Fri
Sep 18 2009 6:25pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Lord of Chaos, Part 19

Hey-o! It’s the Wheel of Time Re-read!

On this fine Friday we are covering Chapters 31-33 of Lord of Chaos, featuring a tragedy of errors, lessons in swan-diving, and A Turning Point.

Previous entries are here. This and all prior posts contain spoilers for the novel of the Wheel of Time series up to and including Knife of Dreams, so if you haven’t read, don’t read.

Also, as most of y’all know by now, the Prologue of The Gathering Storm, “What the Storm Means,” is available for download here on Tor.com or at multiple online vendors. Chapter 1 is still available as well.

Ergo, as discussed before, please refrain from posting spoilers for either the Prologue or Chapter 1 in the posts for the Re-read, in order to protect those who have not yet read them, or do not intend to before the release of the entire book. Spoiler discussion is going on at the respective posts announcing the two releases, linked above; please keep them there. Thanks.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled opinionating!

Chapter 31: Red Wax

What Happens
An irritated Eamon Valda rides into the courtyard of the Fortress of the Light, where he is greeted eagerly by “young” Dain Bornhald; he notes disapprovingly that Dain smells of brandy. He is very displeased with the orders that had called him back from Tar Valon just when a strong push could, he was sure, bring down the Tower for good. He isn’t any better pleased by the Dragonsworn rabble he had encountered on the way to Amador either.

The roads behind his legion were littered now, and the ravens fed to bursting. If it was not possible to tell the Prophet’s trash from refugee trash, well then, kill whoever clogged the way. The innocent should have remained in their homes where they belonged; the Creator would shelter them anyway. As far as he was concerned, the wanderers were added plums on the cake.

He is startled to hear Dain confirm the rumor that Morgase is in the Fortress, and thinks Niall has grown old and soft if she hasn’t already signed a treaty; Valda would have made her sign it the first day, by whatever means necessary. Valda invites Dain to dinner, but warns him he’d better be sober, and goes in. On the way, he encounters a Questioner who murmurs that he might like to visit the Dome of Truth; Valda considers dressing down the man, but then considers that it might mean something more, and heads to the Dome, where he meets Rhadam Asunawa, the High Inquisitor, seemingly by happenstance. Asunawa remarks casually that times are troubled when the Children harbor a witch. Valda says nothing in reply, and Asunawa adds that Niall must not be allowed to destroy the Children. Valda pretends to study a painting, and finally says he is prepared to listen.

Niall watches Valda stalk inside the Fortress, and thinks the man is always in a fury, and he would have left him in Tar Valon had there been any way to do so; his only notion of tactics or strategy was to charge. Niall dismisses Valda from his mind as Balwer tells him that Omerna left him a bunch of papers, and another sealed message tube, which angers Niall, as Omerna knows perfectly well he is never to give those messages to anyone but Niall himself. He opens it to find it is another letter from Varadin, his mad rug merchant in Tanchico, who is still spouting gibberish about leashed Aes Sedai and monsters, but then Niall reads that he is hiding Faisar, one of the Children Niall had sent there to assess the situation, which gives him pause, as Varadin should know nothing of Faisar. Niall tells Balwer to arrange for a courier to go to Tanchico, and burns Varadin’s note.

He had four rules concerning action and information. Never make a plan without knowing as much as you can of the enemy. Never be afraid to change your plans when you receive new information. Never believe you know everything. And never wait to know everything. The man who waited to know everything was still sitting in his tent when the enemy burned it over his head.

Niall thinks that he has only ignored those rules once, when he followed a hunch that saved his army, and now he has that feeling again.

Tallanvor is arguing with Morgase over Paitr, who has come to them with a plan for escape from the Fortress by the next day. Tallanvor does not trust him; Morgase is deliberately patronizing of his concerns, and then annoyed when Lini agrees with Tallanvor. She thinks that Paitr had been thrilled at the prospect of getting her out, saying something about making up for a failure at home, and the plan was elegantly simple, if undignified; she was going to ride out of the Fortress under a cartload of garbage. She ignores Lini and Tallanvor and is reiterating their parts in the plan when Gill interrupts nervously to tell her there is a Questioner come to speak to her. Morgase is calm outside, but inside she is queasy as Elinor Saren enters and informs her she is summoned to the Lord Captain Commander, now. She asks why an Inquisitor was sent, and Saren replies coldly that he was sent because it was on his way. He leads her through the halls a different way than she’s gone before, which he tells her curtly is a shortcut when she asks. Then they come to a courtyard where, to her horror, she sees a group of people being hanged, and that two of them are Paitr and his uncle. Saren is watching her, and she manages to keep her expression under control.

The shortest way? So this was Niall’s new tactic. It did not surprise her that no mention had been made of her planned escape. Niall was too subtle for that. She was an honored guest, and Paitr and his uncle had been hanged by chance, for some crime that had nothing to do with her. Who would be the next to mount the gallows? Lamgwin or Basel? Lini or Tallanvor? Strange, but the image of Tallanvor with a rope around his neck hurt more than the image of Lini. The mind played peculiar tricks. Over Saren’s shoulder she caught sight of Asunawa, at a window overlooking the scaffold. He was staring down at her. Maybe this was his doing, not Niall’s. It made no difference. She could not let her people die for nothing. She could not let Tallanvor die. Very peculiar tricks.

Shortly afterward they reach Niall’s audience chamber, where Niall ignores her for a moment, staring into space. Morgase is irritated that he’d beaten her and didn’t even seem to notice. She debates getting herself killed in an open escape attempt, so that the throne would go to Elayne, but for some reason still trusts the Tower less than she does Niall.

No, she had to save Andor herself. But the cost. The cost must be paid.

She had to force the words out. “I am ready to sign your treaty.”

Niall blinks and laughs wryly, and she is angered that he bothers to pretend surprise; he quickly produces the document, and Morgase thinks it might take her and Elayne’s lifetimes both to undo the damage it will wreak on Andor, but that the alternatives were al’Thor, one of Gaebril’s toadies, or Elayne as the Tower’s puppet on the throne. She signs, as does Niall, and asks when his legions would ride. To her utter surprise he replies that it will be a while, as there are “developments [he] must consider”; Morgase notes that his prissy secretary Balwer seems almost as shocked as herself. She makes herself smile warmly, and asks Niall if he cares to play stones; she flushes at his amused look, but tells herself that opponents who are thought broken are not watched as closely.

Asunawa remarks to Saren that “the witch” was taken aback at the Darkfriend hangings; Saren replies that they were caught chanting “some catechism to the Shadow”, but no one thought to ask if any of them had any connections to Morgase. He observes, though, that some people are just affected that way by hangings, and Asunawa tends to agree, but it still troubles him. Saren complains that Niall sent her to fetch the witch as if he were a dog, and feels filthy from standing so close to her; Asunawa ignores him to contemplate Morgase’s surprising strength in holding out in the very heart of the Fortress.

She would ruin some of his plans if she turned out to be weak after all. He had all the details in his mind, each day of her trial with ambassadors on hand from every land that could still produce one, until finally her dramatic confession, wrung from her so skillfully no one would ever find a mark, and then the ceremonies surrounding her execution. A special gallows just for her, to be preserved afterwards to mark the occasion.

“Let us hope she continues to resist Niall,” he said, with a smile that some would call mild and pious. Even Niall’s patience could not last forever; eventually he would have to hand her to justice.

Commentary
This chapter would be an example of how Jordan occasionally liked to torture us all. I mean that in the nicest possible way, of course.

AAAAAAAGH.

I’d say it’s a pretty impressive accomplishment, actually, that Jordan managed to screw over every single character in this chapter, all through the delightful medium of egregious misinformation and misinterpretation. Everyone here is completely wrong about everything. It’s sort of beautiful, except for how it’s so damn frustrating.

This stands as about the one and only time I sincerely wished for a plot of the Shadow to succeed. Yeah, I’m sure Paitr did not exactly have nice things in mind for Morgase once they got out of Amador, but considering that Mat beat him up even while in the throes of Shadar Logoth Dagger Syndrome (and long before taking a level in badass), I feel fairly confident that Tallanvor could have handled him. Alas, we’ll never know if I’m right, because AAAGH.

Meanwhile our Messieur Valda continues angling for the trophy of Least Likeable Human Ever, and I’d say he’s got a real shot at the brass ring on that one. I vomit in his general direction. Even Asunawa isn’t as pukeworthy in my opinion.

Niall: I suppose you could say he’s the only one in this chapter who actually did get what he wanted. The problem is it’s about to really not matter from his point of view. Oh well!


Chapter 32: Summoned in Haste

What Happens
Egwene observes that matters in Cairhien have been incredibly tense ever since Rand’s visit and departure. Everyone in the Palace is staring daggers at each other, and Berelain seems to have gone into hiding. Among the Aiel, the Wise Ones are collectively in an extremely bad mood ever since Amys and Sorilea’s audience with Rand, and this is not improved by the arrival of Sevanna and two Shaido Wise Ones, Therava and Emerys. Sevanna has apparently been made a Wise One despite never having been to Rhuidean, and the others are forced to accept this; they have diplomatic immunity as Wise Ones, which Egwene finds ridiculous and frustrating. Sevanna also knows who Egwene is, and goes out of her way to torment her, and Egwene has no recourse but to take it. Then some of the Wise Ones talked a couple of Maidens into trying to sneak into Arilyn’s manor to spy on Elaida’s embassy, with the result that the Maidens were caught, chastised severely, and tossed out, and the rest of the Wise Ones openly derided the instigators while Sevanna and Co. sneered. Egwene begins avoiding the tents as much as possible, spending every morning with Gawyn; she is aware that he is not letting very much at all slip about the Tower Aes Sedai, but can’t make herself care. The Wise Ones report that the Aes Sedai are still channeling night and day without a break, but no one can find out what they are doing. Three days after Rand’s departure Egwene hires a boatman to row her out to the Sea Folk ship in the river, hoping that she might be able to convince the Windfinder to teach her about weather as they had Elayne before. She reaches the ship and asks permission to come aboard; a rope ladder is sent down for her, but right as she reaches the top, someone slices through the rope, sending her into the river. The boatman hauls her back aboard his boat.

The Windfinder was at the railing now, and two more women, one in plain green silk, the other brocaded red worked with gold thread. Their earrings and nose rings and chains caught the sun.

“You are refused the gift of passage,” the green-clad woman called, and the one in red shouted, “Tell the others, disguises do not fool us. You do not frighten us. You are all refused the gift of passage!”

Furious, Egwene channels, shielding the Windfinder with one flow while binding and lifting all three women with Air, to dump them into the river in turn. To her dismay, however, they all smoothly dive in as soon as she lets them go, not seeming frightened at all. Then she notices the boatman gaping at her, and realizes she was just channeling immense amounts of saidar out in plain sight of anyone; she gets him to bring her ashore, where she sprints for the tents, and does not return to the city thereafter except to visit Gawyn. On the fifth day the Wise Ones take Egwene for two short trial runs in Tel’aran’rhiod, and test her thoroughly afterward. She doesn’t go on her own trips those nights, and she has been firmly avoiding the place where people’s dreams were, knowing that the temptation to get pulled into Gawyn’s dream was too strong. On the seventh night she prepares nervously to meet the Aes Sedai with the Wise Ones in the Dreamworld, and worries that they will reveal that she is only Accepted in front of Amys and Bair. She arrives in the reflection of the Heart of the Stone, and realizes she is wearing an Accepted’s dress; she changes it hastily before the Wise Ones notice. The Wise Ones start to complain that the Aes Sedai are late again when suddenly seven Aes Sedai appear, all wearing their shawls; Egwene recognizes one of them as the determined blue-eyed woman she’d seen in the Dreamworld before, and wonders who she is.

The Aes Sedai’s eyes focused immediately on Egwene. The Wise Ones might as well not have existed.

