Sep 28 2009 2:50pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Lord of Chaos, Part 23

Hi, and welcome to another Wheel of Time Re-read! I apologize for my current lack of brain; I have the dumb today. In lieu of brainage, please pretend that this intro is clever and/or witty in some way.

Today’s post covers Chapters 40-41 of Lord of Chaos. Please pretend that I followed this with a clever and/or witty list of things these chapters contain.

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 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 now, please pretend I had some clever and/or witty closing line to segue into the main post, and then click the link!

Chapter 40: Unexpected Laughter

What Happens
Mat distracts Thom from staring at the letter he’d passed on to him by asking Thom to help Mat “talk some sense” into Egwene et al. In answer, Thom tells him a story about the time he tried to rescue a woman from a man who he thought was abusing her, only to find out it was the other way around, ending up with Thom barely getting out alive. Mat doesn’t see what that has to do with anything.

“Just that you shouldn’t think you know the whole story when you’ve heard part. For instance, do you know Elayne and Nynaeve will be leaving for Ebou Dar in a day or so? Juilin and I are to go along.”

Mat is aghast, considering the stories he’s heard about the city, but Thom ignores his entreaties and instead asks how Mat feels about Egwene. Mat is confused by the question, but answers that she’s Egwene, which is why he has to save her, and Elayne and Nynaeve as well, if he doesn’t end up breaking the latter’s neck himself. Thom asks if he’s ever considered helping them do what they want instead of what Mat wants? Thom would like nothing better than to see Elayne in Caemlyn, but he’s accepted that she has other things to do first, so he does his best to protect her until then. Thom adds that while it’s strange to think of Egwene as Amrylin, he thinks she has the backbone and the brains for it; the question is whether she’s tough enough to survive it. Mat doesn’t know what he means, and Thom explains that the Aes Sedai don’t really accept any of the three girls as real Aes Sedai, even while accepting Egwene as Amrylin, which he doesn’t understand himself.

“Egwene is walking the edge of a precipice, Mat, and three factions right here in Salidar—three that I’m sure of—might push her over if she makes one wrong step. Elayne will follow if that happens, and Nynaeve. Or maybe they’ll push them over first to pull her down.”

“Right here in Salidar,” Mat said, flat as a planed board. Thom nodded calmly; and Mat could not stop his voice from rising. “And you want me to leave them here?”

“I want you to stop thinking you’re going to make them do anything. They’ve decided what they are going to do, and you can’t change it. But maybe—just maybe—you can help me keep them alive.”

Mat jumps up, thinking of the woman he had killed long ago, and asks if the letter is from a woman Thom rescued, or one he left? Thom answers, “I left her”, and walks away before Mat can stop him. Mat goes looking for information, and sees Nynaeve on the street. He heads toward her, thinking she owes him answers, but Nynaeve sees him and hurries away, plainly avoiding him. Mat thinks that this is their plan, to let him stew a while, and vows it won’t work. Mat joins Vanin and the others, and quietly orders Vanin to sneak out of Salidar back to the Band and tell Talmanes to sit tight a few days, then get back if he can. Vanin is less than thrilled about the situation, but agrees and walks off immediately. One of the squadmen asks nervously if everything is all right. Mat thinks he is “headfirst in a sack”; he promised to see Elayne to Caemlyn, but he couldn’t leave Egwene on the chopping block either.

It might be—Light, how it rankled!—it might be that he was going to have to take Thom’s advice. Try to keep those bloody women’s bloody heads on their bloody shoulders by somehow helping them make this whole mad impossible scheme actually work. While trying to keep his own neck in one piece, incidentally. And that left out keeping Aviendha from Elayne’s throat. Well, at the least, he could be around to get them away when it all fell apart. Small comfort that was. “Everything is just bloody fine.”

Elayne looks for Aviendha as the streets buzz with questions about Mat and his connection to the Dragon Reborn and etc., but Elayne notices no one asks how Rand al’Thor had known where to send Mat; everyone seems very jumpy. She finds Aviendha the same way, as many sisters are gossiping about the amazing appearance of an Aiel wilder with such strength. Elayne heads to where they are holding Aviendha, but is intercepted on the way by Birgitte (and Areina). Birgitte tells her in a low voice that she’s found out Adeleas and Vandene are going with them to Ebou Dar, and Elayne is less than pleased at the inclusion of “real” Aes Sedai chaperones. She tries again to ask about letting Egwene in on Birgitte’s identity, but Birgitte again vehemently rejects it; frustrated, Elayne asks to know why, and promises if it is a good reason she’ll never bring it up again. Birgitte explains carefully that in every other life she’s lived, she lived and died never knowing she was bound to the Wheel; she only knew in between, while in Tel’aran’rhiod. Even when she became famous, she was still just a person like everyone else. But now it’s different.

“This time I was ripped out, not spun out. For the first time wearing flesh, I know who I am. For the first time, other people can know too. Thom and Juilin do; they say nothing, but I am sure. They don’t look at me the way they do other people. If I said I was going to climb a glass mountain and kill a giant with my bare hands, they’d just ask if I needed any help on the way, and they would not expect me to.”

Birgitte just doesn’t think she can live up to that towering reputation. Elayne answers that she, Elayne, doesn’t look at her that way, and neither does Egwene. Areina interrupts, asking rudely if they are done yet, and Birgitte tells Elayne she will think on it before grabbing Areina’s braid and towing her away to have a talk about manners. Elayne continues to the house where Aviendha is, and is momentarily startled by the change in the Aiel woman’s costume and appearance. Aviendha leaps to her feet the moment she sees Elayne, her face openly showing pain. Elayne pulls rank on the Aes Sedai in the room to take Aviendha from them, noting that several almost protest even though she clearly stands above them in strength. She’s just glad that Myrelle isn’t there, who Elayne has discovered to her dismay is the Head of the Green Ajah in Salidar upon being accepted into it. Elayne and Aviendha walk to Elayne’s rooms; on the way Aviendha grabs a stout stick and begins peeling it with her knife, which makes Elayne wonder uneasily whether there really was some strange Aiel way in which she had offended Aviendha. In her rooms, Elayne faces Aviendha and says Mat claims Aviendha is here to kill her; Aviendha blinks, and comments that wetlanders always get everything backwards before laying her knife and the stick down.

“My near-sister Egwene asked me to watch Rand al’Thor for you, which I promised to do.” Bundle and shawl went on the floor beside the door. “I have toh toward her, but greater to you.” Unlacing her blouse, she pulled it over her head, then pushed her shift to her waist. “I love Rand al’Thor, and once I let myself lie with him. I have toh, and I ask that you help me meet it.” Turning her back, she knelt in the small space available. “You may use the stick or the knife as you wish; the toh is mine, but the choice is yours.” She tilted up her chin, stretching her neck. Her eyes were closed. “Whichever you choose, I accept.”

Elayne is flabbergasted at the revelation that Aviendha is the third woman in Min’s vision, then suddenly registers what Aviendha had said and is tempted for just a moment, but tells Aviendha to get up; she is not going to hit her and she is definitely not going to use a knife on her. She says Aviendha has no toh to her, and lies that she doesn’t care that Aviendha loves Rand too. Puzzled, Aviendha asks if Elayne is proposing they share him; she thinks it will take to time to know if they can be close enough friends for that.

Realizing her mouth was hanging open, Elayne closed it. “I suppose it will,” she said faintly. Min kept saying they would share him, but certainly not that way! Even the thought was indecent! “It is a little more complicated than you know. There’s another woman who loves him, too.”

Aviendha was on her feet so fast she simply seemed to be one place then the other. “What is her name?” Her green eyes blazed, and she had the knife in her hand.

Elayne almost laughs, and tells herself it could have been worse; it could have been Berelain. She sits Aviendha down and explains about Min and her visions, and firmly argues down Aviendha’s proposals that they “do Min in”. Finally Aviendha reluctantly says she must get to know this Min, then, and Elayne wonders if she is the only one of the three normal enough to not want to share him.

“Is anything in life ever simple, Aviendha?”

“Not when men are involved.”

Elayne was not sure which surprised her more, to find that she was laughing or that Aviendha was.

Thom is currently my favorite character, for the sense he talks in this chapter. THANK YOU, yes, let’s at least consider the notion that the Supergirls do actually have the competence to decide their own agenda, and that their agenda may actually be something worth doing and not just silly girls acting sillily!

(Sillishly? Silly-like? Well, now it doesn’t even look like a word. If it ever was one.)

At the same time, and perhaps contrarily, I do give props to Mat here for being genuinely indignant that the Aes Sedai are not giving Egwene her props, and for his loyalty to her which is all the more endearing for being unexamined. I still think he was acting like a dick earlier, but then so was everyone else, so.

Birgitte: Yeah, you know, that’s got to kind of suck, having that kind of reputation to live up to, especially when you’ve never had to do so before. That’s hella pressure, right there. I’m not really clear on how that relates to Egwene, though, since as Elayne points out, she already knows, so it’s not like confirmation of it is going to materially change Egwene’s expectations (or lack thereof) of Birgitte. But it’s probably just a denial thing; it’s clear that she hasn’t acknowledged it aloud to Thom and Juilin either.

Aviendha: So, am I right in inferring from her offer to Elayne to use the knife, that under ji’e’toh Aviendha’s offense here is serious enough to justify a punishment of death? Because I’m a bit startled if so. I know there are offenses which warrant a death sentence under Aiel law, but that seems a little extreme for infidelity – or poaching, or whatever this would be called.

Of course, back in the day the penalty for adultery was stoning (for the woman, anyway. I think the man just got like a fine or something. Adorable), so maybe it’s not all that extreme for the mindset involved. And then again, maybe Elayne was just meant to, I dunno, slice her up a bit. (Yeesh.) However, if killing Aviendha with the knife was meant to not be an option, you’d think that Aviendha would have mentioned that, seeing as Elayne could hardly be expected to automatically know where the line was drawn. The fact that she set no limits suggests that she thought Elayne could basically punish her any way she wanted, including killing her. Which, wow.

Chapter 41: A Threat

What Happens
Min rides to the Palace in Caemlyn, barely noticing the city, having snuck away from Merana and the rest of the Salidar embassy. She catches herself thinking that maybe she should have worn a dress, when she’d never willingly worn a dress in her life, and thinks angrily that she will not change for a man, even though she knows she already has done so. She tells the Aiel guard at the gates that she has an important message for Rand al’Thor, and that he knows her. The Maiden she speaks to, Enaila, laughs and says if Rand does not know her she will go out much faster, and Min sees a wreath of some kind over her head, though she has no idea what it means. Enaila leads Min to the throne room, and Min watches him from the door as Enaila goes in to announce her. She thinks he looks tired, and beautiful. As always he has images flickering around him continuously.

One of those images she had seen every time she saw him. Countless thousands of sparkling lights, like stars or fireflies, rushed into a great blackness, trying to fill it up, rushed in and were swallowed. There seemed to be more lights than she had ever seen before, but the darkness swallowed them at a greater rate, too. And there was something else, something new, an aura of yellow and brown and purple that made her stomach clench.

She tries viewing the nobles with him, but sees nothing. Then the nobles begin leaving and Rand stands and smiles at her, gesturing her in.

Min thought her heart might burst out of her chest. So this was what it felt like for all those women she had laughed at, throwing themselves at a man’s feet.

She goes in, praying her knees hold up.

Rand bounds over to Min and picks her up and swings her around, laughing that it’s good to see her, and then apologizes when she sags dizzily against him. She mumbles that he is a wool-headed sheepherder, and asks if he never learned any manners; he laughs again and says he actually missed her calling him that. Holding her hand, he takes her to his own apartments, not understanding why Somara and Enaila look sullen about it, and once inside asks all about what she’s been doing. Min answers hesitantly that she cannot tell him where she came from, but Elayne is there, and then is startled when he tells her he knows about Salidar. She hands him a letter from Elayne, saying she swore to give that to him first thing.


I have made my feelings clear to you. Know that they have not changed. I hope that you feel for me what I feel for you. Min can help you, if you will only listen to her. I love her like a sister, and hope you love her as I do.


Rand stares at the letter, and wonders aloud if women all try to drive men crazy. Half to himself, he talks about Elayne and Aviendha, how one writes him two completely contradictory letters, which he wants the one that said she loved him to be the true one, and the other fighting with him every day, and yet he misses the battle. Min asks, doesn’t he know it’s rude to talk to one woman about another? Rand replies that he thinks of her as a friend, not a woman, and instantly knows this was a mistake.

“Oh?” Tossing back her coat, she placed her hands on her hips. It was not the all-too-familiar angry pose. Her wrists were twisted so her fingers pointed up, and somehow that made it very different. She stood with one knee bent, and that... for the first time he really saw her; not just Min, but the way she looked. Not the usual plain brown coat and breeches, but pale red, and embroidered. Not the usual rough-cut hair that barely covered her ears, but ringlets brushing her neck. “Do I look like a boy?”

“Min, I—”

“Do I look like a man? A horse?” In one quick stride she reached him and plumped herself down in his lap.

“Min,” he said, aghast, “what are you doing?”

“Convincing you I’m a woman, woolhead. Don’t I look like a woman? Don’t I smell like a woman?” She smelled faintly of flowers, now that he noticed. “Don’t I feel—? Well, enough of that. Answer the question, sheepherder.”

Rand says he meant no insult, it’s just that Min makes him feel comfortable; he can be open with her, relax around her. She considers this, then says that it sounds to her like Rand loves both Elayne and this Aviendha; Rand replies slowly that maybe he does, and wonders if this makes him a lecher or just a fool, but continues that it doesn’t matter, he’s sent both of them away and will keep them away. Astonished, Min asks what right he has to make that choice for them, and Rand answers that he is a target, and arrows aimed at him might hit someone next to him instead, and tells her about what Lan had said, that they “radiate death”. Min is silent a moment, and then says that’s not going to make her give up; she will make him acknowledge her as a woman.

“Min, I said I—”

“Oh, no, sheepherder. Not good enough.” She wriggled round on his lap in a way that made him clear his throat, and pinned a finger against his chest. “I want tears in your eyes when you say it. I want drool on your chin and a stammer in your voice. You needn’t think I won’t make you pay.”

Rand could not help laughing. “Min, it really is good to have you here. All you see is a mudfoot from the Two Rivers, isn’t it?”

Her mood changed lightning quick. “I see you, Rand,” she said, strangely quiet. “I see you.”

She changes the subject, telling him about the Salidar embassy, and Rand smiles, thinking it proof that the rebels are running scared. Then Min tells him there are nine sisters in the party, and at his start hastens to assure him it’s meant for an honor; even kings and queens only get three. She is sure they mean him no harm; she viewed them every day of the journey here and saw nothing untoward, but then reluctantly adds that she saw a viewing around him that means Aes Sedai (or, at least, women who can channel) are going to hurt him, and it might happen more than once. Rand asks if she can sure it’s not the Aes Sedai she came with, and she admits she can’t.

