Rand's way of rationalizing where the information is coming from because he can't bear to admit to himself that he and Lews Therin are one and the same.

Anyway, the quote itself you're referring to doesn't have any concrete information at all. It seems purely circumstantial to me. Anyone could guess that LT has led battles and knew war. If anything, it suggests that both of us are wrong and Rand's imagining the whole thing. If LT were really there, wouldn't it be more likely that Rand would know, from LT, what a miner is and how it can be used in battle?
James Jones
91. jamesedjones
88 Subwoofer

I'm just coming at the idea from a different direction. Maybe I'm underestimating Rand/LTT, but I don't think I'd be able to hold on to sanity after discovering that I'd done what he'd done.

But then, I'm just a weak minded, easily distracted, soft willed - Squirrel!
Mitchell Swan
92. mcswan
@91 jamesedjones

I'm thinking that Ishy healed him of the Taint induced madness, LTT saw what he had done, knew he couldn't handle it, knew that a more general, non-Taint-induced psychotic break was rapidly approaching and suicided.
Richard Fife
93. R.Fife
I'm kinda surprised I'm 3rd. I mean, I know I'm a postasaurus, but seriously... I'm kinda ashamed.

I'm still of the opinion that LTT is real if for no other reason than Min's viewing of two men merging into one. Kinda tips the evidence in my opinion.

To Wieramon, law of character conservation seems to say that Wieramon was the High Lord at DF Social since no other High Lord has presented himself as well for it, but it definately annoys me. I liked the idea of him just being a plain idiot than a mastermind of DF-ness. Although, it could be that he is just that bad AND he's a DF, like, he isn't being told to F things up for the DR, he just does anyway.
Blake Engholm
94. UncrownedKing
Haven't posted in a while (Damn College and all its responsibilities), but I have to comment here.

I love this book for nothing other than this scene where Mat goes all Alexander the Napoleon on us, and the up coming scene where he starts the beginnings of the BotRH.

Love love love it.

P.S. does anyone know when WOT comic #2 is shipping? haven't received my issue. :(
Pete Pratt
95. PeteP
Wow, #36 and I just barely started commenting! I am gunning for you, Freelancer.

CJB @77 -- Good point on Egwene. Mat way not want to ever return to a simple village life, but at least he remembers who he is and where he comes from. Egwene left Two Rivers in her heart as soon as she crossed the Taren.

Isilel -- again, what would Mat do in this battle if he stuck around? Mat could not lead Aiel. Rand could not put him in charge of the Tairen & Cairhienen troops, they would not have followed him. Mat would have sat around doing nothing. He had nothing to add and help with the battle. What, did you expect for him to follow Rand around like a sick little puppy?

For Mat to assume greatness and leadership, he had to both embrace what he is and demonstrate his capactiy to lead and win. Analyzing the battle map, Mat begins to understand that battle is one big giant gamble, the biggest and best of them all.

Mat must leave Rand so that he can find his own way to leadership. Just like Rand was let loose in tGH to find his own way. Remember, Two Rivers people are stubborn to a fault and unwilling to do anything when they think they are being forced to do it.

Mat leaves Rand and Rand's ta'verenness does not pull on him because Mat is going on the right path. In the battle, Mat goes to help the Tairens and Cairhienen for the same reason he rescues the SGs in Tear, because he sees someone that needs to be saved. As Siuan said in tDR, Mat is the one who would go into the burning building to rescue people he did not know, even if it was not his job.

If Mat had been placed in charge of the those troops, Mat would have resented the role. Likewise, the Lords would not follow him and would question his orders. This is still a problem in KoD in the Band, as some of the lords would not listen to a any leader (outside of Lord Mat) who is not a noble. So, how exactly was Mat going to be super-general without taking the path he did?
Marcus W
96. toryx
R.Fife @ 93:

I'm still of the opinion that LTT is real if for no other reason than Min's viewing of two men merging into one. Kinda tips the evidence in my opinion.

I can see your point, only Min's viewings are usually pretty symbolic. The symbolism of seeing two men merge into one could be just as appropriate for two personalities merging into one.

Either situation applies.
James Jones
97. jamesedjones
95 PeteP

Very nice summation of the Mat debate. Couldn't agree more.

96 toryx

Unless the balefire incident with Moridin in Shadar Logoth is going to lead to them merging. ;)
Tess Laird
98. thewindrose
PeteP-In KoD Mat becomes Prince of the Ravens - so he's a noble whether he likes it or not - and he doesn't.
Deborah Jones
99. NanaD
Mat left Rand when he did because it was the will of the Pattern. Mat had to be where he was, when he was, to turn the battle in the direction it was destined to go. Killing ole Coulie was an added bonus.

In Randland there is no such thing as coincidence.
The wheel turns, the pattern weaves and life goes on.
John Mann
100. jcmnyu
The Yahtzee icon is always my favorite, followed by the Dragon icon and the Forsaken icon. I just love a good Mat chapter/section.

I get a little sad when reading about Mangin of the Jindo Taardad. Rand has so few good friends, and when he says he really likes the guy and thinks the could easily become friends with him, it's almost tragic. Too bad he has to send him to dance with a noose next book.

Now about LTT in Rand's head, I wrote a long time ago on the newsgroup my theory that LTT was a previous personality of the same soul. That the personalities were like two apartments in a building that share a wall. LTT is talking through a whole in the wall that separates is personality with Rand's. What we learn in later books, specifically what Semihrage spews after she is captured in KoD, shows I wasn't exactly right, but I think we can conclude that Rand and LTT are fully formed personalities that are able to communicate with each other and that there is a bleed over of skills and memories from LTT to Rand (drawing, visuals of people and places from the Age of Legends, knowledge of the Forsaken, etc.) But, LTT is batshit crazy, folks. And anyone who has to listen to someone that crazy 24/7 will feel the effects after a while, similar to someone who is isolated for a long period of time. It's not something the human mind was designed for and it will suffer for the exposure.

@59 thxdsai

I couldn't disagree with you more about Weiramon. He doesn't think he is dead, he thinks he knows more than anyone else and that his enemies are inferior. He is a typically written character who has loads more authority than experience. He simply doesn't know any better and doesn't have any idea how much he doesn't know.

@80 Isilel

Don't confuse Mat's internal dialogue for an unwillingness to do the right thing. Mat seems to have an image of the person he would like to be. He wants to be a womanizing, gambling, on the road again guy with no ties and no obligations. However, imagine you were one of his companions. You don't know what he is saying to himself in his head, he is simply Alexander the Great, William Wallace, and James T. Kirk, all rolled into one. And really, if a guy runs into a burning house to save a stranger, does it matter if he thought to himself as he was running in that he is no bloody hero and wishes he never walked down that particular street? I say no. When Mat rescues the soldiers in the next few chapters, he is thinking he wants to run away, but he never does. He is moving into harms way to save strangers. The very definition of a hero in my book.
Jason Deshaies
101. darxbane
It's very possible that LTT wouldn't know what a miner did, as the AOL did not have a need for walled cities. Furthermore, the flying craft of the time (not to mention Traveling and One Power Master) would've made them useless anyway. LTT's tactics would be much more like modern warfare, with the obvious Channeler twist.

Rand is the reincarnated soul of Lews Therin Telemon. That means he IS Lews Therin Telemon, Just like Birgitte is still Birgitte even though in her past lives she had different names and experiences. I originally was in the LTT is separate camp, but since RJ has said that the soul has not split, then it is a Tyler Durden situation. I would believe that anyone who came to realize they were the reincarnation of someone who did such horrible things (even unintentionally) would have quite a difficult time accepting it.

Weiramon, He is a little too obvious. He just seems like an arrogant fool to me. Wouldn't we all be surprised if the Tairen High Lord at Ishy's Darkfriend's Anonymous meeting was Darlin? Wouldn't that be a kick in the ass!!
Tess Laird
102. thewindrose
ACoS,Ch35 - Min views that Caraline and Darlin will marry.
ACoS,Ch35 - Min views Darlin wearing a crown, a simple golden circlet with a slightly curved sword lying on its side above his brows. The king's crown he would wear one day.
TPoD,Ch27 - Min adds to her viewing that Darlin will die in bed and Caraline will survive him.

I don't think Darlin is going to turn out to be a dark friend.

It could be the author's intent to make Weiramon seem such a buffoon that we would all argue back and forth about is he or is he not a dark friend. I tend to think he is, but it looks like a RAFO in the next three installments to be certain.
Jason Deshaies
103. darxbane
I agree it is highly unlikely, but not impossible. I believe he is king by now, and just because he will die in bed does not mean he isn't a bad guy. Again though, I accept it is highly unlikely. It would make Weiramon a delicious diversion.
Alice Arneson
104. Wetlandernw
asgerix @69

You're amazing! Thanks.