“Egwene al’Vere,” Sheriam said formally, “you are summoned before the Hall of the Tower.” Her tilted green eyes shone with some suppressed emotion. Egwene’s stomach sank; they knew she had been masquerading as a full sister.

[Carlinya]: “Ask not why you are summoned; it is yours to answer, not to question.”

[Anaiya]: “Delay not in your coming; it is yours to obey in haste.”

The three spoke in unison. “It is well to fear the summons of the Hall. It is well to obey in haste and humility, unasking. You are summoned to kneel before the Hall of the Tower and accept their judgment.”

The Wise Ones look concerned, and Egwene tries not to panic. She gathers her courage and replies that she will come as soon as she can, but she doesn’t know exactly where Salidar is, nor how long it will take to get there. Sheriam brings up the possibility of entering Tel’aran’rhiod physically, and the Wise Ones instantly forbid it, saying it is evil. Beonin tries to point out that they can’t know that if they haven’t tried it themselves; the Wise Ones’ eyes go flat, and Egwene jumps in before they can retaliate, saying she thinks she knows how, and will try, but she still needs to know where to go. The Wise Ones turn to stare at her; Sheriam begins giving directions, but the young Blue says she might have a better way, and creates a large map that replicates the terrain between Cairhien and Salidar exactly. Even the Wise Ones are impressed, and Sheriam compliments her, calling her “Siuan”; Egwene blinks, deciding it must just be someone with the same name, and tells them she can find it now. They admonish her again to come in haste and ask no questions, and then disappear; Amys and Bair disappear too, before she can say anything to them. Sadly Egwene steps out of the dream herself, wakes up in her tent and immediately begins to pack.

A part of her life was over, but she would not cry over the loss. She would not.

Rand steps out from behind one of the columns of the Heart of the Stone; he still isn’t sure what this place is, but he comes here sometimes to look at Callandor. He thinks briefly about the prophecy that said whoever drew it out would “follow after” him, but he is more interested in the map he had just seen.

Was it simple chance that drew him here tonight instead of yesterday, or tomorrow? One of his ta’veren tugs on the Pattern? No matter. Egwene had accepted that summons meekly, and that she would never do if it came from the Tower and Elaida. This Salidar was where her mysterious friends were hiding. Where Elayne was. They had handed themselves to him.

Laughing, he opened a gateway to the reflection of the Palace in Caemlyn.

Commentary
I’ve brought this up about a gazillion times, so I apologize, but it is really bugging the crap out of me that I can’t remember whether I guessed about Egwene’s Amyrlining ahead of time. I think I guessed it here? Maybe? Hopefully? Go me?

It’s just annoying, because of how often I can remember pretty much exactly what my reaction was to this or that bit of the story, but on this one thing I’m drawing a total blank. Argh. Okay, I will shut up about it now.

Like for instance, I remember being really annoyed at Rand, reading the first part of this chapter with all the tension. See, this is why you should be nice to people! Of course, it’s hardly all Rand’s fault (Sevanna and the Tower embassy are working overtime on this one), but Rand throwing an extended hissy before stomping back to Caemlyn certainly didn’t help, is all I’m saying. Chaos? I’d say yeah.

Windfinders: Not sure what’s going there, or if it has any real significance. I think this gets clarified for us in ACOS, when Nynaeve and Elayne go to the Sea Folk in Ebou Dar, but right now I’m guessing some of the Tower Aes Sedai in Cairhien tried to muscle in on the Windfinders to pass the time (kinda like Egwene was going to, actually), and ticked the Sea Folk off but good. So, not that important then. Cool!

Siuan: This is kind of random, but have we ever had two characters in WOT with the same name? I can’t think of any. It’s a common sort-of-failing of fiction, at any rate, and I’m hardly complaining; the cast of WOT is hard enough to keep track of as it is. (This is why trying to read histories of European monarchies always gives me migraines; name your kids something besides Henry, Louis or Philip, dammit!) I’m sure TV Tropes has a name (heh) for this phenomenon, but I am resolutely not going to look for it, because I’m on a deadline here.

Rand: Uh, way to sound like a scheming villain there, hero. Be less creepy, kthx. Also, I remember when I first read this my immediate reaction was, “Aw, crap.” Which just goes to show that even a stopped clock can be psychic two or three times in a series. Go me!


Chapter 33: Courage to Strengthen

What Happens
Egwene is in her tent, blushing over the letter she had just sent to Gawyn telling him she was going away and asking him to wait for her, when Amys, Bair, and Sorilea enter, staring at her silently. She tells them she’s sorry, but if they mean to punish her she doesn’t have time to dig holes or whatever. They are surprised, and Amys asks how they should punish her, when she stopped being their pupil the moment she was summoned as Aes Sedai? Egwene winces, and says she knows they are angry with her; Sorilea replies they are not, but their faces say differently.

Egwene stared from one to another, especially Amys and Bair. “But you told me how wrong you think what I’m going to do is; you said I must not even think about it. I said I wouldn’t, and then I went ahead and worked out how to do it.”

Startlingly, a smile bloomed on Sorilea’s leathery face. Her multitude of bracelets clattered as she shifted her shawl in a satisfied manner. “You see? I told you she would understand. She could be Aiel.”

Egwene understands then; they disapprove of what she is going to do, but what mattered to them under ji’e’toh was the fact that she lied. She takes a deep breath, and confesses her other lies to them: that she entered the Dreamworld alone when she had promised not to, and that she is not really Aes Sedai, only Accepted. They stare at her, expressionless, and Egwene scornfully suppresses the inner voice telling her she could just leave and not deal with it. She gathers her courage again, and stands before them proudly.

“I have toh.” Her stomach was not fluttering any longer. “I ask the favor, that you will help me meet my toh.” Salidar was going to have to wait.

Mat lounges in his tent, playing the Snakes and Foxes game with Olver. Olver is convinced they are going to win this time, but on the next roll a snake token reaches Olver and a fox Mat, and they lose.

Only a child’s game, and one you would not win so long as you followed the rules. Soon Olver would be old enough to realize that, and like other children, stop playing. Only a child’s game, but Mat did not like the fox getting him, and even less the snakes. It brought back bad memories, even if one had nothing to do with the other.

Undaunted, Olver begins another game, opening with the ritual of drawing a triangle with a wavy line through it in the air and chanting: “‘Courage to strengthen, fire to blind, music to dazzle, iron to bind’”. He asks why you have to say that, and Mat answers that he doesn’t know, though it tickles something in his memory. Daerid enters and looks startled; Mat tells Olver to go to bed, and threatens Daerid with dire consequences if he blabs about this. Daerid dryly replies that Mat is turning into a wonderful father; Mat contemplates punching him, but forgets when Daerid gives him the news: the Dragon Reborn is coming to the camp. Mat exits his tent to find Rand striding up to him, with two Aiel guards and Aviendha in tow; Mat cannot understand why he keeps her around, as she is nothing but trouble as far as Mat is concerned. Olver asks breathlessly if that’s really the Dragon Reborn, and Mat says yes, and shoos him off, though he notes that Olver only goes far enough to spy without being seen. He also notes that Rand looks almost feverishly excited, which unnerves him. Rand tells him they have to talk alone right away, but Aviendha follows them into the tent without asking, and once inside Rand doesn’t say anything immediately. Finally Mat asks what’s going on, adding that he hopes Rand doesn’t mean to change the plan now; it’s too bloody late to –

“I want you to bring Elayne to... to Caemlyn,” Rand broke in. “I want you to see her safe to Caemlyn, whatever happens. Don’t leave her side until she’s on the Lion Throne.” Aviendha cleared her throat. “Yes,” Rand said. For some reason his voice went as cold and hard as his face. But then, did he need reasons if he was going mad? “Aviendha is going with you. I think it’s best.”

“You think it is best?” she said indignantly. “If I had not wakened when I did, I would never have known you had found her. You do not send me anywhere, Rand al’Thor. I must speak with Elayne for my... my own reasons.”

Carefully, Mat says he’s glad Rand’s found Elayne, but doesn’t understand why he, Mat, has to get involved; can’t Rand just make a gateway, “scoop her up and kiss her” and take her back? Rand unrolls a map he’s brought, with an arrow labeled “Salidar” on it, and tells Mat Elayne is there, and he’ll bring Mat and the Band within a couple days’ ride of it via gateway. Mat still doesn’t understand why he has to go, and Rand snaps at him, explaining that Salidar has “maybe fifty” Aes Sedai in it, rebels against Elaida and probably very scared, and all Mat has to do is “loom a little” and say Elayne must be crowned in Caemlyn, and they’ll let her go. Then he is to escort her to Caemlyn, and gather in any Dragonsworn he comes across as he goes through Altara and Murandy, maybe handing Rand both countries in the process. Mat can think of about a million ways this is a terrible idea, and tries to suggest that it might draw Sammael’s attention the wrong way, but Rand is determined, and Mat gives up, telling him the Band can be ready in two hours. Rand tells him again how important it is for Elayne to reach Caemlyn so she can be crowned, as if Mat doesn’t know he’s sweet on her, and Mat replies dryly that he’ll treat her like his own sister, thinking that his sisters had always tormented him and he expects no less from Elayne.

Rand nodded. “That reminds me. Bodewhin is in Caemlyn. With Verin and Alanna, and some more Two Rivers girls. They’re on their way to train for Aes Sedai.”

Mat gapes, flabbergasted, but Rand is already moving on, telling him Egwene may be in Salidar by the time he gets there, and he thinks she’s in some kind of trouble with the Aes Sedai, and Mat should do what he can to get her out of it. Mat promises on both counts, still stunned over the news about Bode; Rand also gives him a letter to give to Thom Merrilin, and starts to say something to Aviendha, but then hurries out without saying anything.

Aviendha took a step after him, half-raising a hand, lips parted to speak. Just as suddenly her mouth snapped shut, and she buried her hands in her skirts and squeezed her eyes shut. So the wind came that way, did it? And she wants to talk to Elayne. How did Rand ever get himself in this pickle? Rand was always the one who knew how to handle women, Rand and Perrin.

Mat notes that the letter to Thom is addressed in a feminine hand, but does not recognize the seal, and decides none of it’s his concern anyway. He tells Olver, who he knows perfectly well is listening at the tent flap, to go get Talmanes, Daerid and Nalesean; Olver squeaks and runs off. Then he informs Aviendha that she is under his command as long as she is with the Band, and he expects no trouble from her; Aviendha sniffs that she knows how to follow, and sits and begins sharpening her knife as he studies the map. When the others enter, Mat gives them the news:

“We are going to tickle some Aes Sedai under the chin, rescue a mule, and put a snip-nosed girl on the Lion Throne. Oh, yes. That’s Aviendha. Don’t look at her crosswise, or she’ll try to cut your throat and probably slit her own by mistake.” The woman laughed as if he had made the funniest joke in the world. She did not stop sharpening her knife, though.

Egwene stands up shakily in the Wise Ones’ tent and sobs, her whole backside feeling like it is on fire. The tent is filled with Wise Ones and their apprentices, everyone she had specifically told she was Aes Sedai. Egwene is ashamed that she is taking it so badly, instead of stoically like she is sure an Aiel would. She asks if it is over, and Amys answers that only she can know what her honor is worth. Egwene takes a deep breath, and lies down again, bracing herself.

This time she would not cry out. This time she would not kick, or thrash about, or... the belt had not hit her yet. Raising her head, she blinked her eyes clear to glare at them. “What are you waiting for?” Her voice still shook, but there was more than a note of anger too. Making her wait on top of everything else? “I have a journey to make tonight, in case you’ve forgotten. Get on with it.”

Amys tossed the belt down beside Egwene’s head. “This woman has no toh toward me.”

The other join her, saying Egwene has no toh to them, and Sorilea tells her she knew Egwene was “Aiel in her heart” and that she should get up before they think she is boasting. Everyone gathers around, wiping her tears and hugging her and smiling, and Egwene is rather amazed until she remembers that for Aiel, once toh is met it no longer exists.

