Fri
Sep 25 2009 1:35pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Lord of Chaos, Part 22

Hey, kids. Welcome to another Wheel of Time Re-read post!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 38-39 of Lord of Chaos, in which people kick ass, but not in a good way.

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.

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, and now Chapter 2 is available in audio format. Please refrain from posting spoilers for either the Prologue or Chapters 1-2 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 releases, linked above; please keep them there. Thanks.

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

Chapter 38: A Sudden Chill

What Happens
Mat rides uneasily through the oven-like heat, and wonders if the world is burning up. He looks at Aviendha striding along beside him, and thinks of Olver’s attempt to stab her the second night, shouting about Aiel killing his father. Aviendha had only taken the knife away from him, and Mat had tried to explain the difference between Shaido and other Aiel, but Olver glares at Aviendha still, which seems to make her nervous, to Mat’s surprise. He worries about how to keep Aviendha from slitting Elayne’s throat, which he thinks is obviously her aim from how she keeps sharpening her knife.

He was very much afraid he was going to end taking the Aiel woman to Caemlyn under guard, with the bloody Daughter-Heir demanding he hang her every step of the way. Rand and his bloody women!

Vanin returns, with the news that Warders had captured some of Mat’s scouts, and that there at least two or three hundred Aes Sedai in the village, and that they also had an army twice the size of Mat’s own camped outside the town. He orders his officers to dig in with fortifications, reasoning that if the Warders see them preparing to defend they’ll know the Band doesn’t intend to attack.

Giving his oiled beard a twist, Nalesean muttered, “What do you intend to do then? Just sit and wait for them?”

“That’s what you’re going to do,” Mat told him. Burn Rand and his “maybe fifty Aes Sedai”! Burn him and his “loom a little; intimidate them”!

Then Aviendha sets off straight for Salidar, to Mat’s consternation. He hurriedly leaves Talmanes in charge and sets off after her, taking along Vanin and the two men carrying Rand’s banners, though he orders them to keep the banners furled. When he catches up, she demands he give her a ride on his horse. As they ride, she asks him about Olver’s parents, and then tells him he does not care for the boy properly, while combing her hair and putting on jewelry; Mat looks at her wonderingly, and grumbles to himself about women. Everyone stares at his party as they ride into Salidar, but no one tries to stop them; Mat catches sight of a blond woman in odd wide trousers and carrying a bow ducking into an alley, and can’t figure out why she tickles his memory. Finally he rides up to an Aes Sedai and introduces himself, and says he’s looking for Elayne Trakand, Egwene al’Vere, “and Nynaeve al’Meara, I suppose.” The Aes Sedai blinks, and then tells him to follow her and she will see if the Amrylin Seat can see him. Vanin comments that the building they’re going to is called the Little Tower, the implications of which trouble Mat a great deal.

A plain-faced Aes Sedai pushed to the front of the crowd, leading a slender young woman in white, with big eyes. He vaguely remembered Anaiya, but she hardly seemed interested in him at all. “Are you sure, child?” she asked the novice.

The young woman’s mouth tightened slightly, but she certainly let no irritation into her voice. “He still seems to glow, or shine. I really do see it. I just don’t know why.”

Anaiya gave her a delighted smile. “He’s ta’veren, Nicola. You’ve uncovered your first Talent. You can see ta’veren.”

As they wait outside, Aviendha is accosted by a number of Aes Sedai who ask if she knows she can channel, and start campaigning to get her into novice white. Then Nynaeve appears and demands to know what Mat thinks he’s doing here, and hopes he has nothing to do with the army of Dragonsworn outside the village.

“Actually,” he said dryly, “I am in command.”

Nynaeve gapes at him for a moment, then pulls herself together and takes him inside to see the Amrylin; a surrounded Aviendha rather breathlessly calls after him, looking hunted, but Mat grins and leaves her, at least sure that she wouldn’t be going looking for Elayne anytime soon. Nynaeve mutters about fool men frightening people half to death, and that she doesn’t know “what she’s going to make of this”, and leads him to a room. Once inside, he stops dead in shock at the sight of Egwene with a seven-striped stole over her dress, then shoves the door shut and marches over to her, growling that maybe she thinks this is a joke, but she won’t if the Aes Sedai see her wearing that. He grabs the stole off of her and pulls her out of the chair, and the foxhead medallion goes ice-cold. He glares at Nynaeve and Elayne, who are staring at him slack-jawed, and seats himself in Egwene’s chair, putting his boots up on the desk. All three of them try to say something, but he doesn’t let them.

“I said listen!” He poked a finger at Elayne. “You, I’m taking back to Caemlyn, if I can keep Aviendha from killing you. If you don’t want that pretty throat slit, you stay close to me and do what I say, no questions!” The finger shifted to Egwene. “Rand says he’ll send you back to the Wise Ones whenever you want, and if what I’ve seen so far is any indication what you get up to, my advice is to take him up on it now! It seems you know how to Travel”—Egwene gave a small start—“so you can make a gateway to Caemlyn for the Band. I don’t want any argument, Egwene! And you, Nynaeve! I ought to leave you here, but if you want to come, you can. Only, I’m warning you. You yank that braid at me just once, and I swear I’ll warm your bottom!”

They all stare at him as he continues, telling them that he’ll do the talking when the “poor blind fool” they’ve chosen to be Amyrlin of a village in “the middle of bloody nowhere” gets here; he will get them to Caemlyn and leave these madwomen to “run off and get killed by Elaida”, or else help them to swear fealty to Rand to save them. They just stare, until a novice enters and curtsies to Egwene with awe, calling her “Mother”, and asking if the general needs wine. Egwene tells her no, and sends her to tell Sheriam she will attend Egwene soon.

“Close your mouth before you catch flies, Mat,” Nynaeve said in tones of deepest satisfaction.

Commentary
Lord. This whole section marks the first time since his awesomeing in TDR that I’ve been truly annoyed with Mat. Maybe I’m just in the wrong frame of mind at the moment, but I just want to smack him.

I think it has to do with my permanent state of annoyance at people who leap to conclusions based on a tiny smidge of evidence, plus a great heap of pre-conceived notions, with a soupçon of always assuming the worst possible interpretation of things. People being what they are, this means I am annoyed a disproportionate amount of the time.

And seriously, what is the logic here? Does Egwene strike anyone as a practical joker? Does Mat really think she would pretend to be the Amrylin just so she could point and do a Nelson HA-ha?

So, not pleased with Mat at the moment. He has some mitigating elements for reacting the way he did, but some thought before action would be awful nice. And of course, Nynaeve’s about to match him for stupid thoughtless behavior, so yay? Basically, why can’t any of these people just talk to each other? Agh.

I do recall that the first time I read this I experienced a certain amount of satisfaction that Mat’s medallion prevented Egwene from trussing him up like a ham. So there’s that.

Nicola: I would complain about disagreeable characters owning a surfeit of Talents, but in this case Foretelling and seeing ta’veren actually do seem like they would go together, both of them being about seeing the Pattern in some way. So, okay.


Chapter 39: Possibilities

What Happens
Egwene had expected Mat to look cornered, but he only seems “poleaxed and sweaty”, and suppresses all the questions she wants to ask Mat, thinking that perhaps he and his Band were an unexpected gift. She hopes he’s noticed that none of them were sweating (Siuan had finally shown them the trick, which annoyed Nynaeve when she found out it had nothing to do with the Power at all), and asks quietly for her chair back. He gets up, still staring at them, and she sits. Before she can say anything, though, he tells her just as quietly that this is madness, and will end with her head cut off, and entreats her and the others to come with him and escape. Nynaeve mutters “Warm my bottom?” and kicks Mat squarely in the rear, sending him staggering across the room; Elayne bursts into laughter, and Egwene bites her lip to keep from doing the same. Outraged, Mat slowly stalks toward Nynaeve.

Nynaeve drew herself up sternly, and then perhaps a few things occurred to her. She might be angry enough to channel, but saidar was apparently useless with him. Mat was tall for a Two Rivers man, considerably taller than she, considerably stronger, and there was a decidedly dangerous glint in his eye. She glanced at Egwene, and smoothed her dress, trying to maintain her stern face. Mat stalked nearer, face like thunder. Another hasty glance, worry beginning to show, was followed by a small step back.

Egwene tells Mat to stop it, and that he is the one in a predicament, not she, but she may be able to get him out of it. Finally he stops, and shakes a finger at Nynaeve before ignoring her and turns to Egwene, begging to differ with her assessment. She points out that no one here is very fond of Dragonsworn, considering some of the stories they’ve heard; Mat yelps that he is no bloody Dragonsworn, but Egwene replies that he takes orders from Rand. What is that, if not Dragonsworn? Mat just looks confused, and returns to his previous tack, telling her Rand can solve all her problems, and mend the Tower for her with no battles or bloodshed. Egwene is intensely annoyed by his patronizing tone, but thinks that she certainly agrees that she doesn’t want bloodshed; once Aes Sedai blood is spilled it will be next to impossible to reunite the Tower. She answers that however she deals with Rand, it will certainly not be by swearing fealty to him, and Mat had better keep quiet about the notion in Salidar if he values his health. Mat glares, and tells her he’ll talk to her again when she’s ready to listen to reason. He asks if Thom is around, and at her nod, goes to leave. Elayne warns him not to try to leave Salidar.

He grinned at her insolently, and the way he eyed her up and down, he was lucky Elayne did not slap him hard enough to loosen all his teeth. “You, my fine Lady, I am taking back to Caemlyn if I have to tie you up in a package to hand to Rand, burn me if I don’t. And I will bloody well leave when I choose.” His bow was mocking, to Elayne and to Egwene. Nynaeve got only a glower and another shake of his finger.

After he goes, Elayne comments that she doesn’t understand how Rand can have such a “low, insufferable lout” for a friend, and Nynaeve agrees emphatically, but Egwene interjects that she ought have let Mat at Nynaeve; she can’t go around kicking people anymore, she is Aes Sedai. Nynaeve goes red and silent, and Egwene sighs and takes off the stole to remind her they are alone. Elayne asks if Egwene means to join Mat’s Band to Bryne’s army, but Egwene doesn’t think this is a very good idea. She explains her scheme to the other two; Elayne thinks it is brilliant, but Nynaeve opines that Mat will spike their plan just for the fun of it. Egwene disagrees, and tells Nynaeve she thinks Mat made a promise; Nynaeve considers, and nods, but Elayne looks confused.

“Elayne, Mat does exactly as he pleases; he always has.”

“No matter how many turnips he had to peel for it,” Nynaeve muttered, “or how often he was switched.”

“Yes, that is Mat,” Egwene sighed. He had been the most irresponsible boy in Emond’s Field, maybe in the Two Rivers. “But if he gives his word, he keeps it. And I think he promised Rand to see you back in Caemlyn, Elayne. You notice he retreated to asking me”—in a way he had—“but you he never changed a hair on. I think he’ll try to stay as close to you as your belt pouch. But we won’t let him even see you unless he does as we want.”

She hesitates, and tells Elayne she can go to Rand instead if she wants, but Elayne replies that Ebou Dar is too important. She comments that Mat must have a ter’angreal, and Egwene agrees, thinking of how the flows had touched him and just melted. Nynaeve suggests frisking him for it, but Egwene points out that that would hardly make Mat disposed to do what they want. Elayne then suggests taking him with them to Ebou Dar, which will give her a chance to try and study it; Nynaeve is violently against this idea, but Elayne thinks it is perfect, and Egwene agrees that having a few soldiers with them would not be amiss in addition to Thom, Juilin, and Birgitte. Elayne flushes, and Nynaeve protests rapidly that Ebou Dari can’t possibly be as touchy as the stories say, and if they survived Tanchico without soldiers they can certainly do the same now. Egwene sighs; any time she mentions Birgitte their reaction is the same. Egwene is sure that the woman in Salidar is truly the Birgitte from legend, but Elayne still refuses to explain, and Egwene is held by her promise not to pry. As a sop to Nynaeve, Egwene points out how annoying Mat would find it to have to play bodyguard for them, and Elayne chimes in that sometimes the best men are reluctant to take orders, and worth teaching; they would be doing Rand a favor.

Egwene tried not to smile; Elayne always caught on so quickly. Then again, she probably was going to try teaching Mat to sit up straight. That would be something to see. She liked Elayne, and admired her strength, but she would bet on Mat in that contest. By a whisker.

Nynaeve is still adamantly against it; the other two are wearing her down when Sheriam enters and looks coolly at Elayne and Nynaeve, who perforce excuse themselves, curtsy, and leave, though Nynaeve tries to have a staring contest with Sheriam first. Egwene tells Nynaeve as she goes that she should probably avoid Mat except when there are a large number of people around, “perhaps a few Warders”. Nynaeve rather faintly agrees.

Sheriam watched the door close with a small frown that she still wore when she turned to Egwene. “There were hard words, Mother?”

“Only what you expect when old friends meet after a long time. Nynaeve remembers Mat as a scamp, but he isn’t ten anymore, and he resents it.” Bound by the Oath against lying, Aes Sedai had carried the half-truth, the quarter-truth and the implication to arts. Useful arts, in Egwene’s opinion. Especially with Aes Sedai. The Three Oaths did no one any favors, least of all Aes Sedai.

Sheriam calmly assumes the leader of the Dragonsworn sent “young Mat” with a message from Rand al’Thor, and hopes Egwene did not make him any promises; Egwene decides it’s time to rattle her composure.

“It seems Mat is the commander, Sheriam, and in a way, the army is the message. Apparently, Rand would like us all to come to him in Caemlyn. There was some mention of oaths of fealty.”

Sheriam reacts with outrage, but also with fear that Egwene might have actually promised such a thing, and Egwene lets her stew a moment before adding that she told him it was ridiculous, of course. Sheriam is visibly relieved, and Egwene continues that unfortunately, given the delicacy of the situation, she doesn’t think simply increasing preparations to leave Salidar will be enough anymore. She reflects on Romanda and Lelaine’s “advice”, which were based on different reasons but amounted to the same thing, which was that they should not leave Salidar at all. Sheriam doesn’t understand, saying surely the preparations are sufficient to show that Egwene will not be bullied by the Hall.

Egwene managed to put on a disingenuous expression. “I understand, Sheriam. I don’t know what I would do without your advice.” How she looked forward to the day she could stop this. Sheriam would make a very good Keeper—she might even have made a good Amyrlin—but Egwene was going to enjoy the day she could teach the woman that she was Keeper, not Amyrlin. Sheriam and the Hall.

But, Egwene continues, she worries about possible conflicts between Bryne’s army and these Dragonsworn, and suggests they could move downriver to Ebou Dar, which would show Rand they are not interested in his offer. Alarmed, Sheriam says that would convince Tylin that they are moving on Altara in force; Egwene answers, but can they afford to stay still, with Dragonsworn at their doorstep? Sheriam answers that they must send the Dragonsworn away, but Egwene counters that she doubts Mat will obey, and implies that Mat said something about waiting for something; orders from Rand, perhaps, or even Rand himself. Sheriam is aghast, though she mostly hides it, and finally says maybe they do need to leave after all.

“But the only way left is north.” Egwene widened her eyes. Light, but she hated this! “It will seem we’re moving toward Tar Valon.”