I have to be careful, Lews Therin whispered intently. Even these half-trained girls can be dangerous with nine of them. I must—

I must, Rand thought firmly. A moment of confusion from Lews Therin, and then he fled back to the shadowed recesses. He always did now, if Rand spoke to him. The only problem was that Lews Therin seemed to be seeing and hearing more, and intending to act on it. There had not been another incident of his trying to seize saidin, but Rand was careful now. The man wanted Rand’s mind and body for his own, thought they were his own, and if he managed to gain control even once, Rand was not certain it would not be just that way. Lews Therin Telamon walking and speaking, while Rand al’Thor was only a voice in his head.

Min tells him anxiously that she is on his side, not theirs, and won’t tell them one word about him that he does not want her to; the Aes Sedai don’t know about her viewings either. Rand assures her of his trust in her, and tells her to tell Merana they can send three sisters to him, instead of the one they had been planning, but that the others are to stay out of the Inner City, and none may channel around him. Min doesn’t think they’ll like it much, but agrees to tell them. They are interrupted as Sulin (still in servant’s garb) enters with a wine tray, and drops it with a crash as she sees Min on Rand’s lap. Min tries to get up, but Rand pulls her back down, deciding it was time to emphasize that he was done with Aviendha. He chastises Sulin for dropping the tray, as part of his scheme to ensure that her punishment was easier, by having her serve only him.

He suspected she would rather every Aiel this side of the Dragonwall saw her shame than allow him to, but he had eased her labors notably, eased his conscience somewhat, and if having to work for him made her decide her toh was met sooner, all to the good. Sulin belonged in cadin’sor carrying her spears, not in livery folding bed linens.

He warns her that Min is his friend, and he would be very put out if something happened to her, but Sulin answers grimly that none but Aviendha would have cause to, and almost falls over trying to curtsy before storming out. Min is very confused by the whole incident; Rand tells her he’ll explain some other time. Then Melaine enters to tell him that Egwene has left the tents to go to someplace called Salidar, where there are Aes Sedai, and adds that these Aes Sedai are “forward, undisciplined, contentious and full of themselves beyond reason”. Rand thinks this is quite a change from how the Wise Ones had formerly regarded the Aes Sedai, and notes that Min is falling asleep on his lap, and that it feels very nice to have her there. Melaine continues that he must be wary of the Aes Sedai, and “use a firm hand”, and then Min murmurs that Melaine will have two daughters, “twins like mirrors”. Melaine is astounded, and demands to know how Min knew, and Min gives Rand a dark look before reluctantly explaining about her visions. Melaine seems to consider that Min’s ability puts her on par with a Wise One, and they quickly get into a discussion about childbirth until Rand directs them back to the Aes Sedai. Min continues to argue that the Salidar embassy is trustworthy, though Melaine is skeptical, and runs down the names and personal proclivities of each of the sisters. Rand tells them he will show them as much respect as possible while not trusting them until they show proof of their good intentions, which pleases neither woman completely. Melaine hugs Min and tells her she will name one of her daughters after her, and warns Rand again to be wary of the Aes Sedai before leaving. Rand and Min are alone again, which suddenly seems awkward.

Rand and Min are both very likeable in this chapter, and Rand’s demeanor in particular is almost startling considering how he gets later on, with the no laughing or crying thing Cadsuane is supposedly going to teach him how to do again. I say, can’t happen fast enough.

It occurs to me that there aren’t many nicer compliments to be given than that you make someone feel comfortable and relaxed when you’re around. Beats “baby, you hot, baby” by about a zillion miles, sez me. And again, I don’t know who Rand or Min think they’re kidding here. “Just friends” do not walk through hallways holding hands, much less take naps on laps. I mean, come on.

Speaking of which, I wonder if the rather hilariously underhanded last line of Elayne’s note was intentionally or unconsciously disingenuous. “I hope you love her! Like a sister! SISTER!” Heh.

Also, I just tried to figure out how one puts one’s hands on one’s hips with the “wrists twisted” so the fingers are pointing up, and I have to say there’s no way to do that without it being rather painful. I dunno, maybe I am just not bendy enough in the wristal arena. Maybe my carpal tunnel is the culprit?

Also, I left out the bit where Min thinks about her three “aunts”, but I forgot that we actually get their names in LOC. Too bad I can’t think of any way to make the names “Rana, Jan and Miren” match up with Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos in any immediately obvious way.

Min vision: Obviously the upcoming locked-in-a-box episode counts for one time women who can channel will hurt Rand, but I’m wondering if there’s really any specific incident that closes this viewing off, because by my count it’s going to happen a heck of a lot more. Clearly, Semirhage charring his hand off in KOD could count, but he’s also still got to deal with Graendal, Cyndane, Moghedien, Tuon, any number of random Black Ajah, and so on and so forth, so really the possibilities are endless. Yay, not.

Of course, “hurt” is a pretty vague term, so possibly this could apply to Alanna biting it and giving Rand Psycho Warder Syndrome, or even Egwene yelling at him whenever he gets around to “knowing her anger”. Will the fun never end?

Melaine: I really can’t blame the Wise Ones for writing off the Aes Sedai; I’m just surprised it didn’t happen sooner. The Tower is very lucky they will get Egwene as Amyrlin, I have to say, since she is about the only one who hasn’t managed to burn her bridges with, er, everyone.

Though of course we have yet to see what happens when she and Rand meet up again; the “know her anger” thing could have a negative effect just as easily as a positive one. I would find it hilarious, though, if when they finally meet up, Elaida’s prophecy gets fulfilled by the two of them calling each other stupid names and then giggling about it. Mind you, I highly doubt this is what will actually happen; I just think it would be funny.

I elided the descriptions of the embassy sisters in the summary, but I do have to note sadly that of all of the sisters in the party, naturally it’s Demira who Min judges to be one of the most favorably disposed toward Rand. Sigh. Stupid chaos.

And, the end! For now. See youse Wednesday, I promise to try to re-brain by that time. Eyb!

Lannis .
1. Lannis
Thanks, Leigh! Great recap! Rest your brain--Rand-in-a-box is coming soon! :/
Kat Woman
2. thekatwoman
Wow it really does feel spceial being first.
And now I know why nobody writes anything else. No one to talk to here.
Ok I'll throw something out there.
Can a man TRULY love more than one at a time?
I say Rand is in love with Min, because she is his soul mate. E. and A. are the women a man would dream about, and never hope to be with, not to say both girls don't love him.
Maybe all men love more than one woman, for all the different levels of love.??
Marcus W
3. toryx
I know a lot of people don't like Min, but I think she's great. She's always been one of the most "real" of the female characters to me. She's not perfect and best of all she knows she isn't. She has few illusions about what she can and can't do, and she is always resolved to do her best at whatever she attempts.

Most of all, she takes Rand as he is and doesn't really want anything from him except his love. Which is far more than one can say for Elayne (grr, that letter pissed me off), and considerably more accepting than Aviendha.

The romantic in me hopes that when everything is said and done, Min and Rand can retire privately to some quiet little house in the country and raise sheep together.
Ron Garrison
4. Man-0-Manetheran
Hey Leigh! Fabulously clever and witty introduction to today's re-read. Brainage? Is that like brain-drainage? If so, the site seems to be having some today.
James Jones
5. jamesedjones
2 thekatwoman

Most men and women out there are incapable of TRULY loving one person. It doesn't stop many of us from jumping in with both feet (eyes closed). That said, the possibility definitely exists that folks out there are capable of loving more than one person. Equally? Maybe not. But what fool would purposefully put themselves in that situation? :)

I'm guessing that the second time Rand encounters the abusive channeling women will be at the hands of the Seanchan, after they've had the chance to make another male collar. How Perrin will save him, I have no idea. But I can see him kneeling to the Crystal Throne in that situation. :(
Daniel Cole
6. zaldar
Ah how I love min. Seriously where is the nice woman to jump into my lap and fall asleep (are you available leigh). Say what you will about Jordan writing romance but he does it very well here. I still say someone the dragon reborn isn't just Rand but rand, perrin, and Mat together and the three women in rands life are alana reborn in three bodies. Just seems to work out to nicely for that not to be what is going on.

Anywho great reread like usual leigh!
7. Freelancer
It seems that Tordot has a tough time whenever you are loading up a post, Leigh. It had fits for a couple of hours, and once it was back, voila, new WoT post.

I'll go backwards this time. Elayne's letter is not meant to undermine Min's position with Rand. That would be completely inconsistent with what she just went through with Aviendha. Of course none of the three is happy with the deal (yet), but Elayne and Min have made their peace, and it seems to me that the letter is meant to ease Rand into the idea of yet another girlfriend. I know the Elayne-haters will be all over this, but I have no other actions to serve as examples of her being selfishly cutthroat in that way. By the time of Rand's "encounter" with Elayne, it doesn't matter anyway, with them all jointly bonded.

The whole thread of Min proving she's a woman gives me paired feelings. It's amusing and cool, but painful, as it's too reminiscent of past experience.

Leigh, regarding stoning for adultery, there was no gender difference regarding the punishment, at least if you are referring to Old Testament times. In the Bible passage where only the woman was brought before Jesus, those religious hypocrites were trying to trap Him with His own teachings, and weren't truly interested in following the law. I really want to know what He was writing on the ground with that stick. Some suggest it was an itemization of their sins, while He offered for him who was without any to cast the first stone. So He turned their hypocrisy against them, sending them off with their collective tails between their legs.

Leigh, I halfway agree with your props to Thom here. Yes, he is making sense for a wise reason. However, I'm not so quick to accept that he thinks their schemes useful or even profitable. But, as he tells Mat, if they've decided and he can't (or shouldn't try, by his own advice) stop them, the next best thing is to tag along and help them, knowing it will improve their chances of survival, if not success. I imagine he thinks their plans almost as hair-brained as Mat does. This is what makes the point of the advice, that it isn't so important if they are right, but that they have a free will, and he is in no position to force them, therefore work with them and all will be better.

The three factions that Thom is certain of, I would presume are Romanda's retinue, Lelaine's retinue, and the Salidar Six. Thom is probably the only male alive (ok, Gareth Bryne), who could see directly into the rebel power structures from the outside without being told.

Go Light!
Joseph Blaidd
8. SteelBlaidd
Aviendha's toh is put on the capital level because she went and sleeped with him after promesing to keep him quarintined for Elayne. It's not the sex but the betrayal that warants the knife.

RE Adultry: in the law both participants, male and female were to be stoned, in prctice men abused their possitionto get out of their side which is what makes the story of the Woman Taken in Adultery work, Jesus makes the subtle implication that, as the woman's accusers had cought her in the act but hadn't brought the man she was with, then at least one of them was also guilty.

Also much love for the "save them from the bootmaker" speech. Moraine figured out the same thing regarding Rand before her death and Egwene needs the same lesson(Min too for that matter).
Dan Herbert
9. Ordeith
I have been reading along with the re-read since almost the beginning and enjoy Leigh's views and commentary as much as the views and mostly intelligent conversations and dissent posted here.

I figured now would be as good a time as any to throw in my two cents and stir the pot a little.

It is very possible to be in love with more than one person at a time. Humans by nature are a social and non-monogamous creature, it is society, culture and religion that has insisted on monogamy. And with the divorce rates and number of people that cheat on their spouse, we can see how well that has gone over.

The difficult part is to find individual people in today's culture that are open and honest with each other and not ruled by jealousy or preconceived notions of relationships for a polygamous relationship to work. Polygamy for religious reasons is as a much as a joke as monogamy for religious reasons, so do not assume I am referring to a person needing so many wives to get into heaven or some crackpot theory like that. But if it is for love and all involved are in agreement than what harm is there. I am also fair and have no problem with a woman having multiple men, or even a mixed group living in a committed non-monogamous relationship.

Okay, I am done poking at the beehive, I am taking my stick and going back in my corner.
Joseph Blaidd
10. SteelBlaidd
Aviendha's toh is put on the capital level because she went and sleeped with him after promesing to keep him quarintined for Elayne. It's not the sex but the betrayal that warants the knife.

RE Adultry: in the law both participants, male and female were to be stoned, in practice men abused their possition to get out of their side which is what makes the story of the Woman Taken in Adultery work, Jesus makes the subtle implication that, as the woman's accusers had cought her in the act but hadn't brought the man she was with, then at least one, and probably all, of them was also guilty. It has been theorized that what he was writing was the passage from Leviticus outlining the punishment.

Also much love for the "save them from the bootmaker" speech. Moraine figured out the same thing regarding Rand before her death and Egwene needs the same lesson(Min too for that matter).
Marcus W
11. toryx
@ 2:

There are many people, both male and female, who would say that they not only are capable of loving more than one person (of either sex, romantically and physically) at a time.

Given the conservative attitude RJ puts into so many characters, it's kind of fascinating that he open to putting the main character (i.e. Rand) in that sort of scenario.

Elayne and Aviendha's relationship in that particular foursome is a particularly odd twist given that.

I do wish that there'd been an example of women being polyamorous, or at least a more than sidelong reference to same sex relationships (aka pillowfriends) but you can't have everything.
Tony Zbaraschuk
12. tonyz
Min is like a breath of fresh air, just being herself. She's a bit more capable of introspection than Nynaeve, which is mostly to the good, and she's generally honest and fair, which are incredibly good things to go with her compassion.

Agree that Aviendha is more worried about the betrayal of her responsibility than the sex per se. Adultery's only the Third Circle, and treason is the Ninth, according to Dante anyway.

As far as Mat's overall reaction, it's perfectly understandable -- and mightily annoying. (I do find it interesting that the Band seems to take this all in stride, and get along perfectly well for several months without their general and founding icon. Wouldn't have expected that.)
Joseph Blaidd
13. SteelBlaidd
Of course the Band can function without Mat holding their hands. That's one of the purposes of a clear chain of command and firm millitary dicepline, you can give people orders and then expect them to be carried out without riding them every minute.
Peter Nein
14. gimpols1908 arrgh
toryx @ 3
"...Elayne (grr, that letter pissed me off), and considerably more accepting than Aviendha."

Elayne seems to accept him for who he is, but has the proprieties of courtly type love built in to her bones - its not her fault she is stupid...
Avi - spends more time running from him for fear of the future she knows and then for her toh which is nearly as bad a courtly courting...
Min sits down, says 'what up' and grabs a beer. Min is the one person who he can most relate to without alot of work because they share regional beliefs and tendencies. (Baralon is only 1 days gallop from Emonds field)
Richard Fife
15. R.Fife
@14 I think Min is more just that laid back from her unconventional upbringing than proximity. I will admit, though, that I do enjoy Min the most. Of the three romances, her's is the one that I feel was done the most naturally, with the teasing that turned into more, especially with the emotional shock breaker that took it full up. She is also Rand's only wife that he actually treats wife-like. Avi and Elayne both feel more like political marriages that are just going to work out in the end, where Min is more of a "shoulda happened". Iunno, I might be talking outta my ass, but again, I agree with Leigh, the "you make me comfortable and relaxed" is far more indicative of true feelings and "meant to be togetherness" than "Oh, you're hot and I want to teach you how to swim, hubba hubba giggity goo"

The the question of can a person love only one/more than one thing: I'm in the camp that polyamory is perfectly possible, but doesn't necc. work out very well

For the record, Barelon is a week's casual (but still with horses) from Taren Ferry, which is a hard day's gallop from E's Field.
Roger Powell
16. forkroot
Agree with the points made in the post, but I wouldn't use that story from John 8 as it is by definition non-canonical (i.e. it did not appear in the early manuscripts.)

