Aug 17 2009 4:09pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Lord of Chaos, Part 5

Hey, kids, and welcome to another Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s post covers Chapters 5-6 of Lord of Chaos, in which things happen, sort of.

Previous entries are here, and as always there are spoilers for all currently published novels in the Wheel of Time series, so watch it!

And that’s about the size of that, so let’s get to it, shall we?

Chapter 5: A Different Dance

What Happens
Mat drinks wine in the second-best inn in Maerone, trying to ignore the heat, and wincing at the mistakes the musicians are making with the two-thousand-year-old tune he’d tried to teach them. Talmanes is pretending to be upset at the amount of money he’s lost to Mat at cards; Mat protests that he doesn’t always win at cards, though he knows Talmanes and the rest of the Band take his luck as a talisman. Daerid points out that the same cannot be said of dice, so they need to find an alternative, something Mat has no control over directly. Nalesean suggests horses, and Mat grins and agrees; his luck might not help with racing, but he’d grown up watching his father trade horses. They are interrupted by the serving girl Betse, who Mat has had his eye on. He invites her to join them while the other men pretend they are not there, but Betse immediately puts him off balance, peppering him with questions about whether he was a lord and why does he wear that scarf and what’s that scar and did he steal that medallion and etc. Nalesean and Daerid and Talmanes all start snickering. Mat tries to recover, but Betse is either a complete airhead or clever enough to keep tripping him up.

Daerid and Nalesean seemed to be choking to death. Talmanes was humming “A Frog on the Ice.” So he was skidding about with his feet in the air, was he?

Mat put down his winecup and rose, bowing over Betse’s hand. “I am who I am and no more, but your face drives words right out my head.” That made her blink; whatever they said, women always like flowery talk. “Will you dance?”

Mat leads her to the floor and teaches her a pattern dance that hasn’t been seen since the Trolloc Wars, and gets lost in memories of dancing it with an Atha’an Miere Wavemistress in Coremanda, one of the Ten Nations.

It had been true, what he told her about the scar on his neck. Hanged for knowledge, and for lack of it [...] Slices of other men’s lives packed his head now, thousands of them, sometimes only a few hours, sometimes years altogether though in patches, memories of courts and combats stretching for well over a thousand years, from long before the Trolloc Wars to the final battle of Artur Hawkwing’s rise. All his now, or they might as well be.

Mat wishes he didn’t have the memories, but acknowledges that without them, he would be tied to the Dragon Reborn with nothing to protect him, and instead he has over six thousand soldiers personally loyal to him. He still hopes Moiraine had been wrong about his importance in the Last Battle, though. He and Betse finish the dance, and she laughs that it was wonderful. Mat asks her if “Daughter of the Nine Moons” means anything to her, but it doesn’t. They are interrupted by Edorion, who reminds Mat that he wanted to do inspections. He takes his leave of Betse (who seems to sense how smug he is about the dancing), and goes with Edorion to inspect the drinking rooms. The town is stuffed with refugees and soldiers and merchants; the soldiers cheer him as they recognize his distinctive hat and spear, and Mat thinks of the outlandish stories that have circulated about them. He and Edorion visit a number of inns, and Mat sees several Hunters of the Horn at some, which grimly amuses him. He notes with bemusement the young men following around a group of pikemen singing about how awful military life is, and knows more than a few will be signing up to join by the end of the day.

At least the pikes were not singing “Dance with Jak o’ the Shadows.” Mat hated that song. Once the lads realized Jak o’ the Shadows was death, they started panting to find a bannerman.

Edorion casually digs for information about when they’re moving south, and mentions a rumor that the Lord Dragon had been in town the day before. Mat denies it, and remembers Rand popping right into his bedroom in the middle of the night, scaring him half to death. The conversation had been unnerving, too, with Rand asking him how to know you’re in love with a woman (when it was Rand and Perrin who had always had a way with women), and going on about uniting the entire world for the Last Battle, and talking about Sammael as if he knew him personally.

“No man should have another man’s voice in his head, “ Rand muttered, and Mat’s hands froze [...] Rand knew something of what had happened inside that ter’angreal in Rhuidean—knew he had somehow gained knowledge of soldiering, anyway—but not the whole of it. Mat thought not the whole of it. Not about other men’s memories.

He worries about Rand going mad, not to mention Taim and “those fools” he is teaching, and worries more that he will probably still be in the vicinity if and when it happens. Mat grimly continues his inspection until he hears shouting from in front of another inn and runs to it, wanting an excuse to punch somebody. He finds two Murandians shaking a small boy for touching their horses. One of them declares he’s going to break the kid’s neck, and Mat promptly smacks him in the balls, then takes out the other one when he attacks. The Redarms (Mat’s version of MPs) arrive, and Mat tells them to run the Murandians out of town. Edorion is holding onto the boy, who is the ugliest child Mat’s ever seen. He quickly finds out that the boy’s name is Olver, and he claims to be nine; his father was killed by Shaido and his mother died of an illness after. Olver says he “buried her where there were some flowers”, and starts crying and kicking at Edorion to let him go. Mat tells Edorion to bathe and feed him, to Edorion’s dismay.

“You talk to me,” Olver shouted, rubbing at his face. The tears helped him rearrange the dirt. “You talk to me, not over my head!”

Mat blinked, then bent down. “I’m sorry, Olver. I always hated people doing that to me, too. Now, this is how it is. You smell bad, so Edorion here is going to take you to The Golden Stag, where Mistress Daelvin is going to let you have a bath.” The sulkiness on Olver’s face grew. “If she says anything, you tell her I said you could have one. She can’t stop you.” Mat held in a grin at the boy’s sudden stare; that would have spoiled it. Olver might not like the idea of a bath, but if someone might try to stop him from having one...

He continues that Edorion is “a real Tairen lord” who will get him some clothes and shoes, while Edorion mutters to himself. They are interrupted by Estean, who tells him there’s a big ship at the river, he thinks Sea Folk. Mat thinks this unlikely, but leaves Olver with Edorion and goes with Estean to see. To his surprise, it is a Sea Folk ship, and he sends Estean to get a boat, but before Estean returns, he observes a delegation of Sea Folk landing on the Andor side, at Aringill. Mat also notes by the parasols that the party includes a Wavemistress and her Swordmaster, who would only be outranked by the Mistress of the Ships and the Master of the Blades, respectively, at least going by ancient memories of the Sea Folk. Mat can’t imagine what they are doing nine hundred miles from sea, but decides it’s not his problem. He goes back and finishes his inspection, then spends the evening dancing with Betse again, who he still can’t decide whether she is putting him on or not. Much later, Mat goes to Daerid, Talmanes and Nalesean’s table and tells them, to their dismay, that the Band moves out in just a few hours, at first light. They are astonished, but obey, and by dawn the whole Band is on the move, making enough noise “to rouse the dead”, with drums and trumpeters and the works. Mat reflects on the difficulties he’d had in convincing them that all the squadrons should be the same size and equally mixed between nationalities, and still can’t figure out why none of them left over it. He rides to the head of the column and tells his officers to send out scouts as soon as they’re out of sight of the town, and to “shut that bloody noise up”. He also adds that he expects the Band to do thirty-five miles a day, which makes the others all gape at him.

“Comadrin wrote, ‘Attack on ground where your enemy believes you will not, from an unexpected direction at an unexpected time. Defend where your enemy believes you are not, and when he believes you will run. Surprise is the key to victory, and speed is the key to surprise. For the soldier, speed is life.’ ”

Talmanes asks who Comadrin is, and Mat pauses and then answers, a general whose book he read once. He remembers reading it, true, but he’d also met the man after losing a battle to him, six hundred years before Hawkwing.

Those memories did creep up on him. At least he had not delivered that little speech in the Old Tongue; he usually managed to avoid that sort of thing now.

He thinks he can relax a little now that his part of it was started; his hasty departure seemingly to the south will throw off spies and make him seem a fool besides, and with any luck Sammael would be “cracked like a louse between two rocks” before Mat had to get anywhere near him. For once, he thinks, everything is going as expected.

Jeez, does nobody know the rule about tempting fate? Mat and Min and Rand! Quit talking! Sheesh.

I always do love me a Mat POV, and this one is one of the best ones. “Slice of life” chapters are always interesting when done well, and it’s extremely cool to see how Mat’s become a great general in every way, not just in the thick of battle. This is because the memories are telling him how to be one, of course, but I maintain that they wouldn’t do Mat a lick of good if he didn’t have the innate sense of responsibility – however much he may not believe that he has one – that makes him live up to those memories’ standards. And as usual, Mat again demonstrates his extreme lack of self-introspection by being mystified about the Band’s willingness to follow him. He so silly.

Betse: I get the feeling that I am supposed to be irritated with Mat here – not by Jordan, but by... uh, I dunno, some invisible consortium – for viewing Betse (and women in general) as prizes to be won, but... well, I’m just not. Mat is a player, yes, and there are a lot of ways guys like him can have very unpleasant subtextual (and sometimes not so subtextual) implications, but the thing about Mat (which I’ve said before) is that he’s pretty much an idealized version of the “likeable rogue” character.

So, yes, women are conquests to him, but only to the point to which they are willing to be “conquered”, and Jordan makes a frequent point of noting that Mat adheres scrupulously to an also-idealized version of the rules of “courtly love” – which boil down to the fact that ultimately, the woman is in control of what does and does not happen. Or, to put it another way, Mat never (or hardly ever) conflates his pursuit of women with an inability to view them as human beings possessed of free will. He never fails to acknowledge their right to turn him down – and even more importantly, he does not resent this fact.

(That last is the ultimate pitfall of the Nice Guy. Anyone who hasn’t read that link, male or female, do yourself a favor and do so. And guys? Don’t be that guy. Really. And girls? Don’t be the female version of that guy, either. Really.)

I’m aware that all this could be construed as hypocritical of me, in light of my stance on chivalry, but see, what it really comes down to is respect. Specifically, respect for the opposite party’s choices. Rand’s version of chivalry (in my view) attempts, with the best of intentions of course, to take choices away from the women in his life; Mat, while suffering to a certain degree from the same programming re: women in life-threatening situations, in general values freedom of choice over almost anything else, not only for himself but for others, including women. In Mat’s view, he should be free to go after what (or who) he wants, but if who he wants does not want him, well, that’s the end of that as far as he’s concerned. Mutually consenting parties only. It’s not freedom unless everyone involved has it.

And you know, that’s a version of playerization I can get behind. If all players thought like this the world would have a lot fewer problems.

(Mat’s love of freedom, incidentally, is why I think he finds the whole ta’veren thing so much more galling than Rand or Perrin do; he sees it as taking away his choices, and is deeply resentful of that, while Rand (and Perrin to a lesser extent) got that out of their systems earlier on, and are now a great deal more sanguine about it than Mat. More or less, anyway.)

Speaking of Rand, I love how Mat completely misinterprets Rand’s muttering about a voice in his head. I remember, though, when I first read this I was very annoyed, as at the time I was rooting for someone to figure out what was going on with Rand so that someone could help him. (In fact I was very surprised at how long it went on without anyone guessing the deal; the first time around I really expected the Lews Therin thing to end up more or less out in the open by the end of LOC. Boy, was I wrong.)

On reflection, of course, I think we can agree that Mat is not exactly the best person for said realization. He’s close enough to running for the hills as it is.

Last and kinda least, enter Olver! Who is not Gaidal Cain, do not even go there. I guess I kind of get why everyone was so het up about Olver and the Gaidal thing for so long, but personally he’s never interested me much, except as a fun bit of comic relief re: his relationship with (and shameless imitation of) Mat. So... yeah.

Chapter 6: Threads Woven of Shadow

What Happens
Sammael steps out into Graendal’s palace in Arad Doman; he watches her Compelled acrobats and musicians below in the display pit, and thinks it an idiotic waste. Graendal joins him and asks how he likes her pets, and Sammael thinks of how she had been a famous ascetic and mind-Healer before joining the Shadow, and now seems to have made herself the exact opposite of what she had been before.

On the surface her total fixation was her own pleasure, nearly obscuring a desire to pull down everyone who had a particle of power. And that in turn almost hid her own thirst for power, very seldom exercised openly. Graendal had always been very good at hiding things in plain sight. He thought he knew her better than any of the other Chosen did—she had accompanied him to Shayol Ghul to make his obeisance—but even he did not know all the layers of her.

She points out some of her new acquisitions: most of the Domani king’s immediate family, and the Sh’boan and Sh’Botay (sort of temporary empress and emperor) from “lands beyond the Aiel Waste”. Sammael wonders if there is some hidden message in the fact that she took prizes from so far away, but ignores it in favor of commenting that he’s surprised that she didn’t take King Alsalam himself. Graendal replies that Alsalam “isn’t up to her standards”. Sammael, trying to needle her, says that one day she will slip up and someone will recognize one of her “pets”, but she laughs this off merrily, and replies no one would ever suspect her cover, and momentarily shows him her Illusion disguise, of a frail and sickly Domani woman. He’s still surprised at her choice of location, considering the turmoil in Arad Doman, and wary that she has allowed him to know where it is.

Sammael would not be surprised if every Domani who visited here left believing that this land had been handed down in her family since the Breaking. She used Compulsion so often like a hammer that one might forget that she could wield the weaker forms of it with great delicacy, twisting a mind’s path so subtly that even the closest examination might miss every trace of her. In fact, she might have been the best at that who ever lived.

He let the gateway vanish but held on to saidin; those tricks did not work on someone wrapped in the Source.

She comments on Lews Therin, opining that he would make a wonderful pet; he’s not quite handsome enough, but who he is makes up for that. And, she adds, she “does like them tall”. Irritated, Sammael counters that Lews Therin is dead, and Rand al’Thor is a “jumped-up farmboy” with a lot of luck, but Graendal doesn’t think he could have gotten this far on solely luck. Sammael thinks about Ishamael’s theories about the continuous rebirth of that one soul, and how he claimed it was part of the unending battle between the Creator and the Great Lord, using human surrogates. The thing that disturbs him most is Ishamael’s claim that sometimes the Creator’s champion had been turned, and had served as the Shadow’s champion instead; Sammael worries that the Great Lord’s plan might be to make al’Thor Nae’blis. He asks Graendal if she has any news on the whereabouts of Asmodean, Lanfear, or Moghedien. Graendal thinks al’Thor killed them, pointing out the rumors about Lanfear’s demise at the docks in Cairhien.

“Rumors! Lanfear has been aiding al’Thor since the beginning, if you ask me. I would have had his head in the Stone of Tear except that someone sent Myrddraal and Trollocs to save him! That was Lanfear; I am certain. I’m done with her. The next time I see her, I’ll kill her! And why would he kill Asmodean? I would if I could find him, but he has gone over to al’Thor. He’s teaching him!”