“I know that,” Sheriam almost snapped. Drawing breath, she moderated her tone. “Forgive me, Mother. I feel a little... I do not like being forced into things, and I fear Rand al’Thor has forced our hand before we are ready.”

“I will speak quite severely when I see him,” Egwene said. “I can hardly think what I would do without your advice.”

She thinks of sending Sheriam to be a Wise One apprentice for a while, and smiles.

Commentary
Well, thank God EVERYONE’S behaving like a moron now. Share the wealth! Yeeeaaah-blagh.

For the record, no, Nynaeve had absolutely no right to do what she did and I don’t blame Mat in the slightest for being infuriated. However, I am ill-disposed to turn this into a bigger, overarching men vs. women philosophical debate. More often than not the larger picture definitely applies, but in this particular case I contend that it does not, mainly because of Nynaeve and Mat’s specific relationship.

Which is, in my opinion, more one of brother and sister than anything else. They drive each other up the wall; they are constantly looking for opportunities to belittle or humiliate the other; each knows exactly how to push the other’s buttons, and rarely miss a chance to do so. And yet, none of what would be intolerable offenses from another person ultimately does much to change their relationship. In short, it’s got “sibling rivalry” written all over it in letters of fire, if you ask me.

As a person with two sisters, let me assure you from experience that nothing will send you over the Cliffs of Immature Screechy Behavior faster than a sibling who knows precisely what to say or do to make you see red. Fortunately, my sisters and I grew out of that. Mostly. Nynaeve and Mat, obviously, have a ways to go.

I also think the reason they clash so much has to do with a certain base similarity between them (which I’ve noted before), which neither would ever believe exists but which is pretty clear to outside observers, I think. Don’t get me wrong, in a lot of ways they are obviously very different, but they each possess a certain degree of willful self-blindness, as well as mule-headed stubbornness and a distinct lack of tact which is practically guaranteed to cause sparks when the two meet up. How could it not? And yet, they are each in their way very noble, in the old sense of that word.

One thing I did really like is that even Nynaeve admitted freely Mat’s virtue (or stubbornness, take your pick) in adhering to his word. She also acknowledges (grudgingly, but she does acknowledge it) that Mat may be a player, but he restricts his attentions to women who want those attentions, in a bit I skipped over in the summary. It says something about Mat’s constance in those attributes that not even Nynaeve can find a way to poke holes in it.

It is a shame that this whole episode prejudices Elayne against Mat to the extent it does. Mostly because we will have to deal with the fallout from it for most of the entire Ebou Dar plotline. Sigh.

Speaking of Elayne, I originally considered her decision to go to Ebou Dar instead of Caemlyn to be foolish (and, additionally, an artificial way to draw out that entire plotline), but on reflection I do see the logic. If the weather isn’t fixed, pretty soon she wouldn’t have a nation to be queen of. However, this does not stop it from being frustrating; I get a little starry-eyed, imagining how much would have been sped up if she’d just gone to Caemlyn now instead of three books later.

Anyway. In other news, Egwene’s sneakiness re: the other Aes Sedai is still awesome. Girl can think on her feet. It’s funny that even I was startled, on first reading, to have Mat equated with “Dragonsworn”, because Egwene’s calling him that was perfectly logical, really, though of course she was only doing so for tactical advantage; even she doesn’t really consider Mat (or Perrin, I’m sure) to be the same thing as a bunch of random bandits.

It sure came in handy, though, didn’t it? I am all for something that gets this plotline moving.


Aight, that all there is and there ain’t no more, ya heard me? Have a scrumptious weekend, people, and I’ll see you Monday!

173 comments
bharrison1976
1. bharrison1976
Great post...keep them coming!!!
bharrison1976
2. Mr. Micawber
Um, Leigh, I think that in the first chapter Mat's only verbalizing - in his unique way - what Rand thinks, and thus what he interprets his orders to be. Rand's the one who, in theory, knows about this; Mat's doing what he's been ordered to do.

I'd say it's Rand's fault that it goes down like this. *However* he'd have taken an entirely different view had Egwene not acted so stupidly in explaining to him the situation with the SAS.

I think that what this chapter demonstrates, yet again, is how quickly these people act without ever possessing a complete set of information - or even considering they might not possess the. It's like they're all trying to outdo the others in stupidity.

What Rand should have done is send Mat into Salidar - knowing Mat can't be held with the Power - and wait outside himself. And then ask for an audience with, say, the Salidar Six, or representatives from the Hall-in-Exile or whatever. He's absolutely not thinking this through, and his orders totally conflict with what the Supergirls want, meaning that Mat ends up getting treated like everyone's whipping boy for the next five books.
Captain Hammer
3. Randalator
No, Leigh, it doesn't have to do with a wrong frame of mind...Mat and Nynaeve just need to get smacked in the head in these two chapters. And any other character as well, just on principle...
F Shelley
4. FSS
Hi Leigh - I think you're being too hard on Mat for his reaction. After all, if you visited the Vatican 2 years out of high school, and saw a friend sitting in the Pope's chair and wearing the Pope's Big Hat, wouldn't your first reaction be that that's f***ed up? And if the Vatican was still in the habit of killing people who erred sufficiently badly, wouldn't you react pretty closely to Mat here?

Just sayin' (with a hat tip to Jon Stewart)...
Lannis .
5. Lannis
Great... more reasons to find Nicola annoying... why can't she run away sooner?

I love Mat's ballsy reunion with the Super Girls... too funny! I think it's more of a desire to keep them out of the trouble that he's saved them from in the past that sparks this, and frankly, the line "poor blind fool"--as incorrect as it may be--shows he's rather accurately assessed the mess that currently is the SAS...

Though I do like that we see Egwene tell Nynaeve she can't go kicking people anymore... thank you!

The Dragonsworn (the Band) vs. The Dragonsworn (Masema's swarm) always bugged me... yes, they all follow Rand, but tomato soup does not equal spaghetti sauce, even though they're both made from tomatoes...

Sheriam: Egwene's thought that she'll make a good Keeper probably would hold more weight if Sheriam wasn't being beaten every turn... by CoT she's a blubbering mess! I remember being so happy that Egwene had her on her side in the beginning, later she's just plain useless... yes, because she's being beaten and (presumably) forced to comply with certain orders of which we're not privy, but still! A blubbering mess!

I just enjoy these chapters for the little reunion of some of our Heroes, and well, the comic relief is awesome--I know I laughed out loud, giddy, on my first read of these chapters...

Great recap, Leigh! Thanks again! :)
Captain Hammer
6. Randalator
Lannis @5

The Dragonsworn (the Band) vs. The Dragonsworn (Masema's swarm) always bugged me... yes, they all follow Rand, but tomato soup does not equal spaghetti sauce, even though they're both made from tomatoes...

Yep, the difference is that the spaghetti sauce is made from very insane tomatoes...
Maiane Bakroeva
7. Isilel
Yay for Mat's big dumbass entrance. Seriously, he feels such satisfaction in telling Nyn that he is the commander of Dragonsworn and then immediately pulls a stupid trick with Egwene.
I mean, duh, first Egs is not a prankster and never was and second who'd put Amyrlin's stole on for a joke?

No wonder that Elayne's perception of Mat is warped for a looong time.

Now, of course somebody is going to mention how ungrateful the SGs are here and that they should have thanked Mat on the bent knee for the rescue in Tear.
However, my recent re-read of the series reminded me that the TR boys also _never_ thank women who save them or indeed each other ditto. Did Mat thank the SGs for escorting and nursing him to the Healing in TV? Did he thank the AS for Healing him? Did he thank Moiraine for many, many times when she saved his life? Or Rand for saving him from hanging? Etc. So, basically they are more or less on the same level re: gratitude, IMHO.

Nyn quickly responds in kind of course, LOL. I guess that Mat is warming up towards the spanking of Joline ;).

Loved Egwene's manipulation of Sheriam - too bad that getting to TV will take forever and they'll sit in front of it for some time, too.

OTOH, Egs is charitable - I am not seeing how Sheriam could be a good Amyrlin or a good Keeper as she just isn't very bright, IMHO.

Not only Siuan, Moiraine, Verin and Leane could have run rings around her, but also Alviarin, Tarna, the BA hunters and who knows who else.
Rob Munnelly
8. RobMRobM
Egwene is awesome in these two chapters with one significant exception -- she was in Cairhein during the battle with the Shaido and aftermath and was well acquainted with Mat's prowess in battle and the formation of the Band. It is mystifying (and, frankly, forced from a plot standpoint) why Eg's thoughts and speech to the other SGs do not reflect this key fact. To the contrary, Eg's endorsement of Elayne's point that he and his troops need training from Elayne is aggravating in the extreme in light of her knowledge of the Band's effectiveness.

I love the Mat-Nyn sibling rivalry point. Well done, Leigh. Important fact here is that Mat scares the living poop out of her and Nyn avoids him over most of the next two books -- leading to many aggravating delays or unnecessary plot complications. Le sigh.

But the capper is that the girls fully understand they are manipulating Mat, based on his promise to Rand, but don't have the common courtesy to treat him with compensatory respect en route to Ebou Dar and once there. To the contrary, the upcoming weeks are filled with insults to him and disregard of his needs and feelings, with some additional out and out nastiness to him. This segment of the series is a main reason why so many readers/re-readers get so down on Elayne and Nyn - they treat a cool and useful character like dirt, and stupidly (in light of his ta'veren status) and unnecessarily so.

Rob

edited for typos
Zachary A
9. Zeal
In Mat's defence, sure Egwene isn't a prankster but she is exceedingly ambitious and he has seen Egwene pretending to be Aes Sedai since TSR.

It's not unreasonable to think that she was trying on the stole and playing at being the Amyrlin Seat while the real deal was out. It makes much more sense than an Accepted being made the Amyrlin Seat, afterall.
Richard Fife
10. R.Fife
My post was eated....

Ahem, In Mat's defense, I think he was acting as well as he could given character and circumstances. He already has an axe to grind with the SGs, this would not be the first time the SGs have posed as full sisters (not to mention posed with the tacit compliance of a real sister), and he is already hammered into the mindset from Rand that the SAS are desperate and grasping at smoke. (the last shown by his internal monologue as Nynaeve leads him back to the Amyrlin's study.)

To his actions post accepting that the SAS have raised the SGs, well, that makes sense too. I agree he may be a bastard riding rough-shod in his point, but he does have the slightly higher moral ground here, seeing as he has saved the SGs twice (if you count the assassin from Rahvin and Be'lal's prison cell as separate instances), and all they've ever shown him is high-handed snootiness. Just saying.
James Jones
11. jamesedjones
The way the second chapter starts has got to be my favorite up until now. Egghead is settling the shawl on her shoulders, thinking that Mat finally understands that she's all that. And his reaction clearly shows that, in his opinion, the AS outside were just a warm up to the crazy that the SGs are playing with (and have decided to raise and nurture on crazy steroids). Love it!

7 Isilel

"I mean, duh, first Egs is not a prankster and never was and second who'd put Amyrlin's stole on for a joke?"

The same person who would put on the Pope's hat as a joke. Anyone besides the Pope.

Personally, I see this as a reader bonus from Mat's luck. What are the odds that no one is mentioning Egghead's name as he rides into town(village). It's only the day after her appointment. Surely, Vanin would have provided his commander with any info that might help. He's a scout for cryin' out loud. But nope, Mat walks straight in completely oblivious. Once again, Love It!
Maiane Bakroeva
12. Isilel
The SGs did nurse Mat on his way to TV and Egwene told him about the redstone frame ter'angreal in Tear.

And again, how is Mat more grateful to people who _did_ save his life, huh?
Philip Thomann
13. normalphil
@7 Isilel

However, my recent re-read of the series reminded me that the TR boys also _never_ thank women who save them or indeed each other ditto. Did Mat thank the SGs for escorting and nursing him to the Healing in TV?

In point of fact he did, swearing equivalent deeds in return. They promptly mocked him, and his ability to meaningfully affect their safety.
bharrison1976
14. AppleBrandy
I have a lot more sympathy for Matt, and I understand his reaction here. Rand comes and changes the whole plan, sends him off into the middle of nowhere, and saddles him with someone who Oliver keeps trying to kill. He has several days of riding to brood about the difficulties involved, and then it all goes to pieces when he gets to town (at a time he didn't want to go - he was forced to go earlier by Av). He's tired, probably saddle sore, frustrated, mad, and he sees his friends apparently trying to pull a joke on him (a rather bad one, too).

On another note, I still get upset that nobody seems to understand that the bandits who call themselves 'dragonsworn' act very differently then those who are actually sword to the DR.
bharrison1976
15. Mr. Micawber
To the contrary, Eg's endorsement of Elayne's point that he and his troops need training from Elayne is aggravating in the extreme in light of her knowledge of the Band's effectiveness.

Shit.

You just made me realize where I started hating Elayne - as opposed to merely being annoyed at her.

Moreover, I absolve Eggs for this, because the next couple chapters with her and Mat demonstrate that they have a really tight relationship, that he actually does care about her, and that she really does respect his ability, while still finding him a bit annoying.

Elayne *never* gets around to the respect part. She just gets focused on the bitchy, I'm the boss of you part. If you treat Mat with even a modicum of decency and respect, as Egwene frankly does, you suddenly get a hidden badass with mad skillz who's really willing to go to the mattresses for you.
Captain Hammer
16. Randalator
Isilel @7

Did Mat thank the SGs for escorting and nursing him to the Healing in TV? Did he thank the AS for Healing him? Did he thank Moiraine for many, many times when she saved his life? Or Rand for saving him from hanging?

Well, the last is just guys being guys.

"Dude, I just totally saved you from hanging!"
- "Huh, whaddya know! ... So...beer?"
- "...Yeah, okay. *shrugs*"
bharrison1976
17. Mr. Micawber

In point of fact he did, swearing equivalent deeds in return. They promptly mocked him, and his ability to meaningfully affect their safety.


The scene where Birgitte comes back to the Tarasin Palace after talking with Mat, and then she and Avi (who earned my "favorite Rand-y concubine" award for this) browbeat Elayne and Nynaeve into apologizing.

Moreover, I can accept Nyn's annoyance with him, but Elayne's thoughts when she's "forced" to thank Mat for helping them find the Kin's Stash, that it was the hardest thing she'd ever done, made me want to throw the book at the wall with great force.

Between this and LTT's musing in FOH about how he couldn't understand how Tel Janin was pissed after having never received a "finger less than his due" made me understand why the Light nearly lost the First War.

Because their leaders were absolute pricks.

If Elayne and Rand are anything like Latra Posae and LTT, I would have done a bunk like Barid Bel or Tel Janin.
bharrison1976
18. Mr. Micawber
Ach, I meant to say that the scene with Birgitte and Avi was one of my all time favs, and when combined with her and Mat trading secrets, it's probably one of the top ten chapters in the series (at least!).
Captain Hammer
19. Randalator
Mr. Micawber @15

Elayne *never* gets around to the respect part.

Yes, she does.

"Thank you, Mat. I apologize for everything I ever did or thought." She sounded as though she really meant it. "I keep building up toh toward you," she smiled ruefully, "but I am not going to let you beat me. You are going to have to let me save you at least once to balance matters."
(ACoS, ch. 38)
Jay Dauro
20. J.Dauro
I dearly hope we get to see a reverse on this.