A bit of Egwene that was not wrapped up in ji’e’toh thought that maybe what she had said at the end helped, too, as well as getting back down in the first place. Perhaps she had not faced it with the indifference of an Aiel in the beginning, but at the end, Sorilea was right. She had been Aiel in her heart. She thought a part of her heart always would be Aiel.

Slowly the others filter out until only Bair, Amys and Sorilea remain. Egwene says she is going to miss them, and Sorilea snorts and answers that with luck the Aes Sedai will kick her out, and Egwene can come back to them; in her opinion, in three or so years Egwene could have her own hold. Egwene laughs and thanks her, and Bair says she and Amys will continue to meet her in the Dreamworld and pass on news; Amys will not teach her any longer, true to her word, but Bair will if Egwene wants it. Egwene says that she does, and asks them to watch over Rand for her. Amys adds that she should not worry, she will have an opportunity to discharge her toh to Rhuarc at some point, and Egwene almost gapes before catching herself, remembering with dismay that she also still had toh to Melaine and Aviendha; she doesn’t know if her heart is that Aiel. Bair and Amys obviously want to protest what Egwene is going to do, but Sorilea chases them out firmly and then takes her leave herself:

“We are always more afraid than we wish to be, but we can always be braver than we expect. Hold on to your heart, and the Aes Sedai cannot harm what is really you, your heart. They are not nearly so far above us as we believed. May you always find water and shade, Egwene. And always remember your heart.”

Egwene thinks about that, and thinks that she will need every bit of what she had learned being Aiel, in order to be Aes Sedai. She is determined not to surrender, whatever happens.

Commentary
Rand: *headdesk* Oh, honey. No. Just no. How very, very delusional you are here, let me count the ways. “Loom a little.” Have you met an Aes Sedai, ever? Sheesh.

I’m honestly not sure if I’m more annoyed with Rand for actually thinking this cockamamie scheme would work, or with Mat for not protesting against it more strenuously when he knew goddamn well just how loopy it was. At least then you could say “I told you so” later, man. Way to show some backbone.

But, at least Mat is not alienating his own people. Rand is just really not comporting himself well these last few chapters. I especially didn’t appreciate the way he casually dropped on Mat the news that his sister can channel, like, thanks for the sensitivity, bro.

Olver: Heh. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t know why anyone would doubt that Mat would be a good father; out of the three Superboys, I would have pegged him as the most likely to be a good dad long before Olver even appeared. I’m not a parent, nor do I play one on TV, but I’ve been around, and I say one of the single most important assets one must have to be a good parent is a sense of humor. Ergo, Mat wins. (He even makes an Aiel joke without even trying!)

(Perrin will be a very responsible father, but his kids will think he’s a total dork. Rand... sorry, dude. You are not father material. You’ll mean well, but you will give your kids complexes in two years flat – assuming you have a chance to. All in my very-tongue-in-cheek opinion, of course.)

Egwene: So, I guess you guys are all thinking I’m outraged by this scene, given my (apparently very controversial) dislike of spanking, aren’t you?

Well, I’m not. I actually have no problem with this scene at all, and I never did.

See, this is the thing. What happens to Egwene here is both a formal ceremony and an official state-sanctioned (so to speak) administration of justice. So while I am not proposing to run out and suggest we add ritual corporal punishment (not “corporeal”, thank you Shimrod) to the agenda at the next Neighborhood Watch meeting, within the context of Aiel society specifically this is a well-defined, rigidly constrained, and universally accepted method of maintaining order, and as such I have no issue with it. Furthermore, it was a punishment Egwene chose to accept, of her own free will; she is made perfectly well aware that she could have walked away from it at any time. That is what makes her acceptance of the punishment – and the punishment itself – meaningful. I have no problem with that.

What I do have a problem with is using spanking and humiliation in a one-on-one, off the cuff, retaliatory manner to resolve individual personal conflicts, without it being part of a system of justice accepted by all parties. Perrin’s spanking of Faile in TSR infuriated me because, among other things, it was done in anger; conversely, the Maidens’ beating of Rand in TPOD also enraged me, because while it wasn’t done in anger (at least supposedly), from what I recall it was not presented as an option for Rand to participate in, either. The fact that Rand is a giant neurotic ball of guilt and took it without a protest is beside the point; in my view it was not a kosher employment of ji’e’toh and was, therefore, just plain old abuse. But I’ll discuss that more when we get to it.

In other news, Sorilea is extremely awesome in this chapter and I kind of love her at the moment. And Egwene is finally not annoying me anymore, for which I am profoundly grateful. Her snapping at the Wise Ones in the toh tent was, if not a Crowning Moment of Awesome, at least a Bronze Medal Moment of Awesome. Perhaps even a silver. Very nicely done turning point for her character. And now, It Begins – for Egwene, anyway.


But not until next week – for you, anyway! Have a lurvely weekend, and I will see you Monday. Ciao!

91 comments
Richard Fife
1. R.Fife
Holy crap, I'm not dead, despite the Rick Astly look-alike hitmen that Subwoofer sent after me. *ahem* Honestly, I was off in a pre-Dragon*Con slump and had a big project I was working on, then there was Dragon*Con, then I've been playing catch-up while also devouting a fair amount of time to getting me own website up and running. No it isn't just an embedded Rickroll, honest.

Anywho, actual comment things:

On multiple names: One Steve Limit. Jordan did make a few tongue in cheek comments about this, both here and with the Joyia from Egwene's Acceptatron and the BA Joyia. Isn't there also the AS from Nynaeve's test and the novice later in the books? I know that is possibly fake people vs real ones, but still.

On Mat caving quickly to Rand's crackpot plan, well, I think he still would have loved to have said "told-ya-so", and he did try several different ways to get Rand to change his mind. In the end, though, I think it was soldier-Mat that just had to grin and bear his "king's" whim and just make the best of it. Note that he purposely is dragging his feet/taking his time with the "two hours" to get the Band ready.

Still, I love this crack-pot move because Mat amongst the Aes Sedai is one of my favorite dynamics. He just throws all sorts of monkey-wrenches into their paradigms, even moreso than dealing with Windfinders and Wise Ones do. Love love love.
LTArmstrong
2. LTArmstrong
This was the point when Mat went from interesting to "Homeric".
Kurt Lorey
3. Shimrod
I really like that the characters are lost in a sea of their own knowledge and perceptions. It is one of the most realistic things about WoT.
Maiane Bakroeva
4. Isilel
Sevanna and Shaido WOs, sigh. Why on earth is she allowed to flout tradition and skip apprenticeship and Rhuidean? Isn't it unheard of?
Why are Shaido WOs still accorded immunity and respect when they have clearly thrown all traditions overboard and committed massive atrocities to boot?

For that matter, did Shaido WOs just cheat on their Rhuidean tests en masse? I mean, surely the decision to support the Car'acarn or not should have been _the_ important event in all of their Rings visits. Not to mention that they knew very well that Couladin was a fraud and that the Prophecy couldn't be corrupted in any way.


Want to re-iterate what I said about Morgase (not quite apropos) in the comments on previous re-cap N° 18:

I am now re-reading TFoH the last volume in my complete re-read of the saga caused by by these re-read threads and I am wholly certain now that Morgase wasn't firing all her cylinders when she went to Amadicia.
Gareth Bryne immediately thinks that whatever Ailron does is always dictated by Whitecloaks and by all accounts Morgase used to be at least his match intellectually and in political shrewedness. So, yea, maybe she continues to be so pathetic because she is still partially affected by Compulsion and doesn't know that she needs to fight it some more to free herself completely. Maybe the revelation of Rahvin = Gaebril will allow her to re-gain her early impressiveness.

Her thinking is clearly addled by Compulsion, particularly where WT or the DR are concerned. Yes, a pity the DF plot failed - her entourage could have handled Paitr and Co.

Valda - wouldn't you love having this guy protecting you?

I have to say that the position of Aiel dreamwalkers re: reasonable questions concerning TAR annoys me immensely. Talk about hide-bound, close-mouthed, yet ready to assign blame!

Siuan seems to have discovered a lot of stuff starting from the bare basics Nyn and El could give her, just by experimenting. It wouldn't surprise me if she and Leane eventually outgrow the need for ter'angreal and become better dreamwalkers than the WOs.
LTArmstrong
5. altarego
And finally, an answer Leigh's mystery as to who murdered those poor Tinkers (Wanderers) a few chapters back (the ones that Mat ran into). I mentioned it in that post and I mention it now: Whitecloaks.
vo mabulay
6. alreadymad
Can't really blame Rand if he thought looming over Aes Sedai would work. The man turns Aes Sedai bowels to water. And on a certain level, he knows it.

As for the Shaido, I can understand them supporting Couladin. The man was an unstable gloryhound at best, but he was Shaido. What I can't fathom is that they would skirt tradition enought for them to let Sevanna skip the apprenticeship. The woman is a snake. Pure and simple.

Siuan and Leane learned a lot because they did not have the crutch of Saidar while learning TAR. Contrast this with AS who channel (and get themselves in trouble) at the slightest provocation.
LTArmstrong
7. altarego
There is Sharina, the 'grandmother' novice from PoD through KoD. And then Egwene's Beldeine/Keeper pulling her from the rubble of the White Tower (sans 3 oaths) - reminiscent of her Dreams, no? I'm beginning to think that there may be more to this Acceptatron than previously thought.
David Gibson
8. DrG
I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again... Mat is a badass. I think I just like the way he develops and pretty much never has a clue about anything, but ends up in the right place at the right time. (or the wrong place at the wrong time, depending on who you ask!) Maybe I'm just really excited to finally see his whole Tower Of Ghenji/Rescue the Blue story pan out?

On Egghead: This is about the first time that I decided I didn't completely hate her, and when she finally starts distancing herself from the lost schoolgirl she was prior to this. I actually still get goosebumps when I read Amy's "This woman has no toh" statement. Not to mention, Leigh, you hit the nail on the head with the consent and meaningfulness(?) of the Great Spanking Debate! Good stuff as always!
Maiane Bakroeva
9. Isilel
Oh, and the moment where Olver says ritual words to start the game was when I first knew that Moiraine wasn't dead and would be rescued! I have waited for that event impatiently and futilely for the remaining books, sigh, what with Mo being my favorite character and all. Thom's letter mentioned immediately afterwards only made the impression stronger.

Mat is very cold towards Rand again BTW - nothing of friendship remains. He is resigned by now that his fate is tied to Rand until TG is over, but that's all.
IMHO, it is one of the reasons why he doesn't protest over the change of plans too much - that and it seemingly takes him even further away from battles, LOL.

BTW, how dumb is it that WOs and AS meet in the Heart of the Stone - a place the Forsaken and BAs are likely to haunt often? Seriously, guys, why not come up with a more obscure location?

Re: Egwene's toh, I dunno. I kind of disagree that serious infractions against honor can be made good that way. It just encourages people to become thick-skinned brutes who are caught in the cycle of sinning, atoning and then going right back to it, IMHO. Though it certainly prepared Egs for her future mission in the WT, so OK.

It is not as bad as the male part of romantic pair spanking the female part, LOL.
At least this is sorta ritualistic/judicial and anybody could find themselves the subject of it. Not that we see any male Aiel asking for it, of course.

Re: Rand's beating by the Maidens, he keeps breaking his word to them and impinging on their honor, but he is actually too clueless/arrogant where ji'toh is concerned to approach them on his own , so they have to take matters in their own hands.
Tess Laird
10. thewindrose
I lost some of my respect for the non-Shaido Wise Ones in chapter 32. I never had respect for the Shaido Wise Ones.
The Shaido WO's are obviously spying. They have named Sevanna as a WO, and everyone knows she hasn't been to Rhuidean or even been an apprentice. If only(I know -using if) the non- Shaido WO's had put a stop to Sevanna! And the real Shaiado WO's? Are they even Aiel? They must all go to some other place in Rhuidean. I know that RJ wrote them as being the undesireable Clan, but they are still Aiel, right?

