Aug 31 2009 6:39pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Lord of Chaos, Part 11

Hello, Internets! Welcome to another Wheel of Time Re-read post!

Today’s post covers Chapters 16-17 of Lord of Chaos, in which we have genealogical revelations, fateful geographical relocations, and exsanguinatological communication.

(Look, Ma, I made a word!)

Previous entries are here. Please note that this and all posts contain spoilers for all currently published novels in the Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, don’t read.

And that’s all she wrote! Well, actually, no, that isn’t remotely all she wrote, but that’s all she wrote above the clickin’ line, so there!

Chapter 16: Tellings of the Wheel

What Happens
Rand lounges on his throne, trying to ignore Alanna’s presence in his head, while Chief Clerk Halwin Norry drones impassively about the state of affairs in Caemlyn; Rand reflects that nothing seems real to Norry except the numbers in his ledgers.

Where are they? he wondered furiously. Why hasn’t Alanna at least tried to sidle up to me? Moiraine would never have been frightened off so easily.

Where are all the dead? Lews Therin whispered. Why will they not be silent?

Rand chuckled grimly. Surely that had to be a joke.

Bashere appears in the doorway and nods, and Rand cuts Norry off and dismisses him (Norry doesn’t seem to care). He leaves, and Bashere enters with two men and two women, who react with varying degrees of shock and outrage at the Aiel standing all around. They also seem to be taken aback by their first sight of Rand, exchanging wondering glances; Rand supposes they’d thought he would be older.

“My Lord Dragon,” Bashere intoned loudly, halting before the dais, “Lord of the Morning, Prince of the Dawn, True Defender of the Light, before whom the world kneels in awe, I give to you Lady Dyelin of House Taravin, Lord Abelle of House Pendar, Lady Ellorien of House Traemane, and Lord Luan of House Norwelyn.”

Rand thinks that he and Bashere had worked out the titles beforehand, but the world kneeling part had been new. Rand is following Moiraine’s advice:

How people see you first is what they hold hardest in their minds. It is the way of the world. You can step down from a throne, and even if you behave like a farmer in a pigsty, some part in each of them will remember that you did descend from a throne. But if they see only a young man first, a country man, they will resent him stepping up to his throne later, whatever his right, whatever his power.

Rand greets the Andorans pleasantly but not in overly friendly fashion (more Moiraine advice), and invites them to join him for wine. They do so, and Rand reflects that Andorans are incredibly easy to read compared to Tairens and Cairhienin, as he notes their relief at Bashere’s departure, followed by concern that Rand could treat a general of royal blood like a servant. After a moment of small talk, Dyelin comes to the point by asking what he wants from them; Rand replies they must have heard his proclamation, that Elayne is to be crowned queen since Morgase is dead. Dyelin is happy with this, but Ellorien snaps that she wants no more of House Trakand on the throne, and stands for Dyelin instead. Luan agrees, but Dyelin replies that she stands for Elayne. Abelle doesn’t think it matters what they want; if Rand killed Morgase – he cuts himself off, daring Rand silently to retaliate. Rand asks sadly why they would believe he would kill Morgase only to put Elayne on the throne. Ellorien replies that no one knows what to believe about him, after all the things said about him. Rand asks, what things? But Dyelin answers instead.

“That you will fight the Last Battle and kill the Dark One. That you are a false Dragon, or an Aes Sedai puppet, or both. That you’re Morgase’s illegitimate son, or a Tairen High Lord, or an Aielman.” She frowned again for a moment, but did not stop. “That you are the son of an Aes Sedai by the Dark One. That you are the Dark One, or else the Creator clothed in flesh. That you will destroy the world, save it, subjugate it, bring a new Age. As many tales as there are mouths. Most say you killed Morgase. Many add Elayne. They say your proclamation is a mask to hide your crimes.”

Rand sighs and says he won’t ask which of those she believes, and asks if they will help him keep Andor whole or not. Abelle points out that nothing in the Prophecies says anything about the Dragon Reborn ruling, and Rand tries to keep a grip on his temper as he repeats that he has no wish to rule Andor, and will leave as soon as Elayne is crowned. Ellorien replies if he means it, then crown Dyelin and go, but Dyelin still refuses. She tells Rand she will wait and see, but if he does not find and crown Elayne soon, she will come against him. The other three add firmly that they will do the same.

Rand threw back his head and laughed in spite of himself, half mirth, half frustration. Light! And I thought honest opposition would be better than sneaking behind my back or licking my boots!

He tells them do as they must, but also consider that Tarmon Gai’don is approaching, and ends the audience. He asks to speak to Dyelin alone, though, and once away from the others, asks why she and the others looked at him so strangely. She regards him, then asks who his mother was. Surprised, Rand tells her his mother was a Maiden of the Spear named Shaiel, and his father Janduin, clan chief of the Taardad Aiel, though he was raised in the Two Rivers, and wants to know what that has to do with anything. Relieved, Dyelin tells him it must be a chance resemblance only, but Rand asks who she thought it might be.

She hesitated, then sighed. “I do not suppose it matters. Someday you must tell me how you had Aiel parents yet were raised in Andor. Twenty-five years ago, more now, the Daughter-Heir of Andor vanished in the night. Her name was Tigraine. She left behind a husband, Taringail, and a son, Galad. I know it is only chance, yet I see Tigraine in your face. It was a shock.”

Rand felt a shock of his own. He felt cold. Fragments of the tale the Wise Ones had told him spun through his head... a golden-haired young wetlander, in silks... a son she loved; a husband she did not...  Shaiel was the name she took. She never gave another... You have something of her in your features.

Rand asks how Tigraine vanished, and Dyelin tells him Tigraine just disappeared one day and was never seen again; her father Taringail was half-mad with grief, and her disappearance led the Cairhienin to suspect Andor wanted to break the treaty Taringail’s marriage to Queen Mordrellen had cemented, which eventually led to Laman’s Pride and all that followed it. Dyelin’s father thought Gitara Sedai was at fault; Rand recognizes the name with a shock.

“Gitara was counselor to Queen Mordrellen,” she said briskly, “but she spent more time with Tigraine and Luc, Tigraine’s brother, than with the Queen. After Luc rode north, never to return, whispers said Gitara had convinced him that his fame lay in the Blight, or his fate. Others said it was that he would find the Dragon Reborn there, or that the Last Battle depended on him going. That was about a year before Tigraine disappeared.”

She concludes that Mordrellen died of grief soon after, which led to the Succession and eventually the ascent of House Trakand, and remarks he would have found a very different Andor had Tigraine not left. She leaves, and Rand thinks it would have been very different indeed, for he would not have been born, and marvels at the chain of events that had led to his birth. He wishes he could have met Tigraine/Shaiel just once.

The Wheel of Time and the wheel of a man’s life turn alike without pity or mercy, Lews Therin murmured.

Are you really there? Rand thought. If there’s more than a voice and a few old memories, answer me! Are you there? Silence. He could use Moiraine’s advice now, or somebody’s.

He realizes he’s facing in Alanna’s direction, and furiously rejects the notion of replacing Moiraine with a woman “who would ambush him that way”. Bashere appears and says there’s someone here he needs to see, but Rand tells him he’s going to Cairhien. Bashere says fine, but he needs to see this man; he claims to have come from “Lord Brend”. The Aiel guards snap upright; surprised, Rand tells him to bring the messenger in. The messenger comes in under heavy guard, and Rand sees there is something very wrong with him; he has a fixed, rictus-like grin on his face, but his eyes are filled with fear. He tells Rand in an Illianer accent that he comes from Sammael with a message for the Dragon Reborn, and then abruptly begins talking in a completely different voice, which Rand recognizes from Lews Therin’s memories as Sammael’s. Sammael offers him a truce until “The Day of Return”: as long as Rand will not move against him, Sammael will not move beyond what he already holds, so that on the Day of Return it will only be Rand and Sammael left, “as it was meant to be.” In growing fury, Rand realizes he has seized saidin, and Lews Therin is snarling as well.

“Take this message back to Sammael,” he said coldly. “Every death he has caused since waking, I lay at his feet and call due. Every murder he has ever done or caused, I lay at his feet and call due. He escaped justice in the Rorn M’doi, and at Nol Caimaine, and Sohadra... ” More of Lews Therin’s memories, but the pain of what had been done there, the agony of what Lews Therin’s eyes had seen, burned across the Void as if Rand’s. “ ...but I will see justice done now. Tell him, no truce with the Forsaken. No truce with the Shadow.”

To everyone’s shock, the messenger begins bleeding from every pore and collapses dead in moments. Bashere supposes his death indicates Rand’s refusal; Rand orders that the man be properly buried, and tells Bashere he may spend the night in Cairhien. Aviendha appears, disregarding the bloodied dead man, and tells his she must go with him to Cairhien, to speak to the Wise Ones. Rand grimaces, for he had hoped he might have one night without her distracting him, but agrees. Bashere reminds him that he was supposed to inspect his horsemen this afternoon, but Rand tells him it can wait; all he wants is to be away from here.

Moiraine’s advice about thrones and pigsties is one of the quotes from WOT that has always struck me as being a particularly accurate summation of the peculiarities of human behavior, enough so that I’ve already brought it up in the commentaries before now. You really don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and nowhere is that more true than in the arena of power. I think Moiraine’s influence on Rand was damaging in some ways, but in most ways, she did right by him.

This chapter does a lot to cement the Andoran cultural image as being rather doofy but laudable in their (comparatively) honest approach to politics. Which, of course, is what makes Andoran politics so frustratingly sludgelike, as we will have more than ample opportunity to experience in coming books. There’s a saying somewhere that I can’t remember the wording of, but very loosely paraphrased says that any government you can change quickly or easily is an utterly corrupt government.

Also in this chapter, of course, is the big DUN! regarding the true identity of Rand’s biological mother. As usual, I can’t remember whether I had guessed Tigraine = Shaiel before Rand’s conversation with Dyelin here the first time around, but certainly all the clues were there to make the connection long before this point.

I’m personally more interested in the bits concerning Luc. I really wonder if we’ll ever get to hear what exactly Gitara Foretold concerning him. I mean, did she know she was sending Luc to get turned into the Dark One’s hitman (hitmen, I guess I should say), or was it vague enough that she just knew it was important for him to go? I assume the latter, of course, since Gitara was pretty definitely a Good Guy, but you never know.

And while we’re at it, WHY was it so important for Luc and Isam to get smushed together and homicidal? Is this like a Gollum thing? Is Fain going to have to file an infringement of copyright suit?

Either Rand or Lan (or, ideally, both) meeting up with Slayer is definitely high on my wish list of Things I Hope Happen in the last three books, if for no other reason than hopefully this damn mystery finally gets cleared up.

Sammael: I guess terminally self-involved people really don’t get how altruism or moral principles can motivate non-narcissistic personalities to act against their own best interests, but really, dude. Why on earth would you have expected that to work?

On the gripping hand, I can’t decide whether to think Rand’s outright “fuck off” response was noble and awesome, or foolish and a loss of opportunity. I’m certainly in agreement with “no truce with the Shadow”, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t help thinking it would have been useful to have made Sammael think that Rand was amenable. All the better to hamstring him from behind later, of course.

Or is that too underhanded? I don’t know, maybe that makes me a bad person, but all’s fair in cliché cliché. Or So I Hear.

Rand going to Cairhien: NOOOOOOO! Don’t Do Eeeet… damn.

Chapter 17: The Wheel of a Life

What Happens
Rand makes the gateway to Cairhien right there, and he and Aviendha and the Maidens and Red Shields all go through. He is met outside the room set aside for this use by thirty Far Aldazar Din (Brothers of the Eagle) and a contingent of Berelain’s Winged Guards. Rand realizes that he can still feel Alanna even six hundred miles away, though much fainter.

You never escape the traps you spin yourself. Lews Therin’s murmur sounded confused. Only a greater power can break a power, and then you’re trapped again. Trapped forever so you cannot die.

Rand shivered. Sometimes it really did seem that voice was speaking to him. If only it would make sense once in a while, having it in his head would be easier.

Then he notices that Aviendha has already slipped away; irrationally annoyed by this, he orders the guards to take him to Berelain and Rhuarc. The two find him in the corridors first, and as he looks at Berelain Rand suddenly realizes Lews Therin is humming tunelessly, the way a man might when admiring a pretty woman, and yells at him in his head to shut up; the voice falls silent. Berelain and Rhuarc tell him all is well in Cairhien, and Rand reflects that the decision to put Berelain in charge here was working out well. He asks after Egwene; Berelain, who dislikes Egwene for no reason Rand can determine, says nothing, but Rhuarc replies that Amys says she is recovering well. Rand starts to say he wants to see her, but is distracted by the sight of a group of Cairhienin women in the courtyard below training with swords, being attended by servants dressed all in white. He asks what that’s all about; Rhuarc snorts in disgust, but Berelain smiles and tells him many of the younger Cairhienin women have been very impressed by the Maidens, and want to be Maidens themselves, but of the sword, rather than the spear. Sulin and the other Maidens stiffen in outrage, and Berelain continues that it is not just the women; many younger Cairhienin are adopting ji’e’toh. Rhuarc growls that they are mangling it, but Berelain counters that they are merely adapting it; Rand gets the feeling this is not the first time they have had this argument.

“They change it,” Rhuarc repeated deliberately. “Those fools down there in white claim to be gai’shain. Gai’shain!” The other Aielmen muttered; handtalk flickered among the Maidens again. Havien began to look a trifle uneasy. “What battle or raid were they taken in? What toh have they incurred? You confirmed my ban on fighting in the city, Berelain Paeron, yet they fight duels wherever they think they’ll not be found, and the loser puts on white.”

He tells Rand that it should be stopped, but Berelain points out that since they started this, not one young man has died in a duel, which alone makes it worth it, but furthermore she has stood up to the parents of those young noblewomen to allow them to study the sword, and she will not go back on her promises to them. They look to Rand for his decision. Rand thinks that he understands the Cairhienin’s impulse to adapt the customs of a people who have now conquered them twice, and in any case considers some of the so-called legitimate ways in which Aiel can be taken gai’shain to be no less ridiculous.

Really it came down to one thing, though. He had put Berelain in charge; he had to support her. It was as simple as that. “Cairhienin offend you by being Cairhienin, Rhuarc. Leave them be. Who knows, maybe they will eventually learn enough that you won’t have to hate them anymore.”

Rhuarc grunted sourly, and Berelain smiled. To Rand’s surprise, for one moment she seemed about to put her tongue out at the Aielman. Only his imagination, of course.

They go on to Berelain and Rhuarc’s shared study, where Rand manages to get rid of all but two of his guards, and they give him their reports. Toram Riatin and Caraline Damodred are hidden in the foothills of the Spine of the World, supposedly with ten thousand Andoran soldiers, though Rhuarc doubts there are that many; he thinks Rand should do something about their rebellion, but Rand considers that he has bigger fish to fry at the moment. The Shaido are building holds in Kinslayer’s Dagger, and Rhuarc doubts that they intend to ever return to the Three-fold Land. There are reports of fighting in Shara, sparked by rumors of the Dragon Reborn.

Suddenly the wine tasted sour. Another place like Tarabon and Arad Doman, torn just by hearing of him. How far did the ripples spread? Were there wars he would never hear of in lands he would never hear of, because of him?

Death rides on my shoulder, Lews Therin muttered. Death walks in my footsteps. I am death.

Rand says his concern is Sammael, for now. They discuss that and other matters, and Rhuarc appears fondly amused at Berelain’s businesslike briskness as she gets into it. They are interrupted by Jalani, who says Mangin is here to see Rand. Rand starts to tell her he will see Mangin later, but Rhuarc stops him and says he should see him now, and Berelain looks at the floor. Rand agrees slowly, and Mangin enters and tells Rand conversationally that he killed a man six days ago, and now wants to know if he has toh to Rand for it. He tells Rand that the man offered him no violence, but was wearing a tattoo of a Dragon on his arm, so Mangin killed him.

“He was pretending to be a clan chief?” Rand realized he was searching for an excuse ...him will I hang. Mangin had been one of the first to follow him.

