Jul 15 2009 3:43pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Fires of Heaven, Part 21

Hey, y’all, welcome to another Wheel of Time Re-read post, in which we are slowly but surely inching up on the end of The Fires of Heaven. Shiny!

Today’s post covers Chapters 49-50, in which people talk. A LOT.


Previous entries can be found here. Please note that this and all other posts for the re-read contain spoilers for any or all of the currently published novels in the Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, don’t read.

All right, youse guys. Grab some coffee and settle in, ‘cause you’re gonna be here a while. This I Foretell.

Chapter 49: To Boannda

What Happens
Nynaeve strongarms Captain Neres into accepting her offer for the price of the refugees’ passage by having the Shienarans sit around sharpening their swords ostentatiously. Once the refugees learn that she has paid their way, they gather around her, crying thanks and blessings and trying to kiss her hands, and Nynaeve is utterly mortified. They are on the ship for five days, and it doesn’t start well. Elayne is annoyed that they are succoring what is obviously a smuggling operation, and Nynaeve is annoyed that she and Elayne and Birgitte will have to share the captain’s tiny cabin. Later she and Elayne almost have a knockdown fight when Nynaeve realizes Elayne has channeled to make the boat go faster, and Elayne accuses her of being a “frightened rabbit”, until Birgitte intervenes. All of this is done with bright false smiles, though; Neres’ blatant misogyny is mystifying to Nynaeve (who thinks she’s met men who complain about women, but never one who actually hated them), but the result is that even though she and Elayne and Birgitte are ready to kill each other, they refuse to show it in front of Neres or anyone else.

Yet bit by bit, that trouble oozed away. Nynaeve was not exactly sure how. Perhaps the pleasant exteriors Elayne and Birgitte put on just seeped inside in spite of them. Perhaps the ridiculousness of it all, trying to keep a friendly smile on your face while putting a proper bite into your words, struck them more and more. Whatever did it, she could not complain at the outcome. Slowly, day by day, words and tones began to match faces, and now and then one of them even looked embarrassed, plainly remembering how she had been behaving. Neither spoke one word of apology, of course, which Nynaeve quite understood. Had she been as foolish and vicious as they, she certainly would not want to remind anyone.

Nynaeve covertly Heals the men’s wounds, and then the refugees’ and the children’s as well. She had never felt very comfortable around children before, but she and Elayne and Birgitte all grow very fond of those on the boat, and the children do a great deal to ease everyone’s tempers. The refugees all tell their stories, and three in particular touch Nynaeve’s heart: Nicola, whose fiancé Hyran went to fight for the Prophet and got killed; Marigan, who had dealt herbs in Samara and had to run with her two sons (who seem afraid of everything, even their own mother) from mobs looking for Aes Sedai; and Areina, who had somehow found herself taking the oath to be a Hunter for the Horn in Illian and had been getting into trouble ever since.

What she did not quite understand was why she liked Areina best. It was her opinion, putting this and that together, that nearly all of Areina’s troubles came from having too free a tongue, telling people exactly what she thought. [...] Nynaeve thought a few days of herself for example would do Areina worlds of good.

Nynaeve thinks there was an odd exchange the second night, when she had made a comment that they were not in Elayne’s mother’s palace, so she’d better leave room for Nynaeve on the bed, and Birgitte had blurted, “You are the Daughter-Heir of Andor?” Elayne had said yes, coolly, and Birgitte had walked off without a word, but after that they got along much better. All three women wash the dye out of their hair, to Nynaeve’s great relief. On the third day they reach Boannda, where most of the refugees get off, except for Nicola, Areina and Marigan, who want to stay with Nynaeve and the others. Thom and Juilin look disapproving, but Elayne and Birgitte both nod in agreement. Nynaeve then convinces/bullies Neres to keep them on till Salidar. She thinks back to the first night, when she had used the stone ring to enter the Dreamworld, and had forced herself to stay in the Stone for a count of one thousand while her clothes and appearance flicker wildly with her anxiety. She stepped out of the dream, and wakes up, where Elayne asks if Egwene was there or not.

“I am tired of being afraid,” Nynaeve said without taking her gaze from the beams. “I am s-so tired of being a c-coward.” The last words dissolved into tears she could neither stop nor hide, no matter how she scrubbed at her eyes.

Elayne holds her and smooths her hair, and Birgitte tells her that if she thought Moghedien was hunting her, she would run and hide, the same way she wouldn’t just stand there if one of Cerandin’s s’redit charged her.

“You must choose your own time and your own ground, and come at her in the way she least expects. I will take my revenge on her if ever I can, but that is the only way I will. Anything else would be foolish.”

Elayne says she will prove to Nynaeve that she isn’t a coward, and uses one of the dream ter’angreal to go back to the Dreamworld with Nynaeve. They go to the Caemlyn Palace, and then the Two Rivers, where Nynaeve observes with puzzlement that someone is building a very large house outside the village, and a stone plinth carved all over with Two Rivers names has been erected on the Green, between two banners, one with a red wolf’s head and the other with a red eagle. They go to Elaida’s study, where the painting of Rand has a mended tear as if someone had thrown something at it; the papers in Elaida’s box show that she is very angry about a number of things these days, but none of it seems very useful to them. After this first night, she and Elayne enter Tel’aran’rhiod every night, to revisit Elaida’s study and practice their control in the Dreamworld. Elaida’s papers don’t give them much, but an order to send an emissary to Salidar to invite the sisters there to return to the White Tower (though it looks more like a demand to Nynaeve) at least confirms they’re not on a wild goose chase. They can’t puzzle out how Egwene appeared in their dreams, but they practice holding each other in Tel’aran’rhiod, and at creating fantastical shapes and objects.

They quietly decided to leave animals alone after a peculiar thing — much like a horse with a horn on its nose! — chased them both up a hill before they could make it vanish. That very nearly sparked a new argument, with each of them claiming the other had made it, but by that time Elayne had recovered enough of her old self to start giggling over how they must have looked, racing up the hill with their skirts hauled up, shouting at the thing to go away. Even Elayne’s stubborn refusal to admit it had been her fault could not stop Nynaeve’s giggles from bubbling up, too.

Elayne doesn’t like using the plaque or spiral ter’angreal, as she says she doesn’t feel as fully in the Dreamworld as with the ring, and additionally it’s almost impossible to channel in the dream and still hold onto the weave of Spirit keeping you there. The night they meet Egwene they switch, and Nynaeve sees Elayne was right. When Amys and Egwene appear, both Nynaeve and Elayne start to ask about her appearance in their dreams, but Egwene cuts them off with a the news about Rand’s victory in Cairhien, and tells them about it at great length. Nynaeve is astounded to hear Mat killed Couladin, and Elayne asks how Rand is. Amys answers he is driving himself hard (Nynaeve suspects that if an Aiel thinks he is driving himself “hard”, the better word would probably be “murderously”), and Egwene tells them about all the things he is doing, including founding a strange school, for craftsmen as well as scholars.

He had told no one his purpose there, except maybe Moiraine, but the only answer the Aes Sedai had given Egwene was that the urge to leave something behind was strong in everyone. Moiraine did not seem to care what Rand did.

Nynaeve tries again to ask about Egwene in their dreams, and again Egwene cuts her off, this time with a comment about how they’re not in Sheriam’s study, “where we can lounge about and chatter.” Elayne and Nynaeve give their news, and Amys asks if they think the Aes Sedai in Salidar will throw their support to Rand; Elayne says they must know the best way to oppose Elaida and to gain legitimacy for their rebellion is to attach themselves to Rand. Egwene remarks Rand will want to know about Masema and Salidar, and Amys wants to know how both of them are here. When they explain, Amys does not know how she feels about any woman who can channel having the ability to enter the Dreamworld, but admits there is more to be gained from these meetings than she first thought. She and Egwene disappear, and Elayne and Nynaeve immediately take themselves to Sheriam’s study. Egwene shows up moments later.

Before Nynaeve could open her mouth, Egwene said, “Have you two brainless flap-tongues become witless ninnies? If I ask you to keep something to yourselves, do you immediately tell the first person you meet? Did it never occur to you that you don’t have to tell everyone everything? I thought you two were good at keeping secrets.” Nynaeve’s cheeks grew warmer; at least she could not possibly be as scarlet as Elayne.

She tells them they can’t learn to do it, anyway, you have to be a Dreamwalker, and to try and keep their minds on what they’re doing, and vanishes. Nynaeve’s embarrassment overwhelms the anger that had kept her there, and she loses saidar and wakes up. She thinks, so much for redressing the balance between her and Egwene. Elayne wakes and says she went to Elaida’s study briefly, carefully not mentioning what had happened with Egwene, and Nynaeve is relieved. Elayne complains she never got a chance to send Rand a message.

“And one to Aviendha. If she is taking care of him for me, then she ought to take care of him.”

“He isn’t a horse, Elayne. You don’t own him.”

“I never said I did. How will you feel if Lan takes up with some Cairhienin woman?”

“Don’t be silly. Go to sleep.” Nynaeve burrowed fiercely into her small pillow. Perhaps she should have sent word to Lan. All those noblewomen, Tairen as well as Cairhienin. Feeding a man honey instead of telling him the truth. He had better not forget who he belonged to.

On the fifth day, they go ashore where the maps say Salidar is supposed to be, though they can only see unbroken forest from the shore. Nynaeve is not surprised Nicola and Marigan wanted to come with them, but is a little surprised that Areina wants to come too, and thinks they’ll have a shock when they find out what they’re coming to. Elayne asks Nynaeve if she’s thought about how they will be received once they reach Salidar, and Nynaeve looks at her in amazement.

They had crossed half the world, or near enough, and defeated the Black Ajah twice. Well, they had had help in Tear, but Tanchico had been all their doing. They brought news of Elaida and the Tower she was willing to bet no one in Salidar had. And most importantly, they could help these sisters make contact with Rand. “Elayne, I won’t say they will greet us as heroes, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they kissed us before today is done.”

She tells Uno to clear a path, and they set off.

I found this chapter a little annoying, since I had honestly forgotten that Jordan gets things rolling and then inserts this little slice o’ life/Time Passes filler chapter in there. I suppose it was necessary to show how Elayne and Birgitte and Nynaeve go from “about to kill each other” back to a working Superteam before they get to Salidar, but did it really have to take twenty pages?

Although, it occurs to me that I have been a little unfair in portraying the Supergirls’ pissiness for the last few chapters by leaving out a very important element: the heat. I’ve realized that in summarizing the entire second half of TFOH, I have inadvertently elided almost entirely the ongoing references to the miserable humid heat of the “Dark One’s summer” all the characters are experiencing, which is unquestionably a huge factor in the shortness of everyone’s temper, and for which they should be cut some slack. Personally, there are few things I can think of more guaranteed to put me in a rotten mood than to be soaking in my own sweat for days – months! – on end. Ugh.

Anyway. Jordan does that DJ record scratch thing with the chronology here that he so favors for “catch-up” chapters, which makes it perhaps more interesting for me the reader, but drives me the recapper right up a tree, with the first day/fifth day/second day/third night/second morning/fourth day blah blah jumping back and forth. My tenses are in total disarray!

Well, though this chapter does do two important things: it makes sure there’s at least one unicorn in WOT (*snerk*), and it sets things up for the Rebel Aes Sedai storyline in LOC, by introducing the Terrible Trio. Dun!

Nynaeve’s thought about how she would be a good example for Areina’s big mouth is one of the funniest thinks she’s ever thunk. I mean, WOW. That’s like Bobby Knight thinking he could be a good example for a person with anger management issues.

Also, hi, Moghedien!

So, the clues are there about Marigan being Moghedien, but for anyone who claims they knew she was incognito among the three from this chapter, I call bullshit. No way, Jose. Subtlety in foreshadowing, Jordan has it.

Though I have to say, I don’t get this plan. I know Moghedien’s all about the sneaky undercover agent thing, but she’s on record as loathing Nynaeve with the fire of a thousand suns, so why didn’t she take any of the seven million chances she had here to kill her? The only thing I can think of is that she wanted to get to the Rebel Aes Sedai, but that seems kind of publicly-minded (on behalf of the Shadow, I mean) of the Spider; I dunno. Maybe we learn why in the upcoming showdown, I don’t remember.

On a random nitpicky note, I have to say it’s just amazing how much more advanced pharmacology in Randland is than ours. Not only do they have a tea that apparently completely reliably prevents conception, but they have hair dye that washes right out! Washes out black dye from blonde hair, no less. I’m here to tell you, that right there is one of the most fantastical elements of this entire series.

Well, it’s the little details that always tend to get you; I imagine the ins and outs of hairdressing were probably not Jordan’s forte.

(I am reminded of watching the first episode of Heroes with my roommate. She’s not into sf in any way, but her single biggest problem with the pilot episode was not flying congressmen or indestructible cheerleaders or any of that. The part she couldn’t swallow? That Mohinder moved to New York with (apparently) no money, no legal right to work in the country, and no connections other than a dead father – and became a licensed cab driver in like two days. She will still complain about this if you bring it up. I find this hilarious, but also instructive.)

(Have I mentioned that story before?)

Egwene, blah. I think this was supposed to further set up Egwene’s status as The Boss Of Them, over Elayne as well as Nynaeve, but the fact that she’s still doing it to cover up her own rule-breaking rather undermines that. However, if the idea is that a leader should be able to run roughshod over anyone who gets in her way, well, then, she’s right on track, I guess.

Last note on this chapter: I was really – pleased, I guess is the word, though that’s not exactly right – that Nynaeve finally admitted how scared she was to Elayne and Birgitte. And I’m definitely pleased that Elayne’s immediate reaction was to comfort and support her, and for Birgitte to do the same, even while the three of them were ready to tear each other’s hair out. That’s what makes you a Good Guy, y’all. This is why I’ve always liked the Supergirls’ dynamic, which to me is not that of colleagues or even friends, but of family.

Family, in my opinion, is a relationship defined by behavior more than blood, though the two are usually (if not, tragically, always) concurrent. Your family are your people, the ones who will have your back, whether you are related to them or not. They may be flawed and annoying and may drive you bugshit, and vice versa, and you may fight like cats and dogs with them, but at the end of the day, when the shit comes down, you will be there for them, and they will be there for you. And that’s what’s important.

Chapter 50: To Teach, and Learn

What Happens
Four hours after they reach Salidar, Nynaeve is wondering if it wouldn’t have been better if they had never made it there. She and Elayne are waiting in the Salidar Six’s study in the inn, with everything they’d brought with them spread out on the table, while Sheriam et al confer behind a screen of saidar. Nynaeve thinks their arrival has been one shock after another, and she’s about ready to scream. Min’s greeting had been laughter and hugs, but they had been whisked into the study five minutes later and grilled within an inch of their lives. More shocking was Siuan and Leane, in the room as well; Nynaeve can’t decide if she’s more surprised at their youthful features, or that they’re alive at all. They seem to be at odds with one another as well. And she is intrigued by the fact that she can tell they have been stilled.

Something had been taken from them, cut away. It was like a wound. Perhaps the worst wound a woman could suffer.

Curiosity overcame her. What sort of wound would it be? What had been cut away? She might as well make use of the waiting, and the irritation that larded itself through her nervousness. She reached out to saidar.

“Did anyone grant you permission to channel here, Accepted?” Sheriam asked, and Nynaeve gave a start, hurriedly releasing the True Source.

Anaiya chides her that she has forgotten her place in her time away, and Nynaeve curtsies and apologizes, galled at the thought that a day ago she was the one in charge, and now she would have to learn to jump when told all over again. Carlinya obviously doesn’t believe their story, and Sheriam is disturbed by the a’dam; all of them are, though Morvrin wants to study it, and the other ter’angreal as well. She asks Siuan why she never mentioned Verin had given the ring to them, and Siuan says she knew nothing of it; Myrelle is more interested in the paper giving them the authority of the Amyrlin Seat, and Siuan diffidently but with some exasperation tells them they cannot hold her to account for doing what she had a perfect right to do at the time. Sheriam thinks it is appalling that she sent three Accepted – three babies, in her opinon – to hunt the Black Ajah. Nynaeve tries to interject that they are not babies, bringing up Moghedien, but Carlinya dismisses that as sheer luck and orders her to hold her peace. Sheriam presses Siuan as to why she never mentioned their mission, and Siuan replies that it didn’t seem relevant, since she’s had no idea where these two were for a long time.

