Aug 3 2009 10:50am

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Fires of Heaven, Part 24!! Omigod, hi! It’s me, Wheel of Time Re-read! Eeeeee! I KNOW, it’s been FOREVER, I can’t believe it! You look FABULOUS, have you lost weight? Oh, THANK you, no really. No, it’s amazing to see YOU! Isn’t this AMAZING? It’s AMAZING! EEEEEEEE!

Ahem. You’ll have to excuse me, I’ve just come from an experience remarkably similar to the one I’ve just horrified you with above, and my ears are still ringing a little.

But seriously, folks, I had a lovely vacay, except for the part where I was sick for most of it, but even so, there was fabulous music, awesome catching up with old friends, more amazing food than should be legal for one person to consume, and the opportunity to utter the phrase, “Would you please turn off your duck?” with no irony whatsoever. What more could a girl ask for?

And now we’re back, with Chapters 54-55 of The Fires of Heaven! Hooray!

Previous entries are here, and as always there are spoilers for all currently published novels in the Wheel of Time series herein and therein and everywherein, so

Right? Right!

[Edited to add: And if you haven’t seen it yet, check out Jason Denzel’s early review of  The Gathering Storm over at Dragonmount.]

Chapter 54: To Caemlyn

What Happens
Rand, Aviendha, Asmodean, and Mat return to the Palace with five hundred Maidens in tow, and meets Bael and thousands more Aiel (and Pevin) in the courtyard. Rand thinks back to the exchange between Aviendha and the Wise Ones he doesn’t think he was supposed to hear, in which Bair told her it would have been easier if she had “succeeded” by now, and Amys began to reply that she had done better than they knew, but cut off when she realized Rand was listening.

Shaking his head, Rand reached up as Aviendha swung a leg over to slide down, and lifted her from the dapple’s back. For a moment he held her by the waist, looking down into her clear blue-green eyes. She did not look away, and her expression never changed, but her hands tightened slowly on his forearms. What success was she supposed to have?

He rejects the notion that it was supposed to be something like Colavaere’s young women as being beneath her, and thinks on it until Mat makes a snarky comment about public “canoodling”, and Rand and Aviendha both flush and let go of each other. Rand observes wryly to Bael, looking at Pevin, that his secret mission was apparently not so secret, and warns Bael that he doesn’t know how many he can take. He seizes saidin and opens a four-pace-wide gateway to the Skimming place, which Asmodean had called “a dream of a dream”, and experiments to see how big of a platform he can make. It turns out he can’t seem to make it much bigger than his initial attempt (the size of the courtyard), and wonders if that’s because that’s really the limit, or because it’s the limit he unconsciously set himself.

We all make our limits. The thought slid up surprisingly from somewhere. And we set them further out than we have any right.

The Aiel (and Pevin) do not react to this display, and Mat just mutters about dice in his head, but Asmodean comments that it is very impressive. Aviendha steps through first to join him on the platform, followed by Bael, Pevin, Mat, Asmodean, and Sulin, and then everybody else; Rand warns them all to stay away from the edge, and asks if it’s full. Lamelle shouts back that it is, and Rand calls for the rest to stand clear and closes the gateway. They don’t seem to move, but Rand knows they are, and knows exactly where he is going. Halfway through the trip, someone falls off the platform, and Sulin gives him a flat look when Rand starts to ask if it had been a Maiden. Rand opens a gateway to the spot outside the Palace walls where he had climbed the wall and fell inside the day he met Elayne, and waits as all the Aiel dash out into the street, then follows as they begin scaling the walls and spreading out. Rand notices that there are no people on the street right before the walls topple in multiple places and Trollocs and Fades pour out. Lightning falls from the sky, and Rand weaves a shield that covers half the Inner City, but not before some of the strikes meet.

Mat’s smoking boots lay a dozen paces from where Mat himself sprawled on his back. Tendrils of smoke rose from the black haft of his spear, too, from his coat, even from the silver foxhead, hanging out of his shirt, that had not saved him from a man’s channeling. Asmodean was a twisted shape of char, recognizable only from the blackened harpcase still strapped to his back. And Aviendha... Unmarked, she could have laid down to rest — if she could have rested staring unblinking at the sun.

Rand bent to touch her cheek. Cooling already. It felt . . . Not like flesh.


It startled him a little, that sound coming from his throat: He seemed to be sitting somewhere deep in the back of his own head, the Void around him vaster, emptier, than it had ever been before. Saidin raged through him. He did not care if it scoured him away. The taint seeped through everything, tarnished everything. He did not care.

Two Trollocs move to attack him; Rand smiles, and they burst into flame right before being sliced in half by the gateway he opens to a throne room with Rahvin inside. Rahvin starts up in surprise as Rand steps through.

Nynaeve and Siuan are standing in Tel’aran’rhiod’s reflection of Salidar, both of them intensely annoyed at the other as Nynaeve tries to teach Siuan how to control the Dreamworld. Siuan’s clothes keep changing to show the Amyrlin’s stole around her neck, and she complains about the foul-tasting concoction Nynaeve had given her to make her sleep. Nynaeve is angry in general: at having to deal with teaching Sheriam and the others, at the lack of time she has for investigating stilling and gentling, and at Faolain’s promotion to “something more than Accepted” and her abuse of her new authority that resulted – but none of those are the real reason. Siuan wants to know what Nynaeve’s problem is, and then remembers today is the first day of Nynaeve’s sessions with Theodrin to try to break her block; Nynaeve is not about to admit how upset her failure had made her to Siuan, and snipes back that she heard Siuan had thrown Gareth Bryne’s boots at his head the night before.

“— so he turned you upside down and —”

Siuan’s full-armed slap rung her ears. For an instant she could only stare at the other woman, eyes going wider and wider. With a wordless shriek, she tried to punch Siuan in the eye. Tried, because somehow Siuan had tangled a fist in her hair. A moment later they were down in the dirt of the street, rolling about and screaming, flailing wildly.

This goes on for a minute, until Nynaeve realizes Siuan is shaking with laughter. She demands to know what’s so funny, and Siuan chuckles that she hasn’t done anything like that since she was twelve. She says they can settle their disagreements like adults, but hesitates and adds it would probably be better if Bryne were not mentioned. Nynaeve thinks about what she would have done as Wisdom if she’d found two grown women rolling around in the dirt, and hastily agrees. As they straighten themselves, Nynaeve thinks she sees a face in a window across the street, just for a second. She swallows down fear and tells Siuan she thinks they should go back now, but Siuan is not about to be cheated out of her full lesson’s worth, and refuses. Nynaeve snatches the ring from around Siuan’s neck; Siuan vanishes, as does the ring, and Nynaeve instantly flees to Jurene, a village that she knows Moghedien cannot possibly know about. She wonders, though, why she didn’t just step out of the dream altogether.

I am so . . . so bloody tired of being afraid.

She tells herself she’s being foolish; with the lesser ter’angreal keeping her here, she can barely channel, and doesn’t stand a chance against Moghedien. She decides to go back and tell the Salidar sisters about the Forsaken and deal with the consequences, and says so aloud.

“Light, they will give me to Faolain. I’d almost rather die!”

“But you seem to enjoy running little errands for her.”

Nynaeve leaps up and tries to shield Moghedien, but the Forsaken smiles and brushes her weak weaves aside with ease. She tells Nynaeve she grew careless watching her and Siuan fight, lazily weaving something while Nynaeve stands rooted to the ground in fear. She starts to lay the weave on Nynaeve, but suddenly Birgitte calls out from behind them. Both Nynaeve and Moghedien are shocked, but Moghedien quickly recovers and snares Birgitte, taunting her about living without Gaidal. Nynaeve gathers her courage and staggers toward Moghedien, pleading for her life. Moghedien turns Birgitte into a small girl, and Nynaeve gets down and crawls toward her, begging. Moghedien comments contemptuously that she thought Nynaeve was stronger than this.

Nynaeve’s hand wavered a span from Moghedien. It had to be close enough. There was only her. And Tel’aran’rhiod. The image formed in her head, and there it was, silver bracelet on her outstretched wrist, silver leash linking it to the silver collar around Moghedien’s neck. It was not just the a’dam she fixed in her head, but Moghedien wearing it, Moghedien and the a’dam, a part of Tel’aran’rhiod that she held in the form she wanted.

In growing rage and horror, Moghedien tries to channel, but Nynaeve suppresses the flows easily; then Moghedien tries change the dream to get rid of the collar, and Nynaeve brushes her with imaginary nettles until she stops. She forces Moghedien to turn Birgitte back, and asks how she got there; Birgitte explains that she knew something must be wrong, so she took the ring and what was left of the sleeping draught Siuan had used. Nynaeve confesses to her that she almost ran away and abandoned Birgitte; Birgitte replies, but she didn’t. She asks what Nynaeve intends to do with Moghedien, who is standing calmly now, watching them, but Nynaeve can tell through the a’dam that she is terrified. Moghedien points out that she has valuable information. Nynaeve says, give her some then, and Moghedien tells her that Lanfear, Graendal, Rahvin and Sammael are plotting together.

Nynaeve gave the leash a short tug, staggering her. “I know that. Tell me something new.” The woman was captive here, but the a’dam only existed so long as they were in Tel’aran’rhiod.

“Do you know they are drawing Rand al’Thor to attack Sammael? But when he does, he will find the others as well, waiting to trap him between them. At least, he will find Graendal and Rahvin. I think Lanfear plays another game, one the others know nothing about.”

Nynaeve yanks her close and tells her she knows what Moghedien is up to, and if she’s not completely honest with them Nynaeve will do to her everything Moghedien thought to do to Nynaeve. Moghedien babbles that al’Thor means to attack Rahvin because he thinks Rahvin killed Morgase, but he’s walking into a trap. She starts protesting her innocence in the scheme, and Nynaeve blocks her mouth and ears with Air. She and Birgitte agree it is almost certainly the truth, and Nynaeve says she has to go to Caemlyn. Birgitte points out that she won’t be able to affect the real world from Tel’aran’rhiod.

“I know! I know, but I have to do something.”

Birgitte threw back her head and laughed. “Oh, Nynaeve, it is such an embarrassment being associated with such a coward as you.” Abruptly her eyes widened in surprise. “There wasn’t much of your potion left. I think I am wak —” In mid-word, she was simply no longer there.

Nynaeve unties the flows around Moghedien and tells her they are taking a little trip, and she’d better do her best to help, because whatever happens to the one wearing the bracelet, happens ten times over to the one in the collar. Moghedien nods sickly, and Nynaeve takes them both to the reflection of Caemlyn.

For some reason the moment between Aviendha and Rand where they just stare at each other was extremely touching and sad to me; all this weight between them, and yet neither one can or will say anything about it.

I’m pretty sure that what the Wise Ones mean by Aviendha’s “success” is not sleeping with Rand per se, but what Melaine blurted out waaay back in TSR: “I will make you know your blood for ours if I have to lay the – “ Obviously, the goal here was marriage, laying the bridal wreath, and the reason was to tie Rand emotionally to the Aiel. I guess the reasoning was if he cared for one Aiel individually it would be more likely that he would care for all of them as a group. And, I guess, that also makes sense.

Still sucks for Aviendha, though, since my impression is the Wise Ones didn’t know about her vision that she would fall in love with him, so the whole thing veers kind of creepily close to the Wise Ones’ pimping Aviendha out. However, it’s been previously established that the Wise Ones’ (and the Aiel in general’s) view is that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.

Speaking of KHHHHAAAANNNNNN!!!!!, hi Rand! Guess we’ve figured out how to really, really piss you off, not that it wasn’t extremely obvious before.

I’m trying desperately to remember what my initial reaction to Mat, Asmodean, and Aviendha’s “deaths” in this chapter was. As in, did I believe they were for real, or had I twigged by this point to the distinct dearth of important character deaths in WOT? I really can’t remember. I think I was reading this part so fast that I don’t know that their “deaths” actually really registered. I’m pretty sure that for Mat, at least, I was like “uh uh, no way”, but that may be hindsight talking. It’s not like anyone’s last name is “Stark” here, after all. Ba dum dum. That said, it was still shocking, viewed through Rand’s perspective.

As a slight digression, I find that in a lot of ways rereading a book, especially multiple times, makes me employ some of the mental techniques stage actors use in order to perform the same role over and over again, and yet find a way to make it feel fresh to themselves and to their audience each time. The trick (for me, anyway) is to visualize it, especially in the reactions of the characters. To kind of put yourself through the evolution of their realization, if that makes any kind of sense, and feel what they must be feeling. (Of course, it’s also quite effective to do the first time around, although I note that this is occasionally way more visceral an experience than I might prefer, and why, for example, I would kind of like to smack John Steinbeck around for writing The Red Pony. Or alternately, my sixth grade English teacher for making me read it. Jeez, woman, why don’t you just rip my heart out with a pair of white-hot tongs and stomp on it while you’re at it?)

Anyway. Nynaeve and Siuan: HA! I’m sorry, but the image of the two of them rolling around having a hair-pulling contest is frickin’ hilarious. The best is Siuan cracking up at it herself; I knew there was a reason I liked her so much. And I’m liking her exponentially more this reread than before, too. She’s just cool.

You’ll note, however, that I am heroically ignoring Yet Another Implied Offscreen Spanking between supposedly adult quasi-love interests. Sigh.

Of course, the coolness of Siuan notwithstanding, Nynaeve gets the Crowning Moment of Awesome here. And of course, the real triumph for her is not so much the way she defeated Moghedien (though it was, in my opinion, a stroke of genius that I truly did not guess ahead of time the first time around), but the underlying accomplishment – that she conquered her fear of even trying. Yay, Nynaeve!

This also finishes up Nynaeve’s particular character arc for TFOH, even though she’s not quite finished doing things yet, of course. It’s only in retrospect that I’ve realized a case can be made that Nynaeve is arguably the other main character of this particular novel, after Rand. The other Supergirls are featured prominently, of course, but Nynaeve’s evolution as a character and resolution of her mano a mano with Moghedien is really one of the two major driving forces of the plot in TFOH, even more so than Mat’s arc, judging from my overall impression. This is mostly because Mat’s crisis of character is much more drawn out, and doesn’t really resolve until, well, KOD, really. Huh.

Chapter 55: The Threads Burn

What Happens
Rand stands in a ruined hallway in the Palace, memories of the day he had met Elaida and Morgase warring with Lews Therin’s memories of Ilyena dead in a similar corridor.

Gareth Bryne would have killed me, had he known. Morgase would have ordered my death. Morgase would be alive, perhaps. Elayne’s mother alive. Aviendha alive. Mat. Moiraine. How many alive, if I had died?

I have earned my torment. I deserve the final death. Oh, Ilyena, I deserve death.

I deserve death.

He is attacked by Darkfriends led by a Fade, and freezes them to death before walking on, bypassing two terrified servants, searching for Rahvin. He throws himself flat as balefire streaks through the hall, and returns in kind; he runs after the source to find that Rahvin has disappeared through a gateway that seems different from the ones before, like the one he had made in Tear. Rand makes one like it, and steps through to what looks like the same room, except the damage from the balefire keeps flickering in and out of existence. He’s not sure where he is, but knows it’s a very strange place. He continues on, looking for the Forsaken, and suddenly realizes he is becoming misty and insubstantial.

No! It was not his thought. An image began to coalesce. A tall, dark-eyed man with a worry-creased face and more white in his hair than brown. I am Lews Ther—

I am Rand al’Thor, Rand broke in. He did not know what was happening, but the faint Dragon was beginning to fade from the misty arm held in front of his face. The arm began to look darker, the fingers on his hand longer. I am me.

He fights to hold to his own image against that of the older, dark-eyed man, and finally succeeds. He wonders why Lews Therin had tried to do that, but realizes that Lews Therin had said “no”, and that it must be Rahvin’s work, and that there is some property of this place that allows him to alter reality. Rand tries it on a rosebush and discovers it has limits, and decides to rely on saidin. He sends lightning throughout the balconies and windows surrounding the courtyard he’s in, snarling, and continues on.

Nynaeve throws herself flat, dragging Moghedien with her, to avoid the bars of light like those she had seen in Tanchico slashing through the walls. She’s not sure if that was from Rand or Rahvin, not that it mattered, and has not seen either man so far. Moghedien is dry-heaving, having tried to remove the a’dam again; her cooperation had faded fast once she realized Rand and Rahvin were here in Tel’aran’rhiod with them. She clutches Nynaeve’s skirts and begs her to let them leave, saying they are here “in the flesh. In the flesh!” Nynaeve shuts her up, cursing Rand for being foolish enough to let Rahvin lead him here, where he could not possibly know the rules. Moghedien shouts that she doesn’t understand; in the flesh, either man could crush her and Nynaeve both like bugs. Nynaeve snaps at her to be quiet, and Moghedien refuses to go any further; Nynaeve threatens the nettles again, but Moghedien doesn’t care, and Nynaeve thinks the Forsaken must have guessed that Nynaeve wouldn’t kill her in cold blood. So she uses the a’dam to make it seem like Moghedien was receiving some of the punishments she had received for misbehaving as a younger woman.