Graendal is like, whatever you say, but the fact remains that the Forsaken are being picked off one by one. Sammael tries to get his fury under control, and Graendal continues that it seems clear that Sammael is next on Lews Therin’s list, and hopes he has a place to run when that giant army comes after him. Infuriated, Sammael replies that if he destroys al’Thor then, he won’t have violated the Great Lord’s command – if Graendal told him the truth about what Demandred said, anyway. Sammael is also still suspicious of the lack of detail she’s given him on what Demandred, Semirhage, and Mesaana are planning, and she sighs irritably that she’s told him everything she knows and everything Demandred said. Sammael reiterates his opinion that al’Thor is an ignorant boy, but Graendal, seeming shaken, thinks he is just as dangerous in this time as Lews Therin was in his. He suggests that if she is so frightened of al’Thor, then she should link with Sammael, and smiles at her obvious rejection of the idea. He asks what other news; she glares at him, and tells him that Semirhage missed their last meeting, and no one seems to know why. She also says Demandred warns Sammael to be careful.

He cut in sharply. “You deliver a message to Demandred from me. Tell him I know what he is up to.” Events to the south had Demandred’s mark all over them. Demandred had always liked using proxies. “Tell him to be careful. I won’t have him or his friends interfering in my plans.” Perhaps he could direct al’Thor’s attention there; that would likely put an end to him. If other means did not work. “So long as they steer clear of me, his lackeys can carve out what he wants, but they will steer clear or he will answer for it.”

Graendal agrees reluctantly to pass on the message, and returns to talking about her new acquisitions’ traditions regarding channelers. Sammael asks if they “bind themselves like criminals”, and is amused that this seems to confuse her. He concludes that she is trying to distract him, and goes to take his leave. Graendal hopes he is being careful not to disturb the Great Lord’s plan, and Sammael replies that he has done everything but surrender to convince al’Thor he is no threat to him, but “the man seems obsessed with me”. Graendal suggests abandoning Illian, but Sammael rejects that harshly, and pretends to frown worriedly at her Sh’boan and Sh’botay before opening a gateway back to Illian, slicing one her pets in half.

Graendal pursed her lips peevishly at the loss of one of her pets.

“If you want to help us stay alive,” Sammael told her, “find out how Demandred and the others mean to carry out the Great Lord’s instructions.” He stepped through the gateway, never taking his eyes from her face.

After Sammael is gone, Graendal wonders whether the effort of acquiring the far-off pets just for this meeting with Sammael was worth it. She thinks Sammael is dangerous enough when he has something to fight directly, but he is a transparent fool when it comes to subtlety, and is also no doubt frantic at the trap he’s in. As for al’Thor, she’s not certain whether she believes he is a rustic farmboy or Lews Therin truly come back, but she does not intend to die facing him, no matter what the Great Lord’s orders. Al’Thor would be removed, but Sammael would take the blame. Graendal wonders, though, how he found out about the binding; she only knew because of a slip Mesaana made while ranting about Semirhage absence. She wonders how long Mesaana had been hidden in the Tower, and wishes she could discover where Demandred and Semirhage were, too, for she had never yet discovered a wedge to split the three of them apart. A servant approaches and tells her Ituralde is here, and Graendal changes to the frail “Lady Basene” and goes to meet him.

...only she herself knew that she had made her own journey to Shayol Ghul and down to the lake of fire. Only she knew that the Great Lord had all but promised to name her Nae’blis, a promise sure to be fulfilled with al’Thor out of the way. She would be the most obedient of the Great Lord’s servants. She would sow chaos till the harvest made Demandred’s lungs explode.

Semirhage enters the dungeon, which is not to her tastes, and regards the Aes Sedai held prisoner there. The Aes Sedai demands to know who she is, but Semirhage ignores her and slices all the woman’s clothes off with Fire and Wind, noting the prisoner’s incredulous look at the feat, and begins to stimulate the woman’s pain centers directly. As she waits patiently for the effect to build, she reflects on her hatred of Aes Sedai. She had once been one, famed all over the world for her ability to Heal.

And a delegation from the Hall of the Servants had offered her a choice that was no choice: to be bound never to know her pleasures again, and with that binding be able to see the end of life approach; or else to be severed, and cast out as Aes Sedai. They had expected her to accept binding; that was the rational, proper thing to do, and they were rational, proper men and women. They never expected her to flee. She had been one of the first to go to Shayol Ghul.

She thinks it was jealousy, and that the “price” she extracted from her patients was small enough compared to what they received in return, and that she had earned the right to do so. She thinks with pleasure that some of those who had tried to pull her down fell into her hands during the War, and what she had done to them could not even be matched by Compulsion in some ways, for Compulsion can be reversed. The Aes Sedai’s sobs grow to a howl and then screams before Semirhage cuts off the flows and asks for the woman’s name.

The question did not matter as long as it was one the woman would answer. It could have been “Do you still defy me?”—it was often pleasant to keep on with that one until they pleaded to prove they no longer did—but she needed to make every question count this time.

The woman finally tells her her name is Cabriana Mecandes. Semirhage stimulates Cabriana’s pleasure centers for a moment as a reward, and warmly praises her and gives her water to drink. Cabriana hurls insults at her, and Semirhage resets the pain weaves and knots them off, leaving her there.

Despite herself Semirhage made a vexed sound. There was no finesse in this. She did not like having to hurry. And to be called away from her charge; the girl was willful and obdurate, the circumstances difficult.

She meets Shaidar Haran in the corridor, who she had been warned by the Great Lord to obey as she would him. It asks what she’s learned, and she replies, the woman’s name, and that she could not be expected to learn more yet. The Fade commands her to “squeeze her dry” as soon as possible, and Semirhage agrees coldly. It disappears (she wishes she knew how Fades did that – even they did not know), and she realizes she had been afraid in its presence. She decides to examine that later, and goes to her second and less important patient, Cabriana’s Warder.

Pausing, Semirhage studied him. There was something . . . a tightness around the mouth and eyes. As if he already fought pain. Of course. That peculiar bond between Aes Sedai and Warder. Strange that these primitives should have come up with something that none of the Chosen understood, yet it was so.

She starts with pleasure on him first, instead, and notes that she had in the past broken patients with nothing more than this, though it does not give her much enjoyment. She muses on the oddity of Shaidar Haran, and al’Thor’s blind focus on Sammael, and Graendal’s efforts to keep Sammael similarly focused, and the troubling number of Forsaken who had vanished. Demandred insists they are dead, but she and Mesaana were not as certain, and Semirhage hopes Lanfear is not, so that she may deal with the woman herself.

The Chosen were no more than pieces on the board; they might be Counselors and Spires, but they were still pieces. If the Great Lord moved her here secretly, might he not be moving Moghedien or Lanfear, or even Asmodean? Might Shaidar Haran not be sent to deliver covert commands to Graendal or Sammael? Or for that matter, to Demandred or Mesaana?

She thinks that if the Great Lord meant to make al’Thor Naeblis, she would kneel to him – and wait for the opportune moment. It’s Shaidar Haran, the unknown quantity, that bothers her. Suddenly she is pulled from her reverie to realize that she let the process go on too long, and the Warder is dead. Semirhage is exasperated, but has a sudden thought, and goes to check on Cabriana. The Aes Sedai is screaming, and Semirhage smiles.

Lordy, but the Forsaken make me tired. They talk and think in Celtic knots. Which makes our shiny new Forsaken icon quite appropriate, n’est-ce pas?

Tons and tons of new info here, most of which is pretty self-explanatory, particularly at this late date, but I’ll pick out a few highlights. First, however, there’s this quote:

“Rand al’Thor is a jumped-up farmboy, a choss-hauler who has been lucky.”

Okay, that is FREAKY. And hilarious! I swear I hadn’t read that ahead of time, you guys. Too funny. I wonder what Sammael thinks “choss” is??


So, the dialogue between Sammael and Graendal is generally clear as mud (and it gets worse later), but I infer from it that Graendal did lie to him about the prohibition on killing Rand. Although, it seems that she told him something related to it, just not the whole thing, perhaps. It sounds like she made out that there were provisos or exceptions to the prohibition – specifically, that they were allowed to kill Rand in self-defense, which would explain his statement to her about Rand attacking him in Illian.

I think, anyway. It’s all very confusing – as it was meant to be, naturally.

And then, of course, we have Sammael’s infamous statement about Demandred and his “proxies” to “the south”, which has caused many a wrangle among the fanbase, especially before the Taimandred thing was debunked. The problem, of course, is what Sammael meant by “south”. I have to assume he meant south of Arad Doman (where he was at the moment), because there is nothing south of his base in Illian – unless you suppose he’s talking about the Sea Folk.

Which I suppose he might be, because God knows we haven’t turned Demandred up anywhere on Randland proper. It can’t be the Seanchan, because first of all Semirhage (as we now know) is with them, and secondly by coming across the Aryth Ocean, wouldn’t they be considered as being to the west? Yeah, I know the second time they come in to Altara, but – aargh.

South of Arad Doman on the mainland is Tarabon, Falme, and Almoth Plain. After that, I contend that it’s stretching it to justify anything east of the Mountains of Mist as being “south” of Arad Doman, but who knows. However, I will point out that Andor – which is where Taim and his proto Asha’man are hanging out – can in no sane way be considered “south” of Arad Doman. “Southwest”, I’ll give you, but surely – aargh.

To sum up, I have no frickin’ clue. I’m not even sure if there’s one possibility more generally favored over the others, so I’ll let you guys duke it out in the comments. (Hey, at least we know he’s not in the Borderlands, eh?)

MOVING ON. We get some nice background and character development on Graendal here, for what it’s worth. Though intellectually I know I should be horrified by her, somehow she just never induces the level of squickery I get from Semirhage. Perhaps because we’ve never really seen her in action the way we have the latter – actually brain-frying these people, I mean. Everything we know she did, we’ve only gotten secondhand. Maybe secondhand should be enough, but, well, it isn’t. Not for me, anway.

Graendal thus far, actually, has been something of a nonentity of a villain; we’ve hardly seen her do anything on screen except be manipulative and... well, be manipulative. Which is fine, I guess, but it’s not really the sort of thing to induce nightmares.

Unlike SOME PEOPLE. This was the chapter that cemented Semirhage’s position as Scariest WOT Villain Evar in my brain. She is so very, very creepy, y’all. It’s kind of a shame we don’t get to see more of her.

I know there was some theory connected to Cabriana and what Semirhage needed her for, but damn if I can remember at the moment what it was, or if we ever found out for sure. Something separate from the other various Forsaken Evil Plots, judging from Shaidar Haran’s involvement. But what? Commenters? Enlighten moi!

Oh, and the other big thing here is the info we get on “binding”, and the true origins of the Oath Rod – which was, put together with various other clues, that it was originally used as a kind of free-range prison sentence for naughty channelers. Ah, irony. I consider this to be entirely self-evident by now, but it precipitated a HUGE amount of confusion and argument among the fans at the time, as the length of the FAQ section associated with it attests, so feel free to bone up on that if you’ve still got doubts.

(I’ve noticed that the amount of linking to the FAQ I’ve done has gone up exponentially once we got to LOC, which should tell you something about the point at which the series started to get seriously... complex. Some would apply less kind adjectives, actually, but I’ll stick with that one for now.)

All right, I’m spent. I probably didn’t cover everything of interest in the latter chapter, but me no want typy anymore, y’all, so we’ll stop here. Enjoy your Monday, and I’ll catch you on the humpy section of the week!

(That did not sound right at ALL. Oh well!)

Todd Willis
1. tswillis
I am wanting to hear this as well.... "I know there was some theory connected to Cabriana and what Semirhage needed her for, but damn if I can remember at the moment what it was, or if we ever found out for sure."
Kurt Lorey
2. Shimrod
Cabriana Mecandes provided the cover story for Halima at Salidar.

As for Demandred's proxies, it would have to be a group capable of interfering with Sammael's plans. If it is to the south of Arad Doman, I believe that leaves the Seanchan forces in Tarabon.
Marcus W
3. toryx
The whole business of Olver was one of those things that confused the heck out of me with RJ. I mean, why go and make all these blantant connections if you don't actually mean them? And then to go and act surprised that your readers became convinced that they do.

I totally accept that Olver isn't Cain, I disgarded the theory way before I heard that RJ was mocking people who believed it but it did seem like a fairly obvious connection from time to time.


I do enjoy the Mat POV chapter quite a lot though I too wanted Mat to get Rand to relax a little and...unburden.

The business between Sammael and Graendel confused the hell out of me the first time and on subsequent re-reads I came to the conclusion that both of them should die just for being so irritatingly shifty. As irritating as it is now, it becomes even more so when Sammael gets the upper hand in later chapters.

Semirhage is just a cool villain. I wish we got more of her too.
Tess Laird
4. thewindrose
Agree that Semirhage is the most creepy villain, and we will get more of her soon!
What about Masema Dagar? Wouldn't he be considered to the south? We were kicking around a theory that he may be a Demandred proxy.
5. mazza3
i always thought that events to the south were either masema and those dragonsworn or the white cloak foolishness (or some combination of the two). and as someone mentioned, cabriana mecandes = cover for aran'gar, but why she had to be tortured first is anyone's guess. all they needed was an assassin if they wanted a cover, but since semirhage's special skills were obviously tapped to break the woman first, the baddies were definitely after some information....
Tess Laird
6. thewindrose
Also Masema gets that nifty 'do anything you want' letter from Suroth - who we know is a darkfriend, and also has had dealings with Semirhage. And Semirhage, Mesaana and Demandred have an 'uneasy' alliance of sorts.
John Lofgren
7. JohnTheLurker
Thank you Leigh for everything. I enjoyed listening to your thoughts on the 4th Age podcast.

I usually lurk, hence the name, but I thought the scene with Mat and Beste would be appropriate time to point this out...

There are no prostitutes or prostitution in Randland. The closest it gets are some friendly barmaids.

Considering the variety of sins committed in Randland, this is an interesting omission. Discuss.
8. kab1
I like the Masema Demandred proxy theory. Honestly, I have no other ideas- "South" is not definitive enough for me. south of where? and we can put the borderlands back in if he means south of Shayol Goul (which I don't think he means, I do think he means south of Arad Doman) It will be interesting to see if Demandred is in charge of Taim or not.

Yeah, I was also kinda annoyed with the whole Olver/Gaidal Cain Taim/Demandred thing, to me there's quite a bit of evidence in the books for both cases (especially if you're not completely up to snuff with the how the TAR timeline works) It's fine if RJ wanted to write them as red herrings, but then he shouldn't have been surprised when people fell for them!

