Oct 5 2009 4:17pm
The Wheel of Time Re-read: Lord of Chaos, Part 25

Hi de do, campers! Gather round for another Wheel of Time Re-read post!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 44-45 of Lord of Chaos, in which we have some dirty dancing (for WOT values of “dirty,” anyway), some sour grapes lyricism, and some Sirs Finally Appearing In This Novel.

Previous entries are here. This and all prior posts contain spoilers for all currently published novels 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 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.

Thanks for all the well wishes in the comments last post, by the way. I’m fine, just dealing with some ongoing issues. No worries, eh?

Also, thanks to everyone who has “shouted” at me in my profile here on I must confess I’ve never quite figured out how to “reply” to those things, but I have read and sincerely appreciate each one of them. Just so you know.

And now, let’s get to it, shall we?

Chapter 44: The Color of Trust

What Happens
Mat finds a stable for he and his men to bunk in, and as a gesture of defiance has Rand’s banners hung on the outside of it, which almost gives the innkeeper a heart attack but otherwise elicits disappointingly little reaction from the Aes Sedai. He tries to see Egwene, but is told she is busy; then he looks for Thom and Juilin, but they are nowhere to be found. To show he doesn’t care that Egwene is leaving him to stew, he goes dancing, ending up dancing with a gorgeous woman named Halima.

But after a while he noticed that Halima had a way of brushing against him, a way of leaning to look at something so he could not help seeing down her dress. He might have enjoyed it, if not for the fact that she glanced at his face every time with a sharp eye and an amused smile. She was not a very good dancer—she kept trying to lead, for one thing—and he finally begged off.

It should have been nothing, but before he had gone ten paces the foxhead went icy cold on his chest. He spun around, looking furiously for anything at all. What he saw was Halima staring at him in the firelight. Only for an instant before she seized a tall Warder’s arm and whirled back into the dance, but he was sure he had seen shock on that beautiful face.

He asks about Halima, and finds out she’s not Aes Sedai, and thinks he must have been mistaken. The musicians are playing a tune he recognizes from a thousand years before, and he thinks no one must know the original words for it to be played here:

Give me your trust, said the Aes Sedai.
On my shoulders I support the sky.
Trust me to know and to do what is best,
And I will take care of the rest.
but trust is the color of a dark seed growing.
trust is the color of a heart’s blood flowing.
trust is the color of a soul’s last breath.
trust is the color of death.

The song goes on, ending with “the love of your life”, and Mat remembers writing the song because of the love of his life, and walks somewhere else. He runs into Myrelle, who offers to bond him as a Warder; Mat refuses politely, and to escape her goes up to a pretty blue-eyed woman to ask her to dance.

Too late he saw the Great Serpent ring on her right hand, and then that sweet mouth opened and a voice he recognized said dryly, “I asked you once whether you’d be there when the house was burning down, boy, but it seems you make a habit of jumping into fires. Now go away and find somebody who wants to dance with you.”

Siuan Sanche! She was stilled and dead! She was glaring at him with some young woman’s face she had stolen, was what she was, and wearing an Aes Sedai ring! He had asked Siuan Sanche to dance!

Then a young Domani woman comes up, glares at Siuan, and snatches him out on the dance floor, and Mat almost falls down when she informs him that she’s Leane, by the way; at the end of the dance she compliments him on his skill and then kisses him very thoroughly, before laughing and going off to dance with someone else. Mat decides to go to bed. The next day Vanin is back with the news that Talmanes will sit tight, and also with Olver, to Mat’s displeasure; Olver informs him he is watching Mat’s back, as “she” cannot be trusted, meaning Aviendha. Mat endures having Olver follow him everywhere as he tries to see Egwene again and is refused. Thom and Juilin are still missing as well, and Vanin ferrets out information about Logain and the Red Ajah and Bryne’s army that makes Mat very unhappy, more convinced than ever that Egwene is in danger from the fools she’s supposedly leading. That evening Myrelle approaches him again about bonding, and is none too pleased to learn that hers was the fifth offer he’d received that day, including one from Delana. The next day Egwene finally summons him, and tells him he has two choices: go with Elayne and Nynaeve to Ebou Dar, or back to the Band by himself. He answers sourly that that’s no choice at all, and Egwene says she’s glad to hear it before dismissing him again. He meets Talmanes outside the village while waiting for Elayne and Nynaeve to join him, and tells him to have the Band follow wherever Bryne’s army goes at a non-threatening distance, and if a young woman named Egwene shows up, to get her to Caemlyn with no questions asked; Mat will be taking Nalesean with him to Ebou Dar, as well as Olver, Vanin, and a squad of Redarms. Talmanes is not pleased that Nalesean is going instead of him, and unsmilingly insists that Mat must take his serving man Nerim with him, then. Elayne and Nynaeve arrive, but to his surprise not alone; they are accompanied by Aviendha, the blond Hunter who Mat finds familiar, two white-haired Aes Sedai, and an aged Warder that must belong to one of them, as well as Thom and Juilin. The latter apologize to Mat for avoiding him, but say Elayne ordered them to stay away (Juilin adds that Nynaeve threatened to “punch his ear” as well). Mat looks at Nynaeve, who ducks behind her horse, and apologizes to Thom for what he said about the letter, and hopes it was good news.

But Thom only shrugged. Mat did not know what to make of him without his gleeman’s cloak. “Good news? I haven’t puzzled that out yet. Often you don’t know whether a woman is friend, enemy or lover until it is too late. Sometimes, she is all three.” Mat expected a laugh, but Thom frowned and sighed. “Women always seem to like making themselves mysterious, Mat.”

As an example, he tells Mat he recently ran into Aludra, the Illuminator they rescued in Aringill, but she pretended she did not know Thom, and Thom returned the favor. Mat thinks he would like to meet Aludra again, as her fireworks had proved very useful, but tells Thom he doesn’t know anything about women, Perrin’s the man for that. He mutters that hopefully this won’t take more than “five or ten days”, but Thom tells him even with this gateway it will take them five days just to reach Ebou Dar, whereupon Mat stomps over to where Elayne is talking with the white-haired Aes Sedai, ignoring Vandene’s introduction to demand to know why they aren’t traveling straight to Ebou Dar. Vandene informs him he’s talking to the wrong Aes Sedai; Elayne coolly tells him he doesn’t know as much as he thinks, and points out there are dozens of towns and villages surrounding Ebou Dar, and gateways can be deadly if opened in populated places. Mat hates her tone, but hates more that she is right, and then sees Egwene approaching. She is surrounded by Aes Sedai, but they are all ignoring her.

Knowing her, she was trying very hard to be what they had named her, and they let her walk alone, with everybody watching. To the Pit of Doom with them if they think they can treat a Two Rivers woman that way, he thought grimly.

Striding to meet Egwene, he swept off his hat and bowed, making the best leg he knew how, and he could flourish with the best when he had to. “Good morning, Mother, and the Light shine on you,” he said, loud enough to be heard in the village. Kneeling, he seized her right hand and kissed her Great Serpent ring. A quick glare and a grimace directed at Talmanes and the others, and hidden by Egwene from those behind her, had them all scrambling to kneel and call out, “The Light illumine you, Mother,” or some variation. Even Thom and Juilin.

Egwene looked startled at first, though she hid it quickly. Then she smiled, and said softly, “Thank you, Mat.”

He asks quietly if maybe she wouldn’t like to tell him what this is all about now; she hesitates, then merely tells him to try to stay out of trouble. Mat is indignant, but answers wryly that he will try, and goes to his group. Elayne creates a gateway, and as soon as everyone is through Vandene and Adeleas set off without waiting for anyone else; Mat sees Elayne and Nynaeve exchange irritated glances before following. Mat sighs, thinking he doesn’t get why women always give him trouble, and follows.

Egwene watches the gateway disappear, and hopes Elayne and Nynaeve manage to keep Mat out of too much trouble. She feels slightly guilty about using him this way, but she had needed him away from the Band, and might be of use in Ebou Dar besides. Talmanes watches them for a moment before riding off, and Romanda and Lelaine comment it will be well to get away from him and the Band.

Egwene did not let herself smile. Mat’s Band had served its first purpose, but a great deal depended on exactly what orders Mat had left with this Talmanes. She thought she could depend on Mat in this. Siuan said that man Vanin had rooted out things before she had a chance to put them under his nose. And if she was to “come to her senses” and run to the Band for protection, then the Band would have to be close to her. “Shall we go to our horses?” she said. “If we leave now, we should catch up to Lord Bryne well before sunset.”

“Trust is the color of death”, eh? Bitter, party of one, your table is waiting...

Not that it isn’t thematically appropriate, since people believing such cynical crap is how everything ends up completely FUBAR by the end of this book, but damn. That’s like the WOT equivalent of an Alanis Morissette song.

Ha ha, I totally forgot that Leane steals a kiss from Mat here. Awesome. Poor Mat, eh? I confess that his numerous shocks here are pretty damn funny, overall, even while I sympathize with his frustration. And I have to grin at the numerous Wardering offers Mat gets; true, at least some of that was no doubt motivated by a “let’s control the ta’veren” thing (except for Delana, eek), but it’s established pretty firmly that Aes Sedai as a rule do not ask someone to be a Warder unless they think he’s seriously worth it, so overall it’s really quite flattering if you think about it.

And of course, he has his moment of awesome here when he kneels to Egwene, which always makes me go “Awww” when I read it. I could wish he got more return for his gesture, but it was sweet that Egwene sincerely thanked him, at least. And though it’s frustrating that, as usual, Egwene doesn’t trust Mat enough to just explain what her purpose was, I do think her notion to use the Band as a goad for the rebels was fairly brilliant. God knows whatever gets these people moving is a good thing.

Nynaeve hiding behind her horse: Ha!

Thom: The thing with Aludra here always smacked to me of a retcon, to explain why Thom and Aludra never acknowledged that they had met before while traveling with the circus. The funny thing is, it’s a discrepancy that I would have never noticed if Jordan hadn’t specifically pointed it out. However, that’s just me; I suppose others would have. Fans tend to be good at that sort of thing.

Halima: Well, we finally get definitive proof that the medallion blocks saidin as well as saidar. It was always rather ambiguous before. I wonder what exactly it was Halima tried to do to him? The mind shudders to think. Compulsion, maybe. Mat will never know what a bullet he dodged there. Although, I have to say the fact that Halima kept trying to lead in the dancing was rather hilarious.

Chapter 45: A Bitter Thought

What Happens
Vilnar rides with the rest of the Saldaean patrol to the Whitebridge Gate, thinking about how he’d always wanted to see an Aes Sedai; he sees a woman he can’t put an age to coming out of a merchant’s house, but thinks that surely the “timeless face of an immortal” is harder to mistake than that, and dismisses her. At the gate, he watches in surprise as a long column of what looks like farmers ride up, all armed with the longest bows Vilnar’s ever seen, accompanied by three Aiel, two of them Maidens, and a Tinker with a sword.

The leader seemed to be a heavy-shouldered shaggy-haired fellow with a short beard and a wicked axe on his belt, and at his side rode a Saldaean woman in dark narrow divided skirts who kept looking up at him with the fondest...

Vilnar sat forward in his saddle. He recognized that woman. He thought of Lord Bashere, in the Royal Palace right that moment. More, he thought of Lady Deira, and his heart sank; she was in the Palace too. If some Aes Sedai had waved her hand and turned that column into Trollocs, Vilnar would have been overjoyed.

Perrin looks uneasily at the Saldaeans guarding the gate; Aram suggests that they could cut through them, and Gaul has veiled himself, but Perrin tells them to stand down, and they obey reluctantly. Perrin introduces himself to the Saldaeans and says that he thinks Rand al’Thor will want to see him; Vilnar manages to mention Bashere’s name very loudly in his reply, pointedly ignoring Faile, and tells Perrin that no one is allowed in the city with more than twenty armed men. Perrin orders Dannil to have the Two Rivers men make camp outside the city, and sends Aram with them, to the Tinker’s displeasure; Bain and Chiad take off into the city to find their societies, and Gaul quickly follows.

Perrin shook his head. Gaul wanted Chiad to marry him, but by Aiel custom, she had to ask him, and though according to Faile she was willing to become his lover, she would not give up the spear and marry. He seemed as affronted as a Two Rivers girl would have been in the same circumstance. Bain seemed to be part of it too, somehow; Perrin did not understand how. Faile professed not to know, if a bit too quickly, and Gaul grew sullen when asked. An odd people.

They ride through the city, Perrin thinking about how much he was not looking forward to confronting Faile’s father, and how Rand had pulled him to him, though it was only because of rumor that Perrin had known to come to Andor specifically. They reach the Palace and are escorted to where Rand is; Rand greets them with congratulations on their wedding day, kissing Faile, and explains about Bode and the others being here in Caemlyn with Verin and Alanna, which is how Rand knows about it. Perrin sees Min is there and greets her with a hug, until he smells the jealousy from Faile and lets her go. Faile greets Min cordially, though, and Perrin is puzzled when the jealousy scent goes after Min glances at Rand, changing to surprised pleasure instead. Rand asks after Loial, and Perrin explains that he went to rest in a nearby abandoned stedding for a while, but will be following after soon. He thinks that Rand looks harder than he had in Tear, and tired as well. Faile excuses herself and Min to Rand, and under cover of straightening Perrin’s coat warns him in a very low voice to remember that Rand is the Dragon Reborn, not his boyhood friend, and to remember that he, Perrin, is the Lord of the Two Rivers. She and Min leave, and Perrin asks after Mat; Rand replies that with any luck, Mat is currently escorting Elayne to Caemlyn to be crowned, and bringing Egwene and Nynaeve with him. Then he asks if Perrin would go to Tear for him, telling him Rand can have him there tonight. Perrin suddenly wonders if Rand is still sane, and answers that he can’t yet; there is someone in Caemlyn he has to talk to first.

Rand did not seem to be listening. He flung himself into one of the gilded chairs and stared at Perrin bleakly. “You remember how Thom used to juggle all those balls and make it look easy? Well, I’m juggling now for all I am worth, and it isn’t easy. Sammael in Illian; the rest of the Forsaken the Light only knows where. Sometimes I don’t even think they are the worst of it. Rebels who think I’m a false Dragon. Dragonsworn who think they can burn villages in my name. Have you heard of the Prophet, Perrin? No matter; he’s no worse than the rest. I have allies who hate each other, and the best general I can name to face Illian wants nothing better than to charge off and be killed. Elayne should be here in maybe a month and a half with luck, but I may just have a rebellion on my hands here before then. Light, I want to give her Andor whole. I thought of going to get her myself, but that is the worst thing I could do.” He rubbed his face with both hands, speaking behind them. “The very worst.”

Perrin asks what Moiraine thinks, and Rand tells him about Moiraine’s death in Cairhien, to Perrin’s shock. Perrin asks about going to Verin and Alanna instead, which Rand rejects harshly. Perrin warns Rand about the dangers of angering Aes Sedai, and Rand explains to him about the split in the Tower, and the two embassies sent to him; Perrin is appalled at the notion that Rand is positioning himself between the two factions, but Rand asks him if he really thinks Aes Sedai would leave him alone regardless of what was happening, and opines that the Tower split might be the best thing for him in the long run.

“If the Tower was whole, I’d have so many strings tied to me by now, I could not move a finger without asking six Aes Sedai for permission.”