Grimly, Nynaeve did it again. She won’t stop me short! Again. I will help Rand whatever she thinks! Again. Even if it kills us! Again. Oh, Light, she could be right; Rand could kill us both before he knows it’s me. Again. Light, I hate being afraid! Again. I hate her! Again. I hate her! Again.

Abruptly she realized Moghedien was jerking frantically in her bonds, nodding her head so violently it seemed about to come off. For a moment, Nynaeve gaped at the other woman’s tear-streaked face, then stopped what she was doing and hurriedly unraveled the flows of Air. Light, what had she done? She was not Moghedien.

She asks if Moghedien is ready to cooperate, and the Forsaken mumbles that they will be killed, but nods. Then the two women are almost thrown off their feet as the entire Palace shakes. When it subsides, Nynaeve hears the sound of booted feet running off, and drags a terrified Moghedien after them.

Rand steps into a courtyard with a fishpond in the center warily. The benches change into man-shapes and attack him; Rand bursts them into shards. Then the air becomes water, and the fish turn into piranha-like predators that attack him, ripping him up; Rand flails, and finally manages to turn the water back into air before he drowns. He detects the remnants of a gateway and heads for it, but falls down as he begins changing into some kind of animal. He fights against it, but he is losing saidin.

Nynaeve rounds another corner, still following the boots, and finally catches a glimpse of her quarry, who doesn’t look like Rand from behind. She continues after him through a labyrinth of hallways, pausing as balefire punches through a nearby window. She’s sure that was Rand, but he could kill her as easily as Rahvin without knowing it. She can tell through the a’dam that Moghedien is in a full-fledged panic, and rather agrees with her. Through Moghedien, she fills herself with saidar to the point of stilling herself, and finally comes to a hall where a man with white wings in his hair stares down through a window at something below, sweating with effort but smiling too. Nynaeve fills the entire hall with a wall of flame, and Rahvin screams in agony before shielding himself from the fire.

Every scrap of saidar she could channel was going into that inferno, but he held it at bay. She could see him through the fire; it gave everything a red cast, but she could see. Smoke rose from his charred coat. His face was a seared ruin, one eye milky white. But both eyes were malevolent as he turned them on her.

No emotion reached her along the a’dam’s leash, only leaden dullness. Nynaeve’s stomach fluttered. Moghedien had given up. Given up because death was there for them.

Rand is suddenly himself again as fire fills the hallway above the courtyard, and he sees Rahvin stumble out onto the colonnade, facing away from Rand and charred to a crisp.

“Rahvin!” he screamed, and balefire flew from his hands, molten light thicker than a man, driven by all the Power he could draw.

It struck the Forsaken, and Rahvin ceased to exist. The Darkhounds in Rhuidean had become motes before they vanished, whatever kind of life they had had struggling to continue, or the Pattern struggling to maintain itself even for them. Before this, Rahvin simply... ceased.

Rand stares, thinking it seemed too easy, and runs for a door.

Nynaeve lets go her weave as the bar of liquid fire blinds her, and then Rahvin is gone. Moghedien begins weeping with relief, and Nynaeve spins as she hears boots approaching. Rand appears, and she thinks he is not as she remembered; his face is hard, and his eyes like ice. She realizes she can’t let him know who Moghedien is, and remembering Elayne’s comments, impulsively makes the leash between collar and bracelet disappear. She is panicked for a second, but then realizes the link is still there, so Elayne had been right, evidently. Rand says he thought it might have been her, or... he doesn’t say “Elayne”, and instead asks what this place is. Nynaeve swallows, and tells him that the Wise Ones say it is an evil thing, being here in the flesh like he is, that it makes you lose your humanity.

“Do the Wise Ones know everything?” He brushed past her and stood staring at the colonnade. “I used to think Aes Sedai knew everything. It doesn’t matter. I don’t know how human the Dragon Reborn can afford to be.”

“Rand, I…” She did not know what to say. “Here, let me Heal you at least.”

She Heals the bites and wounds, noting again that unHealable wound in his side, which continues to irritate her. She confirms to Rand that she saw Rahvin die; he wonders if there are any other Forsaken about, and Nynaeve ignores Moghedien’s surge of fear to tell him he must leave. He agrees, and creates a strange gateway to the real world. He hesitates, and tells her to ask Elayne not to hate him. He face twists in pain, and she reaches out to him, but he steps back and says Lan was right. He says to tell Elayne to forget him, that he’s found someone else to love, and tells her that Lan has done the same, and wants her to forget him.

Better never to have been born than to love us.” He stepped back again, three long steps, the hall seemed to turn dizzyingly with him in it — or part of the hall did — and he was gone.

Nynaeve stared at where he had been, and not at the fitfully flickering reappearance of the damage to the colonnade. Lan had told him to say that?

“A... remarkable man,” Moghedien said softly. “A very, very dangerous man.”

Nynaeve turns to her, and Moghedien points out hopefully that she has been useful, has she not? Nynaeve creates a cup filled with liquid and tells her to drink it; it’s not poison, but forkroot, which will make her sleep too deeply to reach Tel’aran’rhiod. Moghedien considers, and agrees, downing the draught. Only then does Nynaeve remark that Moghedien had known Birgitte was not dead, and known who Faolain was too, and that Siuan used to be the Amyrlin Seat; she will see Moghedien shortly in Salidar. Moghedien’s eyes roll back in a faint, and Nynaeve lets her vanish before stepping out of the dream herself.

Rand steps outside the Palace, where the fighting with Trollocs and Fades is still going on, and stops dead in shock as he sees balls of flame envelop Shadowspawn from within the hard-pressed center. He quickly destroys most of the Trollocs with balefire, and finally sees Aviendha, fighting with a knife and saidar both. He runs toward her, and sees Mat and Asmodean both nearby, alive and well.

Balefire. Balefire that burned a thread out of the Pattern. The stronger that balefire was, the further back that burning went. And whatever that person had done no longer had happened. He did not care if his blast at Rahvin had unraveled half the Pattern. Not if this was the result.

He grabs Aviendha and whirls her around while she stares at him like he’s crazy, and tries to hug Mat too.

Mat fended him off. “What’s the matter with you? You’d think you thought we were dead. Not that we weren’t, almost. Being a general has to be safer than this!”

Rand laughs that he’s just happy they’re alive, but his laughter fades as he takes in the carnage all around them, and sees Lamelle’s body, as well as Pevin’s, and many others. He hears a thought telling him to take joy in what he can, and knows it is not his thought, but takes it as good advice. Aviendha demands to know where he went, and he tells her Rahvin is dead. Bael limps up, Sulin behind him, and tells him the Shadowspawn are running; Rand deliberately walks away from Aviendha and begins giving orders.

I’m not sure I realized, the first time reading this, that this particular Big Ass Showdown is markedly different from the ones preceding it in two major ways. First, this is the first time Rand actually knows enough about channeling to not be completely making it up as he goes (though that is partially replaced by his not knowing crapola about the Dreamworld, and making that up as he goes).

Second, this is the first (but not the last) time that Rand would never have succeeded if Nynaeve hadn’t been there to help him. Even Moiraine’s defeat of Be’lal was not as decisive, in my opinion, since Rand still had to then battle and defeat Ishamael all by his lonesome. But here, Rand had essentially lost the duel with Rahvin – until Nynaeve sucker-punched him from behind.

This is an interesting position for Nynaeve’s character to be in. Obviously it ties into the running theme about the necessity for men and women to work together, balance to the Force, yin, yang, yadda, etc., but it’s interesting in that Nynaeve is not really any kind of immediately obvious mirror or counterpart for Rand, in the sense that she doesn’t represent any of the usual roles that she would, in other works, have normally been slotted into.

She’s not “the female lead” (there really isn’t one in WOT), and she’s not the often overlapping role of the male lead’s love interest (or even one of them!), either. Nor is she even his political counterpart – that role is destined to be fulfilled by Egwene (or Tuon, depending on how you look at it). Neither is she his mom or his sister or his daughter. They’re not related in any way, in fact, except for how they’re from the same village and she babysat him a lot.

In fact, the only way in which Nynaeve might be considered Rand’s true counterpart in a way that isn’t shared by half a dozen other female characters is in her strength in the Power – except for how that gets rather ruined by the appearance of Alivia the Uberdamane later on (which is why, I suspect, I was so irritated by her introduction). Although, I suppose that’s later, and I shouldn’t let it interfere in consideration of what happens here. So, assuming we pretend Alivia doesn’t exist for the moment, Nynaeve’s sole parallel with Rand is that (at the moment) she’s the strongest female channeler (for the Light) and he’s the strongest male channeler (for the Light, and probably altogether).

I… can’t decide if that’s a refreshing break with narrative tradition, or if it’s ever so slightly wonky. I’m just saying that if, in a Light vs. Shadow thematic epic battle of good and evil sense, it’s all about the symmetry, then the symmetry here seems a tad off.

Or maybe I’m overthinking this, and should just shut up and eat my yummy Titantic One Power Battle Wheaties. Om nom nom.

Other notes on this chapter: Moghedien is a wonderfully believable Crouching Badass Hidden Wussypants. And again Nynaeve brings the awesome: “See you in Salidar, bitch”. Oh, snap.

I love that Rand tries to hug Mat, and he’s all “uh, get off me, freak”. Heh. Not to mention his not-ironic-at-all snarky comment thereafter. I would almost roll my eyes if it hadn’t made me chuckle so well.

Is it cheap that Mat and Aviendha (and Asmodean, briefly) didn’t get to stay dead? Well, obviously this is a matter of opinion. I’ve noted before that one of the bigger complaints a lot of people have had regarding WOT is how no one dies ever, and I certainly can’t deny the legitimacy of the criticism. I, however, have been bolstered by a lifetime of long-running TV and film series where no one ever gets killed off because the actors are too popular/their contracts haven’t run out yet, so I have accepted that this is how WOT rolls, and you can either let it go, or not. I have let it go.

Although, I note, that does not keep me from speculating wildly about whether/if that amount of character invincibility will persist in The Rilly Big Ass Showdown we are presumably approaching come this November.

And we’re gonna stop here, even though we’ve only got one chapter left in the book. I think if you think about it you’ll understand why. See youse guys Wednesday with the endy-end of TFOH!

Marcus W
2. toryx
I can't remember my first read of FoH all that well, but I do think that I was briefly stunned at Mat being dead and then in immediate denial. I'm pretty sure I thought that he was probably not as badly wounded as it first appears.

I probably stopped reading for all of 30 seconds before getting back into it.

Is it cheap that Mat and Aviendha (and Asmodean, briefly) didn’t get to stay dead?

At this point, I don't really think so. It's not exactly the most impressive display of writing but their deaths (and subsequent revivals) demonstrate more effectively than at any other time how powerful and dangerous balefire is.

It also demonstrates how dangerous Rand is. If he ever really loses it and starts balefiring right and left to bring people back (a constant danger with his maiden name collecting and descent into madness) he literally could destroy the world for good.

So overall, I take this as a lesson about balefire. The appeal of it, and the unbelievable amount of responsibility that's involved in using it.

If balefire was regularly used to bring people back then I'd definitely think of it as a cheap plot device.
John Massey
3. subwoofer
Hi Leigh, can't type right now- am crying over the keyboard... it's so beautiful! A new post. Very thoughtful...

Hope your vacation was good. Left me with the back of the bus kids...

Sounds like you went to a reunion. Yay? Didn't go to mine- fell out of touch with those people on purpose. Stayed off Facebook for that same reason. Life is happy now.

Right? Right!
Abdel Masdoua
4. TheDarkOne
Wooohooo, New Wonderful Post! I Can Hear The Voices In My Head Again!
Erm... I Mean... Nevermind.
5. douglasm
This reminds of a later scene where an assassin tries to kill Rand with a crossbow, he blocks it with a shield of air, and the bolt bounces and kills a nearby woman with a predictable reaction from Rand. I've occasionally wondered why he didn't immediately grab the crossbow bolt, throw it in the air, and balefire it to undo her death.
Kurt Lorey
6. Shimrod
Welcome back, Leigh. And for the Love of Light, please don't read all of the 500+ comments from Part 23. Don't say you weren't given fair warning. ;)

I don't mind a lack of characters dying the final death. For some, they might be looking forward to an eternity of "interaction" with the DO. That would be true justice. Getting what they want, just maybe not in the way they had hoped.
7. Ben Frey
oh finally. My *twitch* has been relieved. For a day.

soooooo glad I put this book at #2 of my WoT top 3 list a couple years ago based on memories alone...I was right...I love this book.
John Massey
8. subwoofer
'K lets get down to it- stop crying man and pull yourself together, slap -I get what you are saying about Ny- everybody keeps on saying she has so much power or is the most powerful female channeler since the AOL... then Alivia comes along. Did anybody see that coming? And is this a new Ny on the side of right- Alivia turns to the DO- or is she a new Super Girl dropped out of the blue?

“A... remarkable man,” Moghedien said softly. “A very, very dangerous man.”

How cool was that?! Mo finally getting a first hand impression of Rand. And actually being impressed. Up to this point I had the impression that Rand had been killing Forsaken by sheer dumb luck. Now that a legit one has taken his measure and been satisfied, it gives Rand more credibility to me as well.

Le sigh for Pevin...

Go Bela!
Blake Engholm
9. UncrownedKing
Rand = not the guy you wanna piss off. Nuff said
James Jones
10. jamesedjones
Hi Leigh! Welcome back!

You were missed. Like, 500+ posts missed.
Blake Engholm
11. UncrownedKing
I vivdly remember my reaction to the deaths of Mat and Avi. I put the book down, re-read the paragraph three times, then couldn't believe it. I had to of missed something. Went back and re-read the beginning of the chapter again (I may have re-read the chapter before as well). Unreal shock factor from RJ. Loved it. I can compare the shock value to the ending of Ender's Game. Had no clue that he was commanding the actual invasion. Crazy good ending that.

I also love the twist when they all come back. This book is uber-awesome.

Say what you want, Nyneve, for the most part, is my favorite female character. She's just so clutch. Who you gunna call?

Great post Leigh.
12. wernergh
I remember the first time reading about their deaths didn't even register in my head that they had died because I was reading through so fast. Then I got to the last chapter where they review in their heads what happened and how they don't want to remember and was thinking what the heck are they even talking about and so I went back and then it finally registered. I guess Rand found how to bring back the dead. Can't wait for the theories on a certain chosen's death.
13. Jormengrund

Just when I thought that I was going to have to deal with yet ANOTHER drab and dull Monday, Leigh comes through in blazing form, and gives me a WOT fix to keep the Monday doldrums from being too severe..

I love how Nynaeve finally comes into her own, and makes Moghedien dance to the tune she calls. Birgitte notwithstanding, Nynaeve seriously kicks some tail in this novel!

Rand the uber inner-self guru strikes again. He doesn't know much about what he does, but when he's in "the zone" he just can't go wrong, can he?

As for being dead and staying dead.. I just have to say that I wouldn't mind it so much if it happened to mirror real life.. I mean, if I knew that there was a 95% chance that even if I died I'd be coming back really soon, I don't think I'd mind death much either!

Can't wait for Wednesday and the wrap-up for this book!
jane reynolds
14. janie
Welcome back, Leigh!

And hi, everyone else *waves*

I've been lurking and trying madly to catch up for the past month or so, as life forced me to drop behind, and being slightly OCD I naturally had to read all the comments as well as the posts ... Very interesting discussions you guys have been having, I was sorry to have missed out on participating. Surveys were great too. What a diverse group we are!

Re-reading these chapters, I had the same thoughts regarding the Mat/Avi/Asmo death-undeaths. I really can't remember how shocked I was or how much I believed they were really dead, and this time, I barely even registered, just skipped right on. I think I can handle the fact that they don't really die, both because of the lesson it provides about balefire (as pointed out by Toryx), and because, I'll admit it, I don't want them to die!

Nynaeve totally kicks ass, and Moggy's real cowardice provides a great contrast with Nyn's hilarious internal monologue about what a coward she is. Someone should really tell that girl that knowing you're afraid and doing it anyway is what bravery is all about.

On another note, if you'll allow me to go back to the previous post (I was going to post on that thread when I noticed this was up), I'd like to thank Wetlander in particular for perfectly expressing the way I feel on the issue (@199, great post!), and pretty much everyone in general for having such a polite and intelligent discussion! And some laughs along the way (esp. mirax and forkroot @406). And happy birthday, thewindrose!

And that's about all the thinking I can do for tonight, seeing as it's currently - eek - 1:20 am in this part of the world, and I have to be up in 6 hours, I am going to sleep. Goodnight!
15. Belmont
That's an interesting point re: Rand's and
Nynaeve's relationship. Maybe part of it still
goes all the way back to their time in the
Two Rivers - specificly as N.'s role as the
village physician. N. is also a natural
problem-solver in many ways. She's determined
to find a way or a cure for situations
that some other folks around her would say are

As for Alivia I like the fact that she is so
much older (400+?) and is from a different
16. Lsana
On the "Nobody Dies" issue:

I've thought a lot about this question, and in someways, I'm okay with it. It's part of how the world works, and you just go with it. It's like a Saturday morning cartoon: you knew Jean Grey wasn't really going to die, no matter how bad things looked, and that the X-Men were going to triumph. Likewise, none of the people Rand really likes are going to die, and the Light will win in the end. There's no suspense about WHAT will happen, but it's still worth continuing to find out HOW it will happen.