I also really enjoyed Mat's pov- I loved his interactions with Betse.

and Semirhage? yeah. she's evil. I agree Graendal never creeped me out as much as Semirhage.
Joseph Blaidd
9. SteelBlaidd
I've always been a fan of the way that Oliver provides a check and mirror of Mat. I see him as a fantasy version of Tom Sawyer with Alfred E. Neuman's face.

One of the things that fed the Oliver = Gidal was Brigette's attatchment to him. She has however demonstrated an an intreast in 'ugly' little boys generaly. I think that in thousands of lives married to an 'ugly' man she's probably had a fair number of less than attractive sons.
Bret Scott
10. BlacksmithButNotEmo
I think Masema was a little unbalanced to be a Demandred proxy; this was probably something that Demandred was able to take advantage of in sowing chaos. I like the Seanchan involvement to be one of his schemes (more orderly, more powerful); I think we'll find out that he spent a lot of time behind the scenes of The Return, once all is said and done.

Semirhage = way scary indeed. Agreed that nothing in the Graendal way ever gave me much for chills.

I've broken down and commenced the reread. We've 85 days left, and I read pretty fast...and this will be reread number ten or eleven, I think. Started New Spring last night...
Sydo Zandstra
11. Fiddler
'Events to the south'. Don't point the compass arrow straight down too strictly.

Andor is south of Arad Doman too.
12. Lsana
It seems almost impossible that Sammael is referring to the Asha'man with his "events to the South" remark. What "events"? The Asha'man have only just been founded, there are a few rumors about them, and they haven't really been involved in anything that you could call an "event." Masema strikes me as more of a possiblity; he's to the south, and there have definitely been events around him. Demandred may also have agents in the Whitecloaks faning those flames.
Sydo Zandstra
14. Fiddler

Good point on Andor. Thanks.

I guess I'm too far ahead in my reread to keep track here... :) (Started WH yesterday)
Jason Deshaies
15. darxbane
Wow, so much covered during my vacation! Oh well, I am caught up now.
Olver-I may be the odd one out here, but I always assumed Olver was actually an Ogier child who was found by his human parents when he was very young. Now I know people will say "but wouldn't he be much bigger?" To that I say, if Loial is still not fully mature at 90+, who's to say a 9 year old Ogier isn't similar in size to a 9 year-old human? I don't know how this would benefit the story any; maybe a friend of Rand's returning a child to the Ogier could help sway their decision to help? It is likely I am way off here, but it's something that formed in my mind while reading through the first time, and never went away.

Ooh, I forgot about the events to the South comment! That narrows it down about anywhere.
16. evinfuilt
Halima had to know pretty much every little detail of Cabriana, so that people would truly believe she was her long time secretary.
17. TexanSedai
I have always found it interesting that when one of the boys is in a romantic situation he always thinks of one of the others as being good with girls. A nice little shout out to perception.

I may be wrong here, probably am, but didn't Cabriana have something to do with some angreal of some sort? Or some kind of research or something. I believe there was some subtle significance to her torture also.

Love all the opinions and theories! Gives me a new perception as I do my own reread!
18. Tabernerus
"Events to the south ..." I've taken to mean the Seanchan or Whitecloaks. I think if you assume Graendal is sitting back in the part of the country inland near the mountains, an almost straight line south leads to Amador, so certainly I think the Whitecloaks are a possibility. As for Semirhage being active in the Seanchan ranks, don't we find out that she and Demandred have an uneasy truce of sorts? If so, I would suggest that the Seanchan Empire is probably big enough for them both to carve out their little slice from which to operate. Particularly since Semirhage is so close to the royal family and is not mentioned as being military minded - that would leave the military open for Demandred to take.

And how do we all feel about the symbol on Taim's chair/throne in KoD? Isn't it the same as Sammael's symbol? If so, doesn't that sort of knock the "Demandred's Little Minion Mazrim" theory down a rung?

Personally, I just can't envision the story ending without finding out that the Whitecloaks were being directly influenced by a Forsaken, given the general level of chaos and pain they inflict on the world, and I don't just mean Carridin's little hobbies.
Captain Hammer
19. Randalator
re: Events to the South

I think that this is just Sammael mistaking Semirhage's meddling with the Seanchan as the work of Demi-Proxies. Big red herring. "Ooooh, Demandred is in the south! Where could he be?" Nope guys, it's Semirhage and Sammael is just clueless.

re: Semirhage and Cabriana

Not much of a secret, I think.

Since Shaidar Haran is involved that means the Dark One is involved. Add to the mix that the 'Gars are under the DO's thumb and Semirhage is just in it as an outside contractor et voilà: evil infiltration scheme.

Semirhage is to provide the background story for Aran'gar/Halima.
20. Latecomer
What doesn't really come through in the summary is how devious Graendael is - she is misdirecting and pretending throughout that entire conversation. Although it was interesting to learn about the Ayyad etc - our only source so far (if ever?)

Semirhage = scary indeed. I did wonder what happened to Cabriana, that is, Semirhage set a pain net on her and then a pleasure net on the Warder (which filters through to her as well)- must really screw with your head.

Leigh - I read the choos-hauler comment and laughed and laughed! Your niece had obviously been dipping into the book :)

Re. No prostitues in Randland - Nice Catch @ John the Lurker. No camp followers even though we see so many armies, etc. Pretty amazing - and I would say almost impossible in real life, even.
21. RobMRobM
No prostitutes in Randland? What about the Nine Horse Hitch?????

22. OldWoman

It seems almost impossible that Sammael is referring to the Asha'man with his "events to the South" remark. What "events"? The Asha'man have only just been founded, there are a few rumors about them, and they haven't really been involved in anything that you could call an "event." ...

Don't you think that the fact Ash'man exist and are gathering at all is an event in itself?
23. RobMRobM
Re south - at this point in the story, south can only mean Masema and Seanchan (both with the help of his partner Semi). It will later include Taim and Weimaron.

Re the Taim sigil at end of KoD - not just the sigil for Sammy - Be'lal also used the same crest, so it may be a generic Foresaken trademark.

24. AUgradGSUgradstudent

You know, I came to that same thought process myself this last re-read. There are some physical descriptions of Olver's facial features that do make him sound remarkably like an Ogier. I can't remember exactly what or when those descriptions are, but I would assume they're in this chapter when we first see Olver. I don't know where Olver as Ogier would fit into the plot anywhere, but it is an interesting thought.
Maiane Bakroeva
25. Isilel
So, Mat's happy manly paradise - he'll flirt with various women along the way, but he can be secure in an all-guy company as soon as his Band marches. His supposedly well-organized force even lacks medicos - which in this world would be women and he can't have that ;).
It is only with Ebu Dari acquisitions that all that testosterone gets diluted slightly and they aren't really part of the Band, not even Aludra. Hm...

I always felt that Mat's friendship with Rand got pretty much destroyed by Rand's channeling and DRness. Since then Mat was always afraid of Rand and weirded out by him - and yes, IMHO SGs for all their occasional annoyingness did better there and Perrin of course, at least until ACOS, not to mention Loial. It was sad, but expected that Mat just wanted Rand gone here.

Re: Sammael, I never understood what significance all these troop movements can have once Traveling is rediscovered, so all this military maneuvering just seemed stupid to me. Particularly once it turned out that Sam couldn't even ward the city of Illian against Travelling.

Oh, and re: Shara? I'd have thought that it would be a perfect Dreadlord recruiting ground, particularly for male channelers as any Ayyad youth would be almost guaranteed to be a channeler and a blank slate waiting for indoctrination besides. So, hm, why don't any of the military-minded FS do the obvious thing? Why did Sammi intend to provide OP backup for his armies by his lonesome without even a sa'angreal to make it somewhat logical?

Semirhage - creepy, yes. But why didn't she "remake" Cabriana if she can do it? Wouldn't it have provided an even better cover for Aran'gar? And why on earth didn't she remake Tuon? I mean, what with Tuon's habit of vanishing suddenly as part of her political gambits, she had an optimal excuse for abduction.

Myrdraal shadow-travelling ability always confuses me, cause if they really can go anywhere there are shadows then nobody is safe and Shadow repeatedly bungling various assassinations or some locations being inaccessible to them etc. seems rather unbelievable.
OTOH, there are also multiple examples of Myrdraal running away for their lives in darkness instead of just vanishing, so there must be some restrictions?
26. Latecomer

Re. Shara

Agree - in these chapters, Graenael thinks at one point that Shara is too far away and would be affected only by the main events in Central Randland, and was too distant to consider any action in etc.

With Travelling, isn't distance really a moot point? Also, can anyone confirm that the Travelling that Rand and the SGs do is the same weave that the Forsaken do? i.e. the same width/ movement capabilities?
Leigh Butler
27. leighdb
Shimrod @ 2:

Ohhh yeah. DUH, Leigh. Thanks.

bellman @ 13:

Ohhh yeah. I forgot all about that one. But you are right, it is thoroughly awesome.
28. alreadymadwithmatsescape
I'd agree with Leigh. Mat might have the memories, but it would take a certain amount of aptitude to make sense of it all. And yes, IIRC Nynaeve also commented that Mat seemed to chase after girls who wanted to be chased.

SteelBlaidd @9
LOL. I kinda imagined Alfred E. Neumann's face myself. Mated to a scrawny little boy's body.
Richard Boye
29. sarcastro

First post in a long time.

I remember reading this section of the book and thinking to myself "this is going to be a great book, so settle in and get ready."

I liked this because it gave us some real heft behind both Graendal and Semirhage, making them seem like real arch-villains instead of second stringer Femsaken.

I know that people think that Semirhage is super-creepy (although, for the record, my money is on Moghedien as the creepiest Forsaken, male or female), but I just found Graendal far worse.

I mean, was her humble, nun-like persona in the AoL all an act, and this gussied-up harlot her true nature, all jewels and boobs and bisexual hints and see-through gowns, or are they both false and the real Graendal still hidden away? None of the other Forsaken have any idea what makes her tick, nor do any of them have any idea what her real motivations are.

By means of example, Semirhage is a sadist, who got in trouble for extracting her jollies from her patients, Mesaana has a classic revenge fantasy she's playing out, Lanfear is the ultimate pyscho ex-girlfriend coupled with megalomania, but .... what's Graendal's deal? Does she simply like warping people into sexualized trophies? Or are they simply props to make her contemporaries *think* she is that simple.... the whole thing about the Sh'botay and Sh'boan indicate that she regards all of her 'pets' like elaborate set dressing, imho, to make people think what she wants them to think. Sammael even remarks that he knows that she has some hidden motive in even letting him see her pleasuredrome. No one gets her, at all.

She's insane in a truly terrifying way.

Semirhage, Binding and Limited Lifespans
This is another "Tetris passage" in which all the previous hints and clues and references are all lined up in layers in an interlocking wall (after we think about them and flip them around to account for the biases of the POV delivering them), and :whammo: here comes the coveted long piece in the form of Semirhage's thoughts with all its lovely little details to make the whole think disappear in a flash of coherency and comprehension. (I love the use of Tetris as a literary metaphor, Leigh).

How, after reading this chapter, people could still have disputed that it is Oath Rod that makes the Aes Sedai die sooner than their channeling compatriots elsewhere I have No Idea(tm).

Mat and Betse
I just wanna go on record and say that Mat's recollections of that dance with the Sea Folk woman in Coremanda(?) is one of the best written passages in the whole darned saga.
Richard Boye
30. sarcastro
Oh, and incidentally, the Semirhage POV also sparked a zillion theories about who her 'willful charge' was.

My personal theory was it was Tenobia, who at the time, was rumored to have secluded herself away from her advisors.


(I also, some time later, for a while, was of the opinion that Aran'gar and Osan'gar were the two dead Forsaken installed in the bodies of Queen Tenobia and King Mattin Stepanos respectively.. but no. Rats.)
Brett Michie
31. bchurch
re: Prostitutes in Randland

I agree that they are never mentioned outright in the text, but there is one passage that, IMHO, implies their existence. This is Thom talking to Elayne after Birgitte was ripped out of TAR by Moghedien:

"I hate to lay this burden on you, child," Thom added gently, but if she can be helped, you are the only one of us who can do it. I know how to take a man out of his miseries. Give him a swift kick, or else get him drunk and find him a pr--" He harrumphed loudly, trying to make it seem a cough, and knuckled his mustaches. The one bad thing about him seeing her as a daughter was that now sometimes he seemed to think she was perhaps twelve.

--The Fires of Heaven, A New Name

Also, @20 Latecomer

Jain Farstrider, er-I mean Noal, gives us some similar info on the Ayyad while regaling Olver with tales in KoD. It's that passage that causes Mat to ask him if he's related to Jain Charin.
Captain Hammer
32. Randalator
Isilel @25

Re: Sammael, I never understood what significance all these troop movements can have once Traveling is rediscovered, so all this military maneuvering just seemed stupid to me. Particularly once it turned out that Sam couldn't even ward the city of Illian against Travelling.

Several reasons:

a) Logistics: You can't always have a strong enough channeler around. Fast troop movements by conventional means are still important. Especially for an independent group like the Band that may very likely be channeler-free on a regular basis. For example, when Mat is in Ebou Dar the Band has to rely exclusively on their military skills.

And remember: Right now (beginning of LoC) Traveling is only available to the Forsaken and Rand (including just now: Taim). See "Logistics III" for the implications...

b) Logistics II: Complex troop movements by Travelling are not an easy task for channelers. See WH, CoT and KoD for evidence. Even Perrin's relatively small party (~8-10k including Masema's men) needs two channelers to manage one jump a day plus several small jumps for scouts. And after 50 days they are weary to the bone.

c) Logistics III: Small troops (e.g. several thousand) can be handled by two channelers (again see Perrin's party). They have to be strong to manage sufficiently large Gateways but the whole thing is doable. Huge armies with several hundred thousand then in turn require a proportionate number of channelers to get them from point A to point B with any semblance of speed. Don't provide these channelers and your troops become sitting ducks on both ends of the Traveling ground.

Now imagine Rand having to move his main military body (that could be up to ~450.000 only counting Aiel). That means you need about 100 Asha'man just playing cab driver. By LoC that is simply impossible. By KoD that's 25% of your most powerful fighting force taken out of the picture. And that's not the bottom 25%...

d) Logistics IV: Travelling doesn't go unnoticed if Forsaken are involved. That means you can't send scouts in front which in turn means jumping blindly into hostile territory. Not advisable in most cases. And once detected you have to hold the Traveling ground until all (or at least most) of your troops have moved through if you want to fight. With the Asha'man at least partially occupied with keeping the Waygates open and not able to leave their position. Again: sitting ducks.

e) Logistics V & Strategy/Tactics: At this point in the story Military bodies are still moved by conventional means in the vast majority of cases. This means that for one Rand is wise not to reveal his hand too soon to his non-Forsaken adversaries. And of course it means that troop movements can serve as a distraction -> Rand's Illian ruse

Long story short: Depending on the situation and number of forces Traveling is not always your best choice. Best not to neglect traditional means of troop movement...
33. RobMRobM
bchurch@31. That, my friends, is an awesome, directly on topic quote. I bow before your greatness. Rob

p.s. Tor is not letting me post. This is my fourth attempt.
Lannis .
34. Lannis
Hi Olver!