About Dreaming - they do call it a Talent, even though non-channelers can do it. I don't think Suian or Leanne have that Talent. It has more to do with interpreting dreams, and the abilty to find peoples dreams. TAR is only one small part of Dreaming. So Suian and Leanne may have become adept at using TAR, but they haven't been writen as interpreting dreams or finding peoples dreams and communicating with the dreamer.
vo mabulay
11. alreadymad
Fact remains that Siuan at least showed enough skill at manipulating TAR to impress even the Wise Ones. Never an easy feat.

BTW Isilel @9
It's neither the Aes Sedai nor the Wise Ones' idea to meet in the Stone. If you really want to blame anyone, it's the Girls who first started meeting there.
battle ajah
12. battleajah
There are a lot of Jaims and Jons in WOT, much like in the Germanic-speaking world.

I always found it refreshing when I re-read ASOIAF and encounter the multiple people with the same names in the various families, especially the Targaryans and the Freys.

I thought that the Aiel beating up on Egwene was similar to a gang initiation rite.
j p
13. sps49
Boo Sevanna, boo Shaido, boo Sea Folk. Too much mean.

MAt and Rand (and Perrin) are still friends, though. They will need each other in 2 or 3 books, and you can pull stuff with your friends that noone else will let you get away with.

Stop mentioning and linking TV Tropes! Aaagh! There's only 24 hours in a day!
LTArmstrong
14. peachy
I was just thinking about the name issue last night - it's especially obvious with Aes Sedai, who are always referred to by their first names. You never see anyone say "You're looking for Carlinya Sedai? Would that be Carlinya Jones or Carlinya Smith?" (Medieval history is definitely rough in this respect, especially when titles of nobility are brought in to it - it's disconcerting when someone important changes names in the middle of a chapter. The Romans weren't overly concerned with helping us keep people straight either.)
James Jones
15. jamesedjones
4 & 9 Isilel

I'm not sure what to say. Everything, in both posts, is... well, you're absolutely right. I'm not sure what's going on with me.

Maybe I need to check my blood sugar. Maybe I'm just to distracted by the game against the Giants on Sunday. Maybe... I'm not sure.


Nah, just kidding (about me, your posts are still right). This is just the part where Egghead starts to actually earn her respect honestly, instead of through lies about who she is, or bullying her 'friends'.

I'm so relieved that she's finally decided to join the rest of our young heroes and grow up (yes, it's all relative for Mat and Nyneave). And, of course, we get to see how that works out for her on 10/27. twitch

Love the scene with Mat. You have to wonder if he's thinking something along the lines of, "How many men per tree?"
Ron Garrison
16. Man-0-Manetheran
Chapter 31: Arghh! Whitecloaks. Morgase.

Chapter 32: Arghh! Tower Embassy. Sevanna.

So infuriating! Oh right. I forgot, this is Load of Choss.

Chapter 33: Whew! Thanks, RJ. I couldn't have taken another one like the last two.
Great moment: When Amys throws down the belt and says, "This woman has no toh toward me" and Egwene is accepted as Aiel in her heart.
“We are always more afraid than we wish to be, but we can always be braver than we expect. Hold on to your heart, and the Aes Sedai cannot harm what is really you, your heart. They are not nearly so far above us as we believed. May you always find water and shade, Egwene. And always remember your heart.” AWWWW.
Lannis .
17. Lannis
First off, thank you, Leigh, for putting the first two chapters with the last one... yeah, they're a little dry... I'm pretty sure they were where I'd put the book down for a while and on later reads return and say, "man, this is where it slows down..." Then Egwene's summons comes, and it picks up again, thankfully...

I feel that Morgase would have been impressive to observe on the throne pre-Rahvin... too bad most of it happens off screen...

alreadymad @11: re: Siuan using TAR and impressing Wise Ones... I'm not sure if they would be as impressed if the another Wise One had performed the giganto-map trick... I think they were just impressed that an Aes Sedai could do it... you know, how their opinions of the Aes Sedai have slumped so... I think the bar's a little lower there...

EDIT: grammar
vo mabulay
18. alreadymad
True, but impressed is impressed no matter who the subject is.
Joseph Blaidd
19. SteelBlaidd
Mrs. McCave had 23 sons and she named them all Dave

I think in this case Mat is recognizeing that Rand is not in a state to be argued with. He is affter all an experianced soldier and every good soldier knows when to argue and when to just salute and march.

I have alwaysed loved that Mat takes all of 2 seconds to figure out Aviendha
T C
20. Freelancer
In which the ooh-ooh girl temporarily becomes the OWW! OWW! girl. Since I never heard of a weak-armed Aiel, and since being gentle would add shame to the one meeting their toh, all I can say is better Egwene than me.


battleahaj@12

Not a gang initiation. Egwene's sins shamed her, and dishonored those in authority over her. To discharge such an inequity requires payment. A significant point here is that Egwene never once believes that those who are punishing her hate her, or even dislike her. It would be proof of dislike for a Wise One to refuse participation.

Likewise, a parent using appropriate physical punishment to correct a disobedient child is not an evidence of lack of love. And when a parent manages such a situation correctly, the child has the same attitude about the activity that Egwene does here. My children always agreed that they deserved what was coming before hand, and we always traded "I love you's" afterward. To have punished them while they still believed they were innocent, or that it was being offered in anger, that is unwise.


RE: Conservation of names, or not. There are numerous minor characters, not even red-shirt standard, with matching names. What's so amazing is the sheer numbers of bit-players where there are no multiples of the same name. I don't think there are two Aes Sedai sharing the same name.


Ok, folks comment on what makes them twitch, that they wish they knew more about. We've hit a very big one for me. Varadin and Faisar. What in the blue blazes happened in Tanchico to bring them together? I know, I know, the Seanchan landed again. But neither of these men would lightly let their connection to Amadicia be known, so just how..., who..., what...?


No problem figuring out how one ends up as a Questioner. Be given a name like Rhadam, or Elinor, or Jaichim. Yeah, no instant complexes there.


About Rand thinking Mat can get Elayne free from Salidar by "looming a little". Rand believes there are no more than 50 sisters there, and very scared. With the limited information he's been given, added to his own assumptions and expectations, well this is what you get. (BTW, mption is getting mighty tired of being stuck with the spot we always put him in) It should occur to him that they'd hesitate to send a significant percentage of their numbers to Caemlyn as an embassy to him, so he should have re-evaluated the number 50. As to Mat not resisting the idea more, Leigh's commentary is somewhat light on the point that Mat is at least partly unnerved by Rand's behavior, and Rand snaps his head off during the conversation. So Mat makes a tactical retreat from an unwinnable position, and accepts the orders he's given.

But don't be too quick to give Mat any credit. Look at his analysis of the Aviendha/Elayne situation. Oh yeah, bullseye, NOT.
David Gibson
21. DrG
@20Freelancer Well, to be fair, none of the Superboys have ever been very good when it comes to assesing any situation involving matters of the heart, and Mat is no exception here. Which is kinda the point, right? Especially considering his future relationships with Tylin and Tuon. I do, however, agree that Mat is starting to seriously doubt Rands sanity, as he should. And, like a good soldier, takes what is dropped on his lap and tries to make the best out of it.
LTArmstrong
22. peachy
Well, to be fair to Mat, he doesn't know about Min's viewing with re: to Rand and his assorted female friends... nor does Aviendha, for that matter. So you can't fault either one for not expecting how matters will turn out ("welcome to the 'let's boff Rand' Club, sister!")
LTArmstrong
23. alreadymadwithasnumbers
I don't think the SAS embassy has reached Rand yet so he has no way of making an educated guess about their numbers from the size thereof. Rather, he was counting on each sister's loyalty to keeping the tower whole and thus ending up underestimating the numbers in Salidar.
R B
24. MasterAlThor
Why? Why? Why are we still talking about spanking?

Ok, Eg get's mad props for setting things right. Alas if only Ny could do this.

Perrin and Faile. I ask you, what do you do to a woman who comes up and hits you and continues to do so, even when you tell her to stop? Do you one punch KO the fool? No not acceptable. Walk away? Yeah right, so she can just do it again cause she knows that you won't stand up to her. Or how about yelling at her? Seriously? Like that is going to work, she is already hitting you.

You know how I stand on this. So please, someone give me some answers as how to handle it. I really wanna know.

And now we move on.

I forgot to mention that the scene with Mat and Avi was one of my favs. That was so funny. Escpecially how she just laughs and keeps on sharping her knife. There will be blood.

Rand...we give him grief because we know how things are going to turn out. Not really fair, but it is a half baked plan.

Valda....hurry up and die already
Asunwana...I can't wait to see you killed. Hopefully its painful. Very.

morgase...I can only feel sorry for her. But why oh why does she have to be a B? That I cannot accept.

Personally the previous three make me want to jump in the book and start samcking heads and bottoms. They irritate me just as much as Ny. That is alot.
Alice Arneson
25. Wetlandernw
Eamon Valda - What a nasty piece of work. He always makes me want to go take a shower. Most of the Whitecloaks do, in fact. And they have the nerve to complain about "feeling filthy from standing so close to "??? Gah.

Leigh, I totally loved your commentary on this. I was about to quote my faves, but would end up quoting most of it, so let me just say... Yeah. Me too.

Egwene and her toh. I liked it. I don't care what all you Egwene-haters say, I liked it. She's been busy doing whatever she could get away with, no matter how guilty she felt about it, because she just felt like she had to learn as much as possible. Yeah, some of it's just the ooh-ooh girl coming out, but she does need to learn it, because Rand is going to seriously need her help to... uh... save the world. (And sometimes you have to learn stuff you won't need that badly later, just to be able to get to the point of being able to do the stuff that you need to be able to learn and do later. (Yeah, it makes sense, if you've got the patience to unravel it.) So guilty conscience or not, she goes ahead and does whatever it takes to learn as much as she can. But when it comes right down to leaving, she 'fesses up to all of her sneakings and deceptions to the Aiel and does what their culture requires to atone. And I LOVE how forgiveness works for them. Once it's done, it's gone. No hard feelings, no lingering accusations, no lists of "back when". It's final. Oh, and I love that line..."a part of her heart always would be Aiel." Oh, and this is probably my favorite Sorilea moment of the whole series. (So far.)

Rand. Boy, you are wrong on so many levels here. But the one that always kills me most is the bit about "maybe fifty" Aes Sedai and how Mat just has to "loom a little" to get Rand's way. Yeah. Uh-huh.
LTArmstrong
26. Alfvaen
Yeah, a lot of Duopotamians have similar names. I seem to recall multiple Bilis and Jons, at the very least. I also seem to recall one name duplication among the Aiel--Dorindha, perhaps? But it's mostly them unsophisticated rural folk.

I think the AS Novice Book is actually a ter'angreal that keeps duplicate names from being written into it. "I'm sorry, Carlinya is already taken. Perhaps Carleon? Careane?" Then the novice gets a new name and their old name is never mentioned again. (Maybe you get to pick a new name anyway if you don't think that "Else Sedai" is all that impressive.)

It's easier for the author, but less realistic, to have no duplicates, or at least try.
john mullen
27. johntheirishmongol
Egwene needs to clear her toh before she leaves, in her mind, so that she pays the debt. However, in story terms, she may need to the support of the Wo in her battle with Elaida down the road.

Valda, Bornhold, any of the other Children just annoy me because, except for Galad, it seems none of them believe in what they are supposed to be fighting for. Maybe this is RJ's commentary on modern religion but it would have worked better if there was some balance.

BTW, are there any more annoying good guys than the Windfinders?