I am hoping that somewhere in the last three books we see Egwene (and Elayne and Nyn) meet Tuon. Preferably with Mat there. And see their reaction when Tuon addresses Mat as "Husband"

The jaw drops should be on the other side then.
Philip Thomann
21. normalphil
@17 Micawber

Between this and LTT's musing in FOH about how he couldn't understand how Tel Janin was pissed after having never received a "finger less than his due" made me understand why the Light nearly lost the First War.

Because their leaders were absolute pricks.


I was thinking something a lot like that at the end of KoD, when Elayne decided that the mercenaries that held the gate when her others betrayed her were doing their narrow duty and deserved no further compensation.

You're talking about 17 guys in a last-stand situation that could have stopped struggling against impossible odds at the drop of a hat, taken a pot of money, joined in on looting one of the richest cities on the continent, and since that would have decided the war, nobody would have called them on it.

Light woman, at least give them a commendation, if you can't bear to give them a bonus.

I swear that will come back to haunt her one day. Or if not that, something a lot like that, since that kind of thing is the established idiom.
bharrison1976
22. Mr. Micawber
And then the very next chapter, she's back to the "obedient subject" bullshit, and she and Nyn manipulate him into getting a better bargain with the Sea Folk, because they had royally screwed up the first one.

I'd say that she was genuinely *grateful* and liked him.

I would *not* say that she started to respect him any more.
bharrison1976
23. Mr. Micawber
I was thinking something a lot like that at the end of KoD, when Elayne decided that the mercenaries that held the gate when her others betrayed her were doing their narrow duty and deserved no further compensation.

You're talking about 17 guys in a last-stand situation that could have stopped struggling against impossible odds at the drop of a hat, taken a pot of money, joined in on looting one of the richest cities on the continent, and since that would have decided the war, nobody would have called them on it.

Light woman, at least give them a commendation, if you can't bear to give them a bonus.

I swear that will come back to haunt her one day. Or if not that, something a lot like that, since that kind of thing is the established idiom.


Oh, bollocks, I'd forgotten about this.

Now *you* made me see that Elayne is the *Catelyn Stark* of the Wheel of Time universe.

I'm going to be very grump the rest of the day.
Hilde Sørensen
24. edlihs
Mr. Micawber@17
The The Strike at Shayol Ghul points out that female and male channelers basically wasn't talking at all towards the end of the war against the shadow... LTT was accused of having a too rash plan with the seals, but the alternative plan involved the shoden kal the forsaken was scared would destroy the world if used together... The to genders wasn't talking much more then they do in the third age even thou they should have had more "practice".

Thanks Leigh
Rob Munnelly
25. RobMRobM
@22 - actually, "observant subject" - which is a compliment, but agree that the "subject" part is an unnecessary dig after he hauled their butts out of the fire yet again.

Yes, the Swovan night (Mat-Birgitte get together) and "daughter of the sands" chapters are among the best in CoT.
Captain Hammer
26. Randalator
Mr. Micawber @22

And then the very next chapter, she's back to the "obedient subject" bullshit,

She's the daughter-heir and he is technically her subject. What do you expect? At the core Mat ist still a rogue, Perrin is still a blacksmith, Rand is still a shepherd, Nynaeve is still the wisdom and Elayne is still daughter-heir. You are who you are.

and she and Nyn manipulate him into getting a better bargain with the Sea Folk, because they had royally screwed up the first one.

That's not disrespecting him, that's just making use of his inherent abilities. In fact it shows a great deal of respect, that they trust him to get a better bargain just by "letting him run loose".

Rand does the same with everyone around him, by the way. They could have told Mat beforehand but I doubt he would have succeeded then...
Rob Munnelly
27. RobMRobM
@26 - No, the failure to tell Mat was incredibly disrepectful. They wanted him to strike the bargain with the Sea Folk, likely at personal cost to him, rather than face the consequences themselves. If he wasn't able to snatch the blade from Renaille's hand, he would have paid with his life. They should have told him that straight out so he could have planned a sound approach that would have minimized his personal risks, but they elected to save their own hides at his expense and only gave him grudging and half-hearted thanks thereafter. I like Elayne and Nynaeve but their behavior thought the latter part of LoC and all the way through CoT towards Mat is consistently reprehensible.

Rob
Ron Garrison
28. Man-0-Manetheran
I always have to stop and remember that when Elayne and Morgase annoy me so, it's because they both have this big personality flaw: royalty.
Maiane Bakroeva
29. Isilel
@27:

Mat's ta'veren doesn't work that way. It works best if he is acting in non-pre-mediated manner. When he does try to plan, like with search for ter'angreal cache - nothing happens.

I really don't see the outrage here. They didn't tell him to insult Renaile, so huh? Personal cost?

When they find the stash, it is hard to thank him because Mat was just a step ahead of them.

When he saves them from the gholam, thanks are quite heart-felt, though.

And while Mat does tell the SGs that he'd come to their aid if they need him he doesn't thank them for the nursing and escorting him on the way to TV, BTW, it is a chivalric thing like with Hurin, who owes them nothing.
And again, there are tons of people who saved Mat's life and whom he hadn't thanked or to whom he had been rude in return, including Rand and Perrin. That some of those other people are AS is not an excuse, really.

Mat is as bad as SGs in that respect. They'd also rather rush to somebody's rescue than offer thanks and politeness for being saved themselves. Ditto Rand and Perrin.
bharrison1976
30. Mr. Micawber
Mat is as bad as SGs in that respect. They'd also rather rush to somebody's rescue than offer thanks and politeness for being saved themselves. Ditto Rand and Perrin.

See my point above under:

Are pricks; Leaders of the Light
Matthew B
31. MatthewB
The key thing to keep in mind for every instance stubborn of pigheadedness that causes endless complications and delays when a little calm, honest communication would have fixed everything (pretty much all of books 6-9) is that these super-bad-ass characters we love and love to hate are barely more than teenagers.

Think back to the amount of drama you endured in high school and college and then add superpowers and the fate of the world to the mix.
Tess Laird
32. thewindrose
Mr. Micawber @30-
See my point above under:

Are pricks; Leaders of the Light

Too funny:)

RobMRobM @27
I agree with you, but I am suprised about Elayne;)
Joseph Blaidd
33. SteelBlaidd
I think that Mat not beliveing Egwene is Amerlyn is just as justified as the SGs not understanding Mat's L33t B4ttl3 Sk11z.

As far as Mat remembers she is a bosy little gill who tends to 'play' at being higher rank than she legaly holds. Remember a lot of his relations with people from home are based on feelings he has that don't have any memories to give them context. He dosen't know if she was a pranker back home or not.

On the Girl's side, all they know is that Mat has command of a bunch of soldiers. They don't know how he got that command. He didn't hang with Egwene if he could avoid it and she was in the Wise Ones aprentice social circle the intracaceis of combat manuvers was not what they cared about. Even if she had spent enough time with anyone who could tell her stories of the Band exploits she dosen't know enough about war to be able to evaluate them properly; that's what Gareth Bryne is for. On top of that there are only ten days between him first opening his Double-X super Can of Whup Ass and her getting sent to bed by Lanfear for the next TWO MONTHS, which is the last time she sees him till this point.

Even Rand, who does care about that kind of thing and has face time with Mat, only has a vauge idea of how good Mat is, and that mostly based on Bashire's evaluation of him.

The SGs assumeing he only has his command because he is Rand's friend is entirely reasonable, and given their knowlidge of his chief acomplishments up to now can be classified as "boozing, brawling, gambling and chaseing women," thinking he needs a little civilizeing(which he does) is also entirely Reasonable.
Rob Munnelly
34. RobMRobM
lsiel - They weren't counting on Mat's ta'verness - they just wanted him to take on the cost of whatever bargain it would take to convince the Sea Folk to leave, without even telling him he was to be the one responsible for the bargain. Not cool at all. R
Philip Thomann
35. normalphil
@27 Isilel

Mat was clearly referencing services rendered and his gratitude for them- it's a consistent thing with him, that's also why he's got Teslyn, "the ugly step-sister Red Ajah Aes Sedai" as a BFF/millstone. There's no equivalency here, Mat doesn't see acknowledging that he owes people as a weakness- it's something he'll publicly admit to. And the SG's do.
John Fitzingo
36. Xandar01
Randalator @6
Lannis @5

The Dragonsworn (the Band) vs. The Dragonsworn (Masema's swarm) always bugged me... yes, they all follow Rand, but tomato soup does not equal spaghetti sauce, even though they're both made from tomatoes...

Yep, the difference is that the spaghetti sauce is made from very insane tomatoes...


No way, it's the tomatoes for the soup that are insane. (I would consider the Band the heartier spaghetti sauce, and the bandits the thin drivel of soup.) Now I am hungry lunch...
Lannis .
37. Lannis
Xander @ 36: Yeah, I got that backwards for sure... the Band is totally the sauce... Masema's zealots are a little soupy... ;)
Maiane Bakroeva
38. Isilel
@30 Mr. Micawber:

Yea, sure, but for some reason SGs and particularly Elayne get singled out, as if it is entirely acceptable for teh ta'veren trio and especially Mat himself to be pricks. Now, I like Elayne least among the SGs, but mostly because of her treatment of her brothers and neglect of her duty as the Heir.
Also, the regaining Andor storyline is the most blatantly crawling one. I mean, they can Travel, yet chose to spend weeks on the road in snow-drifts. And when they are finally in Caemlyn, there are baths...

@20 J.Dauro:

their reaction when Tuon addresses Mat as "Husband"

I don't see them being impressed with Tuon. She is an enthusiastic hobby torturer, after all, and also quite proud of having 2 of her siblings murdered. IMHO, reaction would be "there is no accounting for some men's taste" and "keep her off my lawn". LOL.

Imagine her reaction when it turns out that half of Mat's friends and her new sister-in-law are marath-damane!

@35 Normalphil:

Mat was clearly referencing services rendered and his gratitude for them

But only internally. He never actually admits his gratitude aloud. He'd go and save people to whom he feels he owes, yes.
But thank them? No.
How many times did he internally think that so-and-so was right and then went out of his way to be rude and provocative towards them? How many times was he saved by people without thanking them?

So yea, pot, kettle, black, IMHO.
James Jones
39. jamesedjones
38 Isilel

"She is an enthusiastic hobby torturer, after all, and also quite proud of having 2 of her siblings murdered."

Hang on. That last part came from Shipless. Tuon has never shown any satisfaction or pride in removing those two siblings.
Erika
40. Siuanfan
Lannis @ 5 and yet, even though it is completely out of character for Sheriam to be a blubbering mess, no one ever takes a minute to investigate wtf is the matter with her... they just mentally remark that she needs to pull herself together and let it go at that. It's more of this pattern of willfully ignoring information that's practically punching you in the face because you think you already know all there is to know. ARGH these people drive me nuts sometimes!

RobM @ 8 but the Band sort of formed around him as he was trying to escape, didn't it? Would Egwene have seen that bit? He was already on his way away from Rand by the time the Band started following him around.

Regarding Elayne, I think to be fair, Mat (as we've seen from his various POVs) actually goes out of his way to be infuriating, mostly because he thinks it's funny. He can't then complain when someone acts in a manner which they know will infuriate him. Elayne picked up on his nobility prejudice toot-sweet and thus that was the tool she used against him. On the other hand, she IS the Daughter-Heir and like it or not she's still practically a kid, she's lost her mother, in the back of her mind she has to be feeling like she IS the rightful Queen of Andor on some level, and so she's also working out how she's supposed to behave. And finally, for the last year (or two?) her constant companions were either Nynaeve, Egwene, Black Ajah, other Aes Sedai, Thom & Juilin, and circus folk. And among all of those people, she's the only born-and-raised princess. She never knows whether to be the regal young queen-thing or all "earthy" and fun like her commoner friends. Of course she's going to act retarded sometimes!
paul Hend
41. tugthis
What I really liked about the chapter of Matt and Eggy meeting was that it showed in many ways how the Supergirls, new titles as AS aside, are not very impressive. In short, wihout their ability to channel, the are pretty ordinary. Of course the same can be said for Matt and his ta'veren-ness. But after Matt laid the law down to them, as per Rand's rather opaque direction to "loom a little", they were basically fish in a barrell. Without Warders. . . matt could have made short work of them physically, which he wouldn't being noble and all, but the same can't be said for all their opponents. They were struck dumb, that the fiction that the power made them superior or co equal to men, was just that.

Leigh is bothered as I, and a lot of readers are that the characters jsut don't communicate as much as they should. While frustrating-- even infuriating-- it is a necessity in the fiction. Without the fullness of characters acting in thier own self interests, the whole story arc of the book would be a comic book of the forces of good fighting the forces of evil. It is the dynamics of characters and people acting irrationally, and selfishly, (realistically) that makes the story rich.

I still think that there is a huge disconnect between visions of what Eggy and Rand think important. It seems that the Towers--- both White and Salidar-- believe that The Dragon should serve them and follow their direction. Rand obviously thinks differently, as he is the playmaker in the game and the AS are clearly only supporting pieces. But the tension between those expectations is what makes the book. Which is not to say that RJ's editor let him down in the next few installments.
John Fitzingo
42. Xandar01
I don't buy the "sibling rivalry" bit so much. For Mat, Nynaeve has gone from authority figure to just another AS. He grew up with her "in charge," but I don't think it was ever like a sister.

Once leaving the small town he grows into an authority figure himself with an added bonus that he doesn't have to listen to those once mystical AS. Granted, I don't think Matt would have intimidatingly advanced on any other woman who kicked him in the rear. He is no longer a boy and should be treated as such by his former wisdom. Much like parents eventually stopping the spankings of children as they age.

Nynaeve didn't kick him like a little brother, she kicked him like a lesser being than herself. She responded to his threat of punishment with violence. You can't go around just hitting people cause your mad. It's especially not a good idea if they are bigger than you.
T C
43. Freelancer
Man-o-Manetheren@28, and all the other Elayne-haters;
I always have to stop and remember that when Elayne and Morgase annoy me so, it's because they both have this big personality flaw: royalty.

This is unjustified, as are all the other comments about how badly Elayne treats Mat. She was set up to behave this way towards him by Nynaeve, and to a lesser extent, Egwene. Once Birgitte gets to know Mat, and forces Elayne to see the truth, she completely turns around, and in fact berates Nynaeve for having helped her to misunderstand him.

Nynaeve, the beloved Wisdom, is primarily at fault for all of this, and it is unwittingly aided by Mat himself being ... himself, which appears to corroborate the opinion being given to Elayne about him.

I'm very tired of each of Elayne's actions being characterized as arrogance, or pride of "royalty", when in a careful analysis she corrects herself anytime she discovers that she has misjudged someone, or acted from bad information. In other words, she is honorable. Nynaeve is NOT, until much later, and even then, usually only when forced to it. Elayne apologizes freely, Nynaeve grudgingly.

Yes, Elayne jumps to conclusions with inadequate information, and she is only overshadowed by Egwene as an "ooh-ooh" girl. But each of our heroes is guilty of the same.

My conclusion is that many readers have decided before this point of the saga that Mat is their favorite character, so they instantly take a defensive position towards him in any interpersonal conflict, which produces a corollary negative impression of Elayne during the Salidar/Ebou Dar segments. The Elayne hatred is nothing but a pro-Mat knee jerk.