Re: Semirhage's thoughts about the tricks the "primitives" have come up with (ie: Warder bond)... I can remember on my first read my surprise that the Warder bond was a "new" concept... it just seemed so steeped in tradition.

Actually, now that I think about it, RJ seemed to enjoy setting up concepts and standards Randland and then smashing them to pieces...
- unbreakable Seals that break
- all knowing Forsaken who don't know everything
- intimidating Aes Sedai who are no longer intimidating
- unHealable stilling/gentling healed

And there's loads more...

Really, it vaguely links to Leigh's comment that Mat's jinxing how well things are going... it seems as soon as RJ states an absolute, it's suspect...

No wonder there're people out there who believe that Nynaeve will Heal Rand's death...

Thanks for the recap, Leigh! :)
James Jones
35. jamesedjones
Wow! I really wish my work was more understanding of how important it is to participate in online discussions. It's like they think I have nothing better to do than work for eight hours a day. geeze!

Anywho... Awesome to see Olver, at last. My respect for Mat goes up every time I read the part about the bath. I've read that who knows how many dozen times, and I still can't keep from smiling when I reach that page.

Love your Nice Guy rant, Leigh. Very funny. I know, I know, most girls out there consider it deadly serious, but that's just the way my mind is twisted. We all want to shout at Perrin when he's dealing with Faile. In the same way, even when I'm reading the analysis of some hypothetical guy character, I still want to reach into the book and shake him and say, "See? You should have just told her she looked fat in those jeans." :P

Now, ladies, the next time you see your "Woe is me" Nice Guy, just send him to church to find a Nice Girl (or Sweet Spirit). :D

*I am so running for that funky bunker!
Lannis .
36. Lannis
Dammit! Is that frakking bunker still funky? Where's my lavender and lime soy candles? Has no one taken the time to point Elaida to a shower YET? GEEZ! :/
Anthony Pero
37. anthonypero
I always assumed that "south" meant the Prophet. No, I don't think Masema's a DF, just being manipulated. Somewhere, I think he mentions that the "Creator" comes to him in his dreams... Has Demandred ever participated in a Forsaken Tea Party in TAR? I wonder if he can pull you into TAR like Ishy can?

Olver an Ogier? That would be a twist... a pointless one, but definitely a twist.

Semirhage stated she had no idea why she was called to Shayol Ghul to torture the Aes Sedai, just that she was to bleed her dry. I think it's safe to say it was just to provide Halima with her cover story. No other reason needed.
Kerwin Miller
38. tamyrlink
steelblaidd @ 9

whenever i read about olver now i will see the mad tv guys face. thank you for adding hilarity to the books lol.
39. Leper
It was nice to hear Mat's memories of Comadrin's book reiterate points we attribute to Sun Tzu. As to using Travelling during fights, Rand later uses a small force with Travelling to harass and repel a much larger Seanchan force. Similarly, a harassing force can make many quick unexpected attacks against an enemy's flanks/rear to sow fear and chaos. While likely expensive in lives and Asha'man usage, its a strategy Sun Tzu/Comadrin would heartily endorse.

Regarding Olver being half-Ogier, its unlikely since his father died to the Shaido, presumably fighting in a decidedly un-Ogier manner. His mother would likely have drawn some remarks if she was half-Ogier, although I don't think Olver explains how people treated his mother before she died. It's also slightly possible that one of his parents is half-Ogier, making him a quarter Ogier. However, Occam's Razor suggests that Olver's just normal and ugly, like most of the other ugly people.

As a side note, how would Birgitte feel about Ogier-human hybrids? Freaks or attractively ugly men? :)
Captain Hammer
40. Randalator
SteelBlaidd @9

I've always been a fan of the way that Oliver provides a check and mirror of Mat. I see him as a fantasy version of Tom Sawyer with Alfred E. Neuman's face.

If I hadn't had Alfred E. Neuman as Olver in my head all along, I now would have had to punch with a blunt object. Repeatedly.

Because, boy, that's a mental image that will stay forever. No matter how much bleach you pour into your ears or how deep you drill into your skull. Once you've visualized Olver E. Neuman there's no going back... *laugh*
41. SRizea
My conclusion on the Sammael/Graendal was that RJ was revealing who was behind all the "Illian" attacks on Rand.

Graendal wants Rand out of the way, and wants Sammael to do it. I figure she started that process a book or two ago and has simply restricted Sammael's info such that he can still serve her purpose. I would hazard a guess that she never even told him about (or at least discouraged him from attending) the meeting from the Prologue. Our view of their meeting lets us see how she's doing it.

I think this is supported by the fact that Semi is mystified by Rand's focus on Illian. She doesn't know that someone has been egging Rand on, and I extend that to presume that Demandred and Mesaana don't either.
42. tearl
Randalator @19
re: Events to the South

I think that this is just Sammael mistaking Semirhage's meddling with the Seanchan as the work of Demi-Proxies. Big red herring. "Ooooh, Demandred is in the south! Where could he be?" Nope guys, it's Semirhage and Sammael is just clueless.

Thst's always been my thought, too.
43. Freelancer
RE: Cabriana

The Shadow's reason for torturing her has already been stated, Halima's cover upon entering Salidar. Cabriana is a Blue who was captured while on exile from the Tower, whether on her way to Salidar or not isn't known, but can be expected that she was.

JohnThe Lurker@7

There are references to ladies of ill repute, even if the common terms for them are not used. I chalk that up to Jordan's desire to avoid directly vulgar references, such as the lack of contemporary profanity. I'm fine with that.


You are thinking of Corianin Nedeal, the last Dreamer of the White Tower prior to Egwene. Cabriana receives a momentary mention in New Spring, but nothing else until this Chapter.


Does not Taim's chair in the Black Tower, as well as the general theme of the place, invoke Ishamael/Moridin far more than Sammael?
Greg Bloom
44. MuleHeadedLummox
There is one piece of evidence that Masema may by a proxy of Demandred (although if this is the case, I would lean toward Demandred using compulsion on Masema, as he seems more of a crazy example of Human (Shadar Logoth) Evil than Dark One Evil). Masema has been dealing with the Seanchan, and more sepecifically with Suroth. It is also stated in these chapters, as well as in others, that Demandred, Mesaana, and Semirhage are working together. If Masema is one of Demandred's proxies, it would make sense for him to have a high-ranking darkfriend contact within the Seanchan.

I also noticed on this readthrough how early on we are told that Demandred likes to work through proxies. I guess Jordan wanted to let us know early on that he was going to be messing with us with the whole 'Who is Demandred' deal.
Hurin Smells
45. HurinSmells
After re-reading tPoD I'd have to go with the theroy that Weiramon is Demandred's proxy. It's pretty clear in tPoD from his exchange with Gedwyn (a proven DF) that Weiramon is also a DF. Weiramon is a part of the "hammer" force aimed at Illian, which would explain why Sammael is going on about his plans being interferred with.

Also, if anyone still cares, this is the chapter that proves Graendal killed (or at least ordered the hit on) Asmodean, IMHO.
46. Belmont
I'm still trying to figure out what the
connection is/was between Cabriana, Anaiya,
and Kairen - (all in the Blue Ajah) and

Referred/written about in KOD.
Joseph Blaidd
47. SteelBlaidd
While RJ has said there is no prostitution in this word, I expect that he was thinking of the street walker/whore house variety. Mat, for example, takes part in a grand tradition of 'kept wo/men' as Tylan's Toy, Min suggests casting herself as Rand's bedwarmer, and Selande was one of several young women Colvare tries to pimp out to the Dragon Reborn. The difference is that in the world of the Wheel of Time the career choices, and property rights of women are not limited by their gender the way they were throughout much of our history. Any Ladies or Gentlemen of negotiable affection chose that way to make a living because they want too not because it's their only option.

Speaking of camp followers; the Band is quite unique in that it handles much of its logistics "in house" very much in the pattern of the Roman army. In fact RJ's awareness of the logistics of moving large groups of people is one of my favorite aspects of tWoT (contrast SoT and the Empire's armies of millions).

Cabrina is Halima's cover story the other two were her best friends and represent a possible hole in Halima's cover.
48. Matt Thomas
I would guess events to the south mean the trouble the whitecloaks are stirring up.

I was curious that you mentioned nothing about the claim that one of the women in the inn that Mat is dancing in is Graendal in disguise (I don't have access to the book right now, but I think it was supposedly a trader), and that she began watching Mat at this point. This later culminates in her plans involving Jain/Noal Charin (whatever they may be) and Mat. I know there is more about this theory somewhere, probably on Wotmania, but I don't have the time to look it up.

Love the reread!
49. ErrantKnave
Hmm, I tried posting this a few hours ago, but I must have screwed up. Anyway...

Leigh, am I imagining things, or is this not the Mat POV where a Seanchan overhears him mentioning the Daughter of the Nine Moons and takes that as a good omen?
Hurin Smells
50. HurinSmells
In New Spring, Anaiya and Kairen are described as long time friends of Cabriana. Aran'gar (Halima) kills them so they are unable to identify any holes in her story about being told to come to Salidar by Cabriana.
51. whatusername
@50 - and then Romanda clicks and remembers the link between cabriana and Halima - and works out she must be the female channeling saidin. (I've always liked that scene - a previously annoying AS actually doing something for the light rather than for politics)
john mullen
52. johntheirishmongol
Let's all not forget that Matt ends up in pink ribbons and with the nickname "toy". So a little equal opportunity in the later books.

I have to admit, every time I hear tavern wench, my first thought was always about Dulcinea from Man of La Mancha, who was a girl who really made her living on her back. Her lyrics about herself are very upfront about what she does.

Olver, annoying little kid who should have been turned over a knee pretty quickly. I know he is there to give the clues to rescue Moiraine but I figured that could have been done more subtly. Any, I really pictured him more like Willie Shoemaker, short and ugly. He is, after all, a jockey. So that really kills any Ogier idea.

Finally, I always figured "nice guys" got about what they deserved. I have been off the market for (28) years but dated quite a bit before that and always knew the first rule was to be upfront about your interest in being more than a "friend". By the way, I met my wife and we were married within 90 days, and it only took that long because of family. When you meet the right one it doesn't take that long.
Pete Pratt
53. PeteP
I love the whole Betse/Mat scene. Mat is so befuddled.

We have numerous hints to prostitution throughout the series. I think the first occurred in tEotW, in Four Kings. There is some conversation about it in tFoH as well, after Nynaeve melts down with Birgitte coming out of TAR.

As to the Forsaken, I really like this chapter. Graendal is my favorite forsaken. And I think her the most disturbing of all the forsaken.

Ah, Sammy, how I miss you. You were so cool. Wish we could get you and Bel'al back

Demandred was involved with the Asha'man. We know that from later in this book. Semirhage was involved with the Seanchan. I think Demandred was involved with the Prophet and the Whitecloaks as well.
54. AUgradGSUgradstudent
For the comment about Olver being half-Ogier... the statement was that Olver was FULL Ogier, and that maybe somehow he had gotten lost, and a human family took him in, and those are the ones who were killed. As to being a jockey, given how long Ogier live, maybe they stay smaller longer, and that's why he's always "short for his age."
Andrew Lovsness
55. drewlovs
My personal opinion on the Demandred/South thing was the seanchan/prophet action taking place next to Sam.

First, we have the Seanchan looking towards Illian, and meanwhile, the prophet moves ahead of them and creates turmoil. He successfully destroys any resistance that could give the Seanchan pause, and creates a situation where the local populatin wants peace through ANY means, even from a foreign army. Concidence?

Further, we know from later books that the prophet has contact WITH the Seanchan. Now, if the prophet is Demandred's proxy, it makes a lot of sense that he needs to stay in contact with Semirhage's seanchan, doesn't it?

Worst, it looks like there was also a whitecloak connection to the mess, which could also mean Demandred had his hands in that as well. We have been told over and over that Demandred and Semirhage work together; so when I went looking for Demandred, I didn't ignore the Seanchan areas (because Semirhage was already there); instead, I looked at where he could be nearby helping her.
56. alreadymadwithdemandred
What if Demandred had somehow assumed the identity of Rhadam Asunawa?

Think about it. Rhadam Asunawa was instrumental in the death of Pedron Niall. While admittedly one of the less favorable characters around, a united Children of the Light also happened to be a stabilizing force in the Westlands. His death came at the exact moment when he had just been convinced of, and was about to move on the Seanchan invasion. With his untimely death, the Children were thrust into a crisis of leadership just as the Seanchan gained a toehold on the Southlands. Yet despite the Seanchan's initial aggression, the surviving leadership chose to ally with them. Said leadership consisting of Eamon Valda and Rhadam Asunawa. Eventually Galad cried foul and killed Valda, but Asunawa got off scotfree. The M.O. reminds me of Mesaana, incidentally another pillar of that trinity of Forsaken who actually cooperate.
craig thrift
57. gagecreedlives
Does anyone else think the ‘Gars were recycled for the sole purpose of infiltrating the new channelling organisations? Or was that so obvious to everybody else it didn’t need to be said.

Semirhage is a great villain. But I think she more creepy because we don’t get to see a lot of her. If we saw her a lot more I think her creepiness factor would go down as the familiarity factor went up.
It’s the Freddy Krueger factor. He was a lot scarier in the first movie when he was only half scene in the shadows. As soon as the movies put the spotlight more on him a lot of the creepiness left. And if Semirhage pulls out the equivalent of a Randland PowerGlove with pun I will be seriously upset.

Put me in the Masema is Demandreds proxy camp.


I must be an innocent. I always thought Thom was saying find him a pretty girl not a prostitute.
Lindy Brown
59. lbrown
Does anyone else think that Demandred had anything to do with the Aiel that stabbed Demira Sedai(coming up toward the end of LOC)?

The reason I think that is because the first scene in LOC has Demandred visiting Shayol Gul and the Dark One tells him to "Let the Lord of Chaos Rule." Then the very last scene in the book also has Demandred visiting the DO again and saying something like, "How have I been doing?" And the DO laughs.

Now, that made me think that Demandred was deeply involved in the chaos sewn in LOC (it only makes sense). And the event that most stands out to me in LOC as causing chaos is when the Aiel (supposedly Rand's, but we know they weren't) stabbed Demira Sedai in the side and caused that distrust between the Salidai Embassy and Rand.

Now, I think "events to the south" could be Masema or the Seanchan, but neither really have a part in LOC and it had to have been in LOC that Demandred was sowing (at least some of) his chaos.
Brett Michie
60. bchurch
Gagecreedlives and Steelblaidd

You may be right. It's definitely a more pleasant way to look at it. However, I'm wondering if Thom would have cut off as abruptly as he did if he was going to say pretty girl. Perhaps I'm just jaded.
craig thrift
61. gagecreedlives
Well he could just be uncomfortable talking about relations between men and women no matter how obliquely to someone he sees as a daughter. If he had of been speaking to one of the other characters I dare say he wouldnt of cut it off.

Of course there is always the possibilty he was going to say pretty prostitute :)
62. Planeswalker
Sometimes I don't get it how each of the three boys try to undermine themselves when talking about the ladies. Here, Mat was great in wooing Betse, but still after the dance, he thinks he doesn't understand them. Same situation with Rand and Perrin. I guess RJ always exercising the idea of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" in every chapter of every book. I can relate though, women DO make it always complicated! =)hehehe
*ducks head*
*combs, perfume bottles, purses, stilletos are being thrown at me - ladies, no offense meant, please.*

As for the choss-hauler... I don't get this? Is it an American joke that's supposed to be funny? I take it as Rand is so lucky, that instead of dirt, he got diamonds to haul? Or should there be double-meaning in there?

And Mat wondering about his SOCKS during the conversation? very very very funny! ROFL

Re: Thom - prostitute it is. :)
Oh and oh, Leigh - good read on that Mr. Nice Guy blog... I used to be one. :)
63. birgit
Leigh, am I imagining things, or is this not the Mat POV where a Seanchan overhears him mentioning the Daughter of the Nine Moons and takes that as a good omen?

That is in The Wandering Woman in Ebou Dar.
LoC52, epilogue
Maiane Bakroeva
64. Isilel
Randalator @32:

Caemlyn made Rand's transport capabilities clear. I mean, Rand basically repeats his Caemlyn tactics in Illian - a commando raid via Travelling.

Nor does he have the slightest difficulty in transporting thousands of people in a very short amount of time. For that matter, look at Sammi transporting the Shaido. There are more than 100K of them, yet he does it by his lonesome.

So, yea, huge armies moving at normal speed? Shouldn't fool a Forsaken commander for a second. For that matter, "holding" territory became rather worthless and illusionary once there were a number of channelers capable of Travelling running around. And there are more than enough of them for nowehere to be safe, even without weaker channelers linking and making gateways too.

Hopefully, effective wards against Travelling will make an appearance in the last books, otherwise the military aspect won't work too well, IMHO. They must have had them in AoL to prevent reckless young AS from damaging sensitive equipment or killing innocent bystanders via daring Travelling to unapproved locations.

And why would Shara's remoteness keep it out of things? Everything is just a step away now and both sides will need cannon fodder and artillery (channelers). I'd have expected one of the military-minded FS to have harvested all possible recruits from among the Ayyad (who are marked for convenience) and killed the rest. Get that 13:13 Convertatron going, I say and build up some serious legions of terror.

lbrown @59:

I thought that Demira's stabbing was Taim's work - just as an assassination attempt on Rand later during the fight with the Seanchan which the DF Ashaman tried to tie to WT.
The man who talked to Demira called the AS "witches", called Rand "Dragon Reborn" and IIRC had dark eyes to boot - at least some of the those guys, if not all of them weren't Aiel at all.
Helen Peters
65. Helen
TexanSedai @17
You've fallen for the same 'trap' I do, every time. Corianin/Cabriana/Careane, I think there's more names that begin with C that all 'sound' alike and I get confused by. Then RJ had to go and introduce us to Myrelle/Merillile/Merana within a short span of time, at least by then Moiraine was out of the picture and not adding to it, though Cadsuane is just round the corner.
And don't get me started on all the aiel names beginning with S.......
Helen Peters
66. Helen
TexanSedai @17
You've fallen for the same 'trap' I do, every time. Corianin/Cabriana/Careane, I think there's more names that begin with C that all 'sound' alike and I get confused by. Then RJ had to go and introduce us to Myrelle/Merillile/Merana within a short span of time, at least by then Moiraine was out of the picture and not adding to it, though Cadsuane is just round the corner.
And don't get me started on all the aiel names beginning with S.......
Marcus W
67. toryx
Isilel @ 25 & 64:

There's another reason aside from those already given for why Sammael, at least, wouldn't be leaning on Travelling for troop movements involving Illianers.

So far he's still hiding his identity as Lord Brend. If he suddenly started opening gateways to move his troops around, his men would freak out. They're not exactly likely to remain calm and effective in battle if one of their Lords suddenly reveals that he can channel.

Besides, Sammael isn't seeking an open confrontation with Rand at this point. He was reluctant even to get into a fight with him when he had the aid of the other Forsaken. He's preferring to bide his time and wait for a golden opportunity.
68. alreadymadwithfalseaiel
Whoever masterminded Demira's stabbing, it was definitely not Aiel work. Despite all else, Aiel had up until Dumai's Wells been extremely respectful of Aes Sedai. Always calling them by their full title, Aes Sedai. The attackers were short, called the Aes Sedai witches, and had dark eyes. Definitely impostors. I can't believe a Brown fell for it. But then again, I suspect Verin also wanted to see a confrontation between Rand and the SAS delegation.
69. Caseyft
"Events to the south had Demandred's mark all over them. Demandred had always liked using proxies."

I think "South" is a red herring. Sammael could be wrong about what Demandred is plotting - but he's probably not wrong about Demandred's personality. I think this was a clue that Taim is Demandred's proxy, not Demandred himself.
70. lerris

I recall the same passage myself, and agree that the likely term is 'prostitute'.

However, I will add that the word 'princess' could also have made the conversation awkward.
Jason Deshaies
71. darxbane
My theory is not that he is half Ogier, it's that he is full Ogier, and the people who raised him are not his biological parents. It's possible that even they didn't realize he was an Ogier, just an ugly baby.

The whole point of Mat's troop movement is to be seen. It is a ruse, nothing more. The Forsaken are not certain Rand knows how to Travel yet, so he is setting up a huge, obvious attack against Sammy to try to lure his forces toward him, then Travel past them and Flank them.

with regard to using Traveling to move troops around, there are four things I feel are important factors. First, the Gateway acts as a bottleneck, so you have to make sure the area you are moving to is far enough away from the enemy to move all your troops through without getting caught in a meat grinder. Second, a bright vertical slash in the air draws a lot of attention, even from non-channelers, so only relatively small groups would get through fast enough to maintain surprise. Third, it would in no way surprise me if another Channeler could disrupt a Traveling weave, stranding whoever got through beforehand (as a somewhat related note, how come Cadsuane's Weavebuster Ter'Angreal doesnt affect Gateways? Hmmmm......). Last, and most importantly, the channeler needs time to learn the area before creating the gateway. this is fine for the initial jump, but having a major weapon have to take time to learn the hill he/she's on rather than fight so a fallback gateway can be available is a waste.
Also, IIRC, Sammael and Graendal worked together to create those gateways for the Shaido.
Leigh Butler
72. leighdb
Thom was going to say "pretty girl", not "prostitute". First of all, Thom would never say something so crude to Elayne, for God's sake, and secondly it's referred to again later, when Elayne wryly supposes she should find Nynaeve a "pretty boy" to snap her out of her depression.

Sheesh, you guys.

Oh, and Planeswalker, the "choss" thing was a reference to the intro of the previous post.
Marcus W
73. toryx
Yeah, but is the term "pretty girl" or "pretty boy" innuendo for prostitute?

I don't know...I thought the whole point of Thom stopping what he was about to say was due to his realization that he was about to say something crude to Elayne.
Kurt Lorey
74. Shimrod
Jumping in on the "pr..." thing.

I think the author just left it at "pr..." so the reader could fill in the blanks themselves.

Besides, I'm sure a review of a good dictionary could bring us quite a few funny and/or plausible possibilities.

Still, I'm not sure why Tom would stop himself from saying "pretty girl" to Elayne. If it were completely innocent, then why would it matter?
Anthony Pero
75. anthonypero
I'm sorry, but if there are no "camp-followers", and not one single description of any of the Randland armies even suggests this, then there simply are no prostitutes. Period.

I think there's a reason for this, and I don't think it's an oversight on RJs part, or even him trying to be PG-13.

Certainly, before the DO was released, any sort of prostitution would have been ancient history in the AoL. And AFTER the Breaking, women, in many ways already discussed, had ascendancy over men in a lot of places. And there are plenty of occupations for women in all of the major cities, so there is no reason for prostitution to develop on its own, they way it did in our world.
Anthony Pero
76. anthonypero

It was the context of Thom's statement that was inappropriate around one who he looks on as a daughter: He was saying they should get the guy drunk and get him laid.
77. TexanSedai
@66 Helen and @43 Freelancer - Thanks for clearing up my confusion! Duh!!!

@41 Srizea - good theory! I am totally on board with your assessment.

@45 HurinSmells - good point regarding the death of Asmo and his mysterious killer.

@46 Belmont - I have always wondered that myself but luckily a few people have been nice enough on here to answer that! I always hated the Anaiya got bumped off - I really liked her!
Leigh Butler
78. leighdb

Yeah, but is the term "pretty girl" or "pretty boy" innuendo for prostitute?

No, it just means basically what Mat was doing - picking up someone in a bar for a one-night stand.

As someone else pointed out, Randland doesn't have prostitution. Yes, this is silly, but Jordan said so, so that's the way it is.
Marcus W
79. toryx
As someone else pointed out, Randland doesn't have prostitution. Yes, this is silly, but Jordan said so, so that's the way it is.

Far out. This thread is the first time I'd ever tell of this. That's definitely an interesting choice on the part of RJ.
Jason Deshaies
80. darxbane
Why so certain? Just because RJ provided no direct proof doesn't mean it isn't there. It could very well be that the army leaders didn't allow the girl's to follow them. The men would just have to wait till the next town or village and try their luck there. If a woman is willing to perform in front of a group of men while wearing almost no clothing and dance seductively while singing a song about how happy she is to please her many lovers (see the "Hell" scene in KOD), it is not a large step to start giving it up for money. Heck, since many Pre-Rand nations allowed the Lords to do whatever they wanted anyway, might as well get them to pay for it rather than force themselves on you.

Now, I'll certainly concede that it appears to be less practiced than in our world, but it has to exist, and that goes for male pro's as well (cough..Far Madding..Cough). If selling your body means your kids will eat that night, you'll do it. If someone's willing to buy it, someone else is willing to sell it.
Jason Deshaies
81. darxbane
Uggh Leigh! You couldn't have posted that before my wall of text? That's what I get for taking too long to type. I obviously never heard or read RJ's take on that before. That's got to be the biggest reality stretch in this series, bar none.
82. RobMRobM
Leigh - you are seriously no fun. Where is the quote ex cathedra that there aint no for pay hootchy cootchy in Randland? And, if true, then what exactly is the dirty pun associated with Nine Horse Hitch....? Rob
Tess Laird
83. thewindrose
RobMRobM - It has been discussed on some threads here and else where, that the Nine Horse Hitch that we all giggle about 'knowingly' actually has no real evidence supporting the many different idea's that have been put out there - same with Easing the Badger.
As readers - I suggest that everyone just fill in the words and innuendo's as you see fit.
I always filled in Thom's pr... with pretty girl, since Elayne thinks pretty boy. But, yes it is hard to imagine that there is no prostitution any where in Randland.
Ryan Maguire
84. SonOfBattles
There is mention of camp followers in New Spring. Mostly comprised of wives, children, blacksmiths, farriers and such.
Tess Laird
85. thewindrose
alreadymad- why do you think Verin wanted to see a confrontation between Rand and the SAS?
BTW - I agree that Verin was the one behind how the SAS handled themselves. She certainly is sowing a lot of chaos...
Antoni Ivanov
86. tonka

I'm sorry, but if there are no "camp-followers", and not one single description of any of the Randland armies even suggests this

OH, Well That's now not true. There are mentions that the armies have camp followers. Like Egwene's army, the Borderlander's army Arymilla's army I remember for all being mentioned that they have camp followers. Robert Jordan doesn't go into details about them because they are not interesting.

Knife of Dreams Ch.1
Camp followers added their own, and loudly, armorers and farriers and fletchers, wives and laundresses and seamstresses, all clutched by the sudden fear that something darker than blackness stalked the night

This is for Egwene's Army. There are other mentions for the Borderlanders and Arymilla that I remember.

They are there but they are not so important to be mentioned.
paul Hend
87. tugthis
The idea of there being no prostitution is as crazy as the idea of no promiscuity.. I can't imagine a scenario where women, or men, would not employ an asset they possess to support themselves. A blanket statement like no prostitutes is like saying no accountants in our age.

I agree with the earlier notion that there is no reason for Thom to self edit himself if he was going to say pretty girl.

I always assumed that the taverns and towns were full of slatterns and prostitutes, and not an endless collection of fat innkeepers and St. Pauli girl style barmaids.
Marcus W
88. toryx
Well traditionally camp followers have always included prostitutes. I agree with darxbane @ 81 that this is the biggest stretch of the imagination I've yet seen.

I just want to know what purpose RJ had for making that decision. Is it an effort to show an advanced society? Is it because he simply found prostitution too unpleasant to allow? Do Aes Sedai somehow have enough influence in the world to forbid it?

If anyone has a link for the comment RJ made stating the prohibition, I'd appreciate the opportunity to see what he said.
89. RobMRobM
Wind@83. I know (and even participated in the creative speculation). I'm just having fun with our fearless (and chossless) leader. R
Antoni Ivanov
90. tonka

Yes there is a reason for Thom to stop saying what he was saying even if he was to finish with pretty girl. He was basically saying to get a guy drunk and get him laid. That's not something that you say in front of young girl even in our world not mentioning his - they are so old-fashioned there , especially the people from Andor, see now Domani or Saldeans are much better.

As for prostitutes. RJ said there is no so There is NOT. It's his World and He sets the rules. The End.

And it's not unbelievable. How many male prostitutes do you know in our World. Is there at all. Maybe a little and only in the late century.During the middle ages there has never been male prostitutes. Every profession or craft or whatever arises from the need of it and from the conditions the society is and from who knows how many other factors. There are things that are traditional in one country and unheard of in another. Things are rarely that straightforward as you say it.
Just because there is prostitution in our society doesn't make it necessary that there would be in another.
Tess Laird
91. thewindrose
RobMRobM - understood:)
This will soon become a new word for cussin' in Randland proper I Fortell: Choss - As in you are full of choss, you're a choss hauler(already in use by the Forsaken) you are chossing me, that is a pile of choss, that's a load of choss! And you choss hauling goat kisser(that's for hoping, not at though).
Marcus W
92. toryx
Tonka @ 90: I don't think tugthis was denying that there would not be prostitutes in Randland if RJ said so. He just doesn't think it makes any sense. Nor do I.

And I'm sorry to put it bluntly like this, but your last paragraph about the low numbers of male prostitutes in today's society, much less historical society is both naive and wrong. Male prostitution is quite prevalent in today's society throughout the world. And the exchange of currency and goods for sexual favors has endured throughout human history (and pre-history) in most societies if not all of them. It might not be done in exchange of cash and it might involve varying degrees of civilized and uncivilized methods, but it's always been there.
Genevieve Williams
93. welltemperedwriter
How many male prostitutes do you know in our World. Is there at all. Maybe a little and only in the late century.During the middle ages there has never been male prostitutes.

I'd do some research on that, if I were you. You'd be surprised.

(See also: gigolo, rentboy, hustler, and callboy.)
paul Hend
94. tugthis
Thom was a man having an affair with a queen. . . i think, in fact the girl's mother. Now I am not certain at all if you can still call Elayne a girl. She is clearly a woman, by this time, and one who must have been educated in a worldly enough manner to have not been offended. . . assuming that sex is offensive and violence is not. . .

As to what RJ may have said. . . well that is all irrelevant. The work has to exist as stands. I, and many others, have no trouble suspending my disbelief to believe in magic, etc. but when it comes to what is a pretty common human activity (the oldest profession) it strains credulity. and credulity in some measure is what makes fiction engrossing. . .

I would suggest with little research that there are plenty of male prostitutes. . . as there is homosexuality (never mentioned in Randland but I would not be shocked that it exists). I do not believe that that there were no prostitutes in the middle ages. There were brothels for both male and female prostitutes in both Greek and Roman, and Arabic cultures. . . cultures that influenced the middle ages. . .

brief wiki : link
paul Hend
95. tugthis
Thom was a man having an affair with a queen. . . i think, in fact the girl's mother. Now I am not certain at all if you can still call Elayne a girl. She is clearly a woman, by this time, and one who must have been educated in a worldly enough manner to have not been offended. . . assuming that sex is offensive and violence is not. . .

As to what RJ may have said. . . well that is all irrelevant. The work has to exist as stands. I, and many others, have no trouble suspending my disbelief to believe in magic, etc. but when it comes to what is a pretty common human activity (the oldest profession) it strains credulity. and credulity in some measure is what makes fiction engrossing. . .

I would suggest with little research that there are plenty of male prostitutes. . . as there is homosexuality (never mentioned in Randland but I would not be shocked that it exists). I do not believe that that there were no prostitutes in the middle ages. There were brothels for both male and female prostitutes in both Greek and Roman, and Arabic cultures. . . cultures that influenced the middle ages. . .

brief wiki : link
James Jones
96. jamesedjones
I just need to jump in on all the hyperbole going on in this post. There is no way that the lack of prostitution is more unbelievable than the lack of drug trafficking.

We have a society where they use herbs to fix everything from sea-sickness to birth control, but no one has ever tried to see if it will do anything else?!

But RJ wrote it that way, so it's good enough for me! :)
Tess Laird
97. thewindrose
tonka - I have a link to present day and historic
male prostitutes - just saying that it has been around for quite awhile( it is a wikipedia entry so it is not too vulgar).
Antoni Ivanov
98. tonka
Hm, I guess we have to define the term prostitution then. Are you a prostitute if you sleep with your boss to gain in you career. Or with the enemy to safe your love one's life/harm or with the Lord to buy your family a food or with someone rich for a pretty necklace or at all to sleep with someone to gain something for yourself or for someone else . If all this is prostitution then we have it here and in Randland even.Prostitution is "offering sexual intercourse for pay" according to the dictionary . I guess what we really have to define what is 'pay'?
Kurt Lorey
99. Shimrod
I find this conversation about prostitution fascinating. Lots of preconceived notions and prejudices, yet few facts.

If RJ said no, then OK. But, I haven't read a quote - yet.

The only things I can think of from the books are several barmaids offering a late night visit to one character or another. But, there was no intimation of a financial transaction in the text.

Maybe Brandon would be able (and willing) to expound upon his views of RJ's intentions along these lines? Someone should ask him (hint, hint).
Tess Laird
100. thewindrose
From Wotmania Plots, Characters and the Wheel of Tim Q59- The question of Hake's inn in The Eye of the World is answered: it is not a whorehouse, at least not more than any other inn. Due to the increase in women's power, the very concept of prostitution is unknown; but women have much greater freedom in choosing their partners, both casual and permanent. He specifically mentioned Mat's little escapades with various maids and serving-girls.
Jason Deshaies
101. darxbane
Did RJ straight out say there was no drug use either? Because people drink and smoke, and those are certainly drugs. Whether there is anything more exotic than that, there is no evidence. I suspend my disbelief as well as anyone, believe me. Sometimes I feel like a monstrous fanboy debating these topics. This however, is just odd. RJ wrote characters who kill mercilessly and torture and rape people without remorse, but someone giving it up for a little coin doesn't happen? I really want a link to that quote now. Maybe he was being sarcastic? He did like to mess with people.
Antoni Ivanov
102. tonka
Homosexuality exists in Randland - what do you think pillow friends are. Even RJ confirm it.

I don't think I will be able to convince you that world without prostitution is possible to exist. That's something that is natural for our world. We have it since thousands years and most of you cannot imagine something else.Because this is something so natural that it seems that there is not another possibility well that's not true. Just because you cannot imagine something that doesn't mean it couldn't exist.

Of course it all depends on how you define prostitution.Because in some crude sense almost everyone has prostituted at some point in his or her life
Michael Catapano
103. hoping
I've done both but never at the same time.;)
Kurt Lorey
104. Shimrod
@100 thewindrose. Ah. Thank you.

An interesting question then would be what behavioral boundaries might be crossed as the social/economic upheavals increase with the approach of Tarmon Gai'don?

@102 tonka. Jeez. Point sunk and spiraling towards the bottom. Give it a rest, eh?

@103 hoping. Somebody just had to go there, didn't they? ;(
Marcus W
105. toryx
tonka @ 102:

I don't really see any point in arguing semantics as to what "pay" or "prostitution" means.

But you're the one who was telling us that male prostitution is not prevalent and suggested that prostitution itself wasn't widespread in most societies. Now you seem to be saying that it's natural. I'm not clear on what you're attempting to argue at this point.

windrose @ 100:
The question of Hake's inn in The Eye of the World is answered: it is not a whorehouse, at least not more than any other inn.

Is that a direct quote? Because it's...odd. Barmaids and waitresses often performed on both sides of the sheets historically, and sometimes accounts were settled solely with the innkeeper.

The other thing, however, is that prostitution isn't solely about choosing one's partners. I can easily see a woman choosing who she'd take as a client in Randland but I still have a hard time imagining any world where a woman wouldn't take pay in turn for a tumble.

I'm not saying that RJ's will can't be done. It's just a very odd decision for him to have made and that quote is an even odder way of expressing it.
Marcus W
106. toryx
hoping @ 103:
I've done both but never at the same time.;)

Given the turn in conversation at the moment, that's an surprising admission* without any sort of quote or referenced post to specify what you're talking about. ;)

* Edit for clarification.
Nathan Martin
107. lerris
The term prostitution casts a wide net. For RJ to deny that the concept of prostitution does not exist in Randland reflects his understanding of the modern sex trade, which is perhaps flawed.

In Ebou Dar, the entire concept of a "pretty" is analogous to the modern concept of a "sugar daddy/ sugar momma", which is considered by some to be a form of prostitution in the modern world.

I'm far happier to accept that the harsher/grittier realities of the world are glossed over where they don't affect the story than I am to accept the blanket statement that the concept does not exist in the setting. Same applies to drugs and drug trafficking. Just because it isn't mentioned, does not mean it isn't there.
Lord Haart
109. LordHaart
"A servant approaches and tells her Ituralde is here."

Just read this for the first time and realised what it meant... the entire Taraboner/Domani raid on the Seanchan, lead by Ituralde in CoT/KoD is most probably a Darkfriend plot to sow chaos and weaken the Seanchan.

Which really sucks, because until now, I thought the massive country-wide raid was brilliant. But it's just good guys killing other good guys. This puts Graendal above Semirhage in the evil-things-done-since-getting-out-of-jail category.

btw, the freakiest thing about Semi for me was the way she realised that she had felt fear and just put the feeling away for later, so clinically. That, and in KoD when LTT talks about how she got out of jail because the guards were so scared that they let her go.
Marcus W
110. toryx
LordHaart @ 109:

That's quite an analysis and I've missed it in every one of my re-reads. Thanks for sharing!

Y'know, this whole series is a great example for how e-books should be handled. If we could download e-books of the WoT series and there were hot tags to names of characters and countries that could reference previous appearances or plot points, it'd really revolutionize the reading experience.

I'd just love to be able to read an electronic version of CoT and see mention of Ituralde like LordHaart mentioned, place an arrow over his name and have a handy little text pop up stating what book and what chapter Ituralde also appears in, and perhaps a link that would allow you to open up the appropriate passage.

Wouldn't that make the lives of us poor suffering fans of epic fantasy a lot easier?
James Jones
111. jamesedjones
109 LordHaart

The indications are there from Ituralde's POV that Alsalam sent the orders to hit the Seanchan outside of Graendal's compulsion. Ituralde had been asking for permission or direction concerning the Seanchan, but the Council of Merchants (I think) just kept putting him off. Then he gets a message directly from Alsalam to attack. It was a complete 180, and if Graendal was behind it, then yeah, she's the baddest.
Jane Smyth
112. Kaboom
If I remember correctly, Graendal was behind it. By having a courier send a message sprinkle in human blood to have it seem a very important message.
Antoni Ivanov
113. tonka
@ toryx
But you're the one who was telling us that male prostitution is not prevalent and suggested that prostitution itself wasn't widespread in most societies. Now you seem to be saying that it's natural. I'm not clear on what you're attempting to argue at this point.

I was talking about male prostitution not being widespread and almost non existent in previous ages. I didn't mean female.What I am arguing is that it is possible to exist a world or society which won't know prostitution.

@111 Yes Graendal sends a forged letter from King Alsalam of Arad Doman to Ituralde and she arranges to look like gray man had tried to stop the messanger.

As for fiding something quickly in books we always have internet - that's pretty useful tool - sites like and Search Through WOT Books are pretty useful. 100 years ago no one would be able to imagine such things.
114. Drewoftherushes
I think that Kashgar is Demandred. Who is Kashgar, you're wondering? Look him up.

He's a Whitecloak, was there when Galad killed Valda to become LCC in the KOD prologue.

Why do you think that? you're wondering. Intuition.
Maiane Bakroeva
115. Isilel
@105 Toryx:

I can easily see a woman choosing who she'd take as a client in Randland but I still have a hard time imagining any world where a woman wouldn't take pay in turn for a tumble.

Ouch! But in a world where women earn as much as men what would be the incentive? And who could pay? I mean, IRL widespread prostitution developed cause women were barred from most jobs and payed pittance for the rest, had the hardest time trying to support themselves and had no choice but to sell themselves cheaply, whereas even poor men could afford to buy some sex once in a while.

What we have seen in WoT is that rich folks give gifts to those who catch their eye... and those chose to involve themselves or not.
Some Westerosi are also quite ready to trade sex for political favors or trade advantages (those Domani!)
While among the equals, it is a matter of mutual interest. Seems logical enough to me.

@109 Lord Haart - yes indeed. Graendal hasn't been idle. OTOH it is difficult for me to see Seanchan as the "good guys" and my feeling is that they totally deserve some smackdown.
In fact, it may convince them to ally with Randlanders when otherwise they may have been too arrogant and smug to accept anything but abject capitulation.
116. J.Dauro
Of course Greandal is behind it. And I believe we have had some foreshadowing of what is to come. IIRC somewhere Ituralde thinks that he is ready for anything, right up to the Dragon Reborn appearing before him.
Antoni Ivanov
117. tonka
We have not seen the alter-ego Demandred presents to the Third Agers on-screen by COT so it's quite possible that he is Kashgar or any character that was introduced in KOD , of course it might be that he wasn't introduced in KOD too. The only thing we can do is wait and read and find out.
Jane Smyth
118. Kaboom
Back from vacation.
Well back for a little while. It takes time to catch up to all the posts. Very lucky for me that Leigh also took some time off.

There was a lot a treads that I would have like to comment but too bad...

However I would like to do one even though it's a few treads back.
I have (for the first time) a loony theory I would like to share... ...about Asmodean death.
(I know it's already been done to death... But I haven't seen something similar yet.)

The quote of RJ that was mentioned by a couple people got me thinking. The one about that the place and the how he died were both important.

I think the "you" was perhaps the Eelfinns. A person of the AOL would certainly recognize them on sight, and from the dealings we saw from Mat, you have to be very careful in your dealings with them. It does not seem too hard to imagine that they had a bad reputation and Asmodean seeing them might deduce the reason.
I know that it is said that their world can only be reached via the Tower of Ghenjei or through the twisted redstone doorframe ter'angreal, but that does not mean they cannot use a different method, especially if "someone" wishes for someone else to be killed.
I imagine this as when Asmodean opened the door leading to the pantry, he actually was at the edge of their world through a kind of gateway created by the foxes. After his now famous sentence, was pulled in, where he eventually died. (either killed by the foxes themselves or by Moiraine or Lanfear (balefire?).

I'm not sure I really believe this, but it is a possibility I haven't seen yet.

Anyway fire away!
Marcus W
119. toryx
Isilel @ 115:

I wonder if we're running into more conflicts as an result of a uncommon understanding of prostitution. I pretty much equate it as giving sexual favors in exchange for a desired return. Such return would extend as much to political favors/ trade advantages as coin. Whether that's shared between equals or not makes little difference.

As I understand it (not being an economist) all commerce is based on the virtue of having a product of value.

In that case, the only world I can fathom existing without prostitution is one where sex is shared and given with very little discrimination.

On the other hand, maybe that's exactly what RJ was intending with the enthusiasm of barmaids and cleaning women. And it's certainly a different scenario in a world where contraception is so readily available.

Still, I have a hard time distinguishing the difference between 'gifts' of value and coin or privilege. That smacks to me as the kind of difference between the "Gift of Passage" and boat fares. One sounds better than the other but for all intents and purposes they're really the same.

It's certainly true that women in Randland have a much higher level of equality amongst the sexes and they seem to have almost as many opportunities toward careers and advancement as men do in many areas but there are still desperate women who are homeless, struggling to see to the needs of their children with nowhere to turn. The civil war in Cairhien after the King's assassination had plenty of that.

Is sex really so readily available that men wouldn't be willing to pay such desperate women for their privilege? Or are the women really refusing to go that far? I guess RJ is saying so but as I said, it's difficult for me to imagine.
James Jones
120. jamesedjones
Re: Forged Letter from Narg/Narashma/Nazran/Whatever...

Damn! I totally missed that. Of course, I hated PoD, and never paid more than minimal attention to it during any of my rereads. Thanks for the correction.
Jason Deshaies
121. darxbane
It's not that we can't imagine the possibility, what makes this so hard to believe is the sexual appetites of the characters. Sex is far from taboo in Randland, and neither is poverty or strife. Even in highly reserved societies, prostitution existed. Yes, women have a much higher standing in society, but to think that not one man or woman in 3,000 years thought to themselves "you know, if I could guarantee sex for a small fee, people would pay it", especially when much more dangerous and frowned upon professions(smugglers, cutpurses, assassins, etc) do exist.
122. longtimefan
I have noticed that some things stretch belief where other things are accepted without question.

I blame some of this on the hints that this world is a different age from our world. When channeling is accepted because our turning of the wheel has lost the spark it can be seen as something that comes and goes genetically. Sexual behavior on the other hand seems to stick in many a craw since it does not seem to ebb and flow through the generations. It can be accepted that people could channel because people want to channel and currently do not. Sexual behavoir is something people do currently have and want. Imagning not having can be difficult if not for ourselves then for others based on actions that have been observed.

In the end it is all Fantasy. If it is a fantastical world where people are sexually liberal in the big cities (obviously not in Two Rivers with the hair braiding and the asking permision to walk about)and people may use sexual favors of themselves or others for power but apparently even the very poor would never do it for money. Fine. It is a Fantasy.

In general prostitution is unimportant to the plot line. (any of them) Similarly same sex relationships only appeared in later books when they were important to the plot and only exist in those formats.

The real world may not be that simple but Fantasy worlds often are.
123. Freelancer
For that matter, look at Sammi transporting the Shaido. There are more than 100K of them, yet he does it by his lonesome.

Look again, he had female help (Graendal) in making all those gateways through which the Shaido dispersed. ACoS, Chapter 40 "Spears"

(as a somewhat related note, how come Cadsuane's Weavebuster Ter'Angreal doesnt affect Gateways? Hmmmm......)

I have thought of this and similar seeming non-sequitors of channeling, some with no apparent answer. In this case, possibly a very small flow of Spirit is required to activate that device. Otherwise, it would seem likely to block any channeling near her, which certianly isn't the case. Nynaeve channels right next to her in Far Madding's Counsel chambers, for example.


Yes, camp followers are mentioned. However, just as that bitchy rant on nice guys vs Nice Guys, there are camp followers and then Camp Followers, meaning ladies of easy and negotiable virtue. And RJ speaks of none, anywhere in the story, though I've read numerous phrases that seemed oblique and ambiguous references to such. As Leigh claims that the author made a specific declaration on the subject, it's pr-etty well closed in my mind.

And the next person to continue the prostitution issue gets SPANKED!


I always took it that Rodel Ituralde made the command decision to NOT comply with what he knew very well were chaotic orders. That's why he went on the sly and dodged about making sure to avoid messengers from "Alsalam", before setting up his plan, to ally with Taraboners to harry the Seanchan.


The next best thing is Encyclopaedia WoT, which does include listings of POVs and appearances of a vast number of characters, such as Rodel Ituralde.
Marcus W
124. toryx
Longtimefan @ 122:

Well don't get me wrong. I don't think that the WoT is missing out in any way for not detailing a lot of information about the widespread use of prostitution. I have absolutely no interest in reading about Mat paying a barmaid for quality time in her bed.

There are a lot of natural, elemental parts of human nature that don't need to be detailed or expressed in any way. I actually agree with earlier comments that I'm perfectly content with the fade to black in the sex scenes and the casual references to them later. I have absolutely no interest in hearing how Randlander's deal with eliminating waste while in the Waste.

It's the flatout rejection of the existence of something as commonplace and accepted as prostitution that surprises me. I don't need to see the prostitutes, I never even gave a thought to them until someone mentioned it in this thread. But knowing that RJ outright made a statement saying it doesn't exist brought it front and center to my attention. I can't help but wonder what led to that decision. And though I believe and accept that he did make that decision, I've yet to be satisfied by the explanation or any offered by other posters.

It just befuddles me. I'd have the same reaction if I found out that men no longer grew underarm hair. I'd be puzzled as to why that should be pointed out in the first place, and I'd be puzzled as to why something so basic and unsignificant would be decided.
Andrew Lovsness
125. drewlovs
The term "hooker" comes from the camp followers of General Hooker during the civil war. Far from stopping the prostitutes from following his army, he allowed them to grow in size. It got to the point where his name was attached to the service.

As to the discussions we have been having, I'm not sure why people are getting so anal on the distinction. Hookers sell sex for cold hard cash. The creator of Randland has decided that these types of transactions do not exist.

That doesn't mean that women (and men, for that matter) DO trade sex for life improvements, but it isn't a "come one, come all" deal. I think of the older man/younger woman relationships in real life being roughly the same in Randland; this, however, is NOT classic prostitution. These types of men and women would never even think of trading cash for sex, and would be insulted at the comparision.

As with everything, nothing is black and white, but instead shades of gray. Some would call the "gold-diggers" protitutes, but I do not.
Jason Deshaies
126. darxbane
I am in 100% agreement. We are puzzled by the inconsistency. One of the things that makes these books so special is the ability to relate to the characters and cultures so well. I guess it must be semantics. Maybe RJ's idea of a prostitute was someone out in the village square yelling out "Hey farmboy, looking to ease the badger tonight?"

Freelancer @123,
Reading your theories helped me come up with a great solution; maybe Caddy's Ter'angreal only affects tied off weaves. Semi's disguise had to be tied off so she could invert the weaves and hide her strength, while a gateway must be held.
Joseph Blaidd
127. SteelBlaidd
A few thoughts.
From Wotmania Plots, Characters and the Wheel of Tim Q59- The question of Hake's inn in The Eye of the World is answered: it is not a whorehouse, at least not more than any other inn. Due to the increase in women's power, the very concept of prostitution is unknown; but women have much greater freedom in choosing their partners, both casual and permanent. He specifically mentioned Mat's little escapades with various maids and serving-girls.

First, the phrasing "He specifically mentioned" says that this is a paraphrase not a direct quote so the "no concept of Prostitution" idea may not be exactly acurate.

Second, "at least not more than any other inn." implies that sexual encounters do happen, and likely for remuneration.

Given that the question that goes with this answer seems to be "Was Hakes inn in tEotW a whore house?" (answer NO) I would propose that what's missing in WoT is not the prostitute but the pimp.

Re: Caddsune's Weave disrupting Ter'angreal. She has one like Mat's which is automatic and affects weaves that touch the wearer, but wouldn't disrupt a gateway unles he tried touching the edge(um...NO). She allso has a different one that can disrupt weaves at a distance but requires activation.
Antoni Ivanov
128. tonka
I think Caddy's angreal to disrupt the weaves work only when Cadsuane make it works on targets she wants. When they meet Semi and co. Someone tells that Some of the damane are channeling and Cadsuane says she can do something when they are closer which implies that she can affect it somehow.

I think that Cadsuane have a ter'angreal like Mat's too who is different from this mentioned above.

How is this ? When a Trolloc pass through a gateway it dies e.i. for it to die the One Power must be involved.So there must be a layer of One Power.
But Mat can pass through a gateway with no problems.Maybe this layer is destroyed when Mat passes but not the gateway itself. Maybe a Trolloc with Mat's medallion can pass successfully through the gateway. Do I make sense at all?
129. Freelancer

A not implausible thought. However, they were all fairly sure they were walking into some sort of trap. The expectation is that someone was going to channel at them. That would not be a tied-off weave, and so such a ter'angreal wouldn't have been very useful. Cadsuane specifically said that once she was close she could do something about a channeler, and that had to presume active channeling that she would disrupt, not tied off.

Ahh, this reminds me. In "A Plain Wooden Box", when Cadsuane's ter'angreal disrupts Semirhage's Illusion, both Rand and LTT recognize her and fight for Saidin. Under the extreme circumstances, it becomes prohibitively difficult to imagine that this struggle is conducted between Rand and ... Rand, in the form of a psychotic construct. It is far more believable that there are two real and distinct persons, each feeling the simultaneous need to deal with Semirhage using the Power, but only having a single corporeal form with access to the Source. No matter how self-destructive people believe Rand has become (and with which I disagree), at a point of crisis he wouldn't instigate this internal struggle to the point of a stalemate, where neither gains control and he is victimized by an attack.

But, per toryx's earlier statements, most likely those in the opposing camp will defend their position with the same exact passage.
Hugh Arai
130. HArai

No matter how self-destructive people believe Rand has become (and with which I disagree), at a point of crisis he wouldn't instigate this internal struggle to the point of a stalemate, where neither gains control and he is victimized by an attack

I'm not really in either camp, but I'm curious what you base this statement on. As far as I'm aware, very few forms of mental illness go away just because they happen to be dangerous at a given point in time. If Rand thinks an LTT construct in his head can take control if he doesn't fight for it, why would he be less likely to think he has to fight just because Semirhage is there?
131. Katiya
I apologize if anyone already said this, since there are tons of comments that I don't really have time to go through right now, but Cabriana Mecandes was really good friends with Anaiya and Kairen Stang, both of whom end up murdered, presumably at Halima's hands. Kairen is murdered because she proves to be quite adept at making cuendillar (I think), and Anaiya is probably killed so that no one will believe Egwene's dreams. That could be coincidence, of could be that she was tortured simply so she could reveal info that a good friend, like Anaiya, would recognize as fact if they decided to dig a little on Halima.
Jason Lyman
132. jlyman
I just got back from my class and I just have to say that I think it's hilarious how the discussion has turned to a debate on the existence or non-existence of prostitution in Randland. I mean in the long or short of it, does it really matter?
133. Freelancer

The overriding instinct of self-preservation, which Rand possesses as fully as anyone. It is one thing to be willing to die so that the Light might win, completely another to fumble into death at an ambush you suspected from the beginning. I find that a less credible consideration than others do the lack of harlots in the land.
134. Matt Thomas
Found the link to the theory that Graendal is spying on Mat in this chapter:
135. Alphashard
I am SO glad your commenting on Mat's "playerness" here because it will come up in CoS. I don't see how your stance on Nice Guys would make you a hypocrite about your stance on Chivarly seems like it IS the same thing. Respecting a woman's choice even when that choice is in disagreement with you.

I would like you to make a note to comment on a scene in Crown of Swords when Nynaeve is in the stables with Mat and she goes all nuts saying "get away from me!" and then later saying "Mat tried to get me, well not really" PLEASE explain what the hell that was all about when you get to that part of CoS. Because that's the single most infuriating thing about Nynaeve to me, everything else I'm cool with. Treating Mat like he's some raping Trolloc I am NOT cool with. So I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE when Brigitte and Avi makes Nynaeve eat some crow humble pie.

I mean I agree with you on the point of what is wrong when BOTH the guy and girl just want a little one night fun and that's it? Why does that make the guy a bad boy and the girl a slut? Frankly as far as I am concerned Mat's only slept with two women so far Melhindra and Tylin so :-P

Also I would think seeing the aftermath of what Graendal does to be pretty scary. We are treated to several scenes of naked greased up people basically being mindless automatons for her. Where as Semriage may torture you will eventually kill you and put you out of your misery. Graendal? She'll keep you alive and mindless for YEARS.
Jay Dauro
136. J.Dauro
Katiya @131

I always saw the murders of Anaiya and Kairen Stang by Halima as being due to the fact that they were good friends of Cabriana Mecandes.

Halima has claimed to be a good friend of Cabriana, and fears that these two will see (or have seen) through her lies.
Hurin Smells
137. HurinSmells
Alphashard @ 135 - I agree Graendal is pretty scary, but at least when you're a brain dead servant, you're not really aware of what's happening to you. Semirhage on the otherhand makes it her business to ensure you know what's happening to you. She tortured a dude every waking hour for 5 years!
138. its only me
(91. thewindrose

This will soon become a new word for cussin' in Randland proper I Fortell: Choss - As in you are full of choss, you're a choss hauler(already in use by the Forsaken) you are chossing me, that is a pile of choss, that's a load of choss! And you choss hauling goat kisser(that's for hoping, not at though). )

Definition of Choss = a climbing slang word that means rotten rock.
a perfect word for cussin'
craig thrift
139. gagecreedlives
How about eat my choss.

Could be perfect after a night eating indian food
Lord Haart
140. LordHaart
"I'd just love to be able to read an electronic version of CoT and see mention of Ituralde like LordHaart mentioned, place an arrow over his name and have a handy little text pop up stating what book and what chapter Ituralde also appears in, and perhaps a link that would allow you to open up the appropriate passage. "

Check out:

Not even sure that it's legal, but control+F and a bit of clicking will get you a fair way towards finding quotes etc.

Oh, and Demandred proxies are Asunawa (the High Inquisitor) and Masema (the Prophet). Though I'd guess that there are more than just those two. Weiramon could also be one, given his idiocy, and would certainly count as an annoyance to Sammael at this point since he's one of the leaders of the army that Rand has parked outside Illian.

In terms of Graendal, I cannot possibly think she has everything invested in Arad Doman - my impression is that she has more layers than that. Her POV does make it likely that she has little to do with Shara, and in fact none of the FS are there (if they had been, they'd have taken issue with the leaders being kidnapped). Graendal definitely appears to be acting upon the "Lord of Chaos" orders which Demandred received, and while she has deftly led Ituralde into a trap, she must have other plans too. Given the lack of Borderland FS influence (we can guess that Demandred isn't there due to Sammael's comments), my guess is that Graendal and possible also Cyndane/Moghedien are working up North.

Regarding Ituralde, it appears obvious to me that the previous orders were intentionally nonsensical in order to make him more easily accept the one message which did appear to make sense. The Gray Man was an obvious plant, since we know that few in any humans can detect them, let alone kill them. So the orders are obviously Graendals, and while they make sense from the perspective of Ituralde (who sees the Seanchan as evil), they benefit the Shadow far more.

