Wed
Jul 8 2009 12:39pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Fires of Heaven, Part 18

What up, yo: Welcome to another Wheel of Time Re-read, my peeps!

Today’s post will be covering Chapters 43-44 of The Fires of Heaven, in which we have a battle.

Previous entries can be found here. This and all other posts contain mad spoilers for all currently published novels in the Wheel of Time series, so if you ain’t read, you be illin. Yo.

Yes, I am aware that my street cred has long since been sent to a collections agency. Y’all hush.

Also, small announcement: I will be taking part this week in an episode of The 4th Age, a Wheel of Time podcast hosted by Dragonmount.com, in which I will be talking about, uh, well, I’m not sure what I’ll be talking about. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that it’ll have something to do with The Wheel of Time. I know, me and my crazy guessing games!

I’ll give you guys the heads-up when the episode is ready and posted, which should be maybe a week or so, in case y’all’re dying to hear me go “um” and “er” a lot.

And I think that takes care of old business, so let’s get to the good stuff, aight?

Chapter 43: This Place, This Day

What Happens
Rand rises before dawn, having hardly slept at all, going over his choices and wondering if there was any way to have avoided things coming to this, but he doesn’t think so. The chiefs meet him for one last briefing, where they seem almost cheerful at the prospect of action; Rand hopes that not too many of their own will die.

“Life is a dream,” Rhuarc told him, and Han and the others nodded agreement. Life was only a dream, and all dreams had to end. Aiel did not run toward death, yet they did not run from it either.

Bael pauses to ask if Rand is sure about what he wants the Maidens to do, and tells him Sulin has been speaking to the Wise Ones; Rand replies that no one else is complaining, and if Sulin has a problem she can take it up with him, not the Wise Ones. Lan appears, to Rand’s surprise, and tells him Moiraine is fretting in her tent about her inability to Heal all those who will be wounded today, and then like her asks why Rand is wearing a physical sword, when he can create one from fire or just kill without.

Unconsciously, Rand ran one hand up the long hilt at his side. “It’s hardly fair to use the Power that way. Especially against someone who can’t channel. I might as well fight a child.”

The Warder stood silent for a time, studying him. “You mean to kill Couladin yourself,” he said at last in flat tones. “That sword against his spears.”

Rand shrugs uncomfortably and says who knows what will happen, but inside he knows that one of them has to die today. Lan replies harshly, then let Couladin be captured and beheaded, or set a task force to find and kill him, but to seek a duel with him is foolish; Rand is “very good” with a blade now, but Couladin was practically born with a spear in his hands. Rand asks, so he should avoid the fighting? Would Lan? Lan answers that he is not the Dragon Reborn, and the fate of the world does not rest on him. Rand reassures him he will not take needless risks, and steps outside the tent to find it is ringed with Maidens, standing shoulder to shoulder, with Egwene and Aviendha standing to one side. Sulin steps forward and announces they are there to escort the Car’a’carn to the tower with Egwene and Aviendha. Rand demands to know who put them up to this; the Maidens are supposed to escort Egwene to the tower and guard her. Sulin says they will protect her, and the Car’a’carn with her. Egwene tells him it makes sense; three using the Power to shorten the battle will work better than two, and Rand is more powerful than she and Aviendha together. Rand scowls and tells Sulin to let him by,

Sulin did not budge. “Far Dareis Mai carries the honor of the Car’a’carn,” she said calmly, and others took it up. No louder, but from so many women’s voices it made a high rumble. “Far Dareis Mai carries the honor of the Car’a’carn. Far Dareis Mai carries the honor of the Car’a’carn.”

Rand again demands to be let through, and the Maidens again start up their chant. Lan leans over and remarks that a woman is no less a woman because she carries a spear, and he’d best give in unless he wants to be here all day arguing. Aviendha stops Egwene from commenting, but Rand knows she had been about to say he was being a foolish woolhead or some such, and he is beginning to feel like she might be right.

But how to back down and retain a scrap of dignity after blustering left, right and center? “I’ve decided I can do the most good from the tower,” he said, his face going hot.

“As the Car’a’carn commands,” Sulin replied without a hint of mockery, just as if it had been his idea from the first. Lan nodded, then slipped away, the Maidens making narrow room for him.

Rand is intensely grateful that none of them make fun of him as they head to the tower, though he doesn’t necessarily trust that it will never get brought up again. He remarks to Aviendha that he is surprised to see her here, since he thought Wise Ones did not participate in battles, and Aviendha replies that she is not a Wise One yet, and if Egwene Sedai can do it, so can she. Egwene trips over nothing and avoids his eyes, and Rand asks Aviendha why Bair or the others didn’t put up a fuss.

Aviendha shook her head, then frowned thoughtfully. “They talked for a long time with Sorilea, then told me to do as I thought I must. Usually they tell me to do as they think I must.” Glancing at him sideways, she added, “I heard Melaine say that you bring change to everything.”

“I do that,” he said, setting his foot on the bottom rung of the first ladder. “The Light help me, that I do.”

They reach the top of the tower, and Egwene and Aviendha confer while Rand debates what he could do to be most effective from here, short of balefire. Goosebumps tell him that one or both of the women are channeling, and suddenly thunderclouds appear from the clear sky to mass over Cairhien, and lightning begins to strike regularly among the terrain where the Shaido are hidden. Then the ground begins to erupt independently of the lightning, and Rand seizes saidin. He has a memory which he knows is Lews Therin’s, but uses anyway, and sets an entire hilltop aflame and melts it to glass.

Ilyena, my love, forgive me!

The Void trembled; for an instant Rand teetered on the brink of destruction. Waves of the One Power crashed through him in a froth of fear; the taint seemed to solidify around his heart, a reeking stone.

Rand grimly reasserts control and concentrates on channeling, ignoring the thoughts in his head.

Standing in a copse of trees, Mat watches as a thousand Aiel sweep toward him from the south. He’s pretty sure they are Rand’s, but he’s not about to take a chance after almost getting feathered with an arrow earlier. He backs Pips down the hill on the opposite side and heads west again. He thinks the day had started so well, until he was cut off from his planned route south by Aiel forces moving very similarly to what he had babbled to Lan, sweeping around and forcing him back toward where the fighting would be. He pauses now on another high hill, waiting for the column of Tairen horse and Cairhienin horse and infantry to pass him so he can cut back south, but then catches sight of movement in the next valley over. He digs out his looking glass and curses as he spies Aiel lying low in ambush for the column, which they could not possibly have seen.

For a moment he drummed fingers on his thigh. Shortly there were going to be some corpses down there. And not many of them Aiel. None of my affair. I am out of this, out of here, and heading south. He would wait a bit, then head off while they were all too busy to notice.

He thinks this Weiramon is a stone fool, to not have scouts out or a foreguard, and then notices that the ambushing Aiel could not be able to see the approaching column either, and must be going from their own scouts’ reports. Before he realizes what he’s doing, he gallops down the hill toward the column, telling himself he would warn them and then get away, that’s all. He rides to the head of the Cairhienin cavalry section of the column, yelling at the leaders to halt in the name of the Lord Dragon, and only pauses long enough to see that they obeyed before continuing up the line, past the infantry to the Tairens at the head of the column. He orders them to halt, but they almost ride him down before one of the lords finally flings up a hand and orders a stop. The leader, a much younger man than Weiramon, demands arrogantly to know the meaning of this, but is stopped by Estean, who knew Mat from the Stone, whispering urgently in his ear. The leader unbends a little and introduces himself stiffly to Mat as Melanril Asegora, and asks how they may serve the Lord Dragon. Estean puts in anxiously that he knows they were asked to hold back, but there’s no honor in letting the Aiel do all the fighting.

Mat shook his head, fanning himself with his hat. The fools were not even where they should be. There was no chance of turning them back, either.

Even if Melanril would listen to him, turning them around now would only invite slaughter. He asks where Weiramon is, and Melanril answers slowly that the Lord Dragon sent him back to Tear to deal with the Illianer pirates, but surely “Lord Mat” must know that. Mat answers that he is no lord, and explains about the Aiel ambush, and all the Tairens except Estean start grinning and boasting about how many Aiel they’ll kill, until Mat snaps at them to stop staring up there before they give everything away. The Tairens don’t understand why he won’t let them be off killing Aiel, and Mat knows that if he lets them go they will all die.

The smart thing would be to let them get on with it while he headed in the opposite direction. The only trouble was that once these idiots let the Aiel know they were discovered, those Aiel might decide to do something fancy, like swinging around to take the strung-out fools in the flank. If that happened, there was no certainty that he would get clear.

He tells them to ride ahead slowly, and once the pikes are through the gap they’ll form a hollow square with the Tairens inside. The Tairens put up a howl of protest about this, and Mat roars at them to do it, or the Lord Dragon will chop them into sausage. He takes off back down the column toward the infantry, glad that they’re at least listening for the moment. The leader of the Cairhienin pike, Daerid, is no lord, but is clearly experienced in battle; he tells Mat he knows what a hedgehog is, and looks neither eager nor anxious about meeting Aiel in battle. They march off at a normal pace, matched for now by the Tairens, and Mat continues down to the Cairhienin cavalry, who are led by a lord named Talmanes of House Delovinde, who is maybe three years older than Mat but has the look of a seasoned campaigner, and looks like “a coiled whip”. He listens quietly while Mat lays out his plan, and then studies him head to foot, noting Mat’s spear. Finally Mat demands to know whether he’s going to do it or not; his friends will be hip deep in Aiel in a moment.

“The Tairens are no friends of mine. And Daerid is... useful. Certainly not a friend.” Dry chuckles ran through the onlooking lords at the suggestion. “But I will lead one half, if you lead the other.”

Talmanes pulled off one steel-backed gauntlet and put out his hand, but for a moment Mat only stared at it. Lead? Him? I’m a gambler, not a soldier. A lover. Memories of battles long gone spun through his head, but he forced them down. All he had to do was ride on. But then maybe Talmanes would leave Estean and Daerid and the rest to roast. On the spit Mat had hung them from. Even so, it was a surprise to him when he grasped the other’s hand and said, “You just be there when you’re supposed to be.”

Talmanes names off half his lords, and they and their retainers join Mat, and Talmanes rides off with his half without another word. Mat tells his half to stay close, shut up, and do what he says, and leads them in the opposite direction, wondering how he had gotten into this. He hopes that Talmanes decides to show up; the man had not even asked who he was. He angles north as thunderclouds gather overhead, and when the sounds of fighting and screaming begin, raises his spear and sweeps it right and left, almost surprised when his cavalry correctly interprets this to form a long line on either side. They ride forward, and Mat curses as they reach the crest and see that the pikes had done what they were told, but only half the Tairens were inside the hedgehog; the rest were laying about the Aiel and getting killed in droves. Mat sees Melanril go down, and then his bannerman.

Good riddance, Mat thought grimly. Standing in his stirrups, he raised the sword-bladed spear high, then swept it forward, shouting, “Los! Los caba’drin!”

The Cairhienin might not understand the Old Tongue, but the gesture was clear enough, and they charge down the hill as Talmanes’s company does the same on the other side.

Banners and con waving, the Cairhienin charged downhill with him, shouting battle cries. In imitation of him, no doubt, though what he was shouting was “Blood and bloody ashes!”

The Shaido never saw him and Talmanes coming, and they crash in on them from both sides; then the lightning begins to fall from the sky, and things get really hairy.

Commentary
Violence, violence! *claps hands*

Okay, but some action, finally, eh? I love it when a plan comes together. It’s even more fun when a plan comes together to the hero’s benefit, despite everything the hero does to prevent it. Again, it’s a total cliché but I remain a sucker for these kinds of stories where the right people and situations and honors just glom onto the protagonist(s) precisely because they aren’t looking for them. And also because, hopefully, they deserve them, which in my book Mat unquestionably does, by virtue of merit if for no other reason.

This, by the way, is what I don’t understand about people who claim post-dagger Mat is still snivelly and cowardly and etc., because this is where Mat and Nynaeve share a very strong similarity. They both talk a lot of shit in their private thoughts, but when it comes to actually doing shit, they get shit done.

Deeds trump thoughts, y’all. You can think whatever the hell you want; it’s what you do that counts, and that’s why at the end of the day Mat is awesome. So Sayeth I!

One of the things I really like about Jordan’s battle scenes is that you can always tell what’s going on. He puts enough technical detail in to sound realistic, but he never sacrifices descriptive clarity for jargon. I’m reading David Weber’s Honor Harrington series on the side when I have a moment right now, and while I really like the story and the characters (Honor is a total Mary Sue, but a cool one), the battle scenes make my eyes glaze over every time. I recognize that by design starship battles require a leetle more in the way of technobabble than your average cavalry charge, but jeez. If I have to pull out a calculator to figure out who’s winning an engagement, forgive me, but Enh.

Anyway. I don’t think I had ever heard of a “hedgehog defense” before reading TFOH, but again, it has the immediate flavor of authenticity, and I don’t even have to look it up to know that it is a genuine battle tactic, because it just makes perfect sense even to a layperson like myself. Good times.

We get introduced, if briefly, to Talmanes here, who’s always been one of my favorite minor WOT characters. It’s always so nice to come across people who just do their thing and don’t throw ten thousand roadblocks in everyone’s way to do it. You don’t have to worry about them, which is why they are such fabulous seconds-in-command.

Speaking of Lan, I love his exchange with Rand in this chapter, which basically boils down to “Aren’t we a little old for slapfights, son?” Exactly right. While I sympathize with him, Rand’s being especially bullheaded here, and Lan and Egwene and the Maidens were completely in the right to sit on him and keep him from doing something stupid.

On a completely absurd note, Mat’s thought, “I’m a gambler, not a soldier. A lover” is KILLING ME, because now I cannot help but hear it in Michael Jackson’s voice, and that is so many kinds of wrong I think it breaks a few laws of physics. Holy crap. “I’m a lovah, not a fightah.” AAAAAAAHHHHHHH! So wrong.

And on that note, let’s move on, shall we?


Chapter 44: The Lesser Sadness

What Happens
Rand is sweating and exhausted, and worried about the increasing difficulty of controlling saidin he’s experiencing as he grows more fatigued. Egwene and Aviendha are just as strung out, but they are spelling each other off, which would have been nice for him to have, but Rand does not regret making Asmodean stay in his tent. Rand looks through the telescope to watch the ongoing battle; he had noted the column of horse and pike engaging Aiel, sometimes outmatched by twice their numbers.