However, it does have the effect of robbing most of these moments of their emotional impact. I didn't react at all to Mat and Avi dying. My reaction to Moiraine's "death" was a vague annoyance with the characters that they didn't realize she was obviously not dead. Basically, I think WOT needs to knock it off with the "Disney Deaths" because they have no credibility, and therefore, I have no reason to be sad someone has been "killed" or joyful that they came back.

Of course, this could all be a set up for one big sucker punch: at this point, if Mat or Perrin were actually killed, that would be all the more shocking.
paul Hend
17. tugthis
I remember when reading this how the Balefire was solving a lot of problems for Rand. At first I thought that it worked to back up time if used too long. Here, though Rand seems to indicate that it is the intensity of the use that rewinds the clock. Left unsaid (because these time travel things are so impossible) are who else that was dead is now back a live because of Rand's actions? I assume it would apply to trollocs and Fades etc too. . .

I also have a problem with Ny's squimishness with offing Moggy here. After letting her off the hook before she once again fails to do the right thing and kill her. I realize that that is a harsh statement, especially in light her femaleness, but really... is there anyway that A forsaken can be allowed to live? NY has no qualms with napalming Rahvin from behind, but when she has a murderous serial killer in her control it, "is er, no.. . can't do it?" I guess in this way she suffers from Rand/Lanfearitis.
18. Tenesmus
Thanks for these posts. I am in Afghanistan and have been on a bit of a scavenger hunt trying to find the paper back versions of these books. I have found books 2,3,4,6, and 7 while traveling around the country to different bases.

I know that everyone has pictures of what these characters look like in their minds eye. One I can't seem to shake is Elaida. Everytime I read one of her POV's, all I can picture is a younger version of Nancy Pelosi... it is just too funny, it really cracks me up...

Lest I forget...
Moiraine killed Asmodean
Mesanna is posing as Laras
Uno is Gaidal Cain reborn
James Jones
19. jamesedjones
16 Lsana

You nailed it. That is exactly how the "deaths" in WOT strike me. Thank you for the perfect analogy with saturday morning cartoons.

But for me, the worst wasn't Moiraine. It was Morgase from a few chapters back. Nobody there even knew the lady. They were all shocked on behalf of a friend's mom. But it hit them harder than any other death in the book. It just seemed overdone in order to explain Rand's stupid over-reaction to the news.

Of course, it might have seemed more natural if we didn't know that Morgase already slipped out the back door. ;)
Vincent Lane
20. Aegnor
I always kind of took issue with the way Nynaeve defeats Moghedien here. I would think you would have to have an in depth knowledge of the collar before you could make one in TAR. If it were Elayne, then it would make sense, because she is the Ter Angreal expert. This just seems a bit out of no where.
Theodor Engström
21. Theodor
On my first readthrough I knew that Mat wouldn't stay dead because I immediately remembered that all prophecies concerning Mat hadn't been fulfilled. And then we also have the whole Mat dying and living again prophecy.

But I can admit that I thought that Aviendah and Asmodean where dead beyond rescue.
22. nipper
My question from this has always been, is Mat still tied to the horn since he died ?
Theodor Engström
23. Theodor
Well, because of the balefire his death never happened, so I would say that he's still bound to the horn.

And if he's not, it's not really going to matter, because everyone still thinks that he is bound, so no one else is going to blow it anyway...
John Mann
24. jcmnyu
What exactly was the comment Amys made to Aviendha about? Avi acts like she is constantly surprised about her feelings about Rand and constantly seems to frame them with her obligation to Elayne. What was she supposed to accomplish? Melaine gave her half sentence, a Jordan favorite, and we are supposed to think marriage wreath. Was Aviendha supposed to have married Rand before they left the Waste? Seems awful fast to me.

Is Nynaeve really afraid or does she not interpret what she is feeling correctly?

And in my opinion, Nynaeve is the female lead of the whole series, not just this book. She is Alise of the Kin in training, Forsaken level channeler, remover of the taint from Saidin, healer of stilling, Queen of Malkier, and mother figure to Rand.

I have no recollection to Mat and Avi being dead and what I thought about it. I was probably to young and stupid to read between the lines and was reading fast to get to the fight scene.

What would have happened if Nynaeve had stepped through the gateway with Rand? Two Nynaeve's? She wakes up? My head hurts.
Theodor Engström
26. Theodor

If Nynaeve had stepped out of Rands gateway I think that her soul would have ended up in the palace in Caemlyn and with her body in Salidar, it would have meant that she would be dead. Or it could be like trying to move through a wall, with her dreamworld body not being able to enter the real world...

Just a theory though...
27. Dr Hoo
I'm never really bothered by the heroes always surviving in these books, or movies, or whatever. My reasoning is that if they all died, and the DO won, there wouldn't be any story to write about, so I wouldn't be reading this, right? I'd be reading about some other story where everything broke just right and the good guys won (assuming an infinite universe, there must be plenty of these, so even the most improbable stories could happen).
Genevieve Williams
28. welltemperedwriter

Or it could be like trying to move through a wall, with her dreamworld body not being able to enter the real world...

That's my theory, too; she'd try to step through the doorway and it just wouldn't work, or she'd wake up.

Myself, I wonder what would've happened if Rahvin had succeeded in turning Rand into an animal, or one of the other things he tried. What happens in Tel'aran'rhiod carries over, we're told; if Rand had left the WoD in that state, would it have been possible at all to change him back?
Pepijn Vemer
29. Artsapat
Had exactly the same problem with this chapter: their deaths didn't register at all.

In fact, doing my own re-read I'm finding a lot of stuff that I didn't register. (Unless I have forgotten this much...) It's either from reading to fast, or from not having English as a .

Too bad the conclusion of who Moghedien is, isn't in this book. Why do you think RJ left that for the next book? Only thing I can think of is narrative reasons: he'd have thought it a disappointment. Maybe he's right: it would all be below par to this chapter and what comes next. It's not THAT big a reveal.

Speaking of which: looking forward to your "You? No!" discussion. Heh. Good luck with it.
30. junior1234
I agree that Nynaeve is really either a co-main character, or THE main character in this book. Which is probably why i like it so much, and people think it's, you know, good. An actually character arc seems like something of a rarity in these books. It's more like "Hey, Im a hero now, because ehhhh, Jordan said so."

Also, the less Perrin in a book, the better it is, and the same, to a lesser extent, of Rand.

In fact, if this series was turned into a "Lethal Weapon" style buddy adventure with Mat and Nynaeve, it would possibly be the greatest thing ever.

Mat would be running around like a lunatic getting them into crap, and Nynaeve all "I'm too old for this shit" and blowing stuff up.
31. mazza313
i remember very clearly when i frist read that mat and aviedha had died, even though it was eek, 15 years ago now. i was like no way, there has to be a twist, either they're not dead or something else. obviously it was something else, and i felt kind-of psssht when they were there fighting away again. it made sense, but i was still booo! not that i wanted them dead, but balefire seemed so banal. jaded 15 year old maybe? probably....:)

and welcome back leigh, so super awesome to read your recaps again. ps - i went to the american library association conference in mid-july and complimented your writings to katherine doherty (and mentioned that it was surprising that they didn't put the reread on their 12 month marketing plan for TGS. it deserves to be highlighted). i hope that she passed this along or at least made a nice note in your secret employee file. :D
j p
32. sps49
Leigh, just change the vacay days to sick days, then take another vacay, m'kay?

This chapter rocked, and makes the next even cooler (calm wrapup then BAM!). Straightforward.

Nynaeve vs. the Forsaken- c'mon. She has Mog a prisoner, and is about to in the "real" world; only bad guys kill prisoners. Rahvin was not a prisoner and there is no way to take him captive- so he is taken out. Should be end of discussion, but I know us....

@ 31-

Second para (especially) seconded.
33. Rossage
@25 - pevin was wearing a red woolen coat...
sandi vogel
34. sinfulcashew
18. Tenesmus
"Lest I forget...
Moiraine killed Asmodean"

I have been seeing this statement for a while.
And.....I am still puzzled?
Isn't Moraine already gone into the mirror with Lanfear?
Isn't she assumed dead?
How can she be responsible for Asmodeans death?

I know it is easy to forget alot of the things that happen in the story. Each reread re-freshens the memories! Except I don't remember how that could have happened.
I'm sure yoall can refresh my memory?????

Jason Deshaies
35. darxbane
The only reason the Lanfear or Moiraine theory holds is that we don't know just how far the Finn's can go to grant wishes.
Anthony Pero
36. anthonypero
@20 -

Um, they also make horses and "unicorns", for crying out loud, I'm not sure they need to completely understand what it is that they are making in order to make it.

Anthony Pero
37. anthonypero
The Moiraine theory is a dumb one anyway. It's just not in character for her, in the slightest.

I still think it's Taim. And I know no one likes that theory either, lol. But that's for Wednesday.
38. Marita
Thanks Leigh for posting these recaps. I found this site not long ago and got to the previous just two days after posting (didn't read most of the comments, especially the 800+). It's been a joy to revisit my favourite series trough someone elses POV. I get to realize some things that I have overlooked of forgotten and, you know, get to see what someone else see in the scenes. Plus I think your writing style is excellent, I have scared my dog many times by suddenly bursting to laughter. And by the way, thanks for the OOTS link, it kept me sane while waiting for this one to continue. (sorry if there's lots of typos, but it's getting late here (22:15) and english isn't my first languge)
Maggie M
39. Eswana
@ 22
I always thought that his death-undeath did break his connection to the Horn. "To die an live again" was one of the Finn prophecies concerning Mat, and it can be interpreted three ways: 1) his hanging in Rhuidean 2) the balefire-undid death here or 3) something yet to come

However, since nobody except Rand knows that Mat "died" temporarily, the rest of the world thinks he's the only Hornsounder. I'm not sure what sort of implications this might have for TG, especially given that the Horn is currently locked away in Tar Valon, and I think only Siuan and maybe Verin know where.

Glad you're back Leigh! Hope you enjoyed your well-deserved vacation.

Yes, go read Jason's tGS review.... it's awesome. Contains mild spoilers, but nothing extreme. Mostly just made me even more excited for November 3rd!!!

(are there any midnight release parties planned?)

...and get ready for Wednesday, when the "Who Killed Asmodean" Debate resurrects itself in all its overly-digested glory.
James Jones
40. jamesedjones
30 Junior1234

I'd read that!
41. MasterAlThor
waves back a 14

Hi yourself...welcome to the post.

whatuptho....thank the Creator you are back.
We have been waiting for so long just starvin like Marvin for a cool Leigh song. Ha see if they can figure that one out...

Everything is back to normal.....sigh
Rikka Cordin
42. Rikka
All I have to say is that in the last three books that Branden Sanderson is writing, main characters had damn well better die, elsewise there's no justice in the world.
43. jormengrund

@25.. Love the Trekkie reference!

Now.. was Asmodean wearing red, or was it some red-color offshoot?

That's the question I'm dying to have answered!
Sam Mickel
44. Samadai
I have to say that I don't understand some peoples desires to kill off some ar all of the main characters. I read these books to escape from the horsecrap of everyday life. If you want to read about death just read the news. It in no way makes a story better by killing main characters. Yes, I understand that the odds are against them surviving but thats why it is called Fantasy and not reality.

I want you all to know that I know without a doubt who killed Asmodean, but I ain't a sharing

it was Robert Jordan
barry troy
45. perrin5454
I don't have the books in front of me, so I can't be sure this is a valid question, but here goes.

Now when Rand balefired Rahvin, Mat, Aviendhva and Asmo all came back to life. They were obviously killed by Rahvin channeling lightning, so when Rand Balefired him it was like the lightning never happened. I'm tracking this and it makes sense.

My question is this though, if everyone is alive again why is this neccessary?

From Leigh's summary-
"Rand, I…” She did not know what to say. “Here, let me Heal you at least.”

She Heals the bites and wounds, noting again that unHealable wound in his side, which continues to irritate her."

Logically, when Rand Balefired Rahvin, shouldn't the wounds caused by Rahvin's traps in TEL dissappeared. The only possible explanation that I can see here is that since they happened in TEL they are somehow outside the pattern and did not get burned out of existence? Can somebody help me with the internal logic of this one?

Oh, and about Mat and the to die and live again, didn't RJ post somewhere that Mat was still tied to the Horn and that the death scene had already happened? Again, don't remember where I saw that, but I could swear to it
46. hihi
@ 37.anthonypero

According to Jordan we have enough clue about who kill Asmodean by the end of this book (FOH) so it could not be Taim since he is introduced in the next book.
Jason Deshaies
47. darxbane
While I do not personally believe the Moiraine theory, how is it out of her character? She uses Balefire (a Stilling offense), she passes the Warder bond (another big no-no), and she repeatedly threatens to do whatever it takes to make sure the Light wins the last battle. If anything can be said about Moiraine's character, it's that she is capable of anything, especially wishing for the chance to kill a Foresaken even though payment means an eternity in 'Finn Land. I think the letter excludes her. Lanfear, on the other hand, is just crazy enough to blame Asmodean for teaching Rand too well, which kept her at bay long enough for Moiraine to step in. If the Finns have the power to put Lanfear in that pantry, it's possible. Who knows, maybe they are able to do the Moghedian trick a la Birgitte, but didn't tell her that she would die soon afterwards. This is all just speculation of course. November ends the who and starts the "how was I supposed to know that?" mixed equally with the "I knew it was him/her all along. I guessed the Sixth Sense too"
Antoni Ivanov
48. tonka
@ 45 Yes I can answer (or quote it rather)

Quotes :

Reports from signings (paraphrased)

I got an answer to the Rahvin/balefire/Tel'aran'rhiod question - when someone is balefired, the constructs they make in Tel'aran'rhiod do not disappear, but instead fade away slowly over time. There are lots of weird effects associated with Tel'aran'rhiod and balefire, such as the way the world flickers after balefire used. I asked him just generally about it, and then he jumped straight in, gave the answer, then used the Rand and the fish example.

Laurel, Mississippi: In The Fires of Heaven, after Rand has his battle at the end, why is it that balefire works for his friends and not on his bites that have to be healed?

RJ: Because his injuries occurred in Tel'aran'rhiod. And what occurs there is different than what occurs in the waking world. Different rules apply.
Antoni Ivanov
49. tonka
@ 45 Oh, and about Mat and the to die and live again, didn't RJ post somewhere that Mat was still tied to the Horn and that the death scene had already happened? Again, don't remember where I saw that, but I could swear to it

I've never read this , if you can quote it I will be curious but I can give Jordan's quote about this scene that is interesting.

At the book-signing (Balticon XXX April 1996) and after his reading from A Crown of Swords, Robert Jordan answered lots of questions about the series so far. Here is one of his answers recapped:

Mat's amulet blocks both saidin and saidar. Jordan answered this one straight-out when asked. He pointed out that the amulet only blocks actual weavings of the One Power, not the physical effects that could be caused by a weaving. For example, Elayne was able to use the One Power to hurl a rock at Mat. Rahvin was able to create a bolt of lightning which struck Mat. (Jordan noted that Mat's death by lightning and subsequent undoing of his death when Rand balefired Rahvin, fulfills a prophecy about living, dying, and then living again.)

So this is when the part of dying and living again is fulfilled.
Antoni Ivanov
50. tonka
@ 32

Nynaeve vs. the Forsaken- c'mon. She has Mog a prisoner, and is about to in the "real" world; only bad guys kill prisoners. Rahvin was not a prisoner and there is no way to take him captive- so he is taken out. Should be end of discussion, but I know us....

There is HUGE difference between killing someone defenseless in cold blood and attacking another to protect yourself or someone else. And she didn't need to kill Moggy here , she had another much better solution.
Vincent Lane
51. Aegnor
I seem to remember someone quoting RJ as well, saying that Matt was still tied to the horn.
Antoni Ivanov
52. tonka
@19 But for me, the worst wasn't Moiraine. It was Morgase from a few chapters back. Nobody there even knew the lady. They were all shocked on behalf of a friend's mom. But it hit them harder than any other death in the book. It just seemed overdone in order to explain Rand's stupid over-reaction to the news.

The only who reacted sharply to Morgase's death was Rand which is understandable, he felt guilty about her because he left Rahvin there while dealing with other stuff and thanks to his neglect his love's mother is death and again he feels terribly guilty about that (which if you know Rand , you should know that this is pretty normal for him). So he is off avenging Morgase and taking off one more Forsaken.
53. RobMRobM
@37 and 47. It would be contrary for Moiraine to kill Asmo in light of her letter to Rand, in which she states that while she does not approve of his use of Asmo as a trainer she understands. Have expressed her reluctant acceptance, why would she immediately waste her Finn wish on going to try to kill Asmo off, especially while others have much more compelling reasons for offing him (Graendel, cough cough). Rob
Anthony Pero
54. anthonypero
@46.hihi -

Oh, yes, I'm aware. But seeing as Jordan also said it was supposed to be obvious, and the only thing obvious about it is that it obviously isn't obvious, I'm inclined to disregard that particular interpretation of Jordan's statement.

Let's hold this thread till Wednesday.
Antoni Ivanov
55. tonka
@ 51.Aegnor

Quote :

Netherlands tour April 2001, Leiden - Aan'allein reporting

Q: Are Mat and Perrin Heroes of the Horn reborn?

56. hihi

On the contrary it is absolutely obvious that it is Graendal.

And one more thing he said it is obvious by the end of the 8 or the 9th book but by the end of this one only that it could be deduce who s/he is (it is not obvious).
57. hihi

On the contrary it is absolutely obvious that it is Graendal.

And one more thing he said it is obvious by the end of the 8 or the 9th book but by the end of this one only that it could be deduce who s/he is (it is not obvious).
Antoni Ivanov
58. tonka
Here is another "The Gathering Storm"'s review of someone who has read the manuscript early . It's completely free of spoilers so no worries :

Tarvalon's review (click here)

And Jason's review that was already posted:
Anthony Pero
59. anthonypero
I guess we're not going to hold this conversation till Wednesday after all...

I thought it was obviously Taim at the end of FoH. While he may not have been on-screen by then, we certainly knew about him, and he was in Andor at the time, and it's quite possible that he already knew how to Travel anyways. Either the scene before, or the scene immediately following, IIRC, Rand is told that Mazrim Taim was already in Andor, and makes his proclamation protecting all men who can channel. I believe Mazrim Taim was turned to the Dark Side by the Circle of 13 when he was broken free of the AS.

It is certainly plausible that Asmodean knew about MT being a DF, and it's even plausible that Asmodean could have been a part of that plot. RJ's "obviousness" comments notwithstanding, Taim fits the bill as well as Graendal, and has a more timely motive, to boot.

The only other theory that makes sense to me is Slayer--But why all the cloak and dagger if it's just the guy doing his job? In my mind, the only way the scene, as written, makes sense is if the purpose of removing Asmodean is to replace him with someone else.
60. Spook
On character invincibility: I agree that WOT could have used a big character getting killed (although at the time I read TFOH I thought Moraine was killed).
As an example I love how Hitchcock broke the movie rules in Psycho. At that time everybody was in for a big surprise when Vera Miles got killed in about 15 minutes, while she was a famous actress at that time.
Antoni Ivanov
61. tonka
I think that both Taim and Slayer theories are ridiculous mainly because of what I said before but I am not going to try convincing you . We are going to find out soon enough who is the killer (If I don't miss my guess we will know in November) so I'll just wait to read and find out(RAFO).
Anthony Pero
62. anthonypero
I think the fact that Asmodean is already dominating this thread the chapter before it happens says about all that needs to be said, lol.

It is not obvious, Mr Jordan, lol.
63. Freelancer
Best quote from this post:
Birgitte threw back her head and laughed. “Oh, Nynaeve, it is such an embarrassment being associated with such a coward as you.”

The pseudonym Robert Jordan doesn't have a middle name, but it should be Irony. Many of us accuse Nynaeve of being many things, but never the one thing she accuses herself of being; a coward. As soon as she knows there's a trap set for Rand, it never crosses her mind to do anything but drag an unwilling forsaken along on the rescue, into T'a'R, and without knowing for certain what they'll find or be able to do. Moghedien is soiling herself, and Nynaeve is like, "Game on!" Yeah, coward.

I always kind of took issue with the way Nynaeve defeats Moghedien here. I would think you would have to have an in depth knowledge of the collar before you could make one in TAR. If it were Elayne, then it would make sense, because she is the Ter Angreal expert. This just seems a bit out of no where.

You don't need to know the precise makeup of hickory, oak or maple to form the image of a table or chair in T'a'R. You don't need to know the metallurgy to create a set of shackles. I understand your argument that you couldn't make a ter'angreal that functioned properly without the detailed understanding of its' construction, but T'a'R being what it is, defining the function in your mind, then making the object that performs it, seems perfectly reasonable to me.


But they didn't make the unicorn. They nearly came to blows, each declaring that they didn't make it, so the other must have. That's the joke, the unicorn is a denizen of T'a'R, not a construct of either girl's mind.

On Asmodean's murderer:

Leigh being the FAQ Queen, she did the yeoman's work on this topic way back in the day, and the structure of the current FAQ on this topic remains as valid now as then. Graendal is the most logical choice, though not the only viable choice by far. Slayer is out. Taim is extremely borderline. Lanfear and Moiraine both depend upon the behavior of the 'Finn to allow them a chance, and of them only Lanfear would have done it, as others have posted regarding Moiraine's disapproving allowance of the forsaken teacher. Asmodean had clearly expressed his greatest fear (short of the DO) as being in the hands of Graendal.
lanyo lanyo
64. lanyo
you keep using that word "obvious". i do not think it means what you think it means, mr. jordan

i mean, we're all fairly smart cookies in here, and we can't agree on a killer, and the guy isn't even dead yet!

and nynaeve is full of rad. even if she's a mega-bitch, i'd rather she was my friend than my enemy.
Abraham Park
65. Abe
In A Crown of Swords, didn't Mat die from falling debris? And at the same time, the dice inside his head stopped?
Maiane Bakroeva
66. Isilel
Yes, Nyn-Siuan dustup is pretty funny. I always liked Siuan - she is a true hero and one whose role is pretty thankless.
Despite all her courage, determination and cleverness, she is likely to go down in history as the one who nearly botched everything. And her relationship with Bryne became cringeworthy in a hurry, too.

Big Nyn - Moggy showdown - wee! Nyn is always so entertaining and it is both funny and uplifting to watch how she winds herself up to confront Moggy and then Rahvin.

Re: Nyn's role - I disagree that her helping Rand here is more decisive than Moiraine's killing of B'elal, but it is certainly a badass action without which Rand would have been toast.

I also couldn't care less about Alivia - I really hope that at some point it will be revealed that strength isn't everything. Well, it kinda was already with Moiraine's killing of 2 Foresaken by being prepared and sneaky, but I hope that we'll see more of the things like cleverness, speed and skill mattering.
For instance, why does Nyn here and AS in general mainly use Fire in battle? Aren't women supposed to be generally weak in it? Surely some very deadly stuff can be done with Air and Water at much lesser cost.

Clever use of magical systems within their limitations is Sanderson's forte, so here is to hoping.

Re: deaths - a few deaths of major characters would have made the stakes look more real.

Oh, and can Nyn finally kill Moggy, please? And somebody kill Semiraghe? And would it be too much to hope that Elayne manages to hang the BAs before they escape _yet again_? Seriously, these people are mass murderers. In cold blood or no, they need to be disposed of. Too bad that Moggy and Semi actually need to be BFed to get rid of them once and for all, but unfortunately our heroes don't know that.

As to Asmo's death - I do think that Taim is likely. The timing is too fortitius otherwise. And IMHO since Taim is not Dem, he is a DF of long standing and was taught to channel by Ishy several years previously, when Ishy first came up for air again and started training some Dreadlords.

I mean, "so-called Aiel"? Knowledge of the test for male channeling? Knowledge of the non-sweating trick (something that not even the precocious main characters were able to "intuitively" figure out)? Disdain for everything people come up with on their own? Yup, no wilder, he.
Vincent Lane
67. Aegnor
He didn't die, he was just seriously injured.
Alice Arneson
68. Wetlandernw
toryx @ 2 Good words on death/balefire. I think that was a great analysis of the situation. Agree that overuse would make it an annoying plot device, and I like the little detail that the danger associated is HUGE and should keep it from overuse.

janie @ 14 Thanks for your kind words. And you are SO right about the polite & intelligent discussion here. The only reason I feel free to try to express things like that is the knowledge that here, some will agree and some will not; in either case, they will generally be very civil in their response. It says a lot for the people here that even in a heated disagreement, there is very little name-calling or flaming.

tugthis @ 17 (BTW, I've always loved that name!) Balefire doesn't actually back up time; the time has still passed. It only removes the person and their thread from the pattern - the greater the Power behind the balefire, the farther back that one thread is removed. So the actions of that one person are undone for a short way back, but it doesn't jump everyone back an hour or whatever. It's not a time travel thing. And the removal of a thread is what makes it so dangerous: the farther back in time the thread is removed, the more actions (and their repercussions) are undone, so that if you get carried away with it you can seriously damage the Pattern.

About Nynaeve trying to kill Rahvin but not killing Moghedien... it's the difference between killing someone in battle and appointing yourself the judge, jury and executioner of a particular criminal. Is there a difference? Someone is dead as the end result. However, most of us, whether we can make a rational case for it or not, would do the same. Whacking someone over the head with the nearest baseball bat before they can murder your friend is one thing; tying someone up to a chair and then putting a bullet through their brain because they deserve it is rather different.

Aegnor @ 20 Why would you need to understand how an a'dam works to create one in TAR? Most of the sul'dam who use it every day don't know how it works; they just know how to use it. Same thing in TAR; if you know what it is and how to use it, and you have enough control of TAR to hold things as you want them, you don't need to understand something at a molecular level to create it.

I want to make some other comments on Nynaeve as Rand's counterpart, but I have to think for a while before I do that. I've probably thought about the above comments long enough that others have already made those points, but I'll have to figure that out after I post.
69. Noren
Hey,Leigh.Welcome back.

This was,I think,my favorite Rand vs Forsaken chapter ever.The way he kept pulling exotic weaves outta his ass,his smile when the Mydraal attacked him,the way Mat pushed him off when he returned....I could go on.

@5 douglasm
He came close to balefiring the assassin.Believe me,he came close....

This chapter crystallized a realization for me:the Forsaken are physical cowards.Much as we tend to scoff at Moggy for cowardice,the rest of them aren't any better.With the exceptions of Lanfear, Semirhage and maybe Ishamael,their first instincts when attacked is to run.Rahvin.Sammael.Aginor and Balthamel only attacked when they thought he was completely untrained.Ditto Belal and Ishamael.Asmodean wasn't willing to take even that risk.Demandred,Graendal?Deep undercover BY CHOICE.Wanna bet Mesaana takes off as soon as the Seanchan hit Tar Valon?
barry troy
70. perrin5454
This is off-topic to the current thread, but I remember there was a lot of discussion in the moiraine death scene about why Lanfear was on teh wagon and how she go there. This quote is from RJ's blog on I found it while looking for answers to the Mat dying to live prophecy.

"For Phil Reborn, Lanfear climbed onto the wagon to get the angreal. Rand was occupying her to the extent that she couldn’t afford to just use flows of Air to bring it to her. And Lanfear being Lanfear, there was a touch of the dramatic in it. She was always a drama queen."

I don't know if someone posted it on the other thread, but i found it a little funny, especially the last line.
William Fettes
71. Wolfmage

"She Heals the bites and wounds, noting again that unHealable wound in his side, which continues to irritate her."

Logically, when Rand Balefired Rahvin, shouldn't the wounds caused by Rahvin's traps in TEL dissappeared. The only possible explanation that I can see here is that since they happened in TEL they are somehow outside the pattern and did not get burned out of existence? Can somebody help me with the internal logic of this one?

Yes, this sequence does beg the question - because logically the wounds should disappear with Rahvin's undoing. However, there are two variables at issue:

1. The wounds occur in in TAR;
2. The wounds occur in TAR, whilst both are in the flesh..

We don't know enough about the physics and cosmology of Randland to fully determine whether 1 alone is sufficient to inoculate wounds from TAR. Verin states that she received a wound in TAR that wouldn't heal, and we know that Dark Friends use TAR to make some things possible that are otherwise not possible, so it's certainly possible TAR's otherworldly status or asynchronous nature, grant it a special permanence that is unammenable to balefire. However, it could also be that actions and reactions within TAR, when you're fully in the flesh, are specifically unammenable.
72. Freelancer

On the nose again regarding Nynaeve's disparate actions toward Moghedien and Rahvin. Certainly, Moghedien deserves to die, but there's things to deal with first in Nynaeve's mind. Besides, the moment of capture returned the knowledge that Rand was in imminent danger, so no time to think about what to do with Moggy yet, except bring her for firepower under control of the a'dam.

Killing Rahvin isn't being judge, jury and executioner in this case, it's saving that young man you still feel charged with caring for. Rahvin is trying to make Rand into something non-human, and Nynaeve must stop him. It's very much the difference between warfare and criminal justice. One demands action with extreme prejudice, the other with jurisprudence.


Most definitely, bad guys are almost always short on courage. If they had real guts, they'd be successful within the normal societal system. It's always about taking shortcuts, or having what isn't yours, or refusal to accept society that turns people to evil, and it is always a compromise with your conscience. Whether people believe it or not, it is very difficult to truly be brave in opposition to one's own conscience.
Wayne Wilson
73. stylusmobilus

I have to say that I don't understand some peoples desires to kill off some ar all of the main characters. I read these books to escape from the horsecrap of everyday life. If you want to read about death just read the news. It in no way makes a story better by killing main characters. Yes, I understand that the odds are against them surviving but thats why it is called Fantasy and not reality.

I have to say that this is more or less exactly what I had to say but since you had to say it and already have said it, I don't have to say it now. Especially the second and last sentences of the paragraph. Spot on.
Alice Arneson
74. Wetlandernw
" is very difficult to truly be brave in opposition to one's own conscience."

Wow. Now there's some food for thought...

Just a question for something that's been tickling at me: does anyone know, does Nynaeve ever accuse anyone else of being a coward? Foolish, stubborn, all sorts of other things, but does she ever tell anyone they are a coward?

I've always loved these bits, where Nynaeve kicks herself around the village green for being a coward, when she is actually demonstrating great courage. Thanks for the quote, Leigh: Birgitte threw back her head and laughed. “Oh, Nynaeve, it is such an embarrassment being associated with such a coward as you.” Isn't courage almost defined as doing what needs to be done even though you are afraid? I mean, if there's nothing to be afraid of, where's the courage? Poor Nynaeve. ;) And what I REALLY love about it is that she's not even thinking about it in terms of what others think of her; it's her own fear that bothers her, not the thought that someone else might think she's afraid. Did that make sense? Ahhh. You know what I mean.
sandi vogel
75. sinfulcashew
I wasn't going to, buuuut.....I did it.
Read the reviews and........Yay!

Also read a couple of the comments at the bottom and quickly quit!
The book isn't even out yet and there are people guessing this or that, like they have knowledge about it!
I had to come back here to earth. At least the debates are about things we know(?) about.

"Vera Miles got killed in about 15 minutes, while she was a famous actress at that time."
If I'm not mistaken, Jamie Leigh Curtis mother (Janet Leigh) was the actress who was killed. Shockingly! So quickly!
We all expected the story to be about her story line.

Now I at least understand the viewpoint of why Moraine may have killed Asmo.
A wish to the Finns? Pretty lame?
76. alreadymadwithasmosdeath
Freelancer @63
Much as I'd agree that Graendal is as good as any of the usual suspects, I'd disagree that Asmo's having expressed his greatest fear has anything to do with the circumstances of his demise. He's afraid of Graendal because of what she does to people who get on her bad side. Whatever happened to Asmo, it was obviously not Graendal's typical MO.
Andrew Lovsness
77. drewlovs
Sorry if its been talked about, like I've said every time I make my first response.

As per Avi and the wise women pimping her out, I do not see Avi keeping the "fall in love" information from the wise women. Well, its no more unlikely than them pimping her out, anyway. I always wondered why the wise women were so keen on getting Aviendha close to him, especially when she seems to hate him so. But if there is a vision attached to this, and more than likely they themselves have had visions of a relationship between Rand and Avi, all of this makes a LOT of sense.

. I think I was reading this part so fast that I don’t know that their “deaths” actually really registered. I’m pretty sure that for Mat, at least, I was like “uh uh, no way”...

EXACTLY. This was what happened to me, and when Leigh said this, I had a flashback to me, a lot younger and more spry, up at 5am reading the last few pages in a frenzy. By the time I registered that the three might just be DEAD, they were no longer in need of burial.

I would kind of like to smack John Steinbeck around for writing The Red Pony...

For me, take out "The Red Pony" and sustitute "Ethan Frome". That book was all sorts of demented, and I totally identified with the main character. Well, except for his ultimate solution; I find even the idea of suicide to be very selfish. It might be the 4 children who think I'm some sort of a God talking, but there are too many people who would be hurting I left behind. Can I really compare the pain I feel to THAT?

This part of the book made Nynaeve in the top 3 characters for me, slightly nudging Egwene from that spot. Egwene became a "Rand" type person from LoC on, a bit too... historic?... for me to identify wih. But when she overcomes the first true wall, and is there to help Rand atthe end, she won a spot deep within my heart. The woman has moxxy, I tell ya that!! At this point in my first read, I never disliked her again, and I even got to the point of making excuses for her when she got stupid, when I talked about WoT with my friends.

As for gender counter-balance to Rand, I think that is Egwene's role. I certainly hope so. Nynaeve is so real to me, and wonderful in her imprfection, I do not want her to get that "larger-than-life" feel that Rand has.

...Moghedien tells her that Lanfear, Graendal, Rahvin and Sammael are plotting together.

“Do you know they are drawing Rand al’Thor to attack Sammael? But when he does, he will find the others as well, waiting to trap him between them. At least, he will find Graendal and Rahvin. I think Lanfear plays another game, one the others know nothing about.”


She confirms to Rand that she saw Rahvin die; he wonders if there are any other Forsaken about, and Nynaeve ignores Moghedien’s surge of fear to tell him he must leave.

Sooo... Graendal is supposed to be with Rahvin, hmm? I wonder where she was during this battle? And if she knew Rahvin had been snuffed out, do you think she would explore a little, looking for items of value, as she did with Sammuel before she left?

I wonder what would happen if she ran into someone who could identify her... say Asmodean?
James Jones
78. jamesedjones

Name one person you don't think killed Asmodean, then give a reason that they could've.

I'm sure Myrelle didn't kill Asmodean. But if he'd ever refused to be one of her warders, she'd have toasted him.
79. Freelancer

Check the quote from tonka@48.
80. Freelancer

No argument with you there. Graendal, on the surface, seems pretty unlikely, since she'd rather draw out suffering of one of her subjects than instantly off them. But the evidence to go on, and the RJ suggestion of deducability, really leaves only the three ladies; Graendal, Lanfear, Moiraine. Taim could not have been guessed from the information available to that point. Slayer could not be guessed, he wouldn't kill a forsaken without the knowledge or permission of another, and why use a non-channeler to kill a channeler, no matter how weak? Rand's internal POV shows he thinks Asmo skipped out, as do several forsaken POVs.

What I'm left with is two women who need to use a 'finn wish to get to him, and Graendal. The very unlikely begins to become plausible by elimination.
craig thrift
81. gagecreedlives
So if Nynaeve can create a ter’angreal in the dream world is there any reason why she couldn’t recreate the female choedan kal there?

Is entering the dreamworld in the flesh really that evil? Do we have any evidence of this?

It’s a pity that we cant set up factions for who killed Asmo (and other theories loony or otherwise) and see who was right come the day.
Kristina Blake
82. kab1
Welcome back Leigh! I'm surprised at how quick the reread was up today. Sorry about your sickness while on holiday. bummer.

I do think the Nynaeve is one of the main characters- she gets a lot of povs thoughout the series, even if there less in the later books (for goodness sakes, even Rand gets majorly backburnered). I think she really goes through some major developments as a person as well, from her hatred of Aes Sedai in the beginning, to wanting the become Aes Sedai, to removing her block and her "release" of Lan to his borderland fight (many more moments of course- fights with Moggy, the cleansing, which is why I do think she's a major character throughout the series). and of course her famous (infamous?) temper which we see her trying to control in the later books. Personally, I really enjoy her character! although I know many don't, you've got to give her props for courage.

I also remember being annoyed by the presence of Alivia as she took some of Nyn's "coolness" away, but there had previously been sea folk introduced that could eventually equal Nyneave (Talon?). On my many rereads, I eventually figured it made the series more "real" in that the supergirls weren't the strongest in the large world of Randland.

Of course one of the reasons I like WOT so much is it's complexity and the abundance of major characters, everyone can have a favorite and there are so many that it's okay not to like one! Also, there are so many that my favorite characters oftern change on every reread. although mat is always at the top of the list!

As far as the Mat, Avi, and Amso deaths, I remember thinking, "what?" and then proceeding to read as fast as possible, not even enjoying the Rand/Ravin showdown, and trying to get to the part where we returned to them and found out if they were still dead or not. I was screaming at Rand to kill him already and get back to Mat and Avi. I remember thinking, surely Mat can't be dead, and being rather irked at his foxhead for "failing".

and also, I don't have a problem at all with the major characters not dying as per the reason above @6. However, we'll have to see what RJ has in store for us. From his novels, Brandon doesn't appear to have a problem killing off characters, so for characters that RJ may not have written an ending for, who knows?
William Fettes
83. Wolfmage
Freelancer@ 79

Thanks. I wasn't aware there was a RJ quote on the issue. TAR constructs in general then.
Ryan Thistlethwaite
84. shintemaster
Re: Nyneave
I've done plenty of re-reads but I'm really enjoying her character more and more this time. For me she's less of a mother figure to Rand than a sister, especially towards the end although there are different facets of both relationships. She's also (unlike Egwene) totally for him when it counts. For me she kind of falls close to the bracket of Avi, Elayne and Min however Min is the closest. When Rand needs a female channeler he can trust that has the big moves he goes to Nyneave. I think they're relationship towards the later books is really touching. She recognises that he's become bigger than the village boy, bigger than almost anything but she can treat him with respect without fear.

As others have said, she's brave as an ox (and as frustratingly stupid at times) but boy does she Get Stuff Done™ and © Nyneave Inc.
85. Freelancer

For whether being in T'a'R in the flesh is truly evil, there is little to go on, and what there is can be ambiguously interpreted.

The Aiel Wise Ones declare it a thing of evil, and there's no good reason to utterly discount this opinion. No guarantee either way, but they do have credibility regarding the dreamworld.

In these very chapters Moghedien is utterly horrified about Rand and Rahvin being there in the flesh. Unfortunately, she's horrified about everything, and it's possible to see her comments as being more concerned that the men have all the power and advantage over her and Nynaeve in this situation. If that is the case, she's not expressing fearful concern over what they are doing to themselves by being in T'a'R in the flesh, rather expressing her own natural cowardice, and that she has little chance of surviving an encounter with a channeler in T'a'R who can employ full power and potential.

Lastly, we have Egwene entering T'a'R in the flesh to pseudo-Travel to Salidar. The Wise Ones aren't thrilled, but they don't try so very hard to stop her once she makes up her mind. This strongly suggests that their position on it being evil is more about who is using it and how, than the thing itself. If they really believed Egwene would damage who she is by doing this, they would have been firmer about talking her out of it.
Ryan Thistlethwaite
86. shintemaster
@ Freelancer (and I guess anyone else interested...)

I have a suspicion that there is something more to the 'evil' claims. That suspicion is along the lines of the possibility of losing your soul. Perrin is warned that he is there too strongly in the 'wolf dream' and the wolves have also commented re: Slayer that when a Wolf dies in the dream it is permanent.

My gut says that tearing souls from the pattern might be dangerous in a similar way to balefire. It's not the way it's meant to be and endangers the pattern, hence evil.
craig thrift
87. gagecreedlives
Thank you Freelancer

Reading your post made me think that maybe its considered evil as the only way males can enter Tar is through a gateway and in the flesh. If that is true maybe the idea that it is evil has been magnified over the years as any male channelling would be bad anyway.

Not really sure how valid this idea is but I thought I would throw it out there anyway.
Frank Skornia
88. FSkornia
Re: Character Deaths

There have been some authors who have used main character deaths very effectively (warning, I'm going to be spoiling a lot of things here, so skip my post if you want to avoid them). George RR Martin is notorious for his brutality to his main characters. I honestly believe that half of the main characters we were introduced to in A Game of Thrones are dead by this point, and usually in shocking and abrupt fashions. I still feel a pang in my heart whenever I think of Ned Stark's execution at the end of AGoT. Yet it is an effective means for Martin to show how brutal his world is, and how in wars (especially the ones the scope of the ones being fought in Fire and Ice) one life is insignificant when looking at the entire picture.

Even Tolkien has his major character deaths in Boromir and Gandalf. For Boromir it's meant as a redemption, and later as a motive to drive Denethor insane. For Gandalf it was his primary means of leveling up. Both deaths were shocking during my first reads and were extremely effective.

Then there is Stephen King - one rule I have about reading King is that any character can die at anytime. I only need to point at The Stand (where the bomb and its resulting deaths were the main reason for the good guys to assault the evil lair in Vegas) and The Dark Tower series (where the paring off of Roland's companions was meant to show his drive and sublime will to reach the Dark Tower no matter the cost). In both cases, King uses the deaths of major characters to significantly drive the plot and the development of his characters.

In regards to the Wheel of Time and the lack of deaths for the major characters, I think it reveals how much impact the Dark One is having upon the Pattern. Death, which is usually an immutable force, no longer holds the power it used to. We see "Un-Balefired" Forsaken are returned to life, Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean are brought back by Rand's use of Balefire. Even Birgitte is outside her normal cycle of life and death. As the Dark One becomes more free of his prison, the Pattern is stretched further from its true shape, and things that expected no longer happen the way they should.

Also talking about the Dark One's effects on the world, was anyone else amused by his tactic of endless summer as a means of oppressing the world? It's sort of like he said, "Well, the endless winter thing didn't quite work out the way I wanted it, maybe I'll try the other end of the spectrum."
89. Valan
@ FSkornia

"In regards to the Wheel of Time and the lack of deaths for the major characters, I think it reveals how much impact the Dark One is having upon the Pattern. Death, which is usually an immutable force, no longer holds the power it used to. "

That is a great statement and a re-curring theme in WoT I think. From the beginning death seems to become less and less of a permanent thing, and is actually cyclical given the Wheel itself. The more power the DO has over death, the more disruption in the pattern he is creating. He is furthering his goal to end existence.

At least we've had a couple of prominent side characters die. I certainly didn't see Aram's death. Then you have Rand's litany of dead women which certainly, for me, brings the concept of death into perspective. Also, we were told nearly from the beginning that the taveren trio has to be together - and therefore alive - at the Last Battle for there to be any chance of winning. So if one of them does die in the next book, everyone is more or less screwed, and you can stop reading.
90. Valan
I would like to revise my statement. "you can stop reading." You can keep reading (cause I would) but the point being you'll already know how it ends.
91. Valan
I would like to revise my statement. "you can stop reading." You can keep reading (cause I would) but the point being you'll already know how it ends.
92. Valan
Sorry ya'll I really need to register an account, so that double-posting stops. Its not there and 3 minutes later, there it is!

I'll get around to it eventually.
- World's Biggest Procrastinator

(Except on Nov. 3rd)
john mullen
93. johntheirishmongol
re: deaths in fiction

I think its pretty funny that some of you expect the rules of a fantasy story to follow the rules of probability. If RJ has a low body count and this annoys you, tell me who you want to kill? It has always seemed to me that it was designed to get all the 6 main characters to the last battle alive so they can defeat the DO. And the prophecy has always been that Rand spills his blood which as always been taken that he dies (and I assume somehow resurrects, since I don't see how Aviendha has his kids without him around). While I don't mind having a character die if it makes sense to the story, like we all originally thought Moiraine had, I certainly don't want a bloodbath like GRRM.

While I love the prose, I found the number of main characters killed off in the Fire & Ice series annoying, and it kept moving the focus of the series. All this told me was that GRRM simply had no direction for his books, and was making it up on the fly without any finale in sight. I also think that if a writer commits to a series, he must finish it within a reasonable time (so if you see Neil Gaimon tell him to shut up - sorry that was an annoying bit of lecturing on his part).

As for who killed Asmo? Who cares? Way overrated character in my book. Perhaps because we never got his POV and so I never really believed he was anything but a bad guy. To me, a betrayer betrayed is justice of a sort.
94. Tenesmus
To those that have posted that my Moiraine killing Asmodean theory is silly; let me put it in perspective. When I read tFoH the very first time and Asmodean was killed, Moiraine to me, was obvious, this was before all the wild speculation and the subsequent literary forensics that have been done over the years.

Let me elaborate, we see Moiraine and Lanfear disappear, the next chapter (?) we see Matt and co. get killed, and brought back from the dead, then the next chapter we see Asmodean get whacked. In my mind one of the two (Lanf/Moir) came back for him. Just circumstantial, but I was sure one of them killed him, so I thought about, and decided it had to be Moiraine because (all circumstantial):

1. A FS would have likely shielded/bound/gagged him first, said something witty, bragged about becoming Nae'blis, etc. There would have been a conversation, no matter how short.
2. Lanfear would have done something similar to what she did to Kadere(sp) on the docks. She was way pissed off, and bat shit crazy when she fell through the door. She would have likely come back to kill Rand or Aviendha, not the shielded schmuck boy Asmodean.
2. Moiraine has used balefire to kill other Forsaken, and used the element of surprise with no pretext of shielding/binding/gagging, etc. Her chance for success stems from surprise and balefire. That is her M.O.
3. Asmodean's reaction to seeing his killer. He would have said something different if his killer was a living FS. He was resigned to his fate; he knew he would have been killed by them. He would have sighed and meekly said something to the effect of, "Oh well, It was a matter of time, the gig is up, you got me..." His guttural reaction of, "YOU!!" fits Moiraine appearing perfectly. How many others would he have honestly reacted that way towards?
4. Moiraine's letter. She says she Can Not approve, and warns Rand to remember that Asmodean will never really change. She has been eavesdropping with her stone, and meekly submitted to Rand just to stay near him. She also said that she saw many possible future, ones even in which she bedded Rand. If she saw that many possible outcomes, why not one where Asmodean turns/kills Rand in the future after she is gone?

I know all of this is speculation and circumstantial, but remember, I came to this conclusion on my first read, before there were SIX more books with Moiraine missing. Nothing in those SIX books has contradicted my initial gut reaction of her killing Asmodean, nothing, not a single POV, not a single random comment, not one scrap of literary evidence has pointed to someone else, not a single shred. Why? Because, to me, there have been no 'finn chapters or Moiraine POV's since.

In murder investigations, you eliminate suspects through alibis and evidence. Nearly every suspect has been eliminated through internal POV's or alibis. Very few suspects remain after SIX additional books of evidence. Isn't there an old saying, "Once you eliminate the obvious and unlikely, whatever remains, no matter how impossible is the truth." I probably butchered that, but you should get the gist; process of elimination leaves very few real options.

I am sticking with Moiraine, she'll be back soon to clear it all up
Hurin Smells
95. HurinSmells
I think the problem that comes about from no-one dying in WoT is not that characters remain alive, but that they spin off into their own story arc's and detract from the two or three major plot lines that we want to see progressed. Of course, in the grand scheme of things I'm sure RJ had plans to fold a lot of these up together before the end, but when it's spread out across 11+ books, sometimes I wonder if it would have better to just let people die (Morgase, Gawyn, I'm looking at you!)

On the topic of Alivia usurping Ny as #1 saidar channeller for the Light, this must be a plot device from RJ, because Min's viewing says Alivia will help Rand die. I think in order for the Light to win TG, he has to die, and there's a chance that Ny would baulk when it gets down to it if she were #1 on the day.

So I've been reading ahead, and the first few chapters in LoC make it pretty clear to me that Graendal killed Asmo. Nothing as definitive as an eye-witness account or straight out confession (that would be unlike WoT), but still I'm pretty certain. I'm sure that will get covered comprehensively in the re-reads of those chapters.
Antoni Ivanov
96. tonka
@66.Isilel Surely some very deadly stuff can be done with Air and Water at much lesser cost.

Like what , Isilel ? I mean, I was thinking and I cannot really imagine something more deadly made by Air and/or Water at lesser cost ?? So really what ?

Fire is easy to come by and very deadly. Probably if she hit him hard with air would have been better as she is thinking about.But fire is the most deadly thing she has in her arsenal

Wanna bet Mesaana takes off as soon as the Seanchan hit Tar Valon?

Yes, I can take this bet. Mesaana has plans for the White Tower. I think she knows about the attack (the Forsaken are too knowledgeable, and in the last case she must know about Egwene's dream)

@77. drewlovs
I am sure Aviendha didn't tell about falling in love in Rand to the Wise Ones, she wanted to escape that.

As for who killed Asmo? Who cares? Way overrated character in my book. Perhaps because we never got his POV and so I never really believed he was anything but a bad guy. To me, a betrayer betrayed is justice of a sort.

We got a POV, the one he died.
Antoni Ivanov
97. tonka
As for Taim's theory , I am sure that Taim was not a darkfriend when he joined Rand in Lord of Chaos. Everything speaks of this , his behavior, and from all Robert Jordan said in his interviews.
But he is DF by the end of Knife of Dreams. So, he either decided to switch sides, or had 13-13 trick performed on him (which is likely, the Shadow would want the leader of the Black Tower to be their man, and Taim had too much authority already to replace him with someone else)
Karen Walters
98. Wrenza
@96. tonka

Air - remove the air from around the person

Water - surround the person with water

Both could be localised to the person.

Although I do agree fire is a lot more spectacular.
Maiane Bakroeva
99. Isilel

I mean, I was thinking and I cannot really imagine something more deadly made by Air and/or Water at lesser cost ?

Like removing water and air from their opponents in the same way that Rand removes heat? We are 90% water, you know, this ought to be very effective. Even a little bit of speed-drying should be enough to blind a channeler, which effectively makes them helpless.
Lightning, of course - Nyn thought herself that she should have used it and she is right.
Very thin, sharp filaments of solid Water/Air (which are possible as per TGH) moving at great speed. Etc, etc.
Well, I hope Sanderson comes up with something. I am tired of battles being decided solely by strength or ad-hoc stuff (even if it is provided by LTT).

Re: Taim, IMHO his supposed concern for Rand and delivering of the Seal was all part of Shadow's plans.
Not sure why forced conversion would be required either - after all, a male channeler would be particularly tempted by blandishments of the Shadow and the only plausible hope of survival it offers. And to be a False Dragon you'd have to be pretty immoral too.

IMHO, Taim's attitude, his mockery of Rand's fear of madness and his knowledge that no male wilder could have acquired, not to mention his disdain for experimentation, all shout "taught channeler" loud and clear. YMMV.


Isn't Ishamael a Dreamer? And doesn't he (in Moridin persona) recognize the T'AR ter'angreal as training aids? IMHO men can be dreamwalkers and can learn to enter T'AR at will. Forsaken who aren't T'AR experts prefer to enter it in the flesh to be stronger, that's all IMHO. And during battles, naturally, there is no other choice.


The Foresaken are survivors. They didn't get to last as long as they did by taking stupid risks. Personally, I don't think that seeking to fight from position of strength is necessarily cowardice - and Mat agrees with me, LOL. Evil people can be very brave, sadly.
Also, some of them managed to become successful indeed in AoL. They weren't all losers who couldn't achieve pinnacles of their ambition within their society - for roughly half of them they just wanted more than society could offer.
Antoni Ivanov
100. tonka
@ 98.Wrenza

I don't think this would have worked at all( as the similar @99) , Rahvin can channel too and besides it's definitely not easier than just sending fire at him.

Yes , the most effective would have been a lightening or fist of air/water. But she didn't have much time to think, fortunately, because Rand wouldn't be able to send his giga-balefire at Rahvin and revive Asmo, Mat and Aviendha.

Btw, it was mentioned somewhere that dream ter'angreal were used in studies. So I think it's possible that everyone can learn to enter in TAR with proper studying but only this rare individuals like Egwene, the dreamwalkers, Lanfear, Moggy can do more fancy stuff (like spy people's dreams and other things ) . I think Ishy was dreamwalker too.
Kurt Lorey
101. Shimrod
My choice for who killed Asmo is Davram Bashere.

Scoff and deride away, I'll explain my choice during the next post.
Ronald Hobbs
102. dustrider
You know I'm not really that annoyed at the invincibility of the good guys. what really gets my goat is that the bad guys, beaten in a big showdown, don't stay dead.

And come back with different names. and bodies...

That just confuses me.

On the offscreen spanking. I recently came across some ads from the 50s & 60s which would really, really get Leigh's goat.

Something about coffee I guess just leads to corporal punishment. Anyway, that was a scant 50 years ago, haven't we come a long way?
103. Stone Dog
We have been told several times that death cannot be healed but apparently it can - if the cause of death is murder and you balefire the killer soon after the event.

I am having trouble accepting this as Mat's die and live again episode for a couple of reasons.

1. It makes no difference to the plot compared to if Mat had not died at all, ie he is still the same Mat, whereas in the hangins sequence in Ruidean it makes all the difference in the world compared to what would have happenned if he had not gone into the terangreal, because he comes back equipped with abilities that are going to be vital to winning the last battle.

2. I have just finished re-reading Winter's Heart, and in there Mat clearly believes he died and lived again at Ruidean. He knows nothing about what happened in Caemlyn and I feel that a character should at least know when a prophesy that has been made about himself comes true.
barry troy
104. perrin5454

On inventive use of the power. You suggest removing the water from a person for a female since they are weak in fire. Perhaps this is impossible for a female channeler. As your example you use Rand pulling the heat out of fire and dissapating (sp?) it. In TSR we see that this technique is impossible for a woman concerning fire, as either Elayne or Egwene remember burning herself that way. Perhaps the same constraint applies to Water (or maybe Aes Sedai forgot it since the AoL, or maybe RJ just wasn't feeling creative). And also with the razor-thin filaments of air, doesn't Rand himself use a similar weave in ACoS when he is fighting Sammael in the throne room in Illian?

As far as the Forsaken reaching the pinnacle of their society. The only Forsaken I can think of who had reached the pinnacle of their profession in their society were Ishmael (as a philosopher/historian), Semihrage (Healer) and Aginor (as a micro-biologist/Geneticist). Maybe Lanfear (as a researcher in the one power) but Lanfear did not reach the pinnacle in her personal life (her frustrated longing for LTT). Asmodean, Balthamal, Messana and Moghedian were middling at best. Belal, Demandred, Sammael were all denied the pinnacles in their fields by LTT. I can't even remember what Rahvin's chosen profession was. Graendal is another possibility as a psychatrist (sp? again). However, all those who did reach the pinnacle (except for Ishy) were about to lose that fame when they went to Shayol Ghoul precisely because their ambitions were not within the accepted limits of civilized society. And that was the point of Freelancer's argument, they couldn't succeed within societal frameworks because what they wanted was illegal/immoral/evil.

On whether evil can be brave, I think both sides of the equation are correct. The logical, cold, calculating evil person will strike from the shadows, run at the first sign of a fair fight and generally avoid conflict. Especially amongst the Forsaken, where much of the allure is immortality for these people(Mogh, Asmo, Graen, Balt, Aginor). However, the other type of evil, the sociopath, the ideologue, the zealot and the true believer can all be suicidally brave (Sammael, Belal, Lanfear, Ishy).
James Jones
105. jamesedjones
104 Perrin5454

Which one of those is the glory hound (sin of pride)? And let's not forget greed. This is something in our materialistic society that we tend to gloss over by assigning other names (thief, lazy, coveting). But at the core, greed is the root of it. And it is still a very bad thing.
Maiane Bakroeva
106. Isilel
Wasn't Rahvin a famous attorney or something?

IIRC Ishamael, Semiraghe, Graendal and Aginor were all at the pinnacle of their professions and their society.

I don't remember re: Rahvin.

Demandred, Sammael, Asmo all were successful enough to earn the rare honor of a third name.

Lanfear and Mesaana were frustrated in their ambitions, although Lanfear at least was a prominent researcher.

Balthalamel and Moghedien were petty criminals IIRC.

B'elal(?) I don't remember anything about.

Perrin 5454 @104:

Water and Air are supposed to be female elements in the same way as Fire and Earth are supposed to be male ones, so it would be logical for women to be able to draw them out of things like men can draw Fire.
Now, of course RJ could have decided to make female channelers suck even more than they do currently, but I hope not. Maybe finally playing to their strengths will allow them to get out of the shadow of Asha'man and contribute equally to the Last Battle.
Rand's filaments were Air and Fire, IIRC, but as long as they are sharp enough and swift enough Fire shouldn't be necessary.
Antoni Ivanov
107. tonka
@ 104 perrin5454

I am sorry but Belal, Demandred, Sammael were quite successful which was the point. I think they achieve their pinnacle .They were one of the greatest generals for the light ( and later for the Shadow). They were just one step below LTT. And that was their pinnacle. They were among the most important men in their society but they grow envious, they wanted to be more, more than LTT was, more than anyone. And that was their problem
Marcus W
108. toryx
wetlandernw @ 68:

Thanks for the compliment!

The only thing that really comes to mind re: the Nynaeve complimenting Rand thoughts is that it's just another illustration that the Dragon Reborn cannot fight and win the battle alone. It's probably the greatest difference between the Light and the Dark.

The DO encourages the Forsaken to fight and quibble amongst themselves. Even when they attempt to join their efforts together, they're so hostile to each other that they can't begin to succeed, even though a joint effort really would make a difference.

At the same time, you get Rand trying to shoulder so much of it alone. His friends pretty much refuse to allow him to do that, thankfully, and whenever they're there for him it's their efforts to help that leads to his success.

It's represented very clearly by Min's vision of the sparks and the darkness. Whenever Rand's friends and companions are near, the sparks get closer to overcoming the darkness consuming them. When they go apart, the darkness begins to push forward.

This is true on a larger scale too. Mat does better when he has others with him. Nynaeve and Elayne always try to go forward on their own and get in trouble; it's when they bring others into the fray that they have genuine success.

Nynaeve stands out a lot because that's largely been her purpose from the beginning. She got involved because she couldn't leave the Two Rivers folk in the hands of the Aes Sedai without her to watch over them. It's arrogant and patronizing but it's an effective demonstration of the same. While Egwene goes off and becomes her own person, Nynaeve always puts the welfare of those she cares about first. She instinctively understands the necessity of a team effort, even if she often struggles against it when it comes to herself.

I imagine that the lesson everyone's going to learn by the end of the series is that it's only be leaning on each other that they can truly triumph. Even Moiraine, who has spent so much time shouldering so much on her own (relying on Lan only reluctantly) is now in the position where she needs to depend on the efforts of others to save her.

Evidently RJ was very heavily influenced by The Three Musketeers. :)
Marcus W
109. toryx
Totally off topic question:

Does anyone know if Brandon Sanderson's books are available for purchase as e-books? I'm almost done reading the pdf provided by Tor of the 1st Mistborn book and I'd like to read the next one in pdf as well. I'm kinda hooked on reading e-books these days. I only want it if I can pay for the privilege.
Joseph Blaidd
110. SteelBlaidd
Re: Nynaeve and Cowardice

Courage is doing wha you're afraid to do. There can be no Courage unless your scared.

-Eddie Rickenbacker, Amarican Aviator

Fast Eddie was the highest scoring US Ace in WW1.;)

As to the lack of Character death, I mostly read to spend time with people I like, killing them off just removes my primary motivation for reading a series. Any time I see GRRM I tend to read it GRIM. I tend to like my stories further up the Sliding Scale Of Idealism Versus Cynicism.
Roger Powell
111. forkroot
Stone Dog@103
I am having trouble accepting this as Mat's die and live again episode for a couple of reasons.
I'm afraid this is a settled issue, despite your reservations. There have been several postings in this forum citing a direct quote from RJ where he confirmed that what happened in Camelyn was the fulfillment of the prophecy for Mat.
Jason Deshaies
112. darxbane
The plot device for Mat's death is that he is unaware that he died and lived again. Because of this, he feels he still has a life to give (he mentions it once or twice in KOD) when he does not. His reaction to finding out that he had already fulfilled that prophecy should be quite interesting.

@whoever asked about Air and Water death devices: I can think of tons of uses, some of which we have already seen. Imagine placing a razor thin line of air about waist height of a charging army; you'd take out several rows before they figure out what is happening. Little balls of ice moving at high speed are as deadly as bullets. How about just creating a 300 MPH wind gust? These are just with the base powers. Who knows what weaves can be created? I think they use fire because it is so effective against Shadowspawn, especially Myrrdraahl. They can't keep thrashing around if they've been reduced to ash.

Overall, the possibilities for killing with the power are limitless. Placing a small weave along the battle field then unraveling it so it explodes (we know the size of the weave affects the size of the explosion, so it can be controlled). How about a gateway to space? That would suck, wouldn't it? ;)
Karen Walters
113. Wrenza
@100. tonka

why is using fire less difficult that using water or air? Especially if you have more skill in using water and air.

As for Asmodean - I think I may be in a minority in not have a theory at all. I've yet to be convinced by any one theory and can't wait to find out whodunnit.
Antoni Ivanov
114. tonka
@ 113.Wrenza

You misunderstood me. I don't think using fire is less difficult than using water or air. But the precision and the weaving they describe will make it more difficult. I don't know how exactly the One Power works but it seems simple to just put fire as it is one of the main powers but the other require precision and some weaving which make it more difficult.
barry troy
115. perrin5454
@ 107 Tonka

I'm pretty sure we're saying the same thing, but disagreeing over schemantics. Belal, Sammael and Demandred were successful, and had reached their personal pinnacles, but my point was that that pinnacle was still lower than LTT, so they had not reached THE pinnacle of society (LTT occupied it). Both Belal and Sammael were lieutenants of LTT. In one of his memories LTT talks about how he showered Sammael with honors, but still he turned. IIRC RJ's description of Demandred was that he would have been the most celebrated man of the Age Of Legends, except for LTT, who always made him come in second. However, they still dreamed of being number one, and they couldn't do that within the framework of the Light, because LTT was the accepted leader. In order to reach their desired pinnacle, they gave in to envy and crossed to the Dark side so that they could pull down LTT and supplant him.
Alice Arneson
116. Wetlandernw
Steelblaidd @ 110

Yes, yes, and yes. Totally agree.
Jason Lyman
117. jlyman
@95. HurinSmells

I think the problem that comes about from no-one dying in WoT is not that characters remain alive, but that they spin off into their own story arc's and detract from the two or three major plot lines that we want to see progressed.

I too have gotten bogged down by plotlines that seem to be unrelated to the stories of the main characters, those that are more action packed and overall seem more relevant. Though as I think about it I think that there may be a deeper meaning in the multitude of plots, sub-plots and sub-sub-plots. RJ crafted into his storytelling and his world analogies to the Great Pattern. It's in everything from places, to people and the clothes they wear, etc. This post at the Thirteenth Depository talks about the symbolism permeating the Wheel of Time. Someone else posted this link a while back too. Sorry I don't remember who.

Anyway, I think that the multitude of storylines is another symbol of the Pattern that is being woven by the Creator and the Wheel. All these seemingly disparate stories will soon be woven together to form a beautiful pattern that, at the moment, we can't see. As the rest of the story comes into view and we can take a step or two back, we will be able to see it.

I just can't see a writer of RJ's skill putting stuff in just for kicks. That doesn't make sense to me. What we see now as untrimmed fat will soon look to us as something completely different. But then again I may be wrong.

Re: Asmodean's killer.

It was Perrin! Here's my proof: He has no alibi for the time of the murder. No one can say if he really was in Emond's Field through the whole book or not. He could have spent the whole book travelling to Caemlyn and pop out at just the right moment. As for motivation... maybe he didn't like the way he played "Toss the Feathers."

barry troy
118. perrin5454
@105 Jamesedjones

I think the Glory Hound, sin of pride would be almost all of the Forsaken. Semi joined because they were going to Bind her because in return for being the greatest Healer of her age, she also was a Sadist when she used her ability. Sammael, Belal and Demandred all turned because they felt slighted by LTT's elevated stature. Messanna was a researcher who was denied a spot in the pre-eminent university of the day (the one that Lanfear destroyed with the Bore) and that was her pre-eminent motivation. Asmo turned because he thought with immortality he could practice long enough to be the greatest composer, better than what he naturally was. Aginor turned because the Dark side would let him conduct the experiments in Genetics which the Light Side chastised him for.
Jason Deshaies
119. darxbane
Possibly, but the fact that women are weaker with fire than with air or water has to be taken into account. A simple weave of fire could still take more "energy" than a more complicated weave of air. A fireball is still a weave. Air, on the other hand, does not need to be woven to use; the flows themselves can bind, and if they can hold, they can kill. Arangar kills with a tiny "whip of Air" that breaks the neck.
Anthony Pero
120. anthonypero
@115: In order to reach their desired pinnacle, they gave in to envy and crossed to the Dark side so that they could pull down LTT and supplant him.

Guess the joke's on them, then, since they all were under Ishy anyway, and the DO would have just loved to place them all right back under LTT.

Silly Forsaken, tricks are for kids!
Alice Arneson
121. Wetlandernw
Here's a very quick summary of the Forsaken in the AOL. More info where I got this. List gives real name and occupation before the Bore was drilled. Some additional detail obtained from Encyclopaedia WoT.

*Aginor: Ishar Morrad Chuain. Famous biologist.
*Asmodean: Joar Addam Nesossin. Composer and musician.
*Balthamel: Eval Ramman. Historian and lecher. Cheated at gambling to win money to impress women.
*Be'lal: Duram Laddel Cham. Lawyer.
*Demandred: Barid Bel Medar. Occupation not given.
*Graendal: Kamarile Maradim Nindar. Celebrated psychiatrist & ascetic.
*Ishamael: Elan Morin Tedronai. Occupation not given.
*Lanfear: Mieren Eronaile. Researcher into the One Power.
*Mesaana: Saine Tarasind. Teacher. (Researcher wannabe.)
*Moghedien: Lillen Moiral. Shady investment advisor.
*Rahvin: Ared Mosinel. Occupation not given.
*Sammael: Tel Janin Aellinsar. Athlete.
*Semirhage: Nemene Damendar Boann. Brilliant healer & sadist.

Does anyone know for sure the significance of three names vs. two? Someone implied above that it was an honorific, but I don't recall seeing that anywhere. Makes a certain amount of sense, because the ones we know as "famous" or "celebrated" have three names, but so do some others we don't know much about. I'd love to see more info. Is it in the BBoBA, maybe?
Tess Laird
122. thewindrose
Notice that Leigh left in the part about the servants: He is attacked by Darkfriends led by a Fade, and freezes them to death before walking on, bypassing two terrified servants, searching for Rahvin. In the prolouge for the next book he is iritated that no servants have come back yet. This leads to the servants being Graendal and Sammael theory.

Although, I don't really like this one because of what Tonka brought up on Part 19 tFoH:
Here's one from a book signing in October of 2005. Quote posted by WinespringBrother here:

Me: Since you said at an earlier signing that the Dark One couldn't have brought back Asmodean if he wanted, was that at the time of Asmodean's death, or after that?
Robert Jordan: The Dark One couldn't bring back Asmodean because of the combination of 2 factors: HOW HE DIED and WHERE HE DIED. Not one or the other, both factors.

Asmodean can not be recycled even if the DO was inclined to do so.

Which leads me to think that Asmo bit it in T'a'R or Finn Land. Which in turn makes me think it was Slayer(hired by DO) or Lanfear using one of her wishes.
Vincent Lane
123. Aegnor
It would have been better for Nynaeve to use lightning, rather than fire, as it is very quick, and even if it doesn't kill it will stun you. With fire, unless the temperatures are such that they are instantly incinerated, it takes a while to actually kill.

It is very effective in an actual battle (vs a one on one fight) because it creates chaos, mass fear, and multiple injured (which slow down an advance). Plus it spreads. So its a great tool for them, it just isn't the best one to use in a one on one fight.
124. Lsana
@103 Stone Dog,

While RJ has confirmed that the Caemlyn incident was the fulfillment of the prophesy, I agree with you that it was lame. It had a tiny impact on Rand, and absolutely no impact on anyone else. It literally never happened. Rather weak for something that was supposed to be an integral part of Mat's destiny.

Rhuidean would have been better, but I'm not sure that if Mat had been killed there, he could have been brought back by non-magical means.

@112 darxbane,

Mat does know the "die and live again" prophesy has been fulfilled--he just assumes that it referred to the hanging in Rhuidean rather than the incident that never happened in Caemlyn. So it seems unlikely that it will affect his behavior at all.
Karen Walters
125. Wrenza

Still don't see it. I can't see how sending a stream of fire is different from sending a stream of water or move a flow of air away from a person. Its all moving one 'element'. We don't know the exact weaves for any of them, how complex or not they are.
Tess Laird
126. thewindrose
Wetlandernw: From the Thirteenth Deository Age of Legends.
BTW, you are correct most info is from the guide.
Of interest is this:
This naming system is similar to that of Ancient Rome, where each person was born with two names and a man could be given a third (or more) name celebrating his victory (other third names in Roman times were more like nicknames), and may be one of several parallels of the Age of Legends with the Roman Republic (see below). Those we know who earned third names in the Age of Legends are:

Barid Bel Medar (Demandred)
Duram Laddel Cham (Be’lal)
Elan Morin Tedronai (Ishamael)
Ilyena Moerelle Dalisar
Ishar Morrad Chuain (Aginor)
Joar Addam Nessosin (Asmodean)
Kamarile Maradim Nindar (Graendal)
Latra Posae Decume
Lews Therin Telamon
Nemene Damendar Boann (Semirhage)
Tel Janin Aellinsar (Sammael)

As can be seen, only eight out of the thirteen Forsaken earned this distinction. It was not easy, even for strong channellers.
Vincent Lane
127. Aegnor
I always thought the two servants were Halwin Norry, the First Clerk, and Reene Harfor, the First Maid.
128. junior1234
Of interest is this:
This naming system is similar to that of Ancient Rome, where each person was born with two names and a man could be given a third (or more) name celebrating his victory (other third names in Roman times were more like nicknames), and may be one of several parallels of the Age of Legends with the Roman Republic (see below). Those we know who earned third names in the Age of Legends are:

Is there any evidence that this was for skill or intelligence or being/doing something useful in any way? Personally, I think they won some sort of Aes Sedai Olympics. They are the jocks of the Age of Legends. This would explain why everything they do and say in these books is so fricking retarded. Also, the reason they turned evil was because they thought everyone should respect them for being the strongest, but instead, everyone laughed at them behind their back, because they never would have even gotten into Aes Sedai school if it weren't on an athletic scholorship.
Anthony Pero
129. anthonypero
I find it interesting that the AoL Aes Sedai seem to have professions outside of just being Aes Sedai.

Seems more like the Aes Sedai in the AoL acted more as a fraternal society (except it obviously wasn't a boys club) like Freemasons or Eagles' lodges today. Well, maybe more like Freemasons in 1780 than Eagles' lodges today :)
Amar Ramraj
130. aiel1219
Hi everyone. Long time reader and commenter. But for the past few months was holed up in the hospital. A bit of an accident took away the use of my fingers for a while.

Last week I was finally allowed a cell phone, so have been quietly following u guys since then. But now I'm out and have my pc back again! So will be expressin my opinions alot more :)

Leigh thanks for the reread... its one of those things I really looked fotward to getting back to. :)

P.S. I cant wait for November!!! :D
Tess Laird
131. thewindrose
Welcome back aiel1219 - we were wondering what happened to you!!! Glad your back - now get those fingers up to speed:)
Michael Catapano
132. hoping
welcome back
Sorry to hear about the injury
You're just in time for the Asmofest
Sam Mickel
133. Samadai

welcome back, glad you are doing better.
Tommy McAree
134. Tommy.mcaree
Hi all,
first time poster. Been following Leighs postings for a while. Great work. Hope to contribute a bit to your discussions. Asmodean thread is interesting so cant wait until tomorrow. I have my theory, but will wait. Not original but i have always thought it.
135. dcole78
I wondered if you were going to leave the asmoden death chapter to being by itself. I can understand why you would definitly. That chapter makes me glad I don't have time to read the 500 or so comments about the blogs..
Roger Powell
136. forkroot
Musing a bit more about balefiring Rahvin... It seems to me that Mat and Avi were very fortunate that Rahvin retreated to T'AR shortly after Rand confronted him.

From everything we've seen about balefire, even a Forsaken-class shot of it (e.g. Moggy at Nynaeve's boat) only burns out a few seconds back into the pattern.

Given the amount of perceived elapsed time that Rand's showdown with Rahvin takes, there's no way that even Rand could generate that powerful a weave (proportionately speaking).

What apparently saved Mat and Avi (and Asmo, although it didn't do the poor schmuck too much good, did it?) is that time flows differently in T'AR. So Rand's battle could have taken place in the blink of an eye in real time, and the resurrection becomes plausible.
jane reynolds
137. janie
@ forkroot

Good point about time running differently in TAR. I had been wondering why Rand's balefire here is seemingly so much more powerful than any other created in the series. Makes more sense if the amount of time elapsed in the real world is considerably smaller than what we see in the battle in TAR. Although it might also be that the Forsaken are generally reluctant to use it, so we don't see it much from their side.
Julian Augustus
138. Alisonwonderland
Does anyone know for sure the significance of three names vs. two? Someone implied above that it was an honorific, but I don't recall seeing that anywhere. Makes a certain amount of sense, because the ones we know as "famous" or "celebrated" have three names, but so do some others we don't know much about. I'd love to see more info. Is it in the BBoBA, maybe?

Since it is you, I'll take the trouble to dig into the BBoBA, because, yes it is in there. Here you go: Chapter 3, The Age of Legends, page 30:
Several sources mention the fact that even names reflected a person's status and honor. Everyone was born with two names and could earn the third one only through accomplishment, apparently possible in many fields.

The people afforded the most status, though they still had to earn their third name through great individual works, were those whose gifts made them capable of the greatest service: those who could effectively channel the One Power

In reference to your list of occupations, the BBoBa on Ishamael:
As Elan Morin Tedronai, he was one of the foremost philosophers of his time, possibly the foremost

No occupation is given for Rahvin, even in the BBoBA.
sandi vogel
139. sinfulcashew
130. aiel1219
Good to see a returner!
And, a bit of an accident doesn't usually require months in hospital?
Yes I'm being nosey, and, no you don't have to defend yourself.
It sounds serious.
And, it is good to see you back!
James Jones
140. jamesedjones
Welcome back Aiel1219!

I can't believe you missed the whole dust-up about chivalry. Glad to see you again, and I'm sorry to hear about your accident. Hope it had nothing to do with putting a fist through a monitor in response to one of the posts. Crazy people cause the worst problems. Gotta resist! :)
141. alreadymadwithbalefire
Wetlandernw @121
If I'm not mistaken Ishamael was a philosopher/theologist.

janie @137
There's also the fact that Rand was hitting Rahvin with as large a balefire burst(?) as he could make, and with an angreal to boot. The boost of power from that fat man was enough to offset Rahvin's superior skill and experience for most of their duel.

Welcome back.
Lannis .
142. Lannis
Whew! Been crazy busy around here... been itching to get to the Asmodean theories, but I'm like those (very few) above who've said they haven't really been convinced by any specific theory and just want to know whodunit... (Graendal? Maybe...)

Crossing my fingers Sanderson answers it definitively! Grr...

Or, you know, maybe with our collective intelligence we can come up with the answer all on our lonesome, in this tiny community (what was the tally? 1000+ commentators? S'hazy for me, and a few threads back...).

Ah, I'm game for a good comment-fest tomorrow! Looking forward to muddling through it all.

Ah, aiel1219! Good to have you back... your absence was definitely noted. You missed out on some crazy, too. :)
Roger Powell
143. forkroot
HOORAY for E-Bay!!

It seems that someone has been regularly dumpster-diving around a certain house in Charleston SC. The individual didn't realize what he had, when he put it up for sale.

Yes... that's right folks ... I have dozens of pages of RJ's ORIGINAL manuscripts - a lot of it is what you see in the books, but what is cool is that for the first time I can see what he gave to Harriet before she cleaned it up.

First thing you should know ... she's a top-notch editor. The stuff looks a lot rawer before she touched it.

What I understand now (which before I didn't) is why RJ said that Asmo's killer was obvious. It WAS obvious before Harriet edited the passage.

I have most of the end of TFoH and the original phrasing was:

A step and then he stopped, the blood gone from his face. "You? No!" The words still hung in the air when a powerful kick from a horseshoed foot shattered his skull. And death took him.

I like the way Harriet tightened up the prose, but in doing so, she made the identity of the killer much more obscure.
Alice Arneson
144. Wetlandernw
aiel1219 - There you are!! Been wondering about you, but there's no one to ask when someone disappears. Glad you've appeared again. Welcome back!
Sam Mickel
145. Samadai

I love hanging with a bunch of people as crazy as I am
Hurin Smells
146. HurinSmells
I'd not seen that quote from RJ before. I'm gonna have to ammend my conclusion that it was Graendal to be that it was Slayer acting under orders from Graendal based on that.

IIRC not all channellers in the AoL were Aes Sedai. The Aes Sedai were like a governing body, but there were still private practicioners, specialists, contractors etc that could channel but were not necessarily Aes Sedai.

You had me going for a second there... That has to be my favourite comment on the re-read so far!
147. kab1
@143 forkroot- you totally had me going there! Great Post.

@forkroot 136- Thanks for posting that. The time passage is something that's always bothered me about that part, but you explained it perfectly with Tar. thanks.

I'll add to the few above who said they don't have a firm conclusion/theory on Asmo's killer. I'm interested to see what theories will come up tomorrow.

and after that- a new book!
148. Freelancer

We see male forsaken in T'a'R several times in earlier books. Hopper shows them to Perrin, Birgitte shows them to Nynaeve (or is it Elayne?), Rand sees them there in his dreams, and there is a forsaken POV where they meet in the dreamworld. Moghedien doesn't express horror about the men being there, so I don't imagine that they can only get there by a method that destroys their souls.


In opposition to your well-expressed arguments, I give you that Moiraine is actively spying on Asmodean. If she did nothing about him when she first discovered, via her kesiera, who he is, she would be much less likely to do anything after observing him, as he had done and said nothing out of character to one who has given up and accepted the side he is stuck with.

Yes, Moiraine warns Rand that Asmodean is still who he once was. Part of the point of her saying so is to tell him that she knows, and part a simple reminder to Rand not to give him too loose a leash, or too much trust.

I will accede on the speculation that if one of her answers from the snakes, or her Rhuidean trip, showed her that she must kill Asmodean to make everything else work, then Moiraine would certainly "waste" one of her wishes with the foxes to be face-to-face with him alone, so she could erase him. As has already been said, the victory of the Light has been her only goal for over 20 years, and she will do nothing short of everything she can to bring it about. For that, I can forgive her needless mysteriousness and attempted manipulations of young people she should have trusted as allies, instead of believing she needed to herd as cattle.


Cyndane uses air as a knife to take a man's head off when she has to rush to the site of Aridhol and investigate the cleansing. I have no idea what the lethal range of such a weave could be, but it seems pretty simple and effective. And it always makes me think of Sylar.

However, the other type of evil, the sociopath, the ideologue, the zealot and the true believer can all be suicidally brave (Sammael, Belal, Lanfear, Ishy).
Insanity is not bravery. Performing daunting acts from an irrational mental state in no way deserves a label of valor, courage, or bravery.


Welcome back to at least limited mobility! Very sorry to hear of your accident, hope you don't mind if I offer up a prayer or two in your behalf for a perfect recovery. I knew we were a nut short for awhile.
Alice Arneson
149. Wetlandernw
I knew we were a nut short for awhile. *snort* But trust me, I've been valiantly doing my best during your distressing absence. ;)
craig thrift
150. gagecreedlives

Welcome back champ. Sorry to hear about the hospital but good to see you back.


Ishy appears in dreams and can pull people into Tar but that doesn’t necessarily mean he isn’t there in the flesh. And the ter’angreal could be a training aid but that just because it can put somebody into the dream world doesn’t mean that’s the primary way of doing it. Plus it could be used to teach male channellers what to do before they go in full strength.


We do see male forsaken in there several times yes. But we don’t exactly see how they entered. Isnt Moggy the master of the dream world. Maybe she had some other tricks up her sleeve if the men started to channel. Besides there is a bit of a difference between having a meeting and being forced to interfere in a titanic one battle throw down.

IIRC the wise ones say dreamwalking doesn’t relate to ability to channel but we don’t see any male aiel dreamwalkers. So maybe the ability to enter Tar is another example of males and females being able to do the same thing but in different ways.

Slayer is the only example I can think of somebody entering Tar in the flesh losing there humanity but I don’t think we know enough about him to say that’s a direct cause. Rand has a lot of issues but I don’t think we can place the blame on that to Tar either.

More than likely you are right Freelancer and as I said earlier Im not really sure if I believe this theory but it does pass the time during a dreary day at work.
Amar Ramraj
151. aiel1219
Wow! Thankyou alll for the sentiments expressed :)
I'm so glad to be back to our little community (or not so little!!!)

Now to a bit of business...
@forkroot 136
I do agree that TAR probably had something to do with the balefire saving Mat, Avi n Asmo. However I thought it should be pointed out that Mogi has nowhere NEAR Rand's power and add his "fat little man angreal" to the mix and it explains quite bit as well.

One thing I don't quite understand about this incident however, is why there was no mention of anyone remembering Mat, Aviendha and Asmodean dieing. Before when Rand used balefire to save Mat from the hounds, Mat actually remembered what had happened, i.e. the hound breaking through the door. BUt in this case there isn't really any mention of anyone realising what had happened....other than Rand ofcourse.
Alice Arneson
152. Wetlandernw
On men being dreamwalkers, I found the following:
Q: I am curious to find out why there are no male Dreamwalkers mentioned since according to the Wise ones it is not connected to the One Power.

A: Simply because it's a Talent that appears very rarely among men. The Wise Ones are doubtful that there actually can be a male Dreamwalker.

(from the wotmania faq)

So... there you have... not much. Go fish.
William Fettes
153. Wolfmage
aiel1219 @ 151

"One thing I don't quite understand about this incident however, is why there was no mention of anyone remembering Mat, Aviendha and Asmodean dieing. Before when Rand used balefire to save Mat from the hounds, Mat actually remembered what had happened, i.e. the hound breaking through the door. BUt in this case there isn't really any mention of anyone realising what had happened....other than Rand ofcourse."

You're misremembering. Asmo definitely puts two and two together before he dies based on the physical evidence of balefire, (slick-looking clean cuts into the stone walls and columns), and the fact that other members of the Aiel raiding party looked at him all funny and askew. He deduces balefire and doesn't want to think about it further.
154. Noren
You're on.You'll have to remember the Seanchan are Semirhage's bailiwick,and she's a prisoner now.Even better,her ALLIES(Demandred,Mesaana)don't know that.Given that Furyk Karede has mentioned(in KoD,I think) that he's been involved in planning a military solution to the White Tower problem,expect a commando strike on Tar Valon.Outta the blue,as far as Mesaana's concerned.This should be fun*cue evil grin*

I'm not saying that some of them are incapable of it.But it's telling that each time a half trained boy attacks some of the most knowledgeable channelers in the world,their first instinct is to run.Not dodge,or make a reasoned,rational retreat.They run.They let the boy gain strength,knowledge and allies first in Tear,then Cairhien,then Caemlyn.Aginor was at his shoulder,near enough,for days at a time and was too scared to make an attempt until the the Seven Losers from the Black Tower took a hand.

As far as I can see,the only halfway intelligent attack I've seen was by Semirhage.Beautifully planned and executed,failing only because his ALLIES had resources even HE was unaware of.

@122the windrose
Now that's a theory I haven't seen before!And it sounds just sneaky enough to be plausible...For my money,it was either Graendal or Slayer that killed Asmo.

Welcome back!
Aidan Young
155. aidanyoung1102
In regard to this instance being a lame way for Mat to fulfill prophecy...

It's gotten me thinking about the role of prophecy in the series. Does every prophecy have to be linked with some great event or significance? Or are there insignificant things that were predicted to? Red herrings of prophecy if you will?

For example, the Dragon is reborn on the slopes of Dragonmount...well who cares WHERE he's reborn? The fact the he is reborn is what matters. He would be just as significant a figure in history if the prophecy said "born on the corner of Blue Moon street and Carp square."

I think it's interesting to look at the prophecies and the impact they end up having on the characters and how they can be led astray by them or how they can twist them.

Elaida, for example, thinking that the Royal Line of Andor being the key to the last battle means Elayne and Morgase...then again, does it really mean only Rand?

"To die and live again." So Mat's still out there now thinking this hasn't been fulfilled? But has that really changed his behavior all that much? He doesn't seem to be particularly reckless to me. In fact, he does everything he can to stay out of danger. He just can't get away. And give up half the light of the world to save the world? He hasn't even thought about that one. many of these prophecies are actually influential in advance and how many of them are just kinda points along the way?

Rand, on the other hand, seems to study the prophecies very closely and he thinks he's got some of them figured out. Narishma and "he who draws it out will follow after" comes to mind. I wonder which ones he has missed on and when they're going to come around to bite him in the behind?
Maiane Bakroeva
156. Isilel

But it's telling that each time a half trained boy attacks some of the most knowledgeable channelers in the world,their first instinct is to run.

A half-trained boy who is the strongest in the OP ever and the strongest ta'veren ever, which makes up for any number of shortcomings. And besides which I always thought that in extreme danger LTT took over for Rand until this duel with Rahvin, where Rand finally knows enough to act on his own, although Rand didn't realize what was happening until much later.

Also, in the beginning the Forsaken did attack him directly and died for it. B'elal certainly didn't do much running and neither did the zombie boys nor Ishy the first couple of times. Ishy did run once Rand had Callandor, but it was only good sense IMHO.

As to Rahvin here, not only does Rand have an angreal, but Rahvin also wouldn't want to have his power base pulverized in the struggle. Nor is retreating to gain tactical advantage cowardice, really. Rahvin would have won in this chapter, but for Nyn, and won fairly.

Concerning "knowledgeable" - one of the shortcomings of the series IMHO is that knowledge and skill count for very little where channelers are concerned, compared to sheer strength.


I am sure that it is flat-out written somewhere (appendices? BBoBA?) that Ishy is a Dreamer and that his dreamwalking abilities are on par with Lanfear.

Born dreamwalkers are rare among women too - there are just 4 among all of the Aiel and 3 of them can channel BTW. Hm... Anyway, the existence of training ter'angreal and quite a few male Forsaken who are adept in T'AR makes me think that while men seldom have the Talent that will come out no matter what, they still can learn.
I suspect that Luc and/or Isam were born dreamwalkers, BTW and that Luc not receiving training is the reason for his current predicament.

It is also pretty unconscionable that Aiel dreamwalkers didn't offer training to Perrin, IMHO.

Re: AoL AS, I think that it was something like ROTC - some of them ended by having it as their main profession (LTT?, Lanfear) and some not. But for quite a few of them use of the OP was integral for their professional success too - like Semiraghe and Aginor.

I could swear that it is written somewhere that Ishy was a celebrated philosopher, BTW.
And that attaining third name was a very high honor. BBoBA?
Hurin Smells
157. HurinSmells
I'm reminded of RJs blog post on Dragonmount regarding "Stupid Evil". So many times the Forsaken could have ended the story early...

- Ishy/Moridin could have killed him so many times its laughable. Heck he even saves Rands life at the end of CoS! Still, he gave Rand the unhealing wound, so i guess thats a passing effort.

- Lanfear also could have whacked Rand many many times and also saves him (or gives him the info with which to save himself).

- Be'lal could have snuffed him quite easily if he wasn't so busy monologuing and eager to get his hands on Callandor. Lame.

- Asmo took a real shot at taking down the Dragon. It was just bad luck Rand has his fat man angreal to give him the edge. Kudos to Asmodean!

- Rahvin was more interested in establishing himself as King of Andor. If Ny hadn't been there to distract him, Rand would be a goner (on the other hand if Ny had managed to kill him Mat and Avi would be dead). Not quite kudos Rahvin, it's your fault I have to read so many Morgase POVs!

- Sammael should have set a trap on his messenger to detonate as soon as he gets in range of Rand. Instead he offers him a truce? Moron! And going to Shadar Logoth to fight? What a spaz! Has he never heard of Shayol Ghul?

- Semirhage is the first Forsaken since Ishy to to permanent physical damage to our main man. Foiled by bad luck. Good effort since she's only been on the same continent as him for 3 books (read 2 weeks!) Kudos to Semirhage!

- Messana had the best laid plans with the Aes Sedai capturing him at the end of LoC, but she can hardly be given all the credit. Still no where near a death blow though.

- Moghedien is the worlds worst Forsaken. Deserves the mindtrap 100%. Deserves worse really, no idea why the DO kept her alive.

- Graendal manages to have a lot of POVs for a Forsaken that doesn't really do much other than kidnap royalty for her weirdo porn collection.

- Demandred is the man. He hasn't taken a shot yet, but I like to think it's because he wants Rand to be the best he can be when he takes him on. He's busy sowing chaos with the Prophet in the mean time. The confrontation between Dem and Rand will be a stand up fight, no retreat, no surrender (unlike Rahvin and Sammael). But Rand will still ta'veren his way out of it.

- Aginor/Osan'gar/Dashiva is another one who took a shot early on, but got greedy. Also saves Rands life by having Flinn heal him! All he had to do was stand back and do nothing! Loser!

- Balthamel/Aran'gar/Halima tries for the Green Man?! Hello, target priority? Did a good job of given Egwene a headache. Really? A headache?!

So it's pretty obvious that the bad guys don't really want to actually kill the good guys, because surely they would have already!
Antoni Ivanov
158. tonka
You're on.You'll have to remember the Seanchan are Semirhage's bailiwick,and she's a prisoner now.Even better,her ALLIES(Demandred,Mesaana)don't know that.Given that Furyk Karede has mentioned(in KoD,I think) that he's been involved in planning a military solution to the White Tower problem,expect a commando strike on Tar Valon.Outta the blue,as far as Mesaana's concerned.This should be fun*cue evil grin*

The plans against Tar Valon predate Semirhage's capture. Mesaana will know about that. Though with Semirhage's capture that would complicate some things. And it will be too easy to think that Mesaana doesn't have darkfriend's spies among the High Nobility - I bet Suroth was not the only darkfriend among the Seanchan.

@ 156.Isilel

Concerning "knowledgeable" - one of the shortcomings of the series IMHO is that knowledge and skill count for very little where channelers are concerned, compared to sheer strength.

That's not true. Remember Cyndane and Alivia's duel in Winter's Heart. Alivia was times stronger than Cyndane and besides she had an ter'angreal like Mat's foxhead and still in the end she was injured (she had to be healed) and Cyndane(Lanfear) escaped.

It's Rand who managed to get above skill because of Lews Therin's subconscious help IMHO.
Ryan Thistlethwaite
159. shintemaster
It's pretty obvious to me that the Dark One doesn't want to kill Rand as such. I think he needs to be 'turned' or subverted or Moridin'd in order for the Dark One to truly break free and remake the universe in it's own image.

Now whether all the Plebian Forsaken understand that exactly is another matter, but it wouldn't surprise me if the DO is setting things up so that they will fail and fail plenty.
160. RobMRobM
lsiel - I believe it likely that there are far more than 4 Aiel dreamwalkers. While four were with Rand before he went into Rhuidean, I believe there was a reference that the four communicated with dreamwalkers from other Aiel clans to spread the word about the meeting at the Golden Bowl.

161. Tenesmus
There was a discussion earlier about characters not dying. I think the reason no one important has died yet is because most of them are going to die during TG. Some may survive, but I think most won't. Don't get me wrong, they will be heroic deaths, and likely help Rand win. Remember, Rand is the only one who HAS to survive to fight. Everyone else is a pawn. TG will be a war of attrition, with FS, AS, SG's and ta'veren dropping like flies.

Pre-order your tissues now...
John Massey
162. subwoofer
Aiel1219- Dude! S'up? Missed you greatly. You know how many of my plans for world domination went sideways without a wing man?! 'Sides what kind of lame excuse is it if you can't use your fingers- you still have toes;) - Figured you were trapped under something heavy or Elaida got frisky and wouldn't let you go. Nice escape!

I don't nec. have an issue with the people coming back here, per say, I more so have a gripe with what an easy out Bale fire is. Something that is so forbidden yet the little kid on the corner is peddling it.

I am also wondering about the use of the power anyway. It seems more- force and element driven rather than say spell driven or using magic. When Rand is almost changed, that is more of what I had in mind with AS using power rather than all the Jedi tricks employed.
163. Bufface
Has anyone considered FAIN as a suspect? He's certainly got motivation; he HATES'S the Forsaken,
means; Shadar Logoth Dagger, and I think it's safe to assume Asmo would have been able to recognize him... Wasn't Fain used as an errand boy by the Forsaken? Asmo could have easily been one of them. That would also make it safe to assume that Asmo would have been surprised to see him..
Kerwin Miller
164. tamyrlink
RobMRobM @ 160

i think there were only four aiel dreamwalkers. i think they said they would speak to other wise ones (not dreamwalkers)in their dreams to tell them about the meeting at the golden bowl. they probably know the dreams of the more important wise ones of all the clans, who then sent runners to the other holds of the clan.

just my thought
Tess Laird
165. thewindrose
Bufface - Sorry to ruin your thought, but RJ said the following at DragonCon05:
Q68: Would you please name one character who did not kill Asmodean? Will you please name one of the following: Lanfear, Graendal, Moridin, Shaidar Haran, Padan Fain, Semirhage, Demandred, Mazrim Taim, Slayer. I thank you for your mercy and if you can please explain why they didn’t do it that would be a nice touch.

RJ: Padan Fain didn’t because he wasn’t in the right place at the right time. He would have if he had been in the right place at the right time, but he wasn’t.
Tess Laird
166. thewindrose
RobMRobM & Tamyrlink, in TSR Bair explains Dream-walkers in Chapter 23 Beyond the Stone:
"Almost anyone can touch T'a'R, but few can truly enter it. Of all the Wise Ones, we four(Bair, Seana. Amys an Melaine) alone can dreamwalk, and your Tower has not produced a dreamwalker in nearly 500 years. It is not a thing of the One Power, though Aes Sedai beleive it is.
Later Rand asks the the 4 dreamwalkers t spread the news of him and to meet at Al'cair Dal, and they agree to do this by talking to the clan chiefs and also to Wise Ones through their dreams.
I have to admit I was kind of surprised that Therava wasn't a dreamwalker since she always shows up in Galina's dreams, but that could just be because Therava is making her life so miserable(deservably so).
Also, Perrin wasn't with Egwene to ask for training, and Egwene has decided that what Perrin can do is Perrins secret to share if he wants to.
John Mann
167. jcmnyu
@137 and others

I'm pretty sure that we are getting the balefire facts confused. Moiraine explained this pretty well when she talked to Rand about it. Moiraine said she could personally only balefire someone so that a few seconds of what they did was removed from the pattern. Rand can do much much more. If I remember right, the example she used was that entire cities were balefired and everything they did was removed from the pattern going back days. If Rand used the fat man angreal and used his full power, he would have easily removed Rahvin's actions back to before he wove the lightning that killed Mat, Aviendha, and Asmodean. No telling what he could do with Callendor or the Choedan Kal.

Here is the FAQ link.
Vincent Lane
168. Aegnor
Regarding being in TAR in the flesh. I always thought of it as something that happens over time. Its not that if you go into TAR in the flesh you instantly lose your humanity (I think the wise ones would have done anything to prevent Egwene doing so if that were the case).

I think it is more like you lose your humanity over time and repeated use. Like the Slayer.
Kerwin Miller
169. tamyrlink
But what exactly constitutes a loss of humanity?
James Jones
170. jamesedjones
169 Tamyrlink

Love of chocolate.

I'm sure Egwene can't stand the stuff anymore.
171. RobMRobM
Windrose - thanks and kudos to the original poster for being right. (I hate that....). Rob
Vincent Lane
172. Aegnor
If I were to take a guess, since its not exactly explained, I would say it involves becoming sociopath.
Theodor Engström
173. Theodor
It seems really strange that Therava isn't a dreamwalker. Could she have kept it a secret from other wise ones?

And by the way, new post is up...
174. birgit
Myself, I wonder what would've happened if Rahvin had succeeded in turning Rand into an animal, or one of the other things he tried. What happens in Tel'aran'rhiod carries over, we're told; if Rand had left the WoD in that state, would it have been possible at all to change him back?

Moggy threatens to turn Ny into a horse and explains that she will be a horse every time she enters TAR.
175. Aye Aye Sedai
@174 - except that Rand was in TAR in the Flesh and would have remained in that wolfman / dog form.

Re _ matts death - I though posts has given RJ sayign the opposite that Matt died in Rhuidan and was brought back only by Rand, and the Balefire was not the prophesy.

Harry Burger
176. Lightbringer
Sammael killed Asmo:

Mog tells Nyneve that Rhavin and Graendal would be waiting linked when he attacked Sammael. This tells us those three are in tight cahoots. She says this rather soon before Asmo dies.

RJ has stated that it should be "obvious" based on facts known at the time of Asmo's death who killed him.

Rhavin was uberdead by balefire before Asmo died.

Graendal doesn't kill people anywhere that we have seen - she enslaves them with Compulsion and forces them to serve her. She especially likes to use the high and mighty - I don't think she'd miss the chance to use another Forsaken for a footstool. It's just not in her character.

Lanfear is dead pending reincarnation as Cyndane.

Other Forsaken are floating in the breeze somewhere, so they fail the "obvious" test.

The only remaining Forsaken under consideration is Sammael. Q.E.D.
177. Rob Kerr
Here I have to shamefacedly admit that in my first read of this book, I was reading so quickly that I entirely missed that Mat and Avi had been killed by lightning. Then when I read about the balefire resurrection, I had to go back and find out where it had all happened.

178. yasiru89
Sheer panic struck when I read of Mat and Aviendha having died. Asmodean, not so much. Guess he deserved it really, though, given only his part in FoH, you can't exactly hate him (though you know he was this horrible person). Though it took me by surprise later on. That revival bit did not feel at all cheap. If anything, the only bit I didn't care much for at the beginning was how Moghedien was captured. The woman was supposed to be just as in command of the World of Dreams as Lanfear- you'd imagine she'd figure out the trick to the a'dam immediately. Or at least materialise a chainsaw and sever Nynaeve's arm at the bracelet. Surely she can't be that saidar-dependent when she has all that experience! But later, as her personality unraveled further in later books, it made me think the whole thing was in character for her, and thus passable. Moghedien must have panicked about the a'dam just about as much as I did on reading Mat's death scene!
179. Don, Iowa
the thing I never put together until the re-re-read (yeah catching up again as I missed out for a year) the thought of how far back balefire goes, and a very good justification here would be, from the point of Mat, Avi & Asmo's death to the point where Rand enters T'A'R is not very long at all (maybe a minute or two?). There was some speculation that the events in T'A'R lasted about 15 minutes which is a long time to cover from even balefire, but I believe the key point is how time works in T'A'R. It's been stated throughout the series how time is different there (where an 15 minutes there could be hours in the real world and vice-versa) Thus maybe when they entered T'A'R the 15 minutes in there equated to 2 minutes in the real world, making it more believeable that the immense balefire used burned out Rahvin from the pattern for about 2-3 minutes.

Sorry if this was posted before in another thread, but thought I'd put my 2 cents out there, even if I'm not the first to post on it.

P.S. sorry for necro'n a thread semi-back to life.
180. s'rEDIT
I'm one of those who barely registered Mat and Avi's death. The effect of balefire then did not have has much impact as it could have.

Because the author, through his characters, continued to emphasize how and why balefire is forbidden, I never thought we'd see as much more of it in the series as we have (up through ToM).
181. Darkfriend
Dont know if anyone will see ths but AW Lamelle Damn
182. DougL
Well, I reread the series fairly often, and since these rereads started I reread them at the same time, even though I never commented the first time around.

So, here's my take on character conservation. For minor characters whose deaths would mean nothing to the reader or story, they may as well be kept around. Jordan ended up with a large pool of names and characters with at least a small backstory to call upon for any given situation precisely because he didn't kill them off when nobody would care.

For major characters, I do not care if they live; if they still have plenty of good story left in them. Aviendha doesn't do a lot after this, even up to very near the end of Towers of Midnight, other than her trip to Ebou Dar. I suppose she could have died, and it would have had some weight, but having Rand lose his cool so far before TGS wouldn't have been particularly lovely. I like Avi, so I guess I am happy she lived, but yep she could have died and the story continued. I did like the bonding scene with her and Elayne becoming First Sisters but I hated Elayne's storyline since returning to Camelyn quie a bit.

Mat obviously had a lot to do. Still, given the nature of balefire, you couldn't get Mat back without Avi, so you got both. It would have been truly lame if she had died offscreen post being "resurrected" through balefire, a la Pevin (althoug he didn't die to Rhavin).

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