“The important thing is that they are here now, and with those three ter’angreal. You must realize what it means to have access to Elaida’s study, to her papers, if only in bits. You’d never have known that she knows where you are until it was too late, except for that.”

They marvel for a moment over the reality of Tel’aran’rhiod, and then Leane puts in that the real advantage of it is the ability to speak with Egwene, and Moiraine through her, and influence Rand al’Thor even in Cairhien. Siuan makes a snippy reply to this, which Leane returns in kind, until Anaiya tells them to settle down, and remarks meaningfully to the other sisters that it would be very good to be able to talk to Egwene. Sheriam nods and tells Elayne and Nynaeve that their first duty will be to teach sisters how to use the dream ter’angreal. Nynaeve bares her teeth and curtsies again, and Elayne looks no happier. Finally, Sheriam judges that they left the Tower by command, and that therefore they cannot be held to account for it, and will be permitted to resume their studies. Nynaeve is unsurprised, though she can’t like it, but Elayne starts to protest; Sheriam cuts her off and says they are very strong, but they are not Aes Sedai yet. She tells them they will work with Siuan and Leane, answering their questions, and warns them that any attempt to take advantage of their state to get revenge on them will be severely punished. Nynaeve hadn’t thought of it, but agrees hastily, as does Elayne. Then Beonin speaks up.

“And what of this?” she demanded in heavy Taraboner accents, whipping aside the white cloth that covered the seal on the Dark One’s prison. For a change, her large blue-gray eyes looked more angry than startled. “Are there to, be no more questions about this? Do you all mean to ignore it?” The black-and-white disc lay there, next to the washleather purse, in a dozen or more pieces, fitted back together as neatly as they could be.

Nynaeve repeats defensively that it was whole when they put it in the purse, and they never thought to take care with something made of cuendillar; Elayne adds that it had felt vile and evil, and they had handled it as little as possible, though it no longer feels that way now that it is broken. Myrelle asks softly how many still hold, and Anaiya replies three, if their information is correct.

“Let us pray those three are stronger than this one,” Morvrin muttered. “Cuendillar cannot be broken so, not and be cuendillar. It cannot.”

Sheriam briskly moves them to other topics, stopping to shoo Elayne and Nynaeve out. They go down to the common room, where Thom, Juilin, Birgitte, Areina, Nicola, Marigan, Uno, and Min are waiting for them. Elayne reassures Birgitte covertly that the secret of her identity is safe, and tells Min she would like to talk with her; Min looks unhappy, but nods. They are interrupted by Faolain, who plants herself in front of Nynaeve with a scowl.

“I am surprised to see you here, wilder. I thought you had gone running back to your village, and our fine Daughter-Heir to her mother.”

“Are you still souring milk for a hobby, Faolain?” Elayne asked.

Nynaeve adds that she heard someone tried to rough up Siuan and Leane, and Sheriam means to “make an example” to end it for good. Faolain goes red and blurts a damning denial, then whirls and orders Nicola and Areina to come with her. Elayne steps between them and icily demands to know what Faolain wants with them, and Faolain replies nastily that Sheriam has ordered all girls to be tested even though she thinks most of them are much too old, like certain parties she could name; only three have been found so far. Elayne reassures Nicola and Areina that they will not be harmed, and Faolain marches them off.

“A nasty woman,” Min murmured, squinting after Faolain as she hurried the other across the common room. “You’d think, if there was any justice, she would have an unpleasant future ahead of her.”

Thom plants himself in front of Nynaeve, along with Juilin and Uno, and states that Salidar is packed with fools who think they can depose Elaida; Juilin agrees, except he would call them mad, not fools, and adds that they can reach Cairhien in a month from here. Uno puts in that Ragan and the others can “borrow” some horses without much trouble. Nynaeve looks at Elayne, who shakes her head; Nynaeve knows Elayne will put up with anything to be Aes Sedai.

And herself? Small chance that they could influence these Aes Sedai to support Rand if they had decided to try controlling him instead. Make that no chance; she might as well be realistic. And yet... And yet there was Healing. She would learn nothing of it in Cairhien, but here...

She thinks that she might be some use to Rand if she goes to Cairhien, but if she stays here she might learn enough to figure out how to hold off the madness of the taint for him. She tells the men that she and Elayne are staying, but they are free to go to Rand; Elayne adds that they do not need them anymore, but Rand surely does, and tries to give her casket of jewels from the Panarch (which they had been allowed to keep) to Thom, who refuses to take it. The three men exchange glances, and allow as to how they could use a rest before deciding where to go, just for a few days. Elayne and Nynaeve glare at them.

“If you think you are still following Rand al’Thor’s orders to look after us —” Elayne began in frosty tones at the same time that Nynaeve said heatedly, “You promised to do as you were told, and I mean to see —”

“Nothing like that,” Thom broke in, brushing back a strand of Elayne’s hair with a gnarled finger. “Nothing at all like. Can’t an old man with a limp want a little rest?”

“To tell the truth,” Juilin said, “I am just staying because Thom owes me money. Dice.”

“Do you expect us to steal twenty horses from Warders like falling out of bed?” Uno growled. He seemed to have forgotten just offering to do exactly that.

Elayne is speechless, and Nynaeve torn. She wants to send them away, not least because she doesn’t want them to see her having to curtsy left and right from now on, but admits it would be comforting to have them around. She waffles mentally for a moment, and then Siuan and Leane enter. They stare coldly at each other before stalking in opposite directions, but Nynaeve thinks she caught a glimpse of something there, just for a moment. Siuan stops dead when Gareth Byrne enters, and Elayne (who had seen him earlier), smiles graciously and tells him she has heard of trouble between him and Mother, but is sure it can be mended and Bryne given back his proper place in Caemlyn. He tells her curtly “Done is done, Elayne”, ignoring the shock on her face, and asks Uno if he’s decided to take Bryne’s offer training heavy cavalry; Uno looks at Nynaeve and Elayne for a moment, and then agrees. Bryne turns to Thom.

“I once knew a fellow with a name much like yours,” Bryne said. “A skilled player of a certain game.”

“I once knew a fellow who looked much like you,” Thom replied. “He tried hard to put me in chains. I think he’d have cut my head off if he ever laid hands on me.”

“A long time ago, that would be? Men do strange things for women sometimes.” Bryne glanced at Siuan and shook his head.

He invites Thom to play Stones sometime, and Thom replies, as long as it’s not a game that lasts forever. Bryne agrees dryly, comments to Siuan that his shirts came back dirty today, and leads Thom and Uno off; Siuan glares at Min, who grimaces and darts off. Juilin remarks he’s glad Bryne apparently had no use for a thief-catcher, and Elayne exclaims incredulously that he had all but ignored her, and then hurries off after Min. Nynaeve starts to follow, but Siuan grabs her arm.

The Siuan Sanche who had meekly ducked her head before those Aes Sedai was gone. No one here wore the shawl. Her voice never rose; it did not need to. She fixed Juilin with a stare that had him almost jumping out of his skin. “You watch what questions you ask, thief-catcher, or you’ll gut yourself for market.”

She orders Birgitte and Marigan off as well, and then drags Nynaeve to a tiny room, telling her she has questions and Nynaeve had better answer them. In the room, Siuan asks about the ring, and whether it’s true that it doesn’t require channeling; Nynaeve says yes, and Siuan tells her she’s going to teach Siuan to use it. Nynaeve raises an eyebrow and says she doesn’t recall Siuan being on the roster of people who get to use the ring, and Siuan says the sisters don’t know, and they won’t, unless Nynaeve wants them to find out she and Elayne have been posing as full sisters; Moiraine may be letting Egwene get away with it, but Sheriam and Carlinya will have them “squealing like a spawning grunter” if they find out. Shaken, Nynaeve denies it, but Siuan tells her she’s a rotten liar. Nynaeve rallies, and says she will teach her, but only if she can study Siuan and Leane, to see if stilling can be Healed. Siuan refuses flatly, and says she and Leane were promised to be left alone. Desperate, Nynaeve gambles on her own suspicion.

“What would Sheriam say if she knew you and Leane weren’t ready to tear out each other’s hair at all?” Siuan just looked at her. “They think you’re tamed, don’t they? The more you snap at anybody who can’t snap back, the more they take it for proof when you leap to obey every time an Aes Sedai coughs. Was a little cringing all it took to make them forget the two of you had worked hand-in-hand for years? Or did you convince them stilling had changed everything about you, not just your face? When they find out you’ve been scheming behind their backs, manipulating them, you’ll howl louder than any grunter. Whatever that is.”

Nynaeve repeats her demand, throwing in Logain, though of course she has no intention of Healing him even if she finds out how, and says otherwise Siuan can forget about the ring. There is a long, tense silence, then Siuan mutters that she hopes Moiraine has “managed to keep Egwene’s backbone more supple than this”, and agrees. She and Nynaeve shake on it, and Nynaeve is greatly pleased that finally someone had failed to bully her.

Elayne catches up with Min just outside the inn, and asks what she is doing; Min answers “laundry”, sourly, and says something incomprehensible about Siuan. Min tells her that the three women they brought with them are “trouble, and that is a viewing”, but can’t be any more specific.

Drawing a deep breath, she leaped off the cliff. “Min, you had a viewing about Rand and me, didn’t you?” She went two steps before she realized the other woman had stopped.

“Yes.” It was a wary word.

“You saw that we were going to fall in love.”

“Not exactly. I saw you’d fall in love with him. I don’t know what he feels for you, only that he’s tied to you some way.”

[...] “And you saw there would be someone else. Someone I’d have to... share him with.”

“Two,” Min said hoarsely. “Two others. And . . . And I’m one.”

Elayne is astounded, which rather annoys Min. Elayne can’t decide how she feels about this news, and instead just asks who the third is; Min doesn’t know, except that she has a temper (and adds it’s not Nynaeve, “thank the Light”). She asks Elayne cautiously how she feels about this.

“I like you. I never had a sister, but sometimes I feel like you... I want to be your friend, Elayne, and I won’t stop liking you whatever happens, but I can’t stop loving him.”

Elayne says stiffly that she can’t like the idea of sharing a man, and Min doesn’t either, but says she will take him any way she can get him, shamed as she is to admit it; the man has scrambled her brains. Elayne takes a deep breath, and says he is ta’veren, and they are “chips caught in a whirlpool”, but they will work it out somehow. Min says bleakly that meantime they are trapped here, and frets about Rand being around all those Cairhienin noblewomen, but Elayne tells her not to worry about that; Aviendha is keeping a close eye on Rand for them. She helps Min with the laundry as Min starts to fill her in on her story, and wonders who on earth the third woman could be.

I’m not nearly as incensed by this chapter now as I was the first time I read it, but that’s because I know what’s going to happen now. The first time, I was livid on Elayne and Nynaeve’s behalf.

Especially Nynaeve. Some of the Salidar’s Six’s reactions are understandable here, but Carlinya can seriously bite me. Not even a little credit – just credit! – for an Accepted who beat a Forsaken? Shit. If I was Nynaeve I would have screamed. Respect, may we have some, please? Clearly, no. Grrr.

I’m unclear on whether any of the Six twigged to the real reason Siuan didn’t tell them about Elayne and Nynaeve’s mission, in the Tower or later in Salidar. Which was, of course, because Siuan could not be sure whether any of them were Black Ajah themselves.

I mean, I hope they figured that out, because it’s bloody obvious, as is the reason why Siuan could not say so out loud. But you never know, since it appears that Siuan’s got them dancing to her tune quite nicely. It’s obvious, for instance, that by this point they’ve already been manipulated into choosing Egwene as their Hudsucker proxy. So who knows what they’ve noticed?

Faolain: She shows up, and suddenly we’re in the medieval version of Mean Girls. It’s kind of awesome. I snickered like hell at Elayne’s little dig at her in the common room. Ha, snap. Sometimes being catty is just so satisfying.

Speaking of Elayne, I never quite understood Bryne’s reaction to her in this chapter. Elayne-haters are sure to put the worst interpretation possible on it, I’m sure, but I had never had the impression that Bryne was vindictive or petty, nor that he had any particular animus against Elayne, who remembers him quite fondly earlier. And surely he doesn’t blame Elayne for how her mother behaved... right? I don’t know, maybe I’m missing something, but being that cold just seemed uncalled-for.

Thom, Juilin, and Uno are adorable in this chapter. Again, it comes down to actions trumping words; they can grouse about Nynaeve and Elayne all they want, but you just are not that loyal to people you genuinely can’t stand, sorry.

Siuan: I like her a lot, but I’m still glad that Nynaeve won that face-off. First because Nynaeve really needed a victory right then, however small, and secondly because I really do like to see the Supertrios evolve into being the Boss Of Others, my snark about Egwene above notwithstanding.

Elayne and Min: All things considered, Elayne took the news quite well, I think. Better than most would have. Of course, she had kind of already suspected, so that probably helped a little, but still. It also appears that she shares the view that prophesied love, especially with a ta’veren, doesn’t have a lot to do with, well, falling in love. I’m not sure how else to put that. Maybe someone else can try!

Because the typing, it is stopping now. Stick a fork in me, and come back Friday!

1. CalaLily

Are you a Firefly/Serenity fan?! :D
2. alreadymadwithloonygirls
Sigh... Reading about nothing but the girls is tedious.
j p
3. sps49
Yeah, how does Egwene get off covering her misbehavior that way?

And the SAS really don't wonder at all whether ex-Keeper and ex-Amyrlin are Up To Something?

Faolain should be dropped into the river.
4. CalaLily

Nope. They were too busy being satisfied with the solution "They hate each other because they were stilled".

Which is very short-sighted and narrow minded of them.
James Jones
5. jamesedjones
Aside from the part with Thom, Juilin, and Uno; that little nugget at the end about, 'Don't worry about Rand, Avienda will watch him for us.' is my favorite part for both chapters.
j p
6. sps49

Yeah, reason 13 why Aes Sedai Should Not Be In Charge Or Making Important Decisions.

And yes; Aviendha. Ha!
Anthony Pero
7. anthonypero
RE: Bryne and Elayne.

Two things here:

1) Elayne is described as looking a LOT like her mother, so maybe it's too painful for him


2) It's a preemptive strike against the Salidar Six using Elayne to manipulate him.

Siuan is awesome. She is one of the few consistently intelligent people in this story. She immediately caught on to the dream ter'angreal allowing her even MORE influence. She is by far more interesting stilled than she was as Amyrlyn
Kurt Lorey
8. Shimrod


I totally understand the Salidar councils' reactions. Talk about an info dump containing stuff they just don't want to acknowledge.

The "girls":

Nynaeve beat Moghedien (I don't think any believe Nynaeve just yet).

Elayne says she can create ter'angreal.

They probably brough back more money than the entire Salidar group had.

They brought back more ter'angreal than the Salidar Sisters had managed (I'm thinking), including an a'dam.

They mentioned that the Aiel had Dreamwalkers.

The Seal they brought back was crumbling! Can't you just imagine the sinking feeling about that?

And, the "girls" had survived several meetings with THIRTEEN Black Sisters.

Bitter, bitter stuff to have to acknowledge from women they consider "children".

No wonder they aren't more than just dismissive.
Marcus W
9. toryx
CalaLily @ 4:

Which is very short-sighted and narrow minded of them.

Doesn't that just describe Aes Sedai in general?

When I got this far in my own re-read, I was surprised at how angry the AS in Salidar made me. I'd forgotten how obtuse they are.
Luke M
10. lmelior
Those are some long recaps. (Spelling nazi time: about halfway through Ch. 50, you spelled "Bryne" as "Byrne.")

Of course I remember Nicola and Marigan, but I don't remember a thing about Areina. A brief check of her encyclopaedia-wot bio says she hasn't really done anything important, aside from being a minor sidekick in Nicola's blackmailing. I don't think she can channel, so she doesn't stand to gain anything by going along with it.

Am I missing something?

@sps49 #3
Faolain should be dropped into the river.
Right next to Nicola.
Marcus W
11. toryx
Anthonypero @ 7:

I think you're right on the money with both accounts. Bryne has just managed to set aside his feelings on the whole ordeal and suddenly there's Elayne to act as a constant reminder.