It's amusing reading this part, where Egwene thinks that the Oaths don't do the Aes Sedai any favors, and then the recent releases, where she can't wait for the chance to take the Oaths because she has learned their value. And no, Halima isn't the cause of her revised opinion, Siuan is.
j p
44. sps49
Isilel @7 & etc.-

The difference you are missing is not that the girls failed to be properly appreciative of Mat in the Stone (which, remember, was the fulfillment of the "...swearing equivalent deeds in return. They promptly mocked him, and his ability to meaningfully affect their safety"), but that they were very unappreciative (“What I understand is that I got you out of something you couldn’t get yourselves out of, and you all have as much gratitude as a bloody Taren Ferry man with a toothache!”).

Brigitte and Aviendha are properly impressed at a Badass Normal braving the (then) impregnable Stone of Tear and Forsaken and Black Ajah to rescue them. As he promised.
Daniel Cole
45. zaldar
Wow so people doing their job protecting the leader need a bonus? Remember that Jordan was a millitary guy and spent a good bit of time in Vietnam. Knowing all about how people treat soliders badly is definitly something we should see here. Remember also the millitary is big on EXPECTING people to die for the cause that IS your job after all. No the leaders of the light are not pricks they just expect people to actually work and actually live up to the oaths they take. Like any real non crazy socialist european army.
Sydo Zandstra
46. Fiddler
Zaldar@45:

Those were mercenaries who, unlike most of their colleagues, didn't turn away when things got heated. They weren't fighting for their country.

Mercenaries fight for coin, and want to survive a battle. It's what they do/did.


OTOH. Elayne cannot be expected to realize those mercenaries went past what was expected of them, since she's used to loyal Andoran soldiers. Birgitte would know, but she had other things on her mind at the time.
j p
47. sps49
tugthis @41-

Your last sentence is hereby seconded.

zaldar @45-

There is doing your duty, and there is "above and beyond the call of duty". Public praise goes a long way, and good leaders make a point of providing same.

I am also a veteran (and there are others posting here), and I do not recall being expected to die for the cause- that is an unrealistic expectation. The mission in combat is usually to make the other guy die for his cause.
Erika
48. Siuanfan
freelancer @ 43 "My conclusion is that many readers have decided before this point of the saga that Mat is their favorite character, so they instantly take a defensive position towards him in any interpersonal conflict, which produces a corollary negative impression of Elayne during the Salidar/Ebou Dar segments. The Elayne hatred is nothing but a pro-Mat knee jerk. "

I've been thinking this all along. Mat was far from my favorite character and though Elayne was never my favorite (Siuan was, duh!), I always rather liked her, and never saw the "snootiness" that I saw referred to here in the re-reads so often. Now that I'm in the re-reads, I do see that it is there, but it's mostly justifiable from my perspective, and those who think Mat is just the bees knees tend to look at it from his perspective, but he's JUST as aggravating, if not more since he does it deliberately. Then when they're on their way to Ebou Dar, Elayne gives him a taste of his own medicine by deliberately acting in a way she knew was going to aggravate him. A lot of people chalk her behaviour up to "bitchy spoiled rich girl" and fail to recognize that that's not her personality... she is acting that way on purpose and for a particular reason. But if you're only looking at it from Mat's eyes, you miss that completely.
Erika
49. Siuanfan
Btw what does this "ooh ooh" girl mean? I keep hearing this but I have no idea what you guys are talking about. :P
bharrison1976
50. Rick C.
Leigh,
This chapter contains my best line in the entire series. Mat says to Egwene, the Amrylin Seat: "When the poor blind fool they've chosen out for their Amrylin gets here, I will do the talking. She can't be very bright or they would have never been able to shove her into the job." I howled!!
I just can't be ticked at Mat after that one!!
:-)
Philip Thomann
51. normalphil
@38

But only internally. He never actually admits his gratitude aloud.

No, he said that.
Rob Munnelly
52. RobMRobM
Free - I'm not an Elayne hater (I actually was impressed during her ascension to the throne of Andor and believe some of her comments in Ebou Dar were pretty amusing -- telling Mat he should flutter his eyes to attract Tylin, her practicing cursing, and the "very observant servant" line) and agree that a good portion of her treatment of Mat is due to bad info from Nyn -- but the whole Ebou Dar thing is really not good. Dragging a ta'veren with them and then (1) not using his potential ta'veren luck at all for a period of a few weeks, (2) blowing off all of his efforts to help them without the courtesy of an explanation, and (3) making repeated comments that at best are unkind is hard to justify individually or collectively. They even went to the frankly outrageous extreme of hiding from Mat that two of his men died for them -- and hiding the cause of that death, even though the source arguably posed an ongoing danger to Mat and his men. Thank goodness for Birgitte, Avi and Lan, or the treatment would have been even worse.

Ultimately, IMHO, Elayne and Nyn were so distressed by the things happening to them (insults from other AS, concerns re the bad deal with the Sea Folk, worries that they can't find the ter'greal, the whole Kin problem) that they failed to take the objectively reasonable step of looking outward and using resources available to them (Mat and his people) and, worse, actually took their frustrations out on said resources. It is a justifiable head desk period, whether you like Nyn and Elayne or not.

Rob
Rob Munnelly
53. RobMRobM
@49 - reference to type of person who sits in front row of class and shoots her hand in the air and says "Ooh ooh I know the answer" to every question from the teacher. There are some people like that on this re-read, so it's actually a term of endearment re Egwene and, to a lesser extent, Elayne. Rob
bharrison1976
54. vyskol
@ 8 RobMRobM
But the capper is that the girls fully understand they are manipulating Mat, based on his promise to Rand, but don't have the common courtesy to treat him with compensatory respect en route to Ebou Dar and once there. To the contrary, the upcoming weeks are filled with insults to him and disregard of his needs and feelings, with some additional out and out nastiness to him. This segment of the series is a main reason why so many readers/re-readers get so down on Elayne and Nyn - they treat a cool and useful character like dirt, and stupidly (in light of his ta'veren status) and unnecessarily so.

Couldn't have said it better myself. It also makes the entire Ebou Dar/Bowl of Winds story arc almost unbearable.
David Gibson
55. DrG
Maybe I'm the only one to notice this, or maybe I'm just flat out wrong, but can't you usually tell who likes which character the most by how vehemently they'll defend him/her? Only reason I even mention it is becuase while reading Leigh's comments (among others) about Mat, I was fully prepared to write my own scathing remarks. (not really, I just wanted the opportunity to use the word scathing in my comment!) But seriously, I feel like I want to defend my favorites more than, say, Elayne. Whom, despite other obvious Elayne supporters valid points, I just can't get over her whole ascension to the throne arc. She just bothers me!

Anyway, thats my two cents. Back into my hole I go!
James Jones
56. jamesedjones
53 RobMRobM

A+. You get a gold star for being the first to answer. :)
Rob Munnelly
57. RobMRobM
@48. "Then when they're on their way to Ebou Dar, Elayne gives him a taste of his own medicine by deliberately acting in a way she knew was going to aggravate him. A lot of people chalk her behaviour up to "bitchy spoiled rich girl" and fail to recognize that that's not her personality... she is acting that way on purpose and for a particular reason. But if you're only looking at it from Mat's eyes, you miss that completely."

Can you explain the justification for Elayne acting this way "on purpose"? They drag the guy hundreds of miles out of his way, their AS counterparts are launching rocks and sh%t at him with the one power ... and her behavior towards Mat accomplishes....?

Rob
bharrison1976
58. vyskol
@8
But the capper is that the girls fully understand they are manipulating Mat, based on his promise to Rand, but don't have the common courtesy to treat him with compensatory respect en route to Ebou Dar and once there. To the contrary, the upcoming weeks are filled with insults to him and disregard of his needs and feelings, with some additional out and out nastiness to him. This segment of the series is a main reason why so many readers/re-readers get so down on Elayne and Nyn - they treat a cool and useful character like dirt, and stupidly (in light of his ta'veren status) and unnecessarily so.

Couldn't have said it better myself. It's also what makes the whole Ebou Dar/Bowl of Winds story arc almost unbearable.
Rob Munnelly
59. RobMRobM
@56 - of course, I was a bit of an "ooh ooh" boy myself growing up. R
Joseph Blaidd
61. SteelBlaidd
On Elayne and Mat
One of the telling things about Elayne is that asmuch as she may not like it, when someone points out that she is being foolish she accepts it and makes an effort to correct her error.
aCoS Ch 13
“I have been thinking too, near-sister.” She and Elayne had not reached the point of adopting each other as first-sisters yet, but she was sure they would, now. Already they brushed each other’s hair, and every night in the dark shared another secret never told to anyone else. This Min woman, though . . . That was for later, when they were alone.

“About what?” Elayne asked absently.

“Our search. We prepare for success, but we are as far away as when we began. Does it make sense not to use every weapon at hand? Mat Cauthon is ta’veren, yet we work to avoid him. Why not take him with us? With him, we might find the bowl at last.”

“Mat?” Nynaeve exclaimed incredulously. “As well stuff your shift full of nettles! I would not endure the man if he had the bowl in his coat pocket.”

“Oh, do be quiet, Nynaeve,” Elayne murmured, without any heat. She shook her head wonderingly, taking no notice of the other’s sudden glower. “Prickly” only began to describe Nynaeve, but they were all used to her ways. “Why didn’t I think of that? It is so obvious!”

“Maybe,” Birgitte murmured dryly, “you had Mat the scoundrel set so hard in your mind, you couldn’t see he had any use.” Elayne gave her a cool stare, chin raised, then abruptly grimaced, and nodded reluctantly. She did not accept criticism easily.

CH21
Aviendha leaned toward Elayne, touching her knee. “Near-sister, I will say this delicately.” She looked and sounded about as delicate as a stone post. “If this is true, you have toh toward Mat Cauthon, you and Nynaeve. And you have made it worse since, just by the actions I have seen.”

“Toh!” Nynaeve exclaimed. Those two were always talking about this toh foolery. “We aren’t Aiel, Aviendha. And Mat Cauthon is a thorn in the foot to everybody he meets.”

But Elayne was nodding. “I see. You are right, Aviendha. But what must we do? You will have to help me, near-sister. I don’t intend to try to become Aiel, but I . . . I want you to be proud of me.”
Rob Munnelly
62. RobMRobM
Free - "Nynaeve, the beloved Wisdom, is primarily at fault for all of this, and it is unwittingly aided by Mat himself being ... himself, which appears to corroborate the opinion being given to Elayne about him."

This is well put. I do like Mat but his actions in the first chapter discussed in this segment of the re-read dug him into a bit of a hole for purposes of the SGs.

R
Joseph Blaidd
63. SteelBlaidd
While we're on the subject of Mat, does anyone else wish Harrison Ford was young enough to play him in the proposed WoT movie.
Lannis .
64. Lannis
Siuanfan @ 40: re: Sheriam a blubbering mess... yes, you're right, it is out of character, and no one bothers to check why... again with the lack of follow-through and/or communication--mind you, I highly doubt that whomever is beating the crappit out of Sheriam is going to let her admit it's happening... though aside from a death threat, or (yet another!) Oath Rod kicking around, I can't see how they'd stop her if she's asked outright and can't lie... short of Compulsion, I should add... which would probably end in Sheriam's face turning blue as she's trying to counter directly Compelled orders and Oath Rod truth...
Rob Munnelly
65. RobMRobM
@63. The hypothetical movie casting list for EOTW as of late 90s as discussed on an earlier re-read had Christian Slater as Mat -- an interesting choice as well. R
Sydo Zandstra
66. Fiddler
RobMRobM@57:

Can you explain the justification for Elayne acting this way "on purpose"? They drag the guy hundreds of miles out of his way, their AS counterparts are launching rocks and sh%t at him with the one power ... and her behavior towards Mat accomplishes....?

I agree with you.

You forgot about her trying undermining Mat's command by inspecting his Redarms all the time and tell him what to do, in front of those men. And that is just about her getting back at Mat. Remember what Elayne said after Mat left the Amyrlin's study, and Egwene doubting if she could do it.


And no, I do not hate Elayne. I like her (just not some of her actions and how she uses italics in her thoughts too much). But I agree with the poster who said earlier that this book is where he got annoyed with her. I had the same. And not because I am identifying with Mat.


I read the points about Egwene not being able to get a real view on Mat's battle skills due to her being unconscious, and that is valid. But since Mat was the one who killed Couladin face to face and how the Aiel honoured him about it, I am surprised Aviendha didn't comment about that to Elayne after their reunion. Elayne must have complained about Mat to her, and ji would have required Aviendha to say something. And if she didn't, Aviendha has toh to Mat. ;)
Joseph Blaidd
67. SteelBlaidd
Fiddler @66:
Mat Beating Coludin comes under the heading of "brawling." Skill in single combat doesn't corelate with skill at comanding troops.
bharrison1976
68. DHolton
@27 RobmRob
@54

While throwing Mat to the Athan Miere to get the agreement they wanted was not exactly the coolest thing in the world, Elayne and Nynaeve were aware of this and immediately apologised afterword. Whether they were right to do so is another question of course. They were not doing it out of disrespect, but a need to do what they saw as necessary. So, they did not revert to old habits, but had the integrity to apologise for their actions, and showing their newly learned respect for Mat.

As for others comments on the "obedient subject" comment by Elayne, she was obviously being ironic when she said it.
Which is really quite amazing, because as near as I can tell, the greatest flaw of the WoT characters isn't lack of communication, but complete ignorance of irony. At least as it applies to themselves.
Jonah Feldman
69. relogical
The thing is, okay, Mat arrives, discovers Rand's info was really bad, acts extremely rudely and misunderstands what's going on with the girls. Rather than explain to him why he is confused and that he should calm down, the girls tell him nothing, insult his highly trained army in front of him, and tell him no without giving any reasons.

He says he's dragging Elayne back to Caemlyn. Rude. But, rather than saying, "That's okay, you don't need to drag me, I should take responsibility for my people" or even "Sorry, I can't go, there's this thing in Ebou Dar that will save the world", she doesn't tell him anything.

I'm fine with Egwene using Mat to manipulate the Sitters, and fine with Elayne telling Mat she can't go to Caemlyn yet, but they're assholes to let him act like an idiot and then whine about how stubborn he is.
bharrison1976
70. OldWoman
And the dramatic emotional teens say, "We're not really arrogant, ungrateful jerks. We're just written that way".
:)
Erika
71. Siuanfan
I rather suspect she was trying to show him she was better at the game he'd started. When I read it, my take on it was she was taking up his challenge in a sort of "Oh yeah? We'll see about that!" Not in a malicious way because she's not a malicious person, but since he started with the whole "I'm the boss of this-here operation" chest-thumping, she responded with an O RLY? and proceeded to make a game out of it. Sure it was aggravating (to him, but honestly I found it hilarious) but it wasn't mean.

Recall when Mat abducted Tuon and she kept calling him Toy, then when he decided to court her, he started calling her Precious and when she looked at him, he said something like "Well since you have a pet name for me, I figured I should have one for you." Her response was... 'O RLY? We'll see who wins this game.' It's a classic we'll-see-about-that, which-one-of-us-is-really-in-charge power game. Nothing malicious, nothing mean or spiteful, just... competition. Same thing with Elayne.
Ron Garrison
72. Man-0-Manetheran
My comments earlier were definitely not coming from a pro-Mat, anti-Elayne place. So I guess I have some 'splainin' to do: I don't dislike Elayne, but "I always have to stop and remember that when Elayne and Morgase annoy me so, it's because they both have this big personality flaw: royalty."