“No,” Mangin said. “He was drinking, and showing off what he should not have had. I see your eyes, Rand al’Thor.” He grinned suddenly. “It is a puzzle. I was right to kill him, but now I have toh to you.”

“You were wrong to kill him. You know the penalty for murder.”

“A rope around the neck, as these wetlanders use.” Mangin nodded thoughtfully. “Tell me where and when; I will be there. May you find water and shade today, Rand al’Thor.”

He leaves, and Berelain marvels that he will no doubt just show up for his own hanging; Rand tells her off for leaving him to handle this, but Rhuarc cuts in that Mangin’s toh was to Rand, not Berelain. Rand snarls back that his toh was to the man he murdered (Rhuarc looks shocked), and next time they are not to wait for him.

That way, perhaps he would not have to pass sentence again on a man he knew and liked. He would if he had to. He knew that, and it saddened him. What had he become?

The wheel of a man’s life. Lews Therin murmured. No mercy. No pity.

For some reason I found Lews Therin’s ogling of Berelain, and Rand’s “Quit it, perv!” response to be really funny. Though of course it wasn’t funny at all for Rand. But still. Heh.

Why does Berelain not like Egwene, again? I assume as a result of something that happened while they were both in Tear, but I can’t recall offhand the two of them really interacting very much. Maybe it’s just because she was there with Moiraine, who was rather dismissive of Berelain if I recall correctly.

It should come as a shock to precisely no one that I was highly pleased by the whole “Maidens of the Sword” movement in Cairhien. I was even more delighted by Berelain’s wholehearted endorsement of the practice, though it’s hardly surprising, given her drubbing of Faile in the Stone; Berelain is a woman who definitely knows the value of being your own last line of defense.

And by the way (*drags over soapbox*), the idea that women should not be taught to fight because they are physically weaker than men is officially the stupidest notion sexism has ever come up with. That is precisely why they SHOULD be taught to fight. I mean, this is so obvious to me as to be ludicrous. That’s like saying, to pull an example not at all from thin air, that because a levee system might not be able to withstand the worst hurricane ever, that you shouldn’t bother building a defense against hurricanes at all.

(Or building one RIGHT in the first place. Or re-building the one that’s already there! Assholes.)

(Wow, I jumped from one soapbox right to another there, didn’t I? I’m like Q-bert with the inflammatory commentary today! Whoo!)

Berelain is generally awesome in this chapter, actually. Rand’s surprise and Rhuarc's amusement at her ability to be something other than a sexpot is a trifle condescending and annoying, but otherwise I love the father-daughter/mentor-protégé relationship she has with Rhuarc, and the comfortable way they get on together despite their differences. It’s the kind of thing that is irritatingly rare in intergender relations in WOT, and so was all the more pleasant to see as a result.

It’s too bad that couldn’t have been continued, instead of sending Berelain off to be an additional annoyance factor in what probably stands as the most annoying storyline in WOT, for me anyway. But that’s for later!

Mangin: I’m with Rand on this one. Had to be done; really, really sucks. There’s really not much more to say about it in my opinion.

So I WON’T, ha! That’ll do us for today, goys and birls. Be good, and see you Wednesday!

Christopher Sandoval
1. crsandoval
Thanks Leigh now my last hour here at work is going to be Great More LOC on my plate
Joseph Blaidd
2. SteelBlaidd
I've always apreciated how quickly Rand puts the peces together on his family history As soon as he knows he looks like Tigrane he knows. Now the question is, does he tell anyone else? At the very least Elayne ought to know.

Does any one else really wish for an explination of Berelain's relationship with the Aeil?
3. Dreamwolf
Great 27 minutes to midnight here in Sweden and I'm almost first.

I really do like your reread Leigh, amazing work.
Maiane Bakroeva
4. Isilel
It is interesting how much Moiraine is present in LoC through her advice. And IMHO it shows that despite her disagreements with Rand (who turned out to be right by virtue of being ta'veren), she really knew what she was about.
Rand's feelings about Alanna are... strange. But maybe the bond creates a certain attachment? So that despite his justifiable outrage Rand just can't be as angry with her as he should be?

Interesting, that the idea that a Queen of Andor can have illegitimate children crops up. Will Elayne need to do something extra for her twins to fit into succession for the crown and House Trakand?

I find it it rather humorous that despite Luc and Tigraine having strong physical similarity, nobody thinks that Rand could be Luc's - which would seem more plausible, all things considered.

Sammael's messenger - I remember thinking about bio-warfare when I read this first, but apparently the Shadow is above such things.

Aiel's inflexible, arrogant sense of superiority that will become so grating later, in full display. One may gripe about various other groups, but let's be honest - nobody is more resistant to learning new or foreign ways than the Aiel, with sole exceptions of Avi and in a warped way Sevanna ;).

the idea that women should not be taught to fight because they are physically weaker than men is officially the stupidest notion sexism has ever come up with.

Absolutely. I felt that RJ really dropped the ball on this with women in his supposedly more or less gender equal societies, which nevertheless contain a lot of danger of violence, not learning even basic self-defense and using only the crappiest weapons in a pinch, such as a knife or a cudgel - that are much more difficult to use effectively for physically weaker combatants than many varieties of swords and spears, not to mention lighter bows/crossbows.

I guess that was so he could have more of the "damsel in distress" scenarios that he likes so much ;).
Bryan Cogswell
5. shmoo
"Berelain is generally awesome in this chapter, actually. Rand’s surprise and Rhuarc's amusement at her ability to be something other than a sexpot is a trifle condescending and annoying,"

Except for that whole thing about the first impression Rand really had of her in the Stone was that she WAS a sexpot. These two chapters taken together I was thinking - See Rand if you act like the country boy everyone will treat you like one. No matter how well you govern Example A = Berelain.
6. nipper
The reason Luc was sent to the blight is that Luc never would have allowed Tigraine to leave alone.
craig thrift
7. gagecreedlives
Remember when we were coming up with TV names for Randland well we now have a new one. Hangin’ with Mangin.

I think the whole Berelain vs Egwene started back in the Stone when Berelain tried to seduce Rand.

But I would like to know why the Aiel and especially the wise ones seem to like her so much.
Keith Benson
8. Midas
First off, thanks to subwoofer and gagecreedlives for the warm welcome and wetlandernw for replying to my comment!

I'm still not convinced that Gitara was a "good guy". I think at best, she was an "agent of fate" that got all the chess pieces into place for the big showdown. I think the parallels between Luc/Isam and Fain are intentional, and that the "resolution" of Fain will absolutely involve Slayer (and for that reason, Gitara sending Luc into the blight will have been for the "good"). I certainly can't wait for the scene when Lan and Rand meet him though too.
Roger Powell
9. forkroot
Anyone tired of surveys yet? ... No?... good!

I've been wondering about VSOs (Very Significant Others, e.g. wife/husband/partner/committed live-in) feelings for our WoT interests.

I am blessed with a wonderful wife who isn't offended when I bury my nose in a WoT book, but has zero interest in them herself. I'm sort of curious on how the percentages would break down in the group for:

A) VSO is also very into WoT
B) VSO has read one more WoT book, but only casual interest
C) VSO has not read WoT but indulges my interest
D) VSO is skeptical or hostile about WoT
E) No VSO at the moment
Vincent Lane
10. Aegnor
Hah, nice Mote in God's Eye reference Leigh.
Andrew Lovsness
11. drewlovs
5. shmoo

See Rand if you act like the country boy everyone will treat you like one. No matter how well you govern Example A = Berelain.

I agree totally. Berelain decided to seduce Rand from the get go, and is thus responsible for the way she is viewed by Rand at first in this book.

To beat a dead horse though (this isn't the first time we have discussed this), not teaching one gender how to at least protect themselves in a world where trollocs EAT said gender is pretty stupid.

Look at C.S. Lewis's females in the Narnia books; they were ALL expert with the bow. Hand to hand, they might not be as effective, but they probably killed more people that the men with swords. As such, I would have to agree that I always felt Jordan short changed the non-channeling women in the southern provinces.

Re: geneology vs Rand
I know for a fact that I had figured out where Rand had come from maternally, because I had the same question HE did: are Elayne and Rand related? I was very happy to see Jordan taking the time to answer that question later on, so I know it was on my mind the first go around.
Susan Brownhill
12. SusanB
Well, I agree with everything Leigh said today, so no real comment about the reading. Wanted to contribute to the new survey though.

My husband would fall into category C. He cannot understand at all why I would ever read ANY book a second time, much less multiple times. He also can't understand why I would want to read such big books. Nor does he understand why the WORLD MUST STOP whenever a new book comes out. He teases me about it, but generally doesn't care. By day 3 of me not talking to him he sometimes gets a little snippy, but he gets over it quickly. He's really a good sport about it. TGS will be the first new book since I had my 2 kids. Some how I don't see my toddler & infant being good sports about my 24/7 reading style. So, I think I will have to find some way to put the book down....
John Shaw
14. Kinsbane
These chapters really, really made me want Moiraine back. My first read-through I never picked up on the clues of her getting rescued from Finnland, so whenever I read Rand's thoughts on Moiraine's advice, it got me slightly watery eyes. Just slightly.

Oh, and for forkroot's poll, option C) for me.
Tess Laird
15. thewindrose
forkroot - my VSO is in between 3 & 4. I am thinking he used some sort of Compulsion on me, as he is not a reader at all, and I love to read. He is amazed that I reread books(I have never told him how many time for WoT). He is an avid TV/Movie guy - really likes scifi(that's where he got me I bet). Kids and him are not going to like the first couple days when I get tGS, may have to schedule a 'business trip' so I can read non stop:)

I have never minded Berelain. I am intrigued about why the Wise Ones like her so much, and what is it between Egwene and her. Not that I mind it, maybe Berelain just doesn't like oh oh girls. And as I don't really appreciate Egwene until KoD, she has some other moments, but I think that after she pulls everything together = KoD, I find I like reading her much more.

I can't wait until Rand does tell who his biological mom was, I have been waiting a long time!
16. Branwhin
Thanks, Leigh! Loving the reread.

Forkroot: Option B for me. He's read up to (but not yet ... AAAARGH) Winter's Heart. Which drives me nuts actually - talk about the mother of all spoiler avoidances! He doesn't get my obsession with the whole series, but is wonderfully indulgent in general.

Kinsbane, me too. It's that old 'don't know what you've got till it's gone' thing, in part, because while Moiraine did most *certainly* misstep in places, she had her heart firmly in the right place. One wonders, though, what Elaida's embassy would have done with her. That would *not* have been pleasant.

I hadn't figured out the Tigraine bit until Dyelin spelled it out, but the next time I read through TGH I had a really good chuckle about Rand's comment to Barthanes. Nice touch, there, RJ.

As she seems to have with others, Berelain gained some major points with me here also, only to have me want to smack her all the harder later in the same book. Since then my opinion of her has done the strangest up-ing and down-ing of any character in the series.

And Mangin - just one more reason poor Rand REALLY needs a hug.

Lews Therin, on the other hand, seems to have hung onto his sense of humour, grim though it might be. I, at least, have managed to get the impression since that 'voice' first showed up that this was *not* a fellow to be messed with - but that I probably would have liked him.

17. joten
I'm looking forward to Galad learning who Rand's mother was, but I always thought that was odd, since Gawyn was the one who was suspicious and jealous of him, and Galad was more or less ambivalent. It would make more sense storywise for Gawyn to be Rand's half-brother; Galad probably wouldn't even care one way or the other.
18. Redwing
Hi Everybody,

Long-time lurker, first-time poster. Finding this convinced me to start my own re-read...a few months later than Leigh. I've finally caught up...and am now finding it hard to slow back down! I enjoy the re-read and enjoy the sense of community that has coalesced here over the past few months. This is my first time re-reading the first 6 books in about 10 years and I've never re-read CoS onward (life started happening).

First for the poll, my answer is C). VSO doesn't mind, but also doesn't really understand. However, I was very good at selling the series when I first found it (FoH was in hardcover and I was about 15). I got my parents and sister hooked as well as several friends. We got a puppy around that time and named him Perrin. He sadly passed away of old age last year...I thought for sure he would outlast the series. I'm also the only one in my family to have stayed with WOT. My mother said she would read them again once the series was finished, but she said that back when we got Perrin...I might have to remind her in a few years. :)

As for Egwene and Berelain, they met right when Egwene was realizing she didn't love Rand and was working out how to pass him onto Elayne. Then she hears Berelain snuck into his bedroom...after that she shoots daggers at Berelain every time they are in the same room (all the way to present; there we go again with first impressions). Berelain might have tried to be cordial, but friendship is a two way street.
mark Proctor
19. mark-p
I'm not sure if it is better to ask this question now or later but what made Sammael think Rand accepted his offer?
As far as i remember he wasn't pretending they had a truce later.
Joseph Blaidd
20. SteelBlaidd
My answer to the pool is going to sqew things all over everwhere.

My Wife you see was Chief Forum wrangler and a DM on the WoT based Neverwinter Nights Persistent World The True Source for over two years, had at least 5 characters, did a massive build of the white tower and input a fair amount of the text of the BWBoRBA into ingame 'books' for player reference. She also hasn't read past tFoH because that was when she decided she didn't like any of the characters.

So is that A or B?

On the topic of arms training for women. I had a thought sparked by this paragraph from the 13th Depository
power has shifted out of the Inn to the manor, just like the Tower's influence is waning. A very important detail is that Faile's great hall doesn't have a single fireplace but two of them. The shift marks the creation in Lord of Chaos of the organization for male channelers, still under the leadership of Rand at this point. This is the book in which he begins to put both Aes Sedai and Asha'man at his side, an in his service. As the Black Tower progresses, it will be represented in Emond's Field by a proper second Inn, right next to the Winespring Inn representing but much bigger. The Inn's name, the Archers, will properly honor Emond's Field own "Guardians", its longbowmen (and here we understand the metaphorical meaning behind Jordan's insistence that only men are capable of using the longbows, not boys nor women. I will point out that archery is also how Rand learned the Oneness initially).(emphasis mine)

Knowing that everything in WoT is Symbolic(dun..Dun...Duuuunnnn) it hit me. Women using swords is a symbol and parallel of female channelers getting directly involved in intra-human war.

Up until this point Aes Sedai and Wise Ones have stood aside from battle either by Oath or by custom. But FoH ends with Egwene and Aviendha participating directly in the battle with Coulodin and LoC will end with a huge battle between three groups of channeling women. The Seanchen on the other hand have a fully integrated military (though still preponderantly male) and channelers used primarily as weapons.
Abraham Park
21. Abe
Can someone tell me the connection between Lan and Luc please?
Tasneem Gould
22. Latecomer
For Forkroot's survey:
B) VSO has read one more WoT book, but only casual interest and indulges my interest.

In fact, it was VSo who introduced me to the books - he had them all upto Winter's Heart. We're both avid readers but I had never read SF/ Fantasy before. 90% of his bookshelf was Fantsy. I read a few - Disliked Michael Moorcock right away, found Stephen Donaldson a bit heavy. Then I started TEOTW - and was hooked, line and sinkered.

To the point that Fantasy (with the occasional S/F) is all I read now, apart from the odd short story or recommendation from friends etc.

Re. Berelain: Everyone from the wetlands sees Berelian the temptress. The guys pant over her, and the girls dislike her. Everyone dismisses her as a lightweight - I did so when I first read her too.

However, it seems that the Aiel care not 2 hoots about what she wears etc - they see her hidden strength of character, and of course she is handy with the combat skills - something the Aeil respect. Also I don't think the Wise Ones are put off by her manipulation of men using her charms - to them it is just funny, and its the men who are idiots - they blame her not at all.
craig thrift
23. gagecreedlives

Between Lan and Luc nothing besides the fact they look like each other.

Lan and Isam are cousins though.
Tasneem Gould
24. Latecomer
21 - Abe. Lan and Luc are not directly connected. Luc shares the Slayer personality with Isam - Lan's cousin, son of the lady who betrayed Malkier to the Shadow to have her own son on the throne etc.
Andrew Lovsness
25. drewlovs
My VSO is definitely a C... but drop the indulge and substitute weathers.