Perrin very nearly laughed himself, and no more in mirth than Rand. “So you think it’s better to—what?—play the rebel Aes Sedai off against the Tower? ‘Cheer the bull, or cheer the bear; cheer both, and you will be trampled and eaten.’ ”

Rand tells him smugly that there is a third faction, ready to kneel to him, and then changes the subject to the Two Rivers, asking Perrin to tell him all about what’s going on there. They talk for a while on the subject, and Perrin is saddened that Rand refuses to go visit the Two Rivers men in the camp. Finally Rand tells Perrin he should go and freshen up, but asks him to think on Tear; Perrin promises to do so.

Hi, Perrin! Thanks for finally showing up, sheesh! I honestly did not remember that he takes so long to reappear in the main narrative. Of course, he has an awful lot to do in the last third of LOC, so I guess that makes up for it, or something.

Vilnar: I have a perverse liking for these little once-off POVs we see from time to time, mostly because I am continually fascinated by the idea of getting to see the protagonists from an outside point of view. However, Vilnar’s POV was mainly only notable in that we just saw Marillin Gemalphin (she of the Black Ajah/Healing cats persuasion) in it, whose presence in Caemlyn has been continually hinted at throughout LOC.

I’m not really sure why we keep hearing about her, because I don’t think anything ever comes of it, and we don’t see Marillin again for at least two books, but hey. At least we’ve established that Vilnar doesn’t know jack about Aes Sedai.

Gaul: Aw, poor Gaul, still in his weird triangle situation. For some reason Perrin’s assertion that Gaul gets “sullen” when you ask him about it made me chuckle, though. So the (prurient) question is, if Chiad is “willing” to be his lover, have they actually slept together, or is Gaul, er, saving himself for the wedding night, so to speak? Perspiring minds want to know!

Aram: bloodthirsty much? Seriously, dude, I know you’re going to get bad religion and try to murder Perrin later, but still, some common sense, please. It’s generally not a good idea to slaughter your own ally’s forces to get to see him. For some reason that kind of thing seems to put people off, you know?

Faile: Oh, Faile. Jealousy is so unbecoming a trait, my dear. Especially when it’s screamingly obvious your husband is about the non-cheatingest human being on the planet. Unclench, hon, kthx.

At least she’s also fairly sharp. I am amused that this is the second time a female character has taken one look at Min looking at Rand and is like, “Oh yeah, girl is gone”, when all the male characters (including Rand!) are completely oblivious. I am pretty sure that men are not quite as universally clueless in these matters (nor women as universally gifted with laser-like perception) as they are popularly portrayed, but it’s just enough true to be funny.

Rand’s speech here to Perrin is a pretty accurate summation of the multiple and myriad ways in which his life sucks. And I thought I had stress issues. I would strongly suggest to Rand (who is, of course, listening to me right now) that seeing the forest for the trees is a highly unwise exercise – especially when your particular forest happens to be on fire. I’m just saying, that’s a good way to drive yourself nuts... oh, wait. Oops.

All that said, he’s pretty badly wrong about the Tower split being a good thing for him. If the Tower hadn’t split, Siuan would still be in charge – you know, the only Aes Sedai on record as saying she wasn’t going to try to control him! Granted, she was fudging that a little, but still. And regardless, anything that puts people more on edge – which sure as hell includes your entire organization falling apart – is not a good thing for anyone. People under extreme stress or pressure tend to do stupid things. As we are about to learn, sadly.

And that’s about all I got on this one, kids. Enjoy, and see you anon!

Christopher Sandoval
1. crsandoval
Thanks for the RE-read i guess work is off for another half hour or so.
keep em coming
Tasneem Gould
4. Latecomer
OK so that is not all :)

I LOVE how Mat is taken aback by Suian, and then Leane. Mat and Leane - now there is a pair I would have LOVED to see together.

Also - Mat realising that Egwene is being disrespected by the sisters and showing them up - that was wonderful of him. No matter how the SGs are treating him, no one gets away with treating Egs like that!

Did I mention that Mat is AWESOME?
5. poclt
Sheesh; took you long enough.
Bill Siegel
6. ubxs113
Awesome as always Leigh, thanks!

And @ #4 Latecomer
My thoughts exactly, this is where Mat goes from simply being Awesome to being... wait for it... Legendary!
7. alreadymadwithcaemlyn
Contrary to Rand's opinion that he has a rebellion ready to blow up under him, it doesn't actually kick off until Elayne arrives.
8. Ishmayl
A major problem I have with this chapter is that it seems like the letter to Thom thing wasn't decided on by RJ at this point. Mat asks specifically about it, "I hope it was good news," and then gets this reply:

But Thom only shrugged. Mat did not know what to make of him without his gleeman’s cloak. “Good news? I haven’t puzzled that out yet. Often you don’t know whether a woman is friend, enemy or lover until it is too late. Sometimes, she is all three.” Mat expected a laugh, but Thom frowned and sighed. “Women always seem to like making themselves mysterious, Mat.”

This seems like, if RJ had already figured out what Moraine's letter said to Thom, that some things should have come across here, or happened differently. For one, Mat asking seems like enough of a reason for Thom to show him the note, based on what we find out it contains in KoD. Secondly, Thom's response about "friend, enemy, or lover," seems to almost be referring to something so completely different from what we find is in the letter, that it seems blatant that Rj had not yet decided for sure what the letter said. Just a bit that bothers me, but I suppose it's not the first time in the series that RJ put something in without knowing 100% specifically how it would work itself out in the end.
Lannis .
9. Lannis
I love love LOVE that Leane kisses Mat after dancing with him... HA!

Oh how I wish someone would just say to Rand, "You can't give Elayne a throne she already rightfully sits." One person, ONE would change the whole Elayne snit over the Lion Throne... and I am so tired of hearing about it... grr...

Mind you, I suppose the whole misconceived-perception thing is realistic...

@ Ishmayl... interesting point, about the letter... I never noticed that before. Hmmm...

Thanks Leigh, glad to have you back! :)
Maiane Bakroeva
10. Isilel
gateways can be deadly if opened in populated places.

Argh! And here the obvious foot-dragging begins. Seriously, Ebu Dar, like any city in such societies would be surrounded by fields. Get a good map and open a small gateway away from the villages, just enough to look around first. _Then_ open a bigger one and go through. Do it at night to minimize risks. A day out of Ebu Dar, OK, but weeks like here and with Lan? And much longer when Elayne travels to Caemlyn?
Also, the AS didn't yet figure out that they could link to Travel.

Yes, Mat doesn't know what bullet he just dodged with Delana and Halima. And BTW, now that we know that AS can detect residues of saidin, it is seriously strange that they didn't check the camp on a regular basis after Mat and Co showed up and they heard about Rand's amnesty.

Yes, Mat is great to Egwene here. No time for belated explanations on her part, sadly. Why did she want to separate him from the Band, again? She thought that he wouldn't follow for long without trying to "rescue" her and possibly crossing her plans?

she was willing to become his lover, she would not give up the spear and marry. He seemed as affronted

How dense and selfish is Gaul? The Last Battle is approaching, it is not the time for accomplished Maidens to give up spears. The most important war like ever and Gaul can't understand why Chiad is unwilling to (attempt to) sit it out?

Faile continues to piss me off (up to and including in KoD). First, jealousy, then she tries to throw a monkey wrench into Perrin's and Rand's friendship. Her words to Perrin remind me of Melindhra's to Mat.

And Leigh, how about a spoilerific (including prologue and the 2 chapters) prediction thread for TGS?
Jeff Weston
11. JWezy
OK, here's the thing about the Lion Throne - the Andoran succession is never as clean as "my mother was queen and she's dead, so now I am queen". It seems to be a bit more contentious than that, and if a majority of the houses refuse, someone else gets throne. Ultimately, Elayne must contend for the throne, because the support of the houses does not transfer to her automatically (as we see later, but she should already know).

But, more to the point, who rules in Andor? Who conquered Andor, killed the acting head of state, and occupied the capital and the palace? There is absolutely nothing (except Elayne's out-of-joint nose) to suggest that the rule of Andor is not Rand's already. The fact that he would prefer not to personally rule, but to defer to the aspirant with the best existing claim merely adds to the point - the Lion Throne and the rule of Andor is in fact Rand's to bestow.

It all comes down to semantics, and more particularly, to Elayne not wanting it to be so. She desperately wants to come to the throne on her own merits, and to inherit a peaceful and well-run country. Too bad, that's not the way it is. Get over it already.

And, as alreadymadwithcaemlyn pointed out above, Rand does a better job of keeping the peace to boot. I assume that that would irritate her even more, if she ever acknowledged it.

BTW, I'm not an Elayne-hater, but in this instance she is just wrong-wrong-wrongety-wrong.
12. Freelancer
Thank you Leigh, glad you're all functional and stuff. I very much enjoy Mat getting shock after shock in these chapters, but I especially love his no-clutch shift into Two Rivers Defender mode the moment he notices that Egwene is being mistreated by the "real" Aes Sedai. Interesting how well Mat sees straight to the heart of a small intrigue like that, juxtaposed with Faile's instant recognition of a girl twitterpated. I can always feel my wife going under tension when a female I was even remotely friendly with thirty years ago is in the same room. I'm very glad I can't smell the result, like poor Perrin. Sharp, spiky, nosebleed, yeeaaugh.


This has come up on other WoT sites. The consensus seems to be that Mat making a statement, "I hope it was good news", doesn't measure up to Moiraine's caution to Thom not to speak of it until Mat asks about the contents. Thom's cryptic comments here clearly are meant to intice that probing question from Mat (indicating to me that Jordan did have this business planned out), but Mat didn't rise to the bait.


Wow, how pleasant. Try saying "Thank you, Leigh."
Luke M
13. lmelior
Okay, I'm a bit slow today. Who is the general that wants to charge off and be killed?
Hilde Sørensen
14. edlihs
Faile continues to piss me off (up to and including in KoD). First, jealousy, then she tries to throw a monkey wrench into Perrin's and Rand's friendship. Her words to Perrin remind me of Melindhra's to Mat.
Leigh commented on an earlier post that the women seemed to keep Rand grounded. This obviously does not extend to MARRIED ones... They all seems to think he is already "lost".

Maybe she wants to "prove" herself
Barry T
15. blindillusion
“Trust is the color of death”, eh? Bitter, party of one, your table is waiting...


"Not that it isn’t thematically appropriate, since people believing such cynical crap is how everything ends up completely FUBAR by the end of this book, but damn. That’s like the WOT equivalent of an Alanis Morissette song."

-Amen Amen Amen. Of all the things that have always frustrated me about this series, the whole lack of trust/communication aspect takes the cake, cookie, pie, err, whatever. If these characters lived in our time this is about the point in the story they'd all delete each other from their Facebook pages.

We're talking about people who can Travel, Dreamwalk, LEAVE MESSAGES IN A FREAKING DREAM!! And no one talks to anyone for next FIVE books. Ah well, you can't fix stupid and as we all know...let the stupidity begin....

One other thing. I started reading this series when I was around 17. I'm 28 now, an officer in the military, a husband and I have a son with a little girl due in January. Anywho, I always remember feeling frustration for the way our young characters were treated by their elders. Hmm, now, I can see where those elders were coming from. Immature much?
craig thrift
17. gagecreedlives
Yo Peeps

Just thought I would take a break from backpacking around Europe and say hi *waves* and let you know that I am still alive. Which is a good thing as I couldnt be bothered changing my username.

I have been doing my best to keep up with Leigh's reread but havent had the time to keep up fully with the comments. So if I have missed any good debates could somebody please kindly point me towards them so I can see what I have been missing.

And a big congratulations to you and your missus subwoofer. I will have to have a drink in your honour as soon as I get a chance :)
18. Freelancer

That would be Weiramon.

Some things I noted to myself, but forgot to include in my original comment:

Myrelle! Egads, girl, you already have four warders, including the most dangerous non-channeler alive. When is enough too much? Well, at least she asked.

Halima. As creepy as Verin is sneaky. Mat thinks he was shocked to learn he had asked Siuan to dance? Hah! He'd be taking a long bath in a frozen creek if he learned who was rubbing up on him.
Einhorn is Finkle. Finkle is Einhorn. Einhorn is a man! Oh, my god! Einhorn is a man?!
19. Lily of the Valley
You know you're obsessed with WoT when you see "hot tamales" and read "hot Talmanes".

Mat: Wins. Plain and simple. I always have to stifle my laughter when reading that chapter with him, Siuan and Leane, because I already get odd looks from people for carrying around a book with more pages than they read in a year. I think this is really where I started looking forward to Mat chapters, instead of just being happy when I came across one. His reaction to Egwene always made me smile to, and her sincere gratitude for his honoring her as the actual Amyrlin was a shiny "Yay Egwene!" moment.

RE: Gaul and Chiad/Bain love triangle thing: I always figured Gaul was insulted by Chiad's approach to their relationship. Or lack thereof. Like, "I'm good enough to bang but not to marry?" I figure they'd been sleeping together until Gaul asked her when she was gonna ask him to marry her, and her reply of ".-. I'm not gonna ask you. Ever." made him a tad miffed. I also theorize that Bain was tossed in by Chiad as another road block, and Bain, loyal first-sister that she is, went along with it, regardless of whether or not she actually agrees with Chiad's sentiments.

The lack of communication: People did ask me for a while why I had bruises on my forehead. Eventually I stopped headdesking because I resigned myself to the fact that it wasn't going to get any better; kinda like the moment you realize that the idiot in the horror movie is actually going to do that incredibly stupid thing that will no doubt kill him, and no amount of you screaming "No! Stop! AUGH you DESERVE to die to frikkin' moron!" will change his actions. -sigh-
Sam Mickel
20. Samadai
help us Freelancer has gone Pet Detective
21. PhantomIce
@10. Isilel

I think Egwene's main aim wasn't exactly to separate Mat from his army, what she wanted was some portion of the army to stay to scare the Sitters into continuing their march on Tar Valon because the other AS were dragging their feet and Eggs needed to maneuver them to a place where they declared war so she could take actual control and stop being a figurehead.

Maybe the whole Elayne+Andoran throne arc is so long to keep Elayne and Aviendha away from Rand so Rand and Min can have their one on one time. Seems to me that Min is the only one trying to keep the man sane and connected to his humanity so he needs all the time he can get with hear.
Matthew Haase
22. Indagator
Re: Women's vs. Men's abilities to gauge sexual interest

Interested parties might enjoy this link, about research that was published in April 2008:

Basically, men are worse at interpreting sexual interest or lack there of, but not by much. Still, as a man who took a long time to learn to trust my intuition about non-verbal cues, reading that research just gave me another thing to worry about. :)
23. MikT

That would be Lan, who is GONE, and wants to get killed, and is the best.
Luke M
24. lmelior
Thanks blindillusion @16 and Freelancer @18. I guess I never thought much about Weiramon and the other High Lords, or of any of the Cairheinin or Andoran nobles for that matter. They're all just haphazardly piled in the "annoying people Rand has to deal with" category in my head.

I don't see why Rand thought he would be the best, when he has Bashere right there. That's who I was thinking of, and I just looked it up, that's who actually goes. I guess I'm just way ahead of Rand.

Also, I'd say RJ's version is pretty accurate when it comes to men being clueless, though I'd also say that women tend to read too much into things. One might argue that's part of RJ's version with the immediate spike of jealousy. Yay for sweeping generalizations with no evidence!
j p
25. sps49
I liked that "Trust" poem. Song. Whatever.