It has been so long since I read the LOC the first time that I don't remember if I had it figured the reason Egwene was being summoned but I did know something was up, because of all the ceremony about it.

The only thing about Egwene that annoyed me before was that she seemed somewhat superfluous to the story line. There was really no reason to like or dislike her except for her somewhat snarky commentary as the books went along. Soon she will have a real story line of her own.
LTArmstrong
28. xyzzy
When did Mat beat up Paitr? I only remember Rand punching him in the nose...
Ian Horn
29. IanGH
RE: Mat, Rand, and changing plans. I only thought about this in retrospect because I was really buried in Mat's POV. That's a problem whenever I read from his POV: it's just so damn well written that it is hard to concentrate on the plot. Only later did I think, "Damn! They planned that kill Sammael thing so carefully and now Rand is sending Mat off on a half-baked scheme that is bound to, if not fail, have all kinds of unintended consequences." All I can say is that it is a rather strained but necessary twist in the plot cleverly hidden in a well-written chapter.

RE: Spanking Egwene. I'll play devil's advocate here and say that by ji'e'toh, some remedy was required of Egwene for her lying. I suppose she could have killed herself or asked to be taken gai'shain but I'm not sure suicide or servitude is any better than asking for a good spanking. So, while, yes, it was voluntary in that she could have walked away, the rules of ji'e'toh bound her there. When I was a child, my father would send me to fetch the slipper he used when I "had toh."

I do agree that this is a crowning moment for Egwene, a turning point where she finally becomes a main character. RJ has been eluding to this whole "Egwene does things with her whole heart" bit but this is where we actually got to see it.

And Sorilea is awesome.

RE: Valda. I'm trying to think through all the characters who claim to work for the Light but who do so in a more evil way than him. Masema, maybe? Perhaps, collectively, the non-Black Red Ajah? Again collectively, the Seanchan?
Josh Davis
30. YoSoyElJosh
Regarding the name thing:

There's actually a few minor characters who have the same name. You can browse the full list of characters, even those mentioned in passing, at www.encyclopaedia-wot.org. I could never figure out if reusing a name was done intentionally, or simply an oversight on which names had been used. When you've invented thousands of them, I can see it being easy to lose track of a few.

But even though Jordan avoided reusing the same names for important characters, I still get overwhelmed when minor characters share similar names. Anecdote follows:

When I first read the Shadow Rising, I can recall becoming very confused about what Rand was seeing in Rhuidean, all because one of his ancestors was named Lewin. And my brain read that as being the same as Lews Therin, and the puzzlement that ensued writes itself. In fact, I got so confused that I ended up skipping through the rest of the chapter, and it wasn't until my re-read that I learned anything about shocklances and jo-cars, or even that Callandor and items for the Eye of the World were being prepared. End anecdote.
LTArmstrong
31. Blood and Ashes
I haven't seen any discussion about how going into Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh is supposed to be "evil" or "take away part of your humanity". Since both Egwene and Rand have done it (along with most of the Forsaken) I kept expecting some sort of consequence but I can't think of anything happening so far. Maybe it was just a plot device to explain why none of the Wise Ones had tried it?
Lindy Brown
32. lbrown
Rand... sorry, dude. You are not father material. You’ll mean well, but you will give your kids complexes in two years flat – assuming you have a chance to. All in my very-tongue-in-cheek opinion, of course.)

What? Rand not a good father. It's not his fault he's crazy! LOL! :)


Perrin’s spanking of Faile in TSR infuriated me because, among other things, it was done in anger;

The more I read about Perrin, the less likely this seems believable to his character. After he marries Faile, he's always thinking how much he loves her and how he'd never hurt her.

On the other hand, everyone has a breaking point and Faile was being extremely annoying in that chapter where Perrin spanked her.
Maiane Bakroeva
33. Isilel
@24 MasterAlTHor:

I ask you, what do you do to a woman who comes up and hits you and continues to do so, even when you tell her to stop?

Personally, I liked how Rhuarc restrained Faile in uncomfortable manner and I don't see why Perrin couldn't have done the same to cool her off. Not that Faile didn't start the violence, but IMHO 2 wrongs don't make a right.
Ditto this ridiculous facet in Siuan-Bryne relationship. I mean, at least Perrin and Faile are callow and immature, but such otherwise clever and clear-thinking characters as Siuan and Gareth?

I have less issue with hierarchic punishment spanking, although IMHO it goes hand-in -hand with infantilization of the um... subjects. I mean, seriously, they keep whaling on folks for years/decades and expect it to continue working? Surely, there are more effective ways to make adults behave responsibly than that.
At least in the British Navy of 18th-19th century, they recognized the limits and stopped strapping midshipmen after they turned 16 or so.

Alreadymad @6&11:

I can understand them supporting Couladin.

I can't. He seemed to have none of Aiel virtues. He was openly emotional, didn't observe ji'toh and other sacred Aiel traditions, etc. Yes, he was a good fighter, but the Waste is full of those.

At least Sevanna had a legal leg to stand on, initially.

But most importantly, I don't see how Shaido WOs could embark on such a destructive course when they have been through the Rings and the Columns and knew very well that Couladin was a fraud and that Car'acarn could never be a Shaido or in fact Aiel-raised. I mean, they have all experienced the Prophecy of Rhuidean as it was delivered.

As to meetings in TAR the Heart of the Stone, sure, the SGs started it, foolishly, but why didn't the WOs see how dumb it was? Or even the SGs themselves when they learned more about dreamwalking. Or AS once the idea of spying in TAR penetrated.
j p
34. sps49
I've lost track- when Rand is in TAR (as he was in the Heart of the Stone here), is he there in the flesh or is he Dreaming himself there, like an aftereffect of Ishy pulling him in all the time? Is it stated? I don't want to worry he will end up lie Slayer.
LTArmstrong
35. alreadymadwithgatingtotar
In this instance (and most likely every other one), he is there in the flesh. That's why he had to make a gateway to the Caemlyn image of TAR. So that he can then open a gateway into the real Caemlyn where he'll spend the night.
William Fettes
36. Wolfmage
For me, Egwene's toh scene is where she really starts coming into her own. She gets full credit for owning up, because she didn't have to - she could have just left. So her cultural borg pride was helpful here.

Though I must say, I'm not sure that I'm really in love with the implications of the ji'e'toh system as used here. It just seems a bit unsatisfactory to me and potentially open to abuse. I suppose these punishments are often used more creatively and targeted on the subject's weaknesses. For example, we've seen Wise Ones set punishments like useless labour, carrying a doll, or wearing the hair of a child. And that can work for me, as it's more akin to creative sentencing.

However, I think this one, which is clearly more about administering pain and the general purifying nature of pain, is less satisfactory. Though Egwene gets pretty good at tolerating pain later, I agree that here at least she is clearly suffering. So I won't raise the issuing of 'gaming the system' here - ie. someone cultivating a higher pain threshold. My problem is more philosophical.

Essentially this way of using pain allows ongoing breaches of ethical propriety, betrayal of friendships, strict mentoring guidelines etc, to be be purged from existence. To me, that is just too close to using pain as a fungible moral commodity - which invites all kind of hazardous moral accounting. Basically you just go around screwing people over, then you organise a good whipping, and hey presto, it's all erased. I'm sorry, but particularly for offences against integrity, it just doesn't work like that.

Under this calculus, I can see a sufficiently motivated person seeing pain as a convenient cost, and just like some rich person who is completely unmoved by small financial penalties - you just do as you like and pay. In that case, you've really got to ask are such people really paying a true cost for their behaviour or just a convenient one - which we generalise to be unpleasant.

So, in that context, I can't help but find myself a tad sceptical of the meme that Egwene really pays the cost of her choices. Siuan played in the big leagues and ended up getting removed from the Amyrlin Seat, tortured and stilled. Those are real costs. A real cost to Egwene would have been ending her friendships and associations with the Wise Ones, or giving up future learning in some way. I'm not so sure pain really does the job.

Now, I realise that if you are more focused on the predicted role Egwene will play in the Last Battle, and the importance of her dreaming, it may be much easier to rationalise her lying for so long as necessary. But I guess I don't think about it like that. Up until much later, she isn't a linchpin for the light and she's acting from her general thirst for knowledge and her ambitions to be the first true Aes Sedai dreamer in generations. Those aren't bad things necessarily, but they aren't true imperatives such as those driving Rand, they're personal reasons. We mainly have assurance that she is a key character on the light side - probably important - and wants the light win. But that's not enough for me to make the leap to say she does all that lying for Rand and the Last Battle in any meaningful sense.

So does it make a difference if doing what is necessary is more or less equivalent to doing what is in your self interest?
Richard Fife
37. R.Fife
On Shaido Wise Ones, they could think the Ancestron is hog wash. An Aes Sedai trick but they still go through the motions of for the sake of the other 11 clans. Might be why they let Sevenna get away what she gets away with.
LTArmstrong
38. Lostinmyownmind
Can I just say I hate the windfinders. I have a theory(hope) that the prophecies that say the sea folk will gain all kinds of advantages from the Coramoor (all the sea's shall be there's I think) and the one that says he will destroy the aiel, except for a remenant turn out to mean the opposite of what they seem to say. Yeah Aiel, boo Sea folk
LTArmstrong
39. alreadymadwithstrapping
I don't even see how being a Dreamer will help at the Last Battle. Particularly since the current focus of Egwene's talent seems to be on the Foretelling aspect of Dreaming.
That said, I don't see the value of letting others strap you just to assuage your guilt. It certainly won't undo what you've done. The only way it would matter is that it would let others indulge their desire to punish you. Even then, that contrasts with the part where only you would know the value of your honor. If the point is because others have to punish you, how is it up to you to decide you've been punished enough. You weren't the one wronged.
Maiane Bakroeva
40. Isilel
@37 R.Fife:

Hm... maybe they don't believe the Ancestron or in the Prophecy in particular - though it is strange that all other WOs believe, but the 400 or so Shaido ones (or is it 200 + apprentices?) uniformly don't.

But surely they know that the Rings don't lie? At least the older ones do. And surely the decision about He who Comes with the Dawn would be among the most important in life for a good many of them?

I really wish we'd have gotten a plausible explanation for Shaido being such a PITA or why other Aiel still accord them customary treatment even after all the breaches of law and honor.


@36 and @39, Wolfmage and Alreadymad:

Couldn't agree more. In the end, a lot of people are quite capable of combining self-flagellation, even literal one, with continuing bad behavior - and historically, did.
Unless actual mending of ways and restitution to the wronged party goes hand-in-hand with it, this is useless.
lin mei
41. twicemarked
Wolfmage @ 36
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow, as the saying goes.

While I have no doubt your critisim is spot on, a system with loop holes can still works wonderfully, especially if it is quite creative, like you have alluded to already.

I mean, the gangs and organized crime often take jail time as a convenient cost. They know they do not get away with every crime, but they get away often enough that doing a few years in federal prison for the mob boss is a cost of business to them. Some of them even run their business from jail. Does not mean we should get rid of jail because of this.
john massey
42. subwoofer
Hi Leigh, three chapters- wooooooooo! Good times. My head is dizzy from the pace... or maybe its the hangover talking... um, can't say too much... as I am resting on my keyboard, and I have an open house in a few hours, and I have to clean said house from top to bottom, hung over...gahhhhhh. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Who on God's green earth invented oatmeal?

I did want to give you props for the use of the word "cockamamie". Loved it. My word of the day. Sums up my last 24hrs... and then the next 4.

Mat the dad, cool. It makes him less of a rouge to take on Olver as he did. The snakes and foxes bit, sign of things to come, especially with Mat's memory.

Rand, buddy- that was your plan? Going out last night seems like a stroke of genius in comparison. Looming... meh... could say stuff, but in a nutshell- really could of been thought out better. 50 scared AS? Oh my aching head.

Will talk more when time and head permit.

Woof.
James Jones
43. jamesedjones
Re: Egghead and her toh being met in such a quick and efficient way...

I've had a lot of time during this reread (and a lot of help from some very insightful commenters) to evaluate Egghead as a character. There is no one in the WoT that I hate more for most of six books. No one.

I believe this is because she is the most real life character in the books up until this point. I know people (men and women) who are like her. These people cut corners, cheat, lie, sell out their friends, and rationalize everything they do, all in the purpose of getting further ahead. Their desires aren't malicious, but their utter disregard for any effect that they might have on those around them makes it so much worse for anyone who has to deal with them.

Midway through the sixth book, though, she falls into place as a character. She starts to accept large responsibilities and purposes that are greater than her as an individual. She's no longer such an accurate reflection of real life jerks. And this allows me to enjoy her plots. It doesn't forgive them (I wouldn't be at all upset if Gawyn breaks her neck), but I can start to appreciate them more as part of the story.

So, for me, the whole spanking as a quick and easy solution is abominable in real life. But it works as a plot device because it allows me (and maybe a few other readers) to separate reality from this character. Any plot device works so long as the character is not believable. :)
T C
44. Freelancer
Wolfmage

Egwene asked them to help her discharge her toh. She showed them how she intended it to be done. They didn't abuse a method. You can't tell another person they have toh, and you can't force the payment of it upon them. Only you know the worth of your honor. And she didn't use it for any other selfish purpose either. She wasn't planning on raising her pain threshhold, she expected to go to Salidar and get further punishment, but it wouldn't have been physical in the same way.

So I don't buy it.
R B
45. MasterAlThor
Subwoofer

Water, lots of it. It will make the pain go away. Just not as fast as you want it to.

Freelancer

Thanks for your input on the last post. Plus I read "it" and that made everything a lot clearer. (sssshhhhhh we aren't allowed to talk about that here)
William Fettes
46. Wolfmage
Freelancer @ 44

"Egwene asked them to help her discharge her toh. She showed them how she intended it to be done. They didn't abuse a method."

I didn't say or imply otherwise. I was commenting, in a general way, on the problems I see as inherent whenever ji'e'toh allots moral credit to pain so it apparently wipes out diminished virtue and abrogation of ethics. I didn't suggest that the Wise Ones abused the system in Egwene's case - and I specifically contemplated that they would be more creative in other cases. I was just challenging the shortcomings of the pain moral ledger approach as used here if given wider application. I was saying it was prone to abuse and failed to really get to grips with the normative issues involved.

"You can't tell another person they have toh, and you can't force the payment of it upon them. Only you know the worth of your honor."

Yes, I know all that.

"And she didn't use it for any other selfish purpose either."

I didn't say she exploited the ji'e'toh atonement mechanism for selfish reasons. I said her original motivation for lying in the first place was self interested. I mentioned that because I know people see Egwene turbo charging her Dreamwalking ability as necessary for the plot, and the gimmick in the books is: do what is necessary and pay the costs. So I was just contrasting the self-interested necessity invoked here to protect her accelerated learning, with a real fate-of-the-universe type of deal, such as Rand's remit. Egwene may eventually get there, and she is infinitely closer as shadow Amyrlin - but the case is weak when she is doing the lying IMO.

"She wasn't planning on raising her pain threshhold, she expected to go to Salidar and get further punishment, but it wouldn't have been physical in the same way."

Again, I didn't say otherwise. I only mentioned gaming the system parenthetically, and specifically said Egwene wasn't gaming the system. I don't have a problem with anything Egwene did in this scene. She comes out of this sequence definitely looking better as a character.
LTArmstrong
47. Mr. Micawber
The more I read about Perrin, the less likely this seems believable to his character. After he marries Faile, he's always thinking how much he loves her and how he'd never hurt her.


I'm holding my peace until we get to the reintroduction of Perrin in LOC, but essentially, I'd say that Perrin has undergone an enormous amount of trauma after this point - finding out his entire family's been wiped out, and having to lead the bitter defence of Duopotamia - and that this led in part to his decision to get married to her, etc.

As I said on Dragonmount a few days ago, Perrin's relationship with Faile isn't love, it's an extremely unhealthy codependency. If you look at things like this, the spanking just falls under all the other crazy stuff they've done together.
Maiane Bakroeva
48. Isilel
Jamesedjones:

These people cut corners, cheat, lie, sell out their friends, and rationalize everything they do, all in the purpose of getting further ahead.

Wow, when did Egwene sell out her friends?! On the contrary, she was very loyal to them, beyond reason sometimes (trek to Falme).
Of all Duopotamians she tried to remain Rand's friend the longest _and_ while she disagreed with Rand on many issues she was consistently trying to help him in her own way.
Yes, Nyn has also been loyal to Rand and tried to help/protect him , but she was never a personal friend and contemporary, but a self-nominated protector.

As to cutting corners and rationalizing - isn't it how _all_ characters who accomplish anything in WoT get things done?

Re: getting further ahead - the boys don't need to do it, cause the Pattern does it for them and provides the tools.
Rand is the only one who needs conventional teachers sometimes and he doesn't have to put up with silly restrictions.

Neither do El and Nyn need to learn anything from from other people in authority over them after TDR. And they certainly cut corners and cheat with Moggy ;)
And WO restrictions _were_ silly and counter-productive with TG looming and every advantage for Rand's allies being critical.

So, yea, not getting Egs hatred. Seems like it is rooted in the fact that she does need to actively better herself in order to become useful for the side of Light, while Mat and Perrin get everything that they need for prominence served on a silver tablet, without any effort of their own.

Wolfmage @46:

So I was just contrasting the self-interested necessity invoked here to protect her accelerated learning, with a real fate-of-the-universe type of deal, such as Rand's remit.

Well, who knows who and what may be instrumental for the fate of the Universe? Or in fact for surviving the Breaking once Rand's bit is done and for eventual rebuilding?
If TG, Forsaken etc. didn't loom imminently, would Egwene have been so desperate to cut corners? Not IMHO.
James Jones
49. jamesedjones
48 Isilel

I'm not surprised you don't get it. It's about a certain culture. I have plenty of friends who don't get it. I also have plenty of friends who do. There are very strong values in both groups. So it's not about values or character. It's just a matter of how you were raised and what culture you participate in. And I feel it is very important to recognize it in others when dealing with people in real life. But it falls under the catagory of recognition and not understanding or acceptance.
Alice Arneson
50. Wetlandernw
Wolfmage @ 36 - FWIW, Egwene does lose Amys as a teacher, since she broke their bargain. Bair had not made that same bargain with her, so could choose to continue her teaching. There might well have been another method they could have used to meet her toh here, but they generously took into consideration her summons to Salidar and chose the method that would take the least time and still suffice.

As far as the idea that someone could game the system and commit all manner of breaches, to be wiped out by a regularly scheduled beating, I don't think the society as a whole would accept it. It's not like that's the only consequence they can use. All the offended ones have to do is refuse to pick up the belt, forcing the offender to keep trying other methods until they find one that the offended will accept as meeting toh.

As far as those who claim that Egwene's desire to learn was solely self-interest, HELLOO-O-O-O??? If her childhood friend Rand is the Dragon Reborn, it's fairly obvious that the Last Battle and all sorts of other craziness is happening real soon now and they need all the advantages they can find. She knows perfectly well that she's the second-strongest-potential channeler to enter the WT in several centuries, at least, so she'd better learn the OP and all related things as well as she can. And she knows that she's the first Dreamer in... how long? Can't remember, right off, but somewhat more than living memory, even for AS. If you've got a Talent that's very rare, and if you believe that the Pattern spins out what it needs when it's needed, you'd better learn as much about your Talent as you can because, even if you don't know how, it's probably going to be important sometime soon. Egwene may not be conciously POV-thinking about it every time she does something, but all of that has got to be in her mindset from about the end of EotW onward. It's not like her strength or Talent suddenly matter only after they make her Amyrlin; it should be expected to matter in any case. Tarmon Gai'don is coming, folks, and everyone with a smidge of ability had better do everything they can to get ready for it, no matter what their position or title - or lack thereof.

Yeah, you can complain about not following the rules, but aside from the fact that it wouldn't be much of a book if they followed the WT rules (gee, all six of the super-kids would be trapped in the WT until TG is over and they're dead), a whole lot of the rules need to be rewritten because they are based on traditions and situations that no longer apply.

Okay, I'm done. Time for Heidelfest. Bye!
john massey
51. subwoofer
Hello all, apparently the best way to cure a hangover is to step in dog doo, not realize it and spend a couple of hours guessing the mystery smell then realizing it, having to clean it off everything you walked on. grrrrrrrrrr.

I agree with Wet- things are going to hit the fan. You can either get your disaster prep kit ready or you can stick your head in the sand. Either way, stuff is gonna go down. Back to my Gary Oldman analogy- get everyone. Big fight, no spectators. Can't fault Eggy for getting her kit ready.

@JEJ- heck, I work for the type of people you are talking about. BTDT.

Woof.
Ian Horn
52. IanGH
Jamesedjones- I've known the types you are talking about but I would have to say that Egwene doesn't qualify. Her lying started when she left the tower on Siuan's orders. Siuan expected her to have to lie about being Aes Sedai. While she was with the Wise Ones she accepted their rules and punishments. Yes, she went beyond the wise ones limits. But I would mark that up to something more like youthful exuberance.
Roger Powell
53. forkroot
One more post from Hawaii...I'm in the airport waiting to head home. So sad, yet I don't think I'll get much sympathy.

Remember that RJ was a proud graduate of The Citadel, an institution where he undoubtedly participated in hazing from both sides. Defenders of hazing and other activities that involve some sort of physical abuse and/or conflict followed by a reconciliation talk about the "deeper bonding" that comes about afterwards. It seems to me that what passes between Egwene and the Wise Ones has overtones of that, as does the later scene between Elayne and Avi when they become first sisters.

This may horrify some, but a knock-down playground fight I had as child served the same purpose with a person I had disliked before. We became fairly good friends once we had gone through that. This is certainly no recommendation for violence per se, I'm just pointing out some aspects of the human psyche.
LTArmstrong
54. Tialin
13 @sps49 Stop mentioning and linking TV tropes

No Kidding! Next time you do it, Leigh, I vow I'm sending you an invoice for all the billable hours I waste on that too cool site now. THANKS! *grumbles*

Where are those original interview files? I must have SOMETHING on her!

26 @Alfvaen The AS Novice Book is a Ter'angeal...

OMG - I hurt myself laughing! It is! It IS a ter'angreal! And.... They have the AOL screen name server running it! "I'm sorry, the name Egwene is already taken - but Egwene123 and EgweneA are available..." AOL! omg! ow There's just no pun like a bad pun!

ow ow ow - it hurts to laugh so hard - ow

I'm easily amused.
LTArmstrong
55. Tialin
53 @forkroot

No, sorry, I see nothing of hazing or gang initiation in the Wise Ones concept of toh. It's strictly a somewhat ritualized form of atonement.
Roger Powell
56. forkroot
OK, one more....now in Honolulu airport

Guess I didn't make my point well enough. It certainly wasn't about toh, which can be met in many ways. It was about physical conflict and the somewhat cathartic process that occurs afterwards.

Aloha
TW L
57. Shadow_Jak
"Egwene touching her Toes"
Er, I mean Toh

This whole scene is just to illustrate how well she, for one (and only one) has really come to know the Aiel and their concept of honor and obligation. Her growing awareness of Ji'e'toh was hinted at several times along the way. Even way back (TFoH?)when she and Avi were set to run 50(?) laps around the Aiel camp, she never even considered quitting before finishing. It has grown the more she was with them.

Her original and only real lie, was claiming to be Aes Sedai when she first encounters Amy in TAR back in TSR, in response to a direct question from Amys. This was when she was searching for the BA and under orders from Siuan. (Same as Elayne and Nynaeve)

Once she began learning from the WO's she continued letting them (and everyone else) believe that lie. She also cheated by entering TAR without their permission. But this was really required to meet her obligations to Elayne and Nynaeve. I can't think of any other failures of honor to the WO's.

So really, she has NOT committed a hanging offense!

Maybe she just deserved a good spanking ;)
*duck and cover* *bob andweave*
"Serpentine Shelly. Serpentine!"
Erika
58. Siuanfan
Hokay I totally missed being a part of this read; I took a WOT break somewhere in The Shadow Rising (and Winter's Heart in my own re-read) and I only recently got back to both and I've FINALLY caught up so I can comment again, yay! Now I'm sleepy and I can't make all the observations I wanna nor read all the prior comments because I wanted to be done tonight BUT one thing that popped out at me - names... Mr. Jordan apparently really liked variations of "Alice" - Moiraine's first alias was Mistress Alys and then there's Alise of the Kin and then Galina chose the alias Alyse when she met Perrin in a scene in KoD, and I'm almost sure there was another Alice-type floating around somewhere. Also regarding names, I continue to be tickled by the fact that a lot of the names are *just* off of common names we have - with one letter added or changed such as 'Daved' and 'Kairen'.

Spankings - eh I wouldn't have such a problem with them here and there, but they're all over the place, and honestly perhaps it makes sense with the Aiel who have simple ways of dealing with problems that come up (I mean simple as in straightforward, not so much 'not-complex'), but with Aes Sedai and other cultures that pride themselves on being so la-dee-da, it seems like such a crude way to go about dealing with problems. Aiel - we don't have the time nor luxury for a lot of complicated means of dispensing justice so take your punishment and let's move on. But come on... if you're living in a place that makes Kings and Queens bow, the PINNACLE of your society, with unlimited power at your fingertips... and the best idea you can come up with for 'correcting' behavior is still an arse-whomping, you need to do a bit of reflecting. That's some serious BS.

One more observation - having such a gap between this re-read and my own is dead helpful. I see names (I'm in KoD now) that I'd normally be wondering "whotf is that again?" ... but now... several different times, I had JUST read the name in Leigh's synopsis of a chapter from 5 books back so I know exactly who it is. Yay!

Aaaaanyway I haven't much else to say. Looking forward to the next installment, and I really hope Morgase does something mind-blowingly necessary and heroically awesome in the last books, because I'm really going to be pissed we had to follow her pouty ass across the continent otherwise.
LTArmstrong
59. peachy
Erm, um. Well, 'Maighdin' does use the Power to attract help that rescues Faile et al in Malden... though your mileage may vary as to whether that should count as a mark for her or against.
Erika
60. Siuanfan
Okay I lied, I peeked at a FEW comments before bed... and jamesdjones @ 43 ... I have to say that your assessment of Egwene was EXACTLY how I felt about Mat - difference being I liked Egwene through these books but did not like Mat AT ALL until this one... and for the same reasons you stated. He became in charge of the Band and Olver and finally stopped being a jackass and started acting like someone I could enjoy reading about. And no, I'm not referring to under-dagger-influence Mat; when he had the dagger, I took that into account for his actions, but both before and after the dagger thing he came across as so selfish and small-minded, always wanting to abandon Rand (his BEST friend from childhood) to save his own backside, and not even having the decency (like Perrin did) to at least feel guilty about it. He got a little respect from me for rescuing the girls from Tear, btu I mostly disliked him until he got in charge of the Band and started acting like an adult. I only mention it because I found it so funny that your assessment of Egwene was so opposite my take on her, but so perfectly matching my take on Mat. Interesting!

... no worries, Mat fans. I completely like Mat now. His sojourn with Tylin and courting of Tuon and 'raising' of Olver sealed him in the 'aww cute & kinda awesome' dept. for me.
Erika
61. Siuanfan
Peachy @ 59 ugh I still can't make myself like Faile, so... that wouldn't do it for me, re: Morgase/Maighdin. I kept hoping the Shaido would drop Faile down a well or something, except that Perrin's constant 'NOTHING MATTERS BUT FAILE' inner monologue has got me worried he's seriously close to joining the Dark Side of the Force in his obsession to get her back. Rand's going to need him at some point, but he even thought once or twice he'd 'make a deal with the Dark One' to get her back. Treading a dangerous road, Perrin me lad!

... so yeah. That's the only reason I rooted for Faile to be ok. *cough*
James Jones
62. jamesedjones
Siuanfan

Nice to see you again! I know what you mean about the weird comparisons. It's so interesting to see someone's assessment of a character and be thinking, "No, no, no, no. Not him/her. But that does work for..."

The funniest thing for me was looking back at high school reading. When the teacher described a character in a different way, I had no issues with changing my perception of them. But we ALL get so attached to one or more of these characters. And the way we see them is just the way they are.

And, of course, it makes for the most entertaining debates. :P
Alice Arneson
63. Wetlandernw
Siuanfan - have you read the prologue to tGS yet? When you do, let me know how you feel...
Erika
65. Siuanfan
Wetlander @ 63 I read the first chapter when it was released but I haven't read the prologue. I think I'm going to wait until I have the whole book. :D
Rob Trotter
66. shadar
It's also nice seeing how EgHead is setup in this chapter for Honey in the Tea (5 books later).

Eg seemingly now has a higher pain tolerance than any of the AS, and they are unable to break her through beatings.
Lily
67. Lily of the Valley
I really don't understand all of this dislike towards Faile. I mean, sure, IRL I probably wouldn't be friends with her, but her Shaido arc was only a small portion of two books, she acted practically and maturely the entire way through, and because of her kidnapping the Shaido were finally broken.

If anything, I have a problem with Perrin, and I like him. I've seen some people blame Faile for how Perrin acts this whole storyline, when she's literally nowhere to be found. The Shaido/Seanchan arc, Mr. Goldeneye's singleminded focus, and the results thereof are totally, one hundred percent on Perrin, IMO.

As for Egwene: Yeah, this was when she started getting cool for me. The whole SAS storyling with her as Amyrlin was really only bearable because I knew she as slowly closing her hand around the scruffs of their necks to shake some sense into them. =)
LTArmstrong
68. Mr. Micawber
If anything, I have a problem with Perrin, and I like him. I've seen some people blame Faile for how Perrin acts this whole storyline, when she's literally nowhere to be found. The Shaido/Seanchan arc, Mr. Goldeneye's singleminded focus, and the results thereof are totally, one hundred percent on Perrin, IMO.


Oh, I totally agree. The really screwed up side of their relationship is him. She seems to be a little too into dominance and S&M type stuff for my liking, but I also remember she's like sixteen. But he's freaking crazy.

Re: Honey in Tea

Remember, also, that the Aes Sedai heal Eggs after each and every beating. Whereas for these she absolutely refused to be healed.

I think that if you can get past being beaten by like dozens of really powerful women, you're pretty much immune to the ministrations of a single woman whose arm's going to tire after a while, and who's going to heal you afterward anyway.

I'd say this point is, if not the end, then the beginning of the end for Eggs' awesomeness (I've always been a bit partial to Ooh Girls, since I was something similar :P ).

She's got some good moments in ACOS, a few in POD, and one good chapter after that.

But then, one thing that doesn't get mentioned enough is that not too long after leaving her Aiel teachers, Eggs is going to be "massaged" all the time by one Miss Halima. And I think that that seriously hurts her ability to be awesome, until she gets captured, and thus loses those "headaches".
Erika
69. Siuanfan
I gotta tell you, I was such a dunderheaded reader that I completely failed to pick up on ANY nuances whatsoever. Rj's subtlety kung-fu is much greater than my perception kung-fu. I had no idea what they were summoning Egwene for except I thought she was in some deeeeep doo-doo. I got suspicious that she mght not have been in the trouble she thought she was just because of the formality of the call but I *never* thought she was being called to be Amyrlin (despite what she saw in the Acceptatron, which I did not remember, because it was 84 books ago).

I find it kind of refreshing to read through the first (*cough* few) times without picking up on nuances because it lets me be surprised, but I felt like SUCH a moron when I started reading the wotfaqs and all this stuff that people picked up on that never even *grazed* my mind. :D

Wolfmage @ 36 I think something that we have to take into account is self-accountability. As I have understood it, no one forces a beating on another in the Aiel society (with the possible exception of Shaido), but it is your own recognition that you have violated the ethical code and want to make retribution. The spanking punishment is only an outward show of contrition (which is why they claim you're boasting if you let it go too long). It's not really a punishment as we might define punishment. The real punishment is one's own shame at having done whatever you did, the spanking part is a way to expunge that shame.

That's why they say only you can decide if you have toh; the Aiel society is heavily reliant on self-correction. In such a harsh land with a harsh lifestyle, that's important because your life depends on support from those around you, and they will only give that support if you maintain your honor to a degree that you show yourself worthy of it. Contrast that with the wetlanders, some of whom are unrelentingly despised by everyone around them, and know it, yet care not a whit - because their survival and comfort does not depend on others' good opinion of themselves. Nobility, wealth, title takes care of that. Good opinion only come in if you are trying to gain a throne. For Elayne that means conforming to her own society's ji'e'toh standards, but for others such as Arymilla, tactics such as kidnapping and blackmail are possible routes to take to achieve that goal as well.

Back to Aiel and the strappings, I get the sense that this particular method is not really all that common among them, as you noted the Wise Ones have more creative methods of helping people to meet toh, but there was also a time issue at hand as Wetlander mentioned @ 50. Egwene herself wanted to meet her debt, but had no time for anything elaborate - this was literally the simplest thing to do so she could feel she's received some sort of consequence while still being able to meet her other obligations. I agree that pain as a payment for wrongdoing is cheap but I'm guessing in most cases the Aiel do as well. After all, they're taught to embrace pain, so that would likely be the least ideal method of allowing people to meet toh.

Holy wall o' text, Batman...
Richard Boye
70. sarcastro
re: Egwene, her summons and the Amyrlin Seat

I don't like to gloat, but I knew ever since, what, tGH that Egwene was going to end up in as the Amyrlin Seat. It seemed fairly obvious in the early series that each of our heroes was going to end up in positions of authority.

Some where pretty easy, like Elayne. Nynaeve's seemed obvious, due to her affiliation with Lan, although that bore out slightly differently than I anticipated (...but I remain hopeful of some supra-national Borderlands federation with al'Lan at its pinnacle). At whatever point it was that Faile showed up, all Saldaean, mysterious and haughty, I knew that something was afoot with Perrin and his future greatness. Mat's future authority was made clear as soon as he and Rand went exploring in the 'finn twisted doorway in Tear (where he was told he was going to marry the Dot9M).

But back to Egwene: there were all sorts of hints, in typical RJ foreshadowing, like Moiraine back in Fal Dara telling us that she will end up in the Seat one day, if she shows that level of initiative, plus her Acceptaron testing, but for me, the real giveaway was Min's viewing of her which was the Flame of Tar Valon, collectively the symbol for Aes Sedai, but also the personal symbol for the Amyrlin Seat. Ever since then, I was on the look out for how and when it was going to happen.

I still nurse the idea that the Tower schism is a colossal plot device that exists only so that we can contrive to have Egwene placed in the Amyrlin Seat, centuries short on experience and precedence. Someone upthread (or elsethread) allso said that one of the reasons why RJ invented the whole "Aes Sedai authority by strength" meter was to provide a plausible way for the Supergirls to rise to prominence and authority. But, more importantly, when Siuan was planting seeds in the heads of the Salidar Six about which sister is the ideal one to be summoned as the Avignon Seat, it seemed that Egwene fit the bill exactly - someone strong, someone who was out of Tar Valon on the day of the coup de tour who therefore can't have been said to take sides, and someone who (which was discussed later) will be young and biddable: this clearly meant Egwene to me.
LTArmstrong
71. Mr. Micawber
Dammit sarcastro, I thought they were talking about Bela!

But you're right! Bela was at the Tower during the coup, probably conspiring to overthrow Siuan in order to usher in her Thousand Year Reign, since anyone with the wits Narg gave a cabbage would have known Elaida wasn't going to last.
Erika
72. Siuanfan
This is probably not the time to go off on a tangent but I've been disturbed by the Bargain made with the Sea Folk to provide teachers for them to teach them 'everything that Aes Sedai know' and I recently thought of with a way for it to be done without pissing off the entire Tower - send them Elaida and the Tower Aes Sedai who fight against Egwene. That way they can remove a possible threat once Egwene's in her place, and the Tower AS don't know all the new weaves that the Rebel AS do (cuendillar... Healing stilling... I was going to say gateways but someone showed that one to Elaida and the Windfinders already know), so the Tower can hold on to some of their own knowledge and not freak out, and I can't think of a better fate for Elaida than making her hop for the Windfinders for a few years.

Pardon me while I daydream about that for a minute...
Lannis .
74. Lannis
@ Siuanfan... re: Elaida et al. teaching the Sea Folk... hmm... I like!
Tess Laird
75. thewindrose
Ha - Siuanfan, that would be funny. But, to disturb your daydream a bit, I truly think Egwene means to tie all channelers together even male after the great battle. Yes, that even means Sea Folk channelers. Remember there are a couple of cool ones - like Jorin din Jubai(the one who taught Elayne some windfinder weaves) or the one who Mat frees in Ebou Dar - Nestelle din Sakura.
LTArmstrong
76. peachy
75 - I think you're exactly right. It can be argued that the divide between male and female Aes Sedai late in the War of the Shadow is at the root of a lot of the current troubles, and that equalising power and status is necessary for a stable post-TG world (not to mention for a fighting chance at TG.) Indeed, we're already starting to see this, most markedly in KoD when the rebel Hall accepts the offer to bond 47 Asha'man to off-set the 51 Aes Sedai bonded after the failed attack on the BT (minus the four surviving Asha'warders with Rand.) We even have a Foretelling to underline the point - "the guardians balance out the servants"...
James Jones
77. jamesedjones
72 & 75

Re: Aes Sedai bargain with the Sea Folk

I figured it would be the new "farm" that Aes Sedai will be sent to for meditation and reflection when they've done something stupid.
Pelumi Adefope
78. GenghisCan
Chapter 33 has my favorite WoT quote. When Mat notices the sexual tension between Aviendha and Rand when they are leaving he thinks "So the wind came that way, did it?". I have to say I laughed so hard when I read that and it shames me to say that I've thought that same phrase a few times.
Kev Hamm
79. cavynmaicl
So, we get Egwene to figure out her "one new thing" with the power shortly, and she pays the toll, er toh, for it prior. We get a glimpse of the ceremony that will rebuild the tower, and know that Siuan is involved in this up to her eyeballs, and we confirm that Mat has surrendered to the will of the wheel. Good times indeed.

RE: The Sea Folk. I'm guessing the WF on the ship had a bad run in with some AS in the past, and at some point the current Tower gang had approached them, failed, and reapproached them in disguise at least once prior to Egwene's moment of shining brilliance. I wonder if those moments aren't also making the tower gang a bit peevish.

It's telling how Elaida's future has been all but destroyed because she lacks the ability to truly understand what she herself has foretold. Egwene is about the farthest opposite you can dream up, as she's constantly analyzing not only her dreams and visions, but also the actions she feels necessary to take to make things right. Egwene is cutting corners, but only because she promised to do things the fastest way possible, to save Rand. That would be back in the first book, when they left the Two Rivers. Everything she's done since then has been to be the best AS she could because she knew, long before she knew what Rand was, that her abilities were her best weapons.

Can't wait for more.

Oh, and this is my first comment on the re-read, but Leigh, great job, and having now finished the books (for at least the 15th time for the first 6) I'm confident enough to say I know how it ends. Soon I'll know if I'm right.
LTArmstrong
80. Lateralus
Just one thing i feel compelled to mention. it was Rand who punched out Paitr in tEotW. Mat was blind at the time due to Rand's lightning bolts that saved them a couple towns earlier. Not to be negative, cause i've been loving the re-read, your sense of humour always brightens my day. But since you've made reference to this incident twice of late i thought i'd point that out.
John Mann
81. jcmnyu
@2 LTArmstrong

"This was the point when Mat went from interesting to "Homeric"."

Wait. I thought Mat loved the ladies...

@9 Isilel

I think the beating is not the point. It's the embarrassment of being beaten in front of all those witnesses, similar to the stocks were once upon a time. When the Aes Sedai are captured and made apprentices, the Wise Ones take time to find out what will embarrass them the most. When Sulin has toh, she picks something that will embarrass her to the bone to atone. And both parties need to agree on the form of the punishment. I think it works.
LTArmstrong
82. Cadsuwallop
First-time poster...please be gentle if you feel the need to assist me with inserting my foot in my mouth!

The thing that strikes me about Aiel punishment in general is that I can’t recall seeing an instance where the major punishments would not result in an increase in strength or endurance. We give our kids “time-outs” when many of them are already too happy to sit rather than run. Aiel punishments involve running, lifting, carrying, etc. These things are beneficial to a warrior-based society. The Three-fold Land kills the weak, so even in punishment they are “helped” to overcome weakness. Even the minor punishments like carrying dolls and wearing hair ribbons can strengthen the spirit.

Or I could be dead wrong…
Tess Laird
83. thewindrose
Dear Gentle Commenter at 82:)Just kidding and welcome.
Your comment has sent me into a nice day dream about my kids following ji'e'toh. Like yesterday, my son was not cooperating about getting ready, a good five mile run would have helped his attitude I think. Of course kids are so savvy these days, it is hard to 'punish' them, - like mine would stare at me with disbelief if I said ok you didn't pick up your belongings go hit the trail for a 10 mile run. Or the idea of dressing them in a way they would want to avoid is good too. Hmmm, maybe RJ was putting something out there for us parents:)
Maiane Bakroeva
84. Isilel
Jcmnyu @81:

I remember that after lying to Rand Avi just asked Bair to switch her and considered it sufficient to erase her dishonor.

Also they do punish people without their consent - IIRC they just whaled on Amys during her numerous attempts to escape her WO apprenticeship.

Maybe Sulin's breach of Ji'toh was so enormous that she had to be extra creative? Also the wronged party wasn't consulted, IIRC.

@82. Cadsuwallop:

Yes. But IIRC except for running other Randland cultures use similar punishments of hard and unpleasant labor.
T C
85. Freelancer
Wolfmage@46

Ji'e'toh does not "allot moral credit to pain". It obligates one when they behave dishonorably. How that obligation is met is between them and those affected by their dishonorable behavior. As you suggest, pain is not likely to be the most common method, since Aiel accept pain easily. So if one party was using a pain-based punishment to effectively escape consequences for their actions, everyone would realize it, and toh is not met. Ji'e'toh does not "wipe out diminished virtue" nor "abrogate ethics". It demands restitution of a moral and ethical balance when that balance is violated. Ji'e'toh does not maintain a "pain moral ledger". It calls upon the offending party to accept that treatment which suitably gets their mind right regarding the offense, and once discharged, the offense truly is discharged, as agreed by all involved parties.

The reason Sorilea is pleased with Egwene in the midst of her confession is that Egwene finally begins to realize that it wasn't her disobedience that upset them, but her dishonesty. She is her own person and can choose her own actions, even against their wishes. Lying to them about those actions, however, dishonored them and shamed her, and that is where balance must be restored. What is humorous is that Sorilea is wrong, Egwene didn't "get it", until after she questioned that point. She still thought she was having to pay for her disobedience, when her only penalty for that was Amys refusing to ever teach her again.

In these ways, it is utterly incapable of being abused. If either party believes that those things you suggest are at play, then the obligation has not been met, honor has not been restored. All of the involved parties will know this, since there is a universally shared common understanding of ji'e'toh for those who live by its tenets.

The one thing which is absolutely certain, is that ji'e'toh could never operate where moral relativism abounds. No two people would ever agree on the direction nor magnitude of the rightness or wrongness of any given event or behavior. Since one person can feel justified in doing what another finds utterly wrong, can rationalize it as necessary for a larger purpose, how can they be held accountable or obligated for restitution?
T C
86. Freelancer
Casdsuwallop@82

First, welcome to the insanity.

Second, you are not dead wrong. It is always a wise tactic to combine some form of instruction or training with a "punishment" so that there is improvement of mind and body as well as spirit.

However, I don't recall running being used as a method of meeting toh in our story. When Egwene and Aviendha are sent running, that was a simple punishment between Wise Ones and apprentices for their respective failures, not a matter of ji'e'toh. Sometimes punishment is just punishment. Wise Ones issue those out regardless of any sense of toh on the part of the one being punished, and I believe there's a distinction to be made.

When a person refuses to recognize their own bad behavior, or feels no shame about such, then they are set to useless labors, meant to induce the shame they should feel naturally. The gai'shain who refused to put off white, being sent to hunt for a red grain of sand, knowing that even if she finds one it won't be the right one, is an example of this.
Dawid
87. DTK
Is Leigh Butler going to manage to finish her re-read in time for the book?

There's not that much time left and there are still 5 books on the platter...
LTArmstrong
88. iansagefire
"...one of the single most important..." Really Leigh? Sorry, my inner editor cringed at that one; really though, amazing recaps, and very insightful comentary -- you always provide very welcome moments of indolence at work.

P.s. Aaaarrrrrggggghghhhhh, links to TV tropes are ruining my days; I click one, and an hour later there I have to close the 100 open tabs in my browser. There needs to be a new term for wiki style websites -- electro cancer, keyboard spawn -- something to that nature.
LTArmstrong
89. sniffer
@"This is kind of random, but have we ever had two characters in WOT with the same name? I can’t think of any."

There are two characters called Herid. The first we saw was one of Kadere's peddlers in TFoH, who freaked out after he accidentally fell halfway through the twisted doorway. The second one is, well, obvious.
LTArmstrong
90. yasiru89
It was Rand's name supporting Mat and Band that would have allowed them to 'loom'. Also- 'Say hello to my saidar-proof friend!'
Mat's PoV was one of his funniest ones ever.

It's also just the important characters (and WoT certainly has a fair few of these) that never share a name. I remember noting a few examples of others over the course of the series.

On spanking, unless one is completely inundated by a code of honour like the Aiel have, how is it a proper 'punishment' with having to be consentual? This applies to punishing children in this manner also, unless one is tempted to propose some age under which your opinions don't count for a damned thing.
Also, had Egwene been a guy I doubt the Aiel would have much changed the punishment, so yeah.
john massey
91. subwoofer
@Yasir- as you can probably tell, I'm just following along as the new comment thread is dry for fresh material and all these old posts have so much to draw from.

How is it possible that there is a thread in this book that has not made it to 100? Oh yeah, I was hung over at the time. Hmmmmm.

As for "looming" remember that Rand has just recently learned where the schism sisters headed off to. Rand had a vague idea that it would be just 50 or so sisters plus their Warders and maybe a handful of villagers. Mat Gateways in with an army of over 3000 soldiers and no matter what 50 sisters could do, sniff at or otherwise, Mat at the head of said army was sufficient height to loom.... and the medallion doesn't hurt, but remember that the Dragon was not around to tell the SAS "hands off".

Not sure where to go with the spanking comment- I was spanked when I was a kid, I don't recall having much say in the matter. IMHO I feel it is a slippery slope when one assumes a kid can be reasoned with and has all the "mental accuity" of an adult. I'm not saying it is right or wrong to spank a child- I'm still trying to get my head around that myself as I am a new dad, but I do know that reasoning with a 4 year old for instance, is a lost cause. I think a person has to be reasonable in order to reason with them and most kids have limits on that department.

Woof™.

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