On top of that, he knows he's literally in the river with a bunch of silverpike (AS) and is smart enough to know better than to risk sinking himself any deeper.
12. CalaLily

I think Nicola and Areina are pillow friends. Areina follows her everywhere, even to the point where she runs away with Nicola when she goes back to the Tower. They could just be sooper bestest best friends, but I think it was mentioned somewhere that they are more of a "couple" than that.

Plus, I think Areina wants to be the -second- female Warder. I believe. Unsubstantiated theory. I think that's what happens when she finds out Birgitte is bonded to Elayne, though...
Maiane Bakroeva
13. Isilel
Well, Nyn is funny as always. And yes, I agree about the family dynamics between the SGs.

Re: Egwene, given how her early role-model was Nyn, it is not very surprising that she chose to assert herself against her in such a way ;).
And honestly, the rules the WOs imposed on Egs are rather stupid and only ensured that she didn't know as much as she could have when she left and would have known even less if she didn't sneak behind their backs so much.

It strikes me again, how female characters get humiliated and punished in various ways, have to obey strictures, etc., while none of the important male characters have to serve an apprenticeship on-screen.
Well, except for Rand, but he doesn't have to come to his teachers as a supplicant, nor has to accept their authority over him.

IMHO, the biggest reason for the exaggerated haughtiness of WOT women is that they have been forced to eat a lot of humble pie and are eager to serve it to others in their turn.

Re: Moggy, she still has to please the DO. And getting control of the Salidari would have done that, for sure.

Siuan is awesome, even though it is nice that she failed to bully Nyn. A parade example of the absurdity of the AS belief that strength in OP relates to the strength of will or leadership abilities in any way.
Funny, how rebellion would have crumbled without her and Leane leading them by the nose every step of the way. A pity that our young heroes (tm) must assume positions of leadership everywhere, really, as things with the rebel AS would have moved much more quickly with Siuan back in the saddle.

Re: Bryne and Elayne, I never understood it either.I mean, he was like an uncle to her and the Gs, if not actually a stepfather. It seems strange that his anger at Morgase leads to him completely cutting out El too, and not very attractive.

Min completely subsumes herself into her man part 2. Meh.
Pattern-enforced Randy foursome that is supposed to be true wuv nevertheless double meh.
Anthony Pero
14. anthonypero
So, the thing about Nynaeve that always annoyed me so badly ten years ago was her complete lack of self-perception. Ch 49 in particular was a great example.

What's funny about this re-read, though, is I realize now that when I was 24, my self perception was completely out of whack as well, and I'm willing to cut her a little slack.

I still don't find it funny, like Leigh does, however, I just get really uncomfortable and squirmy for her, which lessens my enjoyment of the scene. Being that off about yourself is painful and frustrating, because you can never interact with others in a comfortable fashion! You always assume they see you as you do.
Anthony Pero
15. anthonypero
Isilel@11: "It seems strange that his anger at Morgase leads to him completely cutting out El too, and not very attractive."

Its not anger... its pain, and confusion. And it's pretty fresh. And he doesn't take anything out on Elayne... he ignores her. Elayne's perception of the situation is a bit off (as usual), since she really doesn't have all the facts at her disposal.
John Mann
16. jcmnyu
The only chapter I skipped in the first five books during this reread was Chapter 49. I just couldn't do it anymore. And with the Salidar arrival next, I skipped ahead and didn't look back.

I agree with the three things Leigh takes from the meeting with the Salidar Six. Nynaeve should have laid the smackdown on Carlinya for the lack of credit for beating a Forsaken. Siuan was very slick in not mentioning her reason for recruiting the supergirls. And they have definitely already set their eyes on Egwene for the next Amyrlin.

I think at this point most Aes Sedai who spend most of their time either at the Tower or holed up in Salidar are Too Stupid To Live. There are very few exceptions. Siuan and Leane, although they have their moments pre-coup. Any others? The ones who are out an about are much more intelligent and aware. Of course, this is all by WoT standards. No one shares information, they are just smarter about using the information they have.

And no, I had no idea Marigin was Moggy. Not on the first read, no way, no how.
James Jones
17. jamesedjones
Are you kidding me!? Of course Marigan is Moggy. You’ve got a woman whose two little boys are practically catatonic, and all she can talk about is how much she wants to find a village to practice herbs. Plus the names are almost identical, and...

Ok. Just kidding. No, I had no idea. :P
Tony Zbaraschuk
18. tonyz
>for anyone who claims they knew she was incognito among the three from this chapter, I call bullshit.

Oh, I realized Marigan was Moghedien and predicted it (way back in some previous edition of the WOT FAQ on Usenet), but I thought that Nicola and Areina were disguised Black Ajah (I even had the names picked out), so I didn't completely get what was going on.

Moghedien probably figured that she couldn't track down the Salidar bunch in Tel'aran'rhiod given that Aes Sedai and Warders both shield their dreams, but that Nynaeve would lead them straight there. Public-spirited (in a Dark sense), no doubt, but Moghedien probably figured that she could get major kudos from the DO for breaking up or spying on or something one group of his opponents -- particularly since there were no Forsaken among them. I, too, am a little wondersome why she never just snagged both Elayne and Nynaeve one fine night, but I suspect that her last couple of meetings left Moghedien with a very strong desire not to let Nynaeve get the better of her again.

And I wonder what Moghedien must have thought at seeing Birgitte there :)
Sam Mickel
19. Samadai
Something I have thought about for several years and have never heard anyone else comment on. Min seeing Carlinya for the first time and seeing an image of a raven, more like a tattoo. Ever since we have found out more about the Seanchan I have always considered her a spy for them. I wonder if the emprees knew she could channel or could learn and sent her to the White Tower to be their spy on the inside. Knowing that only an Aes Sedai could have any power or influence in the tower.
James Jones
20. jamesedjones
19 Samadai

Nah. The risk is too great that she would be discovered or brainwashed. Carlinya would have had to arrive about 3-4 decades before the Forerunners. If she had been discovered, then that gives the White Tower way too much time to prepare.
21. CalaLily

Eh, I don't think so. That would be so against Seanchan culture that if anyone found out I think it would result in -another- civil war. My personal theory on that is that Carlinya gets captured during the Seanchan attack on the Tower and becomes a damane to the Empress.

Or, the way twists go, she gets captured by a Seeker, or somehow involved with the Deathwatch Guard.
Pete Pratt
22. PeteP
Elayne could not get her way in the palace with only a few people, according to Gawyn in tEotW, and Gareth was one of them. As much as she is showing affection of him, Gareth always resisted. Here, Elayne is the daughter of his ex-lover and queen. He does not have to pretend. He is too busy in his new project. He really does not have time for her, nor does he want to find the time. Elayne is just completely unimportant to Gareth.

I thought the Nynaeve-Siuan throwdown was really cool. Very good of Nynaeve to figure Siuan out so quickly.
23. JennB
After reading the comments for the last few chapters, I feel like I am the only person who loves reading about the adventures of Nynaeve and Elayne. People talk about dreading their chapters or even skipping over them. The only chapters I really remember dreading are Perrin, Faile, Berelain chapters. Ick.

The battle chapters every one loves so much make my eyes glaze over. Makes me feel kind of like an odd ball in this company. Guess it just shows how everybody can get something different from these books.
Michael Catapano
24. hoping
I like Chapter 49 because we find out alot of neat stuff about how to control TAR.

Why didn't Elayne sense Nicola on the riverboat? She sensed Aviendha in tDR before she started to channel. Could Moggy have shielded her? Could it have been done without Nicola knowing? Does that mean that Nicola is Moggy's agent and under a prolonged compulsion thing? Don't know.

eighteen years, numerous re-reads and for all that time I have been seeing Gareth Byrne. Duh.
25. Latecomer
Haha I'm early again! :) Maybe I'll have to adopt a new name :)

Re. Carlyina - I'm with JDjones & CallaLily. The Seanchan have no interest whatsoever in influencing the white tower - they just want to leash those filty disgusting chanellers. That dislike and loathing appears to be too strongly built in for anything like this to be considered. Also the idea of horrid Carylina getting a slice of the other side of life is not unappealing.

Re. heatwaves & frustration: We're having a bit of the oppostie experience down here in NZ. Its been a dreary, rainy winter, a lot more so than usual. Most people I know are feeling ru-down, unhappy and just generally un-enthused with life. Although I guess thats the opposite of snappy & catty etc. Give us time. :)

I don't think its Women in particular. It's human nature to take out your frutration on something. I know lots of stories/ anecdotes of women in India who had a horrible time themselves as a young new wife who now mete out exactly the same horrible treatment to someone else who is a newcomer as a mother in law or sister in law. Vicious cycle, but also that they are so powerless in so many ways that they take power where they can & go nuts.

Guess its not that bad in Salidar yet!

PS: I had this long post written out and Tor ate it! :( boo hoo - so this is my second, smaller try. Might come back later with some more.
Anthony Pero
26. anthonypero
hoping@#24: IIRC Nicola doesn't have the spark. You have to test for girls who don't have the spark. Avhiendha DOES have the spark.
27. JWezy
I have a theory regarding eaten posts - I think that when you start to post, the page takes the next number, then when you try to send the post (after editing), it uses that number. If you take time editing, the odds are better that someone else pushed a quick post into the number you had taken, and you are hosed.

That's the technical term we computer professionals like to use, "hosed".

How about it, Tor-webmaster? Do you have a bug in your posting logic? Or do you buy it from somebody else, and they sold you a bug?

BTW, in self-defense, I always edit offline and cut-and-paste in now, life's too short...
Rikka Cordin
28. Rikka
someone set up an RSS feed for all of Tor's update-ables and I love it. I will never be behind on the read through again! mwahahaha.
29. tacoma
Re Bryne and Elayne: Bryne is all business, all the time. He decided to put Camlyn behind him and (I believe) acknowledged at one point that there was no going back. Elayne to him is probably "back." Plus, he's remarkably focused on what he's about (pursuing Suian, building an army) that she might just be a distraction. Not that that justifies his cold shoulder, but I can see where this might happen.

Leigh, awesome as always. "Good night, ladies."
30. TexanSedai
Wow! Alot of info in this post!

First of all - thank you Leigh for not going too far into the heat thing until now. It is summer in Texas and right now it is about 108 outside - literally. It is bad enough having to live in an oven, but reading about it only makes it worse! I am not as far as you in the reread so I am still in winter in my book and it is such a relief from this heat!

Second - I kinda don't blame the SAS for setting down El an Nyn. They are not full AS, no matter how strong they are. Seems like there is more to becoming as AS than just being strong in the power. I guess it makes me think of a high school kid skipping his senior year and college and going straight to the Pros. There is alot of life experience and training he missed out on in those years that just might make his game alot better. So IMHO El and Nyn just need to suck it up and pay their dues until the time comes that they qualify (including passing the test) to be AS.

@2 - Totally agree!

Knowing that Marigan is Mogy is kinda creepy readng about her and what she does. Can read her from new perspective now!
31. Lsana
Something that I've alway wondered while reading these two chapters: what happens to those two kids that "Marigan" is dragging around? It feels like they are completely forgotten almost as soon as they are introduced. To someone who has re-read this more than I have: do we get any hints of them after Marigan is revealed.

And no, I had no idea who Marigan was. I didn't know until Nyn told me.

@13 Isilel,

I have to disagree on the WOs restrictions on Egwene. They are trying to prevent her from jumping off a cliff, something that she has come very close to doing (metaphorically speaking) more than once. They are doing everything they can to slow her down, because she can't be trusted to be rational by herself.
32. JennB
As to the unicorn thing: each time I have read this, I have always concluded that it was a rhino because the horn is on the nose and not the forhead. Has anyone ever seen a unicorn depicted with its horn on its nose?
James Jones
33. jamesedjones
31 Lsana

"Marigan's" boys begin to open up, and somewhere in LOC they are playing with the other kids and acting like normal children. Of course, this freaks Nyneave out, and she decides that they have to make like a tree and leave before the kids let someone know that they have no idea who this Marigan woman is.
34. That Guy

Also thinking about Min seeing Moggy, why would she not see multiple auras around her?
35. JennB
I looked up unicorn to see if I could find any pictures of one with a horn on its nose. I didn't find any, though I found that they do not always have the body of a horse (sometimes they have the body of a deer and/or other animal parts like a lion's tail or a goats beard).

I found that there is an extinct species of rhino that has a single horn on its forhead called Elanmotherium. Interesting tidbit.

I think they saw a modern one horned rhino.
Heather Porter
36. Bym1971
First of all, thanks for all your hard work, Leigh! These posts are a wonderful break from the insanity of my workday.

And second, wahoo!! I FINALLY finished KOD! I was having some serious trouble getting into it, and then I got sucked in, and when I got to the end, I freaked. "Are you kidding me?!?!?" My cat, however, had no answer :-)

@ 10 and 24: I see Bryne when I read, but my head says Byrne. Hard habit to break. Like pronouncing Cairhien correctly, my brain just wouldn't do it for a while.

And, really? Marigan is Moggy? Get right the hell out of town! Missed that COMPLETELY. Through three re-reads. I'm just a knucklehead. :-)

And, now that I've finished the ENTIRE series -- finally -- I'll jump in and re-read with Leigh. Apparently I've missed too too much when left to my own devices.

Till Friday, y'all!
37. wa'lThor

Nothing says Jordan has to use the standard definition of a unicorn. Nyn and Elayne simply dreamed up some fantastic creature. The fact that it said it looked much like a horse with a horn on its nose means to me it was a horse, definitely not a rhino. Anyone would be hard pressed to describe a rhino as a horse, if anything they would say it looked more like a small version of Cerandin's s'redit or something.
38. Latecomer
Funnily, I've never had any problems with Bryne, Taim, Aiel et all. My hardest word to pronounce mentally has been Nynaeve. I used to think of her as Nyn as much as possible as the enunciation of the word was just too hard for me, never having been exposed to any Gaelic names/ stories etc until then. Even now the only reason its easier is that a friend has a daughter called this (spelt differently though) and I use his pronunciation.

Re. Unicorn - it does say like a horse with a horn on its nose, and I have a hard time thinking of rhinos as horselike. So I'll just go with the traditional unicorn for this one thanks :)
39. perrin5454
As far as Gareth goes, I think there are two things to remember.

One, he is pretty old, late 40s if not 50s and he has devoted his entire life to the Andoran Royal family. His entire adult life... just think about that. On top of that, he was once Morgase's lover, but even after that he was also her most trusted advisor. Now after a lifetime of service, a new man shows up in Rahvin, beds Morgase and she quickly sends Gareth out of town one step ahead of the headsman in to retirement and essentially disgrace. That is his thanks for a lifetime of service.

Now here comes Elayne who essentially says that this isn't really a big deal and she can surely fix it. Really, really Elayne? Just a couple of minutes and you are going to undo all that damage? She is unintenionally making light of probably one of the more traumatic incidents of Gareth's life. I think that is the reason he is cold to her.
Roger Powell
40. forkroot
Gareth Bryne is about as self-possessed and thoughtful a character as there is in WoT-land. His coolness toward Elayne was undoubtedly calculated coolness.

I believe that he maintained his distance from Elayne primarily to protect her. If he had shown much affection for her, you can bet that that SAS ruling council would have tried to use her for additional leverage on him.

Furthermore, should there be a "falling-out" with the SAS, he would not want her to be affected.

He is way too rational to hold anything against Elayne for what may have happened with Morgase.
Genevieve Williams
41. welltemperedwriter
(I am reminded of watching the first episode of Heroes with my roommate. She’s not into sf in any way, but her single biggest problem with the pilot episode was not flying congressmen or indestructible cheerleaders or any of that. The part she couldn’t swallow? That Mohinder moved to New York with (apparently) no money, no legal right to work in the country, and no connections other than a dead father – and became a licensed cab driver in like two days. She will still complain about this if you bring it up. I find this hilarious, but also instructive.)

It's true though that even in fantastic fiction, you want to get the real-world details right. (And your fantastic elements have to be internally consistent; how many discussions have we had here about points in WoT where that isn't the case?) I had the same reaction to the hair dye, even though I've never dyed my own hair.

Contraceptive tea seems to be one of those miracles of Fantasyland in general. Off the top of my head I know of no natural product that suppresses fertility, though there are plenty of natural abortifacients.

ISTR (though it's been years) being suspicious of Marigan right off the bat. The Forsaken often seem to take disguises that have some physical resemblance to their real appearance (I knew right away that Keille was Lanfear: same mode of dress, graceful movement, melodious voice. So what if she made herself ugly?), which is just another indicator that whatever the DO was selecting for with his Chosen, it wasn't brains.

The Salidar AS. Sigh. I've been around academic politics long enough to know that people who are supposed to be smart have the same blind spots as everyone else, but geeze.
Sara H
42. LadyBelaine
Nice recap Leigh

- quick thought. I've long thought that Areina will incorrectly remembered as Birgitte's incarnation in this era.

William Fettes
43. Wolfmage
“Yeah, how does Egwene get off covering her misbehavior that way? “

It’s unflattering, for sure. At this stage, Egwene’s primary concern is still protecting the continuation of her lessons by concealing her ongoing activities in the dream. Now, I can grant her some legitimate sense of frustration that her friends are, through their ignorance, potentially endangering her path to becoming a dreamwalker; however, that excuse only goes so far because she is still acting to protect a lie and tries to make them complicit in it without levelling with them. She aggressively calls them down with a very high-handed and self-righteous tone as if they should know she was visiting them outside the strictures of the WOs. She genuinely seems to think that because she told them in the dream not to talk about it, in a highly generic way, that she is justified in getting on a high horse. But we know that dream communication is hazy, at the best of times, and they cannot possibly know the injunction is entirely focused on the WOs if she doesn’t explain what is at stake.

Indeed, she is so far from being honest with either of them about that IMO it makes a bit of a mockery out of the plot gimmick that Egwene is supposedly all about paying the price for the choices. Here, we see her simply exploiting her knowledge of TAR to shield herself from any kind of accountability – popping in to berate them, then popping out.
44. Noren
I don't think it's plausible that a rhino would have looked like a horse to Elayne & Nyn.A hippo,maybe,but a rhino?

I think it's more option 2.AS have a reputation for...muscular persuasion,at best.If he happened to butt heads with the Salidar Tower,there was no point giving them one more handle to manipulate him.

Come to think about it,has anyone noticed that having Siuan assigned as his maid gave him the option of fleeing WITHOUT leaving her behind?Not that he's one to break his word,but if the Last Battle's near,a little flexibility in your options can't be a bad thing:)

I believe Moghedien only really developed a mad-on for Nyn after spending that bracing period as her...guest.Before that,she seemed to consider her as an amateur who'd gotten lucky,slighted her but could be dealt with at leisure(which was pretty much true,by the way).Not till she'd been collared and released did she consider a serious threat.A threat she'd helped teach:)
45. Freelancer

You beat me to it. Bryne is also a master player of the Game, as well as a tactical genius. One of his first thoughts upon arriving at the HQ in Salidar was that he was deep in the Great Game here if he ever was. If he shows affection for Elayne, then she becomes a tool to pressure him with. Gareth Bryne adores the Daughter-Heir, but he can't afford even to let her know it lest the sisters see, and find a way to use it. I just wish that, once he pledged to Egwene, he had asked her to pass a private message to Elayne. That would have been all squishy.

Neither Nynaeve nor Elayne "dreamed up" the unicorn. It was real. Both adamantly deny that such a thing entered their head. They almost come to blows over who is responsible. So obviously it is a permanent denizen of T'a'R, and it was a matter of coincidental timing that they encountered it while they were conjuring up odd beasts. And the first person to say that means they are ta'veren...

I had learned long before this book, during my first pass through the story, to watch for interesting clues about events to come. Marigan's entry onto Riverserpent, why she had to get away from the Whitecloaks, having the two pitifully catatonic little boys, and begging to stay with Nynaeve and Elayne on to Salidar to repay the kindness of getting them out of Samara, all of it as smooth as silk, and not the tiniest bit suspicious. Never saw it coming. The devil is truly in the details, and Jordan plays them like a symphony.

Although, going back to a comment from the last thread, where Jordan is (rightly) praised for avoiding too much detail in battle scenes (no Salvatore, one commenter says, and I agree, he's the best at painting a battle), I have one nit to pick about Jordan and details. Sometimes we don't need to be reminded of something for the 238th time, like the stony planes and angles of a certain Malkieri's face. We got it.

I also felt bad for the girls getting put "back in their place" at Salidar. It isn't as though the two of them have done more to fight the shadow in the last several months than the rest of the Tower put together. Oh wait, yes they have! It makes me question how the decision was made to raise Nynaeve to Accepted almost immediately upon reaching Tar'Valon, and why couldn't a similar dispensation be made for raising them to full sisterhood given that they have shown themselves to be good girl scouts. Would that be like expecting a Lodge to raise someone directly from 3rd to 32nd degree?
46. Noren
PS About Carlinya-The raven also stands for Darkfriend,right?Could mean she was in line for recruitment.
47. kab1
@23 Jenn B- Nope, you're not the only one. I love reading about the girls, Nyn and Eg are my favs (behind Mat of course!)
I did love reading about Perrin and Faile on my first read thru but on the later rereads didn't like them so much. Perrin gets old about the whole wolf thing and the complete lack of consideration for anyone else but Faile (I can just hear Michael Kramer's voice- Faile.)
While I enjoy Faile's strength (and temper!) and I give her much props for her actions while a Shaido captive I still can't forgive her for the whole scene she did with Perrin in the ways. It wasn't so much the tricking of Loial to go with them (hey I would have wanted to go to!) but rather her attitude and delay causing while Perrin was trying to save his village from destruction. but this if quite off topic for these chapters!
48. alreadymadwithraventattoo
Shimrod @8
What's sexist about finding the grrls tedious?
I agree with the Salidar council's reactions. Suddenly finding out you're not on top of the world and that others think you're lower than trash can be a very enlightening experience.

As for the grrls:
Yes Nynaeve beat Moggy. Yippeee. So what? The Aes Sedai were still right in saying she should not have gone anywhere near her. Besides, she just throws that fact into everybody's face. Mainly so she can gain brownie points. Her head got swelled just because she lucked out.
So what if they brought more ter'angreal and more money than the AS did. Was it an act of forethought that had them bringing all these goodies? No, it was a series of accidents.

lmelior @10
Don't underestimate Areina. How do you suppose Nicola found out all these interesting details she uses to blackmail others if as a Novice she's supposed to be worked hard?

Isilel @13
IMHO, the biggest reason for the exaggerated haughtiness of WOT women is that they have been forced to eat a lot of humble pie and are eager to serve it to others in their turn.
Good point.

Samadai @19
I myself suspect the raven tattoo is an indication of eventual allegiance with the Seanchan. I doubt she was a spy though. Seanchan culture simply can't stand a channeler walking around without a collar. And given how anal retentive their society is, I don't see the Empress unbending enough to relax that. Even if it was to send a spy into the White Tower. The spies sent to agitate the rebellious High Lords in Tear can't even hide their disgust of the Aes Sedai.

forkroot @40
I agree with your analysis regarding Bryne.

Freelancer @45
Because apparently, there's more to being Aes Sedai than capitalizing on a series of flukes. Yes they are strong, but White Tower training isn't just about the Power, and the girls are simply deficient in those other areas.

Noren @46
There's also that possibility. But darkfriends don't tattoo ravens on their bodies. Seanchan do.
49. Freelancer

It took me several moments to unravel why your statement about Areina seemed out of place to me. (Too much number crunching this week, adjusting focus not as simple as usual)

I have a hard time imagining that we will get to see a distant enough future of the story for the "current" actions to have migrated from memory to myth, to legend, etc. So speculations upon who might be remember as whom, or for what, etc. sadly never get to be more than speculation. In a way reminds me of this:

A widow tells the story of how she gained that status by saying that her husband was dreaming of being in medieval France, being tried and convicted of a heinous crime he did not commit, and sentenced to the guillotine. She heard him groaning and whimpering in his sleep, and tapped him on the neck to wake him, just as the guillotine fell in his dream. The shock of real contact at that moment of his dream stopped his heart.
John Massey
50. subwoofer
Hi Leigh- thanks for toughing this one out for us. The chapters dragged and thankfully there was some brief flashes to make it bearable. Bryne(sp?-kidding!) is a master at the Great Game. Bar None.

@13Isilel- ditto- er... about the girls paying their dues and the guys getting a "pass". Although- there is an established system of learning for the women- for Rand it is figure it out or die. And I don't think that they guys have an easy time of it. Rand has LTT in his head and half the world gunning for him- Matt has problems with his memories and who he is and going from floating to having to step up to the plate- Perrin- woof. All the guys came from humble beginnings and have to reconcile with being thrust into the spotlight. As Belgarion would say- "why me?"

The ladies for whatever motivation- are after power. I do appreciate the fact that they get the short end of the stick though but that comes with the territory of paying your dues. I agree with the analogy of skipping your senior year to go pro and how that robs you of maturity. Same applies here- to properly master Saidar, a wise AS surrenders to the power. Humility can go a long way to helping the ladies.

Thing that stikes me funny is Ny. She heals everybody on the boat- no mention of her getting angry. She embraces Saidar when being grilled by the Six. I dunno if she was angry. She probes Suian later- no mention of her being angry. What's up with this block? Or is it only there when Ny really needs to channel? Fodder for discussion.
51. JennB
The girls were all angry at eachother on the boat. Plenty of chances for Nynaeve to channel. Being grilled by the six... can you imagine someone like Nynaeve not being angry about that? Probing Suian..well even if there were not lots of Aes Sedai around to make her angry, I'm sure she could work herself up over the idea of stilling someone or Elaida taking over the tower.
craig thrift
52. gagecreedlives
Has anyone told Nynaeve what the stone plinth with all the Two Rivers names on it actually means? I think it will be quite heartbreaking for her.

Juilin, Thom and Uno crack me up here. Instantly all 3 of them are on the same page and offer up perfectly reasonably but false excuses on why they cant go.

IMO Bryne is dropping Elayne a massive hint. What happened between your mum and me is a sensitive subject so kindly don’t bring it back up.

I think the most likely reason for Carlinya’s Raven is that she will end up as property for the seanchan after their attack on the white tower.


Maybe if Birgitte dies and is reborn Areina will end up teaching a young Birgitte on how to use a bow.


Depends when Nyn did the healing on the boat. She did seem plenty cranky for a while there
William Fettes
53. Wolfmage
subwoofer @50

I don't think the boys have it particularly hard, with the notable exception of Rand. That's not to discount their trials and tribulations, but the supergirls pretty much have to beg, borrow and steal to get authority. The ta'veren boys, in contrast, get a path of lesser resistence. Even when it may subjectively feel like struggle, from their viewpoint, they are really having the pattern hold their hand the whole way through, even if its not giving it to them on a silver platter. Egwene is probably the one exception to this rule, as she gets a comparatively cushy and unchallenging ride compared to the other SGs.

"The ladies for whatever motivation- are after power."

That sounds a bit unfair to me. By saying for 'whatever reason' you automatically discount their benign intentions and their impact as a force for good in the universe using that power. That makes it appear more contingent and unearned rather than deserved. It also makes it sound much more self-serving than it really is.

"I do appreciate the fact that they get the short end of the stick though but that comes with the territory of paying your dues. I agree with the analogy of skipping your senior year to go pro and how that robs you of maturity. Same applies here- to properly master Saidar, a wise AS surrenders to the power. Humility can go a long way to helping the ladies."

I have to side with Leigh here and say I've never been a big fan of the Saidar and Saidin shtick, which depicts channelling as seizing for men and surrendering for women. It's too much of a gendered gimmick for me to put any weight on it as a metaphor for interpreting the character's aspirations and actions. And I say that as someone who generally loves Jordan's usage of pop-gender psychology in dialogue and the perspectives of viewpoint characters.

With S&S, RJ moves beyond cute little gendered idioms and quotes, which are harmless and inspire criticism of their utterers as much as they illuminate about their intend targets. With S&S, RJ takes such nuances out of reader's hands, and effectively elevates a very gendered idea to the status of an ultimate truth, part of the grand reality of WOT - making surrender cosmically tied to the female soul. I'll accept it as an arbitrary mechanic for accessing the One Power, but it's not going to influence my scrutiny of female characters' probity and etiquette.
Pete Pratt
54. PeteP
What struggles do the SGs really have to go through compared to the typical Aes Sedai (or even Moiraine and Siuan)?

1. They go the White Tower and Nynaeve does not even have to be an accepted.

2. Not long after arriving (and before they really absord much discipline or learning), they leave for Falme.

3. They return for a few weeks, but El and Eg are raised to accepted. They still do not do much basic studying. They receive every little punishment (besides washing dishes, oh, the horror)

4. Siuan sets them to a special task, giving them authority well beyond their years, experience, or training.

5. They leave the White Tower again and get in trouble multiple times, until rescued by Mat in the Stone.

6. They decided to go on their own independent adventures, again, without the necessary experience and training.

7. El and Nyn run into great difficulty over and over again, many times resulting from their own inexperience.

8. El and Nyn reach Salidar.

9. They are now Accepted again, but think they are above it all. They still have had very little training or experience.

10. El and Nyn are trying to get out of having the 6 years minimum training (Siuan and Moiraine were the shortest time ever), and are saved only by Eg becoming Amyrlin Seat.

11. Eg raises El and Nyn to Aes Sedai and gives them more responsibility.

So, again, what great struggle did El and Nyn have to receive their responsibility? They completely avoided Aes Sedai training, having very little. Eg is even worse.

Eg gets trained by Siuan as Amyrlin Seat, not as Aes Sedai. The SGs have had little Aes Sedai training.
craig thrift
55. gagecreedlives

I think it comes down to the freewill debate in Randland. If everything is tied to the pattern and there is no choice in your destiny that sux for the girls. But if there is a choice for everyone but our 3 ta’veren then the boys definitely get the worst of it.
None of them get to choose their destiny and they, no matter what their dreams were, get hammered into whatever shape the pattern wants. At least the girls had a choice in their futures.
j p
56. sps49

Agree with most everything except the experience bit for Elayne & Nynaeve.
William Fettes
57. Wolfmage
PeteP @54

I'm simply saying that compared to the boys, the SGs have a longer climb of a steeper gradient to reach ascendency. I wasn't saying they suffered greatly, just that they had to spend a comparatively longer time as small fish in a big pond, struggling for authority and recognition, at least compared the boy's rapid ascendency.

I also disagree with your characterisation of Aes Sedai training. While it is certainly possible that a longer time at the Tower in the metaphorical oven may have helped the girls, I'd respectfully suggest that the ubiquity of foolhardy, impulsive, passive-aggressive and otherwise disagreeable full Aes Sedai shows that length of time in the Tower provides no surety of wisdom or success.

Therefore, your repetition of "beyond their years, experience, or training" is not particularly forceful for me. Everything the boys do is likewise beyond their years, experience and training too. That's besides the point.

The point is whether they have it easier or not in accumulating authority and success for comparative effort. I'd say clearly they do have it easier, by virtue of magic gifts and ta'verenness

The duration of the girls' toil under the Tower's hierarchy may be comparatively short by current standards, but that is arguably more a testimony to the weakness of the current Aes Sedai in the power than anything else. We've seen nothing to suggest that wisdom, experience and training actually halts your progress in the Tower. Just the opposite - as far as I can tell - it's almost purely about the mechanics of channelling and channelling under pressure. Elaida would never have been accelerated if the Tower hierarchy cared one wit about wisdom or experience.
Philbert de Zwart
58. philbert
Very little attention for the two little boys under Mog's care here. I must say this reread I really felt for them, probably because since the last time I read this book, I have gotten 2 children myself one of which is now a small boy. (so it is quite literally a lifetime ago that I read this book, just not my lifetime). Since then I have gotten a lot softer on things that happen to children.

Do we ever find out what happens to them after Moggy is captured?
sandi vogel
59. sinfulcashew
philbert @58
I think I remember that Brigitte kind of becomes a surrogate mother to them at some point. She befriends them and becomes close with them.
I don't remember what happens after that.
Philbert de Zwart
60. philbert
Ok so when I read the previous entries the question on the boys has already been answered (Lsana @31, jamesedjones @33). Sorry about that, this was also a TOR-eaten post that I reposted this morning.

Re: Bryne, I never got his coolness towards Elayne either, but I think the Daes Dae'mar answer is probably accurate: if he would have shown affection for Elayne, the Salidar Six would surely have used it, causing trouble both for Gareth and Elayne.
That is really coolheaded of him, because I can't imagine him not feeling warmly for this girl he has 'dandled on his knee' as wotlanders so quaintly put it.

Re: Nynaeve (I know the official pronounciation but in my head I stubbornly persist in my own, Ni-nee-vee) I read most of her internal monologue with a pinch of irony and self-mockery. I don't know if it is intended as such, but it makes her a lot more likeable. (Example 'Though of course that has nothing to do with it at all' when thinking about Lan)
61. birgit
Does Moggy know where the girls are going? She probably didn't attack on the boat because there the girls are all forced to be together and Moggy is the kind who prefers to sneak up on Ny when she is alone and helpless. She probably thinks she has a better chance to catch Ny alone after they left the boat and didn't know they were heading for a village full of AS.

Faolain takes Nicola and Areina away for testing, but not Moggy. Did Moggy Compel someone to avoid being tested? What would happen if someone did test her while she is hiding her channel ability?

The SAS cannot raise anyone because they don't have the ter'angreal. Eg raises the others so she won't be the only AS who hasn't taken the test, but the other SAS wouldn't raise anyone without the tests.

Bryne probably simply has more important things in mind than fussing about Elayne, and she is just upset that he doesn't treat her as the most important thing in the world.
James Jones
62. jamesedjones
Re: Bryne's dismisive attitude toward Elayne.

AnthonyPero had it right at 15. Please refer to the begining of tFoH. Only the fool in Bryne's company was foolish enough to bring up Morgase, even indirectly. And Bryne, a complete officer and a gentleman, had to pause to mentally and emotionally gather himself together to respond appropriately.

Bryne's response to Elayne was exactly as anyone should expect right after his former lover's daughter just told him that whatever problems she's heard about can't be that big, and will be gone by the time he says 'hello' to Morgase.
Lord Haart
63. LordHaart
Re: Gareth

Another point that hasn't been mentioned is Gareth's conversation with Thom. It seems clear to me that Gareth believes that Thom is Elayne's real father, and if he speaks to her, she might shift her attentions from Thom to himself (as a father-figure), which would both be a complication in his life, and also would be unfair to Thom.

Another possibility is that he never really liked her, or that he still views her as a child.

Re: Areina, Nicola & Faolain

The disappear at the end of CoT, which I assumed to mean that Halima killed them. However, given Min's viewing, and #61's comments, I'm starting to think that maybe they've gone renegade/Black Ajah. Nicola bears some remarkable similarities to Anakin Skywalker, nice girl but in the end she only really wants power. She doesn't seem like the type to go for last-minute redemption though.

Anyhow, thanks for the re-reads, I've really enjoyed them thus far. I'm doing a re-read of my own (just started KoD, then on to New Spring), so expect to see some Theories spouted by yours truly quite soon.
Marcus W
64. toryx
Wolfmage @ 53:

One of the big differences between the Guys and the Gals that you're missing out on, however, is that for the most part, the Guys don't feel any particular desire to be in control of anything but their own lives.

The Gals, on the other hand, want to control everything and everybody. If Nynaeve can't get someone near her to ask how high when she tells them to jump, she's ready to pull her braid out. Egwene totally gets off on telling people what to do, particularly when they're her friends, and Elayne accepts that people should do what she tells them as her birthright and goes crazy whenever someone tries to tell her otherwise.

Perrin tried to resist the Lord thing every step of the way and was constantly aware that he was telling people what to do and feeling bad about it. Mat doesn't want any responsibility at all and just keeps falling into it. And Rand would have given it all up in a heartbeat if he could; he's in command because he has to be. Each man takes a leadership position because he has to, out of duty, not out of desire.

For the guys, it's primarily because they're taveren that the responsibilities are thrust on them. And while all three of the guys just want to be free to live their own lives, each of the girls is chomping at the bit to get people to obey them.

That's a big difference in attitudes and to a certain degree that's responsible for why the girls have had to struggle so much for it. They expect that sort of command by virtue of their sex as much as because they believe they're almost always right. It's no wonder that other people are disinclined to agree with them.
Tracy Long
65. BookFairy
Not Tea but …

Daucus carota (Dc) seeds

Women have been using Dc seeds to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg for at least 2000 years. The earliest written reference known is from Hippocrates, who described it as an abortive in the 4th or 5th century B.C.E. (before common era). Information on Dc for implantation prevention was recorded by Dioscorides, Scribonius, Largus, Marcellius Empiricus, and Pliny the Elder who called it an emmenagogue and noted that "4 footed animals will not eat it, except after a miscarriage." 1

Juilin, Thom and Uno got to love them.

I don’t believe the girls are on a power trip, after all, everything they are doing is ultimately to help Rand.
66. MattG
Chapter 49 has always been one of my favorite chapters in the entire series. The reason is obvioulsy not due to the plot altering action. It was this chapter in my first read of TFoH that I realised what it was that I loved most about this series.

While the list of what is good about WoT is long the best for me is the strength and developement of the characters. Not only can you see yourself reflected in them, but you can travel with them on an emotional journey that parrallels the epic. Once you know the characters well you can understand how they think and almost predict how they will react.

Of all the characters in the books Nynaeve is arguably the strongest, which is undoubtedly why she evokes such a strong reaction. She is the representation of our social and positional uncertainty writ large. She uses bluff to hide her fear, she avoids discussion of topics she would find embarrassing, she stretches the truth to make herself look better or to avoid unpleasant realities, and she struggles to see how her own actions effect how others treat her. Every single person on the planet does this, some more than others.

When I was reading Fires for the first time I was not the biggest fan of Nyn. While I found her high on the awesome scale at times there was something about her I found annoying. Then I read the section about "...Areina’s troubles came from having too free a tongue, telling people exactly what she thought..." and I was floored. Nyn recognising flaws in someone else that she could not in herself. I realised I was annoyed not so much with Nyn, but at my own flaws reflected in her.

It is only the most well defined and executed characters that can bring this depth of feeling and empathy out in a reader. I found it interesting though that my empathy for the character caused me to dislike her. And then once I realised that my annoyance was at the reflection of my own foibles she quickly became my favorite character in the series.

For opening my eyes to a whole other layer of depth to the story I continue to hold a special love for this chapter.
James Jones
67. jamesedjones
65 BookFairy

"I don’t believe the girls are on a power trip, after all, everything they are doing is ultimately to help Rand."

Nope. I don't see it.

Elayne: Of course, she loves the guy. Her 'big picture' is his 'big picture'.

Nyneave: Absolutely. She goes into the Far Madding steading (which is a nightmare for any channeler), and then is ready to break all kinds of conventions and traditions when he's thrown in prison. And next, she nearly kills herself helping him clean saidin. Finally, she sends her husband away to support both him and Rand.

Egghead: Nuh uh. Not at all. The last time she does anything for Rand's good is when she tries reverse psychology on him in LOC, which went so wrong for her it was funny. After she becomes Amyrlin, she's all about what's best for the WT and screw anyone else.
William Dunkel
68. dunkelbo
64 re:Nicola & Areina
Doesn't Nicola find Egwene in the WT during her imprisonment and apologize for her misdeeds? Her reasoning being that she thought the "other" AS would let her learn at a faster rate, when she found that wasn't the case she realized she had made a big mistake?
I don't remember exactly and unfortunately I couldn't lug my books to SK with me. At least I have the re-reads.Thanks Leigh!
Tess Laird
69. thewindrose
I brought this up in a way earlier thread, but thought that now it is relevant to bring it up again. BTW - it was thought of as interesting but not 'compelling':)

How about this for a loony theory-
We know Moghedien disguised herself as Marigan. What about Nicola and Areina? All three show up in Samara and want to go with Nyn & El when they get off the boat for Salidar.
Nyn even thinks to herself about the three women,
"Each story could have been the reflection of a thread in her own life."
I think it is too much of a coincidence that all three women have stories that pull at Nyn's heart.
I pose that Nicola and Areina are two of the BA that Moggie has either taught how to disguise themselves, or did it for them(Jeaine Caide, Rianna Andorman, Berylla Naron being the choices).

From the WoT FAQ-
TFOH: 50, To Teach, and Learn, 598-9]
MARIGAN, NICOLA, and AREINA: (Three women refugees with Ny et al.) "Those three you brought with are trouble, and that is a viewing." ... "I only caught glimpses of aura, and just out of the corner of my eye. Never when I was looking right at them, where I might have made something out."
Marigan was Moggy, which certainly was trouble.
Nicola and Areina have been causing plenty of problems themselves - they tried to blackmail Eg, and succeeded in blackmailing Myrelle. Their escape from the rebels in COT may be tied in with Egwene's betrayal.
70. TexanSedai
Wolfmage @57 -

I have to agree with toryx @64. The girls CHOSE to go to the Tower because they wanted to become AS. Even Nyn - she wanted to be able to heal people. They CHOSE to become a part of the Tower heirarchy (sp?) If they didn't want to pay their dues, they could have gone another way. So IMO when you bring the hardships on yourself to obtain your personal goal it should not be viewed in the same light as people who are forced into a life that they did not choose for themselves. IE: none of the boys want the role that they have been forced into by the pattern.

And as far as the girls having to stay accepted: Just because the Rookie makes a lucky play, doesn't mean he is ready for the Vet's position. (Ex: who was the better qb - Tony Romo or Troy Aikman???? Both have skills, but the experience and discipline of Aikman led the Cowboys to 3 Superbowl rings....) It takes time and maturity to get there. Compare Nyn and El's actions to Moiraine's. Although you may not agree with everything Mo does, she handles herself and the different situations FAR better than any of the SGs. Years of discipline and learning help her make more mature decisions. I don't think Moiraine would have ended up with the horrendous deal with the Windfinder's and probably would have found a much better solution than dragging the Kin all over the country. Experience, wisdom and especially discipline account for alot with the AS, not just the ability to use power.
Vincent Lane
71. Aegnor

Moghedien wasn't tested by the SAS because she was too old. They don't start taking older people until Egwene establishes that new policy.
James Jones
72. jamesedjones
70 TexanSedai

God Bless you! I love a good analogy. Throw in a Cowboys reference, and you are my favorite poster for this entire thread; especially when it's a perfect example. Love it!
73. CalaLily

"The disappear at the end of CoT, which I assumed to mean that Halima killed them. However, given Min's viewing, and #61's comments, I'm starting to think that maybe they've gone renegade/Black Ajah. Nicola bears some remarkable similarities to Anakin Skywalker, nice girl but in the end she only really wants power. She doesn't seem like the type to go for last-minute redemption though."

Actually, Areina and Nicola run away to the Tower once Egwene has Bryne start the siege, just before she and Leane turn the Southarber and Northerharbor chains into cuendillar. Once Egwene is captured, Nicola is one of her most loyal supporters, powerless though she may be as a Novice. She changes her opinion of the Amyrlin because Egwene refuses to be anything else, and Nicola comes to understand, IMO, that she really is the Amyrlin.
74. CalaLily
Quick Question:

Are the same people bemoaning Ny and El's lack of training those disparaging the AS and their thick-headed, narrow-minded, short-sighted ways? Because, ya know, that doesn't really seem right. IMO, if anything, the SGs saved themselves from becoming typical Aes Sedai. After all, they've done the impossible and discovered a whole world of channelers that the other sisters never even thought to look for, all because of their lack of AS training and AS authority.

IMHO, of course. :)
Pete Pratt
75. PeteP
toryx --- I think you nailed it. As far as Aes Sedai, the SGs had the least amount of Aes Sedai training and Aes Sedai discipline of any Aes Sedai ever. Yet the SGs expect to above everything. Can you imagine how annoying the SGs would have been if they had to remain Accpeted through even one more year of training....

While some may discount Aes Sedai training, using the One Power is only a small part of the training. Think of it more on the line of college and graduate school. Most Aes Sedai go for about 12-15 years. El already likely had a good education. Eg is latered tutored by Siuan. But in this aspect Elaida is correct -- Eg did miss out on a whole lot of training.

None of the boys is looking for their responsibility or power. All would rather find some place away from everything. Perrin would like nothing better than to leave Lord Perrin Goldeneyes behind and just be a village blacksmith with his wife. Mat would rather find a tavern and gamble and dance away the rest of his life. Rand would rather spend his time with his girls.

MattG --excellent points.
Pete Pratt
76. PeteP
CalaLily -- I never said that the SGs did not gain some benefits from skipping out on all the years of training. Some people had argued that they suffered so much gaining positions of authority, which, of course, absurd, given how they skipped the training.

Now, some people believe education is unnecesary. Hey, Bill Gates made billions as a college drop out. Educated people did make a mess of the world economy.

The White Tower had become too stuck in their ways and seems at times incapable of action. Of course, Moiraine had 6 years of training at the same White Tower, was the SG before the SGs and was in all ways lightyears ahead of the SGs. Can't wait to get her back.

Even Verin and Cadsuane are products of the White Tower, but all not like the normal Aes Sedai. Since I really like Cadsuane, I think her 300 years as an Aes Sedai might have something to do with it.

The WT is the only group of female channelers that bases authority upon strength (and shortness of training). Compared to the other female channelers we have seen, they have serious problems. While the training is the source of some of the problems, it is the very structure of the institution that is the problem.

The White Tower is separate from the people they pretend to serve. Unlike the Wise Ones and the Windfinders, which are only a part of their larger society. It is very hard to serve someone when you isolate yourself and put yourself above everyone.

Few Aes Sedai see a need in serving. Now, if the Aes Sedai are no longer servants, then what is their role? Rulers?
77. TexanSedai
jamesedjones -
Thanks! And God Bless the Cowboys! :) (heres hoping for a GREAT season - now that Tony has dumped Jessica Simpson ;o )

PeteP -
Funny how your assessment of the current White Tower being separate an ruling instead of serving makes me think of our own, current US Government :)
Not all are bad but so many seem sooooo clueless.
Jason Lyman
78. jlyman
Is it just me or does anyone else hear a Swiss guy in the mountains every time you read the name Nicola?
Pete Pratt
80. PeteP
TexanSedai -- I do not like to bring politics into anything else, but we have two parties full of power-hungry (but mentally challenged) people, few of which actually care about anything more than personal power and influence.

So, I guess the Aes Sedai are not that in comparison.
Ed Dyer
81. HumbleReader
Ran across a reference to Juilin Sandar's trade
July 7 ... birthday of Johnathan Wild (1638-1725) who became one of England's most celebrated thief-takers after serving 4 years in prison for debt. Between 1714 and 1724 Wild claimed sizable rewards as authorized by Parliament for his aggressive tracking of on-the-lam criminals, often dressed in a lace-trimmed coat, carrying a silver staff, and weilding the self-proclaimed moniker of "Thief-Taker General of Great Britain and Ireland." from Forgotten English (a calendar), by Jeffrey Kacirk

Go Light!
82. Naraoia
Couple quick thoughts on the girls vs guys power/authority/struggle issue.

First, why is wanting power bad? It's not even like the girls want power just for power's sake. From what I remember, they want to get stuff done with it, for the most part.

Second, willingly choosing to go through hard times, IMHO, in no way diminishes your struggle. I would say it's actually easier to follow a difficult path you get tossed/forced onto than to knowingly choose a difficult path.

Just a very personal two cents, no intention of getting into a debate ;)

Re: Nynaeve and self-knowledge. I've been wondering if part of her knows her flaws, and that's why her inner voice is so loud in denying them. Alas, I'd have to re-read to decide, which I have no intention of doing ATM.
83. Naraoia
Couple quick thoughts on the girls vs guys power/authority/struggle issue.

First, why is wanting power bad? It's not even like the girls want power just for power's sake. From what I remember, they want to get stuff done with it, for the most part.

Second, willingly choosing to go through hard times, IMHO, in no way diminishes your struggle. I would say it's actually easier to follow a difficult path you get tossed/forced onto than to knowingly choose a difficult path.

Just a very personal two cents, no intention of getting into a debate ;)

Re: Nynaeve and self-knowledge. I've been wondering if part of her knows her flaws, and that's why her inner voice is so loud in denying them. Alas, I'd have to re-read to decide, which I have no intention of doing ATM.
Genevieve Williams
84. welltemperedwriter
None of the boys is looking for their responsibility or power. All would rather find some place away from everything.

And yet plenty of people here have criticized them for doing just that...

I do not understand why seeking responsibility or even power need be an inherently bad thing, which I'm seeing strongly implied in this discussion. Do the SGs make mistakes? Sure. All of them, Elayne included, are operating in larger contexts with further-reaching consequences than any of them has had to deal with before. Of COURSE they're going to screw up.

So would most people. I think that things generally working out well for Rand, Mat, and Perrin is more due to ta'veren-ness than anything else; of the three, the only one who spends a fair bit of time planning out what he's going to do is Rand.

I suspect that the SGs' vicissitudes are meant to show how this kind of thing tends to work out for most people. Most of us have to screw up a fair bit before we get it right.
Tess Laird
85. thewindrose
Aye Aye Sedai From last post - your question on channeling if blind or hooded:
Fron RJ's Blog -
{9}Someone asked how difficult it is for a blind person to channel, but I didn’t make a note of who. In any case, it is difficult but not impossible. The different flows have different feels, though saying they have different flavors might be as accurate. In the comic, we use colors, not because they actually have colors but because they also can be told apart by sight. Someone who was blind and who tried to learn to channel would be able to differentiate between flows of the Five Powers. The difficulty would be in learning to make the weaves.
86. TexanSedai
Can't seak for others...but just to clarify my position -

I do not think that seeking power or responsibilty is necessarily a bad thing. It can be a very good and motivating factor. I just think that you can not compare power struggles between people that want it and are willing to make the sacrifices ncessary to obtain it, and those that simply have it thrust upon them no matter what they do. I do not see how you can say one has struggled more than the other when the "struggles" are inherently different. While one may be working under authority and heirarchy, the other is dealing with "why me" and "what now" questions. And IMHO not comparibe in any way.
Luke M
87. lmelior
@Bym1971 #36
Cairhien and Taim are the two major names I say completely wrong in my head, no matter what I do, both due to RJ's "ai" rule. In my head, Cairhien is "Care Hen" and Taim is "Tame." "KEYE ree EHN" and "Tah EEM" are too many syllables.

Actually, I just noticed that Saldaea has four syllables (Sahl DAY ee ah) where I think three (Sahl DEE ah). So there are probably more I'm mentally mispronouncing.

Strangely enough I've always said Aiel correctly in my head. I probably looked it up in the glossary the first time I came across it though.

@AMW #48
Don't underestimate Areina. How do you suppose Nicola found out all these interesting details she uses to blackmail others if as a Novice she's supposed to be worked hard?
Well I actually assumed she did more than I sounded like I was giving her credit for by calling her the sidekick, but I really didn't see the purpose of her helping Nicola so much when she's not reaping the benefits they're trying to blackmail out of several people (Nicola getting to learn faster).

So I think CalaLily @12 might have gotten it.
James Jones
88. jamesedjones
83 & 84

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

While the SGs do not show signs of corruption (and probably won't since it's a fantasy), they do show signs of hypocrisy and a stubborn refusal to give the guys any real respect. Yes, some SGs react appropriately to some of the guys, and some of them are usually not hypocrites.

Now, I like what Egwene does, but I really hate her ('cause RJ's an amazing author). Which means I do not approve of her motivation. And the fact that she finds cheats and shortcuts all the time, lessens her in my mind. Really, an extended spanking session absolves guilt? Seriously?!

Your question about seeking power also brought to mind a quote by Robert Tracinski from 'The Intellectual Activist' that outlines an idea found in religious text, quotes from public heroes, and comedic geniuses like Douglas Adams.

"The Washington Conundrum is named, not after Washington, DC, but after George Washington. It is my term for the basic dilemma of political science: the only person who can be trusted to wield the power of the chief executive is a person who doesn't want that power. The only person qualified to be president of the United States is a man like George Washington, a man with no lust for power, who serves in office reluctantly and gives up power willingly."

This is why some of us love the guys and can't stand one or more of the SGs. The guys fit our idea of a 'reluctant hero'. This is someone who accepts power out of duty (which is heavier than a mountain, lighter than a feather, and bigger than a breadbox), and not out of desire for power. This is someone who will excersise wisdom and restraint because of this reluctance and this duty.

I hope this helps, but I really can't believe that you would agree. Which is ok, as long as we all love RJ.

Edit: I changed "understand" to "agree" in the last paragraph.
James Jones
89. jamesedjones
Wow. It's actually a little scary when you post something you really believe in, rather than just a random opinion. Hmmm...
90. CalaLily
Re: pronunciation

I always said Cairhien "Care-hine", Cairhienin as "Care-hine-in", Nynaeve as "NY-nay-eve" and Saldaea as "Sal-DAY-uh".

Taim, oddly enough, has been "Time" to me. Say it with a British accent and it sounds cooler...
91. longtimefan
About the Unicorn/Rhinoceros.

When I read it originally and later on i thought that it was a hint that Moghieden was around since neither Nynaeve or Elayne made it but it did dissapear. (what ever type of animal it was it is not native to the area they are traveling through)

It chases them which can be seen as "toying" with them to see what they can do with the dream world. The length of time it took them to dispell it would give Moghieden an estimate of their control in "her" world.

Just an idea
92. Beerwulf
Re: paths to power.

The way I see it is that Jordan's doing the Saidin:Saidar::Fish:Bird thing again that he outlined at the start of TSR.

As you've been discussing, the obstaclesin the girls's path to power are primarily external; getting acceptance of the rest of the Aes Sedai.

For the boys, the main obstacles are internal:
Rand has to learn the one power without frying himself, and then he has to sort out Lews Therin.
Perrin has to learn to harness his vulpinicity (oh, yes!) and then act like a Lord.
Mat has to accept his memories, and then find a sense of duty from somewhere.

All of these struggles are internal. For the women, Nynaeve has her block and her 75% chance of dying before the books began to worry about, and Eg/El have it relatively easy.

Also, notice how the boy's problems are often solved by a submission to the problem: Perrin's Wolf and Lord, Mat's memories, Rand & Lews.

In contrast, the girls will often grab the bull by the horns.
Helen Peters
93. Helen
90. CalaLily
Taim, oddly enough, has been "Time" to me. Say it with a British accent and it sounds cooler...

I see what you mean, he's always been 'tame' to me, but reading Taim and saying Time sounds really posh.:)

While we're still on names does anyone else hate the series of names we get. Myrelle/Morvrin/Merrillille (I know there's too many r and l there). Too many Ms introduced at the same time, I cannot keep them straight. The same with Sorelia and another WO later on, I get them confused. Oh yes, and Faolain and Falion, could we not have totally different names please.

Finally, as I'm off on holiday for a fortnight as of Saturday, I'd just like to say, Leigh, it would be great if you had some time off, go away and enjoy yourself, or start reading slower, anything, please, or I'm going to miss all the discussions of what happens at the end of this book, i.e. when Mo goes through the ter'angreal and I'm sure one of the characters gets killed, cannot recall who topped him though. :)
Pete Pratt
94. PeteP
James @88. You nailed it. Could not have said it better myself.
95. TexanSedai
Some people on here are so insightful!

@89jamesedjones and @92beouwolf -

I couldn't agree more with both of you! jamesedjones your comments were spot on and your comment so insightful! I still believe that you can't compare the two struggles but I like both of your observations!

@93 Helen -
I LOVE the phrase "off on holiday for a fortnight" although I had no idea that people still used the word "fortnight" LOVE IT!!!
Michael Catapano
96. hoping

Finally, as I'm off on holiday for a fortnight as of Saturday, I'd just like to say, Leigh, it would be great if you had some time off, go away and enjoy yourself, or start reading slower, anything, please, or I'm going to miss all the discussions of what happens at the end of this book, i.e. when Mo goes through the ter'angreal and I'm sure one of the characters gets killed, cannot recall who topped him though. :)

I'm sure we'll figure it out by the time you get back. :)
97. longtimefan
fortnight = two weeks.
Maiane Bakroeva
98. Isilel
Well, I would say that IRL reluctant rulers often turned out to be utter failures, like Louis XVI or Celestin V.
Washington... he may have been reluctant to receive ultimate power, but he wasn't reluctant in his previous military and political career.

Apart from Rand I really don't see any particular moral merit in guys being reluctant heroes - on the contrary I find it sad that they would have never developed the talents they had without being ta'veren.
Well, maybe Mat would have, as he seemed eager to leave their backwater from the beginning and without the Pattern handouts he'd have had to make his own way in the world and perhaps better himself. Or not.

Anyway, IRL the desire to make something of oneself is supposed to be a _good_ thing.

And IIRC, from some glimpses we got about other guys' education - like the terrible Gs or Lan in NS - there wasn't any humiliation, corporeal punishment or pointless chores involved.

Re: Tower education - it seems to me that there ought to be more to it. They do learn useful stuff like laws and customs of different countries for instance, and there would seem to be more important general knowledge too. And of course those who don't know history are bound to repeat it, so history would have come very handy, etc. And it is rather preposterous that Accepted seem to get next to no channeling training.

However, RJ really went overboard with making AS useless and silly, rather than merely flawed, too much so to be plausible, IMHO, so value of any WT training is in question. Certainly SGs and Aviendha seem to have flourished with next to none.

My hope is that maybe we'll find out that it is due to the whole OP strength power structure, that gives brainless, but powerful individuals disproportionate influence, while driving brighter, more knowledgeable, but weaker people away or shutting them up.
Or having them become so immersed in intrigue that by the time they manage to finally grab some political influence they are more interested in their own advancement.
Naturally, combination of both brains and channeling strength in one person is rare, but formidable - i.e. Moraine, Siuan and Leane.

This one custom is probably more damaging to the WT than the Oaths or the BA. Incidentally, it also motivates existing AS to try to make possible competitors fail, which I think Elaida tried with Moraine and Siuan in NS.
Wouldn't surprise me if the strong Kin who failed/ran away had quite a bit of encouragement.
craig thrift
99. gagecreedlives

“Incidentally, it also motivates existing AS to try to make possible competitors fail, which I think Elaida tried with Moraine and Siuan in NS. “

To give the devil her due I am pretty RJ has said Elaida was treating them so harshly during the lead up to their test to make sure they pass. She does want the White Tower to be as strong as possible.
sandi vogel
100. sinfulcashew
"Ok so when I read the previous entries the question on the boys has already been answered (Lsana @31, jamesedjones @33). Sorry about that, this was also a TOR-eaten post that I reposted this morning."

No one has mentioned Brigitte and her interest in the boys. Am I mistaken?

68 dunkelbo
I seem to remember that incident. Just not where?
Maybe KOD?

88 JEJ
I think this is the longest post you have entered yet?
I only remember little short snippets from you!
James Jones
101. jamesedjones
100 Sinfulcashew

I know. I try to keep 'em pithy. :)

98 Isilel

You're using a Pope for your example? What did you google search 'reluctant leader failure'? Because the religious leaders in WoT: Masema, Valda and Pedron Nial, were all a lot worse than Celestin V.

On the other hand, my IRL example was George Washington, one of the greatest presidents in the history of the USA. ;)
William Fettes
102. Wolfmage
toryx @ 64

“One of the big differences between the Guys and the Gals that you're missing out on, however, is that for the most part, the Guys don't feel any particular desire to be in control of anything but their own lives.”

Certainly there is some difference there, but to me it isn’t especially important when considering the gap between the boys and girls in their ratio of time/adversity to ascendancy – which was the point I was making.

Reluctant heroism can often be an endearing quality, especially if it isn’t prolonged and overdone. But I don’t really see anything in the boy’s reticent attitude toward their rise in stature which elevates that entitlement. As readers, we may be counted on to develop an empathetic response based on how their sense of duty and necessity eventually overcomes their modest ambitions. However, to me at least, that is just one picture of virtue. Alternatively, one could easily point to Nynaeve’s obliviousness and insecurity or Elayne’s brand of effortless courage, as other attractive models for heroic power.

Aside from their stoic (Perrin) or evasive (Mat) personalities, the boy’s resistance is a natural function of the forces they are subject to as ta'veren. They find themselves right at the heart of massive cosmic conflagration from the very beginning, and as ta'veren, their primary path of development is to reconcile themselves to that role. So there is a certain kind of detachment they enjoy from that relationship. In contrast, the SGs aren’t vessels for such forces, so their primary path of development is to actively seek out a place for themselves and contribute through that. Whether any character ‘deserves’ the entitlements they accrue, for me at least, is entirely about how good they are as people, their intentions and their virtues – not some formulaic idea of heroism as necessity overcoming psychological paralysis.

“Perrin tried to resist the Lord thing every step of the way and was constantly aware that he was telling people what to do and feeling bad about it.”

Which works as a bog-standard fantasy cliche for a couple of chapters, after which it becomes a complete snoozefest for me.

“That's a big difference in attitudes and to a certain degree that's responsible for why the girls have had to struggle so much for it. They expect that sort of command by virtue of their sex as much as because they believe they're almost always right. It's no wonder that other people are disinclined to agree with them.”

I don’t think the girls think they are entitled to leadership by virtue of their sex. That seems a very uncharitable and unfair assessment. Of the three, Egwene is the most drunk on her own self-assurance. Elayne is literally born to rule.
103. alreadymadwithleading
Wolfmage @102
I don’t think the girls think they are entitled to leadership by virtue of their sex.

I beg to differ. Much of WOT is written with men holding the short end of the gender politics stick. It's the aftermath of a worldwide cataclysm that men caused. Consequently EVERY woman thinks it's her duty to bring the men around her to heel. The Aes Sedai is only the most obvious in this. You can see it all the way from the Aiel Wise Ones to the SeaFolk SailMistresses to the Women's Circle of the Two Rivers. They may not think themselves entitled to leadership per se, but they do think themselves entitled to authority or seniority over men.
Genevieve Williams
104. welltemperedwriter
They may not think themselves entitled to leadership per se, but they do think themselves entitled to authority or seniority over men.

Interesting way of putting it.

Do you suppose RJ might've been trying to make some kind of point?
James Jones
105. jamesedjones
102 Wolfmage

Totally brilliant. I may not agree with everything, 'cause I still hate Egwene, but that was an incredibly succinct and precise analysis.
106. Aye Aye Sedai
@ 85 Windrose - thanks - but this suggests like using a hand motion is not necessary for a weaving but once learned then it is critical - thus the issue with Rand and the one hand clapping, - however this suggests that blinding an Aes Sedai would probably prevent them from most of their learned channels and for most of the White tower this would render them useless.

Seems like a the AS could be neutralized in ways other than Fortkroot.

As to the SG - I always liked Elayne and thought NYN was only slightly bothersome/hypocritical until I met her in real life and then I really hated her and now feel sorry for LAN. - Seriously I know this personality and it was always irking me and causing flame wars in real life etc.

John Massey
107. subwoofer
For the love of all that is holy people- use small words! Some of us are challenged over here. And does nobody work any more?

I was all geared up to reply to a skewed dissection of my comment but everyone seems to of made my point better than I could of. Er... except the analogy with the Cowboys. Am a Giants fan. That would be sacrilege for me. Maybe a comparison of Vince Young to Kerry Collins? Noob vs. Vetran. Old age and treachery always trumps youth and enthusiasm. Young has so much raw talent it is off the charts but he had a melt down. Collins lead the Titans to a near perfect season.

Yup, not feeling it for points WM. Elayne would give anything to be AS- so she does. Ny is a wilder- she is dealing with her power- but she wants to learn more. Albeit learning to heal- she is still in the Tower because she wants to be. And the whole take down Moiraine thing. I didn't make the WT. I didn't make the system, the girls chose it so live with it. And they still move through at mach 5. Eg- youngest Am ever? hmmm. I don't see their intentions as being benign. That is not my thoughts at all. Still think the girls need to learn humility.

Back in the day Basic sucked. Oh well. Quitters tapped out. The rest of us gutted it out. It was a growth experience. Gave me character, showed me what I had in me. Wouldn't have it any other way. Same for the SG's. In Ebou Dar they figure it out. Eg is still Eg, but Ny and Elayne get a handle on things.

Rand- Dragon, hole in his side that cannot be healed. No one to really teach him properly. Bound to have bad things happen to him at the end of this story. Has to fight the DO and the Forsaken. Can't be looking forward to that. And missing a hand. Did I mention a crazy person talking to him constantly- and no I don't mean Aviendha.

Mat- lemme see. Oh yeah- he almost died for his "gift". Can't see that as being easy or enjoyable.

Perrin- Hairy, married to a harpy, has problems with being more than a simple blacksmith. Not to mention the whole wolf thing. Different for life. Parents and extended family all slaughtered.