Small hope that Melanril had decided to obey his orders at this late juncture. Choosing the man just because he had the grace to be embarrassed by Weiramon’s behavior had been a mistake, but there had been little time to make a choice, and he had had to get rid of Weiramon. Nothing to be done about it now.

Rand watches the sortie from the city, which is desperately trying to get back inside without letting in the Shaido, and failing. Rand grits his teeth and channels, striking down Shaido and defenders alike in a massive lightning blast. He feels pain for those on his own side he just killed, but it had to be done; the Shaido could not be allowed to get into the city. He is thinking that he has to pace himself when suddenly lightning flashes again, but this time it strikes among the Maidens at the base of the tower. Rand can feel it was made with saidin, and thinks Asmodean must have turned on him at last.

There was no time for thought, though. Like rapid beats on a giant drum, bolt followed bolt, marching through the Maidens until the last struck the base of the tower in an explosion of splinters the size of arms and legs.

Rand hurls himself at Egwene and Aviendha and shields them with his body as the entire tower topples over, and loses consciousness when he hits the ground. He awakes slowly to hear Aviendha talking to him.

“ ...have dug us up like a boulder and sent us rolling downhill in the night.” It was Aviendha’s voice, low, as if she spoke for her own ears. There was something moving on his face. “You have taken away what we are, what we were. You must give us something in return, something to be. We need you.” The moving thing slowed, touched more softly. “I need you. Not for myself, you will understand. For Elayne. What is between her and me now is between her and me, but I will hand you to her. I will. If you die, I will carry your corpse to her! If you die—!”

He opens his eyes and tells her he has no intention of dying, and shivers at the way he had lost saidin, knowing he was lucky not to have killed himself. He surreptitiously checks the wound in his side, and hides that it is open and bleeding again. He gets up, groaning, and sees wounded and dead Maidens everywhere. He recognizes one of the corpses as Jolien, who had been in the Stone, and berates himself for letting them get in harm’s way. He follows the traces of the weave that created the lightning, and realizes it leads west, from which he deduces it was not from Asmodean at all, but Sammael.

“Sammael.” He was sure of it. Sammael had sent that attack in the Jangai, Sammael was behind the pirates and the raids in Tear, and Sammael had done this. His lips peeled back in a snarl, and his voice was a harsh whisper. “Sammael!” He did not realize he had taken a step until Aviendha seized his arm.

Egwene quickly grabs his other arm, and the two women tell him flatly not to be a woolhead; he can’t go after Sammael when he is wounded and exhausted, and he’s needed here besides. They are interrupted by a messenger from Han, who has sent to tell Rand that the undecided clans are moving together, and Han has moved to join with Dhearic and Erim to block them. Rand knows this means that there will now be no blocking force to harry Couladin north when the Shaido break – assuming they do – but agrees with Han’s decision, and sends the messenger off. He tells the women that he needs his horse, and they look suspicious; he tells them he is not going after Sammael, but he needs to get somewhere where he can see the city. Aviendha sends for his horse, but for Egwene’s as well. Sulin approaches with her head bandaged, and he tells her he is moving closer to the city, and the wounded Maidens are to stay behind. Sulin insists on coming anyway, but Rand is relieved that so far no one had called him on his refusal to “order a woman to her death”. The horses arrive at the same time as a bunch of Wise Ones, led by Sorilea, who eyes the three of them as if debating whether to make them go to the healers’ tents. Egwene and Aviendha scramble up on Egwene’s horse, smiling hard at Sorilea; Rand pulls himself painfully into his saddle, almost passing out with the effort, and Egwene hisses at him that if that’s the best he can do at mounting up, maybe he shouldn’t be riding.

“I noticed you mounting, too,” he said quietly. “Maybe you ought to stay here and help Sorilea until you feel better.” That shut her up, even if it did tighten her mouth sourly. Aviendha gave Sorilea another smile; the old Wise One was still watching.

Rand takes off down the hill, annoyed at Sorilea’s stare, and once at the bottom of the hill seizes saidin again, disturbed at how much more difficult it was, but at least he was prepared if Sammael came at him again.

Mat sits on a hilltop in the rain, wondering what time it is, looking south. He’s looking for a way out, though the three thousand men he still has left think he is looking for another fight for them, like three battles isn’t enough. He’s been trying to work east, but the center of the fighting keeps seeming to shift with him, and he wonders what happened to his bloody luck. He sees various groups of Aiel from his vantage point, but he has no way to tell which is which. He sees one group get blasted by lightning as they dash for cover, though he hadn’t been able to find the log tower above the trees for a while now. Then he sees an entire hillside go up in flames, and wonders if maybe Rand’s finally gone mad, but acknowledges that the more likely reason is that someone else is taking a hand, probably Sammael, which negates the possible value of trying to cut back toward Rand.

A fallen branch cracked under someone’s foot behind him, and he reacted without thinking, knees more than reins pulling Pips in a tight circle, sword-bladed spear whipping across from the pommel of his saddle.

Estean almost dropped his helmet, his eyes going wide, as the short blade stopped a breath short of splitting his head for him. The rain had slicked his hair down into his face. Also afoot, Nalesean grinned, partly startled and partly amused at the other young Tairen’s discomfort. Square-faced and blocky, Nalesean was the second since Melanril to lead the Tairen cavalry. Talmanes and Daerid were there as well, a pace behind as usual, and blank-faced beneath their bell-shaped helmets, also as usual.

Nalesean tells Mat there’s a company of almost five thousand Aiel coming straight for them, but he doesn’t think they know the column is here. Mat opines that that’s “just bloody wonderful”, but only Talmanes and Daerid catch the sarcasm, and Mat thinks that the first three engagements that the Tairens think went so well were either draws or pure luck, and Talmanes and Daerid know it. Mat asks how long, and Talmanes answers half an hour, no more. Mat looks at the terrain and sighs, knowing that it’s a matter of catching or being caught, and then Daerid adds that his scouts tell him Couladin himself is with this lot. Mat grunts, thinking that even if his force could stand aside, that would mean Couladin would plow directly into Rand’s position.

Mat realized that he was smoldering, and it had nothing to do with Couladin wanting to kill Rand. The Shaido chief, or whatever the man was, might remember Mat vaguely as somebody hanging about Rand, but Couladin was the reason he was stuck out here in the middle of a battle, trying to stay alive, wondering whether any minute it was going to turn into a personal fight between Rand and Sammael, the kind of fight that might kill everything within two or three miles.

Mat tells Nalesean angrily to swing the Tairens wide to the north and come in from behind, and Talmanes to do the same from the south with the Cairhienin horse. They bow and take off, and Daerid observes that Mat means to stay with the foot. He remarks that Mat must not let his anger at Couladin cloud his judgment; a battle is no place for a duel. Mat is amazed at this notion, or so he tells himself, and reassures Daerid he can hold himself in check.

The Cairhienin merely nodded. “I thought that you could. You have seen pikes pushed before, and faced a charge or two, I vow. Talmanes gives praises when there are two moons, yet I heard him say aloud that he would follow wherever you led. Some day I would like to hear your story, Andorman. But you are young — under the Light, I mean no disrespect — and young men have hot blood.”

Mat thinks they’re all mad, and bets they would “spit him like a pig” if they found out where he was really getting all this from. He heads downslope to the foot, Daerid following, to lay out his plan. He thinks this is the biggest gamble he’s ever taken in his life, and wishes the dice in his head would stop spinning and show where they lay.

Rand stops his horse on a crest, hunched against the pain in his side, only vaguely aware of his surroundings, and tries to remember how many times Sammael had tried to kill him today.

Are you still so jealous of me, Tel Janin? When did I ever slight you, or give you one finger less than your due?

Swaying, Rand scrubbed a hand through his hair. There had been something odd about that thought, but he could not recall what.

He has another thought about Ilyena, and for a moment can’t remember his own name, and finally says “Rand al’Thor” aloud, and channels a ball of blue flame to let him see in the darkness, but lets it go after a moment. He realizes Egwene and Aviendha are no longer there, only his Maiden guard; Sulin tells him they have gone to Moiraine. He tells her he needs to find his people, and wonders why his horse isn’t moving, then sees Sulin is holding the reins. She tells him the Wise Ones need to speak to him; Rand mutters vaguely about finding his people, but the Maidens lead his horse away anyway. They reach the encampment where the wounded are being treated, and Rand sees Moiraine moving slowly down the line, Healing where she can, swaying with exhaustion. Some twenty Wise Ones are having some kind of conclave off to the side, and then he sees Asmodean helping with the wounded. Asmodean comes over to him and says he was sure he was all right, and asks what happened.

“Sammael,” Rand said, but not in answer. He was just speaking the thoughts that drifted through the Void. “I remember when he was first named Destroyer of Hope. After he betrayed the Gates of Hevan and carried the Shadow down into the Rorn M’doi and the heart of Satelle. Hope did seem to die that day. Culan Cuhan wept. What is wrong?” Asmodean’s face had gone as white as Sulin’s hair; he only shook his head mutely.

Rand wonders if he should go over to the Wise Ones’ conclave, but Lan appears and tells him they would not welcome him yet; they are meeting with Wise Ones from the Miagoma, the Codarra, the Shiande and the Daryne. Rand says flatly that the clans are coming to him, but thinks they waited long enough to make the day bloodier. Rand starts giving orders to send a runner to Han, but Lan tells him it is all done already; he’s won, completely. Rand peers at all the wounded, and thinks that the dead aren’t here.

Only a battle lost is sadder than a battle won. He seemed to remember saying that before, long ago. Perhaps he had read it.

No. There were too many living in his responsibility for him to worry over the dead. But how many faces will I know, like Jolien’s? I will never forget Ilyena, not if all the world burns!

Rand puts a hand to his head and releases the Power, and realizes his mistake as his exhaustion and pain crash down on him. He topples from the saddle, vaguely hearing Lan shout for Moiraine, and feels Asmodean channel a trickle of saidin into him before he loses consciousness.

Commentary
I always hate summarizing when the writing is particularly well done, as it is here in the last part of this chapter. Seriously, you guys, you really are missing out if you’re not following along with the original text; I know these recaps are pretty detailed, but I do have to leave some things out.

This chapter represents a kind of watershed moment for the Lews Therin phenomenon. Regardless of whether you consider the Lews Therin in Rand’s head to be a taint-induced hallucination, a psychological defense mechanism, or a real person, Rand’s pushing himself to the utter breaking point here appears to have let Lews Therin really “break through” for the first time, and afterwards his presence seems to increase exponentially.

The reasons why it worked that way can be easily applied to any one of the various Lews Therin theories floating around. Rand thinks in the chapter about how much worse the taint seems to be affecting him here, so it could be that, and he is also stressed physically and mentally to the snapping point, so that could be it too. And either one could account for the thinning of the “wall” separating Rand’s present life from his previous one, if you go for that theory. All very neatly done to keep us from coming to a conclusion!

The speech where Rand freaks Asmodean out with his memories of Sammael has always been one of my favorite Rand moments, just because I can so strongly picture what he must have looked and sounded like in that moment. The word “fey” comes to mind, in the old sense of the word. To which I say, neat. Though the moment (the whole chapter, really) also represents a reminder of how deeply glad I am that I don’t have to be the savior of the world, because wow does Rand’s job suck, y’all.

Meanwhile, Mat continues to be awesome. I think the reason why this whole Battle of Cairhien sequence is so beloved by myself and other Mat fans is that, besides just being generally cool, it’s where Mat finally comes into his own as a power in his own right, and his inherent coolness is finally forced into display to the general cast, instead of just to one or two random people who don’t tell anyone anything.

It’s an endlessly fascinating topic to me, the question of what it is that inspires loyalty in others. And unlike some (including Mat himself), I don’t think having implanted tactical brilliance constitutes a cheat. It is a powerful factor in inspiring loyalty, no doubt, but mere superior knowledge does not solely a leader make. Again I say, actions speak louder than words, and the behavior of Mat’s proto-Band says pretty clearly what they think of Mat’s actions, which unlike us is the only part of him they can see. Mat can grouse all he wants in his head, but the fact is that Talmanes and the others recognize what even he does not seem to, that Mat is a leader who will not abandon or needlessly sacrifice his men in the thick of it, no matter what. Q.E. frickin’ D.

As a final note on the whole Battle of Cairhien sequence, I’m faintly amused that I was earlier applauding the arrival of action, when the actual “battle” part of the conflict in these two chapters happens almost entirely off screen. Not that I’m complaining, because I think it works very well, but it’s an interesting narrative choice to have almost everything we see here be either the lead-up to action, or the aftermath of it. In a way I think it makes the effect more powerful than if we’d had to slog through every last skirmish and spray of blood.

So, in conclusion, Yay.


And further in conclusion, this post is concluded! We be back on a Friday, yo, so peace out till then, y’all!

197 comments
F Shelley
1. FSS
Re: The hedgehog - did you ever see the movie, 4 feathers? Same sort of tactic. Hollow box, shoot at enemies.
j p
2. sps49
@ Leigh-

Will your podcast touch on the future of the WOTFAQ?
Marcus W
3. toryx
Good chapters, both of them. I like how the Maidens came and forced some sense into Rand. He was definitely being pretty bullheaded there.

Mat is every bit as awesome as Leigh says. I've seen the arguments saying that his awesomeness is really only luck, ta'veren and the memories but as Leigh points out, he gets the job done. Furthermore, the men following him (who know better) realize that.

The struggles Rand is having with the LT memories seems to support rather strongly my own, already often voiced theories. But I can see how, from another perspective, it does the opposite. I'm not going to argue it either way anymore.

I do love those moments when we can learn about the Forsaken from Rand himself. That's far better than rumor, conjecture, or being from some old forgotten book someone finds. If nothing else, the LT presence in Rand's head is a bloody writing device masterpiece for providing information.
j p
4. sps49
Whatever LTT is, he is real enough to be recognized by Lanfear and Asmodean. Which should knock the taint-hallucination theory out, at least.

And I am sure a 200-word post will appear to fervently justify that position before post 25 :)
RobMRobM
5. RobMRobM
Leigh - great recap but you missed Mat's best tactical move. He discusses with Daerid how they can ensure that Couladin and his forces charge forward without paying attention to the horse coming from the wings and he tells Daerid to have his troops start yelling out "Protect the Lord Dragon!" Brilliant.
RobMRobM
6. cor-darei4life
I agree about the battle sequences, and how they seem very understandable but still complex enough to be real.
some of the best battle sequences i have ever read however where in the archer series by bernard cornwall. quite well written and complicated but not full of mumbo jumbo.

and Mat is as always sweeter then a bucket of sugar.
James Jones
7. jamesedjones
I'm going to recognize the wisdom of toryx, and follow his lead regarding the LTT theories. At least, I'll try.