However, things might not be THAT bad for the light; Ituralde may have out-thought her to a small degree. His POV shows that he is counting on an army helping him in Arad Doman; and army which Graendal no doubt will place elsewhere, leaving him trapped. But he refers to a backup plan, and I'm around 98% sure we'll see this plan come into play in the TGS prologue.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the Pattern is weaving the FS, maybe even the DO, into it's own plan. For example, the above scheme seems obvious to the FS, but they didn't count on Ituralde's back up plan, nor on the fact that a weakened Seanchan might actually ally with Rand (though I suspect that all these raids will do is make them take more supplies from peasants and strike back at Arad Doman). A similar possibility exists with Halima's murders; she may have killed Anaiya and Kairen in order to protect her story, but in reality, these deaths actually do 2 things which at first seem bad for Egwene but may help in the long term:
1) Egwene is captured by filling in Kairen's spot; we know this is actually a good thing, because Egwene is up to the challenge.
2) The tower will not take the Seanchan threat seriously, which could hurt in the short term, but might also lead to a forced reconciliation of the Seanchan and the WT. Let's face it, the Seanchan are actually pretty decent aside from their treatment of channelers, so if this is repaired, it's all good.

@ Tonka 128:
Would be interested to hear more discussion on Gateways, Shadowspan, and Mat's medallion. My guess on the topic is that it's not the one power itself that kills the SS, it's something to do with the way that the Gateways teleport people by pulling their Thread out of and then into the Pattern. SS, having no souls, would not survive this transition. Plus, it's obviously important for the plot that they can't use Gateways, because then why wouldn't the FS have brought a few hundred thousand trollocs to Shadar Logoth in WH? Not to mention other places. The fact that they must use the Ways makes raids much more risky, which is important in the plot.
Philbert de Zwart
141. philbert
I don't have the exact quote, but the last POV thought of Graendal led me to the following conclusion:
She believes that 'Let the Lord of Chaos rule!' means that the Forsaken that creates the largest amount of chaos in Randland, is the one that will become Nae'Blis.

It is typical that the Forsaken always literally quote this directive, and I think it means that they don't have an obvious interpretation of it either. So like us, they too may be guessing what the DO exactly wants of them, and some of them may come to other conclusions than others.

Edit: The exact quote is:
"Only she knew that the Great Lord had all but promised to name her Nae’blis, a promise sure to be fulfilled with al’Thor out of the way. She would be the most obedient of the Great Lord’s servants. She would sow chaos till the harvest made Demandred’s lungs explode."
Lord Haart
142. LordHaart
By the way:

"The lions sing and the hills take flight.
The moon by day and the sun by night.
Blind woman, deaf man, jackdaw fool.
Let the Lord of Chaos rule.

—chant from a children’s game
heard in Great Arvalon,
the Fourth Age"

The last line obviously has something to do with the plot. But what about the first three?

"The lions sing and the hills take flight."

Perhaps a rough reference to Perrin (the lions could be a garbled translation of wolves). Or it could be Elayne Trakand and the Lion Throne.

"The moon by day and the sun by night."

Sounds like a reference to the Seanchan (and Mat?) Ruling when they land (day since the DO is trapped), and then the Sun rules at night (the Dragon winning when the Shadow breaks free). If it's a fourth age quote, it's likely that there is some kind of victory (and "Great Arvalon" ~ "Tar Valon").

"Blind woman, deaf man, jackdaw fool."

My favourite part of the quote. The deaf man could be Rand, failing to listen to LTT's advice at times (kill Taim, break the seals instantly before the DO is ready). He could also be the fool, or the LoC. The blind woman is more interesting imo. That could be any of the female FS, or perhaps it could refer to Moiraine, Cadsuane or one of the SuperGirls. My personal belief, however, is that it refers to Elaida, who most certainly fits the description and plays this role in LoC. Could the fool be one of the male FS? Sammael might qualify.

"Let the Lord of Chaos Rule"

In this context, I think that the "LoC" is a concept rather than a person.
craig thrift
143. gagecreedlives

Completely off topic but that wouldnt be St Pauli in Hamburg you were referring to was it?


"The lions sing and the hills take flight."

More likely to be about Elayne. The lion for Andor and Cairhien's original name Al'cair'rahienallen originally meant Hill of the Golden Dawn and Elayne has a claim on that thrown too.

"The moon by day and the sun by night."

Not sure about this. Could be a reference to the fading power of the white tower. The previous bastion of light broken and entering its twilight years. And male channelers once shunned and kept in the dark are know coming to the fore and getting training (enlightenment).

Or something to do with twice dawns the day prophecy.

"Blind woman, deaf man, jackdaw fool."

I do like the idea that blind woman is Elaida. But I personally think its more of a general thing with people still refusing to believe in whats coming.
Tess Laird
144. thewindrose
Placed in thread by LordHaart
By the way:

"The lions sing and the hills take flight.
The moon by day and the sun by night.
Blind woman, deaf man, jackdaw fool.
Let the Lord of Chaos rule.

—chant from a children’s game
heard in Great Arvalon,
the Fourth Age"

I have always thought this was one of the more interesting 4th age entries. Also it is very catchy - as in tenor and meaning.

The lions could be both prior and present ruling Andor families. Elayne has sent her resume to Cairhien, but I don't want to give up on Galad just yet.
Agree that the something to do with twice dawns the day prophecy.
Aes Sedei could be thought of as blind, not seeing what is really happening. Ashamen could be thought of as deaf - not listening to reason.
Looked up jackdaw and came back with this: common black-and-gray Eurasian bird noted for thievery.
And of course Let the Lord of Chaos Rule. Depends on if you think this is a generality or a person.
If person, then it would be Rand, as the Dragon Reborn. Everywhere he goes chaos ensues. He may not even personally arbitrate the chaos. But to paraphrase Bashere - DR Rand is who he is.
Marcus W
145. toryx
Steelblaidd @ 127:

Your analysis of the RJ quote fits my thoughts as well.

Re: Cadsuane's toys: I'm not going to worry about these until we actually get to them in the re-read. I just don't remember enough about them to have an opinion.

Freelancer @ 129: "A Plain Wooden Box"

I'm sure it's already obvious that I disagree, but I'm more interested in discussing it when we reach this chapter in the re-read.

Katiya @ 131 & J.Dauro @ 136:

Man, this is another topic that'll be more easily discussed when we reach it in the re-read. But I will say that I have a hard time buying that the reason Anaiya is killed would be directly related to her friendship with Cabriana. If that were the case, why wasn't Anaiya killed weeks before this? Halima had been messing things up in the camp for quite a while before Anaiya got killed. I think Katiya's right that Kairen was killed because of her skills. I'm not sure at this time what the reason for Anaiya's death is, but I think she'd have been killed far earlier on if Halima was truly worried about Anaiya contradicting her story.

And finally, Re: The children's game chant:

I don't think the lines actually mean anything. They're simply an effective means of demonstrating the nature of chaos.
Sam Mickel
146. Samadai

Most all common sayings or phrases are based off of actual things that happened in the past so it is possible that the lines are from the current age.
147. Freelancer

I agree with the last thought. We will hunt for meanings in places where there might be none, and often miss important meanings and morals that are meant to be apparent. In a song by Petra that sentiment is stated by the line: "Walking over dollars, trying to find another dime".

The theories, the interleaving plot threads and how they will be resolved, the unsolved mysteries, each deserves attention, and RJ deserves the credit for setting the stage so. But there are also very large points about life being made that deserve far more attention, and are often virtually ignored. Leigh does a great job of identifying most of these.
148. Belmont
@50 HurinSmells:

Thanks - I had imagined there was
some other connection between the 3
of them - e.g. they had an ability
to detect "saidan" being used - that
Halima needed to eliminate.

@77 TexasSedai - I liked Anaiya as well.
She appears to have been the only Aes
Sedai with whom you could take for face value -
in a conversation - no subterfuge or "hidden meanings".
149. ian-elan
RE: Graendal and Sammael

Graendal, like all the forsaken, wants Rand dead. But she's not stupid enough to take him on directly, esp given the DO's orders to let him live. So she concocts a plan to get Sammael to do it. Remember, she's an expert manipulator.

She doesn't DIRECTLY get Sammael thinking about Rand. She gets him to think she's trying to distract him to the Sharan's. He already is wary of her manipulation and she knows this, so she's gonna outthink him. This has the effect of making sure Sammael's focus is now more tightly on the little things she says, as well as on Randland proper. Then she lets slip little comments like these, with the obvious results:

"About Lews Therin? You never seem interested in anything else. Now, he would be a pet. I would make him the centerpiece of every display. Not that he is handsome enough, normally, but who he is makes up for that." Smiling into her goblet again, she added in a murmur that would have been inaudible without saidin in him, "And I do like them tall." ' It was an effort not to stand up as straight as he could...Sammael had not come to talk about al'Thor, yet ice formed at the base of his spine. Thoughts he had forced himself to dismiss came oozing back...
- as if she doesn't know the enhancements Saidin gives.

"Always some excuse for your failures," she whispered into her punch, again too softly for him to have heard without saidin. In a louder voice, she said, "Choose your own explanations, if you wish. You may even be right. All I know is that Lews Therin seems to be removing us from the game one by one,"

Sammael's hand trembled with anger, nearly slopping punch from his goblet before he could still it. Rand al'Thor was not Lews Therin. He himself had outlived the great Lews Therin Telamon...

Note his increasing anger and tension and how she eggs him on.

Graendal spoke absently, as though her real attention was on the tune. "So many of us have died confronting him. Aginor and Balthamel. Ishamael, Be'lal and Rahvin. And Lanfear and Asmodean, whatever you believe. Possibly Moghedien...
"If he frightens you, then kill him." Before the words were well out of his mouth he would have swallowed them if he could.

"Tsag!....Bajad drovja! Who would have thought they could change so?"—he had to get a grip on himself; he never cursed like this; it was a weakness—"only they truly follow him, and not all of them. He hangs by a thread, and he will fall, one way or another."
"Will he? What if he is ... ?" She stopped, raising her goblet so rapidly that punch spilled onto her wrist, and gulped until the goblet was almost empty. The elegant serving woman came scurrying with the crystal pitcher. Graendal thrust out the goblet to be refilled and went on breathlessly. "How many of us will die before it is done? We must stand together as we never have before."

That was not what she had started to say. He ignored the ice that gripped his spine once more. Al'Thor would not be chosen Nae'blis. He would not!

And then regarding the Sharans:
Yes, she definitely wanted him to think she had some interest there.

And it ends:
"Next time you can come to Illian."
She shrugged as though it did not matter, but her lips moved slightly, and his saidin-enhanced hearing plucked "If you are still there" from the air.

From here on out, he begins his plans to kill Rand by luring him to Shadar Logoth and then get Mashadar to do it. Not his fault then.

But in the greatest irony, her getting him so focused and paranoid and determined to kill Rand (indirectly) leads to his lie to her that he was promised the position of Naeblis (to get her to work with him), and thus his accendency over her. Unintended consequences and all that.

I found this kind of brilliant machinations/subterfuge a highlight of the later books, as they made rereads so much more interesting.
150. CarolynH
Well, I have to say that I think Chapter 6 here is where the whole series really started to fall apart for me. I just can't get into the whole Forsaken thing. I couldn't keep half of them straight. And the bored me to tears. Such a disappointment, too, because the Mat chapter that came before was such a good one. But from here on, it became pretty heavy slogging for me. I kept waiting for it to get better, and it didn't.
Philbert de Zwart
151. philbert
I must say I really liked this manipulation bit by Graendal upon Sammael. I caught it as well, and I'm usually a dunce in reading between the lines. (I get all the deeper layers from the internet)
So it is well executed: only just clear enough for a dunce like me to get it, and yet sophisticated enough to make me feel good about it; at least I'm smarter than Sammael...

Thanks RJ.
152. birgit
"The moon by day and the sun by night."

Sounds like a reference to the Seanchan (and Mat?) Ruling when they land (day since the DO is trapped), and then the Sun rules at night (the Dragon winning when the Shadow breaks free).

If the moon is Tuon and the lions are Andor the sun should be Cairhien, or maybe the Whitecloaks (or Galad ruling Cairhien?).
Juan Avila
153. Cumadrin
late, but i can't refrain from commenting on this blog. i mean, this is very nearly my favorite chapter of Mat's in the entire series (seriously) for several reasons, but chief among those because it contains the passages that led to my choosing my permanent online handle 6 or 7 years ago at if books 3-4 were the foundation, and 5 was the cement, then this chapter was the glossy paint job or what have you for my unadulterated man-love of Mat. i can't really explain it better than that. forever on Mat just became 'my boy' and the one thread throughout the series that has never wavered for me. i'm sure most of you (Mat being the most popular character in WoT last i checked) know what i'm talking about. but i just had to express my sentiments here, even 6 month after the fact.

at least this isn't some forum and i won't get flamed for necro-ing the thread. hehe

as for the forsaken: you can only go so long thinking about that mess before you just shrug and decide to RAFO. or that's me, at least. i know as much as the next well-read theory junkie about the unanswered questions and i'm basically just waiting to see which ones are right and wrong.

concerning Demandred's proxies in the 'south' (i've not been reading many comments as i've been cruising thru this blog the last few days trying to catch up; that's also why i've not commented much), my assessment is Sammael just doesn't know Demandred as well as he thinks and is mistaken.
Tess Laird
154. thewindrose
Cumadrin - So you want to hang with Mat even though he took you out...Yes, I would call that unadulterated man-love of Mat;)
Hurry and catch up - we love to have insightful commenters, and it sounds like you have been doing this before! ~
permanent online handle 6 or 7 years ago at

Mike Meyer
155. Meyer217
I don't know why but the whole Rand vs. LTT struggle just popped into my head sorta like Harry Potter as Voldemort's seventh horicrux. As in Harry had certain characteristics and abilities because a part of Voldemort's soul was in him so he knew how the dark lord would act at certain times, and it may be that a part of LTT's soul is in Rand. Or it is my sleep deprivation talking for me at 4am, not quite sure yet, haha.
William McDaniel
156. willmcd
I like the "slices of life" in WoT as much as anyone, but it seemed to me like Mat's thoughts during his escapade with Betse the serving girl might have been suited to be read by Basil Exposition on the audiobook. "For those of you just starting the series, let's go over Mat's entire backstory, why don't we?"

I don't why I was particularly aware of it on this reading, but it makes me wonder how far into the series RJ kept that up.

On another note, I'll always remember this entry of the re-read from its original 2009 posting because of the "Nice Guy Rant" (which I had never seen before). In reading it,, I came to the abrupt realization that I had been a Nice Guy (of the bad sort) throughout my teenage years and most of my 20s as well. This realization proved to be was a major contributor in me changing the whole way I viewed my relationships with women, which allowed me to divest myself of a lot of bitter feelings and improve my marriage an awful lot while I was at it.

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