Elayne and Mom have both inherited (literally) this way of looking at the world from on high. When Elayne is most annoying is when she is letting this world view dictate her reactions. To her great credit and the people she is hanging with, she is getting to experience a much broader way of dealing with people and events. I haven't given up hope that all this will eventually make Elayne a GREAT ruler and not just a good one. But I'm still going to be annoyed when she backslides...
bharrison1976
73. peachy
I too hate the Dragonsworn bit - it's enough to make steam come out of my ears. It's so stupid and self-defeating and condescending (not that the AS are short on condescension anyhow, but insulting the supporters of someone you hope to ally with is a new low.)

These chapters, and some of the quoted passages from later on, encapsulate one of the two things that make me really dislike Nyn : she never accepts that people have changed, even when it's blazingly obvious - the first impression is the last and only impression. Mat was a scamp in the Two Rivers, and so that is all he shall ever be, now and forever, world without end etc.

Elayne can be a pain sometime, but she learns from her mistakes. (Mat too - frankly, I think they're the better sibling match. Nyn is too much older, and the early authority figure-troublemaker relationship they had - given her personality - permanently wrecked any chance of her treating him as an equal later on.)

While I'm venting, I'd like to say a word about the whole 'the Two Rivers belongs to me!' theme - stuff it, pal. If the inhabitants of a place don't even know you rule them, then your claims are lapsed. If it's so important to you, cut a deal with Perrin, and move on... you don't worry about catching grunters when there are silverpike chewing a hole in the bottom of your boat! (Hey, that's fun.)
Erika
74. Siuanfan
Peachy, I sense a "Talk Like a Siuan Day" is forthcoming... :D
Bridget Sullivan
75. Ellid
Siuanfan@74,

"Talk Like a Siuan Day?"

I'd rather eat scales and entrails!~
James Jones
76. jamesedjones
I'd rather lose sight of shore without a paddle.
John Fitzingo
77. Xandar01
Fishguts!!!

I don't have time for this.
Roger Powell
78. forkroot
WARNING: Kumbaya moment coming ...

I just surfed back and reread Chapter One (good) and then started reading the comments (including my own original impressions). Yegads! There's a lot of crap there.

Maybe I'm biased, but it seems like the "regulars" from the reread had most of the interesting and constructive commentary. Many of the new posters had either nothing interesting to say, or advanced outdated ideas, or randomly insulted other posters. Some examples:

1. someone
Oh, Wow, Fantastic ... Can't wait for Oct 27th
2, someoneelse
How dare you note the differences in style between Sanderson and Jordan? Don't you know that Jordan is dead and we are lucky to have Brandon Sanderson to finish the series?
3. third someone
I have this theory that Olver is Gaidal Cain ...

Of the 600+ comments there, I'd wager a large percentage could be covered by the three examples above.

So I want to shout out a big "THANK YOU!" to the vast majority of regulars who craft well-written posts with interesting ideas and arguments. (I'm feeling so lovey-dovey, I'll even forgive R.Fife and jamesdjones for occasionally Rick-Rolling us! ... Well, maybe not.)
bharrison1976
79. alreadymadwithelaynesnoot
Siuanfan @71
Her goal was to demote Mat from independent operator to her own underling. As if the insult of stringing him along without a by your leave was not enough. Her goal was to subvert the loyalty of Mat's men despite knowing little to nothing of leading fighting men. And all because she believes Mat needs a lesson in manners. Because she did not believe fighting men would be needed in Ebou Dar. Mean might not be the word, but it's low.

Ellid @75
It's fishguts. Not entrails ;)

And I agree. Much of Elayne's low opinion of Mat comes from Nynaeve. Note Nynaeve's opinion of Mat:
Mat Cauthon is a thorn in the foot to everybody he meets.

As if he was something she stepped on. Or was worth (or not worth) stepping on. Something lower than her. She did not even like the idea of owing him anything. Because she's so much higher than him it would just not be right.
To her credit, Egwene does think at first Elayne would fail in her aim to teach Mat manners. Unfortunately in this, as in others, she makes a hard 180 later.
Bridget Sullivan
80. Ellid
au contraire, alreadymad.

IdealSeek says otherwise :)

Thbbbbbttttt!
Tess Laird
81. thewindrose
But I thought Olver was.. Just joking:)

"It must bite at their souls like a belly full of live silverpike, and no more then they deserve."
Siuan on the Tairens holding Callandor, keeping safe from the Dragon. She does like her silverpike and her fishguts!
bharrison1976
82. peachy
I think lionfish get a mention once or twice, but silverpike are definitely the go-to reference.

I have a theory on Mat and all that - perhaps because of the matriarchal tilt to politics in this world*, the loveable rogue and lazy/brilliant commander types** seem to be very rare. All of the senior military leaders we meet outside the Band are... serious. About everything. Mat (and his crew) are serious only about their profession, and that seems to frequently be taken as a sign of immaturity or even incapacity. Elayne is the only SF with a real formal military education (noted in KoD - a queen has to understand her generals' plans etc), and even she makes this mistake. For that matter, Tuon - raised in a much rougher political climate than Morgase's Andor, one where mistakes mean death or slavery - thoroughly misapprehends Mat until the truth is rammed in her face. Birgitte is just about the only major female character to twig to the truth quickly - but she's also the only one who doesn't have a late Third Age mindset. (Even men make the same assumptions - Karede, as experienced and competent a commander as we've met, doesn't even consider Tylin's Toy a suspect; his attention is entirely focused on sober white-haired Thom, though even the most cursory investigation would have revealed that the soldiers came with Mat.)

* The AS and Seanchan (who haven't had an emperOR in nine hundred years) are obvious, but there are a lot more queens, near-queens and female MP-equivalents about than you'd expect in a Renaissance Europe analogue. Even in those states that don't formally divide power between male and female offices, equal-preference primogeniture seems be the rule (mostly - I'd bet Amadicia was Salic Law before conquest.)
** From the typology, often ascribed to the elder Moltke, that classifies officers as energetic or lazy, and brilliant or stupid - he was of the opinion that lazy/brilliant is the best combination for high command.
Erika
83. Siuanfan
haha forkroot, I appreciate the nicely thought-out comments, too. They keep me thinking and entertained until the next segment.

My personal pet peeve though is the name-spelling. I mean, how many times do you have to read a name to know it's Birgitte and not Bridget or Birgit, and Mat not Matt, and Olver not Oliver and Elaida not Elida and Lews Therin, not Lewis Therin, and Thom not Tom, and Nynaeve not Nyneve. I mean, okay it's one thing for the toughies like Aviendha and Semirhage, even Alviarin perhaps (all of which - weirdly enough - people rarely misspell), but Mat?

And yes, I know that I'm a pedantic ass every time I let it bother me, but it does give me the twitches.

*ashamed*
Roger Powell
84. forkroot
Siuanfan@83
FWIW - Misspelled names bug me too, as does the use of the word "loose" instead of "lose" when context indicates the latter. After seeing the lower quality of the discussion on the Chapter One posts, I'm inclined to overlook all that and be grateful for how good most of the reread comments are.
Philip Thomann
85. normalphil
@82

I think Karede's hang up was that a man who could almost literally gorge on humiliation could be anything other than the lowest of the low. That's probably a Seanchan thing, "crazy like a fox" is a Seekers only trait in that neck of the woods.

I intend to relish the scene when that Seanchan seeker puts together just what exactly happened in and around Ebou Dar for that plotline, should we be so blessed. Starts with "So the Dragon Reborn sent his top man..." and just goes from there.
James Jones
86. jamesedjones
85 normalphil

I love the idea, but I always pictured the revelation beginning with, "No. No, he's really a gleeman."
James Jones
90. jamesedjones
Wow. Talk about some pretty glaring bugs. Sorry about that guys. Anyone know how to remove most of these?
T C
91. Freelancer
SuianFan@83

No fear, there's quite a number of us who have to regularly suppress the urge to correct spelling. I am unfortunate enough to have proofreading creds, so when I read the online version of Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker, I was cringing on just about every other page, for typos, double words, words left in an obviously rewritten sentence, etc. The published work was far better, but still had a few, sadly. It's easier here and in other fora, since it just doesn't matter so much how well folks spell, but I still catch on them while reading, like snagging a fingernail on woven cloth.

PS: Yes, I know I misspelled your nick. ;-)
T C
92. Freelancer
jej@86, 87, 88, 89, [i][b][u]AND[/b] 90

Nope.


No idea.


Haven't a clue.


I don't think it's possible.







Maybe if you ask Pablo real nice, he'll delete the duplicates.
T C
93. Freelancer
Sorry for my weirdness. Feeling very odd today. Like odd squared. Like the square of 7.


So I get this card from my daughter who, fortunately for her, is 2,200 miles away in college. It was one of those you-record-it audio cards, and she got somebody to find a recording of an old Sheriff John song, then in the middle of it she says, "Holy crap, we need a bigger cake!"

Very funny, girl. Remember who's paying for all that graduation stuff next year, eh?
Alice Arneson
94. Wetlandernw
DrG @ 55 - ...can't you usually tell who likes which character the most by how vehemently they'll defend him/her? Oh, yeah. Lots of that goes around here... Tonight I'm too tired to bother being annoyed by it, so I'm using it as comic relief. :P Personally, I didn't feel any need to accuse or defend anyone in these chapters; I just sat back and enjoyed it - on every reread. I laugh every time we get here - they show such a crazy jumble of preconceived notions, defensiveness, baseless assumptions, frustration, etc. that it just gets funnier by the minute.

Call me simplistic if you will, but in a story well told, I enjoy going along with the storyteller's design. I like the "good guys" - at least the ones you're supposed to like - and I dislike the bad guys, with exceptions for the "likeable but misguided" types and all that. So in the WoT I like all the Team Light players, at least to some extent. (Okay, the time in Cairhien prior to Perrin's arrival is the ONLY time I liked Berelain, and Morgase's storyline gave me a near-dislike of her character. Other than that, though...) So while I'll jump in and defend a character that I think is being maligned, I am rarely inclined to accuse any of them of... well, much of anything. (Except Berelain, of course.) Especially the superkids - they are all young, and they all make a lot of the errors that come from their limited life experience combined with their background, personality, and general humanness. I find that I can almost always find realistic explanations for their behavior.

OldWoman @ 70 - LOL!! love it.

forkroot @ 78 - So totally with you!!!! Same applies to the prologue and chapter 2. Oh, I am so grateful for the regulars on here, both for making this a great discussion and for bringing some sanity, lucidity, humor and interest to the other discussions. I'd add another post category:
1a.
That was terrible it didn't sound like Jordan at all and everything was awful and Sanderson is obviously only capable of writing for ten-year-olds.
Then you've really got it covered.
Alice Arneson
95. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @ 93 You too? Just 8 days ago...

*edit: fortunately my kids aren't prone to count that high. And I can't get to your shoutbox.
James Jones
96. jamesedjones
95 Wetlandernw

That's totally off base! There's no way it took 8 days to find a cake that would fit all of Freelancer's candles. ;)
Pete Pratt
97. PeteP
Since I am the rare person who likes Elayne and Mat, I just laugh at these two chapters.

Mat knows the real Amyrlin Seat is at the White Tower, so whoever chosen here is merely a figurehead dumb enough to take the job. Why should he believe Eg is dumb enough to take the job? She did get in trouble with pranks back home, as Rand mentions during one of their arguments. Why should he think anything different here?

Now, Eg has a good plan to use Mat and his army, but continues to diss him. Eg has been so wrapped up in her own world that she has no clue what has been going on with Mat (except to think he has been drinking and chasing skirts).

Elayne's treatment of Mat is poor, but I blame Eg and Nyn for setting the table. Elayne is just trying to make him conform to her standards, not knowing much good about Mat.
john massey
98. subwoofer
Er... to have stepped in on a personal moment here- ?- edited to satisfy that old school marm amw.

IIRC what did happen was that Mat was sick from the dagger. He was taken to TV where he was Healed. To show his gratitude- and also to escape, he promised and delivered on carrying a letter to Elayne. In the process he saved the SG's from captivity in Tear. Yes there was give and take but in life, as in art, sometimes it is tough to say "thanks".

Same goes for Rand and having Eggs help him when she was up in that tower hurling lightening etc. with Avi and almost burning herself out. She stepped up but Rand did not show much in the way of appreciation. By that same token, Eggs never fully acknowledged Rand as DR. What's up with that? She knows the guy, sees him become the prophecy of the Dragon, and still dead air.

What really burns me is the stigma stuck on being Dragonsworn. What's the big deal? It's prophecy time, things are coming to a head and there is a real, legit Dragon-Rand. No false dragon, but one that both Tower's recognize. The suswi- whatsit are Aiel Dragonsworn and it is not the end of the world. Wha?! I think that there is still a lingering misconception and prejudice in regards to Rand being a man who can Channel. Sad.

I remember when Eggs tries to teach Rand and Rand uses Saidin to an extent that Eggy could barely grasp. Give the man props already.

I'm going with RobM on the rest. What he said makes sense to me.

@Lannis- neither. Band of the Red Hand should have a banner with a giant Heinz symbol on it. Represent!

Woof.
T C
99. Freelancer
jej@96

Hey! Umm, thanks? I think...

No wait, Hey!
T C
100. Freelancer
Sub@98

Yep, what he said. Well, except that from Tar Valon Mat carried a letter for Elayne to Morgase, not to Elayne.

But yeah, it's all pride getting in everyone's way.

The downers on dragonsworn you can lay at Pedron Niall's feet. Even before Masems got "big", the Whitecloaks were stirring up riots as fake dragonsworn, giving them, and by association Rand, a bad rep. Add Masema to the mix, who is clearly identified as dragonsworn, and suddenly it's like calling them Amway salespeople. Everyone runs and hides.

So when the SGs refer to Mat as dragonsworn, he is right to be insulted, since they want it heard that way, but then they slice him with the tidbit that in his case it's more true than of the rabble. A good move on Egwene's part, very unbalancing for Mat.


>>@Wetlandernw

Me and silly privacy settings. It's open to you now.
James Jones
101. jamesedjones
99 Freelancer

Sorry about that. Your daughter is very, very clever. Kind of like a much better version of what I try to do on the posts.

Or, like RJ did with Perrin's straight-faced joke about, "She has a face like a goat." in The Great Hunt. It's my favorite kind of humor. :)
Michael Johnson
102. twosheddz
Isn't it amazing that we can get all riled up about these fictional characters? Just shows how deeply RJ got us playing in his sandbox. I sometimes have to remind myself that they're not real.

I have periods of liking and disliking almost all the characters based on how their acting or treating others. My affections for Elayne are heading for an all-time low in the coming chapters. It is just not cool to undermine the command/authority of someone who you are supposedly on the same side of(?) I ground a couple of molars when having to read those chapters. I felt the same way about Berelain letting Perrin's men think he was an adulterer later.
john mullen
103. johntheirishmongol
I agree with many here that Elayne's issues aren't with Mat, but with the misinformation that she has received about him thru primarily Nynaeve. Admittedly, Elayne should have thanked him earlier but at least she eventually comes to the conclusion that she does owe him and I think they work out their differences. I believe they are close to working out a friendly relationship.