I asked if anyone else thought Mat asking Thom about the letter in Chapter 40's post qualified, but I don't remember any responses.
26. peachy
@5 - Mat & Leane are a great combo, indeed. And the boy needs to get bonded already, just like he needs to start wearing armour (though he finally twigged to the whole 'put metal between my body and people who want to kill me' thing in KoD.)

@11 - You have a definite point. Rand is the de facto ruler of Andor, and it's not at all clear who the de jure ruler is; Morgase is generally assumed to be dead, and actually does abdicate, and apparently Elayne needs to be 'elected' to be formally confirmed on the throne (in effect, the Daughter-Heir is an heir presumptive rather than apparent.)
Joseph Blaidd
27. SteelBlaidd
Mat correctly dopes out Aviendha's feelings for Rand and is generally shown to be pretty perceptive as far as interpersonal relationships and non-verbal communication goes. So the boys aren't completely clueless.

Regarding Faile's jealousy, I wonder how often men passed her up in favor of trying their luck against the impossible standards of her cousin Tenobia. That kind of insecurity is not really amenable to rational argument, especially when you husband is acting guilty as sin(Cairhein). Once Perrin starts giving the right signals(Ghealdan) she relaxes a LOT.

The communication problem is, in part, because none of the possible methods are known to all the principles. Now Avi has a dream ring and is likely to meet up with Rand soon so that may close one of those gaps.

Mat avoided armor on the theory that it would keep him from putting himself in positions where he would need it. I think he has finally decided that is no longer an option.

Even if Rand is de facto ruler of Andor (which I would dispute, he is at best in control of Caimlyn and until the High Seats proclaim for him he is as much King of Andor as Tylin is Queen of Altara) if Elayne is installed as Queen by him it would completely destroy any credibility and authority she would have with the other Houses.
Bridget Sullivan
28. Ellid

But, more to the point, who rules in Andor? Who conquered Andor, killed the acting head of state, and occupied the capital and the palace? There is absolutely nothing (except Elayne's out-of-joint nose) to suggest that the rule of Andor is not Rand's already. The fact that he would prefer not to personally rule, but to defer to the aspirant with the best existing claim merely adds to the point - the Lion Throne and the rule of Andor is in fact Rand's to bestow.

This is a gross oversimplification. Dyelin made it very clear that she was not going to oppose Rand, and more importantly, she was not going to rally her bloc of allied houses once Rand made it clear on his part that he was not going to take the Lion Throne himself, but rather, he was holding it for Elayne to come claim. This was in LoC, chapter 16.

Similarly, when Rand meets with the the anti-Trakandians, Ellorien and her bloc, he also tells them that he was waiting for Elayne; this faction was more tepid about that, but was equally vehement that it not be Rand as the ruler.

Rand only has the relatively orderly Andor to hand over because the upper aristocracy was willing to wait it out. None of them accepted his right of rule either - they were all mollified by Dyelin's regency - hardly the same thing.

There was the other bloc - the Elenia/Naean/Arymilla faction - that was unhappy with Dyelin and/or Elayne. Once Elayne arrived, they revolted because it seemed her ascension was a fait accomplit.

And besides that, there is a passage somewhere that I cannot locate at the moment about how the Andorans at large would revolt against any Dragon-imposed ruler and use pruning hooks and sickles or something to pull him down. Which is why Elayne had to earn her throne without Rand calling in the Asha'man shock troops or the Aiel peace-keepers on her behalf.
29. Seamus1602
One thing that always bugs me about this chapter is the complete lack of information given to Mat prior to leaving. The whole trip time frame and subsequent issue of not having food goes beyond simply putting him in his place. The AS actively prevent Mat from prepping fr this voyage, and then, to top it off, Elayne starts her god-awefully annoying trait of telling Mat what to do. Starting with feeding his troops properly! Elayne is usually more reasonable than Nyn and Egwene when it comes to men, but she has a massive Mat-shaped blindspot (it's always been shocking to me that Elayne bases her whole assessment of Mat's character off of one meeting with Egwene, completely disregarding that he has previously saved her life (twice!).
Bridget Sullivan
30. Ellid

Morgase is generally assumed to be dead, and actually does abdicate, and apparently Elayne needs to be 'elected' to be formally confirmed on the throne (in effect, the Daughter-Heir is an heir presumptive rather than apparent.)

Yay! what a simple, cogent way to put it.

"Elective" monarchy is something that RJ was rather fond of - the King of Arad Doman is installed by some council or other, as is the Panarch of Tarabon. We're never really told what the hell goes on in Cairhien to cement a succession, even when the Sun Throne passes in the same house. Malkier had something to do with casting rods on a stone to ratify al'Lan, too.

We were led to believe that pragmatic, stable Andor would have have the simplest, most straight-forward succession - mother to daughter (ideally), but is certainly not "distaff Agnatic primogeniture."

"Distaff Agnatic Primogeniture" would be something like mother -> eldest daughter -> eldest daughter of the Queen's eldest daughter (which is not the same as the Queen's eldest granddaughter, who could be the child of one the queen's sons). This would be strict and simple to adhere to.

As presented, though, it's not that clear at all. In the oddment where the eldest daughter (Daughter-Heir) has died, but has a living sister and a living daughter (granddaughter of the queen) under a distaff primogeniture system, it would go to the granddaughter (Daughter-Heir's daughter) and not the Daughter-Heir's sister, but as Andoran politics has played out in the series, it actually could get messy. And rather stupid, imho.

Even worse, what if hypothetical Queen Marien has two children, Daughter-Heir Elsbeth and a son, Lord Roberth, who in turn has a daughter, Lady Ellyn. Meanwhile, Queen Marien has a sister, LaToya - the Daughter-Heir dies before ascending - who prevails in such a fluid system? Marien's granddaughter (via a male) or her sister? Presumably, both Ellyn and LaToya would share a similar number of lines of descent from Ishara, both being heirs of the body of the same Queen (Marien's mother Gertrune). And what about Marien's First Prince of the Sword, her brother, Prince Michal and his brace of daughters, Cesile and Alyse? Do they get a passing appraisal?

This system is designed to foment instability - if Lady LaToya is married to her own powerful husband, and Lady Ellyn is similarly betrothed to a different powerful family's scion - ugh - no wonder Andoran Successions erupt all the time.

Particularly since we have seen a recent historic example of a Prince Regent (Gareth Bryne) running the country - what if FPotS Michal assumes the regency and doesn't want to allow his sister (LaToya) or niece (Ellyn) to ascend, but rather one of his daughters, butressed by his own wife's powerful family, the Osmands.

(I could do this all night by the way - invent convoluted dynastic struggles under the Andoran system. :) )

Whew - long rambling post
Rob Trotter
31. shadar
@24 - The army is Tear is the fake one.. Bashere is leading the real army. (See the practising he and his horsemen do in an earlier chapter).

The basic plan is Mat/Perrin/Weiromoron lead a giant army 200K+ towards Sammael - and then Rand/Bashere/Saldeans gateway in and take the city by surprise.
32. peachy
@30 - Yeah, successions can get complex enough when the hereditary rules are fixed and well-understood; when you add the elective element, confusion is all but guaranteed.

The difficulty is that elective and hereditary systems both have pretty definite problems. Elective ones increase the chance of a competent candidate succeeding, but at the cost of an incipient civil war every time a ruler kicks off; hereditary ones remove (in theory) this uncertainty, but you're relying on a roll of the genetic dice when it comes to the ability of the successor.

Andor, frankly, seems to have the worst of both systems, greatly restricting the pool of candidates but making every succession an effective election. In this respect at least it's much more like the Holy Roman Empire than Elizabethan England. (The best of both systems, in my opinion, is Roman-style adoptive-hereditary, but it really helps if your rulers don't have heirs of their body who might get bumped out of the succession. Which is, in fact, was the reason the system generally broke during the empire. And the Romans had the starting advantage of adopting like mad, which isn't true of most cultures.)

By the way, succession and legitimacy are a couple of my favourite historical topics. So, you know, fair warning. :)
Bridget Sullivan
33. Ellid

"Andor, frankly, seems to have the worst of both systems, greatly restricting the pool of candidates but making every succession an effective election."

Which is amusing abstractly, but not as a reader because it seemed to me (at least) that Elayne's succession woes were a fabrication on the part of the author LATE IN THE SERIES to plump up Elayne's storyline. By which I mean, of all the trajectories to power on which all of our Young Heroes were, Elayne's seemed the most obvious. There is no mystery as to where she'll end up. She starts off as the frickin' Daughter-Heir! All the politicking and insurgencies seemed a little... oh, I dunno...artificial? We were told Andor has smooth transfers of rule, Andor is placid, Andor doesn't have a culture of Daes Dae'mar and internecine warfare - and then, Lo and Behold, it does. Bad, at that.

"(The best of both systems, in my opinion, is Roman-style adoptive-hereditary, but it really helps if your rulers don't have heirs of their body who might get bumped out of the succession. Which is, in fact, was the reason the system generally broke during the empire. And the Romans had the starting advantage of adopting like mad, which isn't true of most cultures.)"

The closest to that would seem to be the Succession by Selection of the Seanchan Empresses, I guess. I say Empresses because it's only women as it developed, which is even odder, because there are no mentions of a structural preference of gynarchy in Seanchan, but it obviously developed that way. (Which is why Turak is barking up the wrong tree, I think).

"By the way, succession and legitimacy are a couple of my favourite historical topics. So, you know, fair warning. :)"

Me too :)
34. Freelancer
shadar@31 has it. Weiramon wants to ride into Illian "guns blazing", believing he can drive Sammael out with a massive charge. He's a buffoon (as well as very likely a darkfriend), and Rand does all he can to put up with his buffoonery and avoid dying for it. And in this way, Weiramon is somewhat like Omerna, he is not what he thinks he is. Weiramon's army is a massive joke, a misdirection. But only Rand, Mat, and Bashere know that. Lan knew it also, but he's busy...
Noneo Yourbusiness
35. Longtimefan
While I will admit that I am not a fan of Mat in general it has always been difficult for me to pinpoint why.

He has his good points certainly but in the encounter between Egwene and Mat in Salidar there is something that clicked for me.

Mat does not make the best leg he can because he respects or even believes in Egwene. He does it because he is offended at how other people are treating her so he is putting a bee up their noses by making a big deal of her position in front of them.

The action is laudable but the intent is questionable. This is just a type of personality that does not sit well with me in general. This is probably why the Mat construct is not high up on my character list.

It is not an action but a reaction.

This is probably why Perrin was amongst my favorites until obsession storyline kicked in to high gear.
He may not always make the best decisions but he gives a good bit of thinking to the situation before he acts.
Pelumi Adefope
36. GenghisCan

Mat respects his fellow Two Rivers people greatly. It's just that Egwene is now the most important kind of person he doesn't like: Aes Sedai.

He might like her but she's still what she is and will do what Aes Sedai do best: manipulate people.

I think the intent was to prove that no matter what she was, he is still loyal to his Duopotamians.
37. EmmaPease
One possible procedure to cut down on disputes is to crown an adult daughter-heir (i.e., after she returned from her Tower training) in her mother's lifetime or to have the election at the end of the old Queen's life but while she was still alive and could pressure to get the result she wanted. This would mean no interregnum between the death of one queen and the ascension to full power of the next (England tried the former once, IIRC, it backfired when the young king revolted against his father).
Phillip hamilton
38. Phillbie
Ellid @30
look i've got to say that on general priciple the assention system of Andor seems to be on of the best in the series, in most cases the Daughter-Heir will follow her mother onto the throne without a problem. Unless of course she is completely uncompetent, in which case they then have a succesion, and maybe a civil war. but in the case of Tigrane, and Morgases assention, there was no war, simply a bit of bikering untill the one most proficceant asserted herself, though if it wasn't for Thom Morgase wouldn't have gotten there. that leads to the other type of succesion which is when both queen and Daughter-Heir die/vanish.

Though it did stuff up for elayne, it was for multiple reasons:

1. She was very late in placing her claim, and many of the houses thought she was dead.

2. Rand screwed things overfor her, though couldn't have known it, by announcing his support for her. many would have susspected her as a puppet, and maybe do/did.

3. Morgase crucified many of her major supporters, and as revenge none of them wanted another Trankard on the throne.

Ghengascan @36
i agree completely, Mat still considers Egwene a friend, though he had trouble coming to terms with her as amrillian, he is also very prceptive when it comes to Daes Dae'mar, it could be those memories but i've never really been sure.

The short of it is, Mat is AWESOME!
39. peachy
@37 - That became the usual procedure in the HRE - the election, formally, was for the 'King of the Romans', the designated successor to the Emperor. It's potentially a good system; the Roman hereditary-adoptive was basically similar in that the ruling emperor chose his heir (who might also be his colleague) while still alive. After the de facto split between East and West something similar was done on occasion - when the Augustus of one side died, that of the other chose his replacement.

Another advantage of having an explicitly designated successor is that the new chap (or gal) can get the necessary education and practice before they have to do it for real. Despite her occasional bobbles, Elayne was well-prepared to rule; of the other central young adult characters, only Mat has an equivalent 'education'... the others are all learning on the job, which is a tough way to do it.
Bill Reamy
40. BillinHI
Definitely my favorite Mat chapters, at least for the rolling-on-the-floor comedy.

Slightly off-topic: the re-read index has not been updated and the blogger index is almost totally messed up (although this part 25 does show up there).
Eugenie Delaney
41. EmpressMaude

"look i've got to say that on general priciple the assention system of Andor seems to be on of the best in the series, in most cases the Daughter-Heir will follow her mother onto the throne without a problem. Unless of course she is completely uncompetent, in which case they then have a succesion, and maybe a civil war"

This assumes that a Queen will always have at last one daughter. Ask Henry VIII about how simple it is to produce one child of the desired gender, even when one has the luxury of swapping gestational parents to keep trying.

In the entirely possible and not terribly unlikely scenario of a queen who bears only sons, what happens then? Who gets named Daughter-Heir? Her sister or her son's daughter? Or her brother's daughter? All three candidates (sister, granddaughter, niece) are descendants of the same common progenitress (the queen's mother), but only one is the product of the queen's own body (granddaughter). What if the queen has no granddaughters at all: her sister, her brother's daughter (her niece) or her late mother's sister (her aunt)?

It's a silly system if it is designed without additional rules.
Hurin Smells
42. HurinSmells
@29 Most of the SG's (including Tuon) under estimate Mat initially because he's a rogue, basically the Pricess Leia/Han Solo thing. Mat continues to demonstrate how awesome he is, but because he's the opposite of defferential when it comes to Aes Sedai and nobles, he gets no love.

I think that's why he get's so many requests to be a Warder, because Aes Sedai think that's only thing to do with a man with mad skillz such as Mat/Perrin/Rand, because no way can they ever allow a man to be on equal footing with an Aes Sedai! Plus the whole thing about trying to put a harness on a ta'veren, which I've always thought was naff. Hey Aes Sedai, guess what, if the Wheel of Time wanted you to to have crazy influence over the Pattern, it would have spun YOU out as ta'veren!