Love your "lover not a fighter" comparison for Mat, Leigh, but I still hear Bones talking to Jim everytime I read that line. :)
RobMRobM
8. Rand Al'Todd
RE hedgehog:

Hedgehogs are spiny mammals (read porcupines).

As a formation, they include spears or pikes sticking out so that the enemy cannot get within close range. Usually two or three rows of defenders are able to take on the first row of attackers, meaning that one attacker is being hacked by three defenders.

And horses hate to impale themselves, so cavalry charges tend to falter.
RobMRobM
9. Smatt
I will agree that Mat does complain about what he has to do and the situations he finds himself in. However, he does this in the privacy of his own head and then goes straight out and does exactly what he said he wouldn't. The guy is clearly a hero and puts others before himself.

He also has a set of strict rules which he lives by. He definatley likes the ladies but he never forces anyone or pursues against their will, He does not betray his friends, he keeps his word and so on.

The guy is Mat Awesome.

Who can honestly say that if they were in similar positions they would not act like him? If I saw a major battle about to happen, with a good chance of me being killed if I participated, I would want to get as far away as possible. Would I go warn total strangers if I thought I could save a lot of people? I would like to think that I would but nobody will ever know this until they are in that position.

Mats actions prove his status not his reservations about doing them. Not many people want to die! I see him as the most 'human' character in WOT.
RobMRobM
10. Rand Al'Todd
RE hedgehog:

The Greek Phalanx was basically a hedgehog formation. In "300" Leonidas explains how one works to the hunchback, then the movie ignores the phalanx to show the Spartans fighting as individuals, entirely opposite to how they really would have fought. There were one or two scenes where they actually formed up, and you could see just how hard it would be for an enemy to get through.
Rikka Cordin
11. Rikka
there's a whole lot of Mattlove in these chapters... ah. so good!
Michael Catapano
12. hoping
Leigh thanks for the recap. I have been reading along, as you suggest, and it is my best read thru ever.
I also think that Mat's battle scenes are well written. Off scene is best here. After all, the battle with the aiel and couladin is only a sidelight. The real struggle he has is with himself. Should he stay, should he leave and he finally realizes he can't abandon these men either to their fate or stupidity. It marks his transition to being a leader and not just a lucky guy, out for a good time only, head jam-packed with all sorts of stuff.

I'm in the LTT is a real personality camp. It seems the evidence points there strongly. In the previous thread there was some discussion about Birgitte. Since she was tossed out of TAR, I think she is one personality who has lived many lives. She doesn't have the struggles with another person in her head like Rand does.
T C
13. Freelancer
So here we see that it's all Talmanes' fault. If he hadn't made the counter offer to lead one half if Mat led the other...

Of course that really just means that it was a ta'veren twitch. Total stranger, clearly not a soldier, rides up and tells you how to prepare for a fight. You take a good look at him, and something makes you decide that he's worth following.

I'm less of a Mat fan than many, but I've never been a Mat hater either. I've always conceded that his heart is noble. But I always give more credit to Rand, who makes decisions regardless of the result to himself, but for the sake of the larger picture. Even in this sequence, some of Mat's decisions are initiated because he realizes that riding away might not be the safest move, and counter-attacking could turn out better. No loss of hero points in that, but a background motive of his decision was still self-interest.

I've always believed that the larger "moral" of these and similar sequences is showing how a hero deals with situations which are exactly opposite what said hero would ever want to face. Battles interest Mat, but not from within, because "you could get holes poked in you that way". Mat prefers slightly older, slightly fleshier, slightly naughty common women, so he gets a young, "boyishly-slim", scheme-master imperial princess. Umm, check please? And he grumbles and grouses about it all, but he also does the right thing. As Leigh so rightly said, in these circumstances, it's what one does that matters.
Hugh Arai
14. HArai
Nice to see Lan and the Maidens making sure to tell Rand when he shouldn't be risking himself for little gain, and even nicer to see Rand listen. I wish Egwene and Elayne had as many people giving them the same advice and that they'd listen.
T C
15. Freelancer
hoping@12

I think the difference for Birgitte is that in T'a'R the Heroes have more clarity about the past, and she can see all of her memories openly as belonging to the same person, though in different lives. All is reconciled in that setting. Rand does not have that. He can accept as a technical fact that he and LTT are connected, but there doesn't seem to be much in common between the two. Nurture as well as Nature forms the personality, and there are large differences in how each thinks and behaves.
RobMRobM
16. alreadymadwithidiotrand
Rand trying to go after couladin himself is like Perrin and the waygate all over again. What is it with these idiots trying to do everything by themselves? They seriously need to learn to delegate. That's what retainers and friends are for.

Of course, I happen to believe LTT is a real personality. It's how Rand interacts with him that's tainted nutty.
The word “fey” comes to mind, in the old sense of the word.
That's funny, Leigh. Because what comes to my mind is "fey" in the Tolkienized sense.
Luke M
17. lmelior
@ Freelancer #13
I'm less of a Mat fan than many, but I've never been a Mat hater either. I've always conceded that his heart is noble. But I always give more credit to Rand, who makes decisions regardless of the result to himself, but for the sake of the larger picture.
The problem with Rand's way, though, is that he grossly undervalues his own life. Mat's main goal might be self-preservation, but the net result is he lives on to continue being awesome. Rand, however, is ready and willing to put his life on the line every single time, even though if he died it would mean catastrophe.

Of course we know he would live even if he lead the charge and fought a thousand Aiel by hand, but the people around him don't. They know how valuable Rand's life is, and they show it in this sequence. In summary, I submit that it is better to do the right thing with the wrong motivation than vice versa.
John Mann
18. jcmnyu
Talmanes has always been one of my favorite characters as well. In later books, he is the one who really seems to get Mat. He knows he is lucky at dice and cards and in battle. But that is not why he follows him. And about that, what do you think was involved in the lords abandoning their countries and joining the Band? Part of Rand breaking all bonds?

Why doesn’t Moiraine get some Wise Ones who can channel and form a circle with them to help with the healing?

I know that one of the themes of the books is that Rand changed the Aiel, but they are still warriors, they are still in clans and societies, they still have chiefs and Wise Ones. Aviendha’s plea to Rand to give them something else just doesn’t fit for me. He has refocused them on a new goal, not changed them fundamentally.

What exactly are the Wise Ones discussing? That part never made sense. No one is surrendering. None of the other clans who came to Rand had a formal meeting of Wise Ones. Anyone have an idea?

All in all, this sequence is one of the best in the whole series. This, Dumais Wells, The Aiel history, and Nynaeve curing stilling/gentling.
Hugh Arai
19. HArai
alreadymad@16: Learning to trust other people when failure would be disastrous or "it's my fault that X" is _hard_. Most people find sending others to what could be their death hard as well. Obviously they need to learn how, but Rand and Perrin (and Egwene for that matter) have had very little preparatory experience at being in charge of critical situations for large groups of people.
James Jones
20. jamesedjones
16 AlreadyMadWith...

Rand trying to go after couladin himself is like Perrin and the waygate all over again. What is it with these idiots trying to do everything by themselves? They seriously need to learn to delegate. That's what retainers and friends are for.

LMAO! If your friends have stopped answering your calls... :P
Peter Nein
21. gimpols1908
I do love these chapters. But even better is the fallout chapter with Mat hungover trying not to look at the grinning decapitated head wishing he had never taught Jak o' the Shadows to the foot.

I don't post often enough but here is my LTT/RaT 2 cents:
LTT cannot be a total madness construct because he brings up to many historical things, like in this chapter and previously(I think) when he says something and Asamo replys 'I never knew that'. I am of the same soul many lives/personalities camp
Stacy Berger
22. anIceFan
These are the chapters when I first started to say "Wow Mat is awsome". Before this it was mostly all talk, now we get to see that he can walk the talk.

As to most of the actual fighting happening off screen, it is kinda like love scenes in movies. It is often more effective if you show the build up and then right when you are about to see the action, cut away and leave it to the viewers imagination. They can never write/perform up to what we will see in our minds. I guess this is similar to the whole torture thing from much earlier.
Marcus W
23. toryx
Freelancer @ 13:

No loss of hero points in that, but a background motive of his decision was still self-interest.

Very few choices made by anyone are ever free of self-interest. Even when it comes to Rand taking on his duty as the Dragon Reborn, it's not really free of self-interest. If the Dark One wins the Last Battle, Rand will suffer as much as, if not more than, everyone else. And he'll lose everything and everyone he's ever cared about.

When you get right down to it, no one's motives in these novels are really selfless. Mat's just a little more honest (to himself) about it than most other people, both real and imaginary.
Michael Catapano
24. hoping
free @13
I don't think we see Mat very differently. I just don't think "a background motive of his decision was still self-interest."
He voices what most people would be thinking which is, this is not my fight. I'm not the bloody Dragon Reborn. But what takes over his decision making and the actions that result is his concern for the men he took responsibility for.

He was in the clear, now, hidden from the Aiel. He could ride on. After telling this lot what was expected of them, anyway. He had sent the others on into the Aiel trap; he could not simply abandon them.


I think the main reason the nobles, including Talmanes, followed him was because some of them recognized him from the Stone. Without that, all of Mat's protestations would have been for nil.
Pete Pratt
25. PeteP
Great recap!

These two chapters (plus the pre-show from last time and the post-game coming up) are absolutely perfect. RJ at his best. So many authors think they have to give every detail from every fight, but RJ just gives us the important stuff and allows us to fill in the rest. Brilliant!

And the "Protect the Lord Dragon" line is one the best in the entire series!
RobMRobM
26. TexanSedai
When I read all these posts on here it leads me to one conclusion....

MAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD...

and therefor, Lan must be Chuck Norris!!!!

HAHAHAHAHA

On the Weiramon issue from previous posts:
My daughter watches a Disney show called Phineaos and Ferb. They have a pet platypus named Perry that is really a secret agent. The whole Weiramon is a super secret spy for the D.O. makes me think... Weiramon is Perry the Platypus!!!!!

HAHAHAHAHA...I am just crackin myself up today...
sandi vogel
27. sinfulcashew
18. jcmnyu
"All in all, this sequence is one of the best in the whole series. This, Dumais Wells, The Aiel history, and Nynaeve curing stilling/gentling."

I think one of the shortest scenes from COT (?), where Perrin 'questions' the 4 Shaido should fit with these sequences.
The shock and surprise that I felt when reading it, shocked me and surprised me! It was so unexpected from the gentle Perrin I thought we had come to know.
Don Barkauskas
28. bad_platypus
They have a pet platypus named Perry that is really a secret agent. The whole Weiramon is a super secret spy for the D.O. makes me think... Weiramon is Perry the Platypus!!!!!

So you're saying that platypi are servants of the DO...? :-)

(BTW, Phineas and Ferb is hilarious.)
sandi vogel
29. sinfulcashew
I was going to try and put in a sound bite of a platypus that I have for my grandson, but couldn't.
Blood and bloody ashes!
Kurt Lorey
30. Shimrod
(Chuckle). Somebody (@26) has been at the oosquai again.

Where there is no context, there can be no understanding.
Tess Laird
31. thewindrose
bad_platypus@28 -
With your handle it goes without saying:)
RobMRobM
32. TexanSedai
Bad_platypus -
Not all platypi work for the DO - Perry is good! Just picture Weiramon sneaking off to don a trench coat and floppy hat!!!

Shimrod -
Ya know - the Dos Equis commercials -
His beard alone has experienced more than a lessor man's entire body.... he is the most interesting man in the world....

And the Chuck Norris jokes -
Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.

HAHA - funny funny :)

And I wish I had some oosquai at work today - make it much more bareable :)
RobMRobM
33. CalaLily
I wonder if Satelle Anan got her name from the city of Satelle that Rand talks about. Isn't there a theory about how she's a burned-out Brown sister? A tidbit of lost knowledge like that would make sense for a former Aes Sedai.
T C
34. Freelancer
TexanSedai@26

So you're saying Mat is "a lover, not a fighter, but he's also a fighter, so don't get any ideas."? Also, he has never lost a sock.

Those commercials are cheesy, but the reference is funny.
Kurt Lorey
35. Shimrod
@32 TexanSedai.

FREUDIAN SLIP: bareable. I think you might have intended "bearable". Still, strip down if y'all wants to.

@33 CalaLily. No, because it's Setalle Anan, not Satelle.
RobMRobM
36. CalaLily
:) Thank you. I've seen it/read it as Satelle the whole time.

-dyslexia ftl-
RobMRobM
37. TexanSedai
HEHE Sorry!

If I was drinkin oosquai it probably would be more "bare"able up in here!

CalaLily -
you aren't the only one - I think I have read it the same way the entire time myself!
RobMRobM
38. RobMRobM
@36 and 37. Does that make you Satelle-ites? ;-)

Rob
Sydo Zandstra
39. Fiddler
@Leigh:

Loved the MJ+Paul McCartney 'I'm a lover, not a fighter' pun.

Indeed, that is SO WRONG...
RobMRobM
40. Smatt
@ 26 TexanSedai

If Lan is Chuck then we should start list of 'Lan Mandragoran Facts'. Here is the first one:

Lan Mandragoran doesn't seek the void everything just runs away.

Lets have some more (better) ones please.:)
Jason Deshaies
41. darxbane
Lan doesn't practice the sword, the sword practices Lan.
Joseph Blaidd
42. SteelBlaidd
As an addendum to the awesome that is Mat I direct your attention to this esay by Malcom Gladwell on How David beats Goliath, which out lines exactly how the Band kicked the Seanchan army's ass.

Basicly he decided to play by different rules.:)
Genevieve Williams
43. welltemperedwriter
The Dark One hasn't broken free of his prison because he knows Lan Mandragoran is waiting outside.
Genevieve Williams
44. welltemperedwriter
Lan Mandragoran does not sleep. He waits.

(Okay, I stole that one directly from the Chuck Norris list...but you have to admit, it fits!)
RobMRobM
45. Smatt
Here are some more Lan Mandragoran Facts:

Lan Mandragoran does not practise sword forms. The swords moves itself out of fear.

Lan Mandragoran does not have a Warders cloak. The world changes to look like him.