And yes, Wetlander in red is the same as Wetlandernw in gray. When I finally decided to get real, as it were, I found that someone else had my chosen name, so I modified. Didn't realize I was quite so verbose... But it's nice to see confirmation of my guesses as to who had the most words/post!
Rand Al'Todd
105. Zeynep
Re: Technology level of Randland. I had not thought about it before reading your commentary here, Leigh, but naturally you're right... innovation level is definitely edging up there nearer to Renaissance. I think it still feels a bit more primitive because of the population problem, or rather, the underpopulation problem (which the Seanchan are solving in their own way, currently). When the series opens, there are wide swathes of land that are unsettled and unclaimed, that were previously settled land and countries. Now the distance between population centers is greater and news move with peddlers... but technology does not, and that's why there is no critical concentration, if you will, of innovative force. Hence the setting feels more primitive than it actually is.

Of course, with the three ta'veren out and about and shuttling armies and ideas from place to place, that is changing rather rapidly during the series itself.
Kurt Lorey
106. Shimrod
Disclaimer: I'm just thinking out loud here.

One soul and two personalities.

LTT is reborn.

Personality severely traumatized by the pain of the realization of becoming Kinslayer. Personality self-suppressed.

Alter ego develops in lieu of suppressed ego/personality/LTT. Alter ego is Rand.

Moiraine triggers suppressed ability to channel. Process begins for alter ego/Rand to begin channeling. Suppressed ego/LTT begins to emerge, drawn by the renewed sensing of the One Power.

Alter ego/Rand dominant, yet begins to sense suppressed ego/LTT who is just becoming aware.

Alter ego/Rand cannot reconcile emergence of suppressed ego/LTT. Believes self to be "crazy". No one else knows enough about it (even Graendal). Crazy label not denied.

Extreme stress allows alter ego/Rand to interact with ego/LTT. Internal struggle for dominance begins.

Struggle continues through KoD.

Now, let's think about this from LTT's PoV.

He "wakes up" into a fully developed body, without any kind of knowledge as to how that could happen (no knowledge that the DO might be able to accomplish same).

AND, he hears a "voice" in his head. And he seems not to be able to assert physical control without addressing that voice. Thinks he must be barking mad.

Seems to have almost full knowledge of his previous life. Almost mad with grief over killing Ilyeana. Wants to die (again), but cannot.

"Talks" to other voice as a distraction, or struggles for dominance when something is really desired.

Seemingly, can affect unconcious physical actions (but probably doesn't realize it).

At some point, one of the egos will have to cease to exist for the other ego to be considered "whole". But, which one might it be?
Tess Laird
107. thewindrose
I think it will be LTT - he really wants to die. Rand wants to live - even went as far as going through a red door to get the answer -to live you must die. ...Again just my opinion if what you are streaming is the case.
John Mann
108. jcmnyu
@105 Zeynep

It seems like certain bits of knowledge which had been discovered in our history, were known only to the elite and often ignored due to religious objections for decades or centuries. So, while swords, bows, and spears are the height of military technology in Randland, as they were in the middle ages, things like the printing press, knowledge of a round planet, and a heliocentric solar system are common knowledge. To me, it's a mix of our 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Just when did everyone know that the Earth revolves around the sun? That the Earth was not flat? When did the printing press print enough books so that there were some in every village across Europe? When did the gun officially replace the bow and arrow? I'm not history expert, but it seems to me a lot of these things didn't happen until the 18th century. In Randland, these things happen out of order and some have been known since the Age of Legends it seems.
James Jones
109. jamesedjones
106 Shimrod

hmmm... Neither. Rand is supposed to be a Christ figure. This is taken from the marks in his palms, spear wound in his side, crown of swords/thorns, and growing up as a shepherd (plus being the savior of the world).

Now we've got a voice in his head with LTT. Soon we'll have another one that references the worlds as flowers in a garden that the creater leaves to grow or die as they will. Rand felt LTT agreeing with that thought, but not thinking it. As I see it, this is a reflection of the trinity. Another example is the roles of the three taveren having one purpose, but the multiple views in Rand's head is much stronger.

I'm just sayin'...
Alice Arneson
110. Wetlandernw
jcmnyu@100 I get a little sad when reading about Mangin of the Jindo Taardad...

Me too. The first time I read it, I was really angry with RJ for creating this very likable guy for the (appparently) sole purpose of making Rand have him hung. He HAD to do it, but it hurt him and was another big step in the hardening that always makes me sad/angry. And this particular step was one in the "brittle/hard" direction rather than the "strong/hard" direction. I understand why RJ did it that way, but I hate that scene and skim through it as fast as I can.

Re: Mat and his hero/anti-hero behavior... The first time I read this, I remember being mad (or at least frustrated) at Mat for trying to run away. Then it got funnier and funnier (and cooler and cooler) as each attempt to get out took him to where some Rand-side soldiers were going to die if he didn't do something. And like Siuan's burning-building analogy, each time he thought "I ought to leave them to it" but he never did. He'd ride in, tell them what to do, and end up staying because that's the only way he could be sure they'd do it. (Or because by the time he got them sorted out, he couldn't get away.) In the end, he's got his own private army. You can run, but you can't hide... at least when you're ta'veren and the Pattern has decided you're the great general! So now when I read this section, I just enjoy every bit of it, because I know how it's going to go.
Vincent Lane
111. Aegnor

I think you are being a bit too hard on Matt. You are wrong that anyone would have become as great a commander as him with the knowledge from the doorway. He already had the innate ability to be a great commander, and just lacked the knowledge of military tactics. Without the shortcut the doorway gave him, he still likely would have become a great commander eventually (if given the opportunity). The doorway just short circuted the learning process.

And as far as shirking his duty to help Rand. You notice that he is fully prepared to come back for the last battle when he's needed to blow the horn. He just hasn't realized that his duty has already began.

A character that I have always seen as a "Matt type" character, is Captain Mal Renolds from Firefly/Serenity. He just wants to be smuggler and petty criminal, making his way in the outskirts of society. Circumstances just end up making him something more. But he still had a choice. He could have kicked Simon and River off the ship when he found out who they were, and been done with it. He still had a choice. Just as Matt could have walked on and left those soldiers to be ambushed by the Aiel.
Vincent Lane
112. Aegnor

McClellan was sort of the inverse of Weiramon. McClellan's caution is what did him in. There were many times when the confederate army was just one good push from toppling, and McClellan just sat there. repeatedly snatching a stalemate from the jaws of certain victory.
paul Hend
113. tugthis
Why are you convinced that Matt would have been a great general without the help from the foxes and the 'lucky dice'. Besides being essentially a good stick fighter and selfish. . . there is nothing in his personality that points him to greatness... and certainly not the ambition to be be great.
Deborah Jones
114. NanaD
You have to be a good planner to be a good prankster. Mat was always the trickster in the bunch and he pulled some really good stunts in his younger days. Just getting out of work sometimes takes a lot of skill.
Antoni Ivanov
115. tonka
Selfish ? Mat is normal because people are selfish. Self-preservation is deep rooted in humans(It's Rand who is the more of an exception ). And Mat cannot see how he could be of any help when Rand has channeling and 300 000 Aiels behind him.What he, a simple village boy, could do.
The most important thing to realize is that Mat can make decision. That he is ta'veren doesn't deprive him of his will. He is just forced in situation that ,in Mat's opinion , he has no choice. But that's not true, he could have walk out and left the tairens to be ambushed. A Darkfriend or some more callous person would have done that but not Mat, when he knows that he can help and he goes there in risk of his life and help them survive a couple of time. He could have walked out of all this every time.
I don't have idea if he would have become a great general if he didn't have these memories. But being a good military leader doesn't not fall only to having incredible knowledge. That's something we shouldn't forget too.
Vincent Lane
116. Aegnor
From the WoT FAQ...

"Q:The question is, with Rand and LTT, do they have 1 soul or 2 souls in the body?
A: They have 1 soul with 2 personalities. The reincarnation of souls does not mean reincarnation of personalities. The personality develops with each reincarnation of the soul. This is the cosmology that I together."

So according to RJ it is one soul, with two personalities. IMO this means that LTT is sort of real and sort of not real. It is like a person with split personality disorder, only instead of a seperate personality being created due to some childhood trauma, it is a personality that he developed in a previous life (as his one and only personality in that life).

That is why, as Semirhage indicated, it is so dangerous. It isn't a "fake" personality created to deal with trauma, it is a real personality developed over a lifetime.
Vincent Lane
117. Aegnor
There are many indications (pre-doorway) that indicate Matt's innate ability. Not the least of which is his infiltration of the Stone of Tear. Even without all that knowledge, he was able to think outside the box, and gain access to the Stone. It certainly took more than being a good stick fighter.
Rand Al'Todd
118. CalaLily

Aha, I just watched that movie yesterday. LOVE IT.

"A lot of innocent people will die."
"You think I care?"
"Of course you care."

:) That whole reluctant/anti-hero is always awesome.
Kurt Lorey
119. Shimrod
@116 Aegnor.

How does that not "fit" with what I described?

The point I seem to have muddled is that LTT is the primary ego of this particular soul in this particular lifetime.

Rand is an alter ego (non-primary). Rand should have been the only ego, but isn't. In effect, Rand is the interloper from LTT's PoV.