But in terms of story Mat needs to deal with this stuff early on so he knows how to deal with Tuon. No way would he be able to deal with Tuon's level of female ultra-dominance without having first dealt with Elayne and Teslyn.
43. Hari Coplin
On Thom and Aludra, I do believe RJ, actually. There is precedent, also. Take Thom and Bayle Domon in Tanchico. It is clear when they met that they recognised each other, yet as clearly decided to pretend to be strangers. It of course depends on the characters whether they would do so, but the more politically astute characters may be more likely to hide such things out of prudence. One of course remembers Thom's infamous precedent of advice in the Baerlon of tEotW that no one should reveal anyone any information that might be useful to them. I have the feeling there are other examples of this in the books, but I cannot remember now, might be imagination.
Kristina Blake
44. kab1
not much new to add, but I wanted to say that I also really enjoyed Mat's chapter here. I thought the dancing scene was a lot of fun. These types of scenes are why I love the WoT so much, in between all these stressful "the world may end" parts, we still get dancing by a bonfire. yay! I could just picture Halima's look of shock and then Mat's shock at Siuan and Leane. good times.

I'd also like to add that on my latest reread I must had been going too quickly or not paying attention, because was totally confused as to why Nyneave avoids Mat during the whole trip to Ebou Dar (and I was to lazy to go back and figure it out). Thanks to Leigh and her reread for clearing this up for me!

What is up with Rand and his belief that there is a third fraction of AS waiting to kneel before him?? I've heard various people say that Rand is too smart to really think Alviarin/other AS are ready to swear to him, but his comments here suggest to me that he really believes it. Otherwise I'm not quite sure why he would "smugly" say this to Perrin in private. Of course, his opinion seems to change after, you know, the whole box thing.
45. Katiya
So I had a thought about Marillin Gemalphin. She doesn't actually appear on screen until, what, KoD? Maybe CoT, but she is apparently an independent agent that was ordered to hook up with Milli Skane once she came to Andor. So before then, what exactly was she doing besides Healing cats and dogs?

I don't have an answer, because I'm really bad at all this intrigue crap, but...

"Scrawny cats peered at her silently from atop barrels and back walls, and stray dogs with knobby ribs laid back their ears...She felt no worry about being scratched or bitten. Cats seemed to sense something about Aes Sedai; she had never heard of an Aes Sedai being scratched by even the most feral cat. Dogs were hostile, true, almost as if they thought Aes Sedai were cats, but they almost always slinked away after a little show.

There were far more dogs and cats in the runs than she remembered, and gaunter, but many fewer people."

This seems like a bit much time to spend on pets. Why not just make the alleys deserted? And if Marillin was out Healing animals, they'd be skinny, right? Missing their nutrients from the Healing and all that, and unable to get the steady food they'd need to fully recover. Does it mean anything? I don't know, but it seems like a rather large set-up, and not a coincidence.
46. Katiya
Oh, I should probably point out that that quote is from Demira's POV right before her famous attack.
47. Shadow_Jak
Give me your trust, said the Aes Sedai.
On my shoulders I support the sky.
Trust me to know and to do what is best,
And I will take care of the rest.
but trust is the color of a dark seed growing.
trust is the color of a heart’s blood flowing.
trust is the color of a soul’s last breath.
trust is the color of death.

My favorite WOT tune.
Even better than "Dance with Jak o'the Shadows"!

And, IMHO, this verse is an excellent summation of the majority opinion of Randlanders towards Aes Sedai.

An opinion, BTW, that Aes Sedai have certainly earned.

And the final touch, Mat remembers writing that little ditty himself! Love it!

Edit to add last paragraph.
john massey
48. subwoofer
Holy shmoo! My posts are becoming a long list these days!. Leigh- welcome back to the land of the living. Maybe a trip to Zombieland to blow off some steam. Gotta enjoy the little things...

@gcl- thanks for the shout out. Say hello to Heidi for me;)

@Isilel- LOL. Yes, totally defeats the purpose of a gateway if you are pussy footing around with placement. Seems like a way to make the books longer.

I do enjoy the one-off POV though- didn't notice it my first couple of re-reads but it is good to see Perrin and Faile through a stranger's eyes. Seems our blacksmith apprentice is all grown up.

Loving Free's Ace Ventura too. Reminds me of OG 90210 when ol' loverboy Steve gets frisky with the hot chick then realizes the plumbing is all wrong. Halima- creepy.

One thing I am disappointed in is Thom and Juilin not helping Mat out. Bros before hos guys, c'mon now. There were some arm twisting and all but Juilin at least knows what Mat is about from Tear and Thom's smart enough to put two and two together.

49. Siuanfan
Isilel @ 10 - SO glad you mentioned how much Faile sounded like Melindhra there. That's been bugging me for ages... hel-LO this chick is basically echoing something a known darkfriend said to another one of Da Boys, NOT to mention Lanfear said practically the same thing to Rand. I've never liked Faile but that whole "you can be great and powerful" spiel makes me downright suspicious of her - considering the two other women using that line were evil evil baddies. I have to disagree with you on Gaul though. One less spear can make little difference but love is everlasting, man. It IS pretty much like "give up your career and have my babies" since the Aiel don't seem to make concessions for "working mother" where Maidens are concerned, so I don't entirely blame her for not going for it. I don't think Gaul's selfish though. He has my sympathy. Someone looking for love in the face of armageddon should get it I think. :P

Re: the Andoran throne - under normal circumstances, it seems that the Andoran throne passes to the heir apparent - Queen (the mother) is dead so Queen (the daughter) gets the throne. It seems to me as though the only times it doesn't are when there is no suitable Daughter-heir present (such as Elayne who was missing or if the last Queen had no daughters or in the case that everyone can see the Daughter-Heir is too stupid to rule), and that's when they have a Succession which involves getting the support of the Houses, and usually some type of civil war or battle or skirmishes, whatever. I think if Elayne had showed up immediately, she would have been crowned with no further ado. Then again hypno-Morgase pissed off quite a few Houses and made enemies for Trakand so maybe not. But the point is, I don't think every new ruler has to be 'elected' by the Houses, else why bother having the title of Daughter-heir at all? I assume there are enough people who want the throne badly enough to contest the D-H so often as to make little difference, but my guess is that normally, the succession (little-s) works like any other monarchy.
50. Siuanfan
P.S. Though I finally began to like Mat a while back (around the time he became leader of the Band), this chapter marks my first official moment of Mat-love. The awww moment when he stood up (or knelt, as it were) for Egwene was downright awesome. Yay for Mat!
Barry T
51. blindillusion

"The communication problem is, in part, because none of the possible methods are known to all the principles."

Um, really? Who doesn't know which means of communication? In one way or another, all the MAIN principles (with the exception of Perrin and even that's about to change) know these means and/or at least have a way to go about utilizing them.

But this book marks the point in the series when many of the main characters stop talking to each other.

Sure, I'll give you that in LOC all these nifty ways of communication are new to Troupe (as I will now call all the main characters when mentioned together =)). By KOD, though, all the main characters have the means to talk to the others members of the Troupe, but still, no one is talking.

It's just frustrating. Blah. I'll leave it alone now.

**walks away grumbling about silly fictional characters**
Peter Nein
52. gimpols1908
Longtimefan @ 35.
'He does it because he is offended at how other people are treating her so he is putting a bee up their noses by making a big deal of her position in front of them.'

Aww c'mon. Mat thinks that Eggie is getting set up to have her head chopped off. What he wants to do is grab her and pull her off the frying pan that he perceives. He does try to put a bee up the other AS noses but really only because he is playing the big brother role. He can't threaten them with his army, so he will show her respect in public and continue to poke at her in private as is required by any big bro.
53. ChrisCo
Re: how Rand's wrong about the Tower Split being's possibly been helpful at times, but mostly it's just increased chaos...which, you know, Dark One/chaos/bad.

Still, in the short term, Rand's POV makes sense, that w/o the Tower split everybody'd be asking Aes Sedai before following him. (Of course, most people don't follow him that well anyway.) I have to say, one of the biggest problems I have with the Tower split is the way that 2/3 or Aes Sedai are totally focused on that, with preparations for Tarmon Gaidon being completely on the backburner for them.

The thing I really don't get here, though, and Rand's biggest blind point re: the Aes Sedai, is his ridiculous belief in Alviarin's letter. (That he has supporters waiting to "bask in his radiance", or whatever the heck she wrote to him.) This is nonsense on the face of it, so why is *that* the one Aes Sedai statement that he accepts w/o question?
Noneo Yourbusiness
54. Longtimefan
Loony theory on Marillin Sedai and her Pro Cat Agenda.

Not only is she healing them but she knows some form of "kitty compulsion". Apparently it would have to be on the level of a Talent since we all know how independent cats are. She is training a cat army. On Elayne's coronation the cats with rise up to rend Caemlyn red in tooth and claw causing a minor catastrophe.
Ian Horn
55. IanGH
Up until this point I always assumed Rand had seen through the letter from Alviarin and knew her for a darkfriend. That's what I thought Moiraine was implying. Oops.

Mat shows an incredible amount of flexibility in this chapter. He goes from having to rescue an ungrateful, "muley" Egwene, to being ignored, then bullied into going to Ebou Dar. In the end, he reads the political winds exactly right and feels indignant not at Egwene, his tormentor, but at those who are disrespecting her. Loyalty, thy name is Mat. (Granted, Mat's behaviour toward Egwene was hardly respectful. But, hey, nobody's perfect.)

One part of that chapter that always made me chuckle was how Mat had his men mount up to go through the gateway, saw how much smaller it was than Rand's, and had to get them all to dismount again. I don't know why that sticks in my mind. I always felt that Mat's POVs were the best written.

About the throne of Andor, I believe in CoT we have an Elayne POV that explains the whole system. I don't have the book close to hand but I believe there are 18 major houses and a claimant needs the support of a majority of them. It's not an election, per se, but simply how it works in fact. The Daughter-heir is typically crowned but not always. Given that Morgase (under Rahvin's power) banished (and had beaten) her strongest allies and promoted her enemies, it's no wonder that Elayne has little support.

And as far as succession through the male line, several High Seats of powerful houses are men and I believe at least one considered making a claim for his daughter.
56. birgit
I say Empresses because it's only women as it developed, which is even odder, because there are no mentions of a structural preference of gynarchy in Seanchan, but it obviously developed that way.

The last Emperor was Algywn nearly 1000 years ago.
Maiane Bakroeva
57. Isilel
Siuanfan @49:

I've never liked Faile but that whole "you can be great and powerful" spiel makes me downright suspicious of her

I am not suspicious of her, but I do hate her as a character. She and Gawyn are my most hated good guys that we are supposed to like.

From the beginning she was aggravating and abusive towards Perrin, putting the whole party at risk several times in TDR.
Then she already tried to throw a monkey wrench into Perrin-Rand friendship in TSR, then her behavior went beyond the pale until their arrival in TR, and after a few shining moments, she was busy subjugating TR and forcing Perrin into a mold of a lord.
And stupidly at that - IRL truly strong leaders could be friendly with their staff and do physical/craft things without losing authority. It is a mark of true leader that they can lead in sack-cloth.
And TR really can rule itself and they are doing very well in Perrin's absence, so it was just Faile's power trip anyway.

One less spear can make little difference but love is everlasting, man.

Umm, no. Everybody counts. One can never know when one warrior can tip a balance. Also, in a honor and glory based society like the Aiel, it is a dream opportunity for any warrior to be part of the Last Battle.
And it isn't like Gaul is going to stay with Chiad - _he_ would run to TG. So, Chiad refusing him is the only way they can stay together, really. And Gaul is selfish and insensitive, IMHO.

Re: Andoran succession, well somehow a lot of civilizations managed to survive disorderly successions and even flourish. I.e. in practically any polygamous culture royal succession was basically a bloody free-for all, yet it worked well enough.
Byzantium would be fairly similar in that it had both hereditary component, which helped with, but didn't ensure succession, and power struggles, too.

I guess that when a Queen doesn't have a suitable daughter, she just names a heir and it works out well enough, usually.
Presumably the whole Tower training thing for heirs also helps with problems of entitlement/being spoiled, etc. Somewhat idealized picture, but no more than other aspects of WoT and less than some.
58. peachy
One of the things that vexes me about the Succession story-line is this : though Elayne's right in the broader sense that Rand can't 'give' her the throne (ie, he can grant to it whomever he wishes, but only a handful of possible claimants would have the legitimacy to actually hold on to it), she was in fact only able to make good her claim because he supported her - principally through keeping Caemlyn out of 'unfriendly' hands while she was away. If she had come back from Ebou Dar to find the city and palace held by Elenia or Arymilla (or even Ellorien), she would have been well and truly screwed - she was barely able to find enough warm bodies to defend the city, so there's no way she would have been able to find enough to lay siege to it. (Without massive authorial intervention, that is.) In a civil or succession war - and there were enough corpses by the end to call this conflict a war - having control of the centre of administration (and finance) is a huge advantage, especially for a claimant who lacks a solid territorial base.

@55 - I agree that the system probably works well enough under normal circumstances, but Andor's had two troublesome successions in a row, both caused (at least in part) by a missing Daughter-Heir. Don't these queens ever have a second girl? Old-timey monarchs tried to breed like rabbits - not always with success - to make sure there were enough heirs of their body to cover the occasional disappearance (or assassination or death in battle or by assorted misadventures or illnesses etc; it's tough out there for a princess, you know.)
Michael Catapano
59. hoping
Continuing thanks for the re-read, Leigh. I don’t have much to say or time to say it but I have been keeping up. It’s breeding season for the goats, a lot of action going on.

Which reminds me sub- congrats to you and your wife. I don’t have any suggestions for baby names but you might want to reserve ‘sublet’ for his/her WOT reread handle.

**with a nod to sub**
No goats. No glory TM
Jeff Weston
60. JWezy
I just want to say that Distaff Agnatic Primogeniture would make a great name for a rock band (kudos to Dave Barry).

Point well taken about Rand's conversation with Dyelin. I had forgotten that.
Bridget Sullivan
61. Ellid
birgit@56 -

"The last Emperor was Algywn nearly 1000 years ago"

... which is odd, considering Seanchan practice appears to be the Emperor(ess) selecting from a pool of heirs. If for 1,000 years there have only been female occupants of the Crystal Throne, that means that the Empresses have been selecting only women to follow after them, despite the fact that there is no stated female-leaning preference of authority among the Seanchan. Turak led the Forerunners, for example (Suroth only took over when Turak was killed), and that other Seanchan High Lord whose name I forget (Lunal?) was dispatched to take over the Return.

We know that the first Seanchan Imperial ruler was a man, Luthair, and then there was at least one more, Algwyn, but the Seanchan only branched off from Randlandia about 1,000 years ago. Somewhere along the lines, they started selected women only for the Crystal Throne, hence the cultural signifigance of the title 'Daughter of the Nine moons." Presumably, if a male was the heir-presumptive, he would be titled 'Son of the Nine Moons' but it seems to me that the role Dot9M is encrusted with superstitions and omens in the Seanchan culture. Also, there also appears to have developed a specific title for the consort, 'Prince of the Ravens' - would the wife of a Seanchan Emperor be styled the 'Princess of the Ravens,' or would she simply be the Empress?
Marcus W
62. toryx
EmpressMaude @ 41:

This assumes that a Queen will always have at last one daughter. Ask Henry VIII about how simple it is to produce one child of the desired gender, even when one has the luxury of swapping gestational parents to keep trying.

That's somewhat true but in the case of passing rule from mother to daughter it's actually much easier to resolve than it was for Henry VIII. A queen truly can remarry in hopes of finding a husband who can produce a girl. Furthermore, girls are usually more likely than boys (only needing another X chromosome).