Lan Mandragoran lives by the sword, everyone else dies by it.
RobMRobM
46. Smatt
Nynaeve did not break her Block it ran from Lan Mandragoran.
Shaylyn Austin
47. Ispan
Lan Mandragoran can't marry Nyneave because all he has to offer is a sword, a war he cannot win and a roundhouse kick to the face.

I'm pretty sure that quote is directly from EotW. Yep. Directly.

welltemperedwriter @43

That one cracked me up!

Edit:

Balefire can't destroy Lan Mandragoran. It only makes him stronger.
Genevieve Williams
48. welltemperedwriter
The Myrdraal need to move that fast to get away from Lan Mandragoran.
RobMRobM
49. Smatt
Tarmon Gaidon does not mean last battle. It is what happens when Lan Mandragoran is angry.

This is good. Loved 43.
Roger Powell
50. forkroot
Arrgghh ... stop it. All of you!

Geez, I'm beginning to miss Roxinos
RobMRobM
51. TexanSedai
Love it!!! These are soooo funny!!! Smatt and Ispan - those are great!

Lan Mandragoran can defeat an army of Aeil with nothing but his braided leather headband.
RobMRobM
52. Smatt
There is no Creator there is only Lan Mandragoran.

The Dark One didn't make the blight. Young Lan Mandragoran need somewhere to play.

Roxinos didn't leave Lan Mandragoran had a word.
Richard Fife
53. R.Fife
The only time Lan Mandragoran Sheathes The Sword is in other men.
RobMRobM
54. RobMRobM
Forkroot and Roxinos avoid the Tor.com website for fear of Lan Mandragoran puns.
Pete Pratt
55. PeteP
Lan Mandragoran eats Trollocs for breakfast, Fades for lunch, and Worms for dinner.
Wayne Wilson
57. stylusmobilus
Mike Tyson bites other boxers' ears because Lan Mandragoran tells him to.

Osama Bin Laden is hiding from Lan Mandragoran.
Shaylyn Austin
58. Ispan
In the last post, someone mentioned Mat surrendering to the will of the Pattern similar to a woman surrendering to Saidar for control. This made me wonder, if Rand did the same would it end in catastrophe or would it make things easier for him to accept and control? He treats life like Saidin, something he has to seize and dominate, bend and force to his will.

One instance that points me toward thinking that going with the flow would benefit him is when Min tells him that she loves ALL of him and he finds it easier to accept Lews Therin and everything that comes with being the Dragon Reborn. He gains newfound strength, power and confidence that have a profound impact on everyone around him, friend or foe (until he sends Min away, that is). On the other hand, in an atmosphere where many of his "allies" are treacherous backstabbers or worse, surrendering to anything for even an instant could be a fatal mistake. Poor Rand, nothing's ever easy for him :(
Michael Catapano
59. hoping
There once was a man from Malkier
Whose visage produced myrddraahl fear
His sword was so grand
When Nyn took it in hand
She exclaimed to the Seafolk, looky here!
RobMRobM
60. alreadymadwithmandragoran
jamesedjones @20
If your friends stop answering, you can be a tyrant with your retainers and order them around.

hoping @24
Talmanes is Cairhienin and would not have been in the Stone at the same time Mat was. That's if he's even been there before at all. Nalesean did know Mat from the Stone.

Lan Mandragoran...
Lan is the Man
and he is the Dragon
all in one
Michael Catapano
61. hoping
Already
Yup, but he took his cue from the Tairens present.
Vincent Lane
62. Aegnor
SteelBlaidd@42

Thanks for posting that article. It was an interesting read.
RobMRobM
63. porcelina
Moiraine didn't get captured by the Finn, she was getting out of Lan Mandragoran's way.

Myrddrahl lost their eyes when Lan Mandragoran glared at them.
Travis Splawn
64. MoreBooksForMe
Lan Mandragoran knows who killed Asmodean, but if he told you he'd have to kill you. Acually he'd probably kill you anyway.
RobMRobM
65. Smatt
@ 42 SteelBlaidd

Just read your link. Great article.

@ 60 Alreadymadwith...

The Tariens know who Mat is and I would not be surprised if the Cairhienin knew of him aswell considering they are all masters of intrigue. With the exception of only a handful of nobles, the nobles in Randland are all a bunch of sickening brown nosers who will follow anyone they percieve to be greater than they are whilst planning their downfall. Those exceptins include the main nobles in The Band, Dobraine, Darlin, Caraline, Berelain, Faile (although it pains me to admit it) and the steward in Illian who I can't remeber. Oh and obviously Lan Mandragoran.

Another Lan Fact:

Lan Mandragoran visited the worlds of the Fins. They rembered the 3 rules but forgot the 4th. Lan Mandrogoran doesn't ask he gets. They died.
RobMRobM
66. CalaLily
Smatt, your name reminds me of the sound bugs make when they hit the windshield of my car. =o


And yes, over all, these are two of my favorite chapters. Whoever mentioned that scene with Perrin and the Aiel in CoT was right to include it in the list of the best scenes, too, because -wow-. Serious breath-holding moment, there.
Andy McKellar
67. Kellar23
Your a book ahead of me so I doin some fast reading to get up to speed..! Loving the work though, my memory is battered from a mis-spent youth so need all the help I can get on my probable 12 th Re-read..! Cheers duck
RobMRobM
68. Smatt
Thanks CalaLily. You have just brought back memories of school I have tried to forget. I shall go to bed now and cry myself to sleep.

The kiss of a Draghkar has no effect on Lan Mandragoran. Lan Mandragoran has no soul only a war that can't be won, until he gets bored and wants a bit of fun.
Roger Powell
69. forkroot
Holding my hands to my ears and chanting "num, num, num, I CAN'T HEAR YOU, num, num, num" ...

Notable exception for hoping@59 - dang that was a good one!

Oh yeah, SteelBlaidd@42 - excellent link
RobMRobM
70. Drew Holton
re Mat:
After reeading this recap (one of my favorite episodes in WoT) I can see that RJ was doing a lot here with Mat. I agree with Leigh that Mat is awesome in his own right in these chapters. It shows his heroic nature, as despite all his muttering, he still chooses to put his life on the line to help the proto-band. It also highlights for the first time his leadership abilities. You can know all the theory in the world, ie his 'Finn memmories, but that doesn't bestow ability.However, what always caught my eye in these chapters, was Mat's ta'vereness. In one of his interviews, RJ says one of the themes he was interested in was how an ordinary person would react if they were told they were to be a Savior, which in his mind would be to slip out the back door. Mat, here, is the epitome of this idea. He's trying as hard as he can to evade his "fate", but being ta'veren, is roughly dragged back to the right path despite what he wants. So this whole episode is sort of the essence of what RJ is trying to say with Mat I think.

re Rand/LTT:

I'm in the camp of LTT being real. I think one of the purposes of LTT is to absorb at least some of the taint to keep Rand largely sane. However, the other day, a new Looney Theory popped into my head, based on somethiing Brandon Sanderson had said, which was that he was amazed when he found out how it was supposed to all end, because RJ had put it out there right from the beginning of TEOTW.
So, here is my thinking, in the form of a proof, using...geometric logic (I say in my best Commander Queeg voice, steel balls clicking in the background):

1) LTT is real. As far as I'm concerned, this was confirmed by Semiraghe in KoD.
2) Per Brandon Sanderson, (as I interpret what he said from memory) the beginning of the series and the end are related somehow.

3) The beginning of the series was the prologue of TEOTW, of how LTT had killed his loved ones, Ishamael "cured" his sanity, and LTT immolates himself in a pyre of what I, at least, assume is balefire, boring a hole into the planetary crust to create Dragonmount (and triggering the Breaking?).

4) hypothesis: LTT in Rand's head is some sort of real time link betwwen LTT after he's gone mad in AoL, and Rand in present day third age. Part of LTT's madness is his conversations with Rand and vice versa. As Tarmon Gaidon climaxes and Rand does whatever he does to save the day, this will be concurrent with LTT's immolation, each affecting the other somehow, each necessary to seal the Bore.

How's that for a Looney Theory?:-)
Alice Arneson
71. Wetlandernw
SteelBlaidd - great link. I intended to just skim it and ended up reading the whole darn thing. Now if I could only figure out what the rules are so I could make different ones...

About motivation... A very wise man once said that you do what you want most. If you think about it real hard and honestly, it's true. Now you can start arguing, but you can't win. ;)
Ryan Thistlethwaite
72. shintemaster
70. Drew Holton
re Rand/LTT:

As far as LTT goes I've had similar theories along the same lines of yours before. Not necessarily exactly the same, however along the same gist. I will say that I have said before that I don't think that LTT is a simple 'real' person in Rand's head. My view tends to be a bit of a combination of the two theories. His memories are definitely real however I do believe that we have been intentionally misled by Jordan into thinking that Rand is less affected by the taint than might be true. It's too simple to believe otherwise IMO.

Just another addition. I've always felt that the Taint may have some deeper meaning in the story than we realise right now. There is little doubt that it is one of the single most defining points of the series - it literally changes everything. I guess I wonder what other affects it has had. Was it a simple matter for the DO? How was it possible? Was it 'allowed' by the creator for a reason? Has it changed the nature of people in the WOT in some fundamental way which has tipped the balance against the DO? Why the taint?

I'm also keen to see the resolution of the Moridin / Ishy / Dragon concept. It's obviously massively integral to Tarmon Gai'don and just maybe something that will have an impact beyond the ages. The Fisher King is the most important piece after all...
Can't wait to see what is in store at the end. I'm hopeful of Brandon achieving a good result, most importantly, I know that RJ had that ending in mind from the start. The path that Brandon takes to it may not be exactly what RJ would have done however I have faith that the ending will be something special.
RobMRobM
73. drewoftherushes
Here's something that's always bugged me: channelers always use lightning in battles. Is that really the most effective way to kill people from a distance? I mean, it strikes a single spot, it's random and a little unpredictable. Why don't Aviendha and Egwene get together and make four walls of air, squeeze them together around a unit of Shaido, and crush them? Over and over. Or something else. There really has to be a better way to use your energy.
Roger Powell
74. forkroot
Drew Holton@70
LTT immolated himself by drawing too much saidin - a hell of a lot considering his ability! It was definitely NOT balefire.

This event did not trigger the breaking - the breaking had begun since the male Aes Sedai had begun going mad (as we see with LTT.)

(As an aside: I'm not sure anyone could balefire themselves. The very act of doing so would erase the balefire weave from having existed.)
RobMRobM
75. dcole78
Drew I like...sounds a lot like how STNG ended which would be cool. I may have to go back and read the first book again now. We have heard LTT say before that rand is in his head...
Richard Fife
76. R.Fife
Drew@73, don't get me started on effective Power killing. Aside from Eragon style killing (exploding blood vessels in people's brains and hearts) I'd go for razor sharp blades of air at chest and knee level. Send those coursing through units.

OK, to try and handwave why they use Lightning.

1) they don't know any better. Yes Avi is a killer, but hardly on a genocidal level like would be capable with the Power, so neither of them are particularly inventive (same goes for all channelers except Seanchan).

2) lightning is pretty easy. Once you got the clouds, it doesn't take much effort to just bring down (or technically up) a bolt. Also is not a sustained weave, but a burst, since the lightning itself is not power wrought, only induced.

3) it is what they've seen done already. Yes talented healers can kill with the power effectively, but neither of them are healers, an Moiraine has some good skill in it, but probably did not teach them how to stop hearts (if she has even extrapolated the knowledge herself). But, Moi did teach fireballs (to both at least) and Egwene has seen lightning bolts (yay Seanchan training too).

As to the Seanchan, the damane aren't used for healing (as I recall) so unlikely that heart-stopper attacks are well known. Also, lightning/fireball ease of concept is likely reason for them using what they use.

Oh, another thought on lightning: real lightning isn't exactly without a blast radius at impact. Aside from the rock, etc, that is thrown impact on the ground, a bolt will naturally be attracted to anything taller than grass in the area of its strike, IE, Shaido dogs. So, a bolt of lightning requires less aiming than blades of air, etc.
Roger Powell
77. forkroot
R.Fife@76
I think your point #3 is very pertinent. They just didn't know any better.

Consider the mass Trolloc attack in KoD. LTT ends up teaching Rand (and Logain) all sorts of new killing tricks including Blossoms of Fire and Deathgates.

So it appears that a lot of "killing weaves" have been lost since the AoL.
RobMRobM
78. ZamIt
Mat sits on a hilltop in the rain... My favorite scene in the whole damned series.
Michael Catapano
79. hoping
re killing via lightning
Maybe they use it because it's the only thing that they can control over such long distance. In Star Trek, fireballs always faded over long distance, hence, the manuvuer of backing up at warp speed. :) I could be wrong
RobMRobM
80. Drew Holton
@77 forkroot

Depends on what you mean by "the Breaking". You're referring to the whole time period of about 300 yrs as a whole, which I agree began with the raid on Shayol Ghul and the DO creating the taint. What I was referring to was the physical breaking and rearranging of continents. I've often wondered how in the world (no pun intended) such an event would occur, given the literally astronimical energy requirements. After all, ordinary earthquakes are in the megatons of dynamite range, imagine what this would require. The only thing I could think of was that some sort of tectonic pressure had been building up for ages, and LTTs funeral pyre, (which I still think involved balefire, although I agree he overdrew to summon that much and thus destroyed himself) drilled a hole thru the crust and released that pressure cataclysmically, and also set off an uncontrollable chain reaction that resulted in rearranging everything.
Roger Powell
81. forkroot
Drew Holton@80
You do raise an interesting question about the enormous energies that would be required to rearrange continents and so forth. It's hard to see how any channeler could produce such an effect.

Of course it's also hard to see how one hole through the Earth's crust could do it. Dragonmount is just a (large) example of the usual volcanism that results from a crust break, and new volcanoes don't rearrange the world.

Given that the whole scenario is fantasy (of course) I think we have to stick with what the author wrote. I may be wrong, but whatever text evidence we do have will point to the mad Aes Sedai as the source of the cataclysms.

Regarding LTT using balefire: There's nothing in the text to suggest it, and it would introduce all sorts of problems with temporal paradoxes. I'm whipping out Occam's razor on this one and saying he didn't use it.

Your opinion may vary, of course.
James Jones
82. jamesedjones
70 Drew

I like it! I don't agree with all of it (the breaking had already begun, check the rumbling as LTT wandered through the place, and Ishy's line about the madmen), but you have a lot of good attributes.

Motive: LTT wanted to undo everything he'd done.

Timing: BS did indeed remark on the beginning of tEotW.