Note that I am not saying it didn't occur - a reasonable case can be made for the incident coming through oral tradition and eventually making its way into later texts. But the author of the gospel of John did not include it.

Agreed that Thom gets props for proposing that Mat aid the SGs in their quest; however there are overtones of "I'm going to look out for the girls because they may not know what they are getting into".  So there's still a bit of condescension involved. Given Thom's substantial edge in worldly experience (not to mention the "forkroot" incident he-he), perhaps some of the condescension is justified.
Rob Munnelly
17. RobMRobM
I have no problem with the Elayne letter. It signals to Rand she knows about Min's intended friendliness to Rand. I don't think she was trying to interfere with Min's efforts. Rob
Peter Nein
18. gimpols1908
15. @ R.Fife "For the record, Barelon is a week's casual (but still with horses) from Taren Ferry, which is a hard day's gallop from E's Field."

Completely right - I peanut-butter-cuped my Taren Ferry with by Barelon.

The whole fire and running thing, it all blends together sometimes...

But in context of the relaxed upbringing. Both Elayne and Avi grew up in major population centers with expectations having political power later in life.

Min, grew up near mountains in a small mining city much closer to the upbringing that Rand had. She was at least close enough to smell the sheep, if not actually tend them.
19. t0kengirl
Thom's "I left her" when it comes to Morraine seems really harsh. Didn't she arrange for him to go with Elayne and Nynaeve? Also did anyone get the Thom & Morraine couple thing before KoD? Because I had no idea here.
Marcus W
20. toryx
I really don't understand people saying that Elayne in essence "didn't mean it that way."

She wrote the words, people. She says outright that she loves Min like a sister and hopes he comes to as well, i.e. love her as a sister. You don't marry or bed your sister. It was a shifty way to try and run interference. There's nothing admirable about it, and it's pretty much as plain as day.
Richard Fife
21. R.Fife
@20 Iunno, T2Rs shares certain similarities with West Virginia: nearby mountains, sheep, mines nearby, small populations. Perhaps Rand's "cousin" worry about Elayne was really that she wasn't close enough. (If yer gunna marry in the family, do it right and go for a sister). His relief on her being not related at all was just that he wasn't screwing up the "sisterly love" T2R truly enjoys. But, of course, Elayne knows the ways of her subjects, so she knows that telling Rand to love Min like a sister is giving a green flag. Yup...

*cuendillar bunker time* and for the record, yes, I actually think Elayne was running interference too, especially the emotional state she was in over Min going and not her.
Luke M
22. lmelior
@Ordeith #9
Humans by nature are a social and non-monogamous creature, it is society, culture and religion that has insisted on monogamy.
Well, social monogamy - forming lifelong pairs with the purpose of raising offspring - is an optimum natural response when the species' young are both particularly vulnerable and benefit greatly from having both parents around.

Sexual monogamy is what is unnatural, because males are biologically charged with spreading their genes as widely as possible and females are biologically charged with getting the best genes for their children. Sure, these things are left over from a time when child mortality rates were higher and life expectancies were lower, but there it is.

Okay, I am done poking at the beehive, I am taking my stick and going back in my corner.
Corners are not safe. I believe you're looking for a cuendillar bunker, and I'll see you there.
23. alreadymadwithsisters
SteelBlaidd @13
Compliments are in order for Talmanes and Daerid's competence in handling the Band while Mat was gone.

At this point I suspect Elayne was trying to get herself (and Rand) used to the idea that she would be sharing him. Min has seen it in her viewings of course, and in a way it is not uncommon in Aviendha's experience. It's Elayne and Rand who have no inkling of what was to happen.
Andrew Lovsness
24. drewlovs
Elayne knows Min's viewings always come true; that she might have hoped Rand would only "love Min like a sister" is a bit much in my opinion. After all, in later books, she takes HUGE risks with her own safety due to Min's viewing of her giving birth to twins. Some will obviously say that what is happening in the LoC is why she has that trust, though; it ultimately depends on how you view the letter.

On Avi's toh... remember, we learn that toh is a personal thing, and thus, you yourself decide what toh is owned. It doesn't matter then what Aiel tradions are. Avi thinks she owes toh that might lead to the end of her life, and her opinion (and Elayne's) is all that really matters.

To defend my point of view, I'll cite Sulin and her toh for using maiden hand signals to someone she shold not have; also, Egwene, when she asks if she were done with the wipings she was receiving, and the Wise Women replied, "Only you can decide that." (paraphrasing there)

In other words, Avi offers her life for the toh she owes Elayne because SHE thinks that might be the price.
Eric Hughes
25. CireNaes
@ 9. Ordeith

Can't say that I agree with you on that one. Monogamy and Marriage have both gotten a bad wrap over time because people are more in the habit of blaming the institution rather than themselves. Committing to a monogamous relationship is merely an event that intensifies everything that two individuals bring into the commitment. The good and the bad. Then, through a myriad of ways, the bad becomes the predominant force in the relationship. These ways include learned behavior from observed relationships (usually your parents), an inability of society and parents to teach communication skills and problem solving methods that promote compromise (because they were never taught or made the effort to learn themselves), as well as a natural inclination towards selfish behavior that every human being possesses. Then 'the grass is always greener on the other side' mentality starts to take over, the safety of the relationship is openly threatened, and divorce naturally follows. Rather than taking care of their own lawn people move on to another that has the same underlying problems, but sure looks good due to the ignorance of the beholder.

That being said, it is easier to entertain polygamous relationships in fiction than in real life as the trio of women in Rand's story arc seem more like caricatures of certain types of women. And for a young guy it is 'fun' to fantasize about having the 'advantage' of all three personalities on call. Here we have several fantasies rolled into the premise of sustaining Rand for the Last Battle: The best friend with benefits who acts more like a man who he can relax and confide in. The fiery, passionate and physically challenging woman who is attractive due to her self sufficiency, also with benefits, and the sophisticated woman from a higher role in life whom he overcomes in status, but still longs after him, oh and did I mention this one has benefits too. There seems to be a theme of 'with benefits' going on here. Amusing, but hardly a sustainable premise outside of fantasy.

@ 22. lmelior

I don't like the idea of science seeking to justify poor behavior on behalf of people anymore than I like it when monsters use poor theology to justify their behavior. If the theory of Physicalism is all that there really is to relationships at any level then we are all truly screwed.
Andrew Lovsness
26. drewlovs
23. alreadymadwithsisters

At this point I suspect Elayne was trying to get herself (and Rand) used to the idea that she would be sharing him.

Well written; AMW wrote this while I was writing my response. It really begs the question, why doesn't any of the girls tell Rand? If they do indeed tell him when the three bond him and I just don't remember, please correct me.

Letting Rand know that he isn't a piece of garbage (aka lecher) in his own eyes while at the same time knowing themselves that fate is taking a firm hand in this really sucks for Rand.
lanyo lanyo
27. lanyo
It's all more non-communicating, the girls not telling Rand it's fate and not him being creepy that gets him 3 chicks. Which means, these relationships may not last, what with all the poor communication.

It's pretty antsy-making that Mat is right there with the Moiraine letter, before Thom reads it, and how it has so much to do with him.... Can't wait for Operation: Rescue Blue.
29. Gaidal
I have a theory about the Alanna bonding and the triple-bonding. I'm not happy about this theory, and I doubt I could be the first, but here goes... Rand is bonded to four specifically to protect him from crazy warder syndrome when one (or more) are killed in the last book(s). Since Min has viewed Elayne and Avi with kids, but nothing about herself, and the fact that not being able to channel herself may not trigger the syndrome... I worry for her safety, and think she may be sacrificed to give Rand the ability to cry again... Again, not happy about this theory.
John Massey
30. subwoofer
Had stuff to say this morning but my brain wasn't cooperating either... or, in truth, I was running a scan and my computer shut down in mid sentence and it proved to be a hassle to reboot. Suffice to say it was an opus.

Min... I dunno, she is head over heels for Rand but it still drives me that she thinks everyone else is snowed by it. In reality the opposite is true, everyone can see Min is besotted.

Avi- what drewlovs said. And, when I last checked, there was just some kissing in the corners and two baffling letters. No vows were exchanged, no promise rings or asking parent's permission. So what is the big deal with this concept that Rand was spoken for. How about even a "gee, I'm cheating on my... wait, did she say she was my girlfriend?" Elayne's the daughter-heir, but it still seemed pretty casual to me. Avi has to learn to relax. I just take it into context that Avi is young and as a Maiden, fairly unschooled in the realm of man-woman relationships too.

Mat, Mat, Matty Mat Mat. What to say. Run... Awwww, but he gave his word. Well, if you can't beat 'em, or in this case, persuade them to get their butt's to Rand... then at least try to keep them alive so when they do change their minds, the SG's are still alive. All sorts of nasties in the Rahad.

Oh yeah, best bit coming up...
"A woman Warder," Nalesean muttered. "I knew everything would change with the Dragon Reborn, but a woman Warder?"
Mat shrugged. "I suppose she'll do well enough as long as she really can shoot that bow. Down the wrong hole?" he asked Juilin, who had begun to choke on is ale. "Give me a good bow over a sword any day. Better a quarterstaff, but a bow is just fine. I only hope she doesn't try to get in my way when it's time to take Elayne to Rand."
"I think she can shoot it." Thom leaned across the table to slap Juilin on the back. "I think she can, Mat."

Ahhhh, good times!

31. Freelancer
Nobody else has said it yet, so...

After all this time, [b][u]UNDER A MONTH TO GO!

Ahem. There, everything's fine, yes.
j p
32. sps49
Ah, finally! I felt constricted after reading Leigh's post but before Pablo's explanation was posted; I thought Tordot was messing with me.

forkroot @16- yes, the girls need non-channeler and trustworthy help; have they forgotten Tear, Tanchico, and the forkroot yet? They are trying to help people who need their help but don't realize it- what is their best choice?

And why doesn't this chapter count as Mat asking Thom about the letter? We could've had Moiraine seven books sooner!
sandi vogel
33. sinfulcashew
19. t0kengirl
"Thom's "I left her" when it comes to Morraine seems really harsh. Didn't she arrange for him to go with Elayne and Nynaeve? Also did anyone get the Thom & Morraine couple thing before KoD? Because I had no idea here."

Hmmm! I always assumed that it was 'Morgase' that was the woman Thom had been attached to.
Roger Powell
34. forkroot
Yes, yes, 29 days! I broke down and bought the prologue (BTW it is only $2.39 on Amazon) just to tide me over. My wife is already resigned to the fact that I will pretty much be useless when I get the book (until I finish it.)
sandi vogel
35. sinfulcashew
I just posted a comment and when I looked for it, no comment.
At the top of the posting it says,
"comment has been saved"
What the H E double toothpicks is that?????

(PS-TOR is taking way too long to load a preview)
Rikka Cordin
36. Rikka
I love these chapters, they are definitely personal favorites. Thom again proves his awesomeness by being frustrated, fatherly protector who ain't leaving no way, no how. Min and Rand is definitely my favorite 'ship of the three, probably because we actually get all this flirtbanter between them. We are told that Elayne and Rand get some chit chat in while necking in Tear but we never see it and maybe if we did I'd believe them better. Aviendha and Rand feels the most annoyingly set up to me, perhaps because they were.

I do like the idea that the three men of Rand's personality (random unknown, LT and Rand) all have a corresponding wife and I think that Min is who Rand would have ended up with if he weren't the DR but had still gone adventuring (as opposed to Egwene, whom he would have married if he's just stayed in Emond's field).

As for Matt and the supergirls... yet another example where a good honest warcouncil could have come in handy. But No. We can't trust other people!
sandi vogel
37. sinfulcashew
Now I can't even edit.....
I only wanted to know why is loading and where is it?
Rob Trotter
38. shadar
@19 / Tokengirl

Yeah - there was a bit of foreshadowing for this. Thom thinks of her as a 'fine looking woman', moir thinks 'she knows the face of her husband better than any of you', Min with a viewing re: Moir..

(I think there was something else to it as well)
39. vyskol
Min is my favourite. Well ahead of any of the other women (I do like Aviendha, and Nynaeve has grown on me through the rereads) and Min & Rand are probably my favourite "couple" as well. Their romance certainly seems more natural than any of the other relationships that auto-magically happen.
40. Wes S.

IIRC, Min's viewing was of Thom pulling Moiraine's blue-stone pendant and chain out of a fire. Although I didn't quite imagine Moiraine and Thom as a couple until this point of the series.

Especially after the way Moiraine cruelly - albeit with great reluctance - arm-twisted Thom into accompanying Elayne and Nynaeve back in The Shadow Rising.

And Min might be my favorite female character in the series. Smart, courageous, and able to love Rand while knowing fully well how dangerous he is. This isn't just a case of a foolish girl being head-over-heels in love with someone bad and dangerous, and/or heroic (which I think describes Elayne's "love" for Rand to a T, at least as of this point in the series; Elayne still has some growing up to do).

Min is going into her relationship with Rand with her eyes open...not least because by this point Rand desperately needs a stabilizing influence that perhaps only she can provide.

And what's more, she's willing to take on that role for Rand knowing full well the risks to herself. Because Rand needs her.
41. Shadow_Jak
Leigh, Great job as always.
But I've got to add one of my favorite little bits that didn't make it into your summary.

When Min rides to the Palace requesting to see Rand. Don't have the book in front of me so I must paraphrase...

Min says something like: I'm here to see Rand Al-Thor, the Dragon Reborn. My name is Min. he knows me. He will want to see me.

The Aiel agree to let her in with unveiled threats (by far the best kind when dealing with Aiel!)if he really does NOT want to see her.

Min asks what she should do with her horse.
"I don't think Rand wants to she her."
42. Freelancer
Thom/Moiraine was clear when everyone was getting ready to leave Tear in TSR. The proximity of Moiraine telling the girls that she knows the face of the man she will marry, to her vowing to Thom that she will see him again after Tanchico, plus his unspoken POV there admiring her, it all adds up.

Thom answering Mat that "he left her", was just a bit of his grief coming through, that she's gone, and some guilt that he couldn't prevent it. He was clearly thinking more than warmly of her, then learns of her "death". Show me a man who would not be unfairly harsh with himself during such a time, and I'll show you a cold-blooded dude. I find it very realistic.

Edit: I had forgotten, in Moiraine's farewell letter to Rand, she says that she only knows about one event which occurs later in time than the docks of Cairhien, and it doesn't concern him. This refers to the knowledge about Thom upon which she bases her promise to him that she will see him again.

Added to the mix is Min's viewing of Thom pulling Moiraine's kesiera out of a flame. Nothing about that to indicate that they would become a couple, but once other tidbits point in that direction it provides a bit of extra confirmation.
Genevieve Williams
43. welltemperedwriter
The one (sorta rumored) example I can think of involving a woman with multiple partners is Myrelle, who is reputed to have married all three of her Warders. But I don't know that we ever find out for sure one way or the other.

I know a few polyamorous families (not Mormons, just to stave off that inevitable question; I know several Mormons but none are poly). It's a complex arrangement but it seems to work for some.

I have to say that I've never really bought the "monogamy isn't natural" argument, at least not on the basis of securing offspring. The reason is that it doesn't do just to make lots of babies with your genetic material; they have to survive and reproduce themselves, which means that the real payoff comes in parenting.

The possible ways that this can intersect with sex for what we might call recreational purposes is left as an exercise for the reader; I'll just point out here that I've known people who pair-bonded for life, and people who will never date a single person exclusively never mind marry them, and too many permutations in between to believe that the entirety of the human race is "naturally" any one thing along that spectrum.
Noneo Yourbusiness
44. Longtimefan
Polygamy and monogamy both depend on the same thing. The commitment of the partners involved. Any opinions on the relationships by people not participating in the relationship are irrelevant be they positive or negative. I personally can understand finding a genuine and deep seated relationship with more than one person. However I understand that this may not be something other people are interested in. Any relationship is up to a person to build. In fiction is it much easier to make the characters fit the storytelling need.

Oh stories, good times.

As for Adultery and stoning, here is my favorite catholic school playground joke from fourth grade.

Jesus is writing in the dirt when a mob pulls a woman into the street before him.

Jesus asks "what has this woman done that you would treat her so?"

A man replies "she is an adulteress and must be stoned for it."

Jesus says "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

The crowd looks down and mumbles a bit as they begin to break apart. Suddenly a huge rock comes flying out of the back of the crowd and kills the woman in one blow.

Jesus whips his head around and says "MOTHER!"

When you are 9 years old this joke is hilarious.
Andrew Lovsness
45. drewlovs
29. Gaidal

I don't like your theory either!!!

I REALLy don't like it, mainly because it has a ring of truth to it, sadly. I have wondered for awhile why Avi and Elayne have only had one chance to do God's work (with good results in Elayne's case), while Min has been with Rand many many times. We know this from Min's thoughts and Mat's visions when he thinks of Rand in the later books.

Why is she getting so lucky (no pun intended)? Why hasn't Rand visited the other 2? Further, Min will be the only of any of them to live a normal (and thus, short in comparison) life...

In my experience, when two main characters in a series enjoy a good personal relationship, it means bad things for one of them. I'm sure everyone can think of a corny line that includes, "At least we some time together before..."
46. Siuanfan
When I heard it, the punchline went: Jesus rolls his eyes and goes "Sometimes you really piss me off, mom."

Somehow that makes it funnier to me...

Anyhoo, time for me to weigh in with my TOTALLY IMPORTANT OPINIONS (lolwut).

First off, thanks Leigh! Lovely job as usual!

Re: Aviendha's knife - I think it's somewhat of a fallacy to assume that under ji'e'toh, adultery (or whatever this was), betrayal, or anything else warrants a death sentence. We have to remember that ji'e'toh requires that someone recognize their own wrongdoing and then THEY decide what is an appropriate punishment, or they ask a Wise One for assistance if their imagination isn't that great. And the punishment is not so much "punishment" as it is a means of restoring balance by erasing the shame of the misdeed with an act of contrition strong enough to balance it out. So the whole knife thing is no one's idea but Aviendha's - she feels that what she's done (the betrayal of her word to Egwene - and through her, to Elayne) is bad enough to justify it. Then again, we know Aviendha's a little bit dramatic anyway, with the way she ran away from the Wise Ones in the first place and the way she fought her feelings for Rand - whatever she comes up with is going to be ALL DRAMA, ALL THE TIME. Which I think is cute in an immature way, but whatever.

Re: Min... yanno, for the longest time, I thought Elayne was going to be Rand's "true" love and the other two just sort of... backup dancers. This is partly because of Elayne's similarity (in both name and looks) to Ilyena, as if she was the reincarnated lost love of Lews Therin. Secondly, I thought that because Rand met her first and they showed immediate FEELINGS, but there I was having a bit of a brain fart because duh - he met Min in Baerlon long before he met Elayne AND I realized in my re-read that she loved him immediately, which might not have been obvious until you actually go back and re-read it. I don't think he was in any condition at the time to think of her in that way though.
James Jones
47. jamesedjones
30 subwoofer

"Had stuff to say this morning but my brain wasn't cooperating either... or, in truth, I was running a scan and my computer shut down in mid sentence and it proved to be a hassle to reboot. Suffice to say it was an opus."

You too?! Man, it just breaks my heart to consider all the brilliance and culture we lose when our computers aren't cooperating.

Tragic. Just tragic.

I gotta say that Mat's reaction to Thom is perfect for his character. Anytime anyone with him is trying to share some wisdom (Siuan, Thom, Moiraine, etc.), his first response is always very similar.
48. afterthefallofnight
1. I think I agree with Suianfan. Aviendha's offer of her knife is probably based more on her own assessment of her crime/guild/toh than an unambiguous penalty for adultery.

2. "Of course, back in the day the penalty for adultery was stoning (for the woman, anyway. I think the man just got like a fine or something. Adorable), so maybe it’s not all that extreme for the mindset involved."

You are probably right, but I seem to remember the punishment prescribed in the Bible (Leviticus?) is death for both, the man and the woman. Of course, enforcement of Biblical law has occasionally been rather lax.
john mullen
49. johntheirishmongol
Min has always been one of my faves, mostly because she teases and jokes like no other. Everyone else is so damn serious all the time.

Anyway, I have come up with a couple of questions that just are bugging me and my foolish theory.

One, how do men and women fight against each other using the power if they can't sense each others weaves? All you would see is the results and the fastest would be the winner every time. I think it's a flaw. If you consider it the battle with Rand and Lanfear doesn't work.

Secondly, I know we haven't met her yet but I have a theory about Setalle Anan, that she is a previously seated Amyrlin, and was severed, but how long before I cannot say. But she will be healed and be one of those in charge in the last battle. Cadsuane will undoubtedly know her. Not too looney I hope
john mullen
50. johntheirishmongol
Addendum to my last post:

Stoning women is not just out of the dark ages. There are still places where it is practiced today.

Also Leigh, if you back of your hands on your hips, your fingers point upward. It's a pretty aggresive stance
William Fettes
51. Wolfmage
"However, if killing Aviendha with the knife was meant to not be an option, you’d think that Aviendha would have mentioned that, seeing as Elayne could hardly be expected to automatically know where the line was drawn. The fact that she set no limits suggests that she thought Elayne could basically punish her any way she wanted, including killing her. Which, wow."

I don't think death was really entertained, but it's not exactly surprising that Aviendha wouldn't explain it properly. Most Aiel are cultural solipsists, in the sense that they live wholly in ji'e'toh and simply expect others to understand and recognise their system. Aviendha is no different in that respect, despite her comparative exposure to the wetlands. Notwithstanding the lectures she gives to Rand, she has also seldom been guilty of over-explaining the intricacies of ji'e'toh where she is personally concerned.

Aside from that, I think Siuanfan is right to emphasise that Aviendha sets great store by her personal honour and the comparative gravity of the infraction. Therefore, the knife is offered to Elayne not because it is required by a standard measure of sanction, but because Aviendha believes it may be warranted as her price. In that context, I think the knife is for cutting her rather than stabbing her to death.

However, I cannot help but notice that, again, pain is used as a default mechanism. Siuanfan argued in another thread that Egwene's toh scene was really about shame, which just happened to be administered through pain. But I can't say I agree with that analysis. For Egwene, the pain itself was clearly the most active presence in her thoughts and the Wise Ones didn't advert to it being shaming in any way, and afterwards it is as if nothing happened. So it couldn't really be shame in any meaningful sense -- the pain is so overwhelming it makes adverting to the pain almost impossible, and then it disappears. Here, I'm not convinced that Aviendha would really be shamed by Elayne beating or cutting her, despite the fact that her infraction is surely greater than Sulin's - which was a clear-cut usage of shame.

Shame is certainly used prolifically in ji'e'toh, but so is pain, and not all pain is simply a derivative of shame. So again, we see evidence that pain has some accepted currency in ji'e'toh.
William Fettes
52. Wolfmage
toryx @ 3

"I know a lot of people don't like Min..."

Really? I find that hard to believe. She's easily one of the most likeable characters in the series. At worst she has some love-sick thoughts, but you'd have to be pretty harsh to hold that against her. Otherwise, she is like a comfy pair of tracksuit pants.

Also, she's doing philosophy by remote correspondence through Fel's library just because she is interested and can understand it. How can you not love that?!?
53. vecki
@52 Wolfmage...

I can't stand the woman. It's quite odd, there's nothing firm I can put my finger on and say 'this is why I hate Min', but she just gets up my nose in a way no other character manages - even Faile stands higher AFAIC.

One possible reason that just occurred to me is that of all of Rand's harem, she's the one that insists to the Supergirls (and herself) that she won't change for any man, and yet she's the one that has changed the most. She's changed her appearance to attract Rand's interest. She's gone from being those comfy trakky daks to being a primped, preened, perfumed, curled, embroidered, pinked... girly girl :p

She's following him around like a little puppy while the other girls have Things To Do (fix the weather, gain a throne, learn how to be a Wise One). Her sudden pick up of philosophy feels forced (even though I can see an explanation for it, there's even one forming in the back of my mind as I type this as an extension of her Pattern Reading Ability), it's just that she picks up one of Fel's books and suddenly BAM! Philosopher am I.

And 'some love-sick thoughts?' Only every second thought in her POV! :P

And while I keep telling myself it's just me being mean nasty and spiteful, I'm convinced she's in for a Bad End. For the same reasons as Gaidal and drewlovs mention up above.
Rahul Luhar
54. Gerontius
First post, but longtime re-reader.

I think that the generally accepted theory is that Setalle Anan is Martine Janata, an Aes Sedai (though not an Amyrlin Seat), who was stilled while studying ter'angreal.

Min is probably my favorite female character. I can't believe that the first time I read WOT, I thought that she was a Darkfriend, until the middle of book 2.

I don't think Alanna dieing would affect Rand too much. The bond doesn't even work properly on him - Alanna is unable to Compel him. Also, he is bonded to three other women, which would probably shield him at least partially.
Birgit F
55. birgit
Killing Rand al’Thor would meet one toh, killing herself the second, but each toh blocked that solution to the other. Whatever the Wise Ones said, she had to find some way to meet both.

If Elayne kills Aviendha, that might solve her problem of how to meet the conflicting tohs.

I love her like a sister, and hope you love her as I do.

Elayne is trying to be fair and accept the situation, but she doesn't really manage it yet, which results in her sneaky line.

I always assumed that it was 'Morgase' that was the woman Thom had been attached to.

Thom was Morgase's lover when Elayne was young. His relationship with Moiraine develops during their travels together.
Maiane Bakroeva
56. Isilel
Vecki @53:

I largely agree with you, though I don't hate Min, I am rather indifferent to her.

Now, she has her awesome moments - when her friends and allies are in a tight spot, she stands by them to the end. I.e. Egwene's captivity with the Seanchan and rescue of Siuan and Leane.

But otherwise, she is pretty direction-less apart from her Rand-fixation.

She's following him around like a little puppy while the other girls have Things To Do

Indeed. Now, maybe I am uncharitable, but IMHO Rand-Min pairing is a very old-fashioned affair, where man is concentrated on great deeds and woman is concentrated on the man's well-being ;).

So, basically Min has it easy compared to other SGs, who have duties and independent roles to play in saving of the world and who are more Rand's equals.

Re: Mat in these chapters - yep. IMHO this conclusively shows that the gender condescension and dismissive attitude is very much two-sided, LOL.
Honestly, he may not use the word "guidance" that seems to irritate so many folks, but his thoughts amount to the same and more ;).

And Mat's suspicion that Nyn's avoidance of him was part of some deep intrigue... LOL.

Thom is awesome here. Finally, somebody utters long overdue words of reason.
Frankly, I never understood the notion that joining SGs in TSR diminished him.

I did feel this way about Thom's role in the SGs and then Mat's Altaran arc, but I really don't like it in general apart from a few bright spots, so YMMV.

Re: Talmanes - now Mat-fans are going to kill me, but he always felt to me like a genuine article of a young up-and-coming military leader as opposed to Mat's supernaturally propped one.
Talmanes clearly has a talent for it, worked on developing it and by KoD he is totally awesome. He is the reason why the Band flourished and did brilliantly in Mat's absence. IMHO, YMMV.
William Fettes
57. Wolfmage
Isilel @56
"But otherwise, she is pretty direction-less apart from her Rand-fixation."

I disagree. She's a common born normal who does a lot with little and does it with effortless grace, class and a complete absence of all the ridiculously affected airs, deep seated hubris or manipulative, irrational tendencies of so many other women in the series.

Of all the young viewpoint female characters, she is arguably the one least in need of growing up from the time we meet her. This is a world where channellers are just in a different league of utility to normals, and by comparison every other main girl has some kind of super ability or entitlement - whether incredible strength in the power, a royal birthright, some critical lost talents, or just a fast track to the Amyrlin Seat. Not Min. Min just has her viewings and some modest skill with a knife. But the cool thing is she lets that talent loose in service to the light with never a second thought. She is dependable and completely loyal. She has very little neuroses, at least not in terms of her outward actions, but she is quite capable of self-examination and introspection cf. Egwene. She is courageous and helps both Siuan and Egwene escape captivity. She is independent and has her own fashion sense in a world where 99% of women wear frilly lace, dresses and petticoats, and she spreads her fashion like wildfire around her. Oh, and her and Faile don't get along - which is as good an endorsement as I need.

Did I mention she does freakin philosophy in her own time! Admittedly RJ should have developed this more - but it's impressive enough that someone who probably had only a modest education is able to grapple with Randland's main intellectual giant and does it of her own volition. I really reckon Min has that modest intellectual curiosity of a bona fide public intellectual as opposed to Egwene's fierce cunning, which is more political than wise or deep.

"Thom is awesome here. Finally, somebody utters long overdue words of reason.
Frankly, I never understood the notion that joining SGs in TSR diminished him."

I don't quite think it diminishes him, but I understand the train of thought. Thom is a master of the Great Game, a worldly and sophisticated bard with considerable intellect and talents. With all these skills, he could easily have taken on the role of Rand's Consigliere in ways that Bashere would not be able to match, and in ways which Rand has sorely lacked since Moirane left.

Despite this, he basically goes off and has to play the role of helper / adjunct to the SG's mission. And while that mission is undoubtedly important, he is often underutilising and lumped in with other men of less discerning talents by the girls who have leadership of the mission. He isn't exactly abused, but he certainly isn't treated particularly well during this time, yet he goes along with it. That's fine and dandy, but I'm sure many might have preferred Thom going on to do grander things than playing a jumped up grandfather and parser of street gossip.
58. Maetrix
I've spent the past several weeks reading the comments, to my endless fascination, in regards to the shear variety of views and opinions over one storey. As this is my first post, Leigh, thank you immensely for task. I still can't believe you've been steadily and reliably working on this project since, what, February?! Momentous is what I'd say, but I'm just some Canadian bloke working in the Ogaden.

To me, Min always came across as the most vulnerable of the three girls (aren't they women now?) because it seems her life has always been more visceral. Her visions have never allowed her to delude herself (like we all do) with hope of better things, especially when it's a pretty poignant image of someone's imminent death.

I could imagine seeing visions like this all the time would serious start to affect one's sanity if one didn't live for the now.

I've seen other authors use this medium, and usually to a disappointing result because they have the character become introverted and shamed of the visions - ergo never telling anyone. Min is the exact opposite.

Mind you, she doesn't walk around telling everyone she sees about all that she sees (for obvious reasons), but she DOES tell those that matter - namely, Rand and Moraine.

This brings a certain vulnerability to the character we don't see in the other female leads. Egwene lost her innocence (re: vulnerability) when she was tortured through the a'dam and then further trained by the Aiel. Elayne hides her naivety and fear (what makes her vulnerable) by acting over-confident and "regal" and Nynaeve hides her vulnerability behind a rigid structure of dos and don'ts which, for better or worse, allows her to get through the day.

But Min is one of those rare kind of people who wear their heart on their sleeve and I think this is why she is so universally adored. I remember first reading the series and having that small voice in the back of my head scream in fear she'll never tell anyone about her visions. Thankfully, RJ never went down this path.

Apologies for the long first-post, but I couldn't think of a more concise way to explain that.
59. peachy
@56 : I like Mat, but I'm a big fan of Talmanes too. In fact, he's probabably the best second fiddle in the series (Leane might have been up there, but Suian didn't trust her sufficiently.) One factor of Mat-goodness that doesn't get enough attention, it seems, is his ability to delegate; he has competent and loyal subordinates, and he trusts them to take care of their jobs. The Band might be the most functional organisation in Randland, which is a credit to everyone involved. (This is one reason it's so very grating when the assorted AS dismiss them as 'Dragonsworn', a term that might as well be a synonym for 'bandits' by that point.)

@57 : I think Moiraine missed a point when she sent Thom away. The reasons for it were valid at the time, but it was a risk to separate Rand from the only other political mentor available. I bet she was kicking herself after Rhuidean.
60. PhantomIce
re Elayne's letter:
I was actually always more bothered with the "I have made my feelings clear to you. Know that they have not changed." portion especially since poor Rand keeps harping about how she wrote him 2 very different letters.

@29: I agree that the multiple bondings are to save Rand from crazy warder syndrome. I would also add that more importantly (since it is unclear if Rand will be affected by Alana's death as a typical warder) I think it is to protect him from going as insane as LTT did when he killed Ilyena.

Leaving aside if Rand or someone else will be killing one of Rand's 3 women, I share your fear that Min is going to be the one to die, which to my mind would be a shame because she's my favorite.

I do have a hope (unrealistic as it may be) that the one to die will be Elayne (i used to like her but the arcs first with the bowl and now with the andoran throne are just too long). My hopeful theory on that is: once she gives birth she will have secured both the Andoran and Cairhien thrones with her twins she is no longer necessary. Plus as others have noted she is the most similar to Ilyena in name and looks and if as many hope LTT (leaving aside if he is real or disassociated personality) dies so that Rand may live, it would be a poetic echo of the pattern for Elayne to be the one to die.
Sean Banawnie
61. Seanie
Welcome, And a long first post but a good one. Min is well liked . Lots of good points. She is 'comfortable' . Did somebody compare her to a comfy pair of socks yesterday? or was I dayposting again? dunno...anywho..... she is vulnerable, her power is different (and more subtle) than the other SGs
and more mysterious. She is just cool. You got me thinking, has she been around any of the Forsaken(for viewing) besides that time with Lanfear?"Keep him for me" I don't recall her being around Asmo, tha was always Avi......
You would think she sees some awful visions , would make it hard for them to sneak up on Rand.....Dashiva? I think she saw just very vague stuff.....was just wondering...
Oh and Maetrix , don't talk about gets everyone worked up......
62. Freelancer

Setalle Anan is not a former Amyrlin. She is Martine Janata, a former Aes Sedai who was accidentally burned out during study of a ter'angreal.

- She is "the one who is not" as the key to discovering the Bowl of the Winds.
- Her knowledge of White Tower practices and traditions are far beyond someone who didn't earn the shawl, as she is even aware of the test, which is not spoken of even to Accepteds until they are about to be tested.
- The Kin, even including the Knitting Circle, show incredible deference to her, even though she is clearly far younger than they, and age is their primary criteria for establishing heirarchy.
- Her overwhelming curiosity about Mat's foxhead medallion ter'angreal adds to the weight of evidence in this regard.
- She later admits having been an Aes Sedai to Mat.
- Finally, the timeline for Martine's departure from the Tower, and Setalle's arrival in Ebou Dar match up well.
John Massey
63. subwoofer
Good morning all!

Been up since 3am my time so I decided to put my insomnia to good use and plow through some more of Load of Choss. Was doing fine until I got to a point where I had to say "waitatickhere", and share with my fellow WoTer's.

Went through the chapters where the SAS were joined by two more Sisters that were sent to the Waste to find Rand. This of course sends Rand in a panic as their numbers now have reached 13 and this after the Sisters confront him over a case of mistaken stabbing. These ladies in the end wanted to leash the Dragon Reborn.

Then plowed through the chapters of relative quiet with Perrin dealing with the whole Berelain- Faile story arc(heavy sigh!) which drove me nuts too. In the end Galina took him and caged him.

Perrin and company figure it out eventually which still brings chuckles to me for Dobraine's reaction to Sulin.
"Grace favor us", Dorbraine growled."She told the Aiel nothing; the woman must be mad. We can decide what to tell them after we tie and gag her." He moved as if to do it, even pulling a dark green scarf from his coat pocket, but Perring caught his arm.

...But I digress. After this comes the mad dash to catch up and Perrin trying to figure out the gap. He hops on dial-a-wolf to get some perspective and it comes back to him Why? and he sends back they have caged Shadowkiller. Now the wolves reaction is what I would expect, howls of indignation and protest. Then the we come at the end of it.

My point is- even the wolves get it. They know how important Rand is, not just to them, but to the salvation of the world in general. What the deuce is the point of caging him? And why are the AS- any AS so thick as to think that by doing that, they will get compliance? Perhaps cooperation and good will instead of bullying and force- the Modus operandi of AS that I have witnessed up to this point could work. If they don't defer to you just because you are AS, threaten them... gahhhh.

Sorry folks for jumping ahead, but these chapters culminating with the wolves did not make me drowsy at all. Instead it made me sit up and think that this was the point more so than the actual battle at DW that made a Moment of Awesome for me. And want to *headdesk* several times for the AS flying in the face of Tower Law to do what they did and make the reunification of Saidin/Saidar- men & women channelers and uphill battle.

-something fishy with the site here-
64. PhantomIce
@63: the we come really just sums it up doesn't it? Rand is after all the man from all those prophecies but so few (not just Aes Sedai) seem to be able to just accept it. So big props to the wolves for doing so.

Though the whole Aes Sedai attitude has always driven me *headdesk* crazy especially in light of the fact that these women are supposed to be good at surrendering to something bigger than themselves, that is after all how they embrace saidar. Remeber Moiraine's comment regarding Rand? why is she the only one who has managed to learn that lesson? or for that matter why do they have to learn that lesson at all?

tsk tsk tsk, pride goes before the fall
Jeff Weston
66. JWezy
For an interesting take on a healthy polyamorous relationship, I recommend Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Several types of marriage exist as part of the story, but the most fully described one is what he calls a "line" marriage. Essentially, the existing partners in the marriage acquire new members as a group (they tend to alternate adding male and female, for balance), so at any one time the marriage consists of the very young to the very old.

Whether it can work in practice, who knows? I suspect that there would be a tendency toward the formation of "cliques", but it is also possible that it would work if the members were committed to making it so.

Actually, that last bit is true of most marriages - IMO the lack of commitment is often a factor is the failure of the marriage.
67. Siuanfan
Wolfmage @ 51 - "Siuanfan argued in another thread that Egwene's toh scene was really about shame, which just happened to be administered through pain."

Nono, you mistake my meaning. The shame comes from having committed the misdeed. The pain in a way is a means to make the offender feel better - that they can pay for their actions by accepting the pain instead of the shame. Sort of like this:

I tell a lie to someone.
I feel the shame of having told a lie.
I am now indebted to the person (toh) because I've committed an offense against them by lying to them.
I confess to the lie and offer to accept a beating from the person I lied to.
The person can choose to administer the beating, thereby erasing the lie and my shame at having lied, OR
The person can refuse to give the beating, thus not allowing me to erase either the shame or the debt, forcing me to live with the shame instead, AND keeping a hold over me. See, that's the other part that they don't get into much, but if a person refuses to allow someone to erase their toh, they basically have a claim on that person. One might rack up a lot of "future favors" by refusing to ever forgive toh and instead hold on to your claims over people. But I'm guessing that would be considered dishonorable behavior.

See, I'd pay for what I did in either case, but to the Aiel, pain is a much lesser consequence than the shame. So the person in this case choosing to give the beating is basically saying "I forgive you," by allowing me to erase it so easily (i.e. with pain, which to Aiel is nothing, really) Choosing NOT to give it and making me live with the shame of having done it is like saying "I don't forgive you. Jerk." Or maybe more accurately, it's like saying the offense was too great to be rectified with simple pain.

The pain is not the punishment for the lie; the shame + debt (toh) is the punishment. Accepting the pain is a means of making amends and restoring balance - no more shame, no more debt, we're even.
Marcus W
68. toryx
Wolfmage @ 52:

The people who dislike Min have been pretty quiet on this particular post, but they've spoken pretty loudly in the past. I don't have time to go looking for them, but they're definitely there.

Which is fine. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. I'm personally still smarting at those who say my strong dislike for Elayne is influenced by my appreciation of Mat. Like my emotions prevent me from making rational arguments. It could just as easily be said that those who defend Elayne's actions against Mat (and in the letter she sent with Min) are blinded by their own strong feelings for her.

Who cares? People are free to like or dislike who they choose. We all have the right to state our reasons, and I wish that people would respect those arguments without explaining them away as irrational fervor.
69. peachy
Not to defend the AS (their attitude to Rand does drive me bonkers), but several of the snatch team, including two of the leaders, are in fact Black Ajah - so they're DELIBERATELY trying to screw things up.
70. Siuanfan
subwoofer @ 63 I don't think the Salidar faction ever had any intention of leashing Rand. I do think they were silly enough to think they could scare him into behaving by showing up and "looming" and threatening him with the anger of MYSTERIOUS AND POWERFUL Aes Sedai. But like peachy stated @ 69, the ones from the Tower who DID capture him were led by two Black members. The Salidar group were not. I can't think they'd have been quite THAT dumb, even if their stupid "let's scare him with our anger" plan was ridiculous. We can't even chalk the Tower group's actions up to stupidity. On the surface, yeah it was a stupid thing for Aes Sedai to do, but in reality it was a deliberate effort by the Dark Side to screw something up while making it LOOK like the Aes Sedai were behind it.
John Massey
71. subwoofer
@70- um... yes, however, in one of the later chapters the two AS that were sent to the Waste take charge of the embassy sent from Salidar. During the discussion- and sorry, am at work, don't have my book in front of me- one of them actually says words to the effect of "we should of leashed that boy long ago". Something like that after Rand writes the leader of the embassy a letter warning her not to bring too many AS with her to follow him to Cairhien. So even those ladies are shmucks.

Yes, I understand their frustration at the way the Dragon treats them as compared to the way they are normally treated by people without power PhantomIce and others have stated- Moiraine learned that to get to Rand she has to surrender as with Saidar. All the other AS should take a page out of her book. Meh. When Moiraine the White comes again, she will set everyone straight.

Maybe its just me.


edit- there is merit to what Peachy says though- damn BA. Got nuthin' better to do?!
72. PhantomIce
While the Salidar AS may not necessarily wish to stuff Rand in a box and torture him at regular intervals like the Black AS among the White Tower AS do, they clearly think that they know better than Rand and that he should listen to whatever they say and do whatever they tell him to do.

No one seems to think that if this guy was prophesied (is that a word) as the savior of their world, he might just maybe have some instinctual knowledge (or just simply be better equipped than anyone else) of what he needs to do.

To me it's just about pride. They cannot swallow the fact that after 3000 years of being the most powerful people in Randland they now are relegated to a supporting role where they are meant to help not guide.
73. PhantomIce
And regarding the actions of the tower AS, not all of them are black and not all of them are even red so don't any of them have any common sense about the potential consequences of their actions?

If it was so easy to break and lead the dragon reborn how would he lead anyone to victory in TG?
74. peachy
The 'good' AS in general behave pretty stupidly when it comes to the DR - from Cadsuane's perpetual condescension (does she ever call him anything but "boy"?) to Elaida's plan to have him guarded and shielded in the Tower until TG (where - lacking any experience in actually using saidin - he'd be snapped like a twig by the first Dreadlord, much less Forsaken, he met.) But the "keep him in a box except when we're beating him" strategy is executed by two Black sisters and a Green whose Warders he killed - and even Erian works out her rage and grief in the first two days. So the extremes of stupidity are definitely deliberate... which does not excuse all the lesser degrees of stupidity. It's worth remembering what Moiraine said, however, (paraphrasing because I don't recall the page) - "We've made others dance to our tune for so long, it's tough to change even when it's necessary."
William Fettes
75. Wolfmage
Siuanfan @ 67
"but to the Aiel, pain is a much lesser consequence than the shame."

Of course the Aiel regard shame as much worse than pain. The series is positively littered with examples of this. This is Aiel culture 101 and not under dispute.

"The pain is not the punishment for the lie; the shame + debt (toh) is the punishment."

I never equated pain with punishment, I analogised pain to a 'moral credit' which can be used to even out the debt entry in the moral ledger, toh. We know ji'e'toh means honour and obligation. So when you have toh, we can assume you have abrogated some standard of conduct, Aiel convention, or otherwise impugned your own view of honour. But once you have incurred toh, the issue here is about how do you remedy this? My point all along has been that shame is neither the only nor the predominant method. This claim is nothing to do with punishment. I'm just saying that pain is also used as a valid expression of delimiting toh; ergo, the more the pain, the more toh is de-incremented. That function works independently of whether shame is involved, if the parties accept pain as the method. This view is completely compatible with the personalised nature of meeting toh, whereby the individual decides how much their honour is worth. So whilst the Wise Ones may be very adept at creatively using shame to help others extinguish their toh, and this may be the common, it is not the whole story of meeting toh.

NB - I am not trying to say pain equals ji or honour. Ji and toh are independent from each other - it is not a zero sum system.
William Fettes
76. Wolfmage
68. toryx

"Who cares? People are free to like or dislike who they choose."

Well, I wouldn't go quite that far. I think if you have a strong opinion of a character's worth, and you don't want it discounted, you should at least be prepared to furnish reasons for that opinion. Now, maybe those reasons might be personal or impressionistic, and not really amenable to analysis. But if they are more reasoned and capable of being discussed rationally, then I don't see harm in seeing whether they stand or fall on the strength of the arguments and factual premises.

"We all have the right to state our reasons, and I wish that people would respect those arguments without explaining them away as irrational fervor."

Amen to that. I do personally think the Elayne hatred goes too far, but let's all try not to argue from uncharitable revealed preferences.
77. Brenda Alexander
Subwoofer - thanks for the welcome a while back. I am now, finally and officially, caught up with you all!!!
Rob Munnelly
78. RobMRobM
brenda@77. Guess I should second that welcome. Come on in, the water's nice. Rob
79. alreadymadwithboxeddragon
peachy @69, Siuanfan @70
Yes the leaders of the snatch team were Darkfriends. But let us not forget that their instructions came directly from Elaida. And Elaida wanted him broken.
while Elaida ordered, divided and assigned the world between the Aryth Ocean and the Spine of the World, in her mind frolicked the image of young al'Thor on his way to her like a caged bear, to be taught to dance for his dinner.
I doubt any other Aes Sedai would have taken a different course of action if that was the intended goal. Even after Dumai's Wells the sisters who found out barely blinked at Rand's treatment. It's expected given the goal.

subwoofer @71.
True. They seem to keep forgetting that the Dragon in his time was the supreme commander for the Forces of the Light.
Marcus W
80. toryx
alreadymad @79:

True. They seem to keep forgetting that the Dragon in his time was the supreme commander for the Forces of the Light.

That's not necessarily true. They may, in fact, be remembering that Lews Therin led the Hundred Companions in defiance of the Council to strike the blow that led to the tainting of Saidin and the breaking of the world. He may have been the supreme commander but the jury is still out on whether or not that was a good decision to make.

Regardless, Rand is not Lews Therin. He does not have even a tenth of the training the Aes Sedai have, they have no way of knowing that he has access to the knowledge of LTT and he often appears to act irrationally.

I hate the way the AS have treated him as much as the next guy, but I don't blame them for severely under-estimating him.
Maiane Bakroeva
81. Isilel
@57 Wolfmage:

She's a common born normal who does a lot with little

Brigitte in all her lives was a common born normal who did a lot with little.

Min was directionless until pulled into Rand's orbit - and it was ordained by fate. And she remains so, with the only constant being that she wants to be with Rand.
Sure, she is there for Rand and is thankfully free from teenage idiocy in her relationship with him.

And sure, she is brave and loyal to her friends and allies and won't abandon them in dire straits. But then, the same can be said of all semi-major characters, so it is hardly distinctive.

But she is remarkably free of any initiative on her own.

Her only goal is to be with Rand, to enjoy his love, to make him happy. No conflicting duties, no independant attempts to contribute to the struggle. And IMHO that's why she is so loved.

Now, that's provocative, but would a male character behaving like that have been so loved? We get rather impatient with Perrin when he fixates on Faile to similar degree...

After her moment of awesome when she rescued Siuan, Min spent all the time until Caemlyn whining, sulking and pining for Rand, instead of looking for the ways to help him - like observing what is really going on in Salidar, who is who, how they get their information, etc.

Then she comes to him with the SAS embassy and all she does is to increase misunderstanding and paranoia, because she doesn't take time to figure out what is going on.

I mean, Siuan gave her means of contacting her. Min doesn't intend to spy on Rand of course (was Siuan really stupid enough to think that she might?), but surely reporting to Siuan on the behavior of the _embassy_ and asking for clues could have only been helpful.
Ditto the spearing of Demira - surely there were better ways to find out what was going on than perfunctionary asking a warder! Demira was carried in - somebody would have seen her warder and a Yellow leaving at full run, then returning carrying her, what direction they came from, etc.

Re: Thom not being an adjunct and doing something grander. I'll be the first wishing for it, but... when did Thom have an opportunity to do something grand on-screen since rushing that Myrdraal?

We didn't see him again in TEoTW, he stayed aloof in TGH, then he offed Galdrian off-screen and when Mat found him, he was a drunken wreck.
Once in Mat's company, all the grandness is reserved for Mat. Thom even ignonimously gets a pneumonia so as not to participate in the Stone escapade.
Then he again does some awesome behind the scenes stuff in TSR and joins the girls.
From my recent re-read of TSR and TFoH he gets a lot of amusement from being in their company and more meaningful action than when he was with Mat.

It is the Altaran storyline that really shoves Thom to the curb, IMHO. And it isn't any better when he is with Mat than when he is with SGs. It is far too crowded a plot-line for Thom to get to shine. Until KoD I was regretting that Thom didn't remain to advise and educate Egwene or didn't go back to Rand.
Well, hopefully Thom will have his opening in the remaining volumes, cause he is very much behind the other 7 people who set out with him from Emond's Field re: grandness.
Tony Zbaraschuk
82. tonyz
The idea that Rand has some instinctual knowledge of how to do things is, I think, a mistaken one. (He does have LTT in the back of his head, admittedly, but he can't just give in and let LTT do the job -- among other things, the man is bonkers.)

What Rand has to do is learn how to save the world, by trial and error. He is the Dragon, but he has to become what the Dragon was meant to be.
Marcus W
83. toryx
Wolfmage @ 76:

I think that it certainly contributes to conversation to give reasons for one's preferences (or dislike) and we can care about those things. But I don't think that having emotional reasons for one's argument is necessarily of lesser value than having well reasoned ones.
84. PhantomIce
I agree that Rand definately has to learn how to become the Dragon by trial and error. Which of course still makes Elaida's idea of locking him up in the Tower until TG a very bad idea for all concerned.

What I meant by instinctual knowledge-perhaps badly phrased- was that something about Rand, his character, his make-up, his instinctive responses (maybe even the fact that he is in love with and loved by 3 women) and what have you is that there is a reason that Rand and not some other person is the Dragon Reborn and as such Rand should be allowed to go his own way, to learn how to become the man he is meant to be.
85. Freelancer

You are absolutely right. So if the shoe I crafted doesn't fit, by all means don't force it on. I still believe that a significant majority of those with a net negative opinion of Elayne are influenced by a strong positive opinion of Mat, but if you are not among those, then you are not, and good for you. Even those who fit my postulation remain entitled to their feelings for any given character, and I haven't once attempted to deny them such. I was not "explaining away" the dislike of Elayne, I was suggesting an otherwise unexplored contributing factor. For myself, neither Elayne nor Mat are among my favorite five characters; neither do I dislike either in the least. Both have honorable hearts. Mat lacks responsibility (or at least the wish for responsibility), Elayne lacks worldy experience.

The negativity towards Egwene, while I feel goes a bit father than necessary, is clearly more justifiable, since she indeed takes shortcuts to get what she wants. Elayne's nose may be pointed skyward, but she does what she believes is right and good. Watch the next pile of chapters and it will be seen.
Joseph Blaidd
86. SteelBlaidd
It's important to remember that Thom is very much on the down slope of his life. He is around 70and has already done a great deal to affect the world, not least of which was helping Morgase become Queen of Andor. At this point he has moved in to a mentoring role and sees his main goal as preparing all of the young people around him for their tasks as the up and coming movers and shakers. I look forward to his rescue of Moraine but I expect to see him in the background more than anything.

I think you are right in that Min's main purpose for being is to support Rand, but do not see this a a flaw because his sense of her love for him is some thing that Rand needs as an anchor against falling in to darkness. I also think you are correct that when we see this same kind of devotion for Faile in Perrin he gets dumped on, but that is in part because he has other jobs and many see him as neglecting them to chase after his wife. I see this as a nesessary learning period for him and a mirror and warning about how Rand relates to EMA.
87. Siuanfan
@ Wolfmage

Okay. I thought you were saying that the shame of having pain inflicted was part of the punishment... that's the part where I disagreed, since to Aiel there's no shame in pain. The idea of erasing your shame by accepting pain is the next closest thing to a "get out of jail free" card as far as they're concerned.
Peter Nein
88. gimpols1908
86. SteelBlaidd "when we see this same kind of devotion for Faile in Perrin he gets dumped on, but that is in part because he has other jobs and many see him as neglecting them to chase after his wife."

It drives me crazy and he gets dumped on for having such a darned long arc for the silly kidnapping. It is good he is devoted... The pining for someone who is not there just gets old. At lease when the devotee it present our heroes can do other things. Plus even though Min hates Aliva(sp?) b/c she will help him die, she deals with it instead of trying to change the future. Her job is the same as Cadsuane. Keep Rand grounded, teach him to smile laugh and grieve. Also Min will figure out how to 'live by dieing'. (my crackpot theory)
Lannis .
89. Lannis
K, folks, I know this isn't part of the conversation, but I had a question, and I thought what better place to ask?!

Okay... my hardcover copy of Knife of Dreams has been read by myself, once, and my husband, once, and it's falling apart! It's got at least five cracks in the binding... actually split and shifting down the middle and getting worse all the time! I just started rereading it last week, and it's suddenly splitting more and more... is this a bad weave? Has anyone had the same problem?

I just reordered a new copy from the marketplace, so it's not a big deal, but I've never had this issue before with any hardcover, WoT or otherwise, and most have been read more than 2.5 times! Is this a one off?
90. Siuanfan
Your husband clearly threw the book down in horror when he saw all the beatings Egwene was taking. I say you should confront him for ruining your book, and then soothe him and let him know it won't be forever, and she is getting Healing, after all...
Roger Powell
91. forkroot
Aha! Another WoT insider secret has been revealed by your intrepid reporter. It involves Brandon Sanderson's original text for TGS Chapter One, so I have posted it under that discussion.

If you are holding off on Chapter One, don't go there, otherwise this link will get you to the post.
Peter Nein
92. gimpols1908
I have had continuous issues with the paperback issues of 3/4 of the WoT books. load of choss is missing the first chapter as is TDR. I have had to rebuy TGH 3 times due to it falling apart.

KoD was the first issue I have had with a hard bound issue but is has split in 2 places for me.


Edit-thank goodness it wasn't xroads, I got that one signed...
Chris Davis
93. SirSarek
So on the topic of hardcovers, I was wondering if there are any plans to re-release(reprint?) the previous novels as hardcovers? During my recent reread I discovered to my dismay that I don't have ACoS. I have all the other novels in hard cover so I very much hate to just get a paperback, and I haven't been successful in finding the hardcover... I'm assuming it's out of print?
Dan Herbert
94. Ordeith
I normally will only read the hard covers once, when they first come out, and try to keep the re-reads to paperback since I don't care if they fall apart as much. Any book whether hardcover or paperback will not hold up with the number of pages WOT packs into a book.

@92 I am assuming the signed Crossroads is now bound in vacuum packed plastic and locked in a safe.
Chris Davis
95. SirSarek
Ok, so maybe I didn't look hard enough. Amazon doesn't have it but I found it at another merchant... nevermind :)
Andrew Lovsness
96. drewlovs
That a character is somehow diminished because they attach themselves to another character with a greater purpose is silly, in my opinion. Neither Thom nor Min are lesser for it. Without Min, Rand would have thrown Caddy out on her ass; without Min, Tear wouls STILL be awash in civil war; I could go on. Thom's contributions to the SGs is just as important in its own subtle way as well.

Sometimes, I feel like we as a group tend to be critical of those characters that enable greatness in others, and we start to sould like the darkfriend girlfriend of Mats in FotH, in that they are under someone else's shadow. If my mom was a stay-at-home, but taught me values that helped me end world humger, who is more important: my mother (where the ideas came from) or me for putting those values in motion?

Lastly, we tend to get caught up in gender issues, sometimes to a fault. While I read Leigh's re-cap, I enjoy the story whether I agree with what the characters are doing or not; but all too soon, I am forced to re-focus on why a character did something not because of the underlying prophecy, but due to that character being either a man or a woman. Sometimes, it makes for very good deep thoughts; other times, it takes a good book and makes it into a "bash the other gender" weapon.

You can't blame one gender for it, either; some men are threatened by the powerful female characters, while some women see the male characters as either chauvinists or holding the women back. While there are points to be made, it distracts from what made us all love the WoT books in the first place. At least for me; when we leave the story and focus on a situation that has nothing to do with moving the story on, I lose interest.

My point? Well, there isn't one, really. Just some observations on our observations.
Pete Pratt
97. PeteP
SteelBlaidd @86 -- I have never viewed Thom as 70 years old and I think the Thirteenth Depository people have this very wrong. Thom was not around 50 when he was Morgase's lover. Thom was Morgase's 1st supporter and had been the House Bard, so she had been a young girl looking to an older man for a long time before they finally hooked up for a more intimate relationship.

I put him currently around 50-55 (which is very old for pre-modern cultures). That puts him somewhere around 35-40 (just passing his prime for pre-modern cultures) when he was Morgase's lover.
98. Lsana
I'm one of those who doesn't like Min. I wouldn't say that I hate her (my hatred is reserved mostly for Elayne), but I am annoyed by her, and here is why:

As Isiel pointed out, Min has no ambition and very rarely shows much initiative. She wants to be with Rand. She's pretty firm about staying with him, but doesn't act much as long as no one tries to take her from him. Even her power is an entirely passive one: she sees what she sees with no effort on her part, and she either knows what it means or she doesn't without any attempts to interpret.

There are many people who have pointed out that there is nothing wrong with Min being Rand's one unambitious supporter, and this is true...but it isn't what I was led to expect when I met her. Min wasn't introduced as the kind country girl who just wants to support her man; she was introduced as the spunky tomboy who won't change for anyone, and fair or not, I still judge her by the standards she gave me in that initial chapter. By those standards, she's a complete failure: she isn't a tomboy at all except for her clothes and hair, her "spunk" is largely limited to overcoming obstacles that keep her from Rand, and she has expressed a willingness to do and be whatever she wants as long as she can stay by him.

In my mind, Min is the victim of failed expectations. If Jordan wanted her to be judged as a loving wife, then she should have been introduced differently. As it is, she's the character I feel has changed the most, and not in a good way.
Rob Munnelly
99. RobMRobM
Lsana and others. I like Min very much and believe you and the others in the anti-Min or meh-Min camps are underplaying her contributions. She sees lots of visions, many of which disturb her greatly, and she makes strategic decisions which ones to share with Rand. Others (such as the one where Moiraine is critical to his success but is "dead") shock her to the core but she sucks it up and keeps them from Rand in order not to overload him. That is the highest and best use of her talent and she does it well. It is very un-passive, IMHO.

In addition, she is locked in on keeping him human and as happy as possible and does that well. He is prone to depression and unreasonable anger at himself, as we all know, and needs someone to haul his butt out and bring him back when necessary. She is pretty damn "spunky" -- indeed, relentless --in not letting him get away with self-pity. And she gives him unconditional love, which he also needs desperately. She does what is best for him, irrespective of the cost to herself, and I find that to be as heroic as anything anyone else does in the series. You and the others sharing your views are, of course, entitled to your opinions but I see them as overly harsh and not reflective of the many important things Min does during the series.

100. poopingeagle
Been lurking for about the last 85 blog entries, but i now have an observation, and two questions for the masses.

The observation is this.... Everybody hates everything. Men, women, AS, Sea Folk, Seanchan, kids, plot and story lines, strategy, primary characters and minor ones, communication, love stories, romance, and all things Randland.

First Question: Why in the hell are you reading the books or this blog? You hate it... ignore it.

Second Question: By all accounts, Egwene is young, hot, and liks to be spanked... what's not to like?
101. Hari Coplin
I didn't read all the comments as there are many, but on Aviendha I think the matter is very reasonable. For someone living by, not laws, but by a doctrine of honour and obligation, and who believes life is a dream from which all must wake, it is preferable to wake than live a nightmare. Losing very much honour would make life a nightmare to one who values things first and foremost in the light of Ji'e'toh. A little similar applies to the Seanchan, really, Suroth being a Darkfriend does not change that she would rather slit her wrists than apologise to the Empress, perhaps to be cast out of the Blood.

Aviendha promised to Elayne, whom she considers a friend, that she would look after Rand for her. It is very despicable to promise to a friend to take care of their interests in something, only to steal those interests to oneself when the other person is away. That is how Aviendha sees matters, though she somewhat exaggerates, like Maidens per the Wise Ones are likely. Without the promise, there would be no issue: Aiel are not against sleeping with someone's someone per se, it is the deceit that counts, betraying a friend. Aviendha allows Elayne to decide to what degree she betrayed her. On the matter of Elayne and Berelain at the Stone, Aviendha did not object to Berelain otherwise than suggest Elayne deal with her as a competitor to the same prize.
102. Lsana
@99. RobMRobM,

I think you missed the point of my complaint. Let me try rephrasing it:

Say you promised me a chocolate ice cream cake. You showed me pictures of this cake and let me smell it baking. Then, when the time came to deliver, you gave me a flank steak. Now, there is nothing wrong with a flank steak. I like flank steak. But it isn't what you promised, so it isn't what I was expecting. And when I eat that flank steak, I'll be comparing it to what I was expecting. By those standards, the flank steak is a failure: it isn't sweet, it isn't chocolaty, and it doesn't have that wonderful mixing of textures with the spongy cake and smooth ice cream. So whatever it's virtues as a steak, I'm going to be disappointed.

The role Min serves in the story is the role of Rand's loyal wife, one who is, as you say, always focused on making him happy, keeping him sane, and generally doing what's best for him. Nothing wrong with that character. But it isn't the "Min" I was promised when I met her back in book 1. I had expectations of her, and those expectations were disappointed, regardless of what other virtues she may or may not have. My annoyance isn't with her, so much, as it is with Jordan who (in my mind) promised me one thing and then delivered something else entirely.

Based on everyone else's comments, I see what everyone else sees in Min. If she had been introduced in a different way, I might like her too. I acknowledge that maybe the problem was with my expectations. None the less, she isn't the person I was set up to like in the first book, and I can't help disliking how far she's gone from that image.
Rob Munnelly
103. RobMRobM
@101 - one clarification - I believe Avi made the promise to Egwene, but she knows her toh runs to Elayne as well.

@100 - we don't like troll-like posts either (although I agree with you about your second question - and she can get pulled into your dreams to boot. Rowr. ;-))

But...we also believe in redemption so give us something good on the next go round and we can debate it until the cows come home.

Rob Munnelly
104. RobMRobM
L - I understand your point better - thanks. We differ in that she's met and, in many respects, exceeded my expectations. Rob
Tess Laird
105. thewindrose
I do like Min, however I stand by my prediction back on the "name 3 people who are going to die" thread. She hasn't seen another vision of herself, other than the we 3 will fall in love with Rand. I also figure at least one of Rands three will die. My mom is convinced Rand will die. However, there are all the foreshadowings of Nyn healing death and the 'to live you must die' answer from the snakes.

Also, if I didn't want to throw the books at times, or if everyone was perfect I definitely would not have done any re-reads of these books, for that matter I wouldn't have continued to read the series. There are whole story arcs I pass up at times, but at other times I enjoy them. Go figure, tastes change with life experience, and we have all done(well those of us who picked these books up at the very beginning)a lot of living:)
William Fettes
106. Wolfmage
Isilel @ 81

“Brigitte in all her lives was a common born normal who did a lot with little.”

True. But Birgitte is a hero of the horn, elevated by the pattern to be spun out again and again due to her special prowess with the bow and fighting, as well as her relationship with Gaidal. By very definition she is extraordinary, and like Artur Hawkwing and the other heroes, she is no mere mortal. So Min hardly suffers from such a comparison given that she is not even a warrior and has no extraordinary talents for fighting.

“Min was directionless until pulled into Rand's orbit - and it was ordained by fate.”

You could say that about all of the main cast in the books and most of the Aes Sedai, except Moiraine and Siuan, because they were twiddling their thumbs whilst TG was approaching. So I’m really not sure why you think Min should have had ‘direction’, whatever that means, prior to the DR being revealed to the world and her falling in love with Rand. She was perfectly happy with a modest life of being around horses – which sounds find to me. Or do you only see fit to admire the super ambitious? That makes some sense in the modern world with social and economic mobility, but for a commoner in Randland, I don’t see anything terrible about Min’s apparent contentedness with her situation.

“And sure, she is brave and loyal to her friends and allies and won't abandon them in dire straits. But then, the same can be said of all semi-major characters, so it is hardly distinctive.”

As I said, it is her bravery and loyalty COMBINED with her lack of teenage idiocy and lack of airs and hubris that makes her so distinctive.

“But she is remarkably free of any initiative on her own.”

I’ll come back to this.

“Her only goal is to be with Rand, to enjoy his love, to make him happy. No conflicting duties, no independant attempts to contribute to the struggle. And IMHO that's why she is so loved.”

What capacity does Min have other than her viewings to contribute? Does she not view people all the time and tell the results? Has there ever been a time when she didn’t share the viewings when it might be important? I don't recall any. You say she has no conflicting duties, but I would turn that around and say she has the type of personality to minimise conflict without being passive.

Can you think of another female in the books who isn't a channeller, a warrior / hero of the horn who contributes more? I certainly can't.

“Now, that's provocative, but would a male character behaving like that have been so loved? We get rather impatient with Perrin when he fixates on Faile to similar degree...”

Oh please. You’re trying to imply that we only love Min because she is a male-ego-affirming, comfortable Stepford wife or Bettysue type character with tomboy tendencies. I’m an out-and-out male feminist and I certainly do not carry around with me such conceptions of gender roles. But I also believe in pluralism, and that means I respect mutually incompatible definitions of a good life. So not everyone needs to be a warrior, a swashbuckling hero or an entrepreneur to be admired. Those are admirable heroic roles, sure, and women should ideally populate them in good numbers. On that score, I actually agree with your critique of the lack of borderland combat training for women. However, it’s also admirable if you’re just a good person, you have good values, you're unpretentious and you show bravery and decency in your own ways.

Furthermore, the reason people get impatient with Perrin isn’t because he is deeply in love with someone; it's not that detachment is cool for men only. It’s specifically because during much of Faile’s time onscreen she is an unlikeable person and much of their relationship and the whole rescue arc is tedious to read. Plus, I find it morally dubious that Perrin is so prepared to sacrifice the fate of the world and put hundreds of Shaido Wise Ones into slavery to get her back. He literally thinks the world can burn and he would do anything! It's reckless in both thought and deed. It's worse too because Perrin does this despite being singled out by the pattern to take on the duty of the light, whereas Min hasn't this kind of responsibility.

“After her moment of awesome when she rescued Siuan, Min spent all the time until Caemlyn whining, sulking and pining for Rand, instead of looking for the ways to help him - like observing what is really going on in Salidar, who is who, how they get their information, etc.”

I find it interesting that the first substantive criticise you can make of Min is about how she isn’t helping Rand enough, when you’ve previously mentioned she is too involved with Rand’s needs. That's not a very 'independent' contribution. Given her abilities can you nominate a single avenue for contribution that doesn't involve Rand?

Personally, I think her liberalisation of female fashion should definitely count as a plus.

“Ditto the spearing of Demira - surely there were better ways to find out what was going on than perfunctionary asking a warder! Demira was carried in - somebody would have seen her warder and a Yellow leaving at full run, then returning carrying her, what direction they came from, etc.”

This seems kind of trivial. She was panicked by what was going on and doing her best to sort through it all whilst galloping back and forth between the palace and the inn. Compared to the serious errors of judgement shown by all the other main cast at one time or another, this is basically nothing.

“Until KoD I was regretting that Thom didn't remain to advise and educate Egwene or didn't go back to Rand.”

It’s doubtful that Egwene would understand or appreciate Thom’s input. She doesn’t have the experiences of Elayne and Nynaeve to affirm his value, and she already has Siuan.
107. Freelancer

Galad is somewhere around 28-30 years old. Morgase is a channeler, who has slowed. She is not as young as she looks. This is part of the whole "young Tallanvor" bit that annoys everyone. By a carefully followed timeline, I submit that Morgase is at least 44-45.
- She was sixteen when she left the White Tower to seek the throne of Andor.
- The Succession campaign lasted two years. She Married Taringail after gaining the throne, to extinguish problems with Cairhien.
- Two years after that, King Laman cut down Avendoraldera to make a throne, bringing on the Aiel War.
- Two more years, and the Dragon is reborn.
- Twenty years later, Moiraine and Lan visit Emond's Field.
- Approximately 2.5 more years have passed during the story.

Thom is between 60-70 at this time.


Being a girl from a mining town, and all that entails, makes it easy to understand Min's introductory stance on life in general, specifically her tomboy style and self-reliant outlook.

Changing for the sake of the person whom you know to be your life partner is a failure? All of the reasons for her to remain as she was have dissipated. Dressing as, and hoping to be mistaken for, a male had very distinct advantages up in the hills, and even in Baerlon. Not at all at Rand's side. Presenting a tough nature, virtually macho, also provided some protection to a young twenty-something out alone in the world. Again, pointless to hold onto those affectations now.

To me, Min hasn't changed who she is inside at all. She has adapted her clothing and her manner, because well, things aren't what they used to be for her. Why fight it when you already know through your unique talent that it's no use?
108. Freelancer

Your observation is worthy of the product of your moniker.
Tess Laird
109. thewindrose
siuanfan @46 What is Total Drama Island?

Well anyways, just want to say I like your thoughts on Aviendha.
John Massey
110. subwoofer
But I like flank steak... Not big on chocolate, but that will do in a pinch.

Unconditional love... I hadn't thought of it in those terms but that is what it boils down to, and yes, Rand does need that. He has been getting harder and harder. At times I wonder what will break that cycle.

Children could change everything for him. If Elayne has twins it may have a mellowing effect on Rand, depending on the time line of events- if Elayne has kids before TG and Rand is actually around to hold them. Children have that effect.

Or maybe Rand will get a dog. Or somebody makes him flank steak.

Naming 3 people who are going to die... Rhuarc, Rand, Lan. Leading a battle is bound to have casualties. Mat already died and came back, same with Mo, so what does that leave? I think Ny finds a way to bring back Lan. Super Yellow.

Total Drama Island is a cute 'toon similar to Survivor and that Japanese game show.

Kurt Lorey
112. Shimrod
How long before someone offers to sell subwoofer the domain name for
Maiane Bakroeva
113. Isilel
Wolfmage @106:

What capacity does Min have other than her viewings to contribute?

Her brains? Her opportunity to become familiar with and understand the SAS (not that she availed herself of it)? Her general approachability in comparison to Rand?

Min often had chances to improve and educate herself - she spent several idle months with experienced warriors between TGH and TDR and could have trained her fighting abilities, knowing as she did that being tied to the DR she'd always be in the nexus of violence and would need to defend herself.

Then she spent several months in company of Siuan and Leane and could have learned something about politics and intrigue from them.

But Min wasted those opportunities (unlike the SGs, I might add).

You say she has no conflicting duties, but I would turn that around and say she has the type of personality to minimise conflict

No, she literally has no pre-existing duties or loyalties that could conflict with her pursuit of and devotion to Rand. So, she has it easy compared to Elayne and Avi.

Can you think of another female in the books who isn't a channeller, a warrior / hero of the horn who contributes more?

Aludra? ;). As an aside I still feel that she and Mat were a natural fit that would have resulted in a much more believable romance and pairing than he and Tuon.

To be fair, this applies to men too, at least younger ones. Balwer is a big exception in that he is able to affect things without being a warrior.

You’re trying to imply that we only love Min because she is a male-ego-affirming, comfortable Stepford wife or Bettysue type character

Well, I do think that the fact that she in no way "competes" with the 3 TR boys (unlike the SGs) does contribute to her popularity. Am I wrong?

She was panicked by what was going on and doing her best to sort through it all whilst galloping back and forth between the palace and the inn.

And why was she running around like a headless chicken and increasing panic and confusion? I really fault her for her behavior here.
Here is her big chance to help Rand using the abilities nature gave her and her experiences with the Tower/SAS and she completely messes it up and primes him for the boxing.

Women will hurt Rand using OP? Well, duh, there are still 4 Femsaken around (as far as Lightsiders know), not to mention channeling DFs. Unless Min thinks that delegation consists of the latter, what reason is there for panic?
SAS rebelled because they disagreed that Siuan's approach to Rand was wrong or deposition worthy. They can't afford to remove him or alienate him. They need an alliance with him. If they behave strangely, it is all the more imperative to find out why.
114. PhantomIce
That whole response of and to the Salidar AS in Caemlyn is yet another example of all members of Randland failing to communicate with each other and making assumptions on minimal information then acting as if it is solid fact.

the AS assume that Rand is the only one who commands Aiel and thus only one who could have given the order for the attack on one of their own without having bothered to discover anything about Rand's relationship with the Aiel and the Aiel in general.

Rand just assumes that the AS are trying to scare him as usual and doesn't wonder why after having complied with his initial terms they might have suddenly changed their minds.

Min assumes it's these AS who will harm Rand, and correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't even confirm why they might be in a mood not with a Warder (who would not tell her anything and would be with his AS anyway) but with a stablehand at the inn.

Then the AS in a brilliant tactical move decide to scare Rand to reassert their authority instead of demanding why he is trying to kill one of them, what's up with that - wilfull lack of communication as usual.
Sean Banawnie
115. Seanie
Isilel@113 I think there have been enough hints about Min and Herid Fel's books that there could be a contribution from Min there . I think between her and Rand they work out ideas on sealing/resealing the bore.......
Sean Banawnie
116. Seanie
subwoofer@allover: love the trademark *chuckles*
nice to see LIGHTheartedness around here.
John Massey
117. subwoofer
Thanks folks, just me being me:)

In regards to Lannis's comments about books, I have currently been in a dilemma for the past 11 years. Like the chuckle head that I am, I made the mistake of re-reading the first two books a couple of times. The condition of those books went sideways in a hurry and the binding did not stay intact. I believe somebody already talked about the fact of way too many pages not enough glue. Bottom line, I have been trying to find the first two books- first prints- in hard cover forever. Bought paperbacks subsequently and am still kicking myself for not figuring this out earlier. D'OH!

As far as Rand or LTT being the savior- there is still the stigma of male channeler's attached to him. Going back further- was LTT's idea of the Strike a good one or bad? From Free's link I am leaning towards the former. Things were happening and sadly in war, when the fate of the world was hanging in the balance, there was still politics. The ability, or lack of, for nobles to put egos aside for the greater good is rife here.

I have been re-reading the Strike and it gives me a good feel of what was going on. The Forsaken were waging a war on many fronts and the forces of Light were divided on a plan to seal the Bore. LTT did fix the issue but at a high cost. Even he suffered from pride. Compromise with the female AS at that time should be critical at this point.

The difference between Light and Dark was that Dark does not trust eachother and there was/is a constant struggle to be the top. Light had the strength of teamwork- the circles and linking were key. Making circles larger through the use of men. All the great things that happened because men and women worked together. LTT forgot this.

By that same token, this has been forgotten in current WoT events. Hopefully in the last 3 books everybody cures themselves of the rash of lack of communication and start to come together for the Last Battle.

Just sayin'.

William Fettes
118. Wolfmage
Seanie @ 115

"I think there have been enough hints about Min and Herid Fel's books that there could be a contribution from Min there . I think between her and Rand they work out ideas on sealing/resealing the bore....... "

I think it's pretty clear Isilel is determinatively ignoring anything to do with Min's initiative with regard to philosophy, understanding the pattern or the last battle - ie. the broader context. I've mentioned it three times now, and it hasn't even got the weak sauce reply of some of the other Min positives she has dismissed so blithely.

I appreciate many of Isilel ideas, and some of her feminist critiques of RJ's attempted gender pivot are indeed thought provoking and have merit. However, here she seems set on glorifying personal arms and the enabling of combative strength as the pinnacle of utility. I have no idea why she has this fixation except that she is heavily invested in the theory that Randland women are inadequately equipped for combat, and Min is a convenient target. When you carry a hammer, as they say, everything looks like a nail. That's a shame, I think. Because whilst I think her critique does work on a sociological level in parts of Randland, it is completely ridiculous when imposed as a virtue ethics litmus test for individual characters. It's based on a simplistic, reductionist notion about the nature of the light's ultimate struggle: if you aren't looking to directly fight the incoming hoards of Trollocks and Dreadlords, or helping others prepare for them in logistical or strategic ways, then you're sub-optimal at best.

She seems unable to even countenance the idea that Min's contribution to grounding Rand and her foreshadowed role as Fel's intellectual successor may actually be deserving of praise and be highly significant to the light's chance of victory. That Min has no doubt already averted disaster by preventing Rand from getting rid of Cadsuane, keeping Alivia close, and stopping him from flying off the handle at every second doesn't even get a cursory thought. But most offensively, she cannot even give credit that others may appreciate a character of manifest virtues, as a person of decency and modesty, independent of any metric of utility, without it being some kind of non-threatening male power trip about a BFF with benefits. Min, here, must be a paper tiger, written purely to feed the libido of awkward young men and conservatives who must surely struggle with more threatening and ambitious women. Yes, that's a pithy summary, but read between the lines and that's what she's saying. As a man of very modern feminist sensibilities, I find it grotesque, absurd and insulting.

Isilel @ 113
"Well, I do think that the fact that she in no way "competes" with the 3 TR boys (unlike the SGs) does contribute to her popularity. Am I wrong?"

Yes, you're wrong.
119. Freelancer

I don't know. When I read The Strike, what I get about LTT is that he knew something needed to be done, and carried out a plan to do it. Latra Posae blocked his use of women to make the plan more effective, via the Fateful Concord. The Choeden Kal were unavailable to the Aes Sedai, yet they insisted it was the only right way to respond.

LTT didn't forget, nor did he ignore that teamwork was the best way. It was denied him, and as a good commander he adjusted, adapted, and improvised, accomplishing the best result he could hope for with limited resources.
120. PhantomIce
I tend to think that LTT's decision was a good one but had bad consequences because he was denied teamwork as Freelancer pointed out.

So the resulting taint should actually serve as the biggest reminder of why those on the side of Light should cooperate with each other instead of pulling the cart in whatever direction they personally think is best.

Re Min: I always liked Min, the story is full of characters who are on big important quests, and I like that there is a character who reminds us all that even the biggest and the baddest need support.

And her contribution has been huge, she is the one keeping Rand sane in a way that neither Elayne nor Aviendha could have. Whenever she's around him Elayne (other than kissing him of course) wants to train Rand to be a better leader and always thinks she knows more than him; the same goes to a lesser extent for Aviendha. But Min has no other agenda, she is totally his and she is the one grounding him. Considering the pressure that Rand is under by destiny, those around him and in his head, I'm glad he's got someone sane, grounded and totally on his side.
Tess Laird
121. thewindrose
I have been fortunate with my hardcovers, although I do need to replace WH, that one is in pieces. My son is showing interest in tEotW. He has brought it over to me and asked who the people on the cover are, and where they are going.

This is coming up soon, and has been brought up before. Verin is the instigator on how the SAS react to the attack on Demira. It has been postulated that she is also behind the actual attack. As always, she is cloaked in mystery.
122. Freelancer

I rather think that Verin's actions in that sequence were moving the decision-making out of Merana's hands. It's clear that she was in over her head by that point, and Verin didn't trust her not to wreck any contact with Rand. What little we have about Demira shows us that she's a scholar. She's more interested in not losing her chance to study the Aiel, than in hunting for the men who hurt her. A far better choice in Verin's mind for deciding how to approach Rand about this.

Verin knows Rand a little, I'm sure she doesn't believe he ordered the attack. I also don't believe Verin orchestrated this just to make things interesting.
John Massey
123. subwoofer
@thewindrose- you can have one of mine. In a classic subwoofer move, I forgot I had the book- lent it to a friend- and went out and bought another, in hard cover. Meh. I do the same thing with tools.

@Free- yes and no, maybe the lack of team work saved half the AS as Saidar was not tainted because the ladies were not there. Where I was coming from is that men cannot link without women. Having a few female channelers there may of saved the insanity by boosting the effective power of the men. BTW Thanks again for that link- it was awesome to see something fresh from RJ.

Rob Munnelly
124. RobMRobM
Ah, Verin. She's my favorite mystery in the entire series, even more than Asmo. I was just re-reading the compulsion chapter from TPOD, with the disturbing final sentence that she has to keep him alive until it is time for him to die - reminiscent of the Black Ajah fealty swearer Elza - but her other internal POVs are fully consistent with being on Team Light. I don't undertand the strategic goal for inducing Merana to undertake a course of action that would increase SAS friction with Rand - which is plainly what she was trying to accomplish - or the broader and more fascinating question of what was her mission for the past 70 years mentioned in one of her POVs. My supposition is that she is expert in the Prophecies (as was seen in Falme with the "five ride forth") and needs to maneuver things to maximize Rand's chances for fulfillment and actual success at TG...but I don't really know. Rob
125. Robss
May I ask...

What is "The Strike?"

Rob Munnelly
126. RobMRobM
Strike at Shayul Ghul - short piece by RJ dealing with Age of Legends. Check a Wheel of Time wiki for a link to it.
Sam Mickel
127. Samadai
I think that you, my wot-post friends will get a kick out of this.

I had a very vivid dream last night taking place in Randland. Now normally I very rarely remember my dreams but this one is very clear for some reason:)

I was a random Ashaman that Rand had put in charge of organizing the massive army of servants and camp followers,(along with Berelain). Apparently I had the talent of organization.

I had just finished going over the supply list when Berelain busts into my office and starts ranting about all these people giving up there homes and lives to come here, (By the way Berelain is as beautiful in my dreams as she sounds in the books, except she has apparently cut her hair short and spikey with a white streak down the front;) I tell her that they know that if they dont help the side of light win then nothing matters and remind her that she is aware of that. she tells me she knows it is just frustrating having to deal with some of them. She then asks me if I am ready to go to the speech. we head out of the office to the top of the tower where it is apparent that we are in Tar Valon at the in the White Tower.

We step out onto the huge balcony where we see Rand and co. Everyone is there and Egwene and Rand are talking about what they are going to be saying to the crowds. We look out upon the surrounding areas and see the millions of people surrounding Tar Valon waiting for them to speak.
Sam Mickel
128. Samadai
sorry i just realized that this is going to be an extremely long post and thought I would break it up.
James Jones
129. jamesedjones
121 thewindrose

Aww, poor little guy. Tell him that they aren't going anywhere until 2012, then find some way to lock the book before he can check. :)
Tess Laird
130. thewindrose
Thanks for the offer sub:) Alas, I have come to that in my reread so I already ordered a replacement.
OK, so I shoud have said 'What is Total Drama Island for the win", forgot to add part of the joke. That is a Canadaian show BTW:) (Which I am sure subwoofer already knows.) My kids watch it, and I think it is kind of funny.

The Strike at Shayul Ghul - when I read it I got the feeling that it was outlining the big fail of the two halves not working together, hence saiden getting the taint. So the Go Light Team better get it together and start communicating, although it will seem really weird when they do;)
Sam Mickel
131. Samadai
As I am standing there waiting I think about how everything has come together for team light. Perrin has brought the Ghealdin and 2 riverians with him. Mat and Tuon are here with the complete Seanchan forces, along with the Band of the Red Hand. Elayne and the Andoran armies, Darlin and the tairens, Ituralde and the Taraboners and Domanis. Dobraine and the Cairhienin, Mattin Steppinos and the Illianers, all four borderland rulers and their armies. Gareth Bryne and the Tower armies, Logain with the restored Black Tower Ashaman and The Black Ajah free Aes Sedai.
Sam Mickel
132. Samadai
Lan and Nynaeve lead an army of borderlanders as big as all the other borderland armies together.

I notice a sudden hush on the crowd as everyone turns and watches Moraine enter the balcony. Rand smiles at her as he steps forward with Egwene. I feel Saidin being wielded by a whole bunch of Ashaman as I Feel goosebumps from the Saidar. A huge weave and everyone can now hear Rand. He tells them that they are gathered together to fight for the light. Him and Egwene lead together and they will erase the mistakes and mistrust of the past and work together to bring a new age for everyone.

of course I woke up before they gated to the last battle so I have no idea what else could have happened, but an interesting dream none the less.
Bill Reamy
133. BillinHI
Wolfmage @106: Re: Perrin rather than Min:

“Furthermore, the reason people get impatient with Perrin isn’t because he is deeply in love with someone; it's not that detachment is cool for men only. It’s specifically because during much of Faile’s time onscreen she is an unlikeable person and much of their relationship and the whole rescue arc is tedious to read. Plus, I find it morally dubious that Perrin is so prepared to sacrifice the fate of the world and put hundreds of Shaido Wise Ones into slavery to get her back. He literally thinks the world can burn and he would do anything! It's reckless in both thought and deed. It's worse too because Perrin does this despite being singled out by the pattern to take on the duty of the light, whereas Min hasn't this kind of responsibility.”

Couldn’t agree with you more on that one. I’m now re-listening to KoD and I’m not sure that Perrin has ever truly acknowledged his role as one of the three most important people in the world at this particular time. Rand accepts his role fairly early on and even Mat comes to accept what he is well before Perrin does (I’m assuming he will actually accept his role before TG, but I’m not betting on it).
134. alreadymadwiththedream
Obviously, you remember the dream because Berelain was in it. ;)

Re: the stabbing
I don't believe Verin had anything to do with it, but the SAS response was probably close to what she planned. Merana seems to think so. As for why, a possible reason is she might have wanted the SAS to see that typical AS responses were out of the window as far as dealing with Rand was concerned. This wasn't some run of the mill lordling who could be intimidated with displays of the Power.
135. Freelancer
It must be remembered that Verin is not exactly a Rebel Aes Sedai member, in terms of Salidar vs White Tower. She is a total independent, like Cadsuane. So her motivations in manipulating Merana and her embassy are in no way based on making the Salidar embassy successful. Her motivation is far more strategic (sure wish I knew some details).

That said, I don't see her actions as causing the SAS embassy to misstep with Rand. I'm pretty certain they were going to either way, and in my view, Verin's steering of them might have actually minimized the damage they caused themselves. She knows that she wasn't officially in charge, so she couldn't issue orders (and it's not her style anyway). But if she, as the ranking sister present, is facilitating a discussion, more as a referee saying that Demira gets first dibs on deciding how to proceed, now she is not "taking over" from Merana, even though she has redirected them. Sneaky on ice.
Barry T
136. blindillusion
My first post after having caught up with you guys. Been a long week two weeks.

But basically just want to put this fuel on the fire and see how it burns.

Doesn't it kinda make since that Thom wants Mat to go to Ebou Dar? It also makes since that Thom follows Mat after that story arc is completed. How else is that letter ever going to get read if Mat isn't around?
138. yasiru89
This. What do you know, Mat can be reasoned with. The man is loyal enough that he would even go along with a far-fetched seemingly-impossible plan (which it was at the time) to get things done and keep the girls alive. I suppose the key is not trying to browbeat and bully into a corner.
Thom and Min get major props for being of the exact temperament characters need to be in order to get through this Last Battle stuff with some degree of cohesion (and hence a chance at success).
Also, note how Rand thinks it felt right to see Sulin in Cadin'sor, even with his particular women problems. More evidence I think, that there's more to it than mere 'chivalry'.

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