So while it's certainly a concern, it's going to be less so in a female driven Monarchy than a male one.
Bridget Sullivan
63. Ellid
toryx -

"That's somewhat true but in the case of passing rule from mother to daughter it's actually much easier to resolve than it was for Henry VIII. A queen truly can remarry in hopes of finding a husband who can produce a girl. Furthermore, girls are usually more likely than boys (only needing another X chromosome).

So while it's certainly a concern, it's going to be less so in a female driven Monarchy than a male one. "

but, but, but....

The Queen is the one who will have to constantly carry the baby, suffer the miscarriage(s), deal with all the attendant medical complications. I don't know if the Queen of Andor is willing to let herself be used like a broodmare while they keep swapping out the studs.
Lannis .
64. Lannis
See? Never comment and run...

I feel partly responsible for this muddled succession conversation... when I commented (@9) that I didn't like the whole "Rand giving Elayne a throne she already rightfully sits" I meant my problem was with Elayne's semantics snit... not the actual succession...

And I was thinking, too, about someone's comment a few threads back, about how we all complain that we "hate" this character, or that plot arc, or such and such detail... it's not that we truly hate the particular idiosyncrasy, so much as we LOVE to hate it... plenty of things IRL have an emotional tag to them, especially when it comes to people, and people's actions... and that's what makes WoT so lovely and realistic... the characters make choices, or remarks, and it drives other characters batty, and readers in turn... but truly, the writing wouldn't be so captivating without it... the characters would be one dimensional and wouldn't read true...
James Jones
65. jamesedjones
57 Isilel
One can never know when one warrior can tip a balance. Also, in a honor and glory based society like the Aiel, it is a dream opportunity for any warrior to be part of the Last Battle.

Do you really believe that any Aiel will "sit out" the last battle? I'm really curious about this. Nothing in any Aiel viewpoint indicates that any man, woman or child would just let the shadow kill them. Aside from those crazy gai'shain, I can't think of a single Aiel that won't be a part of TG. Where did you get the idea that a married woman would not pick up a spear in the face of the Last Battle?

Edit for punctuation
Marcus W
66. toryx
Ellid @ 63:

In general (particularly in this world) I'd agree with you. But Andor has generally had a good relationship with the White Tower and I suspect that the Aes Sedai would be able to resolve a lot of those issues. For example, with an Aes Sedai advisor who can Heal, miscarriage has got to be considerably less likely.

As far as the broodmare aspect of the thing, unpleasant as the notion is, it's usually the first responsibility of royalty to provide heirs to the throne. That seems to be equally important regardless of which sex is in power. It's certainly a bigger deal for a female monarch but with a bevy of servants and doctors, I'm sure it's not nearly as challenging for a queen to fulfill her duties pregnant as it can be for most other women.
john mullen
67. johntheirishmongol
Having just reread New Spring, I came away with a little bit of a different perspective of the raising of Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne etc. I can understand why the senior AS don't view them as full AS for most of the books because they did not prove themselves worthy by passing the 100 weaves test that the other AS did. Now, they do overcome this obstacle with their strength in the power and the fact that everyone else treats them as full sisters but it does make sense.

Funny stuff with Mat dancing with Leane. Would Siuan have tried to lead too? lol. Halima, bad stuff, and there's a lot of wonder about what she is interested in for a pillow friend there.

Nice friendship moment with Mat and Egwene, I kinda wish when Perrin and Rand met up the first thing they did was a guy hug, and update home first.

Faile continues to annoy at almost every opportunity.
James Jones
68. jamesedjones
49 Suianfan

Re: Faile

One of my favorite aspects of Perrin (aside from the way he sees right to the heart of almost any issue that he tries to focus on) is his humility. He's a master craftsman, but sees himself as an apprentice. He needs a Faile. I can't stand her character most of the time, but she is definitely necessary in order for him to be a hero. At the same time IRL I can't stand business consultants. But while that nagging irritant can drive you up a wall, it can also - in rare occasions - produce a pearl. Faile does the same thing with Perrin. (nag, nag, nag, nag, nag...) :)
S Diller
69. CuenDiller
johntheirishmongol @ 67

I also just finished reading New Spring and thought it interersting that as Accepted, so much of Moiraine and Siuan's time is spent going over the 100 weaves. While in The Wheel of Time, I don't recall anyone mentioning these weaves to the Super Girls. I know they have been busy fighting the BA, but I would think they would at least find a little time to practice.
William Fettes
70. Wolfmage
I don't think Faile deserves much credit for being perceptive here in disarming her jealousy. She initially feels highly threatened by an innocuous hug and then manages to shrink back from this irrational reaction into a state of more guarded neutrality by observing Min with Rand. But she nonetheless drags Min off to obsessively probe her intentions vis-a-vis Perrin, so the bomb is hardly defused by this. So arguably her scent only represents a momentary change before she settles back into the same bad habits, as hinted at by the subsequent mutual dislike the girls have for each other.

So I would say she is still blinded by the same juvenile emotions. The main reason we would be included to give her much credit here is because of the tyranny of low expectations set by her consistent pattern of ridiculous jealousies. It's like giving a guy with anger management problems credit for not flying off the handle at something trivial. Sure, it's 'good' that they keep themselves in check from moment to moment, but nothing is really praiseworthy until temperance is demonstrated under conditions of genuine adversity.
paul Hend
71. tugthis
This is where I would ask Leigh to try and pick up the pace a little. . . Three chapters a go perhaps. It is when these journeys start that the story grinds to a halt. Really. . . . they could not travel to the city gates?. . . but a week away. . . which i take to be somewhere close to 100 miles away (average 20 miles a day foot-horse travel).

I don't mind the scheming by Eggy and Rand as that is the fuel that makes this story go. Plans, failed plans, and overreactions. What hurts though is the pace. . . which will soon be molassas in January quick.

I hope Leigh can travel, skim, dreamwalk a little through these next few books. . . particularly though the upcoming "book that can not be named"
Tess Laird
72. thewindrose
Ok - I am going to combine two different posts into one.
Genuine adversity = making the upcoming story arcs which will soon be molasses in January quick.

Actually, I am looking forward to rereading these with you all:) I think with the intelligence and humor we have here, along with the diversity of commenter's, stories we skip or blaze through with blinders on will be more interesting.

I do appreciate the humor displayed between the thoughts and actions of Mat and to Mat in chapter 44.
Lannis .
73. Lannis
I totally agree, thewindrose... I think that deconstructing these chapters as a community will give us all new appreciation of the plot arcs that can seem tedious at times... I *know* there's gems in there, and as a group, I'm certain we'll find them. :)
Rob Munnelly
74. RobMRobM
Lannis and Wind - just finishing my pre-TGS re-read (I'm 4/5 through CoT) and the books actually move fast. The fundamental problem with the latter books is that the percentage of annoying/difficult people is very high, relative to earlier in the series, between Kin, Sea Folk, Birgitte in role as Captain of Guards overwhelmed with administrative duties, whiny lesser nobles in Andor, Joline, all three sul'dam who escape with Mat, Sheriam, Myrelle and, of course, the Faile/Berelain death cage match. There are lots of good scenes but at a certain point one needs to commit seppuku by head desk with all of the whining that fills the interstitial spaces in the plot.

75. AppleBrandy
That's somewhat true but in the case of passing rule from mother to daughter it's actually much easier to resolve than it was for Henry VIII. A queen truly can remarry in hopes of finding a husband who can produce a girl. Furthermore, girls are usually more likely than boys (only needing another X chromosome).

First of all, in the real world, there are slightly more boys born than girls.

In Randland things are different due to the presence of AS and Healing, but one of the leading causes of death in pre-modern society is childbirth.
76. Lsana
@69. CuenDiller,

Maybe I'm misremembering, but I didn't get the impression that all of Moiraine's and Suian's time as Accepted was spent practicing those weaves. It took up most of their time in that book, true, but that was because it was known that they were close to finishing. The supergirls were just raised to Accepted and are nowhere near ready to take their final exam. There's no point in trying to show Nynaeve the 100 weaves she must do while perfectly calm if Ny can't even see them unless she's ticked-off. And she's the closest to ready of the three.
Kristina Blake
77. kab1
@62 Um, I have to point out that for any given couple the odds of having a boy or a girl are 50/50 no matter how you look at it. The mother donates an X and the father donates a Y or an X, with a 50/50 chance of each. So, I'm not sure why a queen would be more likely to have a daughter than a King a son.
78. Dr. Thanatos
@77 kab1,

I must respectfully disagree. While overall [in the entire population] the odds of the father donating x vs y is 50%, in any given father there may be a preponderance of one type over the other; hence families with lots of girls or lots of boys; it does depend on the father. That's where Henry VIII went wrong; he should have hired another father instead of changing mothers...
Marcus W
79. toryx
kab1 @ 77:

I'm not arguing that a queen is more likely to have a daughter than a king a son. I'm arguing that a queen is more likely to be able to remarry to produce a daughter if her previous marriage has primarily produced sons. The reason being that the male partner is the deciding factor in the relationship. If one particular male is primarily contributing Y chromosomes (which can happen) a Queen of Andor would be more successful in fixing the problem by marrying someone else than a King were the situation reversed.

In other words, a Queen of Andor is more likely to find a resolution to her lack of heir problem by remarrying than Henry VIII did.

Applebrandy @ 75:

My whole point was that the Queen of Andor is more likely to be able to avoid the kinds of issues that pregnant women in the real world (or even some other Randland countries) might encounter because she traditionally had access to Aes Sedai healing.

I'm not talking about the real world; I only used King Henry VIII as an example because he was brought up in the original post.

Edit: Thanks, Thanatos @ 78. That's what I had in mind too.
Kristina Blake
80. kab1
@ Dr. Thanatos
Yes, I totally agree with you that for a specific man he may have a predisposition to having more successful X than Y sperm (or vice versa). But (as you also state), in general for your average couple, the odds are 50/50. However, my main point was that I don't think it's a given that a Queen of Andor would have a daughter just because she's a woman. Okay, my sciency comments on the post are done for today. promise.

@tornyx- Ah, now I see your point. I had misunderstood your original meaning! I do however think I have derailed the convo onto a topic that is probably best explained for a male sperm fertility expert! Anyone!?
Jane Smyth
81. Kaboom
@Dr. Thanatos.

I'm sorry but I don't buy your argument. All male gametes are made from a precursor cell that contains a X and a Y chromosome (as well as 2 chromosomes each for the others) during production of the gametes (sperm) the cell divide in 2 without first doubling the chromosomes (as normal cell division does) this results in 2 cells, one with a X chromosome and one with a Y chromosome. So unless for some weird reason that all the cells with one type dies, every men will have a pretty equal amount of each.
However it is known that there is a little more male births than female (a ration of 105 males for 100 female) which is compensated by women having a slightly higher life span.
To explain this slight difference, some have brought in the difference of weight of the chromosome (with the Y being significantly smaller).

It is unlikely for a man in the general population to have so many boys as Henry VIII had, but not statistically impossible as the result of each birth is independent of the previous ones.
Marcus W
82. toryx
kaboom @ 81:

Yet somehow, you often see traditional nuclear families that have a preponderence of one sex over another.

Historically the whole male heir issue in royalty was a pretty regular problem. Henry VIII is particularly well known for it not because he primarily had daughters, but because of how he tried (and mostly failed) to resolve the issue.

Since it's far rarer in the real world for the royal line to be passed to the female it's impossible to say if the same problem would have occurred in female dynasties. Still, a queen who attempted remarriage as Henry VIII did would likely have been more successful.

But in the case of Andor, who knows? Maybe the Aes Sedai actually have a way to fix the problem using the One Power. Either way, I think Andor likely has/had an advantage to real world kingdoms trying to ensure a continued line of inheritance.
Barry T
83. blindillusion
@ Faile's jealousy and typical tendancies:

I'm sure this has been discussed to the hilt elsewhere, but isn't she around the age of 16/17 in these first novels? And if she is, is it really a surprise she's acting this way? And I don't mean because she's a young woman, but simply because of the fact that she's a kid.

She grew up with a powerful cousin who was also her friend. Her brother gets taken to the battle(?) she would love to go to. Her father is one of the greatest generals in Randland. Her mother by all rights is a power unto herself.

And now here's Faile, who's finally gotten something not because of what she is but WHO she is, and she's willing to go to any length to keep it. Not to mention she loves Perrin and she knows he loves her. I mean really, is her jealously all that hard to believe?

As for her continuous brow-beating of Perrin to remember he's a Lord now, IMHO, it's not all that terrible a thing to do. She's not like Lanfear with Rand/Mat/Perrin or Melindhra with Mat. Those two were more or less telling the Wonder Boys to seek glory as their due. Faile is reminding Perrin that he's already a Lord and that he deserves to be treated as such. Not really a big suprise, considering who her family is and how she wants them to except Perrin, who/what Rand is, and the simple fact that Perrin needs reminding sometimes.

It has to be a little annoying for the kid. She's finally got her man, who by his own abilities is one of the more powerful men in the world, and look who one of his BFFs is...the Dragon Reborn. Poor kid...she's the Freshman cheerleader who's dating the star reciever and his best friend is the quarterback/team captain/most popular guy ever.

To finally bury this horse and rather long post, I've always liked Faile. She's determined/strong/capable. She's one of the few characters who doesn't change her stripes. Sure, she's got issues, but who didn't at that age?

edit for word choice
84. Lily of the Valley
I always figured that the Seanchan had had Empresses for the last 1000 years because of the Crystal Throne. It's generally thought to be some sort of ter'angreal, right? What if it can only be activated by a woman who can channel? Not necessarily HAS channeled, but one who can be taught to do so? This would make sense, since Empresses could chose the daughter she feels the most "kinship" with, aka sensing the ability to channel in them. [Like Egwene does with Aviendha in tDR]

Of course, I don't know if women who can be taught to channel can sense the ability in other women if they don't actively channel themselves. I also don't know if Tuon's mother or any of her sisters trained damane in their spare time.
Jane Smyth
85. Kaboom
Interesting theory, but I was under the impression that a woman that can be taught to channel but has not yet started to learn is just like a woman who cannot channel in relation with terangreals and being sensed by channeling women. That she must be tested to determine if she can channel rather than it being sensed. Not at all like with woman who had the spark being manifested.
Tess Laird
86. thewindrose
From Robert Jordans Blog Post:
Yes, Elayne, Nynaeve and Egwene could pass the test for Aes Sedai with their current abilities, though Nynaeve might be a little hard pressed. Too much specialization.

Also, I think Sheriam childes Egwene about raising Nyn to AS because Nyn can only channel when she is furious. She did say Elayne was ready however. I don't have the books with me, so I cannot look it up.
87. alreadymadwithSeonid
So, this isn't really related to this chapter, but I've been reading KOD in preparation for the new book, and I came across this discrepancy in chapter 26. Perrin and friends are adding the forkroot to the aqueduct in preparation for the attack.

"Remember," Perrin told Seonid, "the biggest danger will be getting from the cistern to the fortress. You'll have to use the guardwalk on the wall, and there might be Shaido in the town even at this hour. [Thunder] Maybe you'll have rain to hide you."

"Thank you." she said icily. Her moonshadowed face was a mask of Aes Sedai serenity, but her scent spiked with indignation. "I would not have known any of that if you had not told me."

Now, it sounds like she's being sarcastic, but surely that isn't covered by "speak no word that is not true." So, is this a misstep? Is Seonid Black Ajah? Is sarcasm not covered by the First Oath? Or would Senoid actually not have known that there might be rain?