Effect: Not likely that anyone had ever balefired themselves before. No one, except RJ, could say for sure what it might do. If the DO can't even step outside of time, and not even balefire can destroy the soul, then burning your own thread from the pattern can have a number of different, possible consequences.
RobMRobM
83. alreadymadwithlightning
Re: the use for lightning
Maybe because you can basically release the weave for a lightning once it's generated and it'll proceed on target on its own. A fire and forget sort of thing.
Whereas fireballs have to be maintained, and can be sliced.

Re: the Breaking
LTT by himself was able to create a mountain, with no mention of using any angreal or sa'angreal. Others may not be as powerful, but the core of his One Hundred Companions were most likely armed with angreal and sa'angreal, thereby magnifying their destructive capabilities.
James Jones
84. jamesedjones
Where's Freelancer when we need him? I'm not sure how channeling lightning bolts would occur. But RJ had a degree in Physics, and when you make 'em in real life it's a matter of creating a high electron count on one end and a low electron count on the other. Someone toss out the correct terminology. :)

Anyhoo, it seems like lightning would be a relatively simple process compared to other options. And Rand's quote about the ladies already setting the stage before he lightninged the gates of Cairhien lends weight to this idea.

On the other hand, setting the stage would probably be a pain in the *%$& during the start of a drought.
Aidan Young
85. aidanyoung1102
KOD seems to be when Mat finally starts to come to terms with his own leadership. I feel like Matt's growth is very well done by RJ.

Awesome part of the series! I forgot how often Rand was on the edge of death in this series.
craig thrift
86. gagecreedlives
The wheel of time turns because Lan roundhouse kicked it

Lan's tears would kill the Dark One. He has just never cried

Sorry couldnt resist
RobMRobM
87. normalphil
@78 ZamIt

Small world, then. That was always the one scene I visualized, from the moment I read it. Rain on the hatbrim, clouds giving gray light to everything, trees casting a spiderweb of half-shadows, placid yet intent cast to the face...
Jacy Clark
88. Amalisa
Okay...

Because I'm not clever enough to come up with a Lan is better that Chuck Norris because... well, just because thing, I'll have to ask a question.

The Wise Ones seem to know a great deal. So how is it that they don't know about the Three Oaths and how they bind Aes Sedai? And if they do know, wouldn't the fact that Egwene is up in the tower channeling for all she's worth be a dead giveaway that she's not an Aes Sedai? After all, Moiraine is not using the OP to fight.

I remember in KoD that Jolene and Teslyn had to so close to the battle that Mat was getting a little anxious before they could start with the fireballs. I guess it could be assumed, for the sake of being agreeable, that Eggy and Avi felt like they were in danger at the top of the tower even though it was some distance from the actual battle, but...

Thoughts?
Rich Bennett
89. Neuralnet
hahaha... the chuck norris/Lan quotes are hilarious.... thanks


I always preferred the simplest Rand-LTT theory (or at least I think it is simple). It is interesting that in this last chapter you see mat becoming the great general and LTT really coming out at the same time. Basically Rand is LTT with all of his memories and skills but Rand has to compartmentalize LTT in his mind to keep from being instantly insane. Same theory that has been floating around for years and years and years. until we have more clues/evidence it has worked for me.

This battle scene redeemed this book for me especially the first time reading it when I was thinking what is RJ doing writing about a circus... where is Rand and the action etc.
Hurin Smells
90. HurinSmells
RE: Lightning
Isn't there a section in tFoH somewhere that has Rand thinking about how to make lightning, i.e. he doesn't actually make the lightning, but just changes the conditions of the air so the lightning forms on it's own? Either way I much prefer "Rolling ring of Earth and Fire!"


Lan Mandragoran chose the axe AND the hammer.

The Ever Victorious Army is the name of Lan Mandragoran's left and right fists.
RobMRobM
91. johntheirishmongol
Love these chapters, maybe my fave in the entire series...some great omg moments, next only to the time where the AS kneel and swear to Rand (which is the best in the entire series).

Mat is amazing here, because he takes leadership of the group, not because of his fighting skills.

Maybe going so close to the edge does drive Rand to where LTT is in his head all the time but without it does he develop his powers to their fullest potential.

I will probably add some more later, but this was just off the top of my head
RobMRobM
92. JohnDoe
Is it just me or does it seem like the "good" nobles are always identified by wearing dented breastplates and coats that are worn and have breastplate impressions?

Like when all the nobles are cheering because they're excited to fight the Aiel and Estean just sighs and loosens his sword.

I guess it was Jordan's way of showing nobles who are actually competent and willing to be at the forefront.
Antoni Ivanov
93. tonka
@80.Drew Holton

The Breaking, the rearranging of the continents is not something that happened overnight. It was a long process that took almost 300 years until the last male Aes Sedai died.

According to RJ Aes Sedai were roughly 2% of the population . That means thousands male channellers and the Hundred Companions were probably equipped with some of the most powerful sa'angreal and angreal. Imagine that much people being able to channel the One Power. It's a wonder that the world was not destroyed.
j p
94. sps49
@92 John Doe-

Estean has obviously been in battle before, and the ones eager to fight Aiel have probably never been in battle before, and certainly have never fought Aiel before.

This also is a part of why Mat is listened to- he may be dressed well, and he may be "in" with the Lord Dragon, but to the veteran soldiers he sounds like he knows what he is talking about. The neophytes who were not swayed died fast.
Dale Norman
95. dokipen
Hey Leigh,

The Hedgehog is a very old tactic known as 'forming square'. I love Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe books (the battles are second to none) and it was a tried and tested military manoeuvre. Have some Wiki...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infantry_square
RobMRobM
96. isriam
@75
I think you are referring to Star Trek Next Generation (STNG)? I don't know how that ended, so now I am confused. I really enjoy reading everyones theories - especially about how WOT will end. So if someone could enlighten me here, I would really apprecialte it. How can LTT and Rand work together to defeat the DO? Thanx
RobMRobM
97. Stone Dog
I generally find battle scenes in fantasy writing really boring, but this is the exception. RJ is good at describing military tactics in a way that sound plausible to a layman and are easy to visualise. Mat is fantastic, but I would expect the Lords to have a better idea of tactics themselves, as it would have been a large part of their upbringing.

I also believe Lews Therin is real. I don't see how Rand can be the Dragon Reborn unless there is some part of Lews Therin in him.
Richard Fife
98. R.Fife
Stone Dog actually just fired a brain cell off in me widdle head. Recall that LTT was the Dragon, yet RaT is Dragon Reborn. The implication is also that the Hero of the Light in other ages is refered to as Dragon as well, and that only Rand is the "Reborn". It could be the will of the pattern in general that Rand has to suffer reincarnated LTT inside his head, and not just some odd side-effect of the taint (or the pattern wanted the DO to make the taint...)

Which leads me to another pondery... if the pattern is ever-lasting and ever-repeating, does that mean the Dark One, a being supposedly outside the pattern, is still a slave to it? After all, the DO's actions, such as the counter-stroke, cause for some pretty major "shifts" in the pattern, meaning that the entire Third Age is more or less his fault, yet it is also a part of the pattern. So, yeah, I'm thinking that until Shai'tan is fully free, it is as a slave to the pattern as anyone else. I wonder what Ta'veran do to him. Perhaps it'd be like Bink from the Xanth series. (ducks into bunker for that last comment).

Another loony theory, if the DO is bound to the wheel like everyone else (another arguement, he is bound to time, cannot step outside of it, and the wheel IS time.) then perhaps he was once upon a time a human. Perhaps in some age (maybe this one), the DO is killed, and a new DO is created (either Moridin or Fain). Hmmm.
Ryan Thistlethwaite
99. shintemaster
98. R.Fife
'Another loony theory, if the DO is bound to the wheel like everyone else (another arguement, he is bound to time, cannot step outside of it, and the wheel IS time.) then perhaps he was once upon a time a human. Perhaps in some age (maybe this one), the DO is killed, and a new DO is created (either Moridin or Fain). Hmmm.'

I just came on here to post something which has been chewing at me all day - lo and behold you've written something almost exactly along the lines of what I was thinking.
All the earlier talk about the seeds of the end being in tEoTW got me pondering away. One thing that I thought interesting was just how MANY times that different people, notably the Forsaken, comment on how Ishy/Moridin thinks that he's the Dark One... perhaps something more in that than we ever thought. Which begs another question, if Ishy is the Dark One (or a proto-DO) what exactly does that make Rand al'Thor....? I have some thoughts of my own however will throw it out there as 'food for thought.'
RobMRobM
100. Smatt
I don't how the DO could ever have been human. This entity is supposed to be the eqivalent of the Creator. I can't see any scenario in which something created by the Creator can equal the Creator. The Creator would have been the ultimate source of power. Any power the Dark One had would have originated from the Creator. The Creator would always be more powerful.

The Dark One is a contemporary of the Creator.

Thanks for all these Lan Facts. I am finding them really entertaining.
Richard Fife
101. R.Fife
Ah, but Smatt, where does our information about the Creator and the DO come from? Perhaps there is a proto-creator the same as a proto-DO. RJ's Word of God comments about them transcending humanity could still hold if they had, you know, transcended. Note also that there are several references to Rand by crack-pots as the Light Made Flesh.

That being said: the big voice at Tarwin's Gap was not the Creator, it was Lan. He would not interfere because then the series would have ended in one book.
RobMRobM
102. Smatt
We are now getting in to a chicken and the egg situation here. There had to be a Creator to create everything. Therefore, humans came after the Creator. There would be no proto-creator required. Both the Creator and the Dark One are separate form time because they preceed its creation.

Rand is not the Creator made flesh. He is the human Champion of the Light.
RobMRobM
103. Smatt
We are now getting in to a chicken and the egg situation here. There had to be a Creator to create everything. Therefore, humans came after the Creator. There would be no proto-creator required. Both the Cretor and the Dark One are separate form time because they preceed its creation.

The Dragon is the agent of the Creator, assisted by the Heros of the Horn, whos only purpose is to prevent the DO escaping by preventing its agents from achieving their goal.

The fools who proclaim that Rand is the Light Made Flesh are exactly that, fools who need a damn good thrashing John Cleese style.

Rand/The Dragon is not the Messiah (nor a naughty boy) but someone with as strong sense of good, duty and a job to do.
Richard Fife
104. R.Fife
1) The Dark One is not outside of time by its own admission.

2) Who said there has to be an actual "creator"? There are plenty of sayings about "the moment of creation" and all that, but I could see there having never been a moment of creation. The Wheel has always spun just like there will always be another number greater (or less than on the negative side) the biggest one you can think of. Note, the DO doesn't want to end existence, only change it to the DO's image. It will not stop the wheel spinning.

3) I know what Rand and the more educated people think of himself, but I was commenting that just as there is "he's crazy" talk about Ishy being the DO, there is also talk that Rand is the Creator.

4) Another foreshadowing was Lanfear's assertion that the DO and Creator could be supplanted by use of the Choden Kal. Yes, she's crazy too, but sometimes there is a thin, thin line between crazy and genius.

I'm not die-hard on the theory, but the more I think about it, the more I think it is a valid possibility.
RobMRobM
105. Smatt
Aaargh. My comments keep messing up hence the 2 similar posts. Sorry, I thought the 1st had been eaten by the interweb.
James Jones
106. jamesedjones
104 RFife

Sounds like you're encouraging a 'Well of Souls' idea here. Would that mean Rand is the Nathan character?
James Jones
107. jamesedjones
101 RFife

All our information about the Creator came from Lan. He interviewed the Creator over knuckle sandwiches last week.
John Mann
108. jcmnyu
The Trolloc War wasn’t a war, it was Lan Mandragoran’s 7th birthday party.

The Tinkers became pacifists after meeting Lan Mandragoran.

Lan Mandragoran wasn’t born with original sin, original sin died from a roundhouse kick to the face.

Tarwin’s Gap is what happened when Lan Mandragoran kicked the Spine of the World in the face.

Lan Mandragoran can eat 10 Saltines in a minute.

Lan Mandragoran created the first trolloc by kicking a goat in the face.

The look of the eyeless is fear. Myrdraals don't have eyes because they are afraid to look at Lan Mandragoran.

Sorry, I got a little carried away.
John Massey
109. subwoofer
Holy Cow?!- Up to my tits in renos and totally missed the best part of this book- whoops!

Not much to say about Rand, his issues with the Maidens really need to be hammered out as it is seriously hampering the action of the book. In a way it makes him more human, as a guy, I am not a big fan of seeing the females in my life being hurt, but really! The Maidens chose the spear, forsaking husbands and own kids and all that good stuff...

Mat- lots of comments of him on a hill and such- reminds me of Chisum sans rain. As I have said before, I am a big fan of cavalry, mechanized or otherwise, man mounted on 1000lbs of charging mass has and advantage over infantry- unless they have long pikes and you are closing in... Kinda like Gandalf in Two Towers, at the end when him and the Rohirim are falling down the hill.

And yes, it is good to finally see Mat crack open a barrel of Whop Ass. Reminds me of me, lots of grumbling, cussing, suliness, but at the end of the day, you can count on him to get the job done.

Er- Hi Leigh=:) Good post- Good times!

Go Bela!
RobMRobM
110. porcelina
I think all of these theories really interesting, as to how the story will end, in light of how BS said the clues are right there in EotW.

My theory (not nearly as interesting as some of the others here) is that again it ends in a draw, and the wheel continues to turn. Ishy says to LTT "you and I have fought a thousand battles with the turning of the wheel, a thousand times a thousand, and we will fight until time ends and the Shadow becomes triumphant!" Maybe the story ends with just one more temporary victory and the same thing happens over and over again.

Seems unfair- if the Shadow wins, it wins forever, but if the Light wins, it's just until DO breaks out of his prison.

Thanks for all the Lan Mandragoran facts- they have me cracking up. I have one more:

The Black Wind was created when Lan Mandragoran burped in the Ways.
RobMRobM
111. TexanSedai
jcmnyu - Those are great!!!! I was laughing out loud!!!! All the Lan facts are great - oh man, good stuff everybody :)

R.Fife - I have to agree that Lanfear talking about surpassing the Creator with the Choden Kal had me questioning the validity of an all-omnipotent creator. I hadn't considered the possibilty of Ishy being the DO and Rand being the Creator but it does kind of make sense. At least, Ishy/Moridin being the D.O. Thanks to you and the other posters for the interesting food for thougt. I have just begun my own re-read (tried to just do the recap but missing WAY to much) and now I know some points to be looking for.
Alice Arneson
112. Wetlandernw
If anyone talks like a proto-DO in the books, it's actualy Lanfear. Lucifer was the greatest of the angels until he thought he could challenge the Creator and was thrown down to become Satan. I know RJ didn't entirely follow his own theology when writing the series, but I'm betting that he didn't intend to set up the DO as "equal and opposite" the Creator. WoT doesn't appear to have a separate level of created beings like our angels, but the litany is always that the DO was "bound by the Creator at the moment of Creation" which would preclude the DO being human, at least. Doesn't say anything about other beings...