I also believe that Lan is going to have to be the one to open up Nynaeve's eyes as to what Mat has become and that he is not the little scamp that she remembers. After all, Lan knows about the Red Hand and the generalship that Mat displays.

I do think Mat and Egwene show loyalty to each other in these chapters, including the next, but they do have that little bit of a friendly rivalry that was always centered around getting Rand's attention before. After all, most adults are still nothing if not big kids.

Anyway, its late and I want to get a chapter of KOD done before I get to sleep tonite.

BTW, I like Berelain a lot. It's not her fault that even when Perrin smells the truth about her he doesn't believe it.
bharrison1976
104. alreadymadwithgrammar
seem to of stepped
This is so grammatically wrong.
The proper idiom is to have stepped.
William Fettes
105. Wolfmage
I must be in the minority of people who totally have no problem with either Mat, Egwene, Elayne or Nynaeve here. They are each guilty of being annoying in their own ways, but none are acting beyond the pale. For example, Mat's immediate reaction to Egwene in the stole is not particularly insightful, but it is hardly wilfully blind given the extraordinary nature of her ascension. He is also correct in his observation that the position is designed to be a puppet. Later on, Egwene even thinks the Wise Ones are super insightful, getting to the heart of the matter, for their TAR hologram showing a clan chief made of twigs and straw - which is exactly what Mat intuitively recognises here. However, the sting of his treatment of Egwene will soon be smoothed over by Mat bowing to her when he leaves, so who cares.

But by the same token, Egwene's dragonsworn remark is certainly condescending and ignorant, and combined with her manipulation of Mat to get him as a tame ta'veren to help the mission, she certainly spends whatever high moral ground she has accrued against him. But, you've also got to admire that she uses this tactic so adroitly against Mat.

Nynaeve's attitude here is mostly comedy, and Elayne does not see anything from Mat to disconfirm the already poisoned well view of Mat she has inherited from the other SGs - which lays the seed for the journey and future resolution. I will say disagree with whoever said that Elayne never learns to respect Mat, but I'll leave that there.

So none of them are innocent victims, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I think some people seem to be taking this section a bit too seriously. There's really no need to get upset with this 'conflict' and the forthcoming trip to Ebou Dar. IMO it's a well written and engaging sequence, with some nice tit-for-tat escalation and comedy and nobody comes out unscathed. And I say that as someone who regards Mat as their favourite character. I've never been upset with the SG's treatment of Mat in this sequence, and I don't understand why it gets people so up in arms.
bharrison1976
106. Rakkah
Really been enjoying these re-reads.. Thanks for doing them, Leigh!
Pete Pratt
107. PeteP
Wolfmage --- I, too, find it a very humorous passage and enjoy reading it and appreciating the great writing here and Mat is by far my favorite character.

For me, Mat's foibles and errors are enjoyable.
Maiane Bakroeva
108. Isilel
Alreadymad:

Her goal was to demote Mat from independent operator to her own underling.

But Mat is not an independent operator here, he is carrying out Rand's orders. And he started it with his promise to take her to Caemlyn tied in a sack.

Her goal was to subvert the loyalty of Mat's men despite knowing little to nothing of leading fighting men.

Why should she assume that Mat knows more? She at least had theoretical lessons from Bryne. When she saw Mat last, he knew nothing about command. And Mat's behavior here and in the next couple of chapters would do nothing to dispel her misconception.

And BTW, Mat may confuse people so much because he is a conglomeration of many different people's memories and experiences.

I agree that the Ebu Dari arc is quite funny, IMHO. My gripe with it is that it goes on for far too long.
bharrison1976
109. peachy
Her education is precisely why her meddling is so damned annoying - she should KNOW that you don't come between a commander and his troops unless it's absolutely necessary. The chain of command exists for a reason, and I would really expect a student of Gareth Bryne to understand that. (Though I don't want to sound too harsh here - Elayne's man-management is actually quite good overall, especially in comparison to Nyn's; there are bobbles - including this one - but I think they're mostly due to inexperience and a somewhat, um, impetuous nature. Failings shared by just about every character under fifty.)
Hugh Arai
110. HArai
I disagree with the people commenting on how offbase Rand (and therefore Mat)is to decide that a little "looming" will work on the SAS. On the contrary they very nearly called it perfectly. The SAS are remarkable in the WoT for being the one group of channelers that actually manage to be less effective than the Kin. Rand is well past the AS = automatically formidable frame of mind and basically the AS gathered in Salidar were written as sheep. Even their Darkfriend members are lame!

If it weren't for Siuan and Leane and especially Egwene basically forcing them step by step they'd still be in Salidar arguing over who should be on the commitee to appoint a council to delegate a group to nominate people to decide what to do about Rand, Elaida, the end of the world and other scaaaaaary things. The clearest demonstration of how competent politically Siuan and Egwene actually are is the fact they get things done with that group. Rand had no way of knowing about Siuan or any reason to believe Egwene would have any real influence, and "looming" is a reasonable response to sheep if you're extremely busy with other more active groups. I think it would have worked just fine without Siuan,Leane and Egwene.

My disappointment with Elayne here is simply with her failure to do anything about the nation she still clearly feels she is entitled to rule. Hoping Rand won't mess it up too badly is not really what I would call making an effort. If the Bowl of the Winds and other AS concerns are that important (and I can't blame her for deciding they are) then throw House Trakand behind Dyellin's claim and get on with it. Otherwise, gate to Caemlyn and rule for the benefit of the people of Andor.
Sydo Zandstra
111. Fiddler
SteelBlaidd@67:

Mat Beating Coludin comes under the heading of "brawling." Skill in single combat doesn't corelate with skill at comanding troops.

It wasn't single combat. Mat's troops stumbled on Couladin's, which were in an unexpected but tactically dangerous place. And they took them out. Which was decisive.

The fact that Mat beat Couladin one-to-one is just a bonus; he wasn't going for a Diarmuid action there (check Fionavar Tapestry by Kay). But IIRC, the Band was still outnumbered, so commanding skills (and some luck, probably) made the difference.

Which makes it a tactical win feat for Mat. And Aviendha, being a former Maiden of the Spear, would see that.
john massey
112. subwoofer
Thanks Free:)- brain fart there- yes, Mat carried a letter from Elayne to Morgase. The whole tower wall incident reincarnate.

I am not nec. up in arms about the way the main characters still recall back in the day that Mat was milking cows, Ny was a Wisdom, Eggs was an innkeeper's daughter, Rand was a sheep herder. My friends and I constantly poke fun respectively, and we are...modestly successful beyond what was thought of in high school. We still in our hearts know that we have each made ourselves good citizens at the end of the day. It is not until later books, where Elayne is trying to learn curse words from Mat, that she truly gets him for who he is and is not tainted by Ny's perception.

It is very similar to how Tuon viewed Mat or even Gerneral Karede initially perceived him. Both thought of Mat as Tylin's Toy er... toy boy... and not as a general and leader of a quick strike army that caused the Seanchan fits. Later Tuon sees Mat as a... lion stalking on the high plains... or some such. Ny still has to see Mat in that light and so does Eggy. To truly see Mat kick butt would be a nice revelation.

By that same token, having the same POV as we, the reader, and seeing Eggs mature beyond her years would be good for Rand and Mat. Rand could also learn from Eggy about the difference between being Aiel steel or his version of iron hard. Time will tell. Or maybe Moiraine will call them all down in a sharing circle when everyone is reunited.

Just sayin'.

Woof.
bharrison1976
113. alreadymadwiththeBand
Isilel @108
He was independent insofar as their mission to Ebou Dar was concerned.
While I would concede she may be right in believing she might know more, she did not actually have any immediate plan for how to make use of them. That puts her efforts to win their loyalty under the category of general snootiness.

Incidentally, I occasionally wonder how a battle between the Salidar army and Mat's Band would have turned out. Bryne might have the numbers, but his core of experienced soldiers just numbers in the 20's or 30's. That's the people he rode out of Kore Springs with and Uno's people. And the latter would probably lay down arms at the sight of the Dragon Banner. The rest of Bryne's soldiers are essentially straight out of boot camp. The Band on the other hand has a larger core of veterans from the Cairhien civil war and the Shaido campaign. Bottomline, the Band would probably come out on top if the Warders don't pitch in, and that's if they aren't too busy getting the sisters the hell out of there.
Captain Hammer
114. Randalator
SiuanFan @83

Right there with you. Even voiced the same complaint a couple of chapters back. Seeing horrible mutilations of names that you've read a gazillion times really annoys the crap out of me.

Actually that's kind of a theme with me. I like language and thus pay attention to correct spelling and such (even in text messages, go figure). Unless I intentionally misspell something for effect. So maybe I could of (ARGH!) chosen a better place to hang than the internet. That shit is killing language...

/end rant


peachy @109

Her education is precisely why her meddling is so damned annoying - she should KNOW that you don't come between a commander and his troops unless it's absolutely necessary.

She doesn't "come between" Mat and his troops. All she does is give them praise and checking on them. But she never orders them around. All her orders and suggestions go through Mat.

The chain of command and Mat's authority remain completely intact...
Sydo Zandstra
115. Fiddler
Randalator@114:

She doesn't "come between" Mat and his troops. All she does is give them praise and checking on them. But she never orders them around. All her orders and suggestions go through Mat.

The chain of command and Mat's authority remain completely intact...


I disagree. I see your point. And storywise it may be fun.

Having led a few soldiers myself in my army time, I can assure you that having an outsider checking your men and say what you were going to say anyway is not only annoying, but it can be undermining. They will think about why their leader didn't think of that.

Elayne doesn't take over. But, if not for the Band's dedication to Mat, she would have been undermining.
Captain Hammer
116. Randalator
Fiddler @115

As for checking on them, keep in mind that she IS the head of the Ebou Dar operation. Well, one of the heads. Kind of a Hydra thing going on...anyway...for the time being, she is in charge (even of Mat, as far as that's even possible) and therefor she is allowed to do inspections.

And apart from that she doesn't say anything to them save for compliments. She goes to Mat whenever there is something that needs to be done. She learns that one soldier is hiding brandy...she tells Mat and lets him handle it. She learns that a soldier has a boil on his derrière...she tells Mat and lets him handle it.
Sydo Zandstra
117. Fiddler
You miss my point. Mat would have noted that himself.

And no, Elayne may seem to be in charge, but Mat and his men are not officially placed under her command. Egwene didn't say they were, and Mat didn't say they were. Disregarding AS, Mat's men are his, and no AS should treat them as if they were Andoran guards...

Although I like Elayne, this is one part where she irritated me.
Sydo Zandstra
118. Fiddler
On a side note, I can't wait for Elayne, Perrin and Faile to meet up. With or without Rand.

After The Last Battle:

Elayne: "Two Rivers is Andor, so I rule."
Perrin: "I didn't see any Andoran troops helping us defend against thousands of Trollocs..."
Elayne: "That is no issue. I can send some your way now if you like. I will not seem weak! I am the Queen of Andor!
Perrin: "OK"

Faile: "Bring it! BTW, by now I am Queen of Saldaea, and some people say I have a bad temper..."
bharrison1976
119. alreadymadwiththesnoot
After The Last Battle:

Elayne: "Two Rivers is Andor, so I rule."
Perrin: "I didn't see any Andoran troops helping us defend against thousands of Trollocs..."
Elayne: "That is no issue. I can send some your way now if you like. I will not seem weak! I am the Queen of Andor!
Perrin: "OK"

Faile: "Bring it! BTW, by now I am Queen of Saldaea, and some people say I have a bad temper..."


Elayne: I have the chin.... and I can use the nose.
Steve McGuire
120. tnfsinger
I think Mat's reaction to Egwene with the stole is merely denial. He still sees her in the same way that she sees him. Neither realizes the other has grown since they last saw each other. I love these chapters... RJ was great with comedy, especially when it spawned from battle of the sexes.
T C
121. Freelancer
jej@101

No worries, and no need for apology, you played it fine, I just went along with it. Yep, my daughter is sharp. What's funny is, she's a total "ooh-ooh" girl, but she refuses to be seen as one, so she hides it. Well, she thinks she hides it. Then gets confused when her friends talk about her as one anyway. And she's always telling other folks to "just be yourself".
Bill Reamy
122. BillinHI
Got behind for a day due to a (routine) doctor's appointment Friday, so have some serious catching up to do...

Lannis @5: Masema's Dragonsworn are NOT following Rand, they are following the Prophet, who only thinks he is actually serving and following the Dragon Reborn.

Re: Tuon killing 2 of her siblings: As much as I detest the whole Seanchan culture, she was acting within that culture, and IMO was undoubtedly justified in killing them: kill or be killed.

But, yeah, the Mat/Tuon & SG reunion should be quite something to see!

Re: Elayne: "Of course she's going to act retarded sometimes!"

Only sometimes? Most of the time, IMO. Yeah, she's also acting within her culture, but I don't care for her automatic assumption that she (and only she) deserves to be Queen. As she notes later, not all Daughter-Heirs become Queen.

I will cut her some slack in that she did not really get all the training she needed, due to going off to become Aes Sedai and the whole Rahvin/Morgase thing, of course, but still...

And as for "Rand can't GIVE me the throne", hey, dummy, Tarmon Gai'don is coming! Who is destined to be savior of the world? Let Rand give you the throne and then you can actually try to get your country ready for the Last Battle.

Siuanfan @48: I totally agree that ALL the characters are aggravating at times (with the mammoth exception of Loial, IMHO). Some may be more aggravating than others at times, but that's the way RJ wrote them. If everyone behaved like reasonable people and really communicated, the series probably could not have been stretched to even 3 books and this large community of devoted fans would not exist because TWoT would not have been the great series that it is.

SteelBlaidd @63: (A young) Harrison Ford as Mat would be beyond awesome!

HArai @110: Totally with you on the SAS as sheep. The AS in general are not very effective as a group (there are, of course, individuals who are very effective) and without Siuan, Leane and Egwene, the SAS would have still been in Salidar years after TG, assuming they lived at all, of course.
bharrison1976
123. J.Dauro
BillinHI

I do not believe Rand could give Elayne the throne. Oh, sure he could put her on it, but I don't believe the Andorans would accept her as Queen, and I am sure the other Lords would not. Trying to lead folks that don't want to follow, and who consider you an illegitimate ruler is difficult.
Roger Powell
124. forkroot
BillinThe50th@122
I totally agree that ALL the characters are aggravating at times (with the mammoth exception of Loial, IMHO).
Nah... I might have agreed if you had said "MOST" of the characters. Here's my (ecletic) list of characters who never annoy me:

1) Lan (Tai'Shar Malkier!)
2) Gareth Bryne
3) Pevara (rare for an AS to make the list)
4) Rodel Ituralde
5) Loial
6) Tam al'Thor (needs more screen time)
7) Dobraine
8) Someshta
9) Shaidar Haran (scares the crap out of me - like an evil character should, but doesn't annoy me)
10) Bran al'Vere
11) Lini
12) Agelmar (This list is heavily slanted towards bad-ass great captains, I know)
13) Flinn (Only Asha'man to make it)
14) Leane
15) Rhuarc (see comment on #12)

There are others (Min, Thom, Talmanes) who almost made the list but had a slip or two.
Sydo Zandstra
125. Fiddler
J.Dauro opened up an interesting point of discussion.