Unlike normal Randland reincarnation, this soul "remembers" its previous incarnation in detail.

It is hinted that the Heroes like Birgitte and Artur Hawkwing only remember incarnations between lives in the flesh.
Rand Al'Todd
120. CalaLily
o.o I'm 29th on that list. Wow.

But AUGH. IT'S A PRIME NUMBER! -twitchtwitch-

uneven/prime numbers just me. x.o
Antoni Ivanov
121. tonka
And I am 49 - a square of uneven prime number .. eeeeeeek
Luke M
122. lmelior
@ asgerix #69
Nicely done again. I'm actually surprised I'm only #29 (don't worry CalaLily, you're #30 when hoping's numbers are merged), even though I've been quiet recently. Life has been more demanding, I suppose (that's what I get for having a toddler), and we've already covered the most colorful arguments.

I was also surprised as I went back through that I was only a lurker until halfway through TDR, even though I've been following since day one...well actually I've been following the site since before it even launched (yay free ebooks!). Can't believe it's already been almost a year!
Vincent Lane
123. Aegnor

It doesn't. I was just posting RJ's comment for refrence, and then speaking my thoughts on the matter.
Galen Brinn
124. GatheringStorm
Been a while since I've been able to post. The last time I was able to post, there were some serious flame-wars going on. Glad I haven't seen any here today.

I love hearing Mat spout the battle plan seemingly out of nowhere. It just ratchets up his awesome level a notch or three.
Rand Al'Todd
125. alreadymadwithlttsmadness
jamesedjones @87
Are we talking about Semirhage's integration again? It's pretty much a given that anything Semirhage says is bullcrap designed to undermine whatever tenuous hold on his sanity and his allies Rand has. So we can argue forever what way Rand has out of his insanity, but I highly doubt it is the integration Semirhage talked of, since by her own admission, she did not know anything about it.

We can say that LTT was mad with grief, but whatever idiomatic difference this has with real madness, we can at least tell the main difference. LTT was self-aware when he killed himself. He knew what he had done and his guilt drove him conclude his life was meaningless and therefore had to be ended. This means he's back in the realm where cause generates effect. That is rational. That is not mad.
Roger Powell
126. forkroot
Just when did everyone know that the Earth revolves around the sun? That the Earth was not flat?
Interestingly enough, the ancients knew that the Earth was spherical (Wikipedia Ref), and many knew or suspected that the earth revolved around the Sun.

Both the Catholic and Protestant parts of the Christian Church were responsible for Europe being late to general acceptance (pity they didn't learn from Augustine about how to read Scripture.)

The point I'm making is that the science stuff (round earth, heliocentrism) was figured out centuries before the engineering stuff like the printing press, firearms, etc. There's a darn good reason for that too.

Building a printing press or a good firearm depends on metallurgical advances along with a general level of base technology in a society. (Imagine a modern day semi-conductor physicist transported to renaissance times .. his/her knowledge would be useless because there would be no infrastructure to purify silicon, etch it with a laser, etc.)

We know that quite a bit of technical knowledge survived the breaking. What we can also surmise is that each time the general technological level of civilization would rise, and then a catastrophe (like the Trolloc Wars - thanks to Ishy) would devastate the technology base.

This all seems to jibe pretty well with a world where the understanding of natural laws has outstripped the technology base for the moment.
Philbert de Zwart
127. philbert
One thing I like about this sequence of chapters: it is foreshadowed that Rand will or at least wants to kill Couladin, but in the end he doesn't, because our hero Mat does!
Alice Arneson
128. Wetlandernw
philbert @127

I remember that completely threw me for a loop the first time, because I kept expecting a big Rand/Couladin confrontation moment, and then most of it happens off screen and you suddenly find out MAT did it... Say WHAT???
John Mann
129. jcmnyu
@126 forkroot

I agree that there were some who knew for thousands of years, or at least suspected, that the Earth was round and orbited the sun. However, in WoT Rand knows and knew it before he left Emond's Field. I am wondering when Joe Schmoe peasant in Germany or Italy knew. When Rand chased Aviendha to Seanchan, he knew instantly that they had traveled a great distance because the sun was not where he expected it to be. The fact that he instantly equated the sun's position with distance leads me to believe that he understands what we would call time zones, high noon is different in different places and more different with east-west distance. With the large number of miles between villages and cities, and no portable time keeping devices that we have seen yet, it seems like the only way for a commoner to understand the concept of distance=time with regard to the sun's position is if the knowledge survived the breaking. And if that is the case, what else survived? Do they understand gravity? Tidal forces? Plate tectonics? Algebra? Does Calculus need to be reinvented? Clocks don't seem to be new, just rare and expensive. How long have they been around for? Hadrid Fel seems to know a lot of philosophy and physics. Is his level of knowledge equivalent of DaVinci or Newton? I may be the only one who cares about it, but I enjoy the little tidbits that RJ sprinkled around the story related to this.
Roger Powell
130. forkroot
I really wish RJ had Mat and Couladin's battle "on-screen". Considering what an all-around asshole Couladin was, it would have been very pleasing to read the gory details of his demise. I can only hope that he realized that:

1) He wasn't going to get to fight Rand
2) Some random (to him) wetlander was killing him

Yeah, I know that Couladin knew Mat from the whole scene outside Rhuidean, but he had clearly dismissed Mat as someone of no importance.
Roger Powell
131. forkroot
Yep - You build an excellent case for the situation I described which is a world with a lot of knowledge of natural science but with an undeveloped technology base.

Now I admit we're extrapolating from astronomical knowledge. Your questions about gravity, calculus, and the like are well put and hard to answer.

Another intriguing question would be to what extent was this stuff known in the AoL? Would there be less motivation to build an atom smasher if you can "channel the true source" and do (what we could call) magic?

Oh yeah ... As for plate tectonics, they experienced that "up close and personal" in accelerated fashion during the breaking! :-)
Rand Al'Todd
132. JWezy
Regarding whether Mat is really a hero – one thing that is interesting is that there are three heros, “three Ta’veren, when I expected one”, as Moiraine says. Why is that? One reason might be that the author wanted to explore the various ways in which people might respond to an irresistible call to duty.

Rand responds by becoming a classic (and unrealistic) hero – he throws himself in wholeheartedly, squashes every human impulse that might interfere with the quest, and makes himself as hard as stone to help himself resist those impulses.

Mat responds by wishing he could simply get away, or make the quest go away. He can’t, of course, every time he thinks he is running away he really can’t bring himself to really do it. His sense of duty and decency (which he denies having) won’t allow it.

Perrin responds by making a personal commitment. He attempts to every task set before him by himself, and does not accept help from others well (especially avoiding exercises of authority).

It seems clear to me that part of Jordan’s message is that none of these strategies will work by themselves. It will require a blending of the three to actually win through. Which is entirely in keeping with the grand themes of the series, but brought out in a slightly different way.

Exercise for the reader – when I thought of this (some time back), I then attempted to apply it to the other major threesomes – the Supergirls and Rand’s Harem. I don’t think that any of my speculations in this area are as compelling or interesting. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?

PS: This is the third post that I got all the way through editing and then had IE crash on me before I could send it. This time, I retyped the post in another app, then cut-and-pasted it in. Anyone else see this happening?

PPS: OK, fourth, it just happened again before I could type in the magic waving word. GRRRRR…..
Sydo Zandstra
133. Fiddler

I wouldn't call Herid Fel a Da Vinci. Fel is more a philospher only, as in that he's theorizing, while Da Vinci did a lot of practical experiments/inventions too. But I can see a similiratiy with Newton.


Unless the sho-wings and shocklances were One-Power-driven (like the use of wells), there must have been at least a decent knowledge of science back then.
Rand Al'Todd
134. CraigVal
@8 AlreadymadatMat

Your reference to the great general Zhun went over my head. Could you elaborate? I found there were several Chinese generals with the first name of Zhun. I assume you refer to Jin Zhun circa 315 whoose actions eventually ended with no one to worship at the Jin clan shrine (stomped out to the last man). But I still don't see how this relates to the WOT story.
Captain Hammer
135. Randalator
alreadymad @85

That's the dead giveaway right there that the voice is fabricated, because we all know that LTT died sane.

Actually we don't know.

"A pity for you," he mused, "that one of your Sisters is not here. I was never very skilled at Healing, and I follow a different power now. But even one of them could only give you a few lucid minutes, if you did not destroy her first. What I can do will serve as well, for my purposes."
(TEotW, Prologue)

The best would have been "only a few lucid minutes" and Ishy can't even do that. LTT could have slipt back into insanity before he died. Or he could have gone insane in a non-taint way when he learned what he had done. Either way, Ishy's Healing is no proof that Rand's LTT is not real.

And turning yourself into Mount Doom isn't exactely high on my list of "Things to do when you're sane"...
136. Freelancer

Interesting that you would be third by total word count and total posts. Certainly no reason for embarrassment or shame. This is a commentary blog, you have something to say. As well feel shame over winning an argument.