Of course, this assumes that theology as understood by Randlanders is more or less accurate; RJ has repeatedly shown us that even a character who thinks he's telling the truth can be honestly wrong about something. I've always interpreted his theological propositions to be more or less accurate, though, because (other than the Big Wheel) they ring pretty true with his RL beliefs. Or I could be overestimating his knowledge of his own church's teachings, which is always possible.
John Fitzingo
113. Xandar01
Thanks to asgerix, I see that I haven't been contributing enough. (Between work and reviewing comments that I missed on threads for the last week or so.)

So to make a few statements before I read all the comments. If someone already answered, just redirect me. :)

I really did like the way this battle was done off screen. It allows each reader to put in their own interpretation of how the Aiel fight. We do get scenes later that help fill in what this fight might have been like.

So was it Sammael that was attacking Rand? Don't really remember if the evidence is very convincing, since it seems to be coming from Mr Crazy's POV. I don't have the book with me and I am a few ahead in my own re-read.

And not sure if the is mentioned in the comments above. But Asmodean doing something with saidin as Rand passes out. Isn't this such a great juxtaposition against Liandrin? When her boss is down she tries to attack. Even though Asmo is a Foresaken, he tries to keep Rand alive. Is Asmo returing to the light as Ingtar did? I would definitely cheer to see Asmo comeback (assuming he is still on the side of the Light.) I guess if he got tied to the Horn that would be possible, but I don't think he has done anything hero worthy to earn that.
paul Hend
114. tugthis
At the risk of denigrating the concept of hero to nearly everyone who works in a line of work that occasionally places their lives at risk, the question of volition is central to what a hero is. Every soldier is not a hero, just as every policeman, fireman, doctor, and president is not. Heroic is the idea that you go outside of yourself to assume a roll that ordinary men would not. So the question that Matt is a hero, regardless of what he thinks is interesting. Just bumbling around a battlefield and being forced to fight does not make him a any more heroic than the three thousand men behind him. For a hero it is all about the volition.

I thought the action sequences in the book were very well done as well with the exception of the use of magic. It is the ongoing curse of the writer who uses it to place limits on it. . . else why have the battle at all? Rand at times seems to have the ability to simply wipe out the entire enemy, turning an entire hilltop to glass seems like introducing nukes into a swords and sandals culture, yet clearly to do so means that dramatically book over. And i may have been the only one confused by Sammael's attack but where exactly did it come from? Was he safe back in his city and just launching lightning bolts Predator style remotely? or did he travel to a place near the battle and snipe at Rand. If the former and he is sitting on his throne and remotely "bombing" Rand i would assume Rand could do the same and all those millions of Aiel could go home.
RobMRobM
115. Rand Al'Todd
RFife:

First you mention Bink from Xanth, then you propose an "Incarnations of Immortality" spin for WOT characters to replace the Creator and DO.

Waz up? You doing a Piers reread on your own?
RobMRobM
116. Smatt
@ 114 tugthis

This may be a bit simple but my definition of a hero is someone who acts to help/save others regardless of the consequences to themselves.

Is Mat a hero? For me that is a big yes.

Is every fireman a hero? Again that is a big yes. Their job is to purposefully enter life threatening situations to help others.

Is every policeman a hero? Probably not all but definatley most of them. Their job is to enable people to live their life without fear of crime.

Are doctors hero's? They save lives and help those who are injured/sick. I'd count them as hero's.

Is the president a hero? Hmm, I can't think of any heroic presidents but there are some heroic politicians. As I'm from the UK the first that spring to mind is Labour government who created the NHS in 1948 to provide free health care for all the citizens of the UK.
RobMRobM
117. birgit
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igel_(Militär)



hypothesis: LTT in Rand's head is some sort of real time link betwwen LTT after he's gone mad in AoL, and Rand in present day third age. Part of LTT's madness is his conversations with Rand and vice versa.

Have you read Spiritwalker? It has this kind of connection between two people living in different times.

Whereas fireballs have to be maintained, and can be sliced.

But the other side doesn't use channelers who could do that (except Sammael, who probably doesn't care if the Shaido get killed).
RobMRobM
118. alreadymadwithballsoffire
But if they have to be maintained, that's added effort to a channeler who must conserve his strength, particularly given the consequences of drawing too much while exhausted.

As opposed to a "fire and forget" weave.
Marcus W
119. toryx
Smatt @ 116.

As I'm from the UK the first that spring to mind is Labour government who created the NHS in 1948 to provide free health care for all the citizens of the UK.

I wish I was from the UK. *sigh* Or better yet, could get dual citizenship.

I agree: that's another example of a hero(es).
Sydo Zandstra
120. Fiddler
dokipen@95:

The Hedgehog is a very old tactic known as 'forming square'. I love Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe books (the battles are second to none) and it was a tried and tested military manoeuvre.

I, too, am a huge fan of Sharpe, both books and TV-movies (starring Sean Bean).

You can also find your share of incompetent and competent nobles leading troops into battle in these stories, and see the difference between them.




Xandar01@113:

So was it Sammael that was attacking Rand? Don't really remember if the evidence is very convincing, since it seems to be coming from Mr Crazy's POV. I don't have the book with me and I am a few ahead in my own re-read.

Reading in Leighs post that Rand traced the resume back to the west made me think of Rahvin, actually. There's logic in it too, since Rand is invading Cairhien, which is on Rahvin's want-list.
Don Barkauskas
121. bad_platypus
@96. isriam

ST:tNG ended with Picard being time-shifted by Q among three diffeent timelines: just after the 1st episode, the "present", and many years in the future when Picard is retired and suffering from a degenerative mental disease (I don't recall exactly what; I think it was a made-up disease). There is a rift in all three times and the key to preventing the destruction of humanity is that he must get all three crews to perform the same action in the three different times "simultaneously" (whatever that means in time travel terms).

Hence the idea of someone working with versions of themself in different time periods to accomplish a goal.
Roger Powell
122. forkroot
OK, I give in ...

Mierin was so frightened by Lan Mandragoran that she changed her name to Lanfear.
Tess Laird
123. thewindrose
forkroot-
If you has stapled your eyes shut instead of holding your hands to your ears, you may have been spared.
OTOH - That was a good one at 122:)
Kurt Lorey
124. Shimrod
@122 forkroot.

Best one yet.

Note to rest: Keep day jobs.
T C
125. Freelancer
jej@84

You rang? Lightning, indeed all electrical activity, is a matter of electrons (negatively biased subatomic particles) moving from an area of more negative electrical pressure (cathode) to an area of more positive electrical pressure (anode). The effective impedance of the medium between those two points will determine the amount of pressure differential required, as electromotive force, to drive the electrons. In the case of a lightning bolt, the buildup of free electrons through triboelectric friction rises to produce an electromotive force (voltage) which exceeds the impedance of the space between the cathodic (negative) point and the anodic (positive) area, driving the electron charge across the gap. Spark plugs behave in exactly the same way.

One of the cardinal laws of electrical activity is that current always follows the path of least resistance. Between sky and earth, a lightning bolt will strike the highest location of equivalent impedance (shortest distance), or the least resistive point among several of equal heights. If a human body becomes the closest cathode to the airborne anode, they become part of the path.

By that logic, a Power-wrought lightning strike might be generated with a random zone of influence, yet still have a strong probability of striking a person who is either wearing metal or standing higher than the immediate surroundings.

In answer to some, yes it seems like an inaccurate and less effective attack method than many others. However, we also see an extremely large amount of damage done with them. Perhaps the Power required to instigate a lightning bolt is less draining than other attack forms, giving the channeler more endurane in battle.
John Mann
126. jcmnyu
@122 forkroot

Brilliant. I can't believe I didn't think of that.
RobMRobM
127. Smatt
@ forkroot

Welcome to the party.:)

Lan Mandragoran knows the meaning of fear, it is Lan Mandragoran.
Tess Laird
128. thewindrose
I would also comment, that lighting would be effective in driving down moral and hightening fear. Would it have this effect on the Aiel though?
RobMRobM
129. JennB
The first age is the age of technology. The DO is sealed away in his prison, unable to directly affect events. We live in the first age. Human technology is destroying the world. Everyone is looking for clean alternative fuels. A genteticist discovers a recessive gene that allows humans to tap into an unlimited clean power source.

The second age, the age of Power, is ushered in peacefully. Mankind is able to build on knowledge from the last age. Use of the One Power creates a utopia that last for several thousand years. Scientists continue to strive to improve their world until one stumbles upon a new source of Power.

Tapping into the new source of Power releases the DO, ushering in the third age with violence and distruction. The Bore is sealed, but the seals are not permanent and Ishy is still able to touch the world and do the DO's bidding. Finally the seals break and the prophesised savior must destroy the bore (not just seal it.) In order to do this, they must do something the cuts humankind off from the One Power. At the end of the third age, the DO is once again sealed away. The bore is gone and humans can no longer touch the One Power.

In the fourth (first) age, the remenant of the human population picks up the pieces and eventually builds a society based on technology. Religion will be based on legends of great channelers of the third age. The gods and goddesses who fought giant (titanic) monsters and reshaped the world. The legends will fade to myth.

I know this is nothing new, it is just a summary of the turning of the wheel, but I felt compelled to write it because I keep seeing posts that don't fit with the basics. There may be more ages but even if the fourth age is something new and different, eventually the wheel will turn back to the Power free first age.

Not only is the DO bound to the wheel, but it/he helps the wheel turn. The only transition between ages not directly linked to the DO is between the first and second ages. The DO is not an equal to the Creator, but a device made by the creator to help turn the wheel.

While all individuals are reborn, it is very rare that a specific individual's rebirth is prophesized. That prophecy is the only reason Rand is the Dragon Reborn. The Dragon is simply a title given to LTT at the end of the second age during this turning of the wheel. There is no implication that the "Hero of Light" is called the Dragon at any other time that he is spun out.

I think that all the characters have memories from past lives that they subconsiously draw upon. The Taint simply makes the person much more aware of the memories. The madness gives the memories a voice and personality.

Well I don't think I have said anothing new, so I suppose I should just go back to lurking.

Baby is awake... Gotta go.
RobMRobM
130. CalaLily
thewindrose@ 128

I don't think so. In the Great Hunt, when Perrin, Verin and the Shienarians meet up with that first Aiel, he dares Verin to strike him down. Something along the lines of "Call your lightnings, Aes Sedai. I will dance with them."

However, it's a good scare tactic. Unpredictable strikes of lightning aimed at killing as many people as possible would definitely scare any sane person, I think.

JennB@ 129

There are seven "spokes" on the Wheel, generally taken to mean seven Ages. :) The length of those Ages aren't given, so they could vary between the end of one chapter of humanity and the beginning of the next. So, while the "Third" Age is currently around 3000 years, our Age could better be described as 5 or 6000.

A question I have, though, is will the Last Battle destroy everything from the Third Age, or simply lead to a boom era like the Age of Legends? It seems some Ages end in fire while others simply flow into a better time for everyone.
Brian Kaul
131. bkaul
thewindrose@128:
I would also comment, that lighting would be effective in driving down moral and hightening fear. Would it have this effect on the Aiel though?

Perhaps not, but a heavy rain might scare them out of their wits. ;)
RobMRobM
132. JennB
Ahhh... Seven Ages.

I had forgotten that. Thanks for the correction.

That gives us four unknown ages to speculate on. I like that because then the WOT world fits into reality better since it leaves room for a super long prehistory age before the first age. Of course that means that humanity is completely destroyed at the end of the sixth age.
Roger Powell
133. forkroot
Completely destroyed? Or just knocked-back to pre-historic levels?

I also wonder exactly how much the Ages must conform to their previous instances. Does everything happen exactly the same (like a tape loop)? That would pretty much ruin any thought of free will etc.

Or do the Ages just fit some general pattern (err, excuse me, Pattern) with a lot of individual variation in each case? If so, it could be that man evolves (or is created) in the very first instance of the First Age and is merely knocked back to prehistory when the Age comes around again.
Marcus W
135. toryx
JennB:

Most likely there would be an Age between our own and the Age of Legends, if not several. I'd suspect a great disaster of some sort, to destroy humankind's dependence on technology and give rise to a new way of doing things that depends on the One Power.

And let's not forget that the Portal Stones are from an age before the Age of Legends. They certainly aren't around in our own Age, so they've got to be from an Age between our own and the AOL.

I also don't think it'd be too great an assumption to assume that the Medieval Ages was a transition point between the Age that includes the Roman Empire and previous civilizations and our own Age that began with the Renaissance.
Christa Warden
136. grnidgrl
Please correct me if I'm wrong but don't we see in later books that Shadar Haran(or whatever the tall Fades name is) is the DO incarnate?
Michael Catapano
137. hoping
forkroot@122
Great. Can't be topped. Maybe you made it stop by joining. How ironic.
Roger Powell
138. forkroot
toryx@135
Can't say as I agree with the idea of the Middle Ages representing a transition. There was a lot more going on in the world besides Western civilization and we didn't have contemporaneous upheaval elsewhere. For that matter, medieval times and history passed along gradually.

Regarding the Portal Stones: Wow! You are right. It never registered with me before that these are not AoL artifacts.

The only way we could be in the First Age then, is if we will be creating Portal Stones in our future. This implies we will also discover the True Source, since the Stones are accessed via channeling.

Now if we're not the First Age, then the Mercedes Benz hood ornament in Tanchico has survived a REALLY LONG time.
Roger Powell
139. forkroot
grnidgrl@136
For SH to be the Dark One incarnate would imply that the Dark One has been totally freed, since SH does move about freely (though he/it is linked to Shayol Ghul and must return frequently.)

Some have refered to Shaidar Haran as the Dark One's avatar, although this could be called into question, as we are given his (its?) POV in Chapter 40 of ACoS. A true avatar wouldn't really have a separate thought-stream.