At some point they all say "I'm no lord". At some point they all try to run away from the position they are in. At some point the Pattern snaps them back. Ta'veren works both ways. Not just in their favor.

The rest is duck soup. Some may or may not agree but take what I say with a bag of salt.

Go Giants.
Lord Haart
108. LordHaart
@91, great observation, that could definitely be one of RJ's great foreshadowings, hidden under a layer of whimsicality.

And IIRC, from some glimpses we got about other guys' education - like the terrible Gs or Lan in NS - there wasn't any humiliation, corporeal punishment or pointless chores involved.

Whoa, let me stop you right there. You've seen how severe some of the sword training injuries can be, let alone those stemming from real sword fights. "Pointless chores" are also a big part of training; generally, these things aren't actually pointless. For AS, they serve as a means of establishing heirarchy, and I'm sure that the G's and Lan have gone through similarly hard lessons (probably much harder, considering that physical training generally is more taxing than washing dishes).

And humiliation? Are you forgetting the scene in TGH where Mat beats the living daylight out of both G's with a simple farmer's staff in front of all their friends and teachers, or the scenes in New Spring where Moraine gets revenge on LAN?

So I see absolutely no validity in this line of thought. Just because their trials and tribulations are not written about as much as the SG's, doesn't make them less (in fact, it means it's pretty likely there were more, just not mentioned in the text).


@The boys vs the girls
When I originally read the series, I found the SGs annoying, though Nynaeve improved and I didn't mind Egwene. Elayne I found pretty boring.

On my current read through, I'm finding that I still dislike Elayne in some ways, as she may be educated and capable of ruling, but she's also amazingly self-delusional at times. But to her credit, she is forced into the Queen job by duty, and rather than sulking like the boys, she actually goes ahead and does it. I think that my main issue was that that Caemlyn chapters are, well, boring, by and large. And generally unrelated to the main plot from what I see. But Elayne as a character is quite interesting.

Aviendha surely has an honourary SG role, and I actually like her alot, she's a great example of what MattG (#66) was saying about characterisation being the focal point of the writing here. Most readers look out for the plot (as I did in my first read through), but RJ's focal point with the SGs is their character development, and more specifically, in helping the reader think about their own development. I certainly have streaks of self-delusion and pettiness at times, as does every other person (male & female).

Nynaeve was MUCH funnier this time around, I laughed out loud at many of her thoughts. She's becoming more settled now thanks to LAN and responsibility, though there's still a fair way to go for her. Though even in the first read through I deeply respected her loyalty to her friends; she's one of the only people Rand can truly trust, possibly the only channeler; Elayne and Avi care about him because of love, and prophesized love at that (maybe just as LTT was reborn as three taveren, Ilyena became three women?) but Nyn actually cares about him as a person, not as the Dragon. She's also good at sticking up for what she believes in.

Egwene is awesome, largely due to the fact that while she bypasses laws and standard practices of AS, she also understands humility, and when and when not to use it. Her eagerness to take on Moraine, the WOs, and Siuan as mentors reflects this, and imo much of her success is because of her ability to tell good advice from bad. In many ways, her journey reflects Rand's; it seems less dire, but he does have a chance at surviving, and Eg knows that if she fails, chances are pretty bleak for the Light at TG.

So that's my views on the girls (coming from a 23 year old guy). I still find the boys much more enjoyable to read, since there's more action and plot points in those chapters (Perrin takes things quite slowly, I think he's meant to be the male version of the character development exhibited by the girls, since Mat hasn't grown up at all, and Rand has basically gone into a catatonic state of paranoia and unwavering resoluteness, plus we see so little of his PoV lately that he could probably be Taim in disguise for all we know. :P

As for Perrin, I'm finding things much more interesting this time through, mainly because I know the plot, and can focus on the intricate politics at play with Berelain (who I actually like, since she's clearly trying to get to Perrin for the sake of tying a string to Rand to help out Mayne. Kinda evil, but she really does love her country and won lots of respect from me for her work in Cairhien), the 3 AS, Masema (brilliant though eminently hatable character), Bulwer (love that guy) and the other bunch of parties, not least the estranged Two Rivers folk. Cutting off the Aiel's hand in CoT was massive this time around, and I love the interplay with Elyas and Aram as the Hammer and Axe.

I'll stop there or else I'll be here for days. Anyhow, you'll get my commentary on Perrin when Leigh gets there. :)
Ian Horn
109. IanGH
I haven't seen anybody mention this yet RE Bryne and Elayne. Bryne's downfall was linked to the rise of Gaebril, which was made possible by the riots sparked by Elayne's disappearance from the White Tower. Of course we all know that Gaebril would have found some other way, but to Bryne Elayne's penchant for mischief cost him dear.

Without wading in on the girls vs. boys thing, one thing I will say is that on this reread I am enjoying the scenes with the SGs a lot more. Maybe it's age. Maybe I'm more patient. Maybe it's Leigh's influence. I dunno.
Joseph Blaidd
110. SteelBlaidd
@Wolfmage 57
I have to side with Leigh here and say I've never been a big fan of the Saidar and Saidin shtick, which depicts channelling as seizing for men and surrendering for women. It's too much of a gendered gimmick for me to put any weight on it as a metaphor for interpreting the character's aspirations and actions. And I say that as someone who generally loves Jordan's usage of pop-gender psychology in dialogue and the perspectives of viewpoint characters.

With S&S, RJ moves beyond cute little gendered idioms and quotes, which are harmless and inspire criticism of their utterers as much as they illuminate about their intend targets. With S&S, RJ takes such nuances out of reader's hands, and effectively elevates a very gendered idea to the status of an ultimate truth, part of the grand reality of WOT - making surrender cosmically tied to the female soul. I'll accept it as an arbitrary mechanic for accessing the One Power, but it's not going to influence my scrutiny of female characters' probity and etiquette.

I think it's part of his point on gender relations. The most effective use of the one power is when men and women are linked and in that case the circle leader, male or female, must not only work with each side of the power in it's own way but do so simultaneously. The point is that each gender first learns their own communication style because you have to start some where. Then you learn the other genders language and then you use them together. Maximum benefit comes from knowing both how to struggle and how to submit and then knowing when to do each.

This is effectively shown in FoH by seeing Moraine realize that she has been trying to control rand by fighting him and that that was the wrong tack to take with him.

As Beerwulf remakes in @92 The girls need to Struggle for Authority and submit to their "power" and the Boys need to Submit to their new Authority and Struggle to obtain the Power needed to use it.
Lord Haart
111. LordHaart
"This is effectively shown in FoH by seeing Moraine realize that she has been trying to control rand by fighting him and that that was the wrong tack to take with him."

Very interesting, and I think the idea RJ expresses here is that regardless of your views on gender equality, in modern society there are limitations on both genders (social norms etc). Each gender has developed a modus operandi for dealing with these limitations, and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. But true power only comes with both.

This also casts an interesting reflection on the True Power. The DO is worried about treachery amongst the Forsaken when Saidin is cleansed, because they lose the reason to stay with him. Why hasn't he worried about females? Perhaps because with the True Power, they are able to channel with equal ability to men.

I do have one loony theory that maybe the dark one isn't actually evil, and perhaps it's just seen that way because of the prejudices of society and because the winners (LTT) wrote history. I'd have to work pretty hard to make a case for that - but the equality present in the TP is an interesting contrast to the sexism of S&S.
112. Jimbobs

I haven't read every single comment so apologies if this has already been talked about but while I acknowledge that confinement and unbroken hot weather will do nothing for a person's temper I always thought that the reason for all the angsty, bitchy behaviour amongst the girls was because of their proximity to the seal on the DO's prison...and that the reason why they started getting on again during the journey down river was because the seal had broken and was no longer oozing out evil.
Maiane Bakroeva
113. Isilel
AML @103:

They may not think themselves entitled to leadership per se, but they do think themselves entitled to authority or seniority over men.

And vice versa. Some see the guys over-protectiveness re:women in WOT as entirely wonderful, but it is also deeply sexist and rooted in condescension.

Also, normal men still can achieve greatness through military career, which is reserved for men alone. Even the Maidens can't rise to the highest level of command.
What do non-channeler women have if they want to rise to glory?
Even effective self-defense training is denied them.

WOTland is not a matriarchy some would like to see it as - far from it. Channeling power of women was already balanced by the military power of men when the series began.

Lord Haart @108:

There is a world of difference between training injuries and corporeal punishment and strict discipline versus having to scrape and abase oneself at every turn and beg for instruction.

While some sort of "basic" was necessary for WT, given how disparate the recruits are, stretching it out over 10 or so years is a huge waste. Presumably, after a year or so a novice should already have more valuable and useful skills than those required to scrub pots, etc.

Also, graduation seems to have very little to do with maturity or knowledge or whatever - just with channeling strength and determination.
The Black Tower has shown that both could be achieved infinitely more swiftly and efficiently.

Men may be quicker, but I doubt that they are 50 times quicker. It is just all the waffling around and filling time with pointless put-downs that slows the AS down so much. Again, wouldn't surprise me if it was Ishy's doing through his BA.

Gagecreedlives @99:

Wasn't it Merean's explanation? In any case, whatever Elaida consciously thought, IMHO she subconsciously wanted to crush them. I mean, being so brutal so close to the test was completely counter-intuitive if she really wanted to help.

Still, Elaida here or there I am sure that there were plenty of AS in the past that disliked the notion of jumping for some slip of a girl in a near (for them) future and did their best to make her give up or fail. It is just human nature, given that there is no appeal against the hierarchy by OP strength.

I really hope that Egs destroys this tradition and we will see an amazing wise-up from the AS once the brawn is no longer given such precedence over brains.
Holger Marx
114. DreamHealer
Isilel @113:

I think after one of the cruel training sessions in NS Elaida says "I want you to pass" to Siuan and Moiraine, and having sworn the three oaths already, that means she really wanted to help somehow.

Lord Haart @111:

IMHO the Dark One is as evil as anything can be. After all, he brought war, murder and torture to the bliss of the age of legends and encourages all kinds of cruel behaviour among his followers to show their dedication to him. The Creator was defenitively right in locking him away instantly.
Lord Haart
115. LordHaart
While I agree that the WT had some pretty pointless exercises, there is also much value in many of them. I think we can all agree that the SG's have huge humility issues in general, and how long before they start acting like High Ladies of Tear? Isn't Elayne already just that, treating the peasants as a requirement for leadership rather than an end unto themselves? She seems to think the latter fairly often, but her actions (and frequent complaints about her comfort) say otherwise.

Even more to the point, the WO's openly embrace "meaningless" tasks as a form of enforcing humility. They do this to a much, much harsher extend than WT, and shame their disciples in a society where shame is the ultimate torture. And they do this for as long as they deem necessary, just like the WT. And yet people think they have a better system???

The other point of note is that while AS hierarchy is strength-based, that's only amongst AS. Novices and Accepted are considered for raising based more upon their knowledge of the OP and their maturity, with a minimum threshold of OP strength that's required in order to protect the reputation of the WT (weak sisters could be harmed more easily, destroying the image of invincibility surrounding AS).
John Massey
116. subwoofer
@92Beerwulf & 110 SteelBlaidd- very interesting and appropriate analysis. Much better than anything I could put to words. :)

@Isilel-us guys suck sometimes but I feel that there is some balance in RJ's world and he really writes some strong female characters.

Sorelia- can drop a bull with just a glance. Not big on the power but has the sheer force of her will and all the clan chiefs listen.

Aldura- fire sticks and is rising to be leader of her guild.

Tuon- The Empress in waiting. And the equal of Mat.

Elayne- Andor only has queens. No king sits on the Lion Throne.

Birgette- greatest archer ever. And she becomes leader of the Guards.

The Amyrlin- even kings bow to her and run when she calls.

Moiraine- RJ's version of Gandalf.

Cadsuane- drives me up the wall but is an AS Legend. And teaches Rand and all male channelers a thing or two.

Bela- greatest horse ever. er, sorry Sea Biscuit.

Just sayin'.

Go Light!
Marcus W
117. toryx
jamesedjones @ 88:

Very well put. I particularly like your use of the Washington Conundrum (which I totally believe, btw).


Beerwulf @ 92:

You've got an excellent point. It's like power and responsibility for the boys has to be accomplished by using the Saidar method, whereas the women have to master Saidin to get their own issues accomplished. What an interesting concept and way to flip everything on its head. I dig it.


Wolfmage @ 102:

I don’t think the girls think they are entitled to leadership by virtue of their sex. That seems a very uncharitable and unfair assessment. Of the three, Egwene is the most drunk on her own self-assurance. Elayne is literally born to rule.

If I had the books handy and the inclination, I'd go through them and pick out the numbers of times each woman has, in her perspective, pointed out how much men "need them" to take charge because men always muck it up somehow.

That to me, suggests an entitlement by virtue of their sex, particularly because of how it's always aimed against men in general. Nynaeve is perhaps the most guilty of it, but the other two share the same attitude in volumes.

If it's uncharitable or unfair, pin it on the author, not me for my observation of it.

While we're on the subject, I've also always found it funny how often people insist that "Andor has always had a Queen!" There's never any thought to actually picking the one most suited to rule; if it's not a female, qualification doesn't seem to matter. That's as sexist as anything else which may well be RJ's point.

Ultimately, there's no question that sexism and sexist attitudes exist in Randland. There's huge amounts of it on all sides and I find it irritating or downright abhorrent regardless of who is guilty of it.
Leigh Butler
118. leighdb
welltemperedwriter @104:

Thank you.
James Jones
119. jamesedjones
117 toryx

Thanks. I like the idea, too. And nowhere in the conundrum does it require that the leader not try their best or believe themselves the best for the job. They just don't feel that the authority and power of the position are deserved just because of who they are.

As for the sexist attitudes of the characters, I really don't see any difference in real life. The few wonderful ladies that have graced my life typically thought I needed to have my hand held through any difficulties. And I always wanted to fix their problems for them. Neither side was probably correct. But it's a measure of our own self-worth. Any successful relationship will require both parties to recognize not only their partner's value, but also their own.

Since you already noted that it comes from both sides, if you do look for the times the girls think the guys will 'muck it up', don't forget to spot the number of times the guys thought the girls needed to be 'rescued'. RJ did a great job of keeping it balanced.
120. alreadymadwithgirlslead
Isilel @113
While I may agree that the guys' over-protectiveness and reluctance to let women take part in military affairs borders on condescension, I disagree about women being unable to defend themselves. That part has more to do with women not actually having the inclination to learn. WOT does allow combat and self defense training for women, and in those cases where the women do put in the time and effort to learn, skills are quite effective.
Genevieve Williams
121. welltemperedwriter
WOT does allow combat and self defense training for women, and in those cases where the women do put in the time and effort to learn, skills are quite effective.


Using a method other than the Power?

I recall no evidence of that whatsoever. Counterexamples welcome.

There ARE examples of women knowing how to fight: Birgitte, of course, and Cerandin, and Faile's ability with knives. But the point being made here is that women generally do not have the opportunity to take on roles of military leadership; Birgitte is exceptional as much in this respect as for her status as Elayne's Warder. (Faile even reflects at one point that the reason she left Saldaea is because her father would teach her brothers to fight, but not her; she learned knives from one of his guards.)

While we're on the subject, I've also always found it funny how often people insist that "Andor has always had a Queen!" There's never any thought to actually picking the one most suited to rule; if it's not a female, qualification doesn't seem to matter. That's as sexist as anything else which may well be RJ's point.

Ya think?

See also: Salic law.
Pete Pratt
122. PeteP
Isilel @98 You sadly mischaracterized Washington. Washington never wanted power. During the Revolutionary War, his officers repeatedly tried to get him to go to the Continental Congress and impose a dictatorship. He refused.

At the end of the War, a conspiracy arose (mainly among officers concerned about back pay) to place Washington as ruler over the country. He personally squashed it.

King George III commented that if Washington actually gave up power at the end of the War, he was one of the most honorable men ever.

While Washington was part of the group that led to the calling of the Constitutional Convention and served as the president of the Constitution Convention, he did not to impose his views on others, so he rarely talked.

The Framers created the position of President with Washington in mind. He was the unspoken ideal.

Washington refused extravagant titles and formalities. He really did not want to president. He did not want a second term.