Would Andor accept Elayne if the throne would be handed over to her by Rand?

Of course they would! It's a kingdom, not a democracy! And even Reene Harfor agrees.

BillinHI@122:


And as for "Rand can't GIVE me the throne", hey, dummy, Tarmon Gai'don is coming! Who is destined to be savior of the world? Let Rand give you the throne and then you can actually try to get your country ready for the Last Battle.


Oh so true.
bharrison1976
126. alreadymadwithandorcrown
forkroot @124
Most of Rand's Asha'man I didn't find aggravating. Until they decided to let themselves be bonded, that is. I still feel outraged that Cads was able to blackmail them into agreeing. Even Flinn. I don't comprehend what manner of argument Cads used. I'm pretty sure Cads didn't have enough sisters to force them with the Power.
I'd include Tarna with the list of people I didn't find aggravating, though. And Sashalle.

Fiddler @125
Andor might be a monarchy but the queen's power is not absolute. It is checked and balanced by the approval of the other Major Houses. This is most evident during the Andor part of the story. If the queen is perceived as weak or allowing Andor to be a client of a foreign power, the other Major Houses have the option to rise up and select a new queen from among themselves. It would be extreme and most would only do so as a last resort. But Andorans on the whole appear to have a good deal of nationalistic pride.
Brett Michie
127. bchurch
Ok, so my son has been bugging me to post this question here for a while. I was going to wait until we reached a section where we were discussing him, but that won't be until the end of the book.

If there were to be a cross-epic sparring match, who do you think would win, Lan or Aragorn? I've told my son repeatedly that my money's on Lan, but he's asked me to gather other opinions.
bharrison1976
128. alreadymadwitharagorn
Aragorn has never been described as a particularly exceptional swordsman. So yeah, my money's on Lan as well. If your son were to ask about Drizzt's chances I might think differently.
Alice Arneson
129. Wetlandernw
bchurch @ 127 - My money would be on Aragorn, for the following reasons. Lan is nearing 50, in a normal human lifespan. Aragorn, at 87, is "approaching the prime of life" for one of royal Numenorean descent. This gives Aragorn the advantage of about 40 more years of training and experience. Lan has the Warder bond to protect him (however it works), but Aragorn has Elven blood. I can't imagine a fight to the death between the two, so the Warder-bond-vs-Elven-blood effect shouldn't matter. But in a sparring match, I'd go with Aragon on the combination of years of experience and relative youth (based on racial life expectancy).
Brett Michie
130. bchurch
amw @ 128

Neither my son nor I are familiar with Drizzt as of yet, but I'll pass that along, thanks.

Wetlandernw @ 129

My son did raise the age and blood of Aragorn as his point for thinking Aragorn might win, and I'll concede that possibility.

This all resulted from me explaining that Lan is very much the Aragorn figure in tWoT and describing their similarities. So naturally my son had to ask who would win in a fight. He's twelve.
bharrison1976
131. alreadymadwithswordfights
Twelve year olds should be taught that fighting will not solve problems. Get them while they're young.
Antoni Ivanov
132. tonka
@alreadymad

I don't see why you blame Cadsuane for the Aes Sedai bonding the 3 Asha'man. It was said that they were not pressured so they were not. It was completely their decision. Not mentioning that it was the right and logical decision for them to take under the circumstances. With Rand gone and they deemed as traitors by Taim, I would have made the same choice, I have no doubt.
Alan Perry
133. stepper
thanks Leigh as always...I don't get to read this as often as i like but still enjoying it...keep up the good work
bharrison1976
134. alreadymadwithblackmail
tonka @132
Cads' POV specifically states she blackmailed them.

Blackmail was a tool she disliked using, but she had already used it on the three Asha'man,[b]
Winter's Heart Ch 13
Eugenie Delaney
135. EmpressMaude
alreadymad@134 -


Blackmail was a tool she disliked using, but she had already used it on the three Asha'man,
Winter's Heart Ch 13


Yes, but it doesn't expressly say what she was blackmailing them to do. Accepting the bond is a possibility, but it's not specified, I don't think. It also says that Merise asked Jahar Narishma to be bonded, so it is not as cut and dried.
bharrison1976
136. alreadymadwithbonding
No it's not. But there really isn't any other course of action that she would want them to do badly enough to use blackmail. Other than having them placed "safely" under the control of Aes Sedai. In a sister's mindset a bonded Asha'man is safely bonded and tamed and a veteran of Cads' experience isn't likely to let Asha'man run loose. Not only because they can use the Power but because they can be used as threads to Rand. Merise and co. asked, and the Asha'man agreed. Eventually. What happened in between will remain anybody's guess.
bharrison1976
137. peachyh
You do get the sense that when Greens bond a guy, there's more to it than just a professionally dispassionate "Hey, I need a Warder - you interested?"
Tess Laird
138. thewindrose
bchurch -
I am leaning towards how wetlandernw voted on the Lan/Aragorn match-up. They both have experience as 'Rangers' as well, pretty much from the crib. Both can face 'shadow' enemies without the normal human fear. Hey, both are married to females that will out live them by a long shot.

On another side note, I was always annoyed that it was always the female Elves that married mortals - and also a Maiar female married an Elf. Why never a male to marry 'down stream' as it were? Please don't confuse this with not liking the LoTR, that and Chronicles of Narnia got me started on my great love of this genre.

HArai @110
Even their darkfriend members are lame. So true:)
Include the Forsaken that is attached to them as well: Hi, I am Halima. I will give you bad headaches and dreams. This will make you very very cranky.
j p
139. sps49
thewindrose-

It is implied in Book V and posthumous collections that Imrahil's ancestors include Eldarin sires, but nothing is explicit.

And whaddaya mean downstream? :)
Erika
140. Siuanfan
forkroot @ 124 hehe most of the ones you've listed don't get enough "screen time" to become annoying - except for Lan, Bryne, Loial, and Lini. And Lan was kind of bitchy in the beginning with his *snort* 'stupid farmboys' attitude, and Loial can be a little whiny and Lini was annoying after she thought Perrin slept with Berelain. But what about Verin? Verin has yet to annoy me. Nor has Theodrin, and I agree with you on Leane. I also agree that Tam needs more screen time. I get the sense that he has some hidden badassery that's waiting for the perfect time to be seen. I feel like Tam's maybe an older more fatherly version of Lan.
Maiane Bakroeva
141. Isilel
Re: male elves, female humans pairings, didn't one of the brothers of Finrod Felagund fall in love with a human woman? And she, while reciprocating his feelings, rejected the match on the grounds that she'd quickly grow old and die? It was somewhere in the Unfinished Tales, I think.

Re: bonding of Asha'man, I am failing to see why it is supposed to be outrageous. If anything could provide a timely warning that they are going over the bend and/or maybe help them stay stable for longer, surely it is a good thing? And they get increased vitality and whatever other benefits ;).

The thing is that until the Cleansing all Asha'man were ticking bombs and even after, those who already have taint in them may still go mad. It is not prejudice or discrimination or whatever, but a sad fact.

Personally, I am waiting to see what happens to one of the bonded wives when an Asha'man goes mad/gets killed. For some reason I think that it may not have been a great idea for guys who are intended to be "weapons" and thus expendable to have done that.

And conversely, what happens to Asha'man if his wife gets killed? Does it drive him to madness? Will Taim take wives hostage and torture them to compel obedience from non-DF Asha'man?
Sydo Zandstra
142. Fiddler
ARM@126:

Andor might be a monarchy but the queen's power is not absolute. It is checked and balanced by the approval of the other Major Houses. This is most evident during the Andor part of the story. If the queen is perceived as weak or allowing Andor to be a client of a foreign power, the other Major Houses have the option to rise up and select a new queen from among themselves. It would be extreme and most would only do so as a last resort. But Andorans on the whole appear to have a good deal of nationalistic pride.

You mean Andoran Noble Houses when you say Andorans. I have only seen Andoran citizens show pride of the Royal House in Caemlyn, or close to it.

In the end, Andoran nobility only aims for getting more power, with the exception of Dyelin. It happens in Cairhien and Tear too.

The Last Battle is coming, and Andoran nobility should have a clue about that. Especially since RJ set up Andor as a general smarter nation.

Getting Elayne (the legitimate Heir) as a Queen while Rand is there should not be a problem. Maybe Rand was just being too sweet here, regarding other ambitious Nobles.

I also think Elayne made a BIG mistake in deciding to go to Ebou Dar, instead of going to Andor ASAP. But let's not go into that right now ;)
bharrison1976
143. peachy
@140 - The "little screen time" & "not annoying" correlation for that list is awfully high, isn't it? I agree with Leane and Verin - they're just about the last AS I can stand. Is it odd that Alviarin's on that list, too? (By the way, if I could be anybody in the series, it would be Verin's Warder - playing bodyguard/travelling companion for a venturesome Brown would be fantastic, and they don't come more venturesome than Verin Mathwin.)
bharrison1976
145. alreadymadwithashawarders
Isilel @141
There is a reason Rand established the Farm away from Tar Valon. He was trying to avoid friction between the two and he obviously intended for the Asha'man to be champions of the Light independent of the White Tower. The Asha'man's loyalty to him ensured that he had other tools rather than depending on his Aes Sedai followers and their... varied... interpretation of their oaths. In one fell swoop Cads removed that from him. Not only were the Asha'man now under the supervision of Aes Sedai, these Aes Sedai weren't even sworn to him. Their loyalty was to Cadsuane personally.
Antoni Ivanov
146. tonka
@ alreadymad
Reread Knife of Dreams and COT. The whole Asha'man equal to Aes Sedai problem (problem for the Aes Sedai) , Narishma's dragon pin issue (and at the end he got it he was with the Dragon pin when they visited Egwene's Hall) and how Cadsuane mentions that new rules would have to be reworked concerning Asha'man and how astounded Cadsuane was when she is seeing that even Merise cannot 'control' her Warder-Asha'man. Cads didn't remove anything of that from Rand. Asha'man's loyalty is still to Rand (those that are not Darkfriends).Not mentioning that Logain and co. doesn't have any string attached by Cads and their loyalty is completely to Rand.
William Fettes
147. Wolfmage
Isilel @ 141

"Re: bonding of Asha'man, I am failing to see why it is supposed to be outrageous. If anything could provide a timely warning that they are going over the bend and/or maybe help them stay stable for longer, surely it is a good thing? And they get increased vitality and whatever other benefits ;)."

Sex has great benefits too, yet rape and sexual predation are nonetheless outrageous. Yes, that's an extreme analogy but the point is, IF Cadsuane did blackmail them into being bonded, then it is obviously outrageous. The warder bond is, by its nature, an extreme form of intimacy which entails very real vulnerabilities - both in terms of the impact on your autonomy and the actual mortality risks. It goes without saying that they ought only be undertaken consensually with some degree of knowledge about what is involved, rather than under duress or undue influence.

Here, we don't know if that's what happened or not, and there is evidence of some consent, at least post-facto consent. But even beyond that, I don't agree it's all daisies and lollipops after the fact. There is evidence of the Aes Sedai subordinating their bonded warders - at the least interfering with Rand's bestowal of rank and privilege, and treating them with a bit of hair-stroking infantilisation. Maybe its reciprocal affection, but it's not exactly a paradigm of a healthy co-equal relationship either.

So you've got to ask, were the young Asha'men walking right into this with eyes open? Even if some chose it, the answer is probably not. And when determining how much weight to put on their displays of affection after the fact, it's important to bear in mind that it's difficult to separate the inevitable results of the magic bond of intimacy, as opposed to some kind of organic and genuine feelings. Just look at how Rand reacts to Alanna over time, and you can see it's impossible to be completely detached from your bond carrier: they're in your thoughts all the time, and you know them and their emotions from the moment you wake to the moment you sleep. Despite Rand's initial hostility, he can't shake her off; even his attempts to be haughtily above the situation, come off as highly familiar and possessive - he cups her chin, etc.
bharrison1976
148. alreadymadwithkodreread
tonka @46
Yes, Logain and his ilk are still completely loyal to Rand. How provident for him that they should turn up when he could no longer entrust certain missions to Damer and co.

Cads for her part had exactly one goal. To tie as many threads as possible to the Dragon Reborn and his plans. You yourself noted that Cads was astounded. She did not expect it because she expected the Asha'man to act as tame and loyal dogs once bonded. Loyal to sisters loyal to her. It is to Cads credit that she immediately realized the Aes Sedai would have to adjust. Because the old approach of expecting bonded men to stay subservient does not work on Asha'man.

I suggest you reread KoD. He did not send Jahar. He had to ask Cads to send Merise so Jahar could go. Exactly what I believe Cads intended.
Antoni Ivanov
149. tonka
@alreadymad

I didn't mean that Rand sent Jahar(I think you should reread my post :p) I know that he told Cadsuane who told Merise to go to Egwene's Hall.It was logical - if you are going to deal with Aes Sedai you are sending Aes Sedai.

As for Cadsuane trying to tie as many threads to Rand - Of course ! That's what Aes Sedai do especially Cadsuane who like to bludgeon and make people do what she wanted one way or another. Does it make her a bad person - no, in my opinion because she does it not for herself but for the good of the others(or the world in this case). Well she realizes that she won't get her way with Rand so she begins to change her approach.Now all she wants to teach/influence/manipulate him, I think, is to be human.
bharrison1976
150. alreadymadwithcads
tonka @149
Ah yes, an Aes Sedai was sent to Salidar. But in the end the proposal was still properly presented by an Asha'man. An Asha'man who happened to be subordinate to an Aes Sedai. This is also the first time we see Jahar with his Dragon pin. Because in her wisdom, Merise gave it to him in time to make his proposal credible. Do you believe Rand intended to send an Aes Sedai without an Asha'man to bring the message? When the message involved the Asha'man? Where's the credibility in that? And no, I wasn't referring to the whole Asha'man body as a whole. Even Cads would know better. Just the four (three left) whose loyalties were subverted in his absence. I repeat, Merise and co. asked, and the Asha'man agreed. Eventually. What happened in between, and I daresay who initially came up with the idea, will remain anybody's guess.

I don't fault Cads' aim to teach Rand to be human. She has a point in that. Her methods however, leave a lot to be desired. She is used to dealing with Far Madding men who are used to being run ragged by women, and other Aes Sedai who defer to her by her strength. Neither approach is useful against Rand and unfortunately, aside from organising the defense during the Cleansing(which had its own flaws), I have yet to see her teach Rand anything worthwhile or give useful advice. In addition, her I have the right to smack anyone attitude is grating. Rand listens to those who treat him as equals. Not holier than thou Aes Sedai.

In any case, if Cads has taught Rand anything, by arranging to have the four bonded she just drove home the point that he can't trust Aes Sedai to leave him and his plans alone.
Maiane Bakroeva
151. Isilel
@145 AMD:

he obviously intended for the Asha'man to be champions of the Light independent of the White Tower.

And what did Rand do to make them champions of Light? Put them in charge of a person who openly admitted being out for power and glory?!