A side note to the Katrina thing, which to this day pisses me off. Well, 2 side notes. One, a few years before the storm, I saw a science channel show on "disasters that WILL happen to the US in the future", and a katrina like hurricane was discussed. The expected death toll was over 10,000, so in that respect, we as a country did a little bit better than our scientists expected.

But here is the kicker: the powers that be in New Orleans (not the common person, but the movers and shakers of the city) had an annual draw of over 1 BILLION dollars every year due to Mardi Gras. Let me repeat that... ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

But they spent little to NONE of those monies on the levy system that they knew would not protect them from a big hurricane. Instead, they blamed the army corps of engineers, and insisted that the repairs and upgrades was a national problem.

Every time I think about Katrina, I think of fat white men smoking cigars (I am a fat white man, but hate cigars, so I add that to my little dream) in New Orleans agreeing with each other that the others that lived in their town were not their concern. Hundreds of people DIED because of them.

I live near San Fransisco; just imagine hearing the elders of our fine city telling the US government that it was responsible for making our buildings earthquake safe, and if there is another 8.0 and thousands die, its all the president's fault. Everyone likes to jump to the idiocy of FEMA, and forgets to ask why a city with an income equal to the city that hosts the Super Bowl every year never spent any of that income to prepare for a known threat.

Sorry for side-tracking the conversation; I'll remove the soap box now.
Jane Smyth
26. Kaboom
mark-p @19 asked the question I had.
It certainly looks like Sammael believed the truce. Was that a lie to make himself look in control when he talked with Graendal?

For the survey.

After years of me bothering him, he read the first book. He has since refused to read more. He says that the book was too much like Lord of the Ring, thus now original enough for his interest. No matter how much I tell him that's just the first book, he won't budge. I guess first impression can make a big difference. He never complains about me reading them, although he cannot understand at all why I would want to re-read a book, even less several time.
So I guess that puts him somewhere between B and C.
Brett Michie
27. bchurch
For the survey, I'm currently in the "e" catagory. However, my ex wife was a "b." Though she did get snippy and skeptical when she cheated and read the part of Winter's Heart where Rand is bonded to Min, Aviendha and Elayne. Reading that part out of context upset her a bit and I don't think she ever read past The Great Hunt.
28. Freelancer

B, C, D

No, I don't have 3 VSOs. She read up through The Shadow Rising, and finally caved in to the eight deadly words. Since then, she indulges my interest, but is personally skeptical about the entire business. SFF just isn't her thing, but she wanted to know about a story that could so capture my focus for large parts of consecutive days. I suspect she was pretty much over it before the end of TDR, but wanted to share my interest, so slogged through TSR before throwing in the towel.

She's a very pragmatic person, and her final comment was something along the line of, "These idiots need to talk to each other, or they'll spend forever going around in circles. Are they trying to lose?"
Vincent Lane
29. Aegnor

Lan and Luc don't really look like each other. Luc and Isam do though.


It is as you suggest. It was a ruse to make him appear more in control than he was. Telling Grendael that his truce with Rand failed spectacularly would have been admitting a weakness. A truce with Rand would have strengthened his position. Pretending he had the truce puts him in a stronger position when dealing with Grendael.
Roger Powell
30. forkroot
Re the survey:
Based on early returns, there appears to be a need for "tweener" responses. So feel free to answer "B-" or "C+" (they would be scored the same) and so forth. When I summarize results, there will be counts for the A-B, B-C, and C-D "tweens".

Not sure, how I'd handle a "E+" though ... maybe someone just starting to get involved in a relationship? :-)
Tasneem Gould
31. Latecomer
Also forgot to add - I don't think my VSO has actually read WH & KOD yet, he's moved on to other stuff. I hope my fervent, almost obsessive adoption of WOT hasn't scared him!

He is very indulgent though - he actually encourages me to relax in bed / on the sofa and brings me cups of tea and looks after the rugrat's random demands.

I love my VSOP :)
paul Hend
32. tugthis
There are times, like in this chapter when I would really like LTT to be present and Rand to be the nattering voice in the back of his head. Is there any question that the "advice" that LTT gives is usually right on, and if acted on in a timely way would save everyone much grief?

One reason we read fiction is to give ourselves something to talk about on our soapboxes. I think Leigh is making a poor analogy between the self defense class for women and building a city on a flood plain. Women should absolutely be able to defend themselves, and if need be be taught how to do so. In a practical sense though they will still be at a disadvantage in a fight with a man. It does not mean they should not learn, but at the end of the day how much time should they spend on it? Now deciding to live behind a levee, after it fails, and after being told it will fail again, is not in a sense practical either. . . and someone deciding that sure, we can rebuild another city on the mud of the Mississippi flood plain, but how much should we really spend on it... may be the comparison that Leigh was going for. In short, it is nice to do, but when push comes to shove, both are likely to fail.
Tasneem Gould
33. Latecomer
Agenor @ 29

Lan and Luc don't really look like each other. Luc and Isam do though

Did you mean Lan and Isam? :)
craig thrift
34. gagecreedlives

Yeah your right. I dont know where I got that lttle brain fart from.
Lannis .
35. Lannis
Re: Gitara and Luc... I agree with Midas @ 8... I don't think the nature of Foretelling is to be good or evil, so really, the motivation of Gitara following through with her Foretelling and sending Luc on his way would really just be the Pattern pushing her to do so...

And as for the Pattern needing Luc to go, who knows, maybe someone he's killed along the way as Slayer has directly kept Rand safe somehow and available for the last battle...? Possibilities in possibilities and no answers to be seen, really... thoughts?

Survey: B... my VSO's read 'em all, but only once. And can't seem to recall much of them, either, since he would read a page or two a night before bed... I'll actually be surprised if he bothers to read tGS (blasphemy, I know!).

Redwing @ 18: welcome! Please have some popcorn--warning, though, s'a little stale... been sitting around since tSR... ;)

Thanks, Leigh! :)
Bryan Cogswell
36. shmoo
I never really get used to these - but we should as it is so freaking common. I know it has been commented on before - but it is always fun when it happens. File it in the "if someone says something as fact - expect it to be completely false" folder..

"The Shaido are building holds in Kinslayer’s Dagger, and Rhuarc doubts that they intend to ever return to the Three-fold Land"

So of course at the end of KOD - "we are going back to the Three-fold Land - and will never come back.

Of course - I do wonder where that large army of Aiel will end up - and i even wonder if they will make a reappearance.
37. litg
I'm waiting for Slayer to be the some part of the key to everything, after that anvil of a hint with "or that the last battle depended on his going."
Rob Munnelly
38. RobMRobM
For the survey, my spouse is between a C and D. Tolerates it with occasional bouts of snippiness. ("How many times are you reading those big books?"

Why wouldn't the Aiel like Berelain - she's a badass. They like and respect that. I do to, until she starts poaching a married guy against his will at the same time he's trying to save the world, just because she made an Ogier's oath back in the 3rd or 4th book.
Rob Munnelly
39. RobMRobM
Re the survey - note that if we have more than a few Es, we should begin the WOT re-read dating service....
40. ZamIt
I am pretty sure Sammael CLAIMED he had a truce with Rand. His whole point was more of a bluff towards the other Forsaken rather than any sort of idea genuine truce.
41. stevend75
Taken as a whole there seems be quite a large sizable percentage of Red Sonjas in the Wheel Time. Looking at our own current culture and the past couple thousand years the fairer sex is just not represented on the battlefield. In my opinion to many dead women on the battlefield = huge population decimation. In case of the Aiel it is just utter necessity.
Tess Laird
42. thewindrose
Watch out for that RobMRobM, if you are a gal he'll set you up with a Two Rivers guy, and if you're a guy it will be an Andoran royal.
Ron Garrison
43. Man-0-Manetheran
I had to go review Tigraine's family tree, and thought I would share this bit from the Tar Valon Library:
"Morgase was Tigraine's nearest female blood relation, which was part of the reason why Morgase won the Succession after Tigraine's disappearance and Mordrellen's death. They were cousins, but so distantly related that had they been commoners, they would not have been considered related at all."
So, no consanguinity issues for Rand and Elayne.

OH, and Survey Says "E!" And Rob, I'll take either a Two Rivers guy or an Andoran royal. Both sound like a lot of fun.
44. Alfvaen
I've been reading TDR to my son (having finished the first two, of course), and IIRC there were some mentions in there already of "that young man who looked like Tigraine". Unless I'm getting it confused with this recap, which is possible.

As far as my VSO (wife)...she started the series before I did, and encouraged me to read the first few books. Finally I got to the fourth book and got really hooked, and since then I have reread the series a couple of times, tried my own chapter-synopsis and character-list projects, and discussed them endlessly with anyone else who'll listen. I keep trying to convince her to reread, but she hasn't gotten around to it yet. (She reads about a book a day in general, but buys/borrows enough during the week to keep up.) I guess that rounds to (A).
Kathy Keith
45. Babokathy
Genealogy question: I haven't been able to find any definitive info in the FAQ regarding Tigraine's and Luc's paternity. Queen Mordrellen (aren't names starting with Mord/Mort hedging on the evil side?) of Andor was married to some guy of family "Mantear". Tigraine was "daughter heir" but left, young Lord Luc of House Mantear, dashed off to the Blight. So, who was the husband (King Father) of Luc & Tigraine? Mandrellen died, so what became of Lord Mantear, Sr.?

@43 Man-O Thanks for your input ahead.

@9 Forkroot survey:
My VSO gets a (D); he'd rather read an electronics technical journal! And being a swifter reader than I, he'd probably race ahead and divulge the ending of AMOL and try to "prove that it's utter nonsense, that one shouldn't waste one's time on such rubbish!"

Some of us need to escape from our jobs, yes?
Kristina Blake
46. kab1
My VSO is option B, and like Branwhin's VSO he's up to Winter's Heart. He literally just finished PoD yesterday. He listens to the audiobooks, which are really a bit of a mess for a first read, with some many characters flitting about. We have many conversations where he's totally confused and I (try) to fill in the blanks.

It's so fun to see the series from his eyes however. He has all these fun (crazy) theories, and I get to use the old RAFO alot.

However, I'm fairly sure he'll never do a reread nor will he ever visit a theoryboard. He enjoys the series but is not as into it. He has no plans to finish the audiobooks before GS. He takes about 2 months with each, and it'll take him another few weeks to even start on Winter's Heart. I'm seriously excited for him to get to KOD!!
Kristina Blake
47. kab1
okay so move me up to a B+ (can you tell I posted before reading all posts!! Oops!)
Tess Laird
48. thewindrose
shmoo -Rand sent his large army of Aiel to Arad Doman in KoD. From A Plain Wooden Box - Aviendha, in Arad Doman, was fainter still. He had not considered the Wise Ones would take her along. Still, she would be safe among tens of thousands of Aiel, as safe as Elayne behind Caemlyn's walls.
craig thrift
49. gagecreedlives
"Aviendha, in Arad Doman, was fainter still. He had not considered the Wise Ones would take her along. Still, she would be safe among tens of thousands of Aiel, as safe as Elayne behind Caemlyn's walls. "

Now thats just begging to end up in Shmoo's folder.
john mullen
50. johntheirishmongol
@40 That was the way I read it too. Keep the other Forsaken thinking they were the immediate targets so they would keep up concentration on LTT.

I still like Berelain, even when the rest of the action with Perrin/Faile later gets to drag, she provides moments of amusement. And when Faile is gone Berelain lays off Perrin and helps him, saying its no fun without her there...Perrin is the one that takes everything the wrong way.

As for my VSO, shes read a few of the books and got lost in them because she couldn't keep everyone straight from book to book. So a B..

However my eldest is almost as bad as I am, having read them all a few times and now is listening to them to and from work. So he is an A

My youngest is in law school and she has no time for this foolishness lol
Tess Laird
51. thewindrose
gagecreedlives - You survived:)
Yup, that one goes in shmoo's folder. Hey shmoo - you have to keep a folder now:)
Kristina Blake
52. kab1
As far as the wise one liking Berelain, I've always thought and I agree with what Latecomer @ 22 said.
However, I've always wondered as well if one of the dreamwalkers didn't see something of importance about her (ala Moraine and the rings) which also sways their opinions of her.

I've always really liked Berelain myself for some reason, and while my VSO often gets characters confused, I notice he never has once been confused about who Berelain is, her beauty leaps off the pages!
(and as I mentioned he hasn't even read WH yet)
Ron Garrison
53. Man-0-Manetheran
@45 Babokathy

Tigraine and Luc's mother was Queen Mordrellen. Queen Mordrellen was married to un-named(?) male of House Mantear.

Tigraine's first marriage was to Taringail Damodred, and their son is Galad.

Janduin is the Aiel father of Tigraine's second child, Rand.

The "widowed" Taringail married Morgase.

AND Moiraine Damodred is the youngest half-sister of Taringail.
John Massey
54. subwoofer
Hello all- it's go time. Hi Leigh!

Hi Redwing- you're in it now! :)

I'm with Midas- at some point there has to be some kind of family reunion. Oh joy the dinner conversation at that one. I don't know about Fain though. Maybe Perrin will bite him and that will be that. Or Perrin will deal with Slayer/Luc once and for good.

- One thing- love Rhuarc in these chapters.

"They're mangling it!"
Aiel are always prickly about ji'e'toh, laughs to see the extent that they take their honor too. There is always some bastard version of a faith floating around. It is what it is. Berelain has a valid point but no matter what, just because they are tree killers, nothing the Cairhien do will be right. Maybe teaching them instead of holding them at a distance...meh.

Er... I know this is controversial but I'm gonna let 'er rip anyways. Tragic as it was and still is, building a city below sea level and putting in in a coastal area is not the best analogy for being prepared, regardless of any kind of levee system.

Very sad about Mangin. Did what he thought was right but still had toh. If the Caihien could live up to those standards then...

Survey says- D- wife wants to pummel me. I did put the blogging aside when I had to... getting married, looking for a place... but once the dust settled... back to blogging and cranky wife.

Dog still loves me.

Hurin Smells
55. HurinSmells
OK so Rand and Elayne aren't technically related, but they each share Galad as a brother. So Rand and Elayne hooking up is like Greg and Marcia Brady hooking up... hot.

Survey says: C) my wife has zero interest in sci-fi/fantasy. Her tastes lean more towards the Jodi Picoult side of the bookstore. She is not adverse to me reading it though, but shes not interested in discussing plot theories, and doesn't even know what an Asmodean is.
Alice Arneson
56. Wetlandernw
Um... Leigh... Tigraine just disappeared one day and was never seen again; her father Taringail was half-mad with grief, and her disappearance led the Cairhienin to suspect Andor wanted to break the treaty Taringail’s marriage to Queen Mordrellen had cemented, which eventually led to Laman’s Pride and all that followed it. Taringail was Tigraine's husband, not father.

Agree that physical weakness is not a reason to refuse to teach fighting skills or at least self-defense to women (those who want to learn, anyway). However (@4) I still disagree that it was presented unfairly in WoT, where women have plenty of options open to them and most simply don't desire to learn weaponry. There are generally plenty of men around with enough testosterone to do all the fighting that needs to be done. There are female mercenaries and guards, if in low proportion to the men, but those who can "make it" as fighters are accepted by their peers. From what we see later, those tend to be the ones who choose to develop expertise in weapons suited to their physical capabilities, skills and training. Oh, and let's not forget our beloved Seanchan, where women are not only fighters, but officers. As near as I can see, the only women who want to be fighters but are denied that opportunity are the nobles in some countries, and even then not that many want it.

Hey, Midas - forgot to say "welcome" last time. Meant to, got absorbed in answering questions. *sigh*

shmoo @5 - Except for that whole thing about the first impression Rand really had of her in the Stone was that she WAS a sexpot. So very true. Since the first thing of note that Our Team saw was her blatant attempt to seduce Rand (because he was the DR), the impression of her as sexpot/floozy was pretty well set. I'm still surprised Rand was able to see beyond it to put her in charge of Cairhien. I loathed her at first, started to like her in this section when she was using her brain, then my opinion of her went through the basement and into the sewer lines when Perrin & Faile came on the scene again. I'm with RobMRobM @ 38 with the until she starts poaching a married guy against his will at the same time he's trying to save the world, just because she made an Ogier's oath back in the 3rd or 4th book. Gah!

nipper @ 6 - Could be. Hadn't thought of that as a reason, but it could be. I'll have to think about that as an alternative to something regarding Isam which (probably) failed.

forkroot @ 9 & 30 (Thanks for alterations to the categories; I was gonna mess 'em up!) My husband is mostly a C, with bits of B and D. He started reading it(the first book, I think) and developed a rapid dislike of it. I keep working on him, though, so now that we're promised the end of the series in two more years I think he'll read it sometime. ;) By now, I don't think he even remembers anything about it and probably has it mixed up with something else anyway. Meantime, he tolerates (with some amusement, I think) my fascination with it. Fortunately, he's very much a reader himself, and like me can reread a great book many times over, so at least he understands that part.

Redwing @ 18 - Hi! Did you actually make it through all the comments too? I'm guessing so, given the "community" thought. Pretty impressive. Welcome to the insanity!
57. Aye Aye Sedai
@55 - New TV show - AS the Wheel turns - follow the incestuous temptuous love in the city of Camelyn. (assume intended references to camelot and Galad in the tragic role of galad DUH)

I forget if Elayne ever mentioned/referenced Moraine's family ties to her.

Like the idea mentioned that Verin - was the pattern weaver to put Gitara in with Queen Mordrellen and causing the Aiel War. Perhaps this also directly lead to causing Layman (sic) to cut down the Tree ( wonder how that word got leaked to the Aiel - hmmm not just any peddler I bet).
58. Aye Aye Sedai
*** Hey not to be a community downer - but when the comments or thread one posts gets really off topic - such as previous blog posts discussions of what would kill you when the bubble of evil hits -- can we agree to try and flag the off-topic posts so that it its easier to scan through the 300+ posts and pick up the on-topic threads?

Perhaps with a few stars ** or perhaps #OT (for subject off topic ) or conversely use hashing to mark the subjects for threading.

Just try missing a week (or more) and then reading through all the comments - it gets mind numbing - (BTW you all need to put down your books, close the laptop/shut off the monitor and clean up your place :) Woth matter cause your clothes would still strangle you unless you had the power to save yourself - I assume that clothing on a person was not animated only that handing around.

Flames welcome as the weather has turned a bit chilly - Mark me down for a D+/- - S.O. (or should she be the DO) has no interest in SF/F and cannot understand my passion for the blog, the books or anything else "geeky" that I do.
59. mityorkie
Berelain is generally not my favorite character - largely due to the reason Leigh alludes to at the end of the post. It's clear that her beauty/feminine charms are what keeps Mayene independent - she wields them like a battleaxe. The Aiel like this warrior-ness. On the other hand, any other beautiful young woman is a threat to her power, e.g. Egwene.
Joseph Blaidd
60. SteelBlaidd
Slightly of topic.

Everon e should go read Arachne Jerico's posts on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Fiction, here and here.

After reading them I realized that PTSD is a running motif in the Whole of WoT. It shows up in Morgase, Aaram, Siuan and any other AS that loses a Warder, Lan and the other warders, Perrin and Mat have bouts of it and Rand has a metric ton buttload dumped on him on a regular basis. I would even say a good portion of Rands crazy is just due to the stress of all the death that he has seen and caused, and not a result of the taint at all. In fact I wonder if the taint in general and the madness of the Hundred Companions in particular aren't, in part, based on the way Vietnam Vets were often abandoned to their suffering on their return home.
William Fettes
61. Wolfmage
mityorkie @ 59

"On the other hand, any other beautiful young woman is a threat to her power, e.g. Egwene."

I don't think that's really true. Berlain isn't threatened by other women. She just doesn't seem to have many good same-sex relationships - which is not exactly uncommon for good looking men and women.

The frostiness between our main girls and her is mutual, but it isn't because Berlaine is all insecure about them. Yes, she is introduced in the story with terrible condescending airs, but in retrospect that was clearly a put on. But I think the main dynamic that has set the distance into stone with our girls is her coolness to them, and their judgemental attitude to her - whereby she is snubbed, dismissed or put down as that Mayener Hussy. As for her coolness, she has known that Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve were most likely masquerading as Aes Sedai in Tear from the beginning. Though she was probably aware Moiraine was tolerating it, she really had no real reason to bend over for them.

Aside from Faile, the other main girls of the story don't really have a substantive reason to dislike Berlaine so strongly. Sure, she might not be their cup of tea - but their level of hatred is over the top compared to her offences, even people starting with parochial conservative sexual morality.

Most of it seems to stem from their then general prudishness in Tear, which evaporated rather quickly once they were exposed to other cultural mores, such as in Ebou Dar and Tarabon, where a more Domani-like dress codes prevail. Egwene's reaction in particular is shaped by a vestigal possessiveness over Rand, which she no longer had entitlement to, and her desire to set Rand up with Elayne.
Sean Banawnie
62. Seanie
definitely a D , but most subjects are D anyway....
thats why I call her the werewife...its funny all the miscommunicates (I made a new word too , Leigh!) there are , (many times discussed!), RJ built so many of these up......Rand/Tam , Alanna/Elayne-Avi, Elaida/Siuan , to name a very few...
63. LynnOH
Survey says.......A- He has read books 1-9 and is currently in LoC. Will discuss with me but wont tune into this here lunacy! I tell him all the good Bela bits. He thinks I'm nutty for taking 3days of vaca in Oct. The OMG moments I hope occur during TGS will be hard not to blurt out to him.
Alice Arneson
64. Wetlandernw
Wolfmage @61 - Gotta disagree with you on a couple of things. First, just as Egwene & Elayne are getting all set to pass Rand on (which is fine by all three, though communication is a bit funny since everyone tells the truth but no one believes the other) Berelain comes swaying in almost wearing a nightdress, making a play for Rand just 'cause he's the DR. (Oh, and a nice-enough-looking man, so it could be relatively enjoyable too.) So this is supposed to endear her to them? Faile has much more reason to hate her, of course, but with that kind of beginning, I don't think you can really say "their level of hatred is over the top". First, because while they (Egwene & Elayne) judge her a "hussy" as you say, and actively dislike her, I don't recall seeing "hatred" from them, and certainly not over-the-top. She's not the type to want them for friends in any case, and it would probably be mutual even without that infamous event.

So you have one woman (approximately age 23) who treats the 17-year-olds with complete contempt and gives every impression of thinking that any man she chooses should by right be hers. (This impression is not helped, of course by the fact that when she goes swaying down the hall, MOST of the men's brains seem to head south.) And, of course, the first man she pick is "theirs"; when she can't have him, she IMMEDIATELY turns to his close friend to see if there's a safer way to tie herself to the DR. In fact, the whole time in Tear involves Berelain trying to use her body to gain power. Okay, you can defend it by saying she's smart enough to use the tools she has, but you can't honestly think that the girls are going to have any sort of positive reaction to her. In fact, the only women who would even tolerate her are those sufficiently secure in their own relationships to KNOW that she's no threat, or those who have concerns so much greater than hers that she's mostly an amusing sideshow.
Bill Reamy
65. BillinHI
forkroot @9 For the survey, C+. My wife (of just over 46 years) has expressed some interest in WoT but says she has too many other books she wants to read first. Maybe later.

Recently finished a blog done several years ago on a first read of LotR. Does anyone know of a similar one for WoT? Obviously she should not get into this one.

I am going to have to (finally) change my routine and start looking at this blog in the morning (my time: afternoon on the East Coast) so I don't get so far behind.

For Pablo: Neither this post nor the previous one are in the index. I know things can be found in other ways, but the index is really handy.

Off Topic, still for Pablo: Last time I looked, several posts are missing on the LotR re-read.
66. birgit
There are reports of fighting in Shara, sparked by rumors of the Dragon Reborn.

Isn't the real reason that Graendal abducted their rulers?
67. alreadymadwithandornobles
SteelBlaidd @2
Elayne already figured it out. Or at least she suspects. I'm not sure which book it is, but she tells Eg that Rand looks like pictures of Tigraine that she's seen.

I think the Aiel are fascinated by Berelain because she combines the duties of a clan chief and a Wise One. With a little extra. That extra being the part the other girls don't like. Meh, I prefer her over them anyway.

nipper @6
Interesting insight.

forkroot @9
E) No VSO at the moment

joten @17
True, Galad generally considers himself as the son Morgase adopted son rather than the son Tigraine abandoned.

mark-p @19
I think Sammael's POV indicated that he knew Rand's answer by the way the messenger died. The "truce" was probably something he invented to mislead the other forsaken.

gagecreedlives @23
Lan and Luc don't look like each other. Luc looks like Rand's evil uncle and Isam looks like a cruel version of Lan. This is based on how the girls see Slayer in TAR.

tugthis @32
Precisely why I don't believe LTT is insane.

Man-o-Manetheren @43
It's not as if consanguinity's a really serious issue as far as royal intermarriage is concerned. Not in the real world, anyway. All about keeping it in the family.

SteelBlaidd @60
That's one way of looking at Rand's madness, anyway.
sandi vogel
68. sinfulcashew
For survey:
(Can't remember the lettered sequence)
My 10 year old grandaughter is reading TEOW now. Loves it and asks questions. She usually gets the RAFO answer, but really loves the story.
As I am a divorcee and live alone, I guess she is my SO.
I watch her days while Mom works and school is on strike for now. Then it will be shorter watching days.?

I tried to get my daughter in law interested, but she didn't like the first one. She loved Eragon though. Meh!
Maiane Bakroeva
69. Isilel
Wetlandernw @56:

Sorry, but I have to kick this horse a bit more:

I still disagree that it was presented unfairly in WoT, where women have plenty of options open to them and most simply don't desire to learn weaponry.

Which makes zero sense. Consider that Borderland women, for instance, can easily find themselves in a situation where all men are killed or where there aren't enough men to hold back Trollocs without their help (à la Emond's Field battle in TSR). Well, I guess then it's the cookpots for them, and their children, cause they were too lazy and stupid to learn to fight and invest in useful weapons, whilst living in a dangerous place.
How many of the villages lost in the raids may have held on long enough for help to arrive if only the women were able to meaningfully contribute?

Or that Saldean tradition of officers wives taking up their swords and their commands, with no training in swordsmanship or matters military (per Faile)?! A good way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, for sure.

Berelein's rationale about being one's own last line of defense would make imminent sense for any noblewoman important enough to merit an assassination attempt - and for those who'd like to pretend that they are.
Certainly for a Queen or Daughter-Heir of Andor, since such enemies as Cahirienin and Whitecloaks would happily employ assassins in a pinch.

And moreover while unarmed fighting is all very good for the value of surprise and not ever being completely helpless, it is actually a form of combat where woman would be at the greatest disadvantage against a man.

There are generally plenty of men around with enough testosterone to do all the fighting that needs to be done.

Where were men when Siuan was about to be raped by 4 drunks at 15? And what about all those female travelers and peddlers who can't afford to hire guards? Or women who generally live in rough quarters of the city? Or all other examples see above. And of course there is a question of trust re: guards too.

About how many cities did we hear that they were quite dangerous even before the series began? And in all of them it would be a good idea to project an impression that you won't be easy meat. As we have also seen in the books, impression is usually enough - from the guys, but also from the rare women who can look after themselves and bother to pack a functional weapon, like Egeanin in Tanchico. Yet nearly all of them _choose_ to walk around as juicy, helpless targets?! Sorry, RJ, completely unbelievable.

From what we see later, those tend to be the ones who choose to develop expertise in weapons suited to their physical capabilities, skills and training.

Um, no. Knives and cudgels are about the worst weapons for a woman to use, because they really require strength to be effective with (apart from the throwing knives). A knife fight usually involves more grappling and punching than anything else. And you need to thump strongly indeed with a blunt weapon to put somebody down for the count.

Contrary to RJ's erroneous conviction, swords, particularly lighter swords like rapiers and sabers would be vastly more effective for women. Also spears, bows, crossbows, etc.

I have actually been thinking about the absurd weapons choices of various women in WoT recently. I.e.:

Egwene. Goes adventuring after a good look at the Trollocs. Packs only a belt knife (sic!), which is about as useful against a Trolloc as a toothpick unless you manage to hit them in the eye. Crazy, right? Any normal person would have taken a woodaxe and/or a hatchet, both of which would be familiar tools for a TR woman and could at least make some impression on an enemy.

Nynaeve - it is even worse. She used to be a tomboy and a super-hunter (not that it ever comes up again after TEoTW), i.e. almost certainly could shoot a bow too. She intends to follow the TR kids through possibly Trolloc-infested wilderness _alone_ for who knows how long, yet not only doesn't she pack an axe, she doesn't think to relieve some poor boy of his bow either.

Well, aren't those two woolheads lucky that Trollocs and DFs basically ignore them?

Faile - is a decent archer and knows that as a Hunter she might have to move through the wilderness and hunt her own food, not to mention might not want to let dangerous stuff close enough for a knife-throw. Doesn't bother to pack a bow, though and never uses one apart from a very short period in TSR, despite being in danger often.

Tigraine - travels into the Waste clad in silks and alone with only her belt-knife for protection... despite being a capable archer even by the Maiden standards. Wasn't she lucky that nobody thought to rob her before she crossed the Dragonwall?

Min - traipses alone or with other gals through width and breadth of Randland during times of chaos and uproar, yet doesn't think to ask for fighting lessons during the months they sit in Mountains of Mist between TGH and TDR. Has to fight Trollocs with a cudgel (can you say crowbait? Untrained, weaker than a man and with such an inferior weapon?) and only learns to throw knives and some HtH fighting much later.

Erith and Covil in KoD - pick carving knives for their big Trolloc fight - cause as an Ogier woman you'd really want a Trolloc/Myrdraal to come close enough to you to for knives to be of use, right?

Etc., etc.

IMHO, while RJ tried to write a relatively egalitarian world, he didn't always manage to wrap his mind around some logical consequences of his chosen setting.

Another example is how there are almost never female patrons in his taverns/inns unless they serve specific plot points.
I mean, in a world where women also earn decent wages you'd expect some of them to want to eat/drink out too, right?
Rob Munnelly
70. RobMRobM
@42 - Very funny. You know me too well.

@61. "Berlain isn't threatened by other women. She just doesn't seem to have many good same-sex relationships...." I don't even want to admit the naughty thoughts that crossed my mind on reading that second sentence.

Agree with the point noted above that Berelain and Egwene are frosty to each other, without anger or hatred.

I would expect that Mordrellen would be the one from House Mantear - her husband could be from any Andoran house or any country. If she became Queen, she was the ruling member of her House not her hubby.

Rob Munnelly
71. RobMRobM
I have to confess I keep reading the title of this book as "Load of Choss" now.
mark Proctor
72. mark-p
69. Isilel
Another example is how there are almost never female patrons in his taverns/inns unless they serve specific plot points.
I mean, in a world where women also earn decent wages you'd expect some of them to want to eat/drink out too, right?

I hadn't even noticed before but now you point it out it is more obvious. There are exceptions with (plot irrelevant) female merchants staying in inns from time to time but not so often.
It seems to be the other way round when you count staff working at them. But owners seem to be split evenly between the sexes, so it isn't all bad.
John Massey
73. subwoofer
Berelain- can't be all that bad if the WO like her. I think it has to do with the Aiel way of courting. Berelain is very blunt about it, seems to me to be the way Aiel are. Sorilea would hook her up given half a second. Not a bad idea. Even says as much and something to the effect that if there is one descent Wetlander to marry her. Ahhh here it is
"The child has spirit"..."We should find the right husband for her, a man to match her. If such exists among the wetlanders."

***Isilel- great googly moogly.

@SteelB You had me going until the Harry Potter bit. I was under the impression you were talking about us, not the characters in the books. Upon reflection, it seems that war is a constant way of life. In the 'burbs it is quiet and peaceful, but there are still traces of the touch of armed conflict( ie- Tam) and I think they have bigger fish to fry. Mind you Perrin seems to be the one that reflects on the people he killed. Rand just seems to care about the women who die in his name. The rest... meh.

74. GregoryD
Re; The survey. I don't have a significant other to object to my obsession of series at this time. My ex, an avid sci-fi, fantasy fan, said after reading TDR, "I can't take this anymore. The myriad of characters is getting rediculous."

Re; Berlain vs. the supergirls. I think they dislike her for a very obvious reason. Berelain uses the power that she does have as a woman, meaning her beauty and sexuality, to her advantage and the supergirls resent her for that because they do not have it, or despise it. Even in Ebou Dar when they dress provocatively, and even begin to like it, they still cannot embrace it.

As someone once said, if men were attracted to women in Nun's outfits, all the women of the evening would be standing on the street corners in habits!

I'm just upset that RJ didn't include Berelain's phone number in the glossary.
William Fettes
75. Wolfmage
I can’t really agree with your characterisation, Wetlandernw. Egwene’s negativity about Berelain does start out moderate enough, and in proportion to her actions. “I would like to have her in the Tower as novice” (TSR, Chapter 56). However, it does degenerate beyond that without much substantive reason, beyond the mutual coolness between them.

I agree that perhaps hate is too strong a word, but the girls certainly seem to excessively and singularly reference Berelain whenever they are criticising each other for alleged indecency of dress and behaviour. Indeed, they basically invoke her name as a byword for impropriety, and continue to do so well after they have not only been exposed to different cultural standards, but have actually started to embrace more relaxed, risqué standards themselves. At no point do they re-examine this prejudice in light of her competency as a ruler, the lack of evidence for any real promiscuity and the endorsement of her by respected authorities, such as the Wise Ones.

If Berelain was actually promiscuous or otherwise exceptional compared to other women in Randland, beyond some politically motivated seduction and sexual suggestion, perhaps this might be fair. But she isn’t; not by the standards of her own culture, as we see through the Mayener soldier’s reactions to the naked Shaido, for example, and not by the standards of cosmopolitan Randland more broadly. Indeed, we know that for all her flirting, Berelain hasn’t actually slept with many man at all, in contrast to other women who don’t get the same stigma of opprobrium from the SGs, eg. Queen Tylin, Birgitte, etc.

When Egwene is confronted with the Wise One’s adoration of Berelain in LoC, her response is more narrow minded incredulity than half-open incredulity.

“The Mayener woman flaunted herself in scandalous clothes and flirted outrageously—when she did not do more than flirt, as Egwene darkly believed she did. Not at all the sort of woman for Amys to smile on like a favorite daughter. Or Sorilea. (LoC , Chapter

Clearly, she is quick to assume Berelain is actually sexually wanton.

I also disagree with what you’ve written about the formative events in Tear. To me, it implied that Rand is a token to be legitimately passed around by Egwene, or at least that he has some kind of prior ‘tagging’ which gives them special umbrage against encroaching third parties. That strikes me as being reminiscent of the kind of thinking that prevails in high school cliques.

I accept that they may wish to block Berelain in her advances, and I accept they are entitled to not like her at all personally, but IMO Berelain commits no offence against Egwene or Elayne by simply making a pass at Rand without their permission. Elayne at that point has no relationship with Rand, and Egwene had already reconciled herself to breaking off the relationship. For all intensive purposes Rand is a free agent, and he can make that decision for himself. But anyway, from Berelain perspective, she has no moral imperative to respect the whims of two young pretend Aes Sedai in this regard. She could legitimately try to woo Rand away as long as it was consensual.

In regard to Faile, I think there are good arguments that Berelain behaves poorly. However, I won't address them here and the SGs don't base any of their prejudice on that.
76. cps2195
my wife is between a C and a D (does that make her a C-?) she tolerates my WOT obsession and even enjoys seeing me get excited over a new book but when she sees my nose stuck in said book she definitely turns into a D. hen she does this I just remind her that WOT and I have been together much longer and she tells me to try sleeping with my book then.....yeah doesn't go over so well.

my toddler is definitely going to be a D (this will be my first WOT book as a parent) I'll be hearing a lot of "NO Daddy. Read this." as he hands me Once Upon A Potty for the 375th time. My 4 month old (willl be 6 months onm release day) will probably fall somewhere between a C and a D as well. A "C" if I hold him and walk around the house while reading (damn WOT books are so big it doesn't make this easy) and a "D" if I try to sit and read while holding him. Hopefully everyone understands when I come down with a sudden case of Dysentary just after TGS release. That way I can spend some time in the "library"
77. cps2195
my wife is between a C and a D (does that make her a C-?) she tolerates my WOT obsession and even enjoys seeing me get excited over a new book but when she sees my nose stuck in said book she definitely turns into a D. hen she does this I just remind her that WOT and I have been together much longer and she tells me to try sleeping with my book then.....yeah doesn't go over so well.

my toddler is definitely going to be a D (this will be my first WOT book as a parent) I'll be hearing a lot of "NO Daddy. Read this." as he hands me Once Upon A Potty for the 375th time. My 4 month old (willl be 6 months onm release day) will probably fall somewhere between a C and a D as well. A "C" if I hold him and walk around the house while reading (damn WOT books are so big it doesn't make this easy) and a "D" if I try to sit and read while holding him. Hopefully everyone understands when I come down with a sudden case of Dysentary just after TGS release. That way I can spend some time in the "library"

on a side note I've tried to post this 5 times and keeps eating my posts..might have to break down and register soon.
78. Junko
Just a thought on the women's self-defense thing...although women generally are weaker than men, there are martial arts techniques that uses the aggressor's force and momentum against him by leading the attack in a direction where the defender will be positioned in advantage, then, in a seamless movement, effects an appropriate counter-attack.

It doesn't have to be all about strength. This allows women to be at par with men in fights. Maybe not necessarily on equal footing, but definitely equal chance.
Marcus W
79. toryx
forkroot @ 9: Survey!

Former VSO:

A. She read all of WoT (after I got her interested in it) and bought her own copy of one of the books to get it signed by RJ once. Not as into it as I, but she really loved it.

Current VSO:

B. She has read the first one, thought it was okay but the characters too annoying and stopped there.

She has her own obsessions so she doesn't mind (or care about) my re-reading WoT and being involved in the re-read here. On the other hand, I rarely look at the Tor site when we're together so it's not as though she's losing anything due to my interest.

Isilel @69:

That's a well thought out and closely examined post. I sort of agree with you; there are areas where the balance is definitely off kilter.

I've always mentally put the equality of the sexes issue in WoT in the context of RJ's perspective as a southern gentleman. I don't think he's trying to suggest that women can't stand up for themselves martially (which is why there are the examples of gender equality in battle that do exist). He just doesn't seem to feel that they should need or want to.

The same sort of thing tends to go for drinking and sexual promiscuity. Women in Randland don't seem that interested in alcohol. One experience with drunkeness tends to cure that for good. They also don't seem to be interested in the violence associated with combat. Given that half the countries in Randland haven't encountered Shadowspawn in centuries, there's little reason for them to bother with weapons and warfare. You do have a point with the Borderlanders, however. That's always bothered me too.

I just get the impression that Jordan isn't trying to suggest that women aren't capable of holding their own in combat or training in it; it's primarily reflecting a lack of interest. They don't seem to want to lower themselves to that level. Violence (and drunkenness) is simply beneath them. And that definitely comes across (to me) as a superiority issue.

How realistic that view may be is another argument entirely.
James Jones
80. jamesedjones
For the Survey, E)

For the rest, waaayyy too much for me to address right now.
81. Lsana
My VSO would be about a C-. He is pretty contemptuous of the books and is convinced that they have been ghost-written since Lord of Choas. However, his attitude towards my interest is, "Whatever makes you happy is cool with me."

On the whole pseudo-Aiel thing, I'm kind of on the fence. On the one hand, I agree that women should learn the sword, and I'm sympathetic to Berelain's point that it has stopped people from getting killed in duals. However, I also see Rhuarc's PoV here: this is a fundamental part of Aiel culture, and outsiders are mangling it. No matter how well intentioned the Cairhienians might be, it can't help but come across as offensive to the Aiel. I think of the various misrepresentations of Christianity I have seen in other cultures, and I think I know how Rhuarc feels.

On Shaiel's identity...this definitely brings up a lot of interesting points and various meetings that need to happen. Of all of them, though, the one I would most like to see is Galad/Amys. I think he really needs to hear his mother's story, why she left him, and that she never stopped loving him.

@69 Isilel,

Interesting post, and I agree with almost all of it. However, I did want to point out something about Tigraine: part of the reason that the Maidens didn't kill her at first sight was that she was unarmed. It could very well be that going unarmed was one of the things that Gitara told her to do.
Kristina Blake
82. kab1
That's a good point about there not being many women patrons in the WoT. I never really noticed that before, I think sometimes the only women patrons discussed are the SGs themselves.

Isilel- nice post. I never had really thought before about the weapons of choice for women. You do bring up a good point that both Egwene and Nyn would probably be familiar with axes of some sort. Maybe they just thought they would be to heavy to carry around in their dress belts? After all, even with all their traveling and running about, they always seem to be wearing dresses, with some amount of bosom showing (more and more as the books progress!). Although Nyn certainly starts off in good two rivers woolens!

As far as Min, I think she introduced as being good with knives and had them hidden about her person, but I could be misremembering and she learned this sometimes during the series. (Maybe I'm confusing her with Faile).
I always liked the RJ made them fierce in this way, in that they had weapons about their person, but I never thought if those weapons were actually a reasonable choice. I agree with you in that they wouldn't be too effective against Trollocs, however I do think that they would certainly be effective against a man (but maybe not a group of men).

All in all, I think that RJ does a good job of indicating that when they want to, women can be quite fierce in combat. But that in the majority of Randland, most women simply just choose to not pick up weapons until they are forced to defend themselves and their families.
but that's just MHO.
April Vrugtman
83. dwndrgn
Survey: My VSO is a C. He rarely reads but when he does it is more mystery/thriller/true crime than fantasy/scifi. Sometimes my reading obsession annoys him (usually only if he's bored) but most of the time he just chuckles about how much of a geek I am.
Jason Lyman
84. jlyman
I got to this entry a bit late, so bear with me if some of this has already been said. I am reading through the comments, just wanted to throw this out after reading through the first few.

@4. Isilel

not learning even basic self-defense and using only the crappiest weapons in a pinch, such as a knife or a cudgel - that are much more difficult to use effectively for physically weaker combatants than many varieties of swords and spears

With the right training those "crappy" weapons can do loads of choss... er... damage. Swords and spears would just offer a longer reach. A sword is just a long knife. A spear is a knife with a long handle. Cudgels? Would I want to die from being run through with a sword or having my skull crushed? Tough decision.

Which just brings back into light the amount, or lack, of training that women received. It seems to me that the opportunities are there for many women as well as men to learn to fight. Look at Berelain and Faile as examples. Some perhaps chose not to learn, others just learned by imitation of what they saw others do, some maybe just have a knack for it. Just like many of the male "farmers" in Randland who also don't know how to fight. It just isn't high on the priority list when you have to bring in a harvest, you live so far from the Blight that Trollocs are just fairy tales, they don't have to learn the bow to go hunting every day for their food, etc. I don't know, maybe they didn't have a self-defense studio on every corner in Ebou Dar. :-)

@7. gagecreedlives

"Hangin' with Mangin'"



B) VSO has read one more WoT book, but only casual interest

My wife likes them and has read all but Knife of Dreams. But she's just not that into him... er... them.
Antoni Ivanov
85. tonka
I think Berelain considers taking on Mat after the failure with Rand but he is too much like her.

He saw Berelain coming toward him and grinned in spite of himself. For all her airs, she was a fine figure of a woman. That clinging white silk was thin enough for a handkerchief, not to mention being scooped low enough at the top to expose a considerable amount of excellent pale bosom.

He swept her his best bow, elegant and formal. “A good evening to you, my Lady.” She started to sweep by without a glance, and he straightened angrily. “Are you deaf as well as blind, woman? I’m not a carpet to walk over, and I distinctly heard myself speak. If I pinch your bottom, you can slap my face, but until I do, I expect a civil word for a civil word!”

The First stopped dead, eyeing him in that way women had. She could have sewn him a shirt and told his weight, not to mention when he had his last bath, from that look. Then she turned away, murmuring something to herself. All he caught was “too much like me.”
(The Shadow Rising, chapter 13, "Rumors")
Jason Lyman
86. jlyman
Okay I'm getting a little more caught up on the comments now.

@20. SteelBlaidd

I like your thinking on the symbolic meanings behind the combat training. Very perceptive.

@32. tugthis

In a practical sense though they will still be at a disadvantage in a fight with a man. It does not mean they should not learn, but at the end of the day how much time should they spend on it?

I like this saying: "It's not the size of the dog in a fight that matters, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

@56. Wetlandernw

Like I said in my last post, I thought someone had gottten to it before me. Oh, well. You said it well though. Better than I.

@69 Isilel

you need to thump strongly indeed with a blunt weapon to put somebody down for the count.

Not really. The physics say that Force = Mass times velocity squared. So a woman who doesn't have much mass needs to increase the speed of the weapon in order to hit harder. With proper training you can get those sticks going at, literally, close to 100 mph. No kidding!

A knife fight usually involves more grappling and punching than anything else

To those who are really untrained. A real knife fight should only last a few seconds if even one person knows what they are doing. And the wounds would not be small knicks and long lines of blood. Try slicing a side of beef with a sharp knife sometime. The muscle fibers contract on each side of the wound, making a large opening in which the muscle and underlying tissue is exposed. Knives are nasty things.

EDIT: I do give you that about not choosing or bringing weapons upon first leaving the Two Rivers. However, most thought they were just going on an adventure and they would be back in no time. A little naivete it seems to me. Nyneave didn't bring anything because, most likely, she didn't expect to run into Trollocs and secondly she fully expected Moiraine to hand the kids back over and get them merrily back to their homes... like, yesterday.

But they could have at least brought something more.
John Mann
87. jcmnyu
Survey: Mostly C. I got my wife to read about 10 chapters of tEotW about 8 years ago and she quit. Now she rolls her eyes when I "geek it up".

The Mangain plotline really saddens me. Rand desperately needs a friend or 12 and Mangain really screwed up by killing someone for being a moron. The Aiel are generally idiots when it comes to outsiders. They have their honor and obligation, but they have no respect for the ways that others live their lives. Yet, when the Shaido break the very rules the Aiel hold so dear, the other clans essentially they shake their heads and do nothing. So, tree-killers should die for breathing or getting a tatoo, but take people as slaves and you get a head shake. Rhuarc is better than that. Bain and Chiad are better than that. I've just finished my reread, and I simply couldn't understand Bain and Chiad's inability to see that the Shaido had abandoned ji'e'toh and it takes two to t'an'go. How can you have toh to someone with no ji?

As far as Berelain, I never liked her and have found her every storyline to be painful. I'm mildly intrigued by her reelationship with Rhuarc and who turns out to be her "man in white", but the competition with Faile and her childishness are such turnoffs, that she would be high on my "death by rolling boulder" list.
Alice Arneson
88. Wetlandernw
jcmnyu @ 87 - ...the competition with Faile and her childishness are such turnoffs, that she would be high on my "death by rolling boulder" list.

Hear hear! My sentiments exactly.
Joseph Blaidd
89. SteelBlaidd
As an interjection to the debate on weapons training, I think it's important that we recognize that learning to use a weapon, especialy a muscle powered one, is a very time consumeing process. That most people in the period most closley matched by the WoT, namly the pre-gunpowder Renaiesance, most people did not have any weapons training unless they were either noble, a proffesional soldier, or it was otherwise requiered by thir job. No one else had the time.

For women in a preindustrial period cooking, cleaning, and general hose work was a 12-16 hr a day job. Women would naturaly turn to knives because that was the tool they used most often in thier dayly lives. Erith and Corvile(Isilel @69) wer useing pruning knives not carving knives. This is a polearm analagus to a Bill or Guisarme.

Now, we haven't realy been in the Borderland's long enough to see whether Borderlamd women have any training in archery or other aproprate tools for defence. From what we know of Faile I suspect we will see that they are in the next couple of books.

The problem the SG have with Berilaine is that they realy don't ever see her being anything other than a lightskirt, and she deliberatly trys to give an impresion of being significanly more easy than she actualy is. Consensual sex outside of marrage is some thing that the Aiel don't have a problem with so the Wise onse don't consider said reputation an issue that impinges on her competance.
John Fitzingo
90. Xandar01
For the Survey:
A) VSO is also very into WoT

Wife has read them all and we talk about them from time to time. She doesn't spend time on the message boards like I do, but she has at least read KOD, where I had not. (Yeah, I am getting there. On POD now.)
Kathy Keith
91. Babokathy
In the last 100 years, it's a wonder anyone lives in the borderlands! (should've been a mass exodus after the first Trolloc cookpot story got out). In all of the northern borderland countries, north of lattitude of Andor, all women should have been taught some self defense. Certainly the "women's circles" would figure that out and make it so.

I'm thinking that Morgase made a poor choice in men by taking Taringail (whom Tigraine loathed) just to get the throne and unite Cairhien and Caemlyn. (For such a horrid guy like Taringail, it's lucky the kids, Elayne & Gawyn, came out as good as they did! there another ghost paternity?) Gareth Bryne was probably a decent guy. But Morgase got hood-winked (compulsed) by Gaebril, not her fault. Will Talanvor come through as her knight in shining armour?

Think Elayne will give Momma back her throne once she's discovered to still be alive in TGS?
paul Hend
92. tugthis
Steelblaidd I think you have hit the nail largely on the head. Weapons training is just that-- training. It takes a lot of time to become proficient beyond the Renaissance Festival level, and the majority of people in Randland society do not have the time to learn. Just as, by the way, the vast majority of people in our current society do not have the time to train in the martial arts.

I do not have to learn to use a gun, a taser, pepper spray, billy club or anything else because we have a police force military force devoted to that. Randlanders, who have much less time than I similarly have some town watch, military, merchants guard to take care of their protection needs.

The cost and inconvenience of swords should not be overestimated either. While it is true they provide more reach in a battle, they require a considerable outlay of money to afford an impliment that has no other useful use than stabbing someone. The cost of tempered steel would have been considerable, and the idea of arming every woman with a rapier is ludicrous. Besides, the issue that having to move about with a three foot blade makes daily life a bit more daunting, especially if that life includes child care, cooking, farming, weaving etc. There is a reason that armed men are rarely doing anything else. . . but maintaining their arms.

Rand himself was astonished that his father would have something as extraneous on the farm as a sword. And for the majority of the folks in Randland the fear of Trolloc attack was similar to our fear of a terrorist attack. . . that is outside of its actual rate of occurance.
Tess Laird
93. thewindrose
Babokathy - Morgase would not accept the throne back. She has uttered the irrevocable words, and I believe she sees herself as not fit for the throne after all of her bad decisions. Also, it would ruin Elayne, something she would not do.
It does seem to be looking that way with Tallvanor and Morgase, but there is another theory out there that won't go away about Morgase and Tam. Someone better versed then I can explain that one:)
Genevieve Williams
94. welltemperedwriter
It seemed to me on re-reading these chapters that while the Aiel's reaction to Cairhienin taking up ji'e'toh was irritation and disgust at their mangling it, the reaction of other wetlanders to women in particular taking up swords indicated that swordplay isn't a common pastime even among noblewomen, even to the extent that a young nobleman might learn enough to get himself in trouble on the street without ever going near a battle. That says to me that in Cairhien, at least, martial study isn't common for women. (And the women we do see act EXACTLY the way everyone does, male or female, in their first six months or so of training. You start feeling pretty badass. Then the diminishing returns set in.)

I also recall Faile saying explicitly early in her association with Perrin that her father wouldn't teach her weapons because she was a girl. (I don't remember whether this is before or after he finds out who her father is.)

It's true that the Two Rivers is peaceful until the Trollocs come, yet Two Rivers men, at least, are renowned for their archery. It surprised me too that Nynaeve never thinks of the bow with any familiarity. It does require significant upper body strength to pull a longbow (my maximum draw weight is 45 pounds; 60 is the minimum among hunters I've met, and war bows in the British Isles could have draw weights of well over 100 pounds), so maybe that's the reason.

jlyman, I wouldn't dismiss longer reach so casually if I were you. Given the choice between a knife's reach between me and a Trolloc, and a spear's reach, I know which I'd pick. (Or between me and a burglar, for that matter, and you bet I've thought about it.)

I've studied martial arts for close to 15 years and have done a little bit with a lot of weapons. My physical strength is always going to be less than most men's, but even a little training gives me a better chance than none at all.

A couple of people have mentioned that this might be a cultural gaffe on Jordan's part, but I wonder. Birgitte and Egeanin show that the norms of Randland do not match those of other times (Birgitte) and places (Seanchan).

I have to say that Birgitte was the first female character in the books who I readily identified with, and I think it's because she's the first woman we meet who really treats men as friends and doesn't have much in the way of gender-based expectations of men or women. Mat even comments on this at one point.
Rob Munnelly
95. RobMRobM
@91 and 93. OK Wind, I'll bite.

I won't spell out the theory in full but I expect Tallanvor to die valiantly and Tam to fill the breach. Morgase claims acquiantance with Three Rivers tongue in EOTW; Tam is only possible source for that, given that he lived in Camelyn long enough to have a wife from the City (not saying he and Morgase had a thing going, but she and Kari might have been friends or M as a young girl might have had a mild thing for the handsome, Andor-bred senior officer of the Illian army- enough to remember his speech patterns); and it would certainly be fitting for all three Trakands to fall in love with Duopotamians. And Tam's status as the leading husband candidate in the Two Rivers was highlighted at the start of EOTW so, the Wheel being as it is, it would make sense to bring that theme to a happy fruition by the end of the series. Rob
Maiane Bakroeva
96. Isilel
SteelBlaidd @89:

most people did not have any weapons training unless they were either noble, a proffesional soldier, or it was otherwise requiered by thir job. No one else had the time.

Not true. Tell that to the English longbowmen ;). Or the Swiss. Or militias of various Flemish towns who managed to defeat knightly armies. Or Kazaks. Or how about the Eastern martial arts, often developed specifically for peasants who weren't allowed to protect themselves with conventional weaponry? Or, or, or... When there was a need for self-defense and they weren't specifically prevented, as they were in many countries, people found time to learn.
Why shouldn't it be the same with WoT women?

And if you read about 17th century Spain, you'll see that many city men owned rapiers and used them, not just the nobles.

Faile specifically tells Perrin that she trained in secret from and against wishes of her family, that Saldean women, even noblewomen aren't normally trained to fight. Etc.

Every man in TR found enough time to become a superb bowman and quarterstaff fighter. If they found time, why shouldn't the women find it also where it makes sense? Like along the Blight or when it would be helpful for their occupation (noble, peddler, etc.)?

jlyman @84:

A sword is just a long knife. A spear is a knife with a long handle. Cudgels? Would I want to die from being run through with a sword or having my skull crushed?

Let me tell you, there was a reason why people didn't go into battle armed with their belt knives and generally preferred longer weapons even for civilian self-defense. Yes, reach is huge. Also, it would take more strength to crush a skull with the cudgel and recovering after a blow delivered, keeping balance, would take even more. There is a reason why maces and such were mostly used against heavily armored opponents.

Jcmnyu @87:

So, tree-killers should die for breathing or getting a tatoo, but take people as slaves and you get a head shake.

Couldn't agree more. For that matter, I bet that the Aiel never really explained significance of the Tree to the Cahirienin. They are pretty culturally chauvinistic.
Guillaume Bergeron
97. Nightbaron
@94 - I might be mistaken since my last re-read was a while back, but I thought I remembered that Faile was not taught to use weapons by her father NOT because she was a girl, but because she was the eldest, and she was expected to learn about running the House (not in the domestic sense, I mean, in the nobility sense); learning about accounts, and all kinds of boring tedious pen-pusher jobs.
98. zaldar
*drags over a larger and more ornate soap box than leighs* or perhaps we shouldn't live in places that we have to change to such an extent as Louisiana to make habitable? Should we totaly change the enviorment of the artic so we can build cities there? Why is Lousiania different? It was an important port once, we can do without it now so we should for enviormental and money reasons.

If people want to live there fine but they should take the problem on themselves and not expect me to pay for it when the city is no longer nessecary. Same is true for the cites made in the desseart in california.
Keith Benson
99. Midas
Redwing, from one newbie to another, welcome!
100. JWezy
@95 RobMRobM:

So, it will turn out that Tam is not Rand's father, but he is Elayne's? Cool.
Andrew Lovsness
101. drewlovs
96. Isilel

I am always amazed that this is your main topic here. While I do not disagree with you, I also think the WoT world would be vastly different if most of the females were weapons-trained. If you haven't noticed from my previous posts, I think it is a very illogical decision to not train half your population when the outcomes of battles with the dark one affects them all.

But I would love to see your insight on other topics. You obviously spend a good amount of time making sure you are thoroughly covering your topic; but since the topics you cover are extremely similar, you tend to repeat some points.

On why I think the WoT world would be different: clothing worn by swordsmen is very different from archers, who are very different from spearmen, etc. One thing is true though; any woman trained to use swords would not be wearing dresses as described by Jordan. A good example of this are the wetlanders that are imitating the Aiel... the woman all wear pants.

Would this be a bad thing? No, but it does change a lot of what we have read. Now, if this means I wouldn't have to read 10 pages of "what Elayne is to wear today", this is not a bad thing!! However, I accept the notion that Jordan's world, while sometimes better than real life in regards to gender rights, has many flaws.
102. Noren
Concerning the Berelain/Supergirl feud,I think the major issue is envy with a dash of territorialism.

The Supergirls seem to believe they get to pre-approve potential sex/love matches for the men around them.Mat worked around this by making it plain he wasn't going to stand for it.Plus a lot of the time he was plumb out of reach.Not that they didn't try;see Ebou Dar.

Perrin got hitched almost as soon as he left Emond's Field,so no opening there.That leaves Rand.Rand,who was Egwene's bethrothed,which gives a solid opening wedge.He was still unclaimed as of TDR/TSR,and he was within reach.Time to plan his life for him.

Enter Berelain.Manipulative,with significantly more liberal mores than they were raised with.Unbound(to them) by the mores of polite female society.Imperious at best.Uses her sexuality as a tool.This would be bad enough,but then it seemed that in spite(or maybe because) of this everybody else was impressed by the woman.The Wise Women,Rhuarc,Dobraine.Even Rand.She seemingly got complete freedom and was still got to be taken seriously.What's not to hate?

You will notice that so far,none of the Supergirls seem to have gotten on well with a woman they knew beforehand was interested in any of the three guys.Tylin seems to have managed it because Nynaeve and Elayne didn't know until just before they left.

I'd wager they don't get along with Tuon either:)
103. David M.
One reason women may not be trained in combat is that the path to power in Randland is figured most prominently in the ability to channel--which only women have traditionally been allowed to do--followed by political ability. The groups in the world that are the most militaristic are the Borderlanders, Aiel, Whitecloaks, and the Seanchan. The Borderlands are militaristic by necessity and not as means of exerting influence. The Whitecloaks are militaristic but are viewed largely as a nuisance. The Aiel are certainly militaristic but it is the Wise Ones, women who take no part in battle, who are preeminent in their societies. And the Seanchan are arguably the most militaristic society in all the world--the ever victorious army and all that--but it is their use of damane, women who are forced to channel in battle, that gives them their greatest edge.

The ability to fight capably with a weapon is devalued in WoT on all levels. Warders are the best trained fighters in Randland proper (not counting the Aiel) but they led by women who can channel, and their ability to defend their Aes Sedai is considered something of a last resort. The First Prince of the Sword in Andor is trained in combat not as a means of defending himself, but of protecting the queen. Aes Sedai and Asha'man alike are somewhat dismissive of melee combat in the face of channeling, and reasonably so.

The most interesting tension between military might and strength through the One Power is seen in the character of Artur Hawkwing, a king who gained power by defeating a man who can channel and his army. His might came from military conquest, setting up a political showdown with the White Tower. That neither side won in that particular battle is suggestive. Even with the entire world, save Tar Valon, under his thumb, he was considered no more than an equal of the Amyrlin.

Given all that, it doesn't seem far fetched to me that the bias against strength in combat and in favor of strength in the One Power and in politics would be felt on a micro cultural level. The women of the world can have power politically and by wielding forces beyond the scope of everyone else, and this is seen as the preferred path to power. Men, however, are often relegated to combat ability as their own path to power. So the fact that men are more trained in weapons and such might not reflect a bias against women being able to do so, but because women have more options than the men of the world.

I hope I never have to write the word militaristic again.
Genevieve Williams
104. welltemperedwriter
Good point, David M., and it's one that occurred to me. I'd add that channelers, even channelers that are used as weapons themselves (cf. Seanchan) generally don't carry weapons at all themselves with the very notable exception of the Asha'man--and then only at Rand's insistence, as Taim initially demurs and even sends the swordmaster away until Rand makes him bring him back.

I'm not sure how well your point carries among social strata where status granted by the Power or by political influence doesn't exist, though. Aes Sedai come from all walks of life, but once they're Aes Sedai, they move into a sort of rarified state almost entirely unconnected from everyday life. (The White Tower has been compared to academia; as someone who works in academia, I can say there are some definite resemblances, though professors aren't QUITE as disconnected from reality as a lot of people seem to think.)

And, since Randland has kings as well as queens (though the rulers we get to know the best are all women), I don't know that I buy that women's political opportunities outweigh men's in this society.

Weapons training isn't necessarily openly available either; as others have pointed out, to be able to do it well requires substantial commitments of money and time. I'd argue that it's more accessible to most than either the One Power or becoming a monarch (or even a mayor).

The lack of women taking up weapons training, and why, interests me BECAUSE gender relations and the balance of power are different in Randland. We aren't really told (except in a couple of cases) whether it's lack of opportunity or lack of interest, but there is the stated opinion of some women (and men as well) that fighting is men's work. It is implied that women are meant to be above that sort of thing, but in THIS world at least, IME that's a social construct.
Joseph Blaidd
105. SteelBlaidd
Regarding Faile's Weapons training.

Still holding the cup, she came back to sit beside him. For some reason she seemed very intent on his face. “My two older brothers died, Perrin, one fighting Trollocs, the other in a fall from his horse hunting. That made me the eldest, and it meant I had to study account books and trading. While my younger brothers learned to be soldiers, while they were being readied for adventures, I had to learn how to manage the estates! It is the eldest’s duty. Duty! It is dull, dry and boring. Buried in paper and clerks.

“When Father took Maedin with him to the Blightborder—he’s two years younger than I—that was more than I could stand. Girls are not taught the sword, or war, in Saldaea, but father had named an old soldier from his first command as my footman, and Eran was always more than happy to teach me to use knives and fight with my hands. I think it amused him. In any case, when Father took Maedin with him, the news had arrived calling the Great Hunt of the Horn, so I . . . left. I wrote Mother a letter explaining, and I . . . left. And I reached Illian in time to take the oath of a Hunter . . . ” Picking up the cloth, she patted at the sweat on his face again. “You really should sleep if you can.”

Notice that its just the SWORD and field operations that girls dont do, not personal or comunity defense.
William Fettes
106. Wolfmage
87. jcmnyu

"As far as Berelain, I never liked her and have found her every storyline to be painful. I'm mildly intrigued by her reelationship with Rhuarc and who turns out to be her "man in white", but the competition with Faile and her childishness are such turnoffs, that she would be high on my "death by rolling boulder" list. "

Yes, I agree that the competition with Faile and her treatment of Perrin reflect poorly on Berelain. However, I'm usually more annoyed with Faile in these sequences than Berelain for the simple fact that she is childish and takes it out on Perrin. Moreover, Faile is way down on my list of favourite characters, and the Perrin-Faile plot beyond the Two Rivers is a bit of a snoozefest for me. Morally I know what she does is wrong, but I just can't make myself really care enough to be invested in protecting it.

Noren @ 102

“Concerning the Berelain/Supergirl feud,I think the major issue is envy with a dash of territorialism.”

Oh, it’s mostly territorialism. I don’t know about envy per se, but I'd argue their attitude is coloured by a small degree of spite because of how Berelain is so comfortable with her sexuality, compared to the constraints they feel. Elayne’s early forwardness with Rand is in part a reaction to the mixed feelings awakened in this sequence; she feels an almost competitive desire to rise to the occasion, lest she be left behind - citing a desire to 'speak out' probably beyond proper Andoran sensibilities.

“The Supergirls seem to believe they get to pre-approve potential sex/love matches for the men around them.”

Yes, the scene when Egwene first finds out that Perrin is in Tear and entangled with Faile reinforces this. She loves Perrin like a brother and is a little taken aback that someone is now on the scene without her knowledge or approval. Now that in itself is a pretty innocuous reaction in my mind, but it is still part of a pattern of possessiveness that can manifest in uglier ways.

“Enter Berelain.Manipulative,with significantly more liberal mores than they were raised with.Unbound(to them) by the mores of polite female society.Imperious at best.Uses her sexuality as a tool.This would be bad enough,but then it seemed that in spite(or maybe because) of this everybody else was impressed by the woman.The Wise Women,Rhuarc,Dobraine.Even Rand.She seemingly got complete freedom and was still got to be taken seriously.What's not to hate?”

Yes, the fact that she is unbound is particularly relevant. She is an established ruler, who isn’t interested in befriending them or showing deference to their Aes Sedai charade. That grates.

“I'd wager they don't get along with Tuon either:)”

It’s a fair bet – though with Tuon’s prejudices against channellers, that relationship was probably always doomed.
107. alreadymadwithterritories
There's also the fact that the ones Berelain is interested in gaining the approval of are the boys whom they consider to be "under" their "authority". She dares approach the boys without going through them.
So yeah.. Territorialism it is.
Jason Lyman
108. jlyman
@94. welltemperedwriter

jlyman, I wouldn't dismiss longer reach so casually if I were you.

Oh I didn't dismiss it. I will take whatever advantage I have as well. All I was saying is that swords are long knives and spears are knives with long handles. It's the same if I'm sparring with a long armed, long legged opponent. He will have that advantage.

By the way, I have trained for 15+ years myself, so I know at least a little about which I speak. :-)

@96. Isilel

it would take more strength to crush a skull with the cudgel and recovering after a blow delivered, keeping balance, would take even more. There is a reason why maces and such were mostly used against heavily armored opponents.

I agree that maces are one weapon that require more strength. However, a cudgel is just a stout stick. It doesn't require that much strength to get that thing whipping through the air at high velocity. Even for a 5 foot 95 pound woman. Believe me, I've taught some. :-)


But any way we look at things I am just going to say: "That is how the Creator created it and who am I to argue?" :-)
Alice Arneson
109. Wetlandernw
SteelBlaidd @ 89 Excellent points. Well said.
Andrew Lovsness
110. drewlovs
108. jlyman


I had a friend who gave his son (age 8) a toy mace for halloween; it was made with hard rubber, and was light enough for the boy to hit his father over the head, but heavy enough to cause a concussion.

Imagine a 5'4" woman trained with a steel mace...

*EDIT* I have no idea where he bought it, nor if it were meant for a 8 year old. The example was mainly to prove cause and effect.
111. Redwing
Lannis, subwoofer, Wetlandernw, Midas - thank you for the welcome!

Wetlandernw @ 56 - I certainly didn't read ALL the comments...I'd still be back at The Shadow Rising! I did try to skim through at least some of the comments though, excepting certain Tor-breaking Leigh-vacation threads.

Wolfmage and Noren - you're right, Egwene definitely has territory issues. Notice how she hounds Rand about how he "treats" Aviendha...totally not her business. She's also stewing in these chapters. She's fairly rudderless without Moiraine, without Rand (when he's in Caemlyn), and without her training. Seeing Berelain at this point, and seeing her act so capably, must be hard for her to swallow.

RobMRobM @ 95

I won't spell out the theory in full but I expect Tallanvor to die valiantly and Tam to fill the breach.

Why does Morgase need someone to fill the breach? She's had such bad experience with men, especially the last one. She thinks she trashed her kingdom because of being googly-eyed over a man (and it was actually much worse). Tallanvor should just back off with the smoldering eyes...she's in no condition for another relationship right now. Maybe Tam will become a trusted friend to play stones with?
112. Alphashard
What's this mystery about Slayer that needs resolving?

I too like the Rhurac and Berelain relationship I just wish we had more explanation as to why it exists in the first place. It just sorta feels random and out of nowhere and "to hang a lampshade" other characters like Faile have made note of the oddity. In fact you see a LOT of underselling of Berelain from the Wondergirls.

I guess it's like the Sorelia/Rand relationship, if your not paying proper attention you miss how it develops and you go WTF when she exclaims "They stole my Near Brother". I was so thrown off by her statement I thought I had missed an entire book, however I just missed the clues that WERE there.

As for the Tigraine = Rand's mother I didn't see it but I was like "It figures" so it wasn't the greatest shock but a "hey that's cool".
Rob Munnelly
113. RobMRobM
Red - welcome and all that but where's your sense of romance? Geez.

Morgase deserves a partner worthy of her, whether they play stones or enjoy other games (wink) or play with their grandkids (and if one of the two is the reincarnted Gaidal, Tam could be there to teach him a few blademaster tricks and keep Birgitte from ravishing him at least until he hits puberty).

Your post highlights the problem with Tallanvor. He is a help while she is weak but that doesn't make them an equal or appropriate match. He has good qualities but it doesn't feel right (to me). If she settles with him, it doesn't give me that happy ending feeling. I could be wrong but I hope not.

Genevieve Williams
114. welltemperedwriter
Sorry, jlyman, I misinterpreted your remark. It actually does surprise me, given your observation, that we don't see women pick up things like spears more often (Maidens excepted, obviously) when the need arises.

Oh, don't get me started on Tallanvor. He IS young, and too thickheaded to see why his behavior toward someone who's been through what Morgase has is actively destructive. That entire subplot pisses me off, mostly because of him.
Kristina Blake
115. kab1
@102 I'm going to guess that they don't get along with Tuon not because they don't want her with Mat but rather because Tuon might suggest they be collared! Also I do think that they all like Faile (unlike many readers!)

@106 totally agree with your assessment of why the whole Berelain-Faile-Perrin thing and why it doesn't annoy me in terms of Berelain, but rather Faile.

Okay RobM you've sold me on the concept of Morgase and Tam. but I'm not sure it's gonna happen and I do still like Tallanvor.
Hurin Smells
116. HurinSmells
On female self-defense
Boys in general are more interested in fighting, so a larger percentage will be inclined to learn how to do it properly. Not because it's necessary for survival, but because they're interested in it. Most (non Aiel) men probably wouldn't even know how to throw a punch though as they're too busy being a farmer/tailor/blacksmith/other necessary function to a working society.

On Berelain
I never had a problem with her. I was glad to see her cowed before Rand, and her behavior towards Perrin/Faile was frustrating, but I was thoroughly enjoying Faile and Perrin treating her as an insolent child towards the end of tPoD. Then in WH after Faile gets kidnapped she starts telling Perrin he'll be the 3rd guy she’s slept with I wanted her to die in a fire. This is going way over the line, and letting everyone think Perrin slept with her the day after Faile was kidnapped is just about as low as you can get.
William Fettes
117. Wolfmage
Hmm, for a non-problem position that's a pretty uniformly negative. Seems more like what you don't have a problem with is the comeuppance she receives in the form of rejections and disabuse, because you think it is appropraite rather than not having a problem with Berelain herself.

I agree btw that her allowing it to be perceived that Perrin had slept with her after Faile was kidnapped was low.
John Massey
118. subwoofer
Woooo! K' forgive me but some D and P'in' goin on here. 35cent drums night waddaya gonna do?

Er-Wolfmage@75, correct me if I am wrong but I believe the phrase is "for all intents and purposes".

@jlyman- was under the impression that for blunt objects and physics lessons it is more aobut the mass of the weapon and the tip velocity that determines damage. ie- quarter staff vs. a tonfa. The staff may appear slower but the tip speed can be clocked much higher because of the length of the staff.

You are right about knives though. Can cause a great deal of damage and if you are cut, it is not like Arnie in the movies where it is just a "flesh wound". You bleed out and that is all she wrote. knives vs. swords- Wha? Why would anybody want to play that game? I've been hurt by pros so I, personally, have learned the hard way. Go find a bell founder.

@SteelB- um? Yes, people are spending much time just dealing with basic needs, on the other hand, the average person can't pick up a phone and dial 911. Have to be fairly self sufficient- thus have some fighting/survival skills. May not be a blade master, but could work the average pencil pushers' butt. I'm going with Isilel on this one(?!)

@Isilel- if I haven't said it- great googly moogly! long post.


Edit- while I've got a head of steam, I'm gonna look for a bear and poke it with a short stick, then explain to it about tip velocity...
Hurin Smells
119. HurinSmells
I think professionally she is good at her job as First of Mayene, and she does well looking after Cairhein. I don't have a negative view of her politcal and leadership abilities.

I do think she's severly lacking in the social and ethical departments though. I get the competitivness with Faile thing. I could even give her a pass if Perrin gave any hints that he was interested in her. But Perrin and Faile are married, so continuing to pursue him is just dissrespectful to Faile, Perrin, and to the concept of marriage. She deserves to be treated poorly if she's going to act poorly.
Andrew Lovsness
120. drewlovs
I've resisted the Berelain mainly because I felt like we are missing something. We have a capable woman who has successfully made grown men teenaged boys in her hands, and used them to allow her country to prosper.

But then she meets Mr. Wolf and she becomes an adolescent vindictive little girl? Please.

I am desparately hoping there is a little factoid that hasn't been given to us readers that explains why she becomes so immature.

Really. Because if you remove the story arc involving Perrin, she is one badass leader who happens to be female.
William Fettes
121. Wolfmage
HurinSmells @ 119
"I could even give her a pass if Perrin gave any hints that he was interested in her. But Perrin and Faile are married, so continuing to pursue him is just dissrespectful to Faile, Perrin, and to the concept of marriage. She deserves to be treated poorly if she's going to act poorly."

Aside from my lack of enthusiasm for Faile and Perrin, which probably takes the edge off my umbrage a little, I do agree with that completely.

The only thing I would like to clarify is that I've only been defending Berelain's side here in the context of the mutual hostility between her and the SGs. None of them know the details of the lopsided love triangle. Their scorn of Berelain is for other trivial or territorial reasons.
Hurin Smells
122. HurinSmells
IIRC the hostility between the SGs and Berelain came from tDR when they heard she had been seen leaving Rand's rooms in the Stone wearing not much of anything in the middle of the night. So it's solidarity from Egwene to dislike Berelain on Elayne's behalf. Not too disimilar from the Faile/Perrin situation, except Berelain hasn't been scared witless of Perrin and has taken it as a double-dare to snare him since Faile confronted her.

Berelain doesn't like the SGs because she knows they don't like her. Anyone who's ever been to high school knows that's a critical aspect of mean girl politics.
Maiane Bakroeva
123. Isilel
Speaking about Berelain, it is a pity that RJ decided that he had to backpedal with her and give her only 2 previous lovers, both for political reasons. Why? It was nice to have a sexually liberated woman for a change.

However, Berelain jumping into "Dangerous Liaisons" with Perrin and Faile is pretty unbearable. I mean, it isn't like she is a bored 18th century aristocrat whose main problem is finding some entertainment, right?

It was also a bit disheartening to see Berelain relieved of the governance of Cahirien and being demoted to Perrin's sidekick, cause that removed most of her saving graces..

RJ is so painfully old-fashioned with important female characters - they all seem to be virgins or at the very least really inexperienced in matters romantic. And those couple who are not, like Berelain and Morgase get saddled with... controversial subplots.
Holger Marx
124. DreamHealer
Hi there. I guess at least Tylin (R.I.P) or Myrelle could count as sexually liberated. And Gabrelle seduced Logain in order to get more information out of him. By the way: are there any major male characters (besides the Forsaken) that are described as being really experienced in sex matters?
125. Freelancer

Your points are well made. However, let me suggest that assigning your personal safety and that of your loved ones to the police/military in lieu of having your own valid defenses isn't the wisest possible course of action, for two reasons.

1) You don't have a member of that defense force personally devoted to you at all times, and when you have a need to defend yourself, you need it right now. Reference what Nynaeve says to first Hurin, and then Mat in TGH at Tar Valon.

2) A government which cannot be opposed by might, can be guaranteed to impose its will on the people with impugnity, and without discretion. Obey legal authority, without subjugating yourself to its unbridled whim.


For myself, I've not the slightest interest in reading about sex. I read SFF for the adventure. In the case of WoT, that includes many layers of intrigue and interaction, and the level at which RJ addressess romance is just fine by me. Why is is "nice" to read about a slut, even if she's only pretending in order to get her way politically?


Not that it matters, but there are references in New Spring to Lan's love life, which suggest a significant number of partners.
Maiane Bakroeva
126. Isilel
Freelancer @125:

I don't like to read about sex either and find most scenes in this vein embarrassing and boring. However, it is a very important part of most people's lives and motivations, so it can't help but get referenced in literature, however obliquely.

Why is is "nice" to read about a slut, even if she's only pretending in order to get her way politically?

Because she provides a counter-point to much bigger sluts like Lan, Mat and Thom? And Rand's quadrille is also dubious in this sense. I couldn't help but notice the big contrast between treatment of important characters concerning that point - it is rather blatant.

DreamHealer @123:

Those are all tertiary or quartiary (?) characters.
Holger Marx
127. DreamHealer

I absolutely agree with your opinion on sex in fantasy literature. In WoT anything else than "panning to the fireplace" would be completely out of place (as has been discussed here before). Nevertheless I do like the embedded love stories because they are (mostly) not central to the plot.

Does Nynaeve actually know anything about Lan's love life before becoming Moiraine's warder...? I also wonder if she will find out about what Myrelle does with her warders she took over from other AS.
John Massey
128. subwoofer
Lan... a slut...heh. Armed and floozy.

Mat has his moments and yes, Rand and Co. grinds on me. For the love of Light- pick one, and only one. Thom?- Well, if you have been on this earth long enough, you are bound to have some experience...

edit-@Free, I agree, goes back to my saying "there's never a cop around when you need one" or words to that effect. When trouble happens, you cannot say "oh, please kind mugger, wait while I call 911 and help arrives". World doesn't work that way. Like I said before, when facing random raids by bandits or Trollocs or whatever, the average Randlander cannot wait for the local militia to show up. They have to take matters into their own hands or watch their families die- a la Pevin.

129. Redwing
RobMRobM @ 113 - Thanks for putting it better than I did; it sounds like we're agreed (VSO would probably also sometimes agree about the sense of romance) :). What Morgase needs is a friend and equal. If that person is Tam, and if they mutually decide to be a little bit more than friends down the road, more power to them.

Also agree that Tallanvor's best place in a happily ever after ending would be dying a heroic death covering her retreat.
James Jones
130. jamesedjones
123 & 126 Isilel

OMG Are you OK? Is your computer OK? That's two, consecutive posts of less that half a screen. Did someone hack your Tor account?

Anyhoo... Berelain always made me think of Queen Elizabeth. She's the female leader of a small nation who uses her position and availability to advance her country's interests. There's not a lot of drive to sleep with tons of people.
131. Noren
@119 HurinSmells
I really have very little sympathy for Faile here.She's....territorial,and not in a good way.She basically goaded Berelain into maintaining a low-level courtship of her Perrin.What was the point in attempting to assault the woman with a knife in Tear?Before they were publicly acknowledged as an item?Madness.

@123 Isilel
Berelain allows her pride to colour her judgement,but she isn't irrational,which is more than I can say for Faile sometimes.And she seems to manage to keep at least one of the Dragon Reborn's closest companions off balance in his dealings with her precisely BECAUSE she is interested in him,a not insignificant negotiating advantage.Very few other people can claim as much,AS or not.
Plus,she explicitly stated she was willing to give up her game when Faile was kidnapped.Perrin didn't get the message,so it continued.

Plus the concept of marriage thing?In Randland?Where political marriages are an accepted tool of diplomacy,at least among the nobility?Where Morgase's spouse was plotting to kill her for power?Where rulers or great nobles would to to get into a man's bed for a chance at inside information or influencing his decision making?Specifically,where she(Berelain) has been raised to get married to whomsoever best serves the goals of keeping Mayene independent?When your marital prospects are basically to auction yourself off at the highest price you can possibly get,you don't usually have very many illusions about the institution.

Where I come from,polygamy is common.And accepted.Less common now than maybe forty,sixty years ago,but it's still thriving.And it does work out.Usually.It also has the potential for catastrophic failure:)
Kristina Blake
132. kab1
@120 I agree that Berelain does seem totally capable and that it is quite weird ho she goes all googly eyes and crazy over Perrin who shows no interest in her (repeatedy). I can only think she keeps trying because he's a close friend of the Dragon Reborn, powerful in his own right, and maybe his tavereness has something to do with it?

I also think part of the reason she does it, is because it throws Faile so off balance/makes her angry, which Berelain might get a kick out of, and more importantly may allow her to manipulate both Perrin and Faile into doing things her way. This may be another reason that she is willing to give the game up when Faile isn't around. I do however agree that the whole allowing everyone to think that Perrin slept with her the night Faile went missing was low.

I can't imagine her AS advisor (Annoura?) who sometimes seems to encourage Berelains's behaviour towards Perrin does this solely because of Berelains's personal love interests. So I'd like to think there's something more to it.

I am interested to see who the "man in white" is, I suspect it's Galad. Should be interesting to see if he returns her feelings (which I suspect he will)
Rob Munnelly
133. RobMRobM
kab@132. B is going after P because she swore an "Ogier's Oath" to F do so back in Tear. Ta'verneness may have helped it get started but now she's holding to it irrespective of cost to P-F and to Randland. The fact that she finds P hot is a bonus but not the key point. Yes, man in white will be Galad and thank goodness she'll fall head over heels and forget the stupid oath to mess with Perrin. Can't happen fast enough as far as I am concerned. This whole plotline has driven me crazy. Let's move on, shall we?

noren@131. I have more sympathy for Faile than you do. She's Saldean royalty, she's sixteen and in love for the first time. Of course she's going to get aggravated by B's attempt to poach, and properly so. She should have let it go after P rebuffed B, but that's not the Saldean way. If B had backed off after they were married, everything would have been fine. Yes, she was an idiot for blaming P for B acting like such as b*tch but, in the scale of things, B is far more at fault.

DH@127 - I believe the answer is yes, that Nyn knew full well that Lan didn't come to their wedding fresh as the driven snow. Probably did not know, however, that Myrelle forced herself on him. Good thing for Myrelle he keeps that quiet or M will be toast in short order.

Jwezy@100. Yep. Query whether he'll be Rand's best man or give away the bride when they get hitched post-TG? LOL.
Jason Lyman
135. jlyman
@114. welltemperedwriter

No problem. I pro bably wasn't explaining myself clearly. I do that alot.

@116. HurinSmells

On female self-defense

That's what I tried to say, but you said it much better.

@118. subwoofer

was under the impression that for blunt objects and physics lessons it is more aobut the mass of the weapon and the tip velocity that determines damage.

You are exactly right. Force = mass times velocity squared (F = mv2 (sorry, no superscript)). So when you increase your speed you quadruple your force, or the power behind the strike. With a quarterstaff you have a longer leverage point so the tip has the potetntial to gain that much more speed. However with a shorter stick it's lighter and so a little easier to maneuver. I haven't really measured the speed on either, but I think they would both be pretty comparable. It's pretty much a trade off I think.

And yes, I have some pics of some "flesh wounds" from a real knife fight. Pretty nasty. Actually a doctor said that the guy in the pictures probably lived because he was slightly overweight and so the blade didn't get to any important organs. Fat FTW!!!

And sorry to everyone else about bringing this up again. *Kicks Bela again*
136. OldWoman
Of course you are all aware that the original meaning for 'slut' is a dirty, slovenly woman or a poor housekeeper.
James Jones
137. jamesedjones
136 OldWoman

Oh sure, I was totally aware of that. *whistles innocently*
138. AngryAngryThorn
I am confused about the Slayer Luc/Isam deal. It seems...well, badness. Is this seriously another blendy-blendy character or is it just a fan theory? Urgh. Blended characters are awkward. Though I suppose it gives Rand and Lan another reason to start their own self-help society. Theyll share an evil last surviving blood relative psyco too.
In terms of female self-defense, I don’t have as much of a problem with WOT as other fantasy because there are fighting female characters and while some are relatively pathetic, you also get the impression that the ladies who cant give a good concussion are that way due to their personalities or their in-story culture. Ebou Dar, pour example, has a whole bunch of crazy stabby women because thats meant to be the culture there. Admittedly it does annoy that girls who can fight are unusual enough to make it a notable culture but meh. You can guarantee that if the whole WOT female population were sword-weilding kung-fu masters, someone would be whining about it being unrealistic or something.
Why is Berelain stuck chasing Perrin? How can it be of any benefit to her? Its unnecessary unless she is, in fact now stalking Aram instead and no one has sussed it because we only see Perrins POV and him (being self orientaited ta veren) thinks shes after him while she has, in fact, moved on but enjoys irritating him and Faile as a bit of side sport *insert dramatic drumroll here*
Also, hullo people! Ive just sort of butted in...sorry

Hahaha, Finnland...that made me chuckle. Mainly because I now imagine Aes Sedai on northern European holidays.
@60. SteelBlaidd
Never made that connection but glad you did, if just because its nice to give real life disorders to characters. Its interesting that most of the characters you can justify in having PTSD are the characters with more unusual personalities, rather than the standard set hero/heroine/assistant sort of stereotype you get in sff.
Also, totally off topic, but isn’t Blaidd welsh for wolf? Or am I mad? Just wondering.
139. alreadymadwithphysics
@135 Nitpick because I'm a physics major. ENERGY is proportional to (actually half of) mass times the square of the velocity. FORCE = mass times the acceleration. Energy is what does damage though, so you've got the right equation with the wrong term.
Andrew Lovsness
140. drewlovs
123. Isilel

RJ is so painfully old-fashioned with important female characters - they all seem to be virgins or at the very least really inexperienced in matters romantic. And those couple who are not, like Berelain and Morgase get saddled with... controversial subplots.




Setalle Anan.

I could even name a few Aiel that disprove your point. I list these out to point out that you might be seeing gender issues where none are present.

Which is sad, really; you have the ability to do an indepth analysis without repeating facts, and you are very thorough.
141. DannySaiz
On the gripping hand... could that be considered genre-mixing?
Maiane Bakroeva
142. Isilel

Well, I guess I just can't quit when I should, but how are any of these important characters within the series? They are quartiary characters.

Now let's look at the main pairings:

Rand has his trio of women, each of whom was a virgin before he happened to them ;).

Nyn is a virgin and marries that notorious bed-hopper Lan.

Mat quickly becomes a notorious player and then marries virginal Tuon (sic!). And well, given her position, Tuon's state of inexperience really doesn't make sense, IMHO.

Moiraine is said to be "married to her battle" in TGH and not being jealous over Lan's innumerable women (funnily enough, him being "married" to _his_ battle doesn't slow him down at all).
And even with partial ret-cons from NS, Moiraine is still quite inexperienced compared to Thom. Etc, etc.

The only ones on equal footing in this sense are Perrin and Faile and possibly Egs and Gawyn.

Them's the breaks and no amount of bit character examples can change them ;).
Andrew Lovsness
143. drewlovs
Of all the characters you listed, only the SGs and the 3 TRs men are "main characters" by your own definition. Setalle Anan has a prophecy about her; Tylin is the only experience we know for sure Mat has had (I know there is probably a lot more, but we only know of her for sure) and she is definitely more experienced than Mat, even he thinks so; and Myrelle is an Aei Sedai that has been in the picture since very early on in the series.

I guess my point is, we are following the SGs and the 3 TRs men. All of them start on equal footing sexually speaking, so in order to make your assertion about Jordan, you have to consider the secondary characters. Think about it; how is Lan anymore a main character than Sorilea or Cadsuane? And Sorilea definitely had a very active sex life in her past.

ANYWAY. I stand by my assertion that you do indeed have a good mind for finding unusual takes on the happenings in WoT, and I would love to see more of your opinions that do not involve gender. I think it handicaps you; after all, if you write a long post on gender politics, I doubt you really want to make it longer due to other thoughts you had. And that is all of our loss.
144. Freelancer

Is it truly necessary to keep "score"? There are more than enough issues worthy of analysis within this story, prurient cogitation regarding acts of venery simply don't register on the inteest soale.
145. birgit
Given that half the countries in Randland haven't encountered Shadowspawn in centuries, there's little reason for them to bother with weapons and warfare.

They might not believe in Trollocs in the south, but there are wars between the human nations (e. g. Illian and Tear). Why should only the men be affected by those wars?

I guess it's like the Sorelia/Rand relationship, if your not paying proper attention you miss how it develops and you go WTF when she exclaims "They stole my Near Brother".

That is Sulin (the Maiden), not Sorilea (the Wise One).
Lord Haart
146. LordHaart
"Why is Berelain stuck chasing Perrin? How can it be of any benefit to her? Its unnecessary unless she is, in fact now stalking Aram instead and no one has sussed it because we only see Perrins POV and him (being self orientaited ta veren) thinks shes after him while she has, in fact, moved on but enjoys irritating him and Faile as a bit of side sport *insert dramatic drumroll here*"

Actually, I'm pretty sure that she's a forward thinker like Dyelin, who knows that the Dragon is the only real hope for her country, and if she can't win his favours, she should win the favours of someone close to him (like Dyelin does with Elayne - yes, I still don't think she's just an altruist). Berelain does have a quote (in ACoS iirc) about how she knows that if she returns to Mayene, then Rand will have forgotten about her loyalty by the time TG passes. A cynical view, but probably realistic given Randland politics.

As for sexualisation of characters, let's not forget that Lan was completely messed with as a veritable child by Iselle, who used sex as a weapon to bind him to her. All of the main character's relationships also tend to favour women; Min and Elayne "happened" to Rand more than the other way around (Avi is debatable), Tuon doesn't even love Mat despite him being starstruck over her, and Perrin and Faile are pretty well matched imo. So if Jordan was making a point, it seems that it ISN'T that men can be more sexually dominant than women, but rather that any sexual advantage doesn't really count for much in terms of who runs the relationship.

On to more important stuff:

" Where are they? he wondered furiously. Why hasn’t Alanna at least tried to sidle up to me? Moiraine would never have been frightened off so easily.

Where are all the dead? Lews Therin whispered. Why will they not be silent?

Rand chuckled grimly. Surely that had to be a joke."

Scary stuff. LTT really does seem insane, and it seems increasingly likely that even if Rand survives and wins TG, he will be a stunted, twisted version of himself (unable to channel without passing out, missing a hand, massive would in the side, and best of all, a split personality in the best case). Not to mention the extreme guilt complex and probably multiple-case post-traumatic-stress-disorders he's gone through. He can't reconcile his current self with who he wants to be, so he puts on a secondary, emotionless persona to be the "bad guy" that "does what has to be done". Given the Luc/Isam complex, it seems that insanity runs in the family. I wonder if Galad, Gawyn or Elayne (or Lan) are going to go through anything similar?

It's kind of freaky, because in the first book, I (and probably many others) felt a close kinship with Rand (many readers like to liken themselves to the protagonist). Rand's transformation seems like a hyperbole of the progression of human maturity; starting from naivity, the mind experiences shock and cynicism, sometimes even nihilism, as a result of exposure to the realities of life. Only after we realise that we can deal with our childhood beliefs being false can we actually move forwards with life and find a mental middle ground.
147. Daniel Holm
Women should be taught self-defense, sure. But there's a difference between self-defense and fighting a war. Wars have people who are taught to fight fighting; in self-defense, your opponent has generally not been taught.

Of course these days, wars are fought with guns rather than swords and upper body strength isn't as much of a plus as it was, so that part of it can be glossed over.
148. iansagefire
Chapter 17 is a prime example of the need to re-read important or enjoyable books during one's life. The rather brief, and ultimately unimportant scene of Berelain and Rhuarc waiting for Rand to pass judgment on Magin, shows how I interpret events differently at various points of my life.

The first time I read this book, sometime in high school, I dismissed the scene entirely, and more than likely came down on the side of Mangin -- that man just needed killing.

Now, who knows how many years later, I am an officer in the Army, and one thing that infuriates me to no end, is when one of my soldiers delays in making a tough decision, when she/he knows exactly what my guidance and intent would be. I whole heartedly agree with Rand's anger; the reason that you delegate authority of certain things to your subordinates is that there is not enough time for you (Rand) to make every decision. So you emplace people you have confidence in into places of power, and after you explain your command philosophy, they should carry out their tasks according to your wishes and their own insight and expertise.

This example is only a microcosm of the point of learning new things, not only about the story and its characters, but about how you view the world in general when you read a story more than once. I have read and listened to these books more times than I can remember, and will continue to do so for many years to come I’m sure. I wonder how I will interpret this and other events one, five, 15, 30 years in the future.
149. fainesblade
remember when our favorite andoran princes was tasted for eccepted in things that are to com she saw her mother with the crown on her head so maybe she gives it back.
150. fi6240
The Aiel don't have an inflexible, arrogant sense of superiority. They respect people who show that they disserve their respect. Rember Laman spit in not just their eyes but their Ancestors as well. The Cairhienin acting this way is even more an insult and rember to every one west of the dragonwall they are savages and this was the general consensous even before the Aiel war. So I think that Mangin was in the right plus would any of the Cairhienin show half as much honor or courage.Pus they are backstabers by nature so I would say in some ways they are the direct oposites. And the Chfa Aiel get old fast in the later books. Any way this my first post and I think this reread is very cool. and can't wait till you get to KOD and TGS Leigh.
151. yasiru89
Berelain is probably the best ruler we see in the series from the moment she shows up. Sure, she's not above tripping a man into bed for political advantage, but she still has her standards (as evidenced by her continued and vehement refusal of that High Lord back in the Stone of Tear, was it Sunamon?) and a sense of loyalty.
Agree wholeheartedly with why it makes a great deal of sense for women to learn some manner of self-defence. In fact, had the White Tower had Rand's insight, you'd have considerably less annoying Aes Sedai/Warder hybrids of Birgitte's like (or just Aviendha). Interestingly, I think that move helped Rand avoid a whole Black Tower full of Darkfriends too.

Someone mentioned illegitimate children of the Queen of Andor, and I think this raises an interesting point. Elayne never quite thinks about repurcussions or the like when her children are to succeed her, and perhaps Dyelin et al. were worried that Rand might have some (legitimate) claim to the Lion Throne when they saw the likeness in him to Tigraine. Together, these points heavily imply that in Andor, the consort of the Queen may as well as be breeding stock, as only being a child of the Queen seems to matter in Succession. This may be another subtlety with regard to the gender balance in Randland.
William McDaniel
152. willmcd
I remember having read all the way through TFoH and being completely clueless about the "Tigraine is Rand's mom!" connection until a friend sent me the old "Wheel of Time FAQ", which was still in e-mail forward form at that point. As I've said in previous comments, I primarily read fantasy for the Moments of Awesome, and had dismissed the entire Tigraine storyline as peripheral.

jlyman @ 86, 135, I gotta disagree with your explanation of the physics of impact. alreadymad @139 has done this already, but I'll come at it from a different angle. The relevant concept is that Impulse (force * time) equals momentum (mass * velocity). If we know the momentum, we must divide it by the dissipation time (the time between when the club strikes the target until the club finishes decelerating) to get the force of impact. This deceleration time is extremely hard to calculate, making impact forces very, very hard to figure out.

Ergo, since momentum equals mass * velocity, ultimately the force of impact ends up being directly proportional to both mass and velocity, not to the square of either. If I hit you at 100 MPH, it will hurt twice as much as if I hit you at 50 MPH.

I'm sure nobody wanted to know that.

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