I can't think of any real repercussions to Seonid being Black. She was one of the SAS embassy to Rand, fights at Dumai's Wells and swears fealty, and heals Perrin and Faile, but hasn't really done much of note.
88. Dr. Thanatos
@kaboom 81,

Last medical comment:

That's why common sense has no place in medicine. Regardless of the logical argument that all men should produce roughly equal number of x and y, when you actually study it you find that it ain't so. That's why we do research: because not every hypothesis is correct.

Back to the threads:

1 Taim=the lost 10th Nazgul
2 Bela=Lanfear
3 Asmodean was killed by Voldemort, acting through an agent. Don't ask who the agent is...
Don Barkauskas
89. bad_platypus
@87 alreadymadwithSeonid:

From RJ's blog, Friday, January 20th, 2006:

For Majsju, the oath against lying does leave room for sarcasm. It is intent and result that matter. No sister can intentionally speak an untruth either with the intent of passing on false information or with the belief that false information might be passed on. Thus the careful slicing and dicing of words. But if someone were to hold up a piece of white cloth and ask whether it was black or white, someone who had sworn the Three Oaths would be capable of saying that it was black as a matter of sarcasm. But not if, for example, the person asking the question was blind and thus might well take the statement for truth rather than sarcasm.
Note that "intent to deceive" is the standard, but AS can intend to deceive all they want by speaking the truth. This doesn't really make sense to me, but it's RJ's world.
90. Lsana
@83 blindillusion,

I don't accept the "Faile is just a kid" defense. If she's "just a kid," she needs to be hauled back to Salidar and grounded for about three years. If, on the other hand, she wants to be treated as an independent, capable woman, she needs to act like one.

I would say that Faile is either:

A) An immature brat who isn't old enough to understand the consequences of her actions and had no business leaving home, joining the Hunt for the Horn, or Light-forbid getting married.


B) An adult woman who makes some really bad choices and is old enough to be called on those bad choices.

I could go with either, but I won't let her be "A woman who should be allowed to do whatever she wants but shouldn't be criticized when things turn bad because she is just a girl."

@86 thewindrose,

When was that blog post from? Post LOC? Nynaeve certainly couldn't have passed the test at any point when she was an Accepted. She can do it now that her block is broken, but she couldn't have then. Why would any of her teachers have bothered giving her the details of a test when she couldn't even get those details unless she was furious.

Yes, Sheriam does say something to the effect that Elayne is about ready, but I didn't get the impression Sheriam was thinking, "Oh yes, Elayne is all but Aes Sedai, I was just thinking about I wished she could be raised right this instant," but more of a "Huh, yeah, Elayne is getting close to done with her studies, maybe she could pass the test if she were given it."

My point with that the earlier post wasn't that the supergirls were helpless babies, but that it wasn't terribly surprising that no one was talking to them about the test for Aes Sedai. Certainly they weren't ready in the Tower. Maybe Elayne was by the time they reached Salidar, but with so much else going on, it isn't terribly surprising that no one thought to mention it.
Jane Smyth
91. Kaboom
Talking about the test for the shawl, that was one the most disappointing thing for me in the WOT.

I'm not sure exactly why I felt that way, but probably in part because I expected something very different/ more interesting.
To learn 100 completely useless weaves for the sole purpose of the test seemed like a complete waste of time for the Accepted.

Now after a few re-read, I can more or less reason it out/justify it, but I'm still left with a feeling of deception.
Tess Laird
92. thewindrose
Lsana - October 4th 2005(Pre Knife of Dreams)
Jane Smyth
93. Kaboom
Dr. Thanatos @88

I don't intend to argue the point any longer, because I haven't researched the point enough.

But as a researcher I find that common sense is to some degree important. If the current understanding for some observation does not make sense with the current knowledge, it usually means there is still something about it that we don't understand and more research is warranted.

Anyway, enough of this topic.
William Fettes
94. Wolfmage
Lsana@ 90

I have trouble dwelling too much on Faile's age due to the creepiness of it. Plus, it becomes more grating to the otherwise cool Two Rivers arc, when these stolid no-nonsense villagers are bowing and scraping for someone so young.

But putting that aside, I couldn't agree with you more. It can't cut both ways. She elected to effectively emancipate herself from her parents, and journeyed off into the world as a hunter for the horn, and netted herself a husband - in the process disregarding the marriage conventions of her homeland. By any Randland standards, she is a grown woman and we can hardly impose a significantly lesser standard on her than our intrepid SGs.

It's great she's fierce and all, but you can be fierce AND relatively mature.
Rob Munnelly
95. RobMRobM
Dr. T and Kaboom - very thoughtful debate. Bravo for good content and elegant style. Now, can we get back to the usual subjects (spanking, Mat being cool, why we hate Elayne, Faile, Egwene or some combination thereof, the Bela-Narg connection, Tam's future red-haired wife, Aiel brother-husbands, and who was the darned watcher in the window earlier in LOC). R
Barry T
96. blindillusion
@ 90 Lsana,

Wasn't really defending her. I was just saying are we really surprised that she acts the way she does. She is a kid. Who ran away from home. Who shouldn't of been allowed to take the Oath (but then, from what we've seen a two year old could of taken the Oath). Who shouldn't of been allowed to marry.

I've just always been a little shocked that people see her the way they do, as if she's an adult. She isn't. She's a kid playing an adult.

Eh well. Who knows, maybe if she survives TG she'll have to chance to grow up a little.
lanyo lanyo
97. lanyo
No Rob. I wanna talk about cats, from 46 @Katiya. I also thought about BA and her kitty-rescuing. But I couldn't find a reason she would want anyone to dress as Aiel, so I kinda forgot about it for being too confusing. But then WHO?? Who sent the fake Aiel??
98. cghoogstraten
@55 I always felt that Mat's POVs were the best written:

I agree. I have always suspected that this is because Mat is the character RJ identified most strongly with personally.

In a former life, I actually submitted a spec script to Star Trek:Voyager (remind me to show you my Level 2 Geek collar pin sometime). I soon noticed that the character I was writing most easily, and producing the best dialogue for, was ... Tuvok the Vulcan. My friends, once they stopped laughing, could probably explain this to you in short order.

It'll be interesting to see if the feel of the Mat POVs changes in the BS-written material.
99. AppleBrandy
To explain this slight difference, some have brought in the difference of weight of the chromosome (with the Y being significantly smaller).
There's some data that suggests that X-chromosome sperm are slower but longer-living, while Y-chromosome sperm are faster and die easier. So the gender of the child can be somewhat (very slightly) affected by the closeness of intercourse with ovulation.

I'm sure none of you care....
Rob Munnelly
100. RobMRobM
@97 - probably told by Moggy to go to Camelyn and wait for instructions, so she indulges her cat fancies while waiting for Skane to show up and take charge. Re the fake Aiel, one theorized on the relevant post that it was Fain's Whitecloaks but I've always leaned towards Demandred in creating chaos mode.

Roger Powell
101. forkroot
Back on the subject of Elayne's long-delayed ascension: I could wait until we get to that point in the re-read, but that's a while. So I'll chime in now.

I hate to admit it, but I actually would have been a member of the Dyelin faction! I think Dyelin would have made an excellent queen of Andor. She would have allied with Rand (in due course) and committed Andoran troops and resources to TG. Most importantly, she would have freed up Elayne to do far more important things!

Even with Alivia (and now Sharina) showing up, Elayne is still in the top 5 female channelers for the Light (with Eg and Nyn). Furthermore, she appears to have what may be an essential talent for making Ter'angreal that NOBODY else living has.

Just as importantly - she (along with Nynaeve) represents a critical line of trust between Rand and the SAS (hopefully the eventual United Tower.)

She is too frickin valuable to the Light to be wasting time administering Andor when Dyelin would have done just as well.

Now, if she runs off and uses her talents for the Light, there will be all this hand-wringing about the queen being in danger, yada, yada. So it's not like she can turn around and ask Dyelin to run the place in her stead.

Darn shame that Morgase abdicated (and Tallanvor knows) ... otherwise she could have gone back and run the country once they find her.
April Vrugtman
102. dwndrgn
@91 - Kaboom:

I was just reading that portion of New Spring today and there were two thoughts I had:
1. They were only useless in normal situations but actually had a true use inside that ter'angreal that is based on the situations the Accepted is put through.
2. They could be 'useless' weaves because those would be harder to remember and do as they have no known practical use and would not be intuitive; which would effectively level the playing field and force the Accepteds to practice those rather than some other, possibly dangerous, weaves.

Subwoofer - congrats on your upcoming family addition!
Joseph Armao
103. joeyesq
WHEW! It only took about 2 and 1/2 weeks but I am all caught up on the re-read. Yeah, I'm a bit late to the party. Anyway, here's a few thoughts:

CH 44:

- Leigh hears an Alanis Morrisette lyric in "trust is the color of death"; personally that line immediately brought Nas to mind. In the song NY State of Mind, Nas says "Sleep is the cousin of death" which (to me anyway), essentially means the same thing).

- Mat continues to bring the awesome. His loyalty to Egwene despite the low-level hostility between him and the Super Girls is really endearing.

- I always thought the Aludra/Thom thing screamed retcon too... possibly a case of Jordan's obsessive conservation of characters coming back to bite him

CH 45:

- Ah, with Perrin's appearance we are rapidly approaching end game, and one of my favorite scenes in every bit of fantasy literature I've ever read, ever, ever, ever, Dumai's Wells. Something tells me I'm not alone in that opinion.

- The fact that Rand actually believes Alviarin's letter, plainly worded or not, deeply disturbs me.

Wow, having major RASFWRJ flashbacks. SNIFFLE!
104. alreadymadwithgivingtrust
lmelior @24
Because Bashere and his light cavalry would actually be charging into the city by gateway. Rand needed a credible battlefield commander to lead the diversionary forces attacking conventionally from outside the city and tie down Illian's army. That's how Mat and Bashere planned it out between them. But now Mat is tied down with the Girls' schemes, so Rand has to make do with Weiramon.

SteelBlaidd @27
That is true about Rand. However, just because Rand is unwilling to bring the rest of Andor under his control does not mean he does not actually already rule. Save for Dyelin and her diehards a good number of the major houses are by now in Caemlyn jockeying for whatever position he'll give them. Most of the Major Houses mentioned as toadying up to him end up opposing Elayne when she does get there. And most already believed he was in some way related to the major houses by blood, anyway. If he declared himself King, whether by blood or by conquest, only Dyelin and her 4 would actually oppose him. And as the Dragon Reborn brought to Caemlyn by news of one of the Forsaken he certainly commands greater respect, or fear, than Elayne the Daughter Heir does.

Ellid @30
Each Major House elects a High Seat that ideally has the best claim to the throne. Failing that, somebody who can sire the one with the best claim to the throne. Houses tend to be cohesive units though, we don't see houses arguing amongst themselves who would be High Seat, only who gets to be the High Seat's guardian/tutor, as in House Gilyard. And we actually see one all too eager to be rid of the responsibility, as in House Haevin.

ChrisCo @53
I admit wanting to bask in his radiance is a bit excessive, but swearing to follow him is also the simplest motivation to understand for him. The other two are bickering over the Amyrlin Seat and therefore, not something he can do anything about.

Re: the Trust song/poem/whatever
I guess Mat's point is that however old the song was, the Aes Sedai had early on established how untrustworthy they were. And he probably found the irony of it being played, with words forgotten, in an Aes Sedai hosted party amusing.

Re: Faile's remarks to Perrin
I think Faile wanted to remind Perrin that as Dragon Reborn he did not have the same priorities as Lord Perrin of the Two Rivers. Yes it throws a monkey wrench into the completely trusting friendship Rand and Perrin have, but it's altogether a valid concern.
Tasneem Gould
105. Latecomer
Subwoofer - Congratulations on the puppy - to - be!

Nothing else to add - no interest in male-female births and royal succession whatso ever..

Just a quickie for someone up there who was wondering if Suian would lead the dance too... Halima WAS male and knew the male 'lead' part better and kept slipping into it. Wouldn't have had the same issue with Suian I think.. :)
Rob Munnelly
106. RobMRobM
Halima, male-female births, slipping into it and quickies all in the same post - coincidence? Or has someone been spending a little bit too much time in T'AR? ;-)

Ron Garrison
107. Man-0-Manetheran
"Furthermore, girls are usually more likely than boys (only needing another X chromosome)." No, toryx, the statistical odds are 50/50. Embryo = one from mother (always X) and one from father (X or Y).

---Never mind. I see this issue has been beaten to death already.
craig thrift
108. gagecreedlives
Subwoofer my friend I have been searching all the pubs throughout krakow and warsaw and met a few heidi's but like me none understood the reference but we did all manage to have a few in your and your expanding families honour.

Have a good one and see y'all in 3 weeks or next time i find free internet :)
Tasneem Gould
109. Latecomer
RobM! Go do some work :P

Ok my skitterish thought processes have now been exposed to the world - woe in me - back to T'AR I go.....
Eugenie Delaney
110. EmpressMaude
toryx -

"I'm not arguing that a queen is more likely to have a daughter than a king a son. I'm arguing that a queen is more likely to be able to remarry to produce a daughter if her previous marriage has primarily produced sons."

Methinks someone needs a crash course in statistics.

Essentially every conception is a 50-50 coin toss. After two or three non-female deliveries, would a Queen voluntarily decide "oh, hey - let's shuff off this consort - his seed only produces males! Bring me a new one!" All the while, her body experiences the medical and physiological trauma...?

That's not nearly as simple as it would be for, say Henry VIII - his queens failed to get the job done, so he'd simply find another, fertile, nubile woman, knock her up and hope for the best.

To imagine a comparable scenario where both the parties are comparable in dignity, picture Cathrine of Aragon deciding that her husband wasn't getting the job done, after the several miscarriages, and the live birth of Princess Mary - bring her a new lover! Never you mind, she's suffered the biological (and psychological) effects (childbirth is no picnic, bros) of successive pregnancies and might be TIRED OF THE WHOLE THING. A regnant Queen of Andor might look askance at those who suggest "Your Grace, just keep trying!"
Andrew Jenson
111. Redwing
Just a few comments to throw out there.

Love the Mat chapter and the dancing, but one phrase really threw me for a loop. When he first sees Halima he thinks that she is the most beautiful woman he as ever seen.

What? I can hear Lanfear spinning in her (non) grave! I half expected her to show up, Snow White's step-mother style, and lay into Halima for stealing the 'fairest in the land' title. Could Mat really have forgotten about Lanfear, or is Halima really all that?

About seeing Perrin again...a few chapters ago (would have commented, but I was on vacation) I remember thinking that Elayne and Nynaeve had replaced Perrin as a main character and that he wasn't coming's been over 1000 pages now! Glad he finally does make an appearance again, though I also wish his storyline could have gone differently.