I agreed in general about the denial of the Earth as a globe, but there were many groups of ancient Bible believers who were persecuted and attacked both theologically and physically by the Catholics and "high" Protestants for refusing to accept the flat-Earth non-biblical heresy.

I also agree completely that modern engineers/scientists/physicists would be extremely limited by lack of modern infrastructure and resources. But I feel Compelled to respond to your thought on semiconductor manufacture. Specifically, the laser does not etch the silicon, rather it catalyzes a chemical resist coating that is layered over the silicon. If a negative resist is used, the laser energy weakens the coating, allowing an acid-wash process to create channels in the silicon beneath the weakened lines in the chemical. If a positive resist, the laser energy strengthens the chemical coating, and the acid process eats channels where the resist was not hardened.
World's largest manufacturer of laser light sources for semiconductor photolithography

Can’t pull off .8 words, so here’s 206.
Sydo Zandstra
137. Fiddler

I usually have a WordPad session open while scrolling through a thread. Because most people here are in the US timezones (and I'm in Europe), I often have a lot to scroll through.

I type my posts in that window, and copy them in. This helps me keep track of stuff I'm going to answer to, and gives me a backup. ;)
Hugh Arai
138. HArai
Shimrod@119: If I'm following you, you're basically reversing the more common version of the "coping" theory, in other words, the Rand personality is what formed when the LTT personality couldn't cope with being Kinslayer/reborn. Is that right? If so, what lead you to choose LTT as primary ego? If not, please try to explain again, I'm finding this interesting and I'll like to have your theory straight.
Roger Powell
139. forkroot
re R.Fife
Certainly no reason for embarrassment or shame. This is a commentary blog, you have something to say.

Nah - he should feel shame for the links.

re Semiconductor Lasers
I stand suitably corrected. What's worse is that we have a mutual friend at Cymer (as I mentioned before). I would certainly lose face for inaccurately portraying the role of the laser. Don't rat me out to him ;-)
Captain Hammer
140. Randalator
Fiddler @133

Unless the sho-wings and shocklances were One-Power-driven (like the use of wells), there must have been at least a decent knowledge of science back then.

Mesaana mentions how something called "the standing flows" allowed non-channelers to use ter'angreal. And Moghedien mentions astronomical knowledge while fighting Nynaeve in the Panarch's Palace.

So I always thought that the AoL had had science but a science based on the Power. Where we use an engine to move a car they used the Power, where we use electricity they used the Power, etc.
Hugh Arai
141. HArai
And turning yourself into Mount Doom isn't exactely high on my list of "Things to do when you're sane"...

He's just taking "being in real estate" to a new level.
Sydo Zandstra
142. Fiddler

Mesaana mentions how something called "the standing flows" allowed non-channelers to use ter'angreal. And Moghedien mentions astronomical knowledge while fighting Nynaeve in the Panarch's Palace.

I can picture that. But I guess it should be sort of automated through other *'angreals. Needing channelers to refilll the batteries of all those things available all the time is not something I can see AOL Aes Sedai doing. ;-)
Richard Fife
143. R.Fife
Forkroot@139 Actually, the educational videos I've linked are my most proud moments. ^_^

Science in AoL: While yes there are the standing flows, I'm of the opinion there was non-power based science. I'll use Shocklances as an example and the fact that one of the Forsaken (Grendal I think, when she visits Sammael's apartments in Illian) comments or internal monologues about how Sammael was probably jonsing hard to get his hands on a Shocklance, thus the implication that they would work in the current time sans the Standing Flows.

Of course, I also recall there being some Ter'angreal that don't need a channeler to work at all, nor the standing flows (like the Doorways), so perhaps I'm wrong. I like to think I'm not though ;)
Captain Hammer
144. Randalator
Fiddler @140

Needing channelers to refilll the batteries of all those things available all the time is not something I can see AOL Aes Sedai doing. ;-)

Standing flows, anyone? That sounds like a huge Power-grid (capital 'P') to me. No Aes Sedai gas station attendants needed.
Sydo Zandstra
145. Fiddler
Maybe for the sho-wings. ;)

But I think I'm going with R-Fife on the shocklance example.
Hugh Arai
146. HArai
R.Fife@143: Do we know Shocklances were used by non-channelers? Sammael jonesing for one doesn't eliminate them from being power-based after all. Although it does make me wonder what a shocklance can do that Sammael can't do directly.
Jason Deshaies
147. darxbane

Rand's ability to determine how far Aviendha had Traveled is not all that mind-blowing. Any person who grew up without clocks (of which there was only one in all of Emond's Field) would be very good at judging times based on the position of the sun. It doesn't mean he knows the Earth revolves around the sun, just that the sun moves across the sky on a specific path based on the time of year. Also, the fact that the sun was setting where they were, yet just rising where they ended up doesn't take much knowledge of time zones to realize you are far from your starting point. That, and the ocean was on the wrong side of the land.

There was most likely a great level of scientific understanding during the AOL (Physics, Genetics certainly, Psychology & Physiology, ETC). However, much of it has been lost over time. There is a passage where some Aes Sedai are arguing over math and its importance in understanding the universe. If a greater understanding of the sciences existed, then math would certainly be more prevalent. I have never seen this story as a Medieval or even Renaissance society. I see it as a post-Apocalyptic society where most knowledge was destroyed. From what has been described, the Breaking of the World made a nuclear holocaust look like a bad thunderstorm. Most people were too busy trying not to die to care about preserving technology, and I bet many others shunned it deliberately because it was either a reminder of what was lost, or worse, a reminder of all the horrible things that were done with it (Shadowspawn, weapons, drilling the Bore in the first place).

Randalator @135,
I guess he just did everything big. I mean, if you are going to kill yourself, might as well make a statement right? ;)
Rand Al'Todd
148. Lost in my own Mind

I completely agree about Mat's battle with Couladin, I wish it had been on screen as well. I wonder why RJ wrote it the way he did? My guess is that the fight with Ravhin is the climax of the story and if the fight with Couladin had happened on screen, especially of Rand was doing the fighting, it would have felt like there was two climaxes. That is only a guess, thoughts anyone else?
Sydo Zandstra
149. Fiddler

R.Fife@143: Do we know Shocklances were used by non-channelers? Sammael jonesing for one doesn't eliminate them from being power-based after all. Although it does make me wonder what a shocklance can do that Sammael can't do directly.

I am not sure, since tSR has been a while ago already. ;-) Wasn't the soldier that Rand saw in one of his POV's in the glass colums in Rhuidean having one?
Jason Lyman
150. jlyman
@146 HArai

We do have this description from The Shadow Rising. (Nearly the last paragraph on the page)

From that it would seem that the lances are pretty standard issue for the soldiers at the time. But you bring up a good point, if Sammael could just shock someone with the Power then why would he need a shocklance?

EDIT: Fiddler beat me to it!
Jason Deshaies
151. darxbane
That sounds good to me. I like the surprise of finding out after the fact. For all of Rand's searching out Couladin, Old Couley gets done in by the one man trying his damndest to get away from the battle. Irony rules!
Jason Deshaies
152. darxbane
@146 & 150,
I never thought about that before. I'll throw out a guess and say that Sammael wanted to tip the balance in his favor by outfitting his soldiers with them. It could be that, while he is unable to make them from scratch, he could make copies on them if he had one as a template.
Rand Al'Todd
153. alreadymadwithshocklances
jlyman @150
I was of the understanding that Sammael wanted the shocklances for his own soldiers, not for himself. And yes, IIRC, they were standard equipment for soldiers during the War of Power.
Jason Lyman
154. jlyman
That totally makes sense to me. It's been some time since I have read that particular part. I'm only in TSR right now, trying vainly to catch up. Don't think I'll ever do it either. Stupid work! ...and family! ...and school! ...and life! Sigh...
Vincent Lane
155. Aegnor

"I agreed in general about the denial of the Earth as a globe, but there were many groups of ancient Bible believers who were persecuted and attacked both theologically and physically by the Catholics and "high" Protestants for refusing to accept the flat-Earth non-biblical heresy."

Do you have evidence of this? There was certainly persecution of those that believed the earth orbited the sun, but I haven't heard of that happening to those who didn't believe in the flat earth.

Really, belief in a flat earth in Columbus' time is greatly exagerated.
Rand Al'Todd
156. twicemarked
I think the term "natural philosophy" in used in WOT. So for all the science they can not prove due to lack of technology base, they just term it philosophy and accept it without proof. I think the ancients speculated about atoms for a long time without any proof.
Captain Hammer
157. Randalator
alreadymad @153

Yes, he wants to outfit his soldiers on the Illian border with shocklances ("He's marshaling his armies in Illian, moaning over not having shocklances to arm them."). So they are working for non-channelers and without standing flows.

Although it could be just a general complaint as in "This crappy age sucks. All sticks and stones. I want my shocklances back." without implying that shocklances would still work in Third Age Randland...
Rand Al'Todd
158. Latecomer
Yay! I get to catch up on a whole lot of posts, great way to get over the Wednesday Blues.

Lots of great thoughts in todays posts/ comments.