Washington was an amazing individual -- unique and capable, a great leader in spite of overwhelming troubles and adversity. He did not want power. He did not want great wealth. He just wanted to serve his people and country and return home when it was all done. He is the opposite of today's power-mad and money-hungry politicians that go iinto politics and never come home (at least in their hearts).
James Jones
123. jamesedjones
94 & 122 PeteP

OK, now I'm going to have to disagree with your comment about you not being able to say it better. :P
Marcus W
124. toryx
On my initial reads of the WoT years and years ago, I was often disappointed at the lack of strong female warriors, or the seeming unwillingness of the cultures to allow women to fight.

Characters like Birgitte and the Maidens seemed to be half-hearted offerings to appease the public so it wouldn't be completely one-sided.

On later reads, however, I came to the conclusion that it isn't so much that women aren't allowed to be fighters or soldiers; instead, the women in Randland don't seem to be that interested in it. When they want to pick up a weapon they do, and they seem to be every bit as effective as the men (such as in the Two Rivers fight in TSR). Quite often women are simply disdainful of men for choosing to fight; thinking with their muscles, etc.

In virtually every case, if a woman wants to learn to use a weapon and fight in combat, she finds a way. It's not absolutely restrictive like it was in our history.

Obviously, that's not necessarily true of some cultures like the Seachan and the lands beyond the Aiel Waste.
125. perrin5454

The WT is based on the military academy model that RJ experienced at the Citadel but is also very close to the model used at other academies such as VMI, West Point and Annapolis (and I mean the actual academy not the horrible movie by the same name). Under that system, Novices (Plebes, RATs, Newbs, whatever you want to call them) are treated the way they are to teach them humility, to wear them down, to break down their personality and character so that the WT (West Point, VMI, Naval Academy) can then rebuild the personality in the image that they wish it to be rebuilt. It also serves another function. If you wish to command or be in charge (which is the point of military academies around the world and also the WT) then you have to learn to obey. So that is the reason that is another reason why they scrub floors and wash dishes and clean their rooms fastidiously.

The third reason for the pointless chores is to be time-consuming. Between classes, Chores and lessons the point is to cram the day with more requirements than the Novice can ever meet so that the Novice learns time management and how to focus on the important tasks first and the less important tasks later. The point is also to make Novice life so stressful that everything that happens later seem like a non-issue. This also teaches that inscrutable Aes Sedai calm. If you have learned how to control yourself and you are used to be pulled in multiple directions during crises then when you are a real Aes Sedai and things drop in the pot you are going to react calmly, exactly like you learned to do when you were a Novice/Accepted. Projecting calm during a crisis is also the most effective form of leadership.

As far as actually learning how to channel, my understanding from the books was that most of that happened once you were an Accepted. Novice year is all about character building/shaping.
126. alreadymadwithgirlfights
welltemperedwriter @121
There's the judo/aikido that Cerandin used on Elayne just in the last post of the re-read. Tuon and Selucia also share similar hand to hand combat skills, as Mat and Thom discovered. Berelain used much the same skills on Faile in the Stone of Tear. Berelain also willingly allowed women to learn swordsmanship during her tenure as Steward of Cairhien. The families complained but didn't really do enough to stop it. Elayne and Birgitte recruit a whole slew of fighting women exclusively for the Queen's Guard, some of them with years of experience. One of the Warders actually enjoyed giving lessons. So it's definitely not a cultural thing against women learning self defense skills.

perrin5454 @125
Novices are carefully supervised in learning to touch the Power. When they are raised to Accepted is the time each acolyte begins to select specialties as each Accepted are given more leeway in selecting the skills and lessons she wants. An "elective" program of sorts.
Genevieve Williams
127. welltemperedwriter
Yes, I mentioned Cerandin as one example.

I've got the impression, though, that the only culture we've seen thus far wherein women are professional fighters (as opposed to knowing how to defend themselves, which isn't quite the same thing) is the Seanchan. Most of the other examples we've seen have been exceptional in some way. I'm including the Maidens in that, since they all belong to a single society and there is only one, versus however many all-male societies there are.

I agree that there isn't an overt cultural proscription; Jordan may have thought (and he'd have been right to do so) that that trope is pretty tired. It may even have thrown the balance too far in the other direction, since only women can be Aes Sedai. I'll even allow that in a society where fighting ability is still so dependent on physical strength (since swords and bows require some degree of it, no matter how good you are), this isn't all that surprising.

However, in a story where gender relations and power differentials are an ongoing theme, I'm not quite sure that I can assert that the women of Randland have equality of opportunity in that area. Protectiveness toward women as a cultural norm definitely exists. I'm not criticizing the story for that, whatever my personal opinion; merely pointing it out.
128. Beerwulf
Firstly, thanks for all the compliements about Post 92. I particularly like SteelBlaidd @110 - I hadn't continued the thought to include working both the saidin and saidar methods at once. I suppose Perrin does that with Alliandre, but that's the ta-veren in him more than anything deliberate.

Also, I find saidin to sound more feminine and saidar to sound masculine, this led to much confusion about which one's which until I twigged that they're the "wrong" way around.

I haven't seen Egeanin mentioned as a fighting woman yet, apologies if I've missed it.
I should also point out that there's numerous examples of women soldiers from our own history, particularly in US Civil War and Soviet Union forces of World War 2. It's hardly the norm, though.
129. OldWoman
Just jumping in here re the sexism. RJ certainly tried to show how gender bias exists but he was still looking through his male filters when he would reverse the positions. It's okay to have different tendencies based on gender. It is not okay to place a higher value on one over the other. Embrace the differences...we are stronger for merging them and we need both viewpoints to see the whole picture. All strong women are not selfish beeaches and all sensitive men are not wimps. Men tend to be attracted to the adventure and excitement of battles and woman tend to deal in personalities. These are known gender tendencies. It's fun to observe although it hasn't always been fun since I've worked in an all male environment for over 40 years and it impacted my livelihood.
Jason Lyman
130. jlyman
@129 OldWoman

Embrace the differences...we are stronger for merging them

This is exactly where the Saidin/Saidar embodies the Yin/Yang aspect that is shown so graphically with the ancient Aes Sedai symbol. One part is not complete or whole without the other. "Neither the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man." Or you could say instead, that America would not be America without the melting pot of races, creeds, religions, etc. It just wouldn't be the same complete and whole country.
James Jones
131. jamesedjones
130 jlyman

It wouldn't be the same country, but until Leigh's next post, I'd be twitching just as badly.
Jason Lyman
132. jlyman
@131 JEJ

You and me both. I think I'm wearing out my F5 button.

Edit: And I'm running out of things to do at work! :-)
133. Lightblindedfool
Has anyone mentioned that Aiel men are forbidden from owning holds?

Aviendha explains this to Rand in tSR when they arrive at Cold Rocks Hold.
134. CalaLily

It's not that they're forbidden from owning a hold, it's that it belongs to a woman. Kinda like a dowry. Men don't have dowries. x3
135. CalaLily
*unless you're Loial
James Jones
136. jamesedjones
134 CalaLily

Except the dowry is given to the happy couple (or at least the one who is allowed property ownership in the society in question). I could have sworn that Aviendha sais something like the roofmistress could even refuse her husband entry into her hold. Anyone else remember what she said?
Don Barkauskas
137. bad_platypus
@ 92 Beerwulf

Since you forced me to go to the dictionary, I'm going to have to nitpick:

"vulpine" refers to being foxlike. I think you meant Perrin's "lupinicity" (wolflikeness). Now, Mat might be said to have vulpinicity... :-)
138. kab1
@136 I would agree that Aviendha said that a roofmistress could refuse her husband entry into a hold.

since men never own a hold, I think it's sort of the same thing as them being forbidden to own a hold. IMO Aviendha basically implied this

I believe something similar is in Ebou Dar where only women can own inns/ belong to the innkeepers guild. I think only men can own fishing boats (?).

Hoping that a new post is up soon (maybe already!?)
Maiane Bakroeva
139. Isilel
But IIRC she is only a roofmistress by the virtue of being chief's wife and only as long as he lives. So, in order to become a chief you must do well, but in order to become a roofmistress you must marry well....

Re: Aiel in general, I certainly don't like them or their WOs as much as many seem to. IMHO they are very xenophobic, limited and arrogant with pronounced sado-maso tendencies.

We'll discuss other guy-gal stuff at length during the next installments, I am sure.

Re: Washington, he is your equivalent of a lord and he wasn't reluctant do exercise his power overhis slaves, nor was he reluctant during the 7-year war, and he was IIRC politically active during the peace that preceded the Revolution - all of his own free will. Nothing at all like Duopotamian trio. He was comfortable with certain level of power(including power of life and death over his slaves), just didn't want to go to the very top.
Also, he clearly he modeled himself on famous Romans.

Celestin V is a much better example of a simple man who gets landed with power that he doesn't want - and he botched it.

Not that various commoners and ex-slaves didn't become Emperors of Byzantium on a regular basis, but they were ambitious.
140. Beerwulf
@137 good_platypus

Whoops, good spot. I really should have seen that, particularly since I quickly twigged Remus Lupin from another fantasy series.
Julian Augustus
141. Alisonwonderland
maybe just as LTT was reborn as three taveren, Ilyena became three women?

Lews Therin and Ilyena each reborn as 3 different people living at the same time? Surely you are not being entirely serious here? You are taking the concept of rebirth waaay beyond anything I've ever heard of.
Shaylyn Austin
142. Ispan
Perrin5454 @125

If you have learned how to control yourself and you are used to be pulled in multiple directions during crises then when you are a real Aes Sedai and things drop in the pot you are going to react calmly, exactly like you learned to do when you were a Novice/Accepted.

I think we see many great examples to support this idea once Egwene is Amyrlin. She constantly uses "Novice exercises" to keep calm in the face of the onslaught of surprise and unpredictability.

jlyman @130

This is exactly where the Saidin/Saidar embodies the Yin/Yang aspect that is shown so graphically with the ancient Aes Sedai symbol. One part is not complete or whole without the other.

I was just reading through CoT again last night around the point where the SAS suggest an "alliance" with the Black Tower. A Sister remarked that they had named it the BLACK Tower to slap the White Tower in the face. Silly women, open your eyes!
143. Renegade248
New post is up by Leigh. :)
Julian Augustus
144. Alisonwonderland
sorry, made a post in the wrong thread!
Lord Haart
145. LordHaart
Lews Therin and Ilyena each reborn as 3 different people living at the same time? Surely you are not being entirely serious here? You are taking the concept of rebirth waaay beyond anything I've ever heard of.

Maybe it's an extension of the rebirth thing, but there's definitely something up with the "colours" which the three taveren get whenever thinking of one another, especially since those colours give them the ability to see what each other are doing. They also each have traits of LTT - Rand is the Dragon, Mat is a gambler (and if the Strike at SG wasn't a gamble, then what is?), and Perrin has a long streak as a veritable madman seeking revenge for Faile (not exactly revenge, but close enough).

As for Ilyena, I know Lanfear thought of her as a "Milksop" but she had to be more than a shallow, token character. The pattern could easily re-weave her back in. Remember, nothing is random in the pattern. The seals are weakening, and the pattern tries to balance things (if that's not the creator right there, I'm surprised).

As a side point, aren't there 7 ages in the WoT (7 spokes)? Many of the theories about ages repeating themselves seem to assume there are only 3 ages.
146. RobMRobM
Leigh - you forgot to note: cool new chapter icon. Anyone recall if the water icon here is used again?

147. happi
>>>they have hair dye that washes right out! Washes out black dye from blonde hair, no less. I’m here to tell you, that right there is one of the most fantastical elements of this entire series.

Hah! I love finding these sorts of things in stories. I've always insisted that the most amazing thing Jack Bauer has on 24 is the nuclear-powered battery in his cell-phone! It goes all day thru 4 gajillion calls and data downloads!
148. w86
RobMRobM @146

not for sure but i believe this icon does come up again...though i am so not going to go through chapter by chapter...:)
if i am right it would make sense to use it whenever our heros are traveling by water...though now that i think about it...with all the Traveling going on...who needs a boat anymore?
the sea folk have their own icon right?
149. AngryAngryThorn
Heh heh, I quite like the AS/ickle AS chapters. Dont know why-probably because its a happy change to have an organisation of kick-ass women rather than a heroine being the exception. Though it does seem that the girls spend more time rolling their eyes at the guys while the guys seem, in general, bewildered.

When I read Brynes attitude to Elayne first time round, I didn’t think twice about it because at that point I found that I couldn’t help classing him in my head as an ‘aging golden retriever’ style character (ie; middling intelligence, not as fit as he was, seems to make you inexplicably want to give him a hug, easy to dismiss as over the hill but still manages to hear a cookie wrapper at a 500ft radius...O_o) Ahem. However, having now wormed his way into my favourite minor characters list, I have though about it and come up with thus...

1) Yes, hes bluff and reminiscent of someones old bachelor uncle, but Bryne has spent the last twenty odd years hanging out with Morgase, Elaida and the sneaky sneaky nobles of Caemlyn and so a tiny bit of the Game O’ Houses is bound to have rubbed off. If he gets to pally with Elayne, she can be used against him by the Aes Sedai. Badness for Bryne.

2) Elayne ran off from Tar Valon, as Bryne sees it. His own possible feelings for her aside, this event got Morgase irked with the Tower and a pissed of Morgase would have been more rash, even without Rahvins brain games.

3) Bryne is getting on a bit. His life has been trampled by his old lover for no fault of his own and just as he has found a new hobby and a new lady to argue with, some 18 year old girl shows up and says ‘never mind, I can fix it’. Patronising, anyone? Not to mention a good few months too late. How are you going to do this, Elayne? Really? You are back to being a subordinate to AS plus everyone says your ma is dead. Think, girl.

4) Elayne is Elayne. She is Morgases daughter. She looks like Morgase. She acts like Morgase. She IS mini-Morgase. Brynes mates have stepped carefully around even saying the name so seeing a mini-Morgase is not going to put the poor guy in the best humour.

5) Bryne has been stated as being a strong male figure for Elayne and Gawyn. Maybe not quite stepfather status but its getting there. Now Thom, Morgases old beau, is fiddling with Elaynes hair. It may be ancient history now but Bryne is not going to be looking on that in a good way. Either his status as surrogate-dad has been usurped, making his losses even clearer, or some sneaky old fugitive is patting his once-almost-stepdaughter. Thats not going to go down well, is it? Ok, he does do a whole ‘lets be friends’ thing with Thom but old instincts die hard.

6) Hes got important things to do. Uno has a little army following him, plus Thom and Juilin are useful. Now Elayne is bringing up personal topics amongst what are, essentially, potential business associates. Exposing weaknesses like that is not helpful, especially not in strange company and especially not when a tiny corner of his brain is fluffing up its feathers over Siuan-hes not going to be wanting any weaknesses to show, no siree.

....noooo, people have said all this already! Ahh, well, will post it anyway. I like prattling about favourite characters, mwahaha.
150. Vikt84
Maybe Moggy was using those days on the boat to actually weaken and destroy the Disc? Hmm
151. KyleLitke
So late but I'm just reading these now...

When I was in college, I took a creative writing class, and one of the first things we learned was writing a realistic story via the rules of the world. i.e., in Heroes, it's our world, except superpowers exist. Therefore, it's 100% realistic to have a congressman flying around or an indestructible cheerleader, per the rules of the world, but the idea of doing what Mohinder did is not. It's an interesting way of looking at it, and in my experience, absolutely true.
Ben Norris
152. I_have_no_life
This is totally out of date for me, but I don't care. If anyone actually comes back and looks at this, read on. There's not much in this comment.

Robert Jordan is the all-time, not even up-for-discussion, King of Irony. Elayne assures min that Aviendha is taking care of Rand for them, but then Aviendha takes his virginity. If Elayne knew right then and there, her brain would've turned into a potato. When she does find out, Avi says it so calmly and asks to be punished, so Elayne no longer has the urge to make everything in sight go boom.
153. s'rEDIT
Well, Ben, I'm running even later than you. I think we would all agree that your comment is spot on.

Of course the question about Carlinya and the raven tatoo is now moot.
William McDaniel
154. willmcd
On s'rEDIT @ 153's comment about Carlinya: was that viewing of the Raven ever fulfilled? As I recall she perished in the big Black Ajah throw-down at the end of ToM without ever having anything to do with the Seanchan.

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