One comment about Elayne: At this point, I lost my respect for her and her 'claim' to the Andoran throne. She's finally able to go out on her own and she goes to Ebou Dar instead of to Caemlyn. She doesn't trust Nynaeve and Juilin to find the Bowl? If she sincerely believes she's the most qualified to use it...that's what gateways are for! Call for her once you find the Bowl! Since traipsing around Ebou Dar seems more important than rescuing her homeland, she should have at least sent a note or a pigeon to Dyelin - 'too busy, take throne, world to save, hope kids are fine'. Sheesh.
Hurin Smells
112. HurinSmells

I think you missed the point. Statistically over a wide population sample it comes down to roughly 50-50 for gender. However in each individual coupling the male is resposible for determining the gender. If Henry VIII is predisposed to producing only one gender, he will have the same result regardless of partner. However if a queen is having the same result from one partner, she is able to increase her chances of changing the result for her next child by changing partners.
113. Freelancer

Two motorists speed past a disabled car on the side of an otherwise deserted remote highway, with hardly a glance. To any casual observer, the behavior of both drivers is identical. However, one of them is a person prone to go out of their way to assist any they find in need, but today they are feeling selfish and inconsiderate, and diverge from their norm by ignoring the stranded vehicle. Conversely, the other driver who fails to stop is a person whose normal method would have been to zoom as close to the parked car as possible, as fast as possible, and honk the horn as they passed, but in a fit of conscience they choose to resist their usually malicious impulse.

The first driver behaved much more badly than normal for them, the second, much more kindly than normal. By doing exactly the same thing.

This is why the Bible warns people not to judge one another, for you do not know the other's heart. You might find yourself chastising them for an action that, put in proper context, may well be the most courageous thing they've ever done, and therefore praiseworthy. Or you may applaud an action which, against the doer's heart, is the basest action they have ever committed.

All of that to say this. I differ with your finding in the "anger management" analogy. That person deserves praise and encouragement if they have demonstrated a willingness to change from a bad behavior to a better one, even if the resulting behavior is, at best, neutral. I do not necessarily extend that to Faile's actions in this scene, because they aren't that powerful in either direction. Remember, we're operating from the POV of Perrin's nose. Faile doesn't pull a knife or start clawing at Min, so in spite of apparently very strong emotions, her actions remain restrained.

I also disagree with your presumption that Min and Faile's continuing mutual dislike is about Perrin. Some people just don't get along.

Yes, Faile is unnecesarily jealous regarding Perrin. Yes, she continues to not realize that nobody she'll ever meet is likely to be more faithful in any regard. Yes, she lacks maturity in these things.

However, I do not recall a POV that supports your statement that Faile "obsessively probes Min's intentions vis-a-vis Perrin". That is pure speculation, and a more likely speculation is that Faile takes advantage of a women who is both acquainted with Perrin from outside the Two Rivers, as well as being involved with Rand, to learn more about her husband, and to learn more about Rand, that she can successfully guide Perrin in their dealings.

I don't recall feeling that she did anything worthy of significant credit in this scene, and I don't see anyone offering her much. Rather, I was simply relieved that she didn't escalate from her emotions before they were defused.

Tyranny of low expectations? Really? Far too often the critical comments regarding the behaviors of the WoT young folks are based on expectations which would more than likely be beyond the capacity of the poster themselves to attain. Anything but low expectations.


You are correct. A non-sparker won't be automatically sensed if they've never yet touched the Source.

- I always thought the Aludra/Thom thing screamed retcon too... possibly a case of Jordan's obsessive conservation of characters coming back to bite him

To check out the names lists on, then come back and say obsessive "conservation of characters" again. Sheesh...
Eugenie Delaney
114. EmpressMaude
HurinS - "I think you missed the point. Statistically over a wide population sample it comes down to roughly 50-50 for gender. However in each individual coupling the male is responsible for determining the gender. If Henry VIII is predisposed to producing only one gender, he will have the same result regardless of partner. However if a queen is having the same result from one partner, she is able to increase her chances of changing the result for her next child by changing partners. "


Based upon what? How would the woman in question *know* that? After only one or two pregnancies, how would she know that she is married to a dynastic dud? What statistical tables would exist to advise her about up-ending her marriage to select a new genetic sire (which speaks not to the political balancing that accompanies any royal marriage)).

Which is to say again, a female only system is fine and perfectly viable but it needs more guidelines than "mother to daughter; if no daughter, other closest female relative." "Distaff agnatic primogeniture" would work perfectly. Or, an anti-Sallic Bar. But the situation we have now
is designed to create a mess.
Joseph Armao
115. joeyesq
Freelancer @ 113

Jordan having 4 million named characters and a number of those minor, seemingly one-off characters, resurfacing repeatedly (and sometimes slightly unbelievably)throughout the story are not necessarily mutually exclusive concepts...
Barry T
116. blindillusion
RE: 27 Mat's Armor

"Mat avoided armor on the theory that it would keep him from putting himself in positions where he would need it. I think he has finally decided that is no longer an option."

From RJ Q&A:

Question Part 1: Are the Aes Sedai ever going to try to use cuendillar to make it into armor? Since they can't make weapons, does that restriction extend to making armor?

Jordan: Read and Find Out.

LOL - Mat's shiny new armor?


(Granted, unless Mat hooks up with Egwene or his sister pretty soon this won't happen, but how cool would it be? Man would be all but indestructible.)
Alice Arneson
117. Wetlandernw
Lsana @ 90 re: blindillusion @ 83 (and a few others who chimed in on it)

It's not so much that Faile is "A woman who should be allowed to do whatever she wants but shouldn't be criticized when things turn bad because she is just a girl." It's that she's doing what she thinks best she based on her upbringing and character, but you have to also realize that she's only 16 years old and is going to make the mistakes that come along with the maturity level and lack of experience. You can't expect her to show the wisdom of an older person without the experience to gain that wisdom. Her personality and actions may irritate some readers, but she behaves in a manner consistent with her age and character, as written.

Freelancer @ 113 - Yup. As usual, you speak my mind. ;) I especially enjoyed this one: Far too often the critical comments regarding the behaviors of the WoT young folks are based on expectations which would more than likely be beyond the capacity of the poster themselves to attain. ROFL!
Hurin Smells
118. HurinSmells

You're right, there's probably no evidence in the WoT setting other than perhaps an observant OP weilding midwife that's been around long enough to have seen the trend emerge.

That said a OP weilding queen is bound to have many and varied partners over the course of her life, because she's simply going to live longer than any mundane males. And as queen, it's her resposibility to her people (in addition to governing and protecting them) to produce an heir.

Nevertheless it doesn't change the fact that said queen would be better off looking for a new partner if she is determined to produce an heir of a specific gender if she's having no luck with her current partner, regardless of whether she knows it or not.
119. Freelancer

Ah, but that assessment seems almost dismissive of Aludra's import to the story. Having the tiniest clue about the scope of preparation and interlacing which all of the elements of this saga required, I have a difficult time imagining that Aludra's part regarding the whole was not set out from the beginning. For Mat to have cannonade weaponry available demands a sequence of steps which require the Illuminator. Since she is the last, it must be Aludra.

Certainly, there are some "insignificant" characters which return to the stage at unexpected and equally mundane points. Paitr, the Andoran darkfriend lad turning up in Amadicia, for example. But the vast array of characters existing in this epoch would seem odd indeed if, while visiting a very large portion of the realm over time, we did not run into a person previously introduced. This increases the story's realism. It is far from "unbelievable" that Aludra would seek refuge with Valan Luca's show, where she can also put her work to use.
Clinton Henry
120. Jaidee
on the whole succession issue we have read many times how much influence the white tower had with Andor. In the case where there was no daughter-heir the WT would have let it be known who of the possible successor they prefer and supported.

Which when the tower was whole would have been enough, they would have quietly twisted the arms of all the high-seats to make sure they toed the line.
Clinton Henry
121. Jaidee

the balance use to be slightly in favour of girls until the industrial revolution. It is believe that pollution has affected this balance and has slowly been shifting it more and more towards a male bias.
Joseph Armao
122. joeyesq

"It is far from "unbelievable" that Aludra would seek refuge with Valan Luca's show, where she can also put her work to use."

On the contrary, I think its very believable and I don't think I expressed any problem with her BEING with Luca's show. What I have a little trouble accepting is that the first mention we get from Thom that he and Aludra had met before was a line shoehorned into a conversation with Mat in Salidar and not, you know, while Thom was actually with the Menagerie. All it would have taken was a throw-away line acknowledging that hey, that's the illuminator that Mat & I saved in Andor.

I have no problem with Jordan's re-use of characters. In fact I like it, it makes the enormous world he created seem a little smaller. It just struck me as... "off" that a writer who is usually phenominal with his attention to details (both major and minor) would let the fact that Thom and Aludra had met before go by with no mention during the actual menagerie story arc only to bring it up later when it really had no relevance.
123. Siuanfan
bad_platypus @ 89

re: sarcasm and the oaths... I'm not so sure that sarcasm is okay; exaggeration clearly isn't, even when the exaggeration is clearly to overstate something to the point of not being believable but just to make the point - in New Spring, Siuan has a moment shortly after being raised where she's complaining about working for a Brown, she says "I haven't jumped so much since I was a no- *chokecoughcough*"

Regarding the scene in question with Seonid, I'm inclined to think that the statement it was an oversight on RJ's point rather than she's Black Ajah, but RJ has slipped so much past me, I can hardly trust my own perceptions when it comes to WoT plots.
john massey
124. subwoofer
Not much to add... without getting bale fired so I will pad about quietly.

@hoping- thanks- LMAO! & to all, thank you again for the warm wishes.

Also seconding Free's comments vis-a-vis Aludra. I'll be honest in coming forth to admit that I personally spent time wondering what the deuce Mat would need with a bell founder. Much of our history can be chronicled by the advancement of how to wage war. Cannons are a marked improvement over arrows and swords as it is the advent of ranged weaponry ultimately leading to guns.

Rob Munnelly
125. RobMRobM
@124 - I don't see it as a retcon. Thom never forgets a face and he spent enough time with Aludra to know who she is; Aludra is sharp as a tack as well and would recall Thom. I agree it would have been better for somewhere in the Valan Luca text for Thom to mention to someone he knows Aludra but for some reason she is acting as if she doesn't know him -- but it clear from text that that was the situation and Aludra was in RJ's long term plans for the series. Rob
Marcus W
126. toryx
EmpressMaude @ 114:

Statistics isn't the point (and no, I don't need a lesson, thank you very much; statistics is a large part of my job).

As HurinS pointed out, some males are predisposed to providing a particularly chromosome. In my brief research on the topic, no one has really explained why, but it happens.

Furthermore, in a society that depends on the rearing of animals it probably would not be difficult to find someone who could explain that the limitation is found in the male, and not the female. Unfortunately for Henry VIII's wives, he lived in a time where religion overwhelmed reality. Henry VIII believed that the wife was responsible for the lack of a male heir because, after all, women are responsible for all the ills of society (as religion pretty much taught at the time).

In the case of Andor (which is entirely what this discussion is about) it is paramount that a queen produce a female heir because Andor outright refuses to allow a male to take possession of the throne. It's the queen's duty to keep bearing children (no matter how arduous the experience may be) until she has an heir; preferably two or more just in case something happens to the first. That's often considered the first duty of royalty. With Aes Sedai advisors and a kingdom at least somewhat dependent on the rearing of farm animals, chances are high that someone would be able to determine that the husband is at fault if an heir is not provided.

Another aspect of a marriage, especially a political marriage, is the ability to procreate. If a political alliance cannot lead to a viable heir the marriage could easily be considered null, in violation of the political agreement. Going back to Henry VIII, that probably would have been true for him as well if he hadn't married the daughter of a family highly influential in Catholic Church matters.

I may be assuming too much, but in Randland religion doesn't overwhelm knowledge in quite the same fashion that it does in the real world and I personally think that Randlanders are relatively knowledgeable about those kinds of things.

All of this is, incidentally, irrelevant: Elayne is obviously fertile, Rand is obviously capable of providing her with female offspring so she doesn't have to worry.

Long post: Not to worry, I'm done.
Tess Laird
127. thewindrose
Siuanfan - I think there are a couple of issues surrounding sarcasm, exaggeration and actual lying.
A non BA sister can be sarcastic, if the intent behind the sarcasm isn't to deceive.
I think naivety comes to play with the example you used with Siuan in New Spring. At that point Siuan is new to the Binder, so she has not learned all the loopholes that a more experienced sister has.
Actual lying with the intent to deceive signals a sister who is no longer bond by the Binder. You can lie if you do believe what you are saying to be true - i.e the Reds set up Logain, or you can change the truth of what you believe - Beonin convinces herself the Egwene is not her Amyrlin and that she no longer needs to follow the oath of fealty she swore to Egwene.
Kristina Blake
128. kab1
@122 and other posts on Thom/Aludra. Personally, I have no problem with Thom pointing this out to Mat here in the storyline. In the earlier bit where we were with Luca's show, I'm not sure we ever had a Thom point of view, or had Thom involved in any conversation where Aludra would have been brought up. After all, Nyn, Elayne and Julian did not know her. So I'm okay with RJ putting it here. That said, it might have been better to write in an earlier conversation where it fit more. But, Thom is a pretty noble character and may have kept Aludra's secrets from Nyn, Elayne, and Julian since they really didn't need to know her past. However, Mat met her with Thom, so it seems fitting to me that he should mention it to Mat.

Re: Aes Sedai lying/sarcasm/exageration. A problem that I have with this whole topic is that Aes Sedai can't lie, nor can they apparently use sarcasm if the intent is to deceive, but they can word their sentences so as not to lie but to deliberately deceive. Meaning that they carefully choose words (so as not to lie) but they *know* that people will interpret their words differently and they manipulate people this way.

My point here is that they are choosing their words with the intent to get people to do things, and although they are not lying, they are deliberately deceiving. So what gives? This part has always kinda bugged me. They can do this because it's not a lie, but they can't deliberately deceive with sarcasm because it is a lie, and can only use sarcasm (because it's a lie) if they are not trying to deceive? Oh, no, I've gone cross-eyed!
Tess Laird
129. thewindrose
kab1 - I think what gives is this. They are using a 'magical' item - the Binder that forces them to follow these rules. If they followed a code like ji'e'toh and really bought into it, all these workarounds would disappear. (Also, there is strong opinion that Ishamael was the one who introduced the Binder to the AS.)
The Oath Rod was used for criminals in the AOL, I do hope the eventual Amyrlin(in my mind Egwene) will realize this and put it back to that use, not treat all these women as criminals. Aside from the Seanchen, all the other societies treat women channelers with respect, and these women do not behave like the Aes Sedei of present.
130. SDX
Its taken me a month to read through all of these and i've finally caught up and now its really annoying that i don't have an endless supply of these to read :p

Good work Leigh, really appreciate the effort. Very useful
131. YourNameHere
@128 If the oath is "To speak no word that is not true", then it makes sense that
(A) misleading words are still true, from a technical perspective, and
(B) sarcasm is also true, albeit on a different level of truth (similar to the philosophical notion that allegory and metaphor is "true" on its own level, although it's not literal).
F Shelley
132. FSS
@131 - your comment reminds me of the sad tale of Trudie, the Aes Sedai who took the First Oath literally and for the rest of her life could only say "true".

Can't remember where I got that story...
Roger Powell
133. forkroot
I think her name wasn't "Trudie", it was "Trudat".
134. alreadymadwithlying

I don't buy that sarcasm is true. The oath isn't "don't mislead" or "it's OK to say things that aren't true if you think people know you're kidding." If you state the opposite of a literal fact sarcastically (e.g. the cloth is black) you are clearly speaking a word that is not true.