Thanks to whoever instituted Leigh's Nynaeve moment of the week - hilarious. It would be a fun exercise someday to go through each post and pick her 'Nynaeve thought'. Someday when I CAN actually read a post on the day its made and have the time to breathe occasionally.

Working backwards..

Harai - Bwahahahahaaaa!

126 and 129, Forkroot and jcmnyu

Interesting points about so much randomly developed technology in different stages. Probably a combination of:

1. Knowledge and ideas left over from the age of legends.

2.Incomplete ideas/ fragements of information left over that people use in different ways to the orginal usage.

3. No large powerful organisation that prevents people from radical thought/ discovery/ invention in the name of Heresy and Blasphemy etc. A good real life example would be the Church which for a long time - 15 centuries - ruthlessly stopped all 'differences' as anything new outside their control could end up being a threat to their own power.

I believe a large part of the long Middle Ages we had was due to this active stamping out of thought. Once the political influence and power of the church waned, or its attention was focussed elsewhere, the discoveries and inventions started popping up more regularly.

4. We also have the opposite of the above factor - some rulers do appear to encourage invention, thought, philosophy etc.

5. Learning/ education: Its obvious that the 3 farmboys, even though they are brought up in a remote village can read, and read well. Mat's POV re. the travels of Jain farstrider shows that he CAN read, its just not his thing, which is fair enough. But I can't remember meeting anyone so far who cannot read. Which means there must be either a culture of widespread learning, or some means in every town and village of education either independent or not based on this. When you think about the implications of this:

Education (OK, not always but..) gives you some information and is a window into a new vista - allows to think more about a certain thing, investigate it further, opens your mind to new ideas. Reading other peoples thoughts gives your mind a POV it might never have gained on its own.

That people have time to teach kids to read and (possibly?) write implies some measure of stability, prosperity and comfort. After all, if even one generation is too poor and too busy just eking out a basic living, you'll lose literacy skills in almost the entire generation which means they can't pass it on to the next.. etc etc. So there must have been a long term stability and prosperity as well.

Lots more thoughts but gotta go for now. Catch ya!
Vincent Lane
159. Aegnor

Actually the church was responsible for preserving much knowledge through the Dark Ages. There certainly was some repression of ideas viewed as heretical by the church, you are greatly overexagerating its impact on hampering technological advancement.
160. Freelancer
Lost in my own Mind@148

Here's a thought. Couladin was not a nice guy, he was deluded of himself, egged on by Sevanna, and enabled by Asmodean, none of which adds up to anything pleasant. However, he isn't presumed to be a darkfriend, just a powerful idiot. Most (not all) on-screen deaths are reserved for dark friends so we can cheer, or good guys so we can gasp. Couladin falls in a middle ground (Elaida shares this real estate), where it doesn't hurt the good guys for them to die, but it's not really a "yeehah" moment. Just a thought, no less a guess than yours.

RE: LTT, egos, personalities, souls, etc.

LTT is a real, separate personality, belonging to a past life, which has come into a shared awareness with the personality of the current life, both of a single soul. It isn't necessary for either to be a coping mechanism, both are actually there. The LTT "being" is real as proved by the memories, skills, and thought processes which are alien to the Rand "being". The Rand "being" is real for having been born, and being the only personality active to the soul prior to channeling being manifested, plus whatever event triggered the breakthrough of the LTT "being" into the shared awareness.

For the Rand "being" to be a coping mechanism would require an impetus, and prior to the first suggestion that he is the Dragon Reborn, there is none. To say that the LTT "being" is merely a coping mechanism, the product of creeping insanity, but that it's arrival also opened a pathway to all of the old life's memories, skills, and thoughts, is as good as saying that LTT is real, for there is no way to define the difference.


I must have missed your reference to an acquaintance at Cymer. Is he a Good friend? Fear not, I used what you wrote more for the opportunity to match my prior word count per post, not to be corrective. It isn’t like photolithography is a process that very many people need to have portrayed with technical accuracy. Besides, not knowing who your acquaintance is, nor who you are, I could hardly throw you under that bus.
Roger Powell
161. forkroot
I was just kidding around, but the friend at Cymer is real and works in IT network support - it was mentioned quite a few threads ago, back when you first hinted where you worked. I just was amused that we had one degree of separation in the real world. :-)

Back to Randland now: In my personal opinion, it is a "yeehah" moment when Couladin bites the dust, but that's because I *hated* that particular character.

As for Elaida - I don't really wish her dead. I'd actually prefer it if she has to live with the realization of what a giant screw-up she has been.

Finally, I think you nailed the LTT/Rand question:
To say that the LTT "being" is merely a coping mechanism, the product of creeping insanity, but that it's arrival also opened a pathway to all of the old life's memories, skills, and thoughts, is as good as saying that LTT is real, for there is no way to define the difference.
Perfect! A psychological equivalency test analogous to the Turing test.
Hugh Arai
162. HArai
To say that the LTT "being" is merely a coping mechanism, the product of creeping insanity, but that it's arrival also opened a pathway to all of the old life's memories, skills, and thoughts, is as good as saying that LTT is real, for there is no way to define the difference.

Given the RJ answer Aegnor@116 quoted above, only one personality is supposed to be there under normal circumstances. The normal coping mechanism theory as I see it is an attempt to explain why the LTT personality is there: it formed because the soul retained the old memories and skills this time around and the Rand personality needed to cope. The alternative is that the entire LTT personality was retained intact. Practical difference? Close to zero. In both cases you have unusual retention by the soul this time around, which presumably is why Dragon Reborn gets CAPITAL LETTERS. Worth speculation? As long as it amuses someone to do so, why not? :)
Vincent Lane
163. Aegnor
I wonder why Birgitte didn't go nuts with all the different personalities shes got brewing around in her brain when she gets sucked out of Tel'aran'rhiod.
Michael Ikeda
164. mikeda

Most Christian scholars (and mainstream Christian opinion) viewed the earth's sphericity as an established fact by medieval times (and even before).

(Note that this was a factual argument, not a theological one. Arguing for a flat earth did not brand you as a heretic, just as ignorant.)

There WERE a few marginal figures who argued for a flat earth based on a literal reading of the Bible.

(It is not in any way accurate to describe flat-Earthism as a "non-bible heresy". Instead, like modern-day Creationism, it is a result of an insistence on a particular way of reading the Bible even when this means ignoring reality.)
Hugh Arai
165. HArai
Aegnor@163: Well it appears to be standard for the Heroes of the Horn to remember multiple lives while they are hanging out in Tel'aran'rhiod between reincarnations, so I suppose she was just used to it. And it appears they are rapidly fading so that would seem to strengthen the one soul, one personality norm.
Rand Al'Todd
166. CalaLily
@158 & 159

:) Actually, monastaries and convents were the sole sources of knowledge and the preservation of the classical works through which the Renaissance came about. Books had to be painstakingly copied by hand, on sheepskin no less, and only the clergy and nobly-born had enough money/influence/time to access these sources, let alone actually read them. I wouldn't lay the blame soley at the feet of the Church, but also on the political climate and forms of government during those times. Rulers, whether religious or strictly secular, didn't really want a learned citizenry and probably didn't think they needed/deserved it. And the peasantry had better things to do, like, you know, feed their families. It wasn't until the printing press was invented that books became more abundant, cheaper, and as a result the literacy levels rose throughout Europe.

As for the heliocentric theory and the round-earth theory, I can't remember exactly which book it was, but I believe in one of Solomon's it says plain as day that the earth is round, the winds follow certain patterns, and the earth is NOT the center of the solar system/universe. :) If you'd like I can find the exact passages.
Michael Ikeda
167. mikeda
Re: my comment@164

It should also be noted that modern-day "literalists" (like their flat-earther forebears) only insist on literalism when THEY want to. When it comes to things they find inconvenient (such as biblical flat-earthism) they're perfectly content to interpret or simply ignore.
Vincent Lane
168. Aegnor

That is the way I remember it from any histories I've read. I never heard of any persecution by the church against those who didn't believe in a flat earth, as the church itself didn't believe in a flat earth.


Yeah, much of the knowledge learned would have been lost after the collapse of the Roman Empire and descent into the Dark Ages, if not for the Church. Very few people had any time to do anything outside of pure survival.

Its a good point that the invention of he printing press played a major part in that explosion of invention. As well as the collapse of the Byzantine empire, which sent Byzantine scholars spreading across western europe with much knowledge that had been lost. As well as exploration, which drove advancing knowledge and invention.
Alice Arneson
169. Wetlandernw
Regarding education in WoT, RJ made this comment: in this world is a very sometime thing. In the Two Rivers, where literacy is valued, parents teach children, and if, say, old Jondyn is known to be knowledgeable about history, parents send their children to him... Parents teaching children is the general model followed. Sometimes a village might hire a sort of schoolmaster, but this is usually thought to be a waste of money since the parents between them have enough knowledge to teach most subjects to the extent necessary.
So there you have what's been stated, in case you care. IIRC, Rand's "academies" were a pretty innovative idea, although he had scrounged it out of some of the old books he'd read in Tear. In this day and age, there were a few great libraries, but nothing resembling a school is mentioned.