What did he do to secure their loyalty? What sauf-guards did he put in against mass desertion/insanity/betrayal? Traitor's Tree is all very good, only somebody who can Travel can go anywhere and hide.
What is to happen to Asha'man, who were created to be weapons, after TG?
Those are all very thorny issues which will blow up in Rand's face soon. The Black Tower being rent in blood and fire and all that.

Wolfmage @147:

Sex has great benefits too, yet rape and sexual predation are nonetheless outrageous.

Asha'man bonding by Cads people looks more like marriage of convenience to me.
Rand left them hanging out to dry, Taim declared them traitors. But... Travelling. They could have hidden themselves somewhere and tried to approach Rand later.

But the over-arching issue is of course that nobody who has channeled tainted saidin is safe and they will all need watching for the rest of their lives.
Jay Dauro
152. J.Dauro
Isilel @151

You keep saying that no one who has channeled saidin is safe. That is not how I read it. I believe that if you have not gone mad from it before the cleansing, the taint no longer holds dangers for you. Now, of course they aren't exactly safe, with TG coming, but I do not think they have to fear going mad.
Antoni Ivanov
153. tonka
@alreadymad I think we are almost on the same opinion except that I am sure that the 4 Asha'man are more loyal to Rand than to Cadsuane or to their own Aes Sedai even though it's close.




Rand never intended for the Asha'man to have future beyond the last battle,actually Rand doesn't care what happens after that. What he intends to do is win the Last Battle save the world and die.
Antoni Ivanov
154. tonka
@alreadymad I think we are almost on the same opinion except that I am sure that the 4 Asha'man are more loyal to Rand than to Cadsuane or to their own Aes Sedai even though it's close.




Rand never intended for the Asha'man to have future beyond the last battle,actually Rand doesn't care what happens after that. What he intends to do is win the Last Battle save the world and die.
bharrison1976
155. alreadymadwithasarrogance
Isilel @151
And how exactly is the bond a convenience to the ones bonded aside from the dubious Warder advantages? How are these Asha'man any safer by being bonded to Aes Sedai? If Taim wanted them dead will these Aes Sedai be able to stop a determined attack? They'll just get in the way. These Asha'man are veterans of the campaign against Sammael. They went out in twos and threes to duke it out with one of the Forsaken.

The Aes Sedai agenda in bonding them was simple. Make channelers of Saidin subordinate to them. It is a precaution, admittedly, in view of the madness and the Taint. But it also served a dual purpose of ensuring that Rand would have to work through them. It gave them a way into Rand's operations. This is the part that's distasteful. That they would persist in poking their noses into something that is not their business. One would argue it is an Aes Sedai's business. But how did that come to be? Oh nothing, just holier than thou, higher than anybody Aes Sedai arrogance.

tonka @154
You make it sound as if he does not intend for them to survive.
"When a man first comes to the Black Tower..." He did not like that name. "... he will be called a soldier, because that is what he becomes when he joins us, what you all became, a soldier to fight the Shadow, and not just the Shadow, but anyone who opposes justice or oppresses the weak.

Admittedly, Rand established the Black Tower to serve as weapons for Tarmon Gai'don and this is what most of the training is geared towards. However, based on his description, this is not exclusively what he intends them to be. It's simply a matter of priorities. At this moment with Tarmon Gai'don upon them, their goal is to be ready to fight it. Afterwards, when there is no Shadow to fight, there still oppressors to be fought. And Justice to uphold.
T C
156. Freelancer
Any impact which the taint had on a male channeler prior to the cleansing remains with them. No increase in that impact will occur since the cleansing. That includes no increase in madness or the opportunity for madness to befall them. Asha'man bonded since the removal of the taint gain no added protection against madness from the bond, because there is no additional threat.

It might be possible for Taim to use the torture of bonded Aes Sedai to coerce their Asha'man, but through this point of the story he hasn't shown the slightest interest in dealing with those Soldiers and Dedicated who are outside his chosen circle. I would expect that the extra weaves he's been teaching to his DF Asha'man are at least in part meant to overrun the rest of the BT's residents without much of a struggle.


Isilel@151
And what did Rand do to make them champions of Light? Put them in charge of a person who openly admitted being out for power and glory?!

Ok, I read this sentence five times before I realized what you were saying. Did you mean;
"Put in charge of them a person who openly admitted being out for power and glory?" ? Meaning Taim? That is the only way I can make sense of it. The way you wrote it sounds like the Asha'man were put in charge of someone who is a glory hound.
James Jones
157. jamesedjones
156 Freelancer

I think she meant, "Put them in the charge of..." Addition emphasised.
Bill Reamy
158. BillinHI
J.Dauro @123: Upon further reflection (See following comment), I agree that Rand couldn't just give her the throne, but with a little help behind the scenes, it could have been done. But only if Elayne had been able to go to Caemlyn directly from Salidar. And the trip to Ebou Dar was necessary as well. The biggest problem is that very few people, commoners or lords, truly believe that TG is just around the corner, so the majority justs wants to go on living as they always have.

forkroot @124: You are, of course, absolutely right: only most of the characters can be aggravating at times. I was in such a hurry to catch up, I didn't really take time to think that through properly.

Re: Asha'man bonded by Cadsuane's AS: We will probably never know the full story of how that came about but there were, as usual, plenty of pluses and minuses to go around: Cads gains strings to Rand (altho they probably won't work the way she hoped) and the Asha'man gain some protection, after being declared deserters by Taim. I don't think the Asha'man could just go into hiding as it could be quite difficult to get back in touch with Rand later on, plus it would have removed them from scenes where they could do some good.
bharrison1976
159. Rand al'Todd
Re: BillinHI@158 and J.Dauro @123, et al -

Somebody explain to me a good reason ELAYNE (and therefore Birgitte and Aviendha) had to go to Ebou Dar instead of back home to take (or accept) her throne???

(Other than RJ wanted to let the empty throne rattle around as a plot tool for a while.)

To the best of my recollection, the only thing Elayne and Aviendha do in the plot thread is provide extra bodies to channel for the light and help harass Mat while he tries to keep them somewhat safe.

Nynaeve finds the Kin pretty much on her own, negotiates with the Sea Folk, marries Lan, etc.

I understand that Mat had to go to Ebou Dar to become TOY, but, if he had returned with Elayne as ordered, and she explained how important the Bowl was, Rand could have sent Mat to help Nynaeve. (Or Elayne could have insisted, since at the time she did not know Lan was available.)

I know the SGs had their usual misconceptions - finding the Bowl was going to be easy, little or no risk to anyone (even with Moggy on the loose) - so they would be back in just a few days.

But why wasn't the throne more of a motivator for Elayne???? ANY SG could collect the Bowl, only SHE could take the throne. - And yes, I understand that she couldn't let Rand GIVE her the throne but to run off and let it be taken by any one of several claimants such that she could take it back ONLY AFTER A BLOODY CIVIL WAR!!!! How totally irresponsible for anyone raised to think they deserved to inherit a throne. That decision alone should disqualify her for the throne. If her people knew the truth of how she had made it, all of her supporters should have abandoned her as the selfish little snit she is.

Another way of looking at it is: She could not DELEGATE the job of getting the bowl (to which she actually contributed very little) in order to perform the one task that ONLY SHE could do: Claim/earn the throne.
James Jones
160. jamesedjones
159 Rand al'Todd

I agree that Elayne was a pain during the bowl arc, but the SGs had no knowledge of the Kin, they did not know that the Sea Folk would be directing the flows, and she and Nyn were still at odds about 5 or 6 floors. The bowl was kinda more important than anything else in the world (at the time). That said, I honestly feel that it was all about keeping characters out of certain places until it was time (just another Valan Luca plot device).
Alice Arneson
161. Wetlandernw
Rand al'Todd @ 159 - One detail on Elayne's behalf: at this point, she's the ter'angreal supergirl. She has a feel for them that no one else has developed at this stage.

Parenthetical note: Elayne & Nynaeve are the only ones who have "seen" the location of the stash in TAR, so it would seem logical that having both of them searching would increase their chances of finding it. In practice, it didn't help all that much, but it did make sense from their POV.

Back to the stash: when they did find it (and after the mess with the gholam etc.) Elayne was the one who located the Bowl, and was able to recognize that there were a lot more *angreal in the rubbish collection. She was the one who was able to sort through all of it on the way to Caemlyn to figure out what was rubbish and what wasn't, and she was able to work with Aviendha to enhance the latter's emerging Talent of identifying the use of the various goodies they found.

I don't know if that meets anyone's criteria for value worthy of putting off the trip to Caemlyn, but it's not insignificant.
Pete Pratt
162. PeteP
Plus, there was serious opposition to the idea of Elayne heading home unless it was clear that Rand was not coming back.

The SAS was not going to let Elayne go home. This way, Elayne got to do her little quest and then get on with becoming queen.
Maiane Bakroeva
163. Isilel
Yes, I meant that Rand put Taim in command over Asha'man, a man who freely admitted being motivated exclusively by power and glory. And who recruited them by promising the same.
So, yea, all this about selfless champions of Light? Isn't going to work. Rand did nothing to instill this world-view in Asha'man and there was too little time to be sure that it'd take anyway.

Re: Cadsuane and Co insinuating themselves into Rand's command - he does have more than the bonded Asha'man. Like a few hundred more. If he felt he couldn't trust those 4 anymore, he could have always summoned some unattached ones.

And frankly, I don't see Rand as somebody who can do no wrong and doesn't need people who'd argue with him. IMHO, quite a few of Rand's decisions are about to prove disastrous exactly because he had no constructive critics for a time.

Re: the Taint. We don't know whether men will continue to go mad or not as it is unknown what makes them snap. It is not the overall amount of the Taint, certainly. And Randlanders can know that even less.
Not trusting anybody who'd channeled tainted saidin fully and keeping an eye on them for as long as they live would be only rational. The risk of doing anything else could be too high.
The Black Tower being rent in blood and fire as Taim and his DFs reveal themselves will only strengthen that perception.

Re: Elayne, I used to agree about her dereliction of duty to Andor. But: at the time she went to Ebu Dar they didn't know that they'd be able to enlist Windfiders help or that the Windfinders already knew how to use the Bowl. They thought that Elayne would have to figure out the use of the Bowl herself - and that was definitely something that only she could do.

No, the problem of Ebu Dari storyline lies elsewhere - namely in how ridiculously and purposefully slowed down it was, at every turn.

I.e. Rand always manages to Travel close to his destination, but SGs put their gateways weeks out both times and tediously moved through the countryside for chapters at a time. They could have re-visited the store-room in T'AR and made certain of it's position, but they fruitlessly traipsed through the city for weeks instead, so that it would come down to Mat's ta'verenness. Etc., etc.
Birgit
164. birgit
She doesn't "come between" Mat and his troops. All she does is give them praise and checking on them. But she never orders them around. All her orders and suggestions go through Mat.

She {Elayne} claimed that by only telling him {Mat} to do what he had to do anyway in the beginning, she could bring him into the habit. Well, good luck to her.
LoC, ch. 48


They could have re-visited the store-room in T'AR and made certain of it's position, but they fruitlessly traipsed through the city for weeks instead, so that it would come down to Mat's ta'verenness.

They tried and it didn't work.
Maiane Bakroeva
165. Isilel
Birgit @164:

They tried and it didn't work.

Which was completely arbitrary, because previously imagining a place in T'AR and getting transported to it worked very well indeed. And a dusty attic full of *angreal should have been distinctive indeed.

IMHO, this whole plot-line just feels stretched out beyond reason, on the flimsiest excuses imaginable. And it falls back on our perception of Elayne.

Unfortunately, Mat's subsequent solo soujourn in Altara is drawn out even more. IMHO, YMMV.
Rob Munnelly
166. RobMRobM
@165. They had the discussion several times that a "need" search only works once. So, no way to get back to the attic. You may disagree with the decision to include the ED sojourn but the lack of a return trip in T'AR is well grounded in text. Rob
Maiane Bakroeva
167. Isilel
RobMRobM @166:

They have already seen the attic. They didn't have to use "need" anymore, just to visualise the attic. This approach has been already used several times in the books by this point. Heck, even an _picture_ would do.
bharrison1976
168. peachy
@165 - I'll split the difference; I agree that the ED portion is excessively prolonged (just compare it to the sojourn in Tanchico), but the subsequent 'Adventure of Mat & Company' doesn't bother me so much. The difference, I think, is that the relationship between Toy and Precious requires a certain amount of time and space to develop to the point where it's believable for him to love her - it's just his bad luck that his love-interest is the very last to be introduced (every other major romantic arc has reached the 'acknowledgment of mutual interest' stage by LoC at the latest, and only one is still hanging fire short of marriage or functional equivalent as of the beginning of KoD... two if you count Thom & Moiraine, which I really don't at this point.)
Birgit
169. birgit
Merise and co. asked, and the Asha'man agreed. Eventually. What happened in between will remain anybody's guess.

"As for the others, they became Warders of their own free will." As much as any man did anything of his own free will. Her {Samitsu} Roshan certainly had not wanted to be a Warder, until she decided she wanted him for one. Even a woman who was not Aes Sedai could usually make a man decide the way she wanted. "They thought it a better choice, safer, than returning to ... the others like you. You see, the damage here was done with saidin. You understand who must have been behind it?
CoT prologue
Helen Peters
170. Helen
I know I'm a post behind, but can I add re: Elayne not going to Caemlyn with Mat to receive the throne. She tells us why she's not going now. Because Rand has no right to give her the throne, it's hers by right, not his to give. If she goes to Caemlyn with Mat she's as good as admitting she's accepting the throne from Rand. That would 'never do', the others would then oppose her on the basis that an 'outlander' secured the throne for her. She even goes as far as not talking to Bashere when she's back just so the other nobles have less ammunition to use against her.
neilorenzo
171. Al Aldazar
I know that I'm a little behind here on the re-reads...does anyone else notice that Egwene's been smiling and giggling a lot? And when she giggles in the story it really, really creeps me out. Too much of a reminder of Fain...
bharrison1976
172. yasiru89
Given all that came before to shape these exchanges involving Mat and the Snooty Girls, you'd think one could appreciate where Mat is coming from.
Also, given how Rand painted the situation and the unexpectedly large number of Aes Sedai there turned out to be in Salidar, Mat can't be blamed for putting the worst spin on things.
john massey
173. subwoofer
Yes, well Mat can be given credit entirely for his unique skill at saying the wrong thing at the right time:)

Woof™.
Alice Arneson
174. Wetlandernw
Skill?? I think it's an art form. :)

Splash™
bharrison1976
175. yasiru89
It might stem from the 'expect the worst and all your surprises will be pleasant' military outlook that pops up through the series. Needless to say, not the best advice in dealing with women.
Jeremy Morton
176. Raistlan
@122 BillinHI: And as for "Rand can't GIVE me the throne", hey, dummy, Tarmon Gai'don is coming! Who is destined to be savior of the world? Let Rand give you the throne and then you can actually try to get your country ready for the Last Battle.

I was totally on Mat's side when I first read this, and every re-read since then: All of the Aes Sedai are Junior High children, playing at their dramas while the Last Battle will obliterate the universe if everyone doesn't make sure that Rand wins] is coming Really Soon Now. Is Mat rude for telling them they are being idiots? Probably. Are they being idiots? Absolutely.

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