The fact that RJ specifically allowed this is kinda dumb, in my opinion.
135. YourNameHere
@132 obviously, when the oath rod was used in the AoL, it was used in the Old Tongue, and when it's used by modern AS, it's not (as apparent in New Spring). Therefore, the only parameter defining the statement pronounced on the Oath Rod is the meaning of the statement within the mind of the oathtaker. More broadly, language by nature is a common agreement of meaning between the speaker and the audience, which often encompasses expressions, idioms, etc. Only an extreme literalist could say "to say no word that is not true" means that--it refers to an adjectival attribute of the word, not the nature of the word.

@134 Let's take one example, which I referenced with allegory and metaphor. Suppose that the czar of Russia (back when there was one) signed an order to have an entire village wiped out. A poet of the time might describe signing this order, "The czar drowned an entire village in a drop of ink." Is that not true? It's a poetic expression that's literally untrue, but I think it can't be called "not true." (See the above, about language being defined as a common agreement of meaning between a speaker and an audience.)
Once we accept this, it's a small jump to say that "the cloth is black" in a sarcastic tone has an agreed meaning of "the cloth is not black"--a true fact.
136. Rand al'Todd
Jaidee@120 et al:

"on the whole succession issue we have read many times how much influence the white tower had with Andor. In the case where there was no daughter-heir the WT would have let it be known who of the possible successor they prefer and supported.

Which when the tower was whole would have been enough, they would have quietly twisted the arms of all the high-seats to make sure they toed the line."

But we have several POVs which indicate that the WT frequently (if not almost universally) made statements of support to all candidates (or at least all credible candidates). The POVs state the intent was that no matter who actually won it was always someone the WT could claim they had supported all along. (Just like many PACs in US elections.) Yet another example of how Aes Sedai can and do twist statements to manipulate people/events to achieve their goals.

Needless to say, the three oaths are sadly lacking. Thus everyone with any sense in Randland KNOWS that Aes Sedai are never to be trusted in any thing.
137. PhantomIce
I think the point is to illustrate just how easily AS get around this oath that is supposed to engender trust in them.

To say sarcasm is ok and even lying is ok if you believe (or convince yourself) what you are saying is true is semantic gymnastics worthy of the best lawyers (who as we all know love to play word games and convince people white is black).

To my mind it's an excellent illustration of why regular Randlanders do not trust AS in the least and why hopefully Eggs will eventually wake up. Or not, don't like the AS as they exist currently, ok with me if they all disappear before even TG.
Rob Munnelly
138. RobMRobM
@137. You of course know that both white and black signify the absence of color and therefore can be deemed equivalent.
lin mei
139. twicemarked
Well said. If you REALLY want literal meaning of "to say no word that is not true", the only sound an AS can make is "true". And any sentence uttered by an AS can be "true", "true true", "true true true", etc... since they can say no word that is not "true".
140. PhantomIce
actually from what I remember of all those art classes many years ago, white is the absence of color while black is the simultaneous existance of all color so to say one is the other requires a lot of word play.

but if you prefer we can amend to say that a good lawyer could convince a person that red is blue (even if applied to the ajahs)
141. PhantomIce
You could of argue say that in that case, I have too much faith in my profession.
Rob Munnelly
142. RobMRobM
@140. They are both primary color pigments with refractive properties upon application of light and can be deemed equivalent for all material purposes.
Sam Mickel
143. Samadai
When you get right down to it, there is nothing to say that an Aes Sedai can't take the oath against saying one word that is not true and mentally think unless I need to. that would be like an Aes Sedai saying something that is not quite true then thinking about something else to make it true in their mind
James Jones
144. jamesedjones
142 RobMRobM

Wetlandernw, did Rob pick the White Ajah all those suveys ago?
145. Freelancer

Ok, so our difference of viewpoint is limited to whether or not Jordan intentionally or accidentally didn't have Thom mark Aludra's presence in the earlier menagerie thread. That's helpful.
It just struck me as... "off" that a writer who is usually phenominal with his attention to details (both major and minor) would let the fact that Thom and Aludra had met before go by with no mention during the actual menagerie story arc only to bring it up later when it really had no relevance.

Or maybe you don't give him enough credit for attention to detail. I'd suggest that it was absolutely intentional. I think that a great many of the tiny morality stories Jordan wove into WoT were planned in magnificent detail. In fact, I strongly believe that a subordinate purpose to the entire story is to pass on these tidbits of wisdom. One of my first comments on this re-read forum stated as much, that Jordan's use of second-hand stories such as Thom's about the bootmaker's wife, are his version of Aesop's fables. Just look at every other thing that Lini says. Or Sorilea. Or many of the other favorite second- and third-tier characters.

With that as background, and for Thom to have a way to explain why Mat should go along with the girl's plans, even though he doesn't care about or share their goals, it was necessary to have the aloofness and distance between he and Aludra.

I can see many small instancs of retconning throughout the books, and surely that is unavoidable in any multivolume work, but I can't presume this is a case of such.

Consider the subthread discussion of how enormous the WoT project was to do without computers, and yet for the most part Jordan did it without maintaining a computer database of people, places, and chronology of events, and with an incredible level of continuity. It was done mostly on paper. If he could manage all of that with the level of detail that is involved, he could surely have planned out this scene two books in advance.

But hey, I could be wrong.
Rob Munnelly
146. RobMRobM
@144 - Grey (although I could argue that it is equivalent to white in significant respects).
Rob Munnelly
148. RobMRobM
@147 - I'm a true Grey, for good or ill. Rob
149. YourNameHere
See . Then go back and reread my comment. Hope it clarifies things.

I hope we agree that such a proposition is absurd. So that's obviously not how language works. If I (waive my rights and) say, "I killed John Doe," that's incriminating--even if I was thinking, "I didn't kill John Doe." Language works (as I wrote explicitly in comment 135) as a mutually agreed meaning between the speaker and the audience.
To answer your question from a technical perspective, any sane AS thinking, "to say no word that is not true [unless I need to]" can't possibly imagine that that is the meaning of the words she is saying.
It's intuitively obvious that the Oath Rod works by binding the oathtaker to the meaning he attributes to his declaration.
150. Freelancer

If, by black and white, we are referring to their respective impact upon a sensor within the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum, true black is an absence of energy at every wavelength, whereas white is the presence of energy at sufficiently varied wavelengths throughout the visible spectrum (~400-700nm) to not have an individual color aspect, but blended into what is then perceived as white.

If, by black and white, we are referring not to light, but to pigmentation of an object which produces a refracted light of said color, the reverse is true. White is an absence of pigment, allowing all wavelengths of electromagnetic energy which impact it to reflect/refract from it equally, while black is a pigmentation (or surface composition) which absorbs or mitigates reflection/refraction of all or most of the visible spectrum.

In either case, they are opposites, not equivalents.
Rob Munnelly
151. RobMRobM
Free - You may believe that is true, and it may be so in certain circumstances, but we'll see what the judge says after my expert witness has a chance to weigh in and we get a chance to examine your so-called conclusions in deposition and, if necessary, at trial.

P.s. *twich* and there's only so much further I can carry this joke started by Phantomice.
Brian Roloff
152. Ronin-alTyr
Hey all! First time poster, long time lurker. Great topic, love the show! Seriously, Leigh, LOVE the blog! All the references and hilarity are greatly appreciated. Leigh, glad you are back and feeling better! Subwoofer, congrats on your upcoming bundle of joy!

@141 & 142. Interestingly when it comes to color in light, black is the absence and white is the combo of all. So, they are the same in different mediums. However, regarding AS machinations, would they be able to “play” the game of houses if they could not mislead them with true words? This would lend credence to the literal interpretation of the first oath. In other words I believe it goes something like: You can mislead all you want as long as you literally speak true words. So, an AS could not use two false statements to tell the truth, but she could use two true statements to tell a lie. Which is what led to the Verin grey/black Ajah Hoo-Ha. Or am I completely lost?
Tess Laird
153. thewindrose
So Rob - Tam likes dogs, Morgase likes cats. Would they compromise and have both. Or would dogs, cats or both get the boot?

Yum yeah - twitch:)
James Jones
154. jamesedjones
152 Ronin-alTyr

Welcome to the Reread!

Here's your personal "I love myself" jacket. :)
Rob Munnelly
155. RobMRobM
@153 - They'd be too "busy" to care one way or another, is my best guess. ;-)
156. Freelancer
Yeah, well, I work with laser scientists & physicists, so sue me. At least I can say that no matter how busy I am, it's all light work.

If we're going to twist words, might as well make it count.
Kristina Blake
157. kab1
Okay, so I've been thinking more about the whole Aes Sedai truth/sarcasm thing (probably way too much thinking on it considering I'm at work) and I admit I haven't ever given it much thought until the above sarcastic quote from Seonid @ 87 and RJ's quote @89 about the use of sarcasm and the "intent to deceive".

As RJ states an AS could not use sarcasm to tell a blind person a white cloth was black as they could misperceive the statement. However, in the AS's mind the comment would not have the intent to deceive, they would just be sarcastic, so how could the oath stop them saying this to a blind person if the intent to deceive was not there? How does the oath know the listener is blind? I guess then we would assume that a small part of the AS's mind would know that a blind listener could take it literally, and therefore she could not say it. But wouldn't this be true of all sarcasm, as it is often misinterpreted. After all how could Seonid be sure Perrin understood her sarcasm and wasn't deceived by it?

It would make sense to me that the rod should make (A) you speak truth no matter what the intent is (so no sarcasm) or (B) that the rod stops you from speaking anything with the intent to deceive (lie, truth, half-truth). What I can't wrap my brain around is that the oath is bothered by "the intent to deceive" when lying and not when telling the "truth". After all they can't tell an outright lie even if the intent is not to deceive. The scene with the Suroth and one of the collared Aes Sedai proves this as she can't say a black cloth is white (or vice versa??) even though if she said the lie it would clearly not be with the intent to deceive.

Okay, okay!! I know I should just let it go. and I will. It's RJ's world, he makes the rules, and I'm just along for the excellent ride. Very few things bother me in the WoT world, but this one kinda got me. Luckily the new post should be up soon (maybe is already?) and most of you won't have to read through my bathering.
John Fitzingo
159. Xandar01
@157. kab1
I think the problem you have here is your are looking for a black and white rule to encompass all characters. Just as we disagree on whether sarcasm is lying, would there not be differences in how one AS over another interprets "Speak no word that is not true?"
160. PhantomIce
*twitch* *twitch*

at least you guys have all day to wait - here on Istanbul time it't 10pm and looking increasingly likely that I'll have to go to sleep without my regular dose of reread

*twitches increasing in frequency*

guess I'll work some more and hope
161. Siuanfan
I don't know, I really doubt that there's a "speak no word that is not true (unless you're being sarcastic)" loophole. If you are aware that your words are not the truth, you can't say them under the Oath. If a sarcasm loophole is valid because your intention not for your words to be taken as truth then conversely, using true words to paint deceptive pictures should be impossible since your intention is to get people to believe something untrue. If untruth-as-sarcasm were okay, then all a sister would have to do to lie is to convince herself she's just being sarcastic.
Rob Munnelly
162. RobMRobM
Good news - Leigh just posted in another thread, which means she's dropped the entry off and it's in the hands of Pablo or Torie. Fast twich. R
Tess Laird
163. thewindrose
For WoT in general, there is also this consideration: The ambiguity of how this Oath is taken supplies ample opportunity for humor - Siuan's case of jumping more as a novice not being true and Seonid using sarcasm.
It can also help(although imperfectly) in finding BA members.
164. PhantomIce
completely off topic but think there might be some hidden significance to the fact that I keep typing European Reunion?
Thomas Keith
165. insectoid
Where is new post? Am wearing out the F5 key...

Rob Munnelly
166. RobMRobM
@164. Yes. It means means you've always wanted to dress up as a member of the opposite sex. That will be $50. Personal checks are fine.
Kristina Blake
167. kab1
@159 so true.

@161 I guess I have a hard time with things like convincing yourself you're not lying. The times I have told white lies or outright lies (yup. guilty.) I've never been able to wholly convince myself it's the truth. There's always that small sliver of truth that beams out to me. I don't think I'd make a very good AS in that respect. I could certainly never do something like Beonin did.

@163 again true. So time to let this go. (Didn't I already say that?)

going to check for new post.
168. yebeme
At first these re-reads were just a cool way to read what other people thought about WoT. Now that we're only twenty days away from the next book, I use them as a way to tide me over.

Am I an addict? I need a fix.
Thomas Keith
169. insectoid
The thrice-weekly dose of Leighness may be the only clinically-proven way of dealing with WoT-related addictions... :)

EDIT: New post!!
Michael Johnson
170. twosheddz
Forkroot @101

minor point - Elayne isn't the only living person to make ter'angreal. Some damane can make the a'dam. (Hate all the apostrophes)
171. tearl
Kaboom@85 and Freelancer@113 re non-sparkers and non-channelers using ter'angreal.

We have at least one case of untrained (saidar virgin) non-sparkers using ter'angreal that cannot be used by non-channelers, namely the test for sul'dam: feeling a damane through an a'dam.
172. birgit
When the girls were in the Tower, they were not ready for the AS test. In Salidar there was no point in letting them prepare for the test because they didn't have the ter'angreal.

At least some of the recurring minor characters might be people who were pulled out of their ordinary lifes by contact with ta'veren.
173. Freelancer

I said nothing about applications of ter'angreal. I only said that a non-sparker, prior to having grasped saidar, would go undetected as a channeler, and must specifically be tested, whereas a sparker can be sensed by another channeler.
174. Katiya
Ok, so I know that it's unimportant, but I just wanted to clarify: I was NOT saying that Marillin Gemalphin used her cats to attack Demira or something...I'm not nuts, you know. I'm just saying that RJ, as an author, did a lot of set-up work by mentioning all the animals in those alleys...what was the point? I agree that there was no reason we know of for Marillin to set up a fake Aiel attack. But RJ made the choice to not only mention Marillin's continuing presence in Caemlyn obliquely (a la the random thoughts about an AS Healing animals), but in the very next chapter, presents us with this over the top animal description when something else might have worked just as well...for example, Demira COULD have been thinking about how the alleys were deserted completely, but RJ put cats and dogs there instead. Why?

It's a technique he uses later too, in CoS, when Mat is attacked by a bunch of beggars in Ebou Dar. He dismisses it as normal thievery, but the chapter before, RJ had casually dropped a number of beggars hanging around into his description of Carridin's house...which, coupled with yet another off-hand thought from Carridin about a high ranking beggar DF, pretty much cements for a reader that Carridin ordered that attack, that it was more than it appeared.

Loony indeed. :P There may be no connection to Marillin, but authors don't just randomly do things...there are purposes, dammit!
Derek Barolet
175. Derek.barolet
I always wanted to hear the Trust is the Color of Death song, one of the cooler things if they made o movie would be to hear the music. But I particularily love this song. Is there any site that may have all the verses of it? anyway cool chapters loving this re read!
William McDaniel
176. willmcd
So, apparently I'm having a dense day. In Ch44, After Leane and Mat dance, she kisses him and tells him he's a good dancer. Then we have this:
Sighing, she patted his cheek. “A very good dancer. Think of it as dancing next time, and you will do better.”
What the heck is she talking about? Think of what as dancing? As opposed to thinking of "it" as what? Is she referencing the fact that Mat "nearly fumbled the first turn" when he saw her ring? Is she saying that instead of focusing on the fact that she's an Aes Sedai, he should just think about dancing? That's a pretty roundabout way to get a point across.

As Jar Jar Binks once said, any help here would be hot.

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