At this point, I believe that SH is just a created being (like all Myrddraal) who is the DO's trusted representative. He has no personal agenda (unlike the Forsaken), and his will is the Dark One's will.
RobMRobM
140. drewoftherushes
Another question about lightning:

When lightning strikes the ground (or vice-versa), would you really see an explosion of the ground, rocks flying everywhere, etc. It doesn't seem like you would. Doesn't that happen in several places in WoT?
Christa Warden
141. grnidgrl
@ Forkroot

Avatar is a much better word for what I was attempting to say. It was always my belief that the stream of thought we were hearing in those prespectives was the DO. Wishing to break his link to Shayol Guol(sp?) and be 'free' to influence the world directly. I'm at work so I can't actually read the passage you quoted but in KOD with Alvarian(sp?) I thought there were a number of passages that support this. Again I can't quote them cause yeah work....

Thanks for the answer.
Sam Mickel
142. Samadai
The Wheel turns and Age Lace is woven because Lan Mandragoran said so.
Richard Fife
143. R.Fife
Lan is the Kwisatz Haderach. And yes, he knows that's the wrong series. He just doesn't care.
Tess Laird
144. thewindrose
From Dragoncon 05 - About Shaidar Haran-

Q66 – Part 1: Is Shaidar Haran an avatar to the world beyond the Bore?

RJ: I am not certain you can really call him an avatar because I generally think of an avatar as having exactly the same powers as, and it is not, Shaidar Haran does not have nearly as much power as the Dark One. It’s as though the Dark One is able to project a shadowy form of himself into this creature…it is the Dark One in shadowy form.

Q67 – Part 2: Is it twenty-four/seven, or just part-time.

RJ: Twenty-four/seven.
Tess Laird
145. thewindrose
Also, I found this as well from Dragoncon 05 - I found it rather sad:(

Q56: I know the male side of the source is clean but those who were driven mad before, will they be cured?

RJ: No. Whatever the degree of taint channelers have won’t change.
Roger Powell
146. forkroot
thewindrose@144
Thanks for the RJ quote. Nice to have the Creator speak and settle the issue :-)

drewoftherushes@140
You might see an explosion if lightning strikes fairly wet ground (or a tree trunk) - any place where water is somewhat confined. The water is turned into steam almost instantaneously and will blow its container apart.
James Jones
147. jamesedjones
140 Drew

I believe I remember hearing that a lightning bolt averages about a terawatt of power, and is usually around 50,000 degrees F. One megawatt is enough to power about 200 homes on a hot day in Texas.

While we have a few stories about folks being struck by lightning and surviving, there are a whole lot more stories about trees splitting, and the boxes on power lines exploding.
Michael Thompson
148. TrollocBait
IIRC there are several places where it is mentioned that the DO's hand is touching the world again, or that it touched the world after the Bore was made. Shaidar Haran means The Hand of the Dark. I always took this as a fairly literal thing. I am curious if there was a SH-esque figure during the War of Power.

Lan passed a kidney stone once. The people of Tear turned it into a fortress.
Pete Pratt
149. PeteP
All these Lan jokes and this Mat talk reminds of a topic from I can't remember if an answer was every reached on. In The New Spring, it mentions that extremely lucky men are those who could learn how to channel and that their luck reflects their capacity to channel. Lan was known as the "luckiest man in the borderlands". Mat is the "luckiest man ever".

So, can both Lan and Mat learn to channel? Talk about how angry Mat would be -- not only is he now a noble, married to a ruler and a woman who can learn to channel, but Mat is a channeler himself? Mat is able to change dice with his luck (he has done it at least two times). Mat really has not been around the Asha'man much and left Rand around the time Rand learned the test, so I doubt he has very been tested. Likewise, Lan left Cairhien before Rand learned how to test.

Just another crazy theory.
RobMRobM
150. twicemarked
PeterP @ 149
I actually think the men being lucky part may have something with accidental channeling, rather than the potential to channel.

If you look over Moiraine's explaining of initial touching the True Source, the channeler can get out of very bad situation by actually channeling. However, since no one can explain it using non-channeling methods, they chalk it up to being lucky.

If you look over Rand's first three usage of the Power, he may appear to be very lucky to an outsider. First the horse run much harder under his direction than possible. Then objects moves to kill him enemy when it had no right to do so. Finally, thunder hits where needed to allow him to escape. But as a reader, you know it is channeling, so you do not consider it luck at all.

Besides, some male widers may have used Compulsion as their first trick, so they appear to be real lucky when dealing with other folks.

At this stage of the story, the only reason to Lan and Mat to learn to channel is to allow them to Slow, so they can stay with their ever lasting wife for a long time.
RobMRobM
151. JennB
I can't remember, do warders have extended lifespans?
RobMRobM
152. RobMRobM
With all of these Lan posts, what comes to mind is..."break it, break it."

Actually, a real question. Leigh claims Daerid and Talmanes knew Mat was being sarcastic in the second chapter. I really don't think so. I recall Talmanes being one of the ones following Mat as he attempted to leave later and helping out with the ensuing brilliantly fought battles with Andor (Rahvin) and assuming that Mat was spoiling for a fight. Am I wrong or is Leigh, the hand of God herself, incorrect? Help. Rob
RobMRobM
153. JennB
I would think that the 7 ages for each turning of the wheel would be similar in overall theme to an age in each of the other turnings. I do not think that they would be in the same order every time.

forkroot @133
Yes completely destroyed. How else could we explain the fossil record in our age? If there are artifacts from our age in the third age then you must take into account artifacts in our age. Perhaps that would mean that the DO won in the age before our Prehistory.

I guess it never registered to me that the portal stones were preAOL. I have a hard time seeing a hood ornament survive thousands upon thousands of years. Maybe we are looking at this all wrong. Maybe RJ never meant for the real world to be part of WOT. What if the real world artifacts were gathered from our world be someone using a portal stone. Of course there are no portal stones in our world...that we know of. Dun, dun.
Tess Laird
154. thewindrose
For JennB@151
From RJ's Blog:
For David, Warders don’t slow. They age at a natural pace, but they do maintain vitality and vigor beyond the levels associated with most ordinary men. That said, I recently saw a photograph of a man in his seventies who had an absolutely ripped six-pack. In fact, from the neck down, if you were told you were looking at somebody in his 20s or 30s, you’d just think he was in incredible shape. And he wasn’t bonded to anyone. Also, Aes Sedai can release a Warder from the bond. In fact, I have said that most Aes Sedai who have time to realize that they are dying will release any Warders they have in order to spare them the effects. I’m pretty certain I have said that publicly, by the way.
RobMRobM
155. alreadymadwithlightning
JennB @151
No, they don't. They stay healthier as they age(which some might say IS the ticket to living longer), but the Wheel doesn't extend their lives longer than is natural.

Re: lightning
Lightning superheats everything around it, especially air. Superheated things expand. Very quickly. This rapid increase in volume can result in an explosion.
RobMRobM
156. JennB
re 154 and 155
That is kind of what I thought. Thanks. It makes me sad for Nynaeve. She is really screwed because not only does she have the extra extra long life (second extra for not holding the oath rod) but Lan is at least twice her age.
Hurin Smells
157. HurinSmells
The only footprints Darkhounds leave are in stone. The only footprints Lan leaves are in Shadowspawn ass.
RobMRobM
158. Valan
@ 150 Twice Marked

"At this stage of the story, the only reason to Lan and Mat to learn to channel is to allow them to Slow, so they can stay with their ever lasting wife for a long time."

Honestly, I think thats more than reason enough for RJ to do it. We all know how much he hates letting his characters die.

I especially think this is the case for Mat, because:
#1. His sister is going to be very strong at channeling one day.
#2. He's married to Tuon, who we know can learn to channel thanks to her experience training damane.
#3. RJ was planning on writing a short series about Mat and Tuon, which leads me to conclude that they're both going to be around a long time.

Loving the Lan Facts

The Dark One could have freed himself twenty years ago, but Lan shook his head and he ran back into the bore.

When Lan tells someone they're very good with a blade, they can cut you in half by moving a finger.
RobMRobM
159. Valan
Forgot the ultimate reason Mat can learn to channel

#4. It would really, really piss him off.

And it would be hilarious.
RobMRobM
160. Smatt
Here is the collated list of Lan Facts to date. There is also 1 poem. I will continue to add the facts as long as you post them. So far we have 49. Thanks to all who have contributed.

1. Lan Mandragoran doesn't seek the void everything just runs away.
2. Lan doesn't practice the sword, the sword practices Lan.
3. The Dark One hasn't broken free of his prison because he knows Lan Mandragoran is waiting outside.
4. Lan Mandragoran does not sleep. He waits.
5. Lan Mandragoran does not practise sword forms. The swords moves itself out of fear.
6. Lan Mandragoran does not have a Warders cloak. The world changes to look like him.
7. Lan Mandragoran lives by the sword, everyone else dies by it.
8. Nynaeve did not break her Block it ran from Lan Mandragoran.
9. Lan Mandragoran can't marry Nyneave because all he has to offer is a sword, a war he cannot win and a roundhouse kick to the face.
10. Balefire can't destroy Lan Mandragoran. It only makes him stronger.
11. The Myrdraal need to move that fast to get away from Lan Mandragoran.
12. Tarmon Gaidon does not mean last battle. It is what happens when Lan Mandragoran is angry.
13. Lan Mandragoran can defeat an army of Aeil with nothing but his braided leather headband.
14. There is no Creator there is only Lan Mandragoran.
15. The Dark One didn't make the blight. Young Lan Mandragoran need somewhere to play.
16. Roxinos didn't leave Lan Mandragoran had a word.
17. The only time Lan Mandragoran Sheathes The Sword is in other men.
18. Forkroot and Roxinos avoid the Tor.com website for fear of Lan Mandragoran puns.
19. Lan Mandragoran eats Trollocs for breakfast, Fades for lunch, and Worms for dinner.
20. Mike Tyson bites other boxers' ears because Lan Mandragoran tells him to.
21. Osama Bin Laden is hiding from Lan Mandragoran.
22. Moiraine didn't get captured by the Finn, she was getting out of Lan Mandragoran's way.
23. Myrddrahl lost their eyes when Lan Mandragoran glared at them.
24. Lan Mandragoran knows who killed Asmodean, but if he told you he'd have to kill you. Acually he'd probably kill you anyway.
25. Lan Mandragoran visited the worlds of the Fins. They rembered the 3 rules but forgot the 4th. Lan Mandrogoran doesn't ask he gets. They died.
26. The kiss of a Draghkar has no effect on Lan Mandragoran. Lan Mandragoran has no soul only a war that can't be won, until he gets bored and wants a bit of fun.
27. The wheel of time turns because Lan roundhouse kicked it.
28. Lan's tears would kill the Dark One. He has just never cried.
29. Lan Mandragoran chose the axe AND the hammer.
30. The Ever Victorious Army is the name of Lan Mandragoran's left and right fists.
31. The big voice at Tarwin's Gap was not the Creator, it was Lan. He would not interfere because then the series would have ended in one book.
32. All our information about the Creator came from Lan. He interviewed the Creator over knuckle sandwiches last week.
33. The Trolloc War wasn’t a war, it was Lan Mandragoran’s 7th birthday party.
34. The Tinkers became pacifists after meeting Lan Mandragoran.
35. Lan Mandragoran wasn’t born with original sin, original sin died from a roundhouse kick to the face.
36. Tarwin’s Gap is what happened when Lan Mandragoran kicked the Spine of the World in the face.
37. Lan Mandragoran can eat 10 Saltines in a minute.
38. Lan Mandragoran created the first trolloc by kicking a goat in the face.
39. The look of the eyeless is fear. Myrdraals don't have eyes because they are afraid to look at Lan Mandragoran.
40. The Black Wind was created when Lan Mandragoran burped in the Ways.
41. Mierin was so frightened by Lan Mandragoran that she changed her name to Lanfear.
42. Lan Mandragoran knows the meaning of fear, it is Lan Mandragoran.
43. The Wheel turns and Age Lace is woven because Lan Mandragoran said so.
44. Lan is the Kwisatz Haderach. And yes, he knows that's the wrong series. He just doesn't care.
45. Lan passed a kidney stone once. The people of Tear turned it into a fortress.
46. The only footprints Darkhounds leave are in stone. The only footprints Lan leaves are in Shadowspawn ass.
47. The Dark One could have freed himself twenty years ago, but Lan shook his head and he ran back into the bore.

48. When Lan tells someone they're very good with a blade, they can cut you in half by moving a finger.

There once was a man from Malkier
Whose visage produced myrddraahl fear
His sword was so grand
When Nyn took it in hand
She exclaimed to the Seafolk, looky here!

Poem by Hoping
John Massey
161. subwoofer
@Smatt- wonderful compilation- Lan is the OG King Leonidas
Daxos: I see I was wrong to expect Malkier's commitment to at least match our own.
King Lan: Doesn't it?

King Lan: You there, Arcadian! What is your profession?
Free Greek-Potter: I am a potter, sir.
King Lan: And you, Arcadian, what is your profession?
Free Greek-Sculptor: Sculptor, sir.
King Lan: Sculptor.

King Lan: And you?
Free Greek-Blacksmith: Blacksmith.
King Lan: Malkieri! What is your profession?
Malkieri: HA-OOH! HA-OOH! HA-OOH!
King Lan: You see, old friend? I brought more soldiers than you did.


Lan leads the Band of the Braided Headband into Tarwin's gap and tears it up!

"To stand against the Shadow so long as iron is hard and stone abides. To defend the Malkieri while one drop of blood remains. To avenge what cannot be defended"

Lan told me once that Malkier lives so long as one man wears the hadori in pledge that he will fight the Shadow, so long as one woman wears the ki'sain in pledge that she will send her sons to fight the Shadow. I wear the ki'sain, Master Aldragoran. My husband wears the hadori. So do you. Will Lan Mandragoran ride to the Last Battle alone?

Good Times!
craig thrift
162. gagecreedlives
I just got a shiver down the spine reading that last paragraph. A true MoA
RobMRobM
163. Valan
@ sub
"Will Lan Mandragoran ride to the Last Battle alone?"

Hell no he's not. When Lan rides to the Last Battle, everyone rides to the Last Battle or else they suffer the consequences of Lan's Evil Eye. That is they shrivel up and die on the spot.
Michael Thompson
164. TrollocBait
It wasn't that hard for Nyn to track Lan. All she had to do was follow the corpses.
RobMRobM
166. Slurpy
I recognize that by design starship battles require a leetle more in the way of technobabble than your average cavalry charge, but jeez.