P.S. CalaLily, have you ever read the book "How the Irish Saved Civilization"? It's a good read.
Rand Al'Todd
170. CalaLily
On another note: EEEE just ordered my copy of The Gathering Storm! -happy dance-

Has it really been four years since KoD came out?!
Roger Powell
171. forkroot

What?? You're ordering the first printing? You don't want to wait for a catchup printing where Thom uses his "second-best knives"?? ;-0
Kurt Lorey
172. Shimrod
@138 HArai.

I was just looking at the one soul/two personalities RJ fact from a different perspective. Trying to make sense of the idea using another viewpoint.

In WoT, souls are unique. Personality seems to be patterned (see Hawkwing's jesting at Falme), but not unique.

So, the concept of the DRAGON being reborn would infer the soul has returned to the Wheel, but in a separate incarnation.

This seems to be fine until Rand starts using the One Power. Not too long after, LTT appears to stir in his mind.

So, why has this incarnation reappeared seemingly irregularly? Is this some simple plot device to get Rand up to speed? Is this supposed to infer something about the workings of the Wheel? Is it just to remind us of the pain that the LTT incarnation took to the grave? Torment? Unfinished business? Nothing in particular?

At this point, I couldn't say. Still, it is an interesting accumulation of data to ponder upon.

And then, there are the three types of memory, IIRC.
Egwene's "blood" memory, which gives her snippets and glimpses of other memories (like almost understanding Mat shouting in the Old Tongue).
Mat's memories as provided by the Eelfinn(?), rummaged from previous adventurers to Finnland.
And, Rand's sharing of the soul with LTT.

Just interesting at this stage, that's all.

For anything else, after I post it, if it don't have legs, then it don't walk, I guess.
Ryan Thistlethwaite
173. shintemaster
142. Fiddler
I can picture that. But I guess it should be sort of automated through other *'angreals. Needing channelers to refilll the batteries of all those things available all the time is not something I can see AOL Aes Sedai doing. ;-)

Maybe, maybe not. They were called the 'Servants of All'. I take that to mean that they were often self-sacrificial in their work - although not necessarily subservient by any means.

FWIW I tend to think that the AOL was comprised of a combination of the One Power and science. The analogy proposed earlier about a semiconductor tech works for me. I KNOW about thousands of things that wouldn't have been dreamed of 50 years ago, particle colliders, atomic power, television, wireless networks etc. That doesn't mean I can even begin to make a horseshoe without help!

163. Aegnor
I wonder why Birgitte didn't go nuts with all the different personalities shes got brewing around in her brain when she gets sucked out of Tel'aran'rhiod.

As suggested the Heroes are kind of special cases. She is also not being affected by the Dark One's taint not to mention all the other shenanigans going on. I think we tend to forget just how much stress Rand has been through and is continuing to experience - physical and mental.
James Jones
174. jamesedjones
171 forkroot

That's cold. Funny as Hell, but Snow %#@&ing White cold.
Pete Pratt
175. PeteP
Who has a harder mental problem -- Rand with LTT or Mat with his holes and stuffing? I would almost think Mat has a more difficult situation, except for the taint. At least I do not think any of Mat's memories come from insane people.
Rand Al'Todd
176. jafco
@147. darxbane

"...I have never seen this story as a Medieval or even Renaissance society. I see it as a post-Apocalyptic society where most knowledge was destroyed. From what has been described, the Breaking of the World made a nuclear holocaust look like a bad thunderstorm...."

I think you're splitting hairs. The fall of the Roman Empire too was a cataclysmic event, especially in the West. The lights went out all over, and had it not been for Irish monks, among others, a vast amount of knowledge and arts would have been lost for all time. Then followed a long slow rebuilding period in which many were serfs (Medieval) and finally a quickening (Renaissance) brought about by a growing "free" populace exercising a free enterprise market system (read Adam Smith's tWoN). In our terms, Randland seems to span late Medieval (Seanchan) to Renaissance (Andor) to the beginning of Enlightenment (wherever Rand has sway).

The Breaking was cataclysmic too - even tectonic apparently (lands sank, mountains rose, etc.) - but it didn't involve radioactive fallout. Places weren't poisoned for long periods. Nuclear holocaust is probably a worse way to go.
Hugh Arai
177. HArai
PeteP@175: Nothing more than my personal opinion but Mat seems to be "pre-integrated" by what was done to him. To me it reads as if for Mat they're all "his" memories and it's only when he concentrates that he separates them from "Mat". I think that would be disconcerting but much easier to handle than Rand's "someone else is in my head".
178. Freelancer
There WERE a few marginal figures who argued for a flat earth based on a literal reading of the Bible.
No flat-earther ever used a literal reading of Scripture as support. If I may:
It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
Isaiah 40:22

7He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

8He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.

9He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.

10He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.
Job 26:7-10

The word "compassed" in verse 10 means "encircled".
When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
Proverbs 8:27

When at sea beyond view of land, the horizon forms a circle. The early Greeks knew this as an evidence for a spherical, rather than a planar surface. The writers of these verses knew it well before then.

The only verse in the Bible which comes remotely near representing a flat earth is Revelation 7:1 which refers to the "four corners", a term commonly understood to mean the four cardinal compass points.
To know what the Bible says, but to intentionally discredit or deny it, is in fact heresy when it comes from someone claiming to represent the same faith. So any "church" representative declaring for a flat earth would have been heretical.


You're welcome to call me a literalist, but I don't play, nor condone, the "smorgasbord" game, where people pick what they like from a faith and ignore the rest.


Nice quote! Here's to the excellence of homeschooling.
Hugh Arai
179. HArai
Shimrod@172: There is this from Thom too: "That is dangerous talk, stupid talk. The dead can be reborn, or take a living body, and it is not something to speak of lightly." Implying Rand/LTT is not the only one?
Joseph Blaidd
180. SteelBlaidd
@172. Shimrod

@138 HArai.

I was just looking at the one soul/two personalities RJ fact from a different perspective. Trying to make sense of the idea using another viewpoint.

In WoT, souls are unique. Personality seems to be patterned (see Hawkwing's jesting at Falme), but not unique.

My running theory, which I have proposed previously, is that Heroes of the Horn are selected by the Wheel because of the predictability of their behavior. Each incarnation reinforces desired personality traits so that over the turnings of the Wheel they become more and more themselves. So Bridget(and the other heroes) is not really integrating different personalities.

So, the concept of the DRAGON being reborn would infer the soul has returned to the Wheel, but in a separate incarnation.

This seems to be fine until Rand starts using the One Power. Not too long after, LTT appears to stir in his mind.

So, why has this incarnation reappeared seemingly irregularly? Is this some simple plot device to get Rand up to speed? Is this supposed to infer something about the workings of the Wheel? Is it just to remind us of the pain that the LTT incarnation took to the grave? Torment? Unfinished business? Nothing in particular

My guess on Rand is that Part of the Break down in the barrier between memories is caused by the fact that Rand knows that he is LTT reborn so any unexpected information that leaks across has a hook to hang it on and so Rand realizes that he can remember things from his Previous incarnation instead of dismissing it as a dream or flash of intuition or "something he read once". Therefore he's more likely to continue to remember more things.
William Fettes
181. Wolfmage

"I wonder why Birgitte didn't go nuts with all the different personalities shes got brewing around in her brain when she gets sucked out of Tel'aran'rhiod."

Good question. I'd suggest that Birgitte's and Mat's apparent ease in assimilating their respective memories casts serious doubt on the idea that the mere drifting of LTT's memories across the barrier into Rand's consciousness would provide a sufficiently plausible mechanism for inducing this kind of psychosis.

It's interesting because the two control cases are quite different from each other, and they both point away from psychosis as a coping mechanism. In Mat's case, he is an unwilling participant, who inherits foreign memories that would be highly disturbing and disorientating due to their alien, exogenous nature. The number of horrific deaths counted amongst those memories goes a long way by itself to show how stress, trauma, fear and discordance alone would be insufficient causes. For Birgitte, as a hero of the horn, she starts off in TAR as an 'unnatural' composite personality, which is a unification of all her past lives held together through the magic of TAR and the Horn. But then she is cast out with those memories intact, and she naturally begins to develop a replacement barrier between her lives as a coping mechanism or a physiological adjustment. She is still largely the same composite personality of her past lives, but it appears the pattern is putting limits on this so she cannot retain all those memories.

In neither case is any kind of propensity toward psychosis or some kind of dissociative state even hinted at.

Of course, you can still force the fake LTT theory by appealing to the automagical deus ex machina power of the taint, Rand's stress and identity crisis, or by focusing too much on Cadsuane's comments, but it's really very thin on the ground when you get down to it. The structure of the dialogue between Rand and LTT, his responsiveness, permanence and independence as a voice, and the way he tries to take control, all are clearly signs pointing to the LTT voice being a real manifestation of LTT.

Whether we technically classify this as a construction of LTT, or something more metaphysical, is kind of a moot debate. Either way he is a sufficiently authentic personality, with genuine independence, that effectively he is indistinguishable from a real LTT.
Joseph Blaidd
182. SteelBlaidd
@181 wolfmage

In Mat's case I would suspect that the fact that he got memories from so many different people, in relatively small doses, and generally of battles or dances, means that he didn't have any complete personalities in need of integration.

I point you to the best essay on the integration of the Rand and LTT personalities
Rand Al'Todd
184. alreadymadwithmadtheories
It's a good essay, but it needs updating with respect to events post ACOS.
Rand Al'Todd
185. roddem
A tremendous effort Leigh...I am trimming the html down to just the story and putting each part to PDF form as I go away for a month and will only have a laptop. No internet so I will have time to read them all fully.
craig thrift
186. gagecreedlives

I wonder if Thom was thinking of Owyn when he said that. I don’t think it is ever said what sort of madness if any Owyn had but if he was suffering a former personality/soul/life seeping through could explain Thoms comments.


IIRC Demandred has a PoV scene when he is at Shayol Ghul and thinks how technology from the AoL cannot be made anymore outside of Shayol Ghul. So I have my doubts that even if Sammael found a bunch of shocklances they would work.
Rand Al'Todd
187. birgit
There is this from Thom too: "That is dangerous talk, stupid talk. The dead can be reborn, or take a living body, and it is not something to speak of lightly."

Does Thom know about the DO recycling Forsaken?
Kurt Lorey
188. Shimrod
@176 jafco.

The "Fall of the Roman Empire" is a misnomer. Historians have argued more about that concept than anything we do around here. Suffice it to say that the changes encountered during the late fourth and fifth centuries C.E. did not cause the lights to go out for a thousand years in western Europe. If you'd like details, there is plenty of material out on the Web.

In a similar manner, the "Dark Ages" is a myth. Petrarch and Gibbon were over-generalizing about something they had little hard data about.
Maiane Bakroeva
189. Isilel
I also think that LTT's personality is real and not a coping mechanism. How that happened I am not sure - maybe the whole "reborn according to the prophecy" thing is to blame, maybe the taint, maybe the fact that LTT died in the state of high emotion and his personality was somehow gelled and preserved by his agony.

Comparison with Brigitte is not entirely valid, as TAR Brigitte is a distillation of traits that all her personalities share, so there wouldn't be a conflict with any of them.
LTT seemed to be quite different from Rand though and not the "quintessential Dragon".

Re: ter'angreal that have no flows incorporated and require no OP to operate - I am inclined to think that they are just technological gadgets, which possibly weren't even created with the OP. Sufficiently developed technology being indistinguishable from magic and all that.

Concerning shocklances, one big advantage that using one would give Sammael is no channelers seeing his attack coming, whereas if he used saidin, male channelers and women with specific ter'angreal would be forewarned.

As to literacy - while Duopatamians seem to be largely literate, not everybody is. Siuan wasn't for instance.I am also surprised that per RJ teaching kids in winter wasn't the Wisdom's responsibility.
And IIRC Romans were for instance relatively quite literate despite the absence of printing presses, as were Jews.
I would say that relative simplicity of the written language and cheapness of writing materials (wax tablets and later papyrus versus pergament) also play a rather big role in general literacy of a society.

Re: Mat's behaviour in this battle, I'll wait for the recap and maybe skim the chapter before I argue further.I seem to remember that he only started helping the soldiers after he saw that the Pattern wouldn't let him leave anyway.

Yes, he'd save a child from a burning building, but wouldn't all the first and second tier good characters do the same? He does have his moments, like when he went to the Stone, but shouldn't a hero be there for the long haul as well?

And willingly so, not because they are forced by the iron hand of Fate? Say what you want about the SGs, but despite all their flaws they are ready from the beginning to use their abilities in the struggle to save the world - however long it takes, whatever it takes. Ditto and to even greater extent Moraine, Siuan, Lan, etc.

The other boys are reluctant heroes, but they come around once they know and believe what is at stake.

Only Mat needs to be forced again and again and again before he finally consents to do his bit. If he had free will, he'd have been out of the story after TDR and drinking and wenching himself to an early grave, whilst cheating people out of their money.
And yes, I find his gambling when he knows full well that he can't lose, while the poor saps he takes in do not, to be cheating and far more morally problematic than his womanizing.

As to realistic people being selfish - yes, but still during WW2, say, a lot of people volunteered to go fight because they saw that it was necessary, even if one person could contribute only a bit. So, iRL there were tons of people less selfish.
Nor is it correct to say that Mat could do nothing without an army to command - he could have fought, like all the other people did. He knows what is at stake, after all.

Nor is it plausible to claim that Cahirienin wouldn't have followed him if Rand put him in command. He was the companion of the Dragon Reborn, the one who was with him at Falme and in the Stone and he was already regarded by people as a lord. Of course they would have followed him, and much more gladly than they did the Tairens who humiliated them at every turn without having a fraction of Mat's credentials.

They were so beaten down in fact that they'd follow anybody and abase themselves before anybody who would help them in their desperate straits - as previous chapters demonstrated.
Rand Al'Todd
190. JWezy
Forkroot@130, Lost in my own Mind@148: Regarding why Mat's battle with Couladin was off-screen, I think that at this point in the narrative, it is very important that Mat perceives the "heroic" things he does as an outsider, almost as if he can't believe they are happening. As such, the only way to tell the story is in recollection. In fact, the confused, disjoint telling, the fact that his POV doesn't even provide the most important details, underscores his feeling that this is being done to him, rather than he is doing it.

The motif of the rolling dice serves the same purpose, I believe. It isn't until much later that we come to realize how much Mat brings to the mix, in addition to all that is being done to him, that he really comes into his own. He begins to perceive that riding the wave, directing it gently, rather than swimming against it, is the key to not only survival but to success. Sounds a lot like surrendering to Saidar, I think.
Michael Ikeda
191. mikeda

A circle is drawn on a FLAT surface. A tent is pitched on a FLAT surface. A compass draws a circle on a FLAT surface. All of the verses you quote support the Earth being flat.

As do all of the other Biblical verses that refer directly or indirectly to the shape of the Earth.

(The circularity of the horizon, of course, is not evidence for the Earth being spherical. The horizon will look circular whether the Earth is spherical or flat. There ARE properties related to the horizon that are evidence of a spherical Earth, just not it's circularity.)

And again, flat-earthism would NEVER have been heresy, as the support for sphericity was not based on theological grounds.

(Flat-earthers (Cosmas Indicopleustes being one example), however, did often argue based on theological grounds (see S.J. Gould's "Rock of Ages" for a good summary).)

And pretty much every follower of every religion is a "smorgasbord" believer. Including (and often especially) those who call themselves "literalists".
Asger Grunnet
192. asgerix
It seems someone is trying to improve on their word count ranking! ;-)
James Jones
193. jamesedjones
189 Isilel

"And yes, I find his gambling when he knows full well that he can't lose, while the poor saps he takes in do not, to be cheating and far more morally problematic than his womanizing."

This is exactly what casinos and bookies do, but no one has a problem with them (at least not enough of a problem to shut them down). Mat doesn't always win; the odds are just strongly stacked in his favor, just as it is with the House.
John Mann
194. jcmnyu
@158 Latecomer

Agreed about the general level of education. And I would go a step further and say (as I am sure others have said before) that the reason technology has not progressed since the breaking is the severe lack of population. There are huge areas of livable land which are simply empty. The population has been decreasing for 3000 years with long periods of war which only increased the speed of decline.
Rand Al'Todd
195. RobMRobM
@194. that's precisely why Rand will work out an accord with the Seanchan to fight together at TG. Randland needs the Seanchan as settlers. Rob
Richard Fife
196. R.Fife
*pokes head out of cuendillar bunker*
Guess the lack of welfare in Randland has made the only good reason for having lots of kids a no-go.

*ducks back in*
John Mann
197. jcmnyu
@179 HArai

I always took Thom's comment about the dead taking over the living as a foreshadowing of Aginor and Balthamel (and maybe Lanfear) being returned to life in the bodies that were available. The souls who previously inhabited those bodies were either removed or repressed by the Lord of the Grave. Clearly something that would be tragic and not to be joked about from Thom's perspective.
Rand Al'Todd
198. normalphil
@196, serious take:

More like some ingenious type during the age of legends genetically engineered a plant that's basically The Pill in tea form when brewed, which was all well and good at the time but meant their pre-industrial post apocalyptic inheritors just never got any overwhelming "oomph" to their population pressure.

For three-thousand years.

With two century-to-centuries long destructive upheavals.
Pete Pratt
199. PeteP
@189 Isilel
So you blame Mat for everything and give him no credit for what he does right?!?!?

Mat really uses his luck to manipulate dice to his advantage -- it just happens. Matt does actively use his luck in tDR while gambling with the assassin before killing him and the Hell with Tuon so that he has a losing roll. The rest of the time he is just lucky. I guess you have never gone to Vegas and had an unbelieveable string of luck --- winning at everything you play. It is very real thing -- and the casinos work really hard to stop it. When someone is too lucky at a table, they will change the dealer quicker than normal in a hope of disrupting people's luck.

Mat does have free will and he does you it -- he just has limited options. In this chapter, Mat could have said he was staying and asked how he could help. It would have been out of character, but he could have done it. The Pattern gave him the option. Rand would have probably kept him in the command tent to help make command decisions.

As to Mat joining the fight, he decided to help the men blundering into an Aiel force. The Pattern did not force him into it - he was just doing his running to rescue someone thing. After the first battle, the men respected him. By the 3rd battle with his battle trophy, the men would follow him anywhere.

Mat wants to avoid death--he has too much fun living. So, is that a bad thing? But he always does his duty and always keeps his promises. Egwene sure does not keep her promises. Perrin ignores fate and just does what he thinks is in his selfish interest and to hell with duty.
Blake Engholm
200. UncrownedKing

Holy Bella! I'm fourteenth and I haven't posted since the start of TFoH? hhaha awesome!

Mat Debat:
Mat's unselfishness is what makes him one of my favorites. With out this trait he would be a sleeze bag most of the time. This, combined with his trickster of a mind, make him a great military mind. Even without his memories, he still puts his soldier's lives first (unselfishness) instead of absolute domination. Of course the memories allow him to be a brilliant Cornwallace/Alexander/Napoleon like commander, but even without them he would do very well in a military setting.
Blake Engholm
201. UncrownedKing
@state of randland posts:

I'll add that the lack of education is due to lack of communication between countries. In fact I'd say that some country's xenophobic tendencies is one of the largest factors to the small population and lack of education in some cases.
Alice Arneson
202. Wetlandernw
UncrownedKing @201

And yet the Two Rivers, where they are so isolated that Taren Ferry is "foreign territory," has a pretty high level of education. It's a cultural value on literacy, etc. that determines the level of education more than interaction with the outside world.

(Of course, I'm talking about basic education, not esoteric forays into theoretical mathematics or some such.)
Pete Pratt
203. PeteP
@202 Some people in Two Rivers value literacy. While Mat can read, I do not think he has ever read too many books......
Vincent Lane
204. Aegnor

A circle is drawn on a FLAT surface. A tent is pitched on a FLAT surface. A compass draws a circle on a FLAT surface. All of the verses you quote support the Earth being flat.

A compass draws a circle on a flat surface? That is your argument? Hehe. The word compass in that sentance had little to do with that tool that is used to make circles. The tent is talked about as enclosing the earth. In other words the heavens enclose the earth as a tent encloses the things within it.

But people can and do misread the bible and come up with all sorts of wierd interpretations from it. As you've so aptly demonstrated. Haha, thanks for the mental image of God up there with this incredibly huge compass drawing cirles. :P
Rand Al'Todd
205. That Guy
Odd thought that I had on the whole LTT voice thing.

Since it was mentioned by Cadsuane I believe that many male channelers said things about hearing a voice speaking to them, I have had a quirky idea that the taint actually does bring a voice into the head of some of the males.

The idea is that the initial blast of the taint caused all the Hundred Companions to go instantly insane, it basically left an imprint of their minds/souls or what-not in the taint.

Occasionally these imprints make there way via the taint to a male channeler, hence the voices.

Don't know if that is what really happens, but I think it would be interesting.
Alice Arneson
206. Wetlandernw
Aegnor @204
Haha, thanks for the mental image of God up there with this incredibly huge compass drawing cirles. :P

LOL! Thanks - I needed a good laugh this morning, even if my kids do think I'm nuts.
Jason Deshaies
207. darxbane
Splitting Hairs? Not really, and the Roman empire collapsing is certainly no comparison to the Breaking. The entire world was changed to the point where nothing was the same anymore. It was a global catastrophe, similar to a large impact event or a nuclear holocaust. Besides that, unless I slept through history class, the Romans did not have cars, aircraft, lightbulbs, interplanetary travel, genetically engineered sentient creatures, etc. Since there has never been a recorded instance of our technology regressing, we can't compare the novel to any point in our history. As for the nuclear holocaust comparison, while it is true that there was no "fallout" during the breaking, the use of balefire, and the complete re-mapping of the world obviously caused great and lasting destruction. Imagine what would happen to the earth's climate if mountains were made twice as high as before, or if Antarctica suddenly moved north to the middle of the Atlantic. It could cause another ice age, or flood much of the earth. The effects would last thousands of years longer than nuclear winter would.

Now a quick point about mikedia and Aegnor's flat-earth conversation: I can definitely see room for both interpretations to be equally valid based on the quoted scriptures. Personally, I interpret it more towards the disc theory than the globe theory. I do not know if anyone was branded a heretic for this, but I am certain that Galileo was branded a heretic for his Heliocentric (Earth revolves around the sun) theory, and was actually forced to recant his notes and conclusions. Scientific persecution did exist prior to the Renaissance.
Michael Ikeda
208. mikeda

The "tent" is placed on top of a flat Earth in the verse in question.

The authors of the Bible clearly believed that the Earth was flat, and this is reflected in what the Bible says about the shape of the Earth.

Given when the Bible was written this isn't all that surprising.
John Fitzingo
210. Xandar01
Wow, I am going to have to stop lurking so much and post a bit more. Thanks asgerix. BTW, jlfitz = Xandar01. Been so busy lately, I've had 4 tabs open just to parse the comments. Now to go post something in the current thread...
Ed Dyer
211. HumbleReader
@182 SteelBlaidd

Maggie Hettinger's essay, in fact her whole Watchmaker Press website has moved to a new ISP:
Rand Al'Todd
212. CowboyDenver
Weiramon. "Ugh" Yes, Leigh, your analysis is spot on. What a Weary Man. Let's call him "Dubya" for short.
Rand Al'Todd
213. s'rEDIT
asgerix@69: Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I had been trying (ever since TSR10 through TFOH1) to make myself a spreadsheet to keep track of who was who . . . as in what posters had said about themselves in the various polls and a/s/l surveys. Unfortunately my neo-luddite tendencies coupled with my overall lack of famiarity with Excel resulted in a scrambled mess. I was too daunted to start over, but your list of the "Top 50" gives me a basis for going back and trying to recreate it.
Deana Whitney
214. Braid_Tug
Rand: his current thought is he “hard enough already.” So sad how much harder he gets before it gets better.

I know this is too late to generate a discussion, but I still want to say something.
The population counts are totally off!!!
In RL the world's population did not hit over 1 million people until after the 1850s. So in the Renaissance world, the Entire population of Europe was less than 400K.
There is almost no way a desert could support half a million people, especially if the farthest distance can be traveled on foot in 1 month.
Plus the sheer logistical problems of moving (and feeding) 100K people is mindboggling. Considering this theme keeps re-appearing with totally off the charts numbers of people for the rest of the book, I just accept “It’s the Magic” and move on.
But I still have to object to the thought that the population of Miami, FL (400K) is suddenly camping outside Augusta, GA (200K) and there is enough space to 1) have a battle, 2) find food, 3) not destroy all vegetation in a 6 mile radius. Jordan could have halved the numbers on all sides, and still have a battle of massive scope. Still unbelievable in the grand scheme of RL, but more believable than the current numbers.
Theresa Gray
215. Terez27
Would-be Brown—This subject of the desert comes up every now and then on Theoryland. However, the world population reached one billion in the early 19th Century (estimated around 1804), and the population of England alone was over 1 million in 1086 (not a typo), so I'm not sure where you get your numbers from.
215. Terez27

Agreed. We had this population argument before at some point during this books re-read. I forget which Part though.

214. WouldbeBrownAjah

The population of the Earth at Christs death was estimated to be... lemme see here.... ahh yes

1 A.D. population = 200 million.
10,000 B.C population = 1 million

So you see your estimations of Rand land populations are thrown wayyyy off.

Theresa Gray
217. Terez27
ZEXXES—I hope not with the same person.
Mike Meyer
218. Meyer217
"Never kiss a girl whose brothers have knife scars."
Officially my favorite quote ever. When I started this series I didn't really like Mat but now I am liking how his character develops.
William McDaniel
219. willmcd
This chapter, and those that follow, really highlight RJ's pedigree as a military historian. Clearly, the man knew tactics, and his descriptions of troop movements and maneuvering are exhaustive. For a guy like me, who has a poor spatial imagination and has to see things, this gives me fits. (Not even a map of Cairhien and environs! Sheesh!)

I recall this was a problem when I read the "Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" trilogy by Stephen Donaldson. In a series primarily about existential angst, the middle third of the middle book was entirely about armies moving around, and I just kind of had to throw my hands up and think "I'll take your word that people are moving around". I just can't follow that stuff.

Also, as an engineer (but one has to have a layout in front of him to be worth much, obviously), I've gotta give a shout-out to Idrien Tarsin and the super-crossbow, which makes a cameo here. For me, she's one of the great engineer-heroines in fantasy literature. And there ain't many of 'em.

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