Someone hasn't watched Battlestar Galactica. One of their main goals was to avoid technobabble. With the exception of "hyperdrive," "tillium" (hyperdrive fuel), and "Cylon," I don't think a sci-fi term is ever even uttered in the series. No lasers, no neutrinos, no inverse tachyon beams. It's pretty awesome how they did it.
John Massey
167. subwoofer
-image courtesy of Dragonmount- no infringement intended.
Michael Thompson
168. TrollocBait
Male Aes Sedai didn't Break the world. A young Lan Mandragoran thought it was a chew toy.
Brian Kaul
169. bkaul
JennB@129, CalaLily@130:
Seven ages or not, our age does seem to be "the Age before the Age of Legends," according to the text. From The Shadow Rising, Chapter 20 (Thom speaking):
"... Go back further, back to the oldest tales I know, from the Age before the Age of Legends. Did Mosk and Merk really fight with spears of fire, and were they even giants? Was Elsbet really queen of the whole world ..."

Mosk & Merk are generally accepted to refer to Moscow and America in the Cold War (spears of fire = ICBMs, giants = superpowers). Elsbet ... Queen Elizabeth? etc. ... Of course, there's nothing proving that Thom is correct about what Age those tales are from, or that the other tales are correct about the origins of the Portal Stones, but this is the closest to a definitive statement that I know of, and the plastic Mercedes emblem does seem more likely to be 2 Ages old than 5 or 6.

EDIT: Later in the same chapter, Jorin the Windfinder also says "All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well, if it pleases the Light," which is essentially a direct quote of Julian of Norwich: "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." A literary allusion by RJ, or intended as the remembrance of a quote by an English Christian mystic, take your pick ...
RobMRobM
170. twicemarked
Valan @ 159
I know it is kind of besides the point, but it may not really tick off Mat that much to be a learner.

After all, he can choose not to learn. It is the sparkers that are forced to learn some control or risk dying horribly. He has never experienced the equivalent of a male suldam, so it would be much easier to remain ignorant and resist learning, should he choose to do so.

And the Slowing benefit of channelling may not be so obvious, since no male channelers have lived long enough to show the benefit.
RobMRobM
171. Valan
@170

Yeah, but in a decade or so, channelling is either going to be either dwindling or very prevalent and I don't think coordination between the White and Black Towers will continue to be next to nothing if the latter holds true. Therefore it should become common knowlege enough that Mat or Tuon (being leaders of an entirely separate civilization) would hear "hey, these people live 6 TIMES AS LONG as regular people." Then, he would have a choice to either learn, or be a dumbass. We know he's not a dumbass (most of the time) so he'd learn. And b*tch about it the whole bloody time.

Actually, Tuon already knows they live that long due to the damane, and if she accepts Channelers eventually as real people, her and Mat would both be learning.
Hurin Smells
172. HurinSmells
Lan has made holes in more men's memories than anything from Shadar Logoth. With his fist.

Stories of Semirhage are used to frighten small children. Stories of Lan frighten Semirhage.

Lan can win a game of Snakes and Foxes without cheating.

Someone once tried to tell Lan Mandragoran that he wasn't all that dangerous. This has been recorded in Karaethon Cycle as the worst mistake anyone has ever made.
T C
173. Freelancer
RE: Lucky men

Sometimes luck is just luck. A man being unusually lucky might indicate a channeler, but it might not. In New Spring, the Black Ajah killed males who had a reputation of being very lucky in the hope that they would get the Dragon Reborn in the process. (Something that always bothered me about this is that they would never know it if they did get the DR, so when would they ever stop? Good thing Ishamael came along and smacked them down for it)

Besides, given other generalities that have been deduced, Lan isn't a channeler. We've learned that male channelers aren't subject to the warder bond as strongly as non-channelers, and in fact might dominate it. Moiraine would have noted such a thing if it were true. Myrelle surely would have, given her very extensive experience with warders. We've also been given every indication that among channelers, strength in the power parallels strength of personality. Lan is as strong as they come in that category, if he were a channeler it would have shown up long ago.

Mat's luck is pretty much a construct of external influences, intially the Aridhol dagger. So even less likely to be an indicator of nascent Power skills. Besides, dude has enough problems without having to face a channeler in the mirror.
Pete Pratt
174. PeteP
@173 Yes and no. We do not know whether or not Lan can learn to channel. We just know he is not currently a channeler. Moreover, Lan sure was never submissive to Moiraine -- he did nothing that he would not done once he gave his word --- at least until he was sent to Myrelle.

We know nothing about whether Mat's luck is from internal or external sources. Where have we been told that the Ruby Dagger made him lucky? Fain sure has gained "luck" from the Ruby Daggar, but Fain had a different experience in Aridhol.

Mat licked to gamble (so much so he got in trouble for owning money to caravan guards). Egwene comments on how Mat would love the dice ter'angreal before anyone knew he was especially lucky. His fate was to be the gambler, the trickster, the general. So, his luck may just be part of his nature, but it does not have to be so.

I think it would be the ultimate irony if Mat is everything he does not want to be --- noble, general, leader, married to a channeler, and a channeler himself.

So, if Lan and Mat are potential channelers, I think that would be off the charts powerful -- maybe putting Rand to shame.
Hurin Smells
175. HurinSmells
@174 fact is Mat would never try to learn to channel, because he is so anti-OP. Although i wonder what the result of taking the test while wearing the fox-head would be?

I think the only way Lan would ever choose to learn to channel would be if Egwene decrees as Amyrlin that all Warders must test for the ability to learn prior to Tarmon Gai'don, now saidin is clean. Now that's a scene I want to see!
Pete Pratt
176. PeteP
Yes, Mat would resist taking the test, but if knew he could live 500 years....

Plus, we still have to see the eye, the balance, and giving half the light of the world -- sounds like it has something to do with the Power....
sandi vogel
177. sinfulcashew
"40. The Black Wind was created when Lan Mandragoran burped in the Ways."

It wasn't a ~burp~!
(Nyneave made chili for dinner)
Richard Fife
178. R.Fife
The War the Lan Mandragoran cannot win is with the Shadow--his own shadow. This is because only Lan cannot be beaten by Lan.
RobMRobM
179. birgit
The only way we could be in the First Age then, is if we will be creating Portal Stones in our future.

The Portal Stones could be from a later Age in the last turning of the Wheel. Just because it is called the First Age doesn't mean that it cannot inherit things from earlier Ages.
John Massey
180. subwoofer
All this talk of Lan suspiciously reminds me of old Lemmy jokes. Like who would win in a fight b/t God and Lemmy? Trick question- Lemmy is God- remember- not me saying this, just an example of the recent Lanisms.
James Jones
181. jamesedjones
175 HurinSmells

Evidence points to the idea that the foxhead would not affect the wearer. Cadsuane has one like it, and she channels all the time.
RobMRobM
182. CalaLily
@ PeteP

I think part of the ultimate channeling irony with Mat is that his wife trains damane and his sister wants to be an Aes Sedai.

Love to see that family reunion.

As for his maybe ability to channel...I don't think so. Why? Because then Rand wouldn't be speshul. They'd have another, really really lucky ta'veren who also is able to channel? Eh.
Philbert de Zwart
183. philbert
I think one of the reasons for the popularity of Mat is the loose and flowing use of language.
A few examples:
"Estean almost dropped his helmet, his eyes going wide, as the short blade stopped a breath short of splitting his head for him."

The 'for him' cracked me up there.

The chapter ended with the sentence 'and then things really got hairy' (in Leigh's summary but I think it is a direct quote). I found that really funny because by most standards racing towards experienced spear wielding warriors leading unexperienced cavalry while magic induced lightning strikes around you, is already pretty hairy.
Roger Powell
184. forkroot
birgit@179
The Portal Stones could be from a later Age in the last turning of the Wheel. Just because it is called the First Age doesn't mean that it cannot inherit things from earlier Ages.
If that were the case, then we would see the Stones in this Age. But we don't.
Philbert de Zwart
185. philbert
@114 Tugthis

Heroic is the idea that you go outside of yourself to assume a roll that ordinary men would not. So the question that Matt is a hero, regardless of what he thinks is interesting. Just bumbling around a battlefield and being forced to fight does not make him a any more heroic than the three thousand men behind him. For a hero it is all about the volition.


I think that by that definition, Mat is a hero: he had the opportunity to walk away when he saw the tairens/cairhienins/cairhienin foot walking towards the Shaido Aiel, but he chose not to, at great risk to himself.
RobMRobM
186. twicemarked
PeterP @ 174

From a story telling point of view, it is generally frawned upon to give new powers to established characters without foreshadowing early on, when we are this late in the game.

Someone inventing a new crossbow crank, when he hears about a new school being founded, and people are invited to join? Cool. Steam wagon working after repeated failures in front of the DR? Fine. If steam wagon works prefectly the first time demonstrated to Rand, that would be odd.

Rand learns a new weave after LTT actually takes over channeling for the first time? It is about time. Aviendha suddendly knows how to identify ter'angreal in KOD? Very doubious, even though she did show unusual behavior for ter'angreal when Bowl of the Wind was used.

People in general feel that the Aviendha example is forced, unnatural, and too out of the blue. If Lan and Mat can learn, that should be introduced a few books after BT is founded, not this late in the story.

Besides, it is at least reassuring that SOME people can do interesting things without being a channeler at all.

Lan and Mat are the most interesting people among the few non-channelers in the cast. If they moved to the other side, whom will the non-channeling population look up to? Perrin, Min, Thom, Galad, Fain, the five famous Captains, or Gawyn?

If you talk about ultimate irony, it should be the fact that gholam, the ultimate channeler destroyer, is defeated by a non-channeler. Making Mat a channeler may increase irony within his own character, but would be less ironic from the bigger picture.
Marcus W
187. toryx
twicemarked @ 186:

If you talk about ultimate irony, it should be the fact that gholam, the ultimate channeler destroyer, is defeated by a non-channeler. Making Mat a channeler may increase irony within his own character, but would be less ironic from the bigger picture.

I agree that Mat as a Channeler isn't something I'd like to see. But I don't think it'd be ironic if a non-channeler defeated a gholam. A non-channeler should be in a far better position to fight a gholam because they don't rely on the One Power. That's far more logical than ironic.

If you want irony, it should be a damane who killed a gholam. Now that'd be ironic (and extremely unlikely).
Pete Pratt
188. PeteP
I am not saying that I would like to see Mat or Lan as a channeler either. But RJ did foreshadowing of this -- the role of luck. He even foreshadow the idea that Thom could maybe learn to channel -- his newphew was a sparker and Min's viewings could be viewed that way.

Again, I am not saying that Mat will ever learn to channel during tWoT, only that it is likely that he could learn.
Sydo Zandstra
189. Fiddler
twicemarked@186:

From a story telling point of view, it is generally frawned upon to give new powers to established characters without foreshadowing early on, when we are this late in the game.


Not only that, but time is too short for them to learn enough about using saidin, in order to use it effectively in battle.

They have enough too keep them busy with already.
RobMRobM
190. birgit
If that were the case, then we would see the Stones in this Age. But we don't.

Maybe we do, but we cannot channel and don't understand what they are. If the First Age is our Age, channeling must have been rediscovered in the AOL.
RobMRobM
191. Porcupine
RE: Hedgehog.

Chess terminology:
A well-known defensive formation, arising from certain Sicilian and English opening variations. Characterized by flexibility, manoeuvering and prevention of enemy active plans.

Difficult to play, very difficult to play well.
Roger Powell
192. forkroot
The hedgehog is not a specific opening (i.e. not a move sequence), rather it is characterized by Black (usually) not advancing pawns past the third rank. Bishops are generally fianchetto'd (which means they are placed on the second rank on the knight's file, after the pawn has been placed on Knight-3.

It is most likely to come out of a Pirc or Modern defense. It is NOT difficult to play - it IS difficult to play well. Hell, chess is damned difficult to play well, especially these days when a PC can kick your butt.
RobMRobM
193. AnotherWolfDream
Concept- The majority of the male channelers that go mad in the current storyline are talking/responding to things that aren't there. We learn (somebody can quote it for me) later that often in the AoL, male aes sedai heard voices. What is the likelihood that the 'taint' is really a breakdown of the walls between lives? Moghedian recognized Birgitte in the AoL, when she didn't know herself, and Ishamael was aware of the endless battles he had with Lews Therin. Rand al'Thor is going mad because Lews Therin is in his head. Maybe Lews Therin went mad because Rand al'Thor was in his? If Rand al'Thor's thoughts were in control of Lews Therin, and Rand al'Thor was in a battle, could LTT have mistaken the family reunion for a battle scene? The kid that went mad, screaming about giant spiders, at the Black Tower, maybe his former life was going mad in the middle of some pre-blight hell-hole at the end of the AoL. The taint the Dark One put on saidin crossed their wires. I'd know I'd go pretty batshit if I had some dude from the future talking in my brain...
RobMRobM
194. AnotherWolfDream
Concept- The majority of the male channelers that go mad in the current storyline are talking/responding to things that aren't there. We learn (somebody can quote it for me) later that often in the AoL, male aes sedai heard voices. What is the likelihood that the 'taint' is really a breakdown of the walls between lives? Moghedian recognized Birgitte in the AoL, when she didn't know herself, and Ishamael was aware of the endless battles he had with Lews Therin. Rand al'Thor is going mad because Lews Therin is in his head. Maybe Lews Therin went mad because Rand al'Thor was in his? If Rand al'Thor's thoughts were in control of Lews Therin, and Rand al'Thor was in a battle, could LTT have mistaken the family reunion for a battle scene? The kid that went mad, screaming about giant spiders, at the Black Tower, maybe his former life was going mad in the middle of some pre-blight hell-hole at the end of the AoL. The taint the Dark One put on saidin crossed their wires. I'd know I'd go pretty batshit if I had some dude from the future talking in my brain...
RobMRobM
195. AnotherWolfDream
Sorry abt the double post. Windows hiccuped, so I hiccupped back. Whoops
RobMRobM
196. s'rEDIT
@112 Wetlandernw

I'm betting that he didn't intend to set up the DO as "equal and opposite" the Creator


However, unless I have misunderstood the little I know about RJ's own theology, it is possible for human beings to become gods, and if gods, why not a DO and a Creator for WOT?
Alice Arneson
197. Wetlandernw
s'rEDIT - I think you're thinking of Brandon. RJ was Episcopalian, and I'd never heard of them having that particular.... belief. Brandon, on the other hand, is indeed LDS.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment