Oct 7 2009 5:18pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Lord of Chaos, Part 26

Haaaay, WOTrians. Have a Wheel of Time Re-read, whydontcha? You will? Ehhhxcellent.

Today’s post covers Chapter 46 of Lord of Chaos, for it is long and headdesky, and ye shall view mine wrath on’t. WHETHER YE WANT TO OR NOT, BUDDY.

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.

And that’s all the news that’s print to fit, so let’s get to it, shall we?

Chapter 46: Beyond the Gate

What Happens
Perrin makes absentminded goodbyes to Rand, staring at the man in the corridor who he is certain is Faile’s father, judging by the “cold fury” he reeks of. Perrin introduces himself to Bashere, who answers “we will talk” and marches off, Perrin following. In Bashere’s rooms, Bashere opens by supposing that Zarine told him all about Bashere’s estates, and “the Broken Crown” before he married her; Perrin has no clue what the crown business is about, but answers (to Bashere’s astonishment) that Faile told him at first that her father was a fur trader, then a lumber merchant, then an ice pepper merchant, but she slipped up one too many times, and when Perrin found out who Bashere really was he almost didn’t marry her, except Faile had made her mind up, and he loves her. Bashere demands to know who this “Faile” person is, and Perrin explains that she took the name when she became a Hunter for the Horn; Bashere is momentarily distracted by pleased surprise over that, but then scowls again and gets back to their “supposed marriage”. Perrin, trying to remain calm, informs him that their marriage was legal in every way, but Bashere counters that by Saldaean law Zarine isn’t old enough to marry without her mother’s permission.

“She is with Deira right now, and if she doesn’t convince her mother she’s old enough to be married, she goes back to the camp, probably doing duty as her mother’s saddle. And you...” Bashere’s fingers stroked the hilt of his sword, though he did not seem aware of it. “You,” he said in an almost jolly tone, “I get to kill.”

“Faile is mine,” Perrin growled. Wine slopped over his wrist, and he looked down in surprise at the winecup, crushed in his fist. He set the twisted piece of silver on the table carefully, beside the pitcher, but he could do nothing about his voice. “Nobody can take her from me. Nobody! You take her back to your camp—or anywhere!—and I’ll come for her.”

Bashere points out mildly that he has nine thousand men with him, and Perrin snarls back that they can’t be any harder to kill than Trollocs, and if Bashere tries taking her, they’ll find out if they are. Bashere studies him and says it might be a shame to kill him, as they need some new blood in his House; the line is getting soft, Zarine being an example. This dumbfounds Perrin, especially the notion of Faile being “soft”, and Bashere continues that Zarine told him a lot about “Lord Perrin of the Two Rivers, Slayer of Trollocs”, and he approves of the Trolloc killing, but he wants to know what kind of man Perrin is. Perrin reluctantly decides to start with the truth.

“The fact of it is, I am not really a lord. I’m a blacksmith. You see, when the Trollocs came...” He trailed off because Bashere was laughing so hard the man had to wipe his eyes.

“Boy, the Creator never made the Houses. Some forget it, but go far enough back in any House, and you’ll find a commoner who showed uncommon courage or kept his head and took charge when everybody else was running around like plucked geese. Mind you, another thing some like to forget is the road down can be just as sudden.”

Bashere doesn’t care about that, he wants to know if Perrin knows how to treat a wife. Perrin replies that he treats Faile as well as he knows how, and Bashere informs him that women are like doves, to be held carefully lest you hurt them, and if he hurts Faile it’ll be the last thing he does. Then Bashere decides it’s time to go to Deira and Faile before their “discussion” moves to the killing phase, advising Perrin to remember that just because a woman believes something, it doesn’t mean the thing is true. They head to Deira’s apartments, and as they approach Perrin hears raised voices followed by two slaps, which makes him very leery of going inside, but Bashere (who can’t hear this) knocks and goes right in. Deira is much more formidable than Perrin expected after Bashere’s talk about “fragile doves”; Faile has a handprint on her cheek (as does Deira), but she smiles at him before going to greet her father affectionately, which disgruntles Perrin a bit, and Perrin hears her whisper that “it depends on him, now”, as Deira eyes him contemptuously. Before he can say anything, Deira tells him that “yellow eyes do not make a wolf”, and from what she hears he’s a complete pushover, letting Faile manipulate him. Perrin answers carefully that he disagrees, and Deira sniffs, pokes Perrin, and opines that a woman wants a man stronger than she, and she’ll never forget the “magnificent” first time Davram proved he was the stronger of them.

“If a woman is stronger than her husband, she comes to despise him. She has the choice of either tyrannizing him or else making herself less in order not to make him less. If the husband is strong enough, though . . . ” She poked him again, even harder. “ . . . she can be as strong as she is, as strong as she can grow to be. You will have to prove to Faile that you’re strong.” Another poke, harder still. “The women of my family are leopards. If you cannot train her to hunt on your command, Faile will rake you as you deserve. Are you strong enough?” This time her finger drove Perrin back a step.

Perrin growls at her to stop that, and answers that he indulges Faile because he wants to, and has no intention of trampling her; they love each other and that’s all that matters. Bashere puts in that Perrin claims he will take Faile back if they take her away, a few hundred bowmen against nine thousand Saldaean horse. This gives Deira pause, but she remains unconvinced until Bashere tells her “enough” mildly, and he thinks Perrin will do well enough; Deira bows her head meekly and acquiesces, then shoots Perrin a “See?” look. Faile manages to look submissive too, and Perrin wonders if he’s married into a family of madmen.

Rand lounges on a chair after Perrin leaves, hoping Perrin gets on well with Bashere but also thinking that if he doesn’t that might make him more amenable to Tear. Lews Therin is giggling in the background about friends and betrayal when Min comes in, having now been put on the Maidens’ short list of people who get sent in no matter what Rand’s doing. Min’s already taken advantage by barging in on him during his bath. Min gets herself some punch and plops down on his lap, as usual, and as usual Rand pretends not to notice. He asks if she enjoyed talking with Faile, and Min answers they didn’t talk long before Bashere interrupted them.

“You didn’t like her?” he said, and Min’s eyes widened, her lashes making them look even larger. Women never expected a man to see or understand anything they did not want him to.

“It isn’t that I dislike her exactly,” she said, drawing the words out. “It’s just . . . well, she wants what she wants when she wants it, and she will not take no for an answer. I pity poor Perrin, married to her. Do you know what she wanted with me? To make sure I had no designs on her precious husband.”

She continues that they’re obviously besotted with each other, and that Perrin would never look at another woman, but Min doesn’t think that will do any good; Perrin’s found his falcon, and Min wouldn’t be surprised if she kills him when the hawk shows up. Then she looks guilty, and Rand knows this is a viewing of hers, and also knows she’ll tell him about it if he asks, though she doesn’t want to. So he asks if she’s seen anything concerning himself instead, and gratefully she replies that when he and Perrin were together, she saw the fireflies and darkness vision again.

“But with the two of you in the same room, the fireflies were holding their own instead of being eaten faster than they can swarm, the way they do when you’re alone. And something else I saw when you were together. Twice he’s going to have to be there, or you . . . ” She peered into her goblet so he could not see her face. “If he’s not, something bad will happen to you.” Her voice sounded small and frightened. “Very bad.”

Rand tries to cheer her by saying he’ll just have to keep Perrin around, then, but Min answers that she doesn’t know if that’s enough; it will happen if Perrin’s not there, but it might still happen even if he is. Rand is surprised to see that she is crying, and says he didn’t know the viewings hurt her so much, but Min claims it’s just the dust, and says she has to get back to the inn. Rand entreats her to be careful lest Merana and the others find out what she’s doing, but Min laughs off his concerns, pointing out that he wouldn’t have known that the Aes Sedai were meeting with the nobles if she hadn’t been coming so often. Rand repeats that he doesn’t want her hurt.

For a moment she studied him silently, then rose up enough to kiss him lightly on the lips. At least . . . well, it was light, but this was a daily ritual when she left, and he thought maybe those kisses were getting a little less light every day.

Despite all his promises to himself, he said, “I wish you wouldn’t do that.” Letting her sit on his knee was one thing, but kisses were carrying the joke too far.

“No tears yet, farmboy,” she smiled. “No stammer.” Ruffling his hair as if he were ten, she walked to the door, but as she sometimes did, she moved in a gracefully swaying fashion that might not have produced tears and stammer but certainly did make him stare however hard he tried not to. His eyes whipped to her face as she turned around. “Why, sheepherder, your face is flushed. I thought the heat never touched you now. Never mind. I wanted to tell you, I will be careful. I’ll see you tomorrow. Be sure to put on clean stockings.”

She leaves, and Rand considers begging and stammering to see if that would stop it, but rejects the idea of being cold and distant, as he could never do that to Min, and wonders how she makes him so comfortable even while she taunts him. Lews Therin begins talking about the Aes Sedai and how he would have to do something about them if they’re plotting with the nobles, ignoring Rand’s yells at him to go away.

I am not dead! the voice howled. I deserve death, but I am alive! Alive! Alive!

You are dead! Rand shouted back in his head. You are dead, Lews Therin!

The voice dwindled, still howling Alive! when it faded from hearing.

Shaking, Rand gets more punch, thinking that the voice was getting more persistent. He knows that if the Aes Sedai are plotting with the nobles, he was going to have to do something; he just doesn’t know what.

Demira Eriff heads to the Origan Gate, hoping her informant in the Caemlyn Palace library had gotten her message to meet her there with information on books about the seals on the Dark One’s prison. She’s aware that she’s been followed by a group of Aielmen since leaving the inn, but doesn’t attach much importance to this. Her informant doesn’t show, and disappointed, she heads back, detouring into an alley to avoid the men leering at her on the street (making a mental note to stop wearing dresses from her native Arad Doman). She is met in the alley by a group of five or six Aielmen coming the other way; one of them asks her pardon, and they squeeze to either side to let her pass.

Wondering if they were the same who had followed her—one of those faces looked familiar, that of a squat fellow with villainous eyes—she nodded and murmured thanks as she started past.

The spear going into her side was such a shock she did not even cry out. Frantically she reached for saidar, but something else pierced her side, and she was down in the dust. That remembered face was thrust into hers, black eyes mocking, growling something she ignored as she tried to reach saidar, tried to . . . darkness closed in.

Sulin guides Perrin and Faile back to their rooms, Perrin drenched with sweat and feeling like he’d been beaten, Faile smiling and pleased as punch. Sulin curtsies and almost falls over every other second while grinding her teeth, and insists on showing them every last detail of their rooms, until even Faile starts staring at her; finally Perrin gives her a gold coin and kicks her out politely but firmly. Faile compliments him on his technique, and adds, now if he would only be that way with their servants. She asks him to unbutton her dress, and as he complies he asks if Faile really meant any of “that nonsense” she told her mother.

“Have you not tamed me, my husband,” she said without looking at him, “and taught me to perch on your wrist when you call? Do I not run to please you? Am I not obedient to your smallest gesture?” She smelled amused. She certainly sounded amused. The only thing was, she sounded as if she meant it, too, the same as when she told her mother practically the same thing, head high and as proud as she could be. Women were strange, that was all there was to it. And her mother . . . ! For that matter, her father!

He asks her what a broken crown is, and Faile suddenly changes the subject to tell him that Rand is gone from the palace. Perrin asks how she knows, and she confesses that Bain and Chiad taught her a little handtalk, even though she thinks they were really not supposed to, and she “overheard” the Maidens talking about it in the halls. He asks why it matters what Rand’s doing, and she replies that Perrin should remember Rand is like a king, “a king of kings”, and kings sometimes use up their friends even if they don’t mean to. They then have an argument over whether Faile is allowed to spy on Rand, which Faile derails by bringing up Deira’s demands re: grandchildren, and saying she thought maybe they could work on it if Perrin ever gets her buttons undone.

After months of marriage she still blushed, but that grin never faded. “The presence of a real bed after so many weeks makes me forward as a farmgirl at harvest.”

Sometimes he wondered about these Saldaean farmgirls she was always bringing up. Blushes or no blushes, if they were as forward as Faile when he and she were alone, no crops would ever be harvested in Saldaea. He broke off two more buttons getting her dress undone, and she did not mind a bit. She actually managed to tear his shirt.

Demira is surprised to wake up in the inn, alive, with her Warder Stevan hovering anxiously over her; she worries that this will give him the high ground in their ongoing struggle over whether he gets to treat her like a wayward daughter. Merana and Berenicia are there too, and they explain that a man came into the common room of the inn to tell them he saw Aiel following an Aes Sedai and saying they were going to kill her. The man got away before anyone thought to detain him, no doubt part of the same warning. Demira says, then they meant the Aes Sedai to know Aiel had killed her, or maybe she was meant to be found before dying.

She had just recalled what that villainous-faced fellow had growled at her. “I was told to tell you all to stay away from al’Thor. Exact words. ‘Tell the other witches to stay away from the Dragon Reborn.’ I could hardly deliver that message dead, could I?”

They argue over how to respond: Berenicia wants to find the Aiel responsible and “make an example”, but Demira points out that they were clearly under orders, and only one man in Caemlyn can order the Aiel around. Merana agrees, and Berenicia switches targets, insisting they cannot let al’Thor think he can get away with this. Demira thoughtfully observes that if they charge him openly, al’Thor will of course deny it, and they have no proof. So perhaps it would be better to say nothing, and let him stew, wondering why. Verin enters and announces that al’Thor must respect Aes Sedai or there will be no working with him; she sits, and impatiently tells Merana and Berenicia to sit too before telling Demira that as the victim of the attack, she should have a say in their response. Merana tries to interject an opinion, but Verin cuts her off; Demira holds her breath, but Merana only stares at Verin a moment before bowing her head. Demira suggests that no one go to the Palace for the next few days, either with no excuse or one he will see through, and watch Min to see when he is “nicely on the boil...”

Whatever they decided to do, she wanted to be part of it. It had been her blood, after all, and the Light only knew how long she would have to put off her researches in the library now. That last was almost as much reason to teach al’Thor a lesson as his forgetting who Aes Sedai were.

Oh, Perrin. Did you marry into a family of nutcases, you wonder? Let me answer that for you: YES, YES YOU DID. Leopards and falcons and doves, ho crap.

I’m not even sure I’m up to addressing the insanity of Deira’s notion of relationships, except to say that you can talk about leopards and being fierce and whatever all you want, but when you assert that the man must be able to put the woman in her place (!!) for the relationship to work, then what that is, is sexist bullshit. It might be sexist bullshit turned inside out and backwards, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is sexist bullshit, and it is sexist bullshit that is just as unfair to the man as it is the woman, I might add. I would assume that when most guys get married, what they want is a wife; if they for some insane reason are hankering instead for a snarling clawing leopard to train (!!), I say they can goddamn well go and join the circus, then. Holy Christ.

I mean really. If the ideal marriage, as Deira would apparently have it, is a daily survival-of-the-fittest mad scrabble for supremacy, you can count me out. Thanks, but I’ve got enough stress in my life. Hi, equal partnerships? Sharing the load? Mutual support and respect? Not equating an entire half of the human race to a freaking feral cat? Hello? Is this thing on?

Of course, this whole thing is at least partially a “haze the new in-law” performance from both Deira and Bashere, a practice which is older than dirt and will probably never die, and for a long time I tried to convince myself that Deira was bullshitting Perrin the whole time. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure she was perfectly serious, and now I need a hug and a cookie, because I am sad when people are stupid.

Bashere’s no better than Deira, by the way, at least when it comes to relationship advice. The fact that following this advice later works for Perrin only points out how utterly barmy Faile’s upbringing really was, if you ask me. Aaaaand I am getting off this merry go round before my head explodes.

I will say that when he’s not talking about women, Bashere gives some of the better bits of wisdom in WOT. His quote here to Perrin about how lords are made through circumstance struck me strongly at the time, and is still one of the passages I tend to recall most clearly from LOC. I’m not sure why it made such an impression, except that perhaps it was the sheer obviousness of the truth of his statement, combined with the fact that (at the time) I had never really thought of it that way before. Very much a “Huh.” moment. And one that tends to make me considerably less inclined to be critical of the semi-feudal system Randland’s got going. Not completely so, I haven’t lost my mind (YET), but a little less so.

Min: Has totally got Faile’s number, I must say. Though I don’t think she is in a position, to be fair, to give Faile credit for her good qualities. Which she does possess, you guys, but Min can be forgiven, since all she’s really seen is the jealousy, both in person and in the persona of the hawk and falcon glaring at each other in her viewing. Altogether not the kind of thing inclined to give you the most charitable view of a person. I myself am not feeling charitable enough at the moment to defend Faile, though. Maybe later.

(“Leopards.” *headdesk*)

(The Saldaean farmgirl thing was cute, though. I guess. Leopards. God.)

ANYWAY. Min’s viewing about Perrin is another one of hers that I am uncertain whether it has been fulfilled or not; obviously Dumai’s Wells counts as one time, but there are a number of semi-shaky candidates for the second time, and it’s hard to tell if any of them are the second time, or not, since Min’s viewing leaves it open-ended as to whether Perrin actually gets there in time or not. So, in conclusion, dunno. You’re welcome.

Let’s move on, to the other most annoying thing in LOC! Namely, of course, the attack on Demira.

I remember, I read this and was like NOOOOO! GodDAMMIT, you people and your stupid stupidness, with the not communicating and the mistrust and the LAAAAADDYY. Why? Why, why, WHYeeeee?

Of course, I know why. Chaos, plot movement, yadda yadda yadda Dumai’s Wells. Yes. I get it. But aaaaaah, I was screaming for them not to decide to say nothing to Rand! Why, WHY couldn’t they have at least considered the idea that it was a set-up, a ruse, a framejob? Yes, why would they, Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation etc., but AAAAGGGHH.

This is really the point where I realized that everything in LOC was going off the rails, and Jordan must be complimented, perversely, for the sense of frantic dismay it engendered in me the reader. Lord of Chaos, indeed. At this point it’s like a freaking runaway train here. And it only get worse!

As for whodunit, the FAQ’s article on the attack is a little outdated, but I still agree with its general conclusion, that Taim is by far the most likely person to be behind the attack. Whether he did it at a Forsaken’s orders or on his own initiative is fairly irrelevant to my mind; either way, as far as means, motive, and opportunity goes, Taim is the clear front-runner. And, also, an asshole. GodDAMMIT. I really hope we get to see him get smacked down. HARD.

More tangentially, I continue to be amazed that the ranking hierarchy is so strong in Aes Sedai society that it can trump the equivalent of governmental appointments. It’s interesting (though ultimately pointless) to speculate what the Salidar embassy’s response would have been if Merana had remained in charge, and what their eventual actual response says about Verin’s intentions. Discuss!

Okay, I’ve about used up my quota of all caps exclaimage for the day, so we’re going to stop here. Please to return on Friday for Moar, yes? Yes! D’accord, je t’aime, au revoir, au revoir!

1. Dreamwolf
I had to, sorry :-)
Richard Fife
2. R.Fife
Well, I said it once, I'll say it again, I'm of the school of the thought that it was Fain. I don't agree with out off-handedly the FAQ dismissed him: he hates Aes Sedai, and sowing distrust and hatred between AS and Rand would be cock-a-mania enough for him, I think. It could be that none of the present AS were high ranking enough for him to bother attempting to latch himself on to (also note he hasn't bothered latching onto any Andoran nobles either.) I think this would fit in perfectly with the assassination attempt his Whitecloaks pulled as well. Similar direct yet indirect pestering.

To Faile and Family, yes, completely crazy and annoying. The closest I could see to that having any semblance of a working relationship is that Deira was saying that a strong-personality needs another strong-personality opposite it to give the equality. But that is still stretching it. I
3. junior1234
This chapter is where you just have to accept that all the almost interesting bits about male/female relationships throughout this series is just cover.

Jordan is a misogynistic douche.
TW Grace
4. TWGrace
Would it be out of place to say I have been sort of anticipating this chapter, just to see if you would survive describing it... ;)

On another note...I've always put Fain up as the the attacker.
Rob Munnelly
5. RobMRobM
The offending Aiel is a "squat fellow"? Lots of those among Rand's people, right? Not. Dumb AS. The sad thing is that, per Min, she was one of Rand's biggest fans going in (she was impressed he founded schools in Cairhien and Camelyn).
Jane Smyth
6. Kaboom
The thought that Fain was behind the attack never came to my mind when I was reading or re-reading the book, and even now I can't see it that way. It just doesn't fit with my perception of Fain.

As for who ordered it, I would have to go with one of the Forsaken
Pete Pratt
7. PeteP
Wow, junior, what an insightful comment --- Not!

So Jordan creates one culture that believes strength needs to balance strength in order to have mutual respect and suddenly he is msiogynist?!? LOL.

While very odd, the Saldean relationship standard calls for women to be strong and fierce and the men to be so too. No PC-men crying and whinning and being dominated by women.

Too many societies and cultures throughout history have expected women to be passive and calm and dominated by men. Our present culture attempts to cage men into a small realm of acceptable behavior, making men into passive hulks. The best exhibit of this is contemporary advertising and media that is full of women making fun of men who seem to be incapable of action on their own.

Now, the Saldean culture is way over the top, but at least it represents an attempt at balance with both sexes being strong and capable.
8. Freelancer

I'm completely certain that Harriet agrees. ::eyeroll::

Leigh, nice little Jerry Lewis there.

Hokay, so Faile was indeed "obsessively probing Min" regarding her intentions toward Perrin. But umm, even after identifying her as twitterpated over Rand? Seems erroneous to me. Faile isn't terribly wise, but if she remained that jealous Perrin would have sensed it. ::shrug:: Or maybe Faile was so devious in her conversation with Min that Min didn't pick up on her real purpose while she made it seem she was jealously testing Min. I know, that's a bit farfetched, but something there just doesn't add up. If Faile's really still jealous, Perrin nose it.

And Leigh, easy on the blood pressure, sister. Somethin's gonna 'splode, you keep letting these things rile you like that. Yeah, Saldaean romance is as twisted as it gets. Strong woman needs strong man to avoid trouble, this isn't totally invalid. Many wives of weak men are either continually frustrated, or constantly steamroll over him. Not happy stuff. The reverse doesn't automatically produce the same sorts of problems. Maybe not fair, but real. And if a strong man tyrannizes a weak woman (which of course does happen), he needs beaten until he eats through a straw and cannot walk.
James Jones
9. jamesedjones
Hi Leigh! :)

Glad you survived the chapter. Remember ice. Twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off.

I'm almost positive the second instance in Min's latest viewing will involve the Seanchan and their male a'dam.

The only thing I'm wondering about now, is the Hawk. I'm still pretty sure it's Berelain. But I can't ask about it since my concern comes from the prologue. :(

I always believed Taim was behind the attack. RJ dropped that little hint about the man in the common room (with the clue-by-four) being someone who did not fear Aes Sedai. Who else could he be but an Ashaman?
10. dreamwolf
re: 3. junior1234

If you are going to post such an inflammatory comment about all the present readers favorite author then perhaps you should present a reason for said comment instead of assuming that the other readers can follow your deranged train of thoughts.

I may disagree with the statements presented by Deira and Bashere but at least a billion people in this world would probably be perfectly happy with them. That said before we consider the fact that this was opinions presented by three characters in a series that have over a thousand characters already, so why must they be RJ's own mouthpieces?
Galen Brinn
11. GatheringStorm
And the clock winds down to total head-deskery as the end of the book nears.

I never got the impression, junior1234 that Jordan was misogynistic. I've seen plenty of examples where women behaved just as badly or treat men based on broad-brushed generalites (ie, Nynaeve's "thinking with the hair on their chests" comments). I think what he's pointing out is that both genders have issues with each other. Just my take on it, though.
12. Mr. Micawber
I can't help but at least partially agree with junior.

More to the point, Perrin's batshit crazy answer to Faile's *father* about how he'll go through the Saldaeans to get her ignores the fact that, well, if your partner is under age - which Faile is, based on this chapter - your marriage is manifestly not legal and you're committing statutory rape. Also, dude is her fucking DAD, and Perrin's already coming out with the crazy!

This chapter is the first of many that I believe demonstrates for me that there is a word for Perrin's relationship with Faile:


As I said on Dragonmount,

"read his chapters in LOC and ACOS and you get the image that this man is in a very damaging codependent relationship with an almost bipolar girl who's barely pubescent, irrationally and insanely jealous, and constantly pushing him to put himself out of Rand's shadow almost as much as Mel was doing to Mat.

"He, in the mean time, puts up with it because he's suffered incredible trauma, he's clearly not the sharpest or at least quickest tool in the smithy, and because he's willing to be essentially abusive to her, if not physically, then verbally. And she *likes* it.

"Perhaps IRL this could be worked out with roleplay, or S&M type stuff, but it's grotesque in the novels.

"And RJ's defence of their behavior was always very weak. My g/f got turned off the series in LOC or ACOS because this. Frankly, I told her that if she were ever like Faile, I'd go for a Berelain in an instant, and she said that if I were like Goldeneyes, she'd go for a Rand or even the DO."
Jay Dauro
13. J.Dauro
Since we all know that RJ has pulled elements from huge numbers of mythologies, details from all sorts of different countries and cultures, and personalities from all different kinds of people, why should we assume that he believes in them all, or finds that all are equally valid?

He has detailed many different kinds of relations between partners, Two Rivers, Aiel, Saldaian, Far Madding, etc.

So I hesitate to think he is advocating any of these styles. Especially after what I have read about Harriet.
14. tgoostree
I have always thought, and still believe, that Fain was behind the assault on Demira.

"Tell the other witches to stay away from the Dragon Reborn."

Witches = Whitecloak's name for AS. HELLO?!?!?
And Fain is just a little possessive over Rand. He doesn't want anyone else to have a shot at hurting/kidnapping/killing Rand. Thus the "stay away" he's mine comment.
Tony Zbaraschuk
15. tonyz
This is really the point where I realized that everything in LOC was going off the rails, and Jordan must be complimented, perversely, for the sense of frantic dismay it engendered in me the reader. Lord of Chaos, indeed. At this point it’s like a freaking runaway train here. And it only get worse!

I figure that the Dark One is getting hold of the Pattern, and one of the ways Jordan was showing it was the Pattern becoming unravelled. In other words, idiot plots are actually a sign of how good Jordan is. I don't know if I still believe it four books of the same sort of stuff later... but it's a nice dodge.

As far as Saldaean notions of male/female relationships, I don't know that it's entirely head-desking. Elyas' take on it (way too many books later!) is somewhat more sensible: show them by your actions that you're relying on their strength, and they grow to meet the challenge.

(When we see Tenobia later on, though, we'll get some idea that even other Randlanders consider Saldaeans a bit barmy when it comes to romance. So some of the head-desking is probably justified... but please don't break any bones, Leigh. We want you to finish this, after all.)
Maiane Bakroeva
16. Isilel
OK, I find the Saldean marital practices as explained by the Bashere family here utterly repulsive.
Sadly, it isn't the first time in WoT where Jordan brings up the idea that a man must be dominant in a relationship for it to be successful - which seems pretty much at odds with his overall worldbuilding.

However, it is his explanation for few AS marrying given in TEoTW and TGH - that very few men could tolerate a wife, who is much more important/powerful than themselves and would "dim them by her radiance". Sigh.

And there is a highly dubious insinuation of Gabrelle and some of the other force-bonded AS falling for their captors exactly because of finally being the weaker in relationship (if it can be accorded the term) with a man, ditto.

I continue to be amazed that the ranking hierarchy is so strong in Aes Sedai society that it can trump the equivalent of governmental appointments.

Actually, doesn't this episode run counter to the established rule, as strong as the hierarchy itself, that no sister can interfere with another's affairs outside of the WT?
Verin was not part of the embassy and should have had no say in this decision. Maybe she subtly Compelled them all when nobody was looking? ;). And what on earth is she after? Why does she want to alienate Rand from the SAS and vice versa?

Demira, Demira, you are a Brown, you are supposed to be intelligent and observant. How many dark-eyed Aiel have you seen since arriving in Caemlyn? "Squat" is less significant - there are squat Aiel, though they are rare.

Oh, and IMHO it was Taim's operation. He already tried to talk Rand into something that would have provoked a feud between Rand and the AS and has been threatened re: any AS dying.
So, a very calculated and well-planned assault that would let Demira live, but spoil the budding communication. Also, apart from this dark-eyed fellow, they must have been real Aiel (Darkfriends), otherwise other Aiel, who teemed in the streets, would have made a short work out of pretenders wearing cadin'sor.
And Fain never had an Aiel entourage, did he? He kept his Whitecloaks for several months, so if these fellows had been his, some of them would have still been around in ACOS.
Barry T
17. blindillusion
RE: Perrin - “Nobody can take her from me. Nobody! You take her back to your camp—or anywhere!—and I’ll come for her.”

Umm yeah, that is pretty much the line that completely ruined Goldys's character for me (or at le)ast started it...especially with what eventually became of it.

Kinda sad really as he was may favorite character for much of the first part of the series. He has one of the coolest powers in all of Randland. And I don't know...I always thought the way he felt about his power read as, hmm, very human?

Anywho, the first part of the chapter just goes more into why I don't really think Faile deserves all the hate she gets. But look at what she comes from. Of course she's bugshit...she was raised that way, it's all she knows and she's yet to find a way to form her own views on life. (And yes, I'll say she does screw up a lot, but then, so does every other character is this story.)
Hilde Sørensen
18. edlihs
In chapter 49, Merana reads Rands letter after he left and she think Verin manipulated Demira into making the suggestion that they think send Rand to Cairhien. She says something like "they now need Rand more that he needs them" and Verin doesn't appear shocked like the others. Some has speculated that Verin did this to make sure Rand had the freedom he needed. It's part of the Verin-speculations.
Lannis .
19. Lannis
Oh, Leigh, here's your cookie... big ol' chunky chocolate chips.

People are stupid, and in the interest of keeping balance, there'll always be stupid people around to make the rest of us look intelligent. And, well, because my mother said, "to run this world it takes all kinds."

That'll take a while to heal, btw...

Yes, Saldaeans drive me nutso, too... except for their ability to drop everything to attack Trollocs... I give them respect for that... though even that particular tendency would also hinder the harvesting of crops... hmm...

Thanks for the recap, Leigh! You're the bestest! 'Nother cookie? :)
20. Dholton
So Leigh, was it this chapter that drove you to the hospital?

Anyway, re the matter of dominance in the AS hierarchy, I believe they state elsewhere at some point that it wouldn't matter if the appointed leader is the weakest, and took 50 years to reach the shawl, (my words), she would still be in charge, if she had the authority of the Amylin Seat behind her. But with the split, that authority has been at best fragmented, and so they are devolving back onto custom, to the detriment of all.
Jay Dauro
21. J.Dauro
Mr. Micawber @12
...ignores the fact that, well, if your partner is under age - which Faile is, based on this chapter - your marriage is manifestly not legal and you're committing statutory rape.


In general, most coutries/states recognize a marriage as valid if it is valid in the location it was performed. Faile was legal to marry in the Two Rivers. That is not to say that Saldea will recognize this, but I would make a case for their marraige being legal.
22. Lily of the Valley
I contend the all the zany crazy crap Faile and Perrin go through is a result of lack of communication. Two Rivers was supposed to be a mini-version of the rest of the world, right? Kinda makes sense that Perrin would represent the Dragon and Faile would represent his allies.

Really, all of their issues could have been solved with one good argument.

Faile: "You're sleeping with that tramp Berelain!"
Perrin: "What are you TALKING about?! I love you, only you, and she's a cheap, pale imitation who only wants me because YOU already have me! I'd never stray; how could you think I would?"

And then they'd make up and work out all their insecurities.


Good Lord, I've been watching too much Lifetime.

Also, I believe there's an upcoming chapter where, due to the lack of communication, all of Faile's jealousies and insecurities are COMPLETELY justified. Give me a few minutes and I'll see if I can find it.

I don't have a problem with Saldaean relationship ideals, either, since it just seems to be an inverted version of Far Madding's craziness. If anything, all of these weird male/female skewed versions of things just make me thankful I have yet to encounter ANYTHING like it in the real world, and can therefore chalk it up to authorial exaggeration. :-)
23. Dreamwolf
Re: 12. Mr. Micawber

I had to look up the term codependency and I found a good explanation at "The Skeptics's Dictionary"

I could not deny you this little Perl of wit;

Some see codependency as pathological itself, indicative of a trend among certain therapists, especially those who call themselves "family counselors," to see child abuse as the root cause of most personal problems. The model these counselors follow seems to be something like the following: child abuse causes low self-esteem, which leads people to abuse drugs or alcohol and other people as well. If only one had a happy childhood, free from abusers, one would have a wonderful life as an adult. The person with problems--the drug addict, the relationship addict, the sex addict, the name-your-craving addict--is a victim. Addict/victims need help. Insurance should pay for this help. Counselors should never be without long lines of addict/victims covered by insurance policies for treatment for their "disease." Society should support the work of these counselors because they have good intentions and, unlike the rest of us, are not in denial. They are especially not in denial about the likelihood that one model, the model of the diseased addict, could adequately fit all alcoholics, all substance abusers, and all other abusers of any craving.

Twenty years ago Perrin and Faile's relationship would have been characterized as "stormy" but no one would have called it pathological.

Statutory rape is, where I'm coming from, only a issue when one of the partners doesn't have a interest in sex and that is most convincingly not a issue with Faile.
Rob Munnelly
24. RobMRobM
One interesting little nugget - his statement that he'll go after Faile even in the midst of 9,000 heavily armed warriors is not-so-subtle foreshadowing for what is coming in books 9-11.

I'm not as troubled by Saldaean marital conflicts as others here. I'm married to a strong-willed woman (at a far lower temperature that Faile, of course) and have to decide whether the best approach is to meet her in kind with heat or whether to let her vent and respond calmly. If she were at psycho level where responding calmly = weakness, we'd have big problems in our marriage. Also, some in her family take the getting in each other's face and sometimes yelling at each other approach to resolving problems, which doesn't work for me or my family but works for them and they are actually a lot closer to each other than mine are. Here, Faile is at psycho levels as is both of her parents. If Perrin understands the rules, he can survive and potentially flourish in his marriage. I wouldn't choose it, and it is exaggerated over real life, but it is not too far away from some actual relationships in the real world.

Noneo Yourbusiness
25. Longtimefan
Just some general advice. Don't marry a Saldaean. Or if you do make sure none of your relatives are furniture makers. They will head butt all of their inventory into smithereens.
John Fitzingo
26. Xandar01
RE: Deira comments on a strong partner.
I think I am one of the billion that dreamwolf mentions. I had a choice between a weak partner or one that was as strong as I. I chose the strong one, 15 years ago and don't regret it.

I see sense in strength bringing out strength. If I were forced to weaken myself routinely so I wouldn't overpower my partner, that would suck.
Maiane Bakroeva
27. Isilel

she would still be in charge, if she had the authority of the Amylin Seat behind her.

Sure, but I never understood how this was supposed to work.
How could somebody who has been always firmly discouraged from displaying and developing leadership and whose opinions had been habitually discounted suddenly be able to be in charge and do a good job of it?
Particularly with a temporary appointment, where they know that they'd be open to retaliation once it ends?

But with the split, that authority has been at best fragmented, and so they are devolving back onto custom, to the detriment of all.

Sure, but by the same tradition outside the Tower no sister can order another or interfere with her affairs. If the embassy just fell back into the hierarchy, it would have been one thing - they are still on the same mission. Ditto when Kiruna and Bera barge in.
But Verin's interference is rather unprecedented, where tradition is concerned and I don't understand why Merana gave way and others of her group (some of whom are stronger than Verin, IIRC) ditto.

If Verin did this to give Rand a better negotiating position, then ger actions backfired spectacularly. I wonder where she went in KoD...
28. Freelancer
Mr. Micawber@12

You are as close to cogent and accurate as ever. Namely, about our solar system's distance from the Spiral Nebula.

If you characterize Faile as nearly bipolar, then you haven't witnessed same. Her behavior is odd by most real world standards, but it is consistent, it does not flip back and forth between opposites, a simplistic description of bipolar.

On the charge of statutory rape, the Emond's Field Women's Circle stamped her mature enough to marry. I know, that open-love bunch of hussies makes the Domani seem conservative, right?

Oh, and in case you forgot the chapter we just reviewed, her own parents approve, following some perfectly understandable grilling.

The chill pills are in the cabinet, right next to the Midol. Choose.
29. peachy
So, yeah, two things I took away from this chapter (probably along with most of the rest of you): A, the Basheres are bonkers (but in a "we kill Trollocs for sport, why don't you?" kind of way, which an acceptable form of bonkers at this particular moment in history); and B, the current lot of AS - with some notable exceptions - are just... sad.

Every time they get to whining about how much better it was in the good old days, when kings and queens danced to their tune, and how everything's gone to crap now (and get off my lawn!), I have to shake my head. If they're not "misremembering" history (which they're perfectly capable of), then either Randland rulers used to be absolutely spineless, or standards at the WT have gone completely to hell. Because, frankly, I wouldn't trust most of this crew to call the tune for your average Kandori goat-herd.
Kerwin Miller
30. tamyrlink
like Merana thinks when Kiruna and Bera show up: this never would have happened if the White Tower was whole. but anyway it shouldn't have happened anyway. because isn't what Verin is doing here interfering with another sister (or appointed embassy if you will) and her allegiance to Salidar is "tenuous at best" is how i think it was described. but at least rand turns that on its head and tells them they have to take their orders from Merana lol. breaker of oaths and bonds and all that jazz, he is.

i wouldn't be surprised if Verin was behind the attack. tho I have never given much thought to who dunnit before. but my money is on Verin. And I assume the end goal ties in to her 70+ yr mission. It has to be one of those things where the short end makes no sense but its all perfectly clear (if convoluted) at the finish line.

i think in a way Deira made sense. and thats all imma say on it. i had a long little paragraph typed but i lost my train of thought lol.

and i agree faile has her redeeming qualities but i cant help but feel she's not right for him. i think at some point she'll do something stupid to save or help perrin that will have drastic consequence to a plan of Rands or to the Light side in general. all to help him get out of rands shadow.

perrin - 300 archers against 9000 calvary....not gonna happen kid. unless perhaps if an ambush was involved and then i still wanna bet on the calvary. plus bashere is a great captain. so yea...

gotta love that 'toh huh sulin? lol!

and finally....

Deira and Davram's "magnificent first time"....sounds like it should be rated NC-17! i mean she basically flashed back and relived the moment just talkin/thinking about it!
William Fettes
31. Wolfmage
Freelancer @ 8

"Hokay, so Faile was indeed "obsessively probing Min" regarding her intentions toward Perrin."

Thanks for acknowledging that, and as you say, it does seem at odds with Perrin's nose. But that was the only reason I resisted giving Faile much credit in the previous chapter re-read. I remember thinking at the time Faile is finally growing up, only to be immediately disappointed with how obtuse it was to grill Min about Perrin. As you can probably tell, I don't buy other explanations.


As regards Saldean conjugal solidarity, (how's that for a gratuitous Durkheim reference for you), it is a bit annoying. But I think R.Fife summarises the most sensible, pragmatic reading you can extract from it if you want to give it a sane gloss. That is, powerful and assertive women and men don't flourish in a diminutive relationship. And I'm completely cool with that. The rest? Not so much. Leigh called it sexism, and maybe it is, but at the least it's a kind of dominance roleplay dressed up as exotic cultural other. But the thing about roleplay is that it's a role enacted in the bedroom for mutual satisfaction, initiated equally by equal parties, and it ends when anyone say so. This account, however, is suggestive that Demira really expects to be dominated in both private and public life regardless of what she wants. I'm uncomfortable with it to be honest.
j p
32. sps49
I don't see what Faile's age has to do with anything. She certainly isn't "barely pubescent", and in many cultures through history- and some today, even in our "First World" homes- she is of adult age.

Also, despite the way we were raised, there are places where, yes, the wife is quite subservient. Wives, even, on the Utah-Arizona border; it really isn't RJ imagining crazy stuff to send Leigh back to the hospital.

The Aes Sedai are certainly stupid enough anyway, but could Verin be responsible for the dash of extra stupidity re: Demira? My shoulders will be soooooo relaxed when we finally learn What Is Up with Verin.
Peter Nein
33. gimpols1908
Wolfmage @31. "This account, however, is suggestive that Demira really expects to be dominated in both private and public life regardless of what she wants. I'm uncomfortable with it to be honest."

I believe she states here that she expects the husband to be able to be masterful in the respect of 'putting the foot down' when he feels it is important. We see moments of Darvam basically saying 'yes, dear' when he either agrees or doesn't care.

The way it is presented is not good - but it is like many relationships...or at lease a caricature of many relationships exaggerating that issue may people have.

34. Tailspinner
Just a thought, he has some cultures where men are "Dominant" but aren't there some where women are dominant too? Far Madding, Arad Doman?

I think what Jordan is doing here is exploring a number of different possibilities exaggerated in some cases to point out how silly some logic is when brought to it's ultimate extreme.

I think I am liking the Fain over Taim school, and listening to the Aes Sedai after the fact totally made me *headdesk*. I cannot wait until we find out what Verin is up too! That bothers me way more than who killed Asmodean.
35. DHolton
@27 Isilel

Ok, this is my view on how it works: The Amylin appoints someone to an official mission of some sort. This appointment overrides the custom of deference due to strength. Presumably the Amylin would appoint the right person for the job at hand regardless of that person's strength in the Power.

(See Cadsuane's gathering of AS to her coterie due to merit for an example. One of them, a white, I can't remember the name, is quite weak. But as far as I'm concerned, this is the only white who actually demonstrated a truly competant use of logic, and Cadsuane recognizes this and uses it.)

It makes sense that an official appointment would override custom to give competant but Power-weak AS the needed authority. Due to the Tower split, this embassy was appointed by the Salidar Six and/or the SAS Hall, even before Egwene was raised.

So the AS seem to believe that the appointment lacks the authority of the Amyrlin, hence they are devolving back to custom. Verin, given Merana's worries, evidently outranks her in the power, and so is able to assume control. What Verin's motives are, I decline to speculate.

As for interfering in another AS business, that applies only to the personal business of individual AS, not something like an official embassy. That's not to say that it's probably highly irregular for Verin to assume control like that however. Just another example of the degradation of the AS due to the Tower split.
36. wsean
Gosh, these rereads always make me think of something new. Not re: those crazy Saldaeans, obviously. :P Pretty sure we've all trodden that ground before.

I've always assumed it was Fain who sent the fake Aiel, but did ponder the possibility of it being Taim. Verin? Never occurred to me, but it actually sounds plausible.

What is up with her, anyway? Sneaky sneaky!
Kerwin Miller
37. tamyrlink
she (demira) was passing out. how reliable is her recollection of what was said to her? she didnt register it going under, but after she was healed and woken up. and that kind of healing takes a toll so perhaps she wasnt in her fully right (wandering, forgetful, somewhat unobservant) mind.


perhaps whitecloaks arent the only ppl who call the AS witches. (in dune everyone called the BG witches, and you cant deny the smiliarities between the AS and the BG)

and Taim is far from stupid, so it wouldnt be a stretch at all to see him setting this up and telling the ppl to call them witches (if they didnt say that themselves)

and besides, im not sure the next time we get a fain POV but if we had one, then i dont remember him reminincing about this. and shouldnt he be on his way to cairhien or something to meet up with Toram Riatin? fain just seems more concerned with killing rand than with alienating him from his allies (or potential allies). i mean after the first failed attempt you'd think he would take a more hands on approach...
William Fettes
38. Wolfmage
sps49 @ 32

"I don't see what Faile's age has to do with anything."

Well, we're modern readers, and we have modern sensibilities about such things. The WoT encyclopaedia states Faile's age is about the same as Perrin's, but that's clearly wrong as we established in another tSR re-read if you do the maths; that's only Perrin's initial approximation or something. But the point is, I don't think it's accidental that RJ made her very young, but left the exact age a bit ambiguous to the casual reader. It's because it can be shocking in a more-modern normative context, notwithstanding any realism.

Her age is also relevant because it is continually invoked by Faile defenders, who implore us to make wide allowances for her immaturity.

"Also, despite the way we were raised, there are places where, yes, the wife is quite subservient. Wives, even, on the Utah-Arizona border; it really isn't RJ imagining crazy stuff to send Leigh back to the hospital."

I don't think it's that people find it inconceivable. But this isn't a GRRM style book which seeks to represent a world in a determinatively gritty way, never shying away from nasty realities like power inequality, rape, incest, prejudice and tragedy. There is a certain cosmopolitanism and playfulness to RJ's world by comparison. Such gritty elements are still there, but they are airbrushed and pushed off a bit to sidelines in a fashion consistent with RJ's southern sensibility. In that context, the Saldean culture thing work differently on our normative expectations.
James Hogan
39. Sonofthunder
A lot I could say about this chapter...but I'll just say that I just love the end of the Perrin/Faile segment. They have enough rocky's fun to see them so in love here...Faile proud that her man stood up to the parent test. And I love the Saldaean farmgirl references. I'd like to meet one. :D

EDIT: Can't spell Saldaea..grr...
Hurin Smells
40. HurinSmells
Falies age - Can anyone point me to a reference that indicates Faile is only 16-17? Encyclopedia WoT says she's roughly the same age as Perrin, which I believe is early 20's right?

Saldean Women - c'mon people, surely you've been in a relationship with someone that's been all passion? Italians almost make an art of it! On a personal note I completely buy the Saldean women's approach to relationships. My step-dad's previous marriage ended because his ex-wife thought he was too timid!
41. peachy
Somehow I think Mat would have liked Saldaea. :)
William Fettes
42. Wolfmage
HurinSmells @ 40

"Falies age - Can anyone point me to a reference that indicates Faile is only 16-17? Encyclopedia WoT says she's roughly the same age as Perrin, which I believe is early 20's right?"

From an earlier Faile viewpoint we know she is "of an age" with Ewin Finngar. Ewin is 14 at the start of the series. That is why her age is creepy if you think about it too much.

I don't have the pinpoint reference. I thought it was in tSR but 13th Depository says it is LoC prologue. Regardless, as I say above, the encyclopaedia entry is wrong and is only based on Perrin's subjective approximation.
43. alreadymadwithstabbing
Isilel @27
Verin essentially played devil's advocate and goaded the Salidar embassy into what would have been the natural reaction to anything challenging Aes Sedai authority. A subtle mix of mystery, intimidation, and at the climax, display of the Power. That's how she got away with it. Merana did not even realize what Verin had done until Rand showed exactly how intimidated he was by their use of Illusion. As to why... I can't really say. Maybe she wanted them to realize that Rand wasn't some dilettante lordling, nor an ignorant shepherdboy from some backwater. That old ways of dealing with people wouldn't work with him.

Re: Deira's "magnificent" first time

Re: Demira's stabbing
Squat Aiel. Heh!
Black eyes. Heh
Barry T
44. blindillusion
@ 40

Robert Jordan Interview
Made at the East of the Sun fantasy convention, Stockholm, 17 June 1995 by Helena Löfgren.

"The story of TWoT evolved during a very long period, in part beginning in the middle of the seventies with the idea of the Breaking of the World, before he found the "final scene in the final book" and began to actually write TEotW. The main impetus from the beginning was the notion of "men breaking the world" (my emphasis), and that men able to channel must be killed, controlled or stopped at all costs for 3,000 years. This led naturally to a society where women had great power and respect.

As an example of this, he puts forth Davram Bashere's reaction to Faile being a Hunter of the Horn. His initial negative response does not come from that Faile is a girl, but that she only is 17 years old. Her gender is irrelevant to the issue."

Hope this help.


Another quote from Mr. Jordan:

Q: How dangerous and how ambitious is Faile?

RJ: Exceedingly dangerous, not particularly ambitious. Perrin is due his due as Lord of the Two Rivers. She has been raised as a noble with noblesse oblige. Perrin has been pushed into lording and she doesn't like him ducking out of what she sees as his obligations. She doesn't understand why he doesn't understand this in his blood like she does in hers.

See, it's all a misunderstanding =)

- edit to add second quote.
Tess Laird
45. thewindrose
"A valid point," Verin said from the doorway. Al'Thor has to respect Aes Sedai, or there will be no working with him."

So what is Verin up to? I think she orchestrated this stabbing. Must have something to so with her 70 year plan.

All eyes turned to Demira, waiting. Verin's were particularly penetrating.

It had been her blood, after all, and the Light only knew how long she would have to put off her researches in the library now. That last was almost as much reason to teach al'Thor a lesson as his forgetting who Aes Sedai were.

Compulsion-lite anyone;')
Hurin Smells
46. HurinSmells
Wolfmage@42, blindillusion@44 - ok thanks!

Also, completely off topic but while browsing Encyclopedia WoT i found this...

Was anyone else aware of this additional prologue for EotW? If so why was I not informed!!
Roger Powell
47. forkroot
The Aes Sedai are certainly stupid enough anyway, but could Verin be responsible for the dash of extra stupidity re: Demira? My shoulders will be soooooo relaxed when we finally learn What Is Up with Verin.
I have a feeling we'll be waiting until AMoL to figure out Verin. Whatever game she is playing, it's a deep one. She's one of the most interesting characters in a series full of them.

With that said, I don't think she had anything to do with the attack on Demira. It just doesn't feel like her style.

The "witches" quote pretty much narrows the field down to Whitecloaks (Fain's or others) or someone trying to frame the Whitecloaks. What's maddening is that the AS appear to be deceived anyway. D'Oh!
j p
48. sps49
Wolfmage @38-

I think I see this much the same as you, except I'm not that good at expressing it. But part of what I meant is that these situations are getting people wound up as if it doesn't happen in the real world, and everybody involved is happy. Or at least satisfied.
Russell Holley-Hurt
49. Ruslanchik
This chapter shows that Aes Sedai are just as capable as anyone at being stupid. They seriously don't consider that this attack could have come from someone else? What would Rand gain by attacking them? And if he wanted to attack them in such a blatant way, why wouldn't he just do it himself and actually finish the job. He and a handful of Asha'man could have take out all of them without too much trouble.

I seriously think Verin knows exactly what is happening here and is consciously leading the embassy to provoke Rand. Not sure what her exact motive for that would be--surely she can't know that it will lead to Aes Sedai swearing fealty to Rand. She certainly embraces that theme later on.
Barry T
50. blindillusion
I'm going to have to get behind the Verin didn't do it group. She's always read as a (mostly) behind the scenes/watch and wait/manipulate when possible/the opportunity presents itself type personality. The attach on Demira is, err, "wet work". Not really Verin's style.

She does see the attack as an opportunity, though. But it's Verin and Verin in sneaky.

My money is on Taim. After all, he is probably just the proxy in Andor. That has to be rubbing him raw...the bastard.
William Fettes
51. Wolfmage
blindillusion @ 44

The date given in the quote is 1995, which means we're in the current LoC timeline by publication date. So that still means their whole relationship and the Two Rivers arc happened the previous year over 999NE, whilst she was sixteen.
Barry T
52. blindillusion
Wolfmage @ 51

Yeah, I know. I could of sworn I'd once seen a direct quote from Mr. Jordan saying she was 16 when she joined the Hunt and eventually met Perrin, but the above is all I could find.

My first read of the series I thought she was 18 or 19. When I, well, found out by means of an intermediary I guess, that she was only 16 I couldn't help but think, "bad Perrin."
53. Craigval
There is a Chinese proverb that goes "there comes a time when emperors become beggars and only a begar can become an emperor"

300 against 9,000? That isn't as outrageous as it sounds. Think what the Spartans did--OK they had a little help with about 3,000 other Greeks who showed up. But even so, towards the end Leonidas made a night attack wih a select group of companions that got as far as into Darius's tent where one of the party stumbled over a bird cage in the pitch black. Also, Perrin would need to get his 300 into a place where he couldn't be flanked and couldn't be run down. Not impossible. Again reference Thermopyle.

I always figured that little set up with Demira and Bashere was at least some part hazing to see how tough Perrin was because the Saldera court was a tough crowd. Besides Faile ever since she had decided "Perrin was the One", several books back, she has been prepping Perrin for this meeting whether he knew it or not. This would include the spanking incident in the Ways that got Leigh all upset.
Brett Michie
55. bchurch
RE: Verin

I don't think Verin is culpable in Demira's attack. That being said, I wholeheartedly believe that she took advantage of the situation to further her own ends. As to her '70 year plan,' I think that is nothing more than to see the Prophecies of the Dragon fulfilled and to see that the Dark One is defeated in the Last Battle.

If you read between the lines, no other Aes Sedai is as well versed or as understanding of the Prophecies as is our sneaky little Verin. The examples abound. From 'five will ride forth' in tGH to her explanation of the Last Battle being imminent in KoD. Her question to Perrin about when he would give up the axe for the hammer in tSR is further proof. We don't find out the meaning of that until KoD.

I don't believe her to be of the Black Ajah. Sure she may have removed one or more of the oaths. Sure she is sneaky and manipulative. But I believe this is all to make sure that things happen as they should so that the Light will prevail. My strongest evidence for her not being a friend of the dark is from her brief pov during the cleansing of saidin in WH where she sees Graendal and thinks that she must be one of the Forsaken. Not Chosen.

Verin is one of my favorite characters, and I eagerly await reading and finding out more about her plans and how they will come about.
William Fettes
56. Wolfmage
bchurch @55

Couldn't agree more. Verin is awesome. I don't believe she does anything more than exploit the situation for her own ends. I also don't think she was in on Alanna's bonding either.
57. MasterAlThor
Well well well,

I thought that Deira was just pulling on Perrin's leg so to speak. But what she said about women not respecting men if they (women) are stronger has a bit of truth to it.

Before the objects start flying let me explain.

Ideally a relationship/marriage should be between equals. WOT has lots of religous parallels. This particular one being that men should be the head of their homes. Remember that the time setting is not current. So that may be the reason why people have mega problems with this.

Storytime. My aunt Elayne always told my girlfriends this little story. My uncle was the head of the house and she was the neck. Head can't do much without the neck can it? She was comfortable in her station knowing that without her the head had no way to turn.

I see why people have a big problem with men being head of families but I don't see Deira saying that women cannot "run the show". I am happily married to a strong willed woman. I happen to be pretty old school in some of my beliefs. We have a very well adjusted family and life. We work together and respect each others position in our marriage. Understand that is the most important part. I give her the love she requires (not talking sex) and she gives me the respect I require. That is how it works for us.

Maybe Deira's mistake was applying this train of thought to all marriages, but she was talking to Perrin not teaching school. I agree that Perrin married into a family of wackos, but we already knew that from Faile.

Ok, now if that still makes you want to hurl objects in my general direction....
58. Not signed in Razor
I find it interesting that the aes sedai was stabbed when in the process of seeking information about the seals, in fact she was prevented by the stabbing and waylaying of her informant. I guess murder was not necessary as, unlike Harid Fel, she was only doing research, rather than having the answer. My money is on Demandred through Taim. Did not Demandred control the golam at first.
Peter Nein
59. gimpols1908
Re: Verin

I am of the camp that Verin figures out what is going on and and sees a way to get the AS to line up with her plans, a'la Rand not being terrified.

I think all in all Verin is up for the light. But something happened 70 years prior. So what happend around 930... near as i could find...Kirin Melway raised to the Amyrlin Seat from the Brown Ajah in 922.

So 50 years before Rand was born.

Was she friends with someone with the foretelling?
60. peachy
I too had never considered Verin as a suspect; and after reflection, I just don't see it. I don't doubt that she's capable of doing something wholly drastic (she certainly crosses that line with the Compulsion-lite after DW), but I think she only plays against type to that degree when it's really necessary, and this situation doesn't seem to qualify. The Salidar crew are clueless enough that the attack merely simplified her job.

Taim remains the obvious suspect in my mind, either acting on his own account or at the orders of whatever Forsaken is pulling his strings at that moment; Fain spends a lot of time poisoning potential allies, but false-flag black ops again aren't his normal style.

I also don't see Verin as being Dark. If she is, it's as a free-lancer, rather than BA, and for basically the reason she implanted in Elza Penfell - she found something in the prophecies or elsewhere that convinced her that the DR has to get to TG for the DO to win in the proper manner.
61. Shadow_Jak
Just love this chapter.
And just love the reaction it gets!

Tell us true Leigh. Don't you spice up your outrage? Just a bit?
Just to see how much of a reaction you can get?

Either way, great fun. Thanks again, Leigh.

Just love this re-read!
And all the great comments, as always.

Great job Leigh!

("Just" saying...)
62. shaun1979
I find it amazing how many people completely over-analyze fiction. I dont know wether to pity them or call for the guys in white jackets.
63. shaun1979
Sorry Leigh meant to say that I am really enjoyng the re-reads. However you need to stay calm in these moments of headdesking, and remember it is a fictional nation, I'm sure no sane thinking person shares Saldean family values. :)
Jay Dauro
64. J.Dauro
Dreamwolf @23
Statutory rape is, where I'm coming from, only a issue when one of the partners doesn't have a interest in sex and that is most convincingly not a issue with Faile.

That's exactly what Statutory Rape is not. By definition, it means that one of the partners is below the legal age of consent. Therefore their consent is never valid. A 25 year old female teacher having a sexual relation with a 15 year old student, even with his consent, is illegal. Even if he makes the first move. (In most states, it depends on the Statute defining the age of consent. There is a reason that statute is the root of Statutory)


However, as we have seen, Faile is above the age of consent in the Two Rivers (defined by the Woman's Council.)
Alice Arneson
65. Wetlandernw
Wow. The chapter wasn't nearly as *headdesk* as the comments. But I have a splitting headache, so I don't think I'll bother trying to refute much, except that I must point out two things. One, in this setting, the idea of widespread laws defining an "age of consent" is pretty farfetched. That's an artifact of a litiginous society. (And for Faile's age, the WoTFAQ places her birth year as 984, or 6 years younger than Perrin. Read the entry to see why.) Two, I find it baffling to see readers arguing with the author over whether he did it right. It's his fictional world, and he can make societies, magics, artifacts and whatever work as he chooses. For an example, from the last thread someone kept saying they didn't believe the First Oath allowed sarcasm - in the face of an RJ quote saying it did - because they couldn't piece together the mechanics of how it could work. Similar willful blindness here, regarding Saldaean relationships, Aes Sedai heirarchical customs, the definition of "marriagable age" and so on. Talk about *headdesk*-worthiness...

jamesedjones if you're out there, in answer to your question on the last thread... During the time when I actually recorded the input, RobM didn't claim an Ajah. He seems to be claiming grey now, but I thought they were mediators rather than devil's advocates... I think we should just make sure his shawl gets properly bleached next time so he realizes it's white and that the grey was just from not paying attention to the laundry. :P
66. MasterAlThor
@62 & 63

No "sane" people. Au contraire mon frere. See above post for those of us who see this in real world relationships.

We are quite sane. (Must kill them all... Shut up you're dead.)

See quite sane.
67. Brad21088
Thanks for continuing to do such a great job summarizing these chapters! Summarizing is much, much harder than it sounds; I know from experience. So, I really do appreciate it. :-)

Also, I think I enjoy your commentary almost as much as the summary itself. I often find myself worried that my head's going to fall off from agreeing so much! That said, I would love to hear what you think about how Jordan portrays same-sex relationships in the WoT world. Obviously you'd have to wait for a chapter in which one occurs, but I don't think you've ever touched on this topic? I could be mistaken. Just a thought. ;-)
68. MasterAlThor
Hey Wetlandernw,

just a question. Did I answer the Ajah color thingy? If so, what color did I put down. I don't remember which if I did. You know old age and all.
69. Shadow_Jak
Show of hands please...
Men only...
If you only had two choices...

Would prefer to live in Saldaea?
or Far Madding?
Alice Arneson
70. Wetlandernw
Also jamesedjones @9 The only thing I'm wondering about now, is the Hawk. I'm still pretty sure it's Berelain. But I can't ask about it since my concern comes from the prologue. :(
Did you post a question or speculation on the prologue thread? I'm curious as to what you're thinking. I'm assuming that you meant the tGS prologue, anyway...
72. MasterAlThor
Puts hand up slowly...


I like spirited women/farmgirls
Rob Munnelly
73. RobMRobM
Wet - I'd have to check my posts way back when but I was pretty sure I had one and that it was Grey. Pretty darned sure in fact. White is too sterile and they invariably lack posswbs (person of the opposite sex sharing warder bonds) - I wouldn't like that. Rob
Rob Munnelly
74. RobMRobM
I wish they all could be Saldaean girls....
Athena Barnes
75. a_m_m_b
@ Freelancer 8. "Strong woman needs strong man to avoid trouble, this isn't totally invalid. Many wives of weak men are either continually frustrated, or constantly steamroll over him. Not happy stuff."

Dear god yes. Last marriage died over that very thing.
Russell Holley-Hurt
76. Ruslanchik

Saldaea. I like 'em feisty. ;)
77. jotto
I've had a nagging idea for a while that Verin was behind the attack on Demira.
78. Valan
@ Shadow Jak 69

Saldaea, I like peppers, but I think I'd like those farmgirls even more ;)
William Fettes
79. Wolfmage
Shadow_Jak @ 69

Saldaea obviously. Forward farmgirls, sa'sara, hot peppers. That's all good.

But I don't think it was the male side of the equation that was ever at issue. Aside from putting up with the crazy, Saldaea sounds ok for a man.
80. MasterAlThor
Actually Shadow_Jak, I think that you only proved that most men want strong women, and diiirrrttyyy farmgirls.
Alice Arneson
81. Wetlandernw
Master Al'Thor @68 - I don't think I recorded all the inputs; I just gave up after while because my spreadsheet was getting out of hand. While I was recording, though, I did not get an Ajah choice from you. Sorry...

Edit: RobM - you may have made a choice, but as noted, I didn't maintain that survey very well. If anyone cares enough, they'll have to go back and find it. (Hah! I dare you!!)
82. Lily of the Valley
Okay, so we got the guys' perspective. Which country would you rather live in, ladies? Far Madding or Saldaea?
j p
83. sps49

EDIT: um,final male vote.
Barry T
84. blindillusion
I'm still new to this whole thing so I don't know if this could considered rude, but I do enjoy throwing fuel on the fire to see how it burns.

I guess you could call this a gonzo theory (and one that's probably been thought of before).

Any way, I was doing some more research tonight and came across this:

"Is Cyndane's power roughly equal to, say... Moiraine?"

had a surprised look on his face for a moment, then it became amused, and he gave me a RAFO. His face indicated to me that I was absolutely right, but obviously it's not evidence.

Now, my, err, question, would be what are the odds that the Eelfinn released Lanfear/Cyndane with Moiraine's strength in the Power and Moiraine is waiting in Finnland with Lanfear's strength in the Power?

Eh, maybe I'm just tired.
*walks away muttering about sleep*
Alice Arneson
85. Wetlandernw
blindillusion @84 - As far as I know there's no evidence for it, but ever since it occurred to me, I've been hoping...!
john mullen
86. johntheirishmongol
If a guy chooses the Green, does he get girl Warder's? I would hate to try to explain that one to my wife. "but honey, she's just my warder!"

Saldaean girls do sound fun. Let me throw this out for arguments sake *I am totally ignoring the Perrin obsession and Faile jealousy for a second* and make their romance more like John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in The Quiet Man, because occasionally I do see elements of that.

As for the age of consent deal, it has changed considerably in the US in the past 100 years. Now 18 is the standard, but certainly in most of the country it used to be 15 to 16 and lower. Past centuries marraige was arrainged for political purposes as low as around 10 (though practical application waited until the girl reached puberty). Arguably, the greatest romance ever written was about 2 kids of 14 and 15, which is why they both end up committing suicide at the end. Shakespeare did know his stuff. I certainly can't get too hot and bothered about an age issue that's totally fictional anyway. I got much more of the ewww factor from GRRM, particularly since he is more graphic.

I have little doubt that the stabbing was orchestrated by Taim. While Verin has something going on, violence is not the path she would take. Creepy Verin shows up in the next book, in the prologue I believe.

We are now 19 days from TGS
Ian Horn
87. IanGH
Windrose @45- "Compulsion-lite"? Yeah, if compulsion-lite = manipulating the weak-willed morons around you. I don't think it required much of the power, though.

I suspect Verin was trying to provoke the SAS into doing something precipitate that would cause them to lose control of the situation, ultimately making them more dependent on Rand.

I'm in the camp that the attack on Demira was sent by Fain. The "witches" comment would seem to clue in a Whitecloak and the villainous eyes would be someone poisoned by Fain's Mystical Aura of Evil. What I'm not sure about is if he had enough Whitecloaks left to pull the stunt off.

@Leigh: I've been really enjoying the reread and your comments so I have to say, please, stop with the *headdesk* before you do yourself an injury. Of course, less *headdesk*ing would make your comments a lot less interesting so maybe I should just shut up. Just try to avoid a concussion.

Anyway, RJ has done a great job of coming up with every possible wierd (and disfunctional) way men and women can relate to each other so I personally can't get exercised over the bizarre Saldaean traditions.

For example, in WH (or CoT?), Egeanin comments to herself that it is acceptable for someone to sleep with her property so long as she doesn't flaunt it. That's rape, in my mind, since it's between an adult and her... property? How messed up is that? Props to RJ for his creativity, however disturbing it might be to those of us in the real world.
Hurin Smells
88. HurinSmells
@84, @85
I'm hoping this is resolved in tGS, but I believe it probably happened like this...

- Moiraine tackles Lanfear through the gateway while Lanfear is channelling

- Moiraine gets burnt out (loses the bond to Lan), Lanfear gets burnt out then killed (IMHO dying is the only way she could be rebooted as Cyndane)

- Because Lanfear was stilled before dying, Cyndane is unable to channel.

- At the time Cyndane was body snatched Damer had yet to discover the weave that fully restores a females channelling ability, there's only Nynaeve's weave which fully restores a man, but only partially restores a woman

- Ipso facto, Cyndane's channeling ability was restored with the only known weave to do so at the time, thereby reducing the amount of saidar she can channel from when she was Lanfear
Thomas Keith
89. insectoid
Still lurking.

blindillusion @84: Of course...this fits in nicely with her coming back as Moiraine the White!

EDIT: Obviously, I cannot count properly at midnight...
90. Insante
I really do not understand this entirely negative and blown out of proportion focus on the Saldaean relationships. Examples of relationships in WoT where the women dominate:
Aes Sedai totally dominate the Warders
Andor is ruled only by Queens.
Sea Folk the Wavemistress are the prime authority
Arad Doman - the women are the boss
Far Madding - the women dominate and are shocked that Min is so lenient with Rand.
Aiel - Wise Ones are basically the leaders of the people. Roofmistresses and Holdmistresses have complete authority into who is allowed into a home or Hold. They could split a sept by refusing the Chief
Ebou Dar - the woman are the only ones really allowed to initiate and control relationships.

Just a few examples of how strong and independent the woman are in WoT. So why are none of these examples listed in your analysis of how sexist RJ and the WoT is?? How are these any different from the Saldaean relationships? Why are the Saldaean relationships sexist while the ones mentioned above are not?

I think it important to realize that RJ put in a lot of extreme relationships into the story, as a fundamental part of the whole of WoT. The balance of the Wheel was disturbed by the breaking of the world and the extermination of the Male Aes Sedai and channelers.

The whole point of the story is that the greatest things are always achieved by MEN AND WOMEN working together. A vital aspect of the whole WoT is restoring the balance!
91. PhantomIce
Regarding reaction to Saldaean view of relationships, while Deira's wording seems a bit extreme I agree with various comments above in that a strong personality needs another strong personality or one or both will be very unhappy about that relationship in the long run.

As someone already noted above, Elyas summarizes the idea much better several books down the line when he says something like she needs to know you respect her strength.

This idea that both parties need to be able to dish out what the other takes is for me actually all about equality and respect in a relationship.

After all if a man does not respect a woman's strength enough to stand up to her when necessary (that standing up may be in public or private by shouting or by calmness, depends on the characters involved) the reverse of that coin is often not respecting the woman as a person and that usually leads to another *headdesk* issue for many on this thread which is the man needs to protect woman, put her away somewhere safe, make decisins for her, etc (Rand anyone?)
92. PhantomIce
Perhaps one problem many of us have with the relationships in Randland is not so much that men/women dominate, whatever the case may be but that well, honestly it's that most of the strong women who dominate some way or other are just so unlikeable (Deira not a favorite of mine she just comes across as bat crazy)

We, or at least maybe some of us, maybe blending our reaction to the character to the gender issues.

Though of course one could say the fact that so many strong women are so unlikeable is a gender issue in and of itself.

The men who are strong are largely well liked while many of the so called strong women (with the exception of the wise ones) are widely disliked.

Not sure where I'm going with this so I'll be going back to work now
93. Confutus
Regarding Faile and Perrin,
I've known several fairly aggressive personalities who push for as much as they can take and have no respect for pushovers. It's a common behavior among children, to push their parent's rules until they find a limit on what their parents will tolerate, and the very fact that there is a limit gives them something of sense of security in knowing what the boundaries are. (provided that the rules are consistent and not oppressively confining)
It's not limited to children, either: I've known adults with the same tendencies.
Faile's behavior with her mother showed the same pattern. Deira didn't think Faile was old or mature enough to marry until she showed she could return a slap. This made no sense to Perrin, but having known a man who bullied his children without mercy until they were old enough to effectively fight back and treated them with far more respect thereafter, it made perfect sense to me.
Early on, Faile tried pushing Perrin's limits. She started hitting him whenever he displeased her, until after two warnings, he administered the infamous spanking. It worked. She knew his tolerance for abuse had a limit, she hever hit him again, and it didn't drive her away.
She keeps pushing in other ways, and the fact that he pulls her up short from time to time doesn't seem to harm their relationship.
As Elyas observe later on, this pattern seems to be common in Saldaean culture. While I would certainly not recommend this as the general marital ideal, it does seem to work in this particular case.
94. Freelancer
From an earlier Faile viewpoint we know she is "of an age" with Ewin Finngar. Ewin is 14 at the start of the series. That is why her age is creepy if you think about it too much.

And maybe Faile overestimated Ewin...
"It was a bunch of Coplins, mainly," the third fellow said in a startlingly deep voice. "Darl and Hari and dag and Ewal. And Wit Congar. Daise gave him a fit over it."
"I heard they all liked the Whitecloaks." Perrin thought the bass-voiced fellow seemed familiar. He was younger than Elam and Dav by two or three years yet an inch taller, lean-faced but with wide shoulders.

Perrin himself sets Ewin's age wrongly by three to four years here, before realizing who it is. Ewin is actually nearly six years younger than Dav, Elam, and Perrin himself. It is even more likely that Faile misjudges Ewin as older than he really is. So there's no solid text that puts Faile at less than 18.

Regardless, I take any discussion of Faile being too young to marry right back to the arguments of my most recent comment, that both the Emond's Field Women's Circle, and Faile's own parents accept the marriage. While a case for the Bashere's being more than slightly odd can be made, they are still parents. And since their first reaction was that she was too young to marry, a stance from which they relented upon interviewing Faile and Perrin, they aren't without sensibilities in this regard. Even if they were, who would naysay the Women's Circle for determining if a girl is marriagable? I dare you.
Jennifer McBride
95. vegetathalas
I always thought that the black Ajah (Galina) were behind the attack on Demira. They push the Salidar Aes Sedai into doing something stupid, Rand runs to Cairhein, and then Galina's all ready with the sack. The timing's so fortuitous--Galina must have waited to mobilize her attack until after she'd convinced the titular leader of the Tower Aes Sedai's coalition that Rand was never going to go with them.

The 'witches' comment seems to me a red herring--anyone can tell their minions to use the word even if they happen to be a witch. Or it could be like Slayer--the minion hates Aes Sedai and likes attacking them, even though his actions are being orchestrated by the Aes Sedai. He could be lashing out at his employer subconsciously.

I don't think Verin compelled anyone in this scene. She's just got a forceful personality, Merana's a wet sock and Aes Sedai aren't used to people attacking them. Because they have spent the last while worrying about Rand, of course they would jump to the conclusion that he was the one behind it because--well, who else would dare attack/threaten Aes Sedai? Who else has shown anything but fawning cowardice around them? Lack of respect = attack in their minds. They're just translating the attack on their pride into a physical attack.

On the Saldaens--(woman speaking here)

Robert Jordan is merely exaggerating a thread I've seen in many relationships. While a lot of my female friends are ardent feminists, they also basically do whatever their boyfriend orders, even if its done with a nice face on it. There's a reason that a lot of girls get into relationships with jerks, I think, and that they subconsciously want someone who will order them around so they do not have to take responsibility for their own actions and because they love the idea of being a damsel in distress. Perhaps if they lived in Saldaea and openly acknowledged their trait, they'd be happier and healthier.

It's possible all my friends have messed-up relationships and what I've seen in the exception not the rule. I personally prefer men with a lot of self-confidence. If you can't argue with me, then you're forcing me to spend a lot of time being quiet because I'm afraid of intimidating you/hurting your feelings. Saldaens take that to the extreme, but I think I'd be happier living there than dealing with a husband who is like a lapdog, obedient and tame and incapable of rousing me enough to reconsider my own arguments. I bet the sex in Far Madding is dull, dull, dull.

In closing, psychos need love too :)
96. Freelancer

The WOTFAQ uses Faile's presumption to establish her supposed age, and I wholly disagree. There isn't another bit of evidence in the text regarding how old she really is.

Ewin is absolutely 14 years old at Winternight, meaning he was born in 984. That Faile supposes herself his age is why the FAQ puts her birth at 984 as well. But as argued @94 above, even Perrin guessed very wrongly about Ewin in TSR before realizing who he was. Guess wrong by three to four years. If Faile is wrong by only two years, then she is currently 17, close to 18.

There is no reference anywhere to a Two Rivers Women's Circle approving a girl to braid her hair before age 16, though they make some immature girls wait till as late as 20. Egwene first braids her hair at 17.
97. dmseoni
@ 92. PhantomIce

it's probably because of the tendency of many writers having a harder time portraying a strong female character. strong male characters are usually more subtle.
strong female characters are often portrayed as overly assertive, bordering on bossy/obnoxious. it's like they are trying too hard.
though in a world like Randland, with a clear female domination, i would have hoped this was more subtle. maybe this is for the benefit of modern readers; for them to take the character as seriously as is intended, maybe they need to overdo it.

i dunno, just a cursory analysis, with huge generalisations, i know. your thoughts?
98. PhantomIce
Somehow strong male characters come across as quietly dominant while the strong women characters come across as shrill and petulant.

Considering the complexity and vastness of the Randland universe I can't believe RJ was simply having trouble making the strength of women subtle and he seems to have been - to my mind at least - very successful in portraying strong women who are highly likable with the wise ones. So why not with the women of other races? Perhaps it's on purpose?

The Aiel seem to have the best balanced male/female dynamics of all the races that we see. And they also have coughed up some of the most overall well liked characters (though we don't get to know too many of them very well)

so two things to learn from that maybe? a) familiarity breeds contempt so the better we know a character the easier it is to dislike them? which is fairly realistic, I mean they give you more and more opportunities to find something you dislike about them.

b) as other people have mentioned in various parts of this reread, Randland is about balance so the most shrill, the least likeable female characters (of strength/position of power) are generally those whose power comes from a place of imbalance. That might explain one reason why the Red AS are some of the most universally hated AS among Randland readers - because as hunters of men who channel they are contributing the most to the lack of balance between male and female chanellers.
Maiane Bakroeva
99. Isilel
@88 HurinSmells:

Because Lanfear was stilled before dying, Cyndane is unable to channel.

But didn't RJ say that when souls of severed/burned out people are re-born they can channel again?
This speaks against the soul itself being affected, but rather that the conduit between the soul and the body gets damaged in some way. Which shouldn't play a role for transmigration anyway.

Not that I like Jordan's idea of souls being segregated in "channeling" and "non-channeling" forever.

As to Moiraine, IMHO she wasn't burned-out either, but rather that the melting of the door ter'angreal somehow snapped the bond.
What would the need to Heal her bring to the story at this point, except for unnecessarily dragging the things out?

@Master AlThor:

This particular one being that men should be the head of their homes. Remember that the time setting is not current.

Remember that that Randlanders have a completely different cultural and religious heritage than RL. Like, for 2 Ages (!) men weren't supposed to be superior specimens of humanity and divinely charged to rule over women.

That's why their inability to positively deal with women being leaders in personal relationships or wives being more powerful/important public figures than themselves seems so totally out of place.

Sure, there is give-and-take in any successful relationship, but some people are clear leaders and some are followers. And it isn't true that 2 leaders would be always happy with each other ;) or able to work together constructively in a non-romantic partnership. Ditto followers.

This doesn't mean that the follower half has to be a doormat - on the contrary, they have to be a sounding board, voice of caution/conscience and a balance to the leader. That's why most great personalities needed great seconds.

Unfortunately, iRL there is a lot of negativity re:men not being in a leadership role, whever they are better suited to it or not. Hence the perceived need for strong/successful women to "make oneself smaller", etc.

Re: AS and warders, we have seen many examples, one in this very chapter (Demira and her Stevan) that warders being obedient/subservient is a face that they show to the world, while in truth many warders have a lot of say in the relationship. We have seen it with Lan and Moiraine too, of course, and will later see it with Beonin and her warder as well. Even Verin has to dance around her warder a lot, to avoid his opposition to her plans, one presumes.

In almost every example where we see a non-Black AS POV, it is revealed that their relationships with warders are full of checks and balances.

Which is why this whole AS seldom marrying stuff seems like RJ's prejudice speaking ;), as from his own descriptions a lot of bondings work as decent marriages in all but name anyway.

Oh, and I didn't have the feeling that Ituralde had to sneak behind his wive's back like Faile feels she has to do behind Perrin's. Saldean way seems to only foster dishonesty and hipocrisy, IMHO.
100. peachy
Something to consider when it comes to the concerns of Bashere & Bashere over the marriage - Faile is the heir of the most prominent noble family in Saldaea, and second in line of succession to the throne (until such time as her cousin produces an heir of her body.) The abilities and background of her consort are therefore a matter of great importance to the family, and potentially to the nation. In their place I would have been pretty vexed if I had heard that she'd just hauled off and shacked up with some random dude she met on her travels... and Bashere & Bashere do vexed like nobody else. Perrin was fortunate to escape the grilling only medium-rare.
James Jones
101. jamesedjones
84 blindillusion
"Is Cyndane's power roughly equal to, say... Moiraine?"

Oooo... Nice looney theory there. I also like the way you worded it. You left it for RJ to decide if you were asking about Moiraine's known strength from the earlier books or her current strength in Finnland. I'm thinking that's what caused his reaction.

88 HurinSmells
Moiraine gets burnt out (loses the bond to Lan), Lanfear gets burnt out then killed (IMHO dying is the only way she could be rebooted as Cyndane)

Interesting idea, but we still have no evidence that Burning Out can be healed. And the experience involving Setalle Anan with the adam - when compared to Suian and Leanne with the adam while they were Stilled - indicates that there is possibly a difference with the conditions. I'm hoping that she can be healed, but I can't think of any examples right now of someone who was Burned Out being healed. Anyone?

97 dmseoni
strong female characters are often portrayed as overly assertive, bordering on bossy/obnoxious. it's like they are trying too hard.

Strongest female character in the books - and definitely the awesomest - has to be Verin IMHO. No trying too hard whatsoever on her part. I believe the other female characters are such caricatures in order to avoid comparison with Verin. :P
102. peachy
@99 - I think the principal reason AS don't marry is that a husband is fairly superfluous if you have a Warder. Greens are the exception - ah, those sensible, bloodthirsty Greens - but they appear to mostly marry their own Warders... sometimes three or four at a time. (Hi, Myrelle!)
Mitchell Swan
103. mcswan
now I need a hug and a cookie, because I am sad when people are stupid

This is now one of my favorite sayings. I shall be using this.
104. tearl
HurinSmells@46 and jamesedjones@54 re "Ravens"

"Ravens" is the pre-Prologue added to From the Two Rivers, the first part of a two part publication of TEOTW intended to entice younger readers. See this exerpt from the WOTFAQ.

Now for commentary, it was sadly instructive to read "Ravens" before starting my reread. TEOTW is a masterpiece of how to introduce a long complicated narrative. Among the first several chapters (with the benefit of fore knowledge of having read the rest of the books), there's hardly a sentence that doesn't add something constructive to the story. In "Ravens", one struggles to find any new constructive fact. I found it illustrative of Jordan's writing in the latter books.
105. PhantomIce
Despite some private moments we see between AS and their Warders I'm not too sure that as a general rule the relationship is not that much beyond a noble and their valued servant (possibly leftover from childhood and thus with privilges normal servants might not have).

Notice how Eggs and Elayne later comment about how they have to let their servants have a say in certain things, how much they eat, what they wear, etc or how the servant can make their life miserable... I think most AS (not Mor and Lan of course) kind of view their Warders that way, glorified servant/bodyguard with AS always knowing best.
Maiane Bakroeva
106. Isilel
Peachy @102:

What I don't understand is why most AS don't marry their warders. And, according to RJ, even seldom have romantic relationships with their warders unless they are Green - which seems frankly unbelievable to me, given the intimacy of the bond and the fact that either partner is prevented from pursuing a meaningful romantic relationship elsewhere.
IMHO, this notion was RJ's dominance hangup speaking ;).


I don't like the Aiel WOs. They seem to have serious cultural blinders and are unwilling to learn/to adapt their preconceptions. Also, they are not openly in charge, but rather gray eminences, so the comparison is not entirely valid.

And Jordan didn't portray male-predominantly/only organizations like armies as dysfunctional or in need of balance. The Band is a little male paradise, for instance ;).

To be fair, though, he also didn't show male characters needing to build-up/struggle for their leadership. They were usually just thrust into it by tav'erenness, like the TR trio or already in position of unquestioned fame and/or leadership, like Bashere, Rhuarc, Bryne, etc.

But yes, IMHO Jordan had some problems with portrayal of female leadrship, particularly since he also liked to mix "damsel in distress" situations into story arcs of relevant characters. Yes, shrill, bossy, etc. No quiet, relaxed strength to be seen anywhere. Well, Moiraine from time to time, perhaps.
But then, nobody is perfect.
107. MasterAlThor

I am not sure if you are taking exception with my statement or you are expounding on it. Sorry not really awake yet.

What I was trying to say was that Randland is set in a diff time period that RL. I was trying to explain why others may have an issue with the Saldaean's outlook on marriage.

Again I wasn't sure what you were doing. Kids wake up too early.
Joseph Blaidd
108. SteelBlaidd
In all the discussion of Saldean marital coustoms I think everyone is missing one of the most important statements in the whole chapter,namely Davram Bashire's "just because a woman believes something, it doesn’t mean the thing is true." Notice he says this just before going into the room with his wife and daughter. Bashire has shown himself to be one of the most aware and self-aware and he is warning Perrin that he needs to be just a bit skeptical of the behavioral advice that his wife is about to give.
Additionally, explaining how a relationship works from the inside can be very difficult. I know this from the personal experience of trying to explain how my family works to my wife. Her family is, Carhinen on her dads side and a little Saldean on her moms. We haven't quite figured out what my family is yet. :)
109. PhantomIce
I would say Whitecloaks are a pretty good example nasty all male organization.

love the band, great collection of rogues!

many of the armies we see, esp. Seanchean which is the most organized army, are not all male so I'm not sure that example applies.
110. PhantomIce
also re other armies such as Byrne's or Andoran Houses... while general implication is that they are armies of men nothing really in the texts to imply that women are completely prohibited from joining.

Consequently AS: men can't join they go crazy when they channel and

Whitecloaks: women can't join what if they channel that would make them witches/of the dark

are good examples of absolutes vis a vis men/women relationships that are out of balance.
111. alreadymadwithmosstrength
I'd agree with PhantomIce regarding the Warder bond.

Re: Moiraine's strength
With an angreal Mo was strong enough to shield Balthamel for a few moments. Unaided she isn't as strong as any of the Girls. Cyndane for her part, despite being a reduced version of Lanfear, is still stronger than Graendal and still the strongest of the Femsaken.
112. Lsana
@104 tearl,

I have to agree with you re: "Ravens." In addition to everything you said, what I really disliked about it was the fact that it ruined the whole setup of legends in the early books of WOT. One of the most interesting parts of the early books was that they established right away that this is not a "All Myths are True" book; the legends mostly have a grain of truth to them, but they are hugely distorted by time and distance. The tale that Tam told in "Ravens," however, was pretty much the story of Lews Therin exactly as it happened. In addition to ruining the coolness of "how much of this story might be true," it also contradicts later parts where it's obvious the TR folk know nothing of what the real Dragon was like.
113. dmseoni
@ 98. PhantomIce

what about the Seanchan? i can't seem to remember right, but aren't their gender relations pretty well balanced? having female slave channelers does not count.

@ 101. jamesedjones

oh i totally agree about Verin. has been one of my favourite Aes Sedai. i really, really hope she doesn't turn out being overly negative. :D
114. Ishmayl
I think #7 has it right (with slight approval to #8's comments as well). That's all I really wanted to say about the machoism vs feminism thing Leigh likes to harp on.

One of my favorite chapters in the entire series, not as an "Awesome, did you see that SHIT?!?" chapter, but a "Damn, Jordan knows how to match a plot to a title," chapter. Good stuff.
Jeff Weston
115. JWezy
A couple of little things:

1) I recall reading this the first time and thinking "Aiel never call him the Dragon Reborn, that is a wetlander thing. They call him He Who Comes With The Dawn.". Squat, black eyes, whatever, the name tipped me off. I always thought it was someone trying to make sure that no deal was struck, so it was someone who was working for KAOS, and therefore was most likely Taim.

I can't recall where Fain* is at this point, he was certainly in Caemlyn earlier in the book, but he shows up in Tar Valon next, right? In any event, it doesn't sound like his MO - he warns people off by offing them. Also, there is no reason to think that the Aes Sedai were a threat to Rand, and therefore they were no threat to Fain's need to kill him.

2) On Relationships, depictions of in WOT: I think we should all be past the notion that a work of fiction should be our guide to how to treat other people. Perhaps it will help all your desks if you think of the WOT relationship-space as a smorgasbord of the different ways people screw up relationships.

* If Taim is supposed to be pronounced "Tah-eem", is Fain pronounced "Fah-een"?!?

It always seemed like RJ did a little pronunciation retconning. After all, if Tear is supposed to be pronounced "Teer", why are the residents therefrom called "Tairens"? Should we pronounce that "Tah-eerens"? Why not "Teerens"? Clearly, we were initially supposed to pronounce it "Tare" for both the city and the residents, but something happened.

Hmmm... Why do little things turn into big posts?
Jane Smyth
116. Kaboom
Jamesedjones @101

about healing a channeler burnout. Here are my thoughts. In Nyn healing of Logain (and later the women) she described a feeling of a cut, well aligned that she only had to bridge to heal. This I interpret as the result of the gentling/stilling in which the conduit (as someone else put it) is cleaved.

I imagine that in the context of a burnout, this cleavage is not a clean cut but probably an irregular breakage, with perhaps parts of the conduit missing leaving a larger gap.

So whether or not a burnout can be healed probably is a case by case thing depending in the amount of damage that was done.

96. Freelancer
Egwene first braids her hair at 17.

I think that was 16.
Noneo Yourbusiness
117. Longtimefan
About the Two Rivers braiding tradition. Is Bela old enough to braid her mane? Was she just a young filly caught up in a wirlwind adventure or a mature mare who chose to remain unbraided and unbridled?

I suppose if Bela is the Creator as some theories postulate then she has past the age of braiding and then some.
118. alreadymadwithtamsstory
Lsana @112
On the one hand it's pretty awesome to think that Tam's account of the Dragon and his strike on Shayol Ghul is pretty accurate. It also establishes Tam's status as well-read/well-travelled compared to his peers. The fact that people still consider the Dragon a bad omen I attribute to Wisdoms threatening to switch anyone who tries to discuss it outside of Tam's storytelling. Oh and there's the bit about the Breaking as well, which pretty much happened post-Strike. On the whole, it's not necessarily a contradiction.
Barry T
119. blindillusion
@ 101

I'd just like to say that I'm not the one that proposed that comment to Mr. Jordan. Sadly, I never had the chance to meet him as not many authors go to Mississippi to sign books and I never heard of him going to any of the place I was stationed while he was alive. (I am hoping to make the Charleston signing with Mr. Sanderson and Mrs. Jordan.)

But when I read the above question to Mr. Jordan I just wondered if that's where he's going with that theme. That Lanfear messed up in leaving Finnland and had her powers swapped with Moiraine.

I don't really have any thoughts on why Lanfear reieved a new body upon leaving Finnland...I've never really given it much thought. I always just thought of it as "just deserts". Girl got what she deserved if you ask me.
120. peachy
The AS is of course always the very senior partner (though Birgitte does tell the story of the foolish Accepted who took a Warder before raising and ended up being assigned - after her prolonged penance - a grizzled hardass who was at least an equal); but that would be the case with a non-Warder husband in almost every case, too. And the bond is always described as being extraordinarily intimate, which is perhaps one reason that a forced bonding is considered akin to rape.

It's also worth noting that, with one exception, we never see a Warder with a wife who isn't his AS either - and that one exception is a temporary arrangement. That doesn't mean Warder-wives don't exist, of course, but it does seem as if, for both the AS and Warder, the other is the predominant "relationship" in their lives.
Joseph Blaidd
121. SteelBlaidd
dmseoni@97 & PhantomIce@92
another important thing to remember is that the same action taken by a woman and a man can have different interpretations on the READERS end. Consider for example the general reaction to Mats contention that The SGs should not be let out without minders and their general opinion that HE needs some one to keep him out of trouble and Rand needs guidance. Its the same sentiment for much the same reasons in both directions.

Regarding why more Aes Sedai aren't married to their Warders, I've always felt that the "few men can handle have a wife so much more powerful" is a rationalization of their own discomfort with what would be the necessary increased compromise in decision making. After all there are plenty of Prince Consorts that seem to do just fine in their subordinate roles.

One of the reasons for the shift in the relationship for As with Ash'aman Warders is that they can't Compel obedience so they have to negotiate more especially as their new partners can choose to overpower them if they choose. The heavy duty compulsion on the A->AS bond shows up one of the other aspects of the usual M-F relationship. That the deliberate choice not to compel intimacy is part of the respect of husband to wife.
122. Sean O'Hara
If Ewin was 14 on Winters Night in TEotW, that means Faile is at least 15 by the time she meets Perrin -- but "same age" isn't an exact figure. She could very well be 16 by that point. And shocking though this may be to closed-minded Americans, in most of the civilized world (including large parts of the United States) it's perfectly legal for a 16 year old girl to have a 19 year old boyfriend or even a husband. They can even drink wine at their wedding reception.
123. Lsana
@122 Sean O'Hara,

The point isn't whether or not there are places in the real world where it would be just fine for Faile to marry. The point is that it isn't fine in Saldaea. We aren't judging Faile by the standards of 21st century America; we are judging her by the standards of her own culture.
Galen Brinn
124. GatheringStorm
All the FAILe (TM) comments are giving me a headache. The discussions on her age have been going on since the TDR re-read and we still haven't settled how old she is/was, apparently ;)

As far as we should all be concerned, her parents acquiesced to the marriage, so all's fine and dandy there. I don't really care how old she is. All I know is that Faile (TM) is one of my least favorite characters and the less seen of her, the better.
April Vrugtman
125. dwndrgn
My 2
However, it is his explanation for few AS marrying given in TEoTW and TGH - that very few men could tolerate a wife, who is much more important/powerful than themselves and would "dim them by her radiance". Sigh.

I have always been under the impression is this is the way it is perceived by Aes Sedai (since they aren't exactly shrinking violets), not the men who might be interested in them.

And there is a highly dubious insinuation of Gabrelle and some of the other force-bonded AS falling for their captors exactly because of finally being the weaker in relationship (if it can be accorded the term) with a man, ditto.

I felt that this was much more of a Stockholm Syndrome type thing instead of relief at no longer 'wearing the pants'.
James Jones
126. jamesedjones
123 Lsana

Sorry, Saldean standards don't make me go "ick" whenever I think about Faile's age. It's definitely my own.
Helen Peters
127. Helen
Craigval @53, ha! you did the same I've been doing all the way through, and as no-one else has noticed (or were too polite to point out) I reckon there's a fair few of us. How could RJ have put Demira and Deira in the same chapter and expected us to tell them apart.

Re: the hawk = Berelain. Yes, it's her personal sigil, I've always assumed it was her, but if there's something in the prologue that refutes this I think there'll be letters to Mr Sanderson...

Hurin smells @88 and Isilel @99 The bond between Mo and Lan didn't break or snap as she went trhough the doorway, we're in her POV at the time and she 'puts him out of her mind' i.e. finishes the transfer of the bond to Myrelle so he doesn't get hurt.

Perrin and Bashere: I thought it was great the way Perrin was winging it talking to Bashere, really unsure of himself talking to his missus' dad, but still managed to say exactly the right thing (OK I know it's not real life but...)

Re: the attack on Demira (did I get that right?) I always assumed it was Fain, squat, black eyes etc. But now I'm not so sure. Reading the quote from Leigh, whenever Fain has been mentioned before so has his nose. Demira didn're mention anything resembling a huge nose, from previous comments I've always assumed it's come round the corner 10 mintues before him....cough...choke....oath rod..prohibits...exaggeration.....choke....
Jason Deshaies
128. darxbane
One more point to that. Let's carefully remember Davram's comments here. He tells Perrin that Faile is not old enough to marry "without her mother's permission". Not her father's, not Saldeaen law, but her mother's permission. That is the only "crime" in this. This became null the moment Deira OK'd the marriage.

However, contrary to Storm and many others, I think Faile is awesome, if a little immature at times.

I find the Saldeaen hate particularly ironic from those who hate Rand's attempt to protect women, which is akin to controlling them in many eyes. Saldeaen men, on the other hand, seem to not even consider that type of control, no matter what Deira says. Please take a second to notice that Deira gave in to Davram putting his foot down because she already agreed with him, and was trying to make a point. I just got through ACOS a few days ago, and Rand has to demand "no women" to Bashere when they attack Illian. Deira had her belt knife on and everything. So, we once again should put the actions of the characters above what is said by the characters. Another example from Saldeaea; while the men are the primary fighters, the women run the intelligence operations, which can be as dangerous as open fighting. Faile is no different from the SG's or Birgitte when it comes to not wanting a man, or anyone else, to keep her safe "for her own good". At least Perrin has a decent excuse(he did lose 18 members of his family at once, after all. You would hold on a little too tightly as well. All of you would).
Daniel Cole
129. zaldar
So I am very much a guy and very much had bad experiences with femminism aka dating femminists who believed women were superior to men (and oddly enough the relationship ended up being like what is described here...I wonder if that was intentional is faile supposed to be an example of a feminazi..) but even I had the same response as you on first reading this section. Yes Perrin you have married into a family of utter nutjobs...please please PLEASE run now.

Of courese since she is hot as hell and rather forward in the sexual department he won't sigh. Its not worth it man!

Still looking for my equal relationship myself..had to leave one women recently because it became very obvious she wanted me to take care of her...sorry not looking for a child, but a wife.
Ron Garrison
130. Man-0-Manetheran
Verin: Definitely one of the great puzzles of the books. I think bchurch is on the right track, tho'. The only thing I'm sure about is Verin is loyal to Verin.

Re. Faile's age and statutory rape and all that. There is a great graphic on Wikipedia showing the age of consent around the world:
There are quite a few countries where it is 15 and under. Look at France, Eastern Europe...
Jason Deshaies
131. darxbane
Does Faile really come off as wanting to be superior? It seems to me that she simply expects equal treatment. Hell, in KoD, we learn from Perrin's POV that he is REQIRED to check out Sevanna. How many women do you know that have that expectation? Oh, one more thing; you won't date feminists, yet you ended your last relationship because she wanted you to take care of her? You're running out of options, dude! ;)
Tasneem Gould
132. Latecomer
131 - darxbane - Agree. From memory, her greatest source of anger and jealousy with Perrin is that he tries to shield her, keep her out of harm's way and talks to her quite timidly when she is angry.
Her expectations are that a husband respect her strength and trust her to hold her own, be it in battle or an argument. His behavious is disrespecting her.

On the other hand, he treats Berelain like he would just another man - he expects her to carry out orders, shows no special consideration for her 'womanliness' and is very firm with her when unhappy. This is how Faile expects her husband to treat her i.e. as a strong and capable person, not just a beloved milksop of a wife.

To put it in today's chivalry terms, think how a wife would feel if her husband rushed to open a car door for someone else but allowed the wife to open her own door (totally reverse to Saldean cultures, BTW)
Tasneem Gould
133. Latecomer
Also, its funny how Leigh took such a dim view of the "men must prove they are strong to their wifes" portion of Deira's speil. I would have thought she would have been all for it!

Sure, Deira was exaggerating, but the general idea is sound i.e. both parties must be equally strong, and know their own and their partners limits.

We're not hens that establish a pecking order as soon as we meet and that sets a heirarchy for life. Particulary in a long standing relationship, as circusmtances and situations change, the balance of power also shifts in the relationships. That's why its so imprtant to have 2 people closely matched in strength as possible.

Yep, personal experiences here as well!
134. alreadymadwithstrongwomen
You do realize that Deira practically bragged about being spanked by Davram.
Sydo Zandstra
135. Fiddler
Note: I'm catching up slowly, so if anybody already said this, sorry for repeating it. I have to quit reading now though, so I'll make a short post.

About Merana being set aside, first by Verin and then by Bera and Kiruna:

I saw some talk about how AS hierarchy shifts, even when Merana was appointed as Negotiation Team Leader, leaving her clueless in the end.

But If I recall correctly, Merana and compatriots were sent out towards Caemlyn before Salidar had installed Egwene as Amyrlin. Therefore, Merana's authority has no real legal back up.

Which makes it easier for Sisters like Verin, Bera and Kiruna to take over due to them being stronger in the Power. Especially since Merana is Gray, and therefore has an instinct for legalities. Basically, she has nothing to fall back on, when claiming Leadership, and the other AS know it.

I'll catch up with the rest tomorrow :)
Deborah Kay-Morgan
136. moondivatx
Did somebody say "SPANK" ;-)

The attack??? Everybody knows it was Bela!!
137. alreadymadwithmadbasheres
Deira => SPANKED and PROUD of it!
William Fettes
138. Wolfmage
alreadymadwithstrongwomen @ 134

"You do realize that Deira practically bragged about being spanked by Davram."

Yes, that's clearly the subtext which generates the unease. I'm pretty sure the big deal brigade isn't picking up on that, because the dicta about being equally powerful and not pulling your spousal punches is entirely innocuous and nobody is protesting it. Quite simply, it's the strong implication that Saldaean culture manifests such an expectation of 'equality' through their women being happy to be psychologically and physically manhandled when it's deemed appropriate that is causing some titter.

The argument that Deira only suggests this to prove a point is only somewhat relevant. She boasts about it and clearly there is actual reality to it. Perrin's spanking of Faile is obviously just one of the many allegorical moments put into the narrative which give it some foundation.


I'm just going to ignore all the generalisations made about feminism and women in this thread.


As far as women being leaders who aren't shrill and annoying, I'd respectfully suggest Moiraine, Verin, Amys, Tylin, Tuon, and Tylee at least. Berelain has her moments too, but she takes so many hits for the whole chasing Perrin thing, that it's hard to commend her. Pre-Rahvin Morgase is arguably a decent exemplar too. So it may not be a perfect, but I don't think the book is completely unbalanced. The problem is more that the series contains so many examples of women exercising power poorly or being graceless scolds and harridans that it can feel like the men are portrayed as more natural leaders.
Jay Dauro
139. J.Dauro
Helen @127

IIRC we are told later that for a living AS to pass the bond, physical presence of both AS and the warder is required. So Moiraine would not be able to pass the bond at this time.

He twitched, perhaps trying to find strength to rise, perhaps dying. She forced him out of her mind. He had saved her life so many times that by rights it should have belonged to him, but she had long since done what she could to see that he survived his lone war with the Shadow. Now he must live or die without her.

I see this as she has done what she can so that the bond will pass when she dies. She discovers that it also snaps when she is removed from this plane of existence. But all she does here is force herself to stop worrying about him, because she has already done what she can. It is a phrase that is often used in writing, and I believe it means here the same as when it is used in standard fiction.
William Fettes
140. Wolfmage
J.Dauro @ 139

Yep, she pre-prepares the bond to transfer when it breaks, she doesn't let go of the bond then. Exactly how it breaks is unknown. It could snap for a number of conceivable reasons.

It could be because the inter-dimensional doorway is destroyed and it can't link them any longer. But then, a possible counter to this is that it could arguably survive by attenuating through the Tower of Ghenjei or the still-operational doorway in Tear. As we know that Lanfear was held by both the Aelfinn and Eelfinn, so they're in the same dimension.

Otherwise, the bond would be broken only through death or stilling, and we know it is not death. Stilling seems to fit with Lanfear's reduced strength, but it might not fit with the Moiraine the White prediction I favour - that she gets Lanfear's strength. So who knows. It's not clear we have enough evidence to say anything with much confidence.
paul Hend
141. tugthis
It is in chapters like these that i wish Leih wold revert to the pattern of the first book. Contrary to what Leigh says, while the chapter is long, it is not very important in terms of advancing the plot. This should definately not have been a one chapter post.

That said I will not begrudge leigh her rightous anger, although it is misplaced. I wonder if she expects every fantastic culture to adhere to the late 20th century post feminist views of relationships and marriages. To think so is as ridiculous as earlier indignation at the idea of arranged marriage. It works for some people, some cultures, and has for thousands of years. Not to be scoffed at by the Oprah generation.

The only question I really had in this chapter concerns Min's visions. What the crap is she seeing and why is she so inarticualat in describing it. Early visions made me think of still pictures or images, later ones seemed to have the the qualities of motion-- the fireflies and darkness business. But the last ones with Perrin having to be present or something bad may happen in a series of times (2 out of 3 times something bad may be avoided?) implies to me an entire small movie is going on about Rands head. If it has all those qualities, and is on perpetual loop, why the heck can't she figure it out.... esp as it seems to have some life or death consequences for her lover.
William Fettes
142. Wolfmage
tugthis @ 141

"I wonder if she expects every fantastic culture to adhere to the late 20th century post feminist views of relationships and marriages."

Of course not, that's absurd. She's just voicing her opinion of certain cultures and conventions found in the series. Why would you think her frustrations were the equivilent of claiming they are out of bounds and ought to be removed from the book?

Her criticisms can perhaps be a tad emphatic at times, but they're mostly hilarious and thoughtful, and we're all engaged with the text to a like-unhealthy degree in one sense, or we probably wouldn't be here. Such style and commentary is entirely her choice. We are free to go elsewhere, or give it a rest, if we find it too much.

And it's not like RJ presents a completely anti-perfectionist and neutral take on all cultures in Randland. Of course, he is fairly even-handed. But some cultures are obviously portrayed in a more flattering and normalised light than others - through their comparative flourishing, cool quotient moments, and leadership. Plus, there is plenty of meta commentary in the books in the form of allegories and dialogue, (notwithstanding that it cuts both ways), which is suggestive of RJ's take on certain matters if you read between the lines. Such nuances provide many valid hooks for a more pointed discussion of the kind offered by Leigh.

"Not to be scoffed at by the Oprah generation."

Um, who are you exactly to say Leigh cannot offer her gut reactions and analysis, and to dismiss her feminism as superficial celebrity moral affectations?

You suggest that the application of modern moral sentiment to fantasy is problematic. Well I find your suggestion of moral relativism equally ridiculous. This isn't ancient history; it's a bloody piece of fiction which is highly cosmopolitan, and we read it for entertainment. Why would we be required to leave our moral intuitions, principles and conceptions of virtue at the door any more than we would when watching a TV show or a sitcom which has a fantastic setting?

Moreover, I seriously doubt you are advocating such detachment with any consistency. Maybe you can prove me wrong, but I doubt you have any reservations about the more universal distaste for the Seanchan's institutionalised use of slavery. So, at best this is probably selective moral relativism, used to snark at moralising commentary you don't personally share.
143. Freelancer

Egwene is born in 981NE. The events of Winternight at the beginning of TEotW occur in 998NE, and that's when she first braids her hair. 17.
144. alreadymadwithlesslanfear
Stilling does not quite fit with Lanfear's reduced strength. In the two other examples we have of stilled women being improperly Healed, Siuan and Leane are less than half of their previous strength. If Cyndane's less than half is still stronger than Graendal, then even Mo's sacrifice could not have saved Rand and the girls at the docks that morning.
Hurin Smells
145. HurinSmells
Latecomer@132, Wolfmage@138...

I agree with pretty much everything you've written RE: Faile/Saldeans here.

Perrin only usually detects the hurt/jealousy smell from Faile when it's obvious Berelain's flirting is affecting him, or if he starts apologizing for the way Berelain is acting. The flirting itself is not Faile's major issue.

Also IIRC there's a Faile POV where she's worrying about treading on eggshells with Perrin because she couldn't bear it if he started apologizing to her. I don't know about anyone else, but I couldn't stand it if I knew my wife was constantly having to edit her natural respose to a given situation just to keep me happy. Perrin gets a bit of an advantage over me on this one though, with being able to smell his wifes emotions.

A husband and wife should be able to be the people they are around each other without worrying about offending each other. If you can't accept your partner as they are, then perhaps they shouldn't be your partner.
Hurin Smells
146. HurinSmells
Perhap Siuans and Leanes "less than half" is because the Healing reduced their level of saidar by a fixed amount, rather than a percentage. Therefore the same fixed amount reduction of Lanfears ability may be the equivalent of a far smaller percentage of her original ability?

It's a bit of a long shot, still it could happen.
paul Hend
147. tugthis

Are you Leigh's attorney? I am not suggesting that she is wrong, or not entitled to her opinions. I do not think her opinions are in the book, and I do not that I am referring to only her or her singular opinion. My suggestion is that her objections to the lives of characters in the book are too personal to be widely interesting.

I am not suggesting that it is too much, or that it should stop, or that all readers have to agree, or we should stop reading this blog. The series binds us together in fandom --- that does not make us all syncophants.

In many ways i could care less about RJ or Harriet, their intents and loves and biases and causes are irrelvant outside of the literature. Of course the books are an allagory-- it is after all story of light triumphing over evil. The quality of the story is it's compexity, and its moral relativism. . Different cultures can be successful and good in many different way. Liberal democracy and individualism. life liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not the end of line in human social evolution. the wheel turns. . .

I am not suggesting that applying modern moral sentiment is problematic in looking at literature, I am suggesting that it is pointless. Your visceral reaction to the imagined situation was the reason for the invention. It causes the conflict and the interest that drives the plot. Being mad at Faile because she is Saldean is like being mad at Thomas Jefferson because he was an American. . . or at Holden Caulfield because he is spoiled brat. The argument is not worth having, because the characters, real and imagined, need to be that way.

"This isn't ancient history; it's a bloody piece of fiction which is highly and unrealistically cosmopolitan, and we read it for entertainment." I hope we read it for edification as well or this whole thing is a huge circle jerk. I agree that the world is unrealistically cosmopolitan, who can realistically imagine and populate an entire world. i would hope that our criticism of it is not too provincial.

The Seanchan institutionalized use of slavery is an excellent example of having to bring real world concerns to a fictional setting. Can a Good man (Rand) work with evil to create a greater good? is that contact corrosive to the good or to the evil partner in the alliance? It is not hard to see current political parallels in that situation. I don't know the answer but it is enlightening to look at the precedents.

And. . . "Um, who are you exactly to say Leigh cannot offer her gut reactions and to dismiss her feminism as superficial celebrity moral affectations?" um, i am like her, and you, and other readers here, a fan of series of books. No more no less, and I guess. . .equal.
148. alreadymadwithlesstrength
You're still talking about a lot of original strength if Lanfear's currently reduced ability is still the strongest among the Femsaken. If she's still this strong after being reduced, there's no way in hell Mo could have surprised her at the docks.
149. Freelancer

No issue with any of your response there, except this tiny bit:
The quality of the story is it's compexity, and its moral relativism.

You have a different definition of relativism than most, if you believe this story an example of such. The firmly-founded moralities are almost universal. They aren't consistent from one societal group to the next, but they are concrete, not relative.

In a truly relativistic setting, Davram Bashere would have no standing to tell Perrin he couldn't have Faile. Then again, in a truly relativistic setting, a homeowner has no business telling a burglar to leave, or to threaten him with harm. After all, if that burglar believes he deserves those possessions more than the owner, his opinion has relative standing. He wouldn't be there if he didn't believe he needed those things.

If this were a saga of relativism, you'd never have heard from me, because I wouldn't have put up with more than one volume of that trash. While I agree with your purpose in answering as you have, I would direct your thoughts to how clearly and plainly rules and standards of behavior are set out in each heirarchial grouping. Why does Nynaeve thump folks with a stick in Emond's Field? Why do they not beat her down for it? Because there are jointly agreed upon standards which tacitly give her that authority.
Far Madding: Clear cut, though imbalanced toward women.
Borderlands: Clear cut.
Tear: Clear cut, and badly imbalanced toward nobles.

I'll leave it at that. Otherwise, good post. ;-)
150. Freelancer

Ahh, someone who understands the math behind the idea that lowering tax rates increases revenue through enhanced liquidity.
151. Freelancer
So has anyone directly posited the loony theory that a burned-out Lanfear used a wish with the Eelfinn to swap channeling ability with Moiraine? I see the idea being danced around, but hadn't noticed a comment that stated it clearly.

That would put Cyndane into a new body with Moiraine's original strength, and once Moiraine is rescued, then Asha'man Healed, she'll be Da Big Kahuna of Saidar. Look out shadow!
James Hogan
152. Sonofthunder

I've never heard that before(and never thought of it)...and I love it!! That makes a lot of sense. One possible objection(don't have time to look this up bedtime approaches!) - but isn't Cyndane still fairly strong? Stronger than Moiraine used to be? Prove me wrong, somebody..because I like this theory. Also, it will be a nice twist to *not* have Moiraine come out of the ToG all super-powered...but rather require the healing of a male channeler.
Hurin Smells
153. HurinSmells
IIRC we get a POV from Cyndane that says it's not possible for a female to be any stronger in saidar than she was before the *finn. That would mean she was the strongest female ever (or equal strongest at least). Alivia is only able to surpass that level via the bracelet and rings angreal, which happens to be the strongest female angreal we've come across, and we know she is stronger than any other known female (with the exception of maybe Sharina, but the two have never been compared so it's difficult to tell).

Mo being able to physically tackle Lanfear through the doorway was more to do with Lanfear being in a fit of crazy at the time than relative strengths in the OP.

free@150 - the only enhanced liquidity I truly understand comes from the pub on the corner :)
paul Hend
154. tugthis

Point taken, and I see the error of my misstep. Sloppy writing and thinking here on my part.
John Massey
155. subwoofer
Hello folks, living up to stereotypes, winter has come to Canada and you can hear brass balls clanking everywhere. Brrrrrr, its a chilly one.

Leigh, Leigh, Leigh. I thought you would of learned from last week's post. *headdesking* blunt trauma done on last Wed's post brought on a skip on Friday's post and a trickle down effect of mass twitching. Kindly keep your cranium intact, and undamaged, perhaps softening the blow with a gel mouse pad or keyboard rest;)

I am calling "dibs out" on this or any other gender discussion. Nothing but disaster can come of it.

What I am finding interesting is Perrin's heightened senses reading Rand. To date, we just have Rand masking various internal dialogs with LTT as quirks of his stressful title. Now we see Perrin actually dialing in multiple personalities when he catches Rand's scent. In later chapters Perrin's sense of smell also proves useful in cracking the AS serenity. It is a mask they wear like any other. I find it relieving that AS display their humanity with what they struggle to hide under the surface.

William Fettes
156. Wolfmage
Tugthis @ 147

“Are you Leigh's attorney?”

Leigh is clearly formidable enough without any help from me. But as she seldom responds here, and I share her annoyance with Saldaean culture, I thought I would defend the criticism.

“I am not suggesting that she is wrong, or not entitled to her opinions. I do not think her opinions are in the book, and I do not that I am referring to only her or her singular opinion. My suggestion is that her objections to the lives of characters in the book are too personal to be widely interesting.”

That wasn’t how it came across above. You seemed to be mocking her specifically, and spraying others collaterally, for what I took to be a strawman alleged expectation that all WoT relationships and cultures comport to modern notions of equality. So I was saying there's a difference between exasperation and expectation. One is an idea about change and alternatives, the other is just an unfiltered reaction to certain things.

Also, I’m not sure I would call her criticisms ‘personal’ – aren’t you saying the problem is that they are too universalist? Perhaps you meant it’s too one-dimensional to be interesting?

“I am not suggesting that it is too much, or that it should stop, or that all readers have to agree, or we should stop reading this blog. The series binds us together in fandom --- that does not make us all syncophants.”

Way to backhandedly insult anyone who disagrees with your charge as a sycophant. For your information, I’ve criticised Leigh’s posts before when I became annoyed at the column inches being dedicated to the LLT construct theory, which I find ludicrous. Aside from that, I don’t agree with everything she says by any measure, but it’s always thoughtful, wacky, and eminently readable.

“In many ways i could care less about RJ or Harriet, their intents and loves and biases and causes are irrelvant outside of the literature. Of course the books are an allagory-- it is after all story of light triumphing over evil. The quality of the story is it's compexity, and its moral relativism. . Different cultures can be successful and good in many different way. Liberal democracy and individualism. life liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not the end of line in human social evolution. the wheel turns. . .”

WoT isn’t morally relative. The very nature of the Dark One / Creator cosmology means that there is absolute poles of good and evil. However, it is true that within this rubric, there is complexity and mutually incompatible definitions of a good life, as I already acknowledged above. But the shading of these elements is not equal, and surely as readers we don’t have to refrain from making cross-cultural judgements about them just to accept the WoT world as it is…

You’re trying to allege that Leigh and others are buying into Fukuyama’s end of history shtick and applying it to fiction like a hammer. But I don’t think that can be inferred from expressing moral distaste.

“I am not suggesting that applying modern moral sentiment is problematic in looking at literature, I am suggesting that it is pointless. Your visceral reaction to the imagined situation was the reason for the invention. It causes the conflict and the interest that drives the plot. Being mad at Faile because she is Saldean is like being mad at Thomas Jefferson because he was an American. . . or at Holden Caulfield because he is spoiled brat. The argument is not worth having, because the characters, real and imagined, need to be that way.”

I take your point that it can seem pointless to be upset at the very conflict that drives the story forward and allows the characters to develop. But it’s a fine line and I guess we just disagree about the value of mere observation. As readers responding to fictional characters and fictional cultures, any particular element can be more or less engaging, more or less relatable, more or less polarising and more or less necessary to the plot. Discussing these things can help us to refine our initial reactions, tease out the implications, and test whether they make sense at a rational level. Plus, it’s not clear that authors always intend the reaction that their world receives. Sometimes it’s off by margins of degree that are significant, and other times it’s like the Draco in leather pants phenomenon, where Rawling is apoplectic at the reaction to this character she had always pre-figured as beyond the pale.

“I hope we read it for edification as well or this whole thing is a huge circle jerk. I agree that the world is unrealistically cosmopolitan, who can realistically imagine and populate an entire world. i would hope that our criticism of it is not too provincial.”

Well we can certainly agree there. Despite my arguments here, I neither want nor expect consensus about which cultures are better. Speaking personally, I really do appreciate the disparate cultures that RJ has interwoven into WoT including some I wouldn't want to live under like the Aiel.

“The Seanchan institutionalized use of slavery is an excellent example of having to bring real world concerns to a fictional setting. Can a Good man (Rand) work with evil to create a greater good? is that contact corrosive to the good or to the evil partner in the alliance? It is not hard to see current political parallels in that situation. I don't know the answer but it is enlightening to look at the precedents.”

I agree – but I brought it up to remind you that Leigh’s thematic concern with gender equality is of a piece with slavery, in that the reader can have opinions about both. You accept as a given that slavery is evil, but a completely relativist reading of WoT would mean that the mainland opposition to slavery is up for grabs as well. For example, as modern readers we take it for granted that whatever positive points that Tuon makes Setalle Anan concede about the Seanchan having da'covale, they can’t have amounted to anything substantive. That is, they could not be enough to change our minds or hers, because we know slavery is simply evil and an indefensible institution. Therefore, such an off-screen argument becomes a hollow fig leaf which is there simply to reflect Tuon’s POV. But under a truly neutral reading, we would have to refrain from dismissing that encounter out of hand. So the point is, we all bring moral sensibilities into the text and it's entirely natural.
157. Silvertip
Leigh, love your writing, thanks so much for doing this!

Great discussion today, enough to lure me out of lurker status.

I think Wolfmage (and others) has done a better job than the person up at the top who hyperbolically accused RJ of "misogyny" at putting a finger on my lingering disquiet at gender roles in WoT. I'll give RJ tons of credit for having far more interesting and rich female personalities than the patronizing chivalry in (say) Tolkien. It's one of the many great things about the books. And yet ... in my RL profession as in many others, strong women leaders are perpetually fighting being cartooned as shrill and bitchy for characteristics that would be universally seen as positive and assertive for men. There are a few too many female characters -- I'm thinking of Tenobia, Nynaeve, Suroth (OK, so she's a nutso DF) and others -- who drop into caricatures of this type, and I'm hard pressed to think of any male examples. Would any Queen really act like Tenobia? Would anybody with Nynaeve's brains possibly be so completely non-self-aware? Now think about Gareth Bryne, Rhuarc, Agelmar, Ituralde, even post-Healing Logain; any of us could immediately come up with another dozen men with that same combination of quiet confidence and effortless authority. As has been pointed out, there are female examples also -- I'd add Ethenielle and Far Madding's Alyse (pre-WH at least) -- but they are fewer, less prominent, and offset by unconvincing caricatures in a way their male counterparts aren't. I'm not (just) politically griping, let me be clear -- I think having these sort of unconvincing characters is actually a flaw in the storytelling. I don't want to make too much of this, as the ratio of balanced relationships and thought-provoking genderbend to *headdesk* in WoT is actually pretty good, but it's a niggling thing that gets me in some places upon reread.

OK, so: responding to zaldar @129 is a dirty job, and will probably only earn the privilege of being trollflamed. Nevertheless, I think it should be done, if only for the sake of the young guys reading this who might be tempted to take that philosophy as a model. As a guy who has been happily married to a proud feminist to 19 years, and is raising two great kids with her, I'll attempt to take up the burden. Friend, a woman who calls herself a feminist (and too many who should embrace the word run from it because of the way it has been cartooned in the media) is just someone who wants you to treat her like a fellow human being. No more, and no less; and definitely no patronization. (See Latecomer's description of how Perrin treats Berelain. True, it's mostly out of pique on his part, but still). My advice would be to give up on waiting for the women of the world to start appreciating all of your fine qualities, get your relationship tips from somewhere other than AM radio, and concentrate on fixing your own attitude. You'll be better off.

p.s. self-confident women make better lovers. Trust your Uncle Silver on this one.
Leigh Butler
158. leighdb
junior1234 @3:

While everyone is of course entitled to their opinion, the notion that Jordan is a "misogynistic douche" is frankly insane. If that were the case I can assure you I would never have finished the series, much less devoted most of a year of my life to writing about his work.

I have my criticisms of Jordan's depictions of gender relations (obviously!), but I never make the mistake of forgetting that his thoughtful and detailed construction of what amounts to an alternate history of sexism is practically unique in the annals of mainstream fantasy literature, and the fact that it stimulates such a wide spectrum of response on that front is part of what makes it so valuable and wonderful.

The worst thing that could happen to gender politics in sf, or literature in general, is that no one ever has a reason to talk about it; thanks to Jordan, that will never be a problem.

tugthis @147:

My suggestion is that her objections to the lives of characters in the book are too personal to be widely interesting.

Interesting. Which would be worse: that I try to guess and represent the opinions of everyone who might read this (a patently impossible task), or that I acknowledge that I am a single individual, and try to depict my individual personal response to the events of WOT as honestly as possible?

As for the charge that modern sensibilities do not apply to critiquing the Wheel of Time, well, I find that odd, since Jordan himself, as a contemporary writer, was writing the series from a "modern" perspective; certainly I highly doubt that the notion of flipping gender relations upside down in a quasi-historical setting would have occurred to any writer prior to the civil rights revolutions of the twentieth century (if anyone can come up with an example to prove me wrong I would be most interested to hear about it), and Jordan's various statements about the inspiration for the idea in the first place show it was unavoidably informed by (and a response to) the environment he (and we) grew up in and/or inherited.

But either way, it does not change that I am not and never have been attempting to present my commentary on WOT as a wholly non-subjective abstract academic dissertation, or anything like. These are my opinions, informed by my own personal beliefs, which I present not as a declaration that my view is the only possible one, but as a view, which will hopefully engender thoughtful discussion among others about their views, and even more hopefully inspire others to look at something familiar from a different perspective than they might have initially had. And, ideally, have some fun and entertain people at the same time.

Again, you are perfectly free to believe that doing so is "pointless", but hearing such an opinion, coming as it does from a comment on a blog about a series of fantasy books, on a website devoted entirely to a celebration and/or critique of fantasy, science fiction, and all manner of escapism and flights of imagination, one wonders what your basis for comparison is.
159. PhantomIce
On a complete side note. I have just finished my own reread of the series and noticed something. If it hadn't been on my bookshelf and the fact that there is no way I own a book written by RJ that I haven't read I could swear I've never read KoD before. Anyone as vague on the last few books as I apparantly was or is that unique to me? It's positively embarrasing.

Also think Tor is going to let us have a separate thread for discussing GS when it's finally out, because no way we will be able to contain ourselves from commenting.
160. t0kengirl
PhantomIce @ 159 - I'm exactly the same, I'm just about finished with Crown of Swords and vaguely remember getting annoyed with how long everything takes. Elayne and Andor, Perrin & the Shaido and Mat and the Seanchan but no real specifics. I'm not embarassed. It's harder to be familiar with the recent stuff because you haven't re-read as much. From book 9's release onward I re-read all the previous ones before the new one was out. So while I've reaf EoTW-PoD 5 times, I've only read KoD once. Makes sense I'm a bit less familiar with it.
paul Hend
161. tugthis

Your view are, of course yours, and they are well thought and well written. You are representative of the uber fan, and with your history with the Wheel fandom your views carry considerable weight. When you want the floor you
command it.. . . and as signicant is that the board post hot topics are usually sparked by your commentary.

That RJ is a modern writer, and we are modern readers is the point. He clearly created a mash-up of cultures and times in his world and invites us to see the results. I would not want to limit our reactions to every one of his creations to our "modern" perspective. That puts the desert before the meal.

I am appreciative of the project and ask forgivness if it seems I am criticizing people and not opinions.
Jay Dauro
162. J.Dauro
Freelancer @151

Except that Cyndane is still way stronger than Moiraine was. According to the 21 level mapping of Saider that the 13th Depository has worked up (trying to duplicate RJ's version), Cyndane is Level 20, while Moiraine is Level 12. This is a very interesting article, and well reasoned.

13th Depository Article

The girl was stronger in the One Power than she herself! Even in her own Age, that had been uncommon among men, and very rare indeed among women.

- The Path of Daggers, New Alliances

Cyndane manages to defeat Alivia, even though Alivia has an angreal. Part of this is knowledge and skill, but she still has to be very strong.
John Massey
163. subwoofer
@PhantomIce etc... you are not alone. By the end of TSR I was of the impression that this would be going to 10 to wrap up all the dangling plot lines. At the beginning of TPoD I came to the conclusion, especially after reading the "About the Author" bit, that we are going to 20.

I began to skim chapters and read WoT in a different fashion. I stopped reading from front to back and began to hunt for story lines. I read through the Mat saga first. Then I follow Rand as his chapters always end the books. I didn't really want to but there were too many characters wrapped up in the Perrin/Faile arc so I plunged in. Then I read the SG's which really drove me nuts- especially the whole "sharing Rand" bit- !. Saving grace was the Ny/Lan arc... or the Lan arc. But there you have it, we each identify with favorites and that is what keeps us going.

Rob Munnelly
164. RobMRobM
JD - I had the exact same thought, and am glad you made the point better than I would have.

Phantom - I've always loved KoD, and it is in the pantheon of great WoT books. So many good plot lines and so much built up resolution of multi-book arcs. It has many of my all-time favorite chapters/scenes (Honey in the Tea; the Tuon POV from If the World Were Fog; the Perrin-Seanchan negotiation in the woods). I just finished CoT on my pre-TGS re-read and I'm almost drooling to dig into KoD this weekend.

Tug - appreciate the gracious explanation/apology. Your original post aggravated me, as well as Leigh and others, and I'm gratified by the throughtful way you stated your point of view in response. All in WoT-dom.

Joseph Blaidd
165. SteelBlaidd

I think one of the reasons that there seem to be more women with *head desky* leadership styles is that in WoT there are a lot more women in leadership roles then men. Consider that of the 7 kings in the westlands at the start of EoTW we have only seen them on screen for a grand total of about 10 pages and none of them have had a PoV yet.Aditionaly, we are more used to "forgiving" the foibles of male Jerkasses (boys will be boys). I've met very intelligent people as un-selfaware as Nynaeve and there we're plenty of kings and queens throughout history that were as "bad" as Tenbia if not worse, Henry VIII springs to mind.
166. MasterAlThor
Ok so I get up this morning and realize that I missed the fireworks from last night. What are you people doing???

Silvertip @157

Her are some men that do not have the "quiet confidence and effortless authority". Mat, Rand and Perrin.

Each in their own way has struggled with both of those areas. Lets take off our hero worship glasses for a moment and see what I am talking about.


Has struggles with SG in just about every encounter with them. Hello, Tuon. None of those instances shows confidence or authority. Oh sure he may show a flash here or there, but overall...


When Faile gets taken, better yet, the whole Lord of the Two Rivers thing. Perrin could best be described as reluctant. And when Faile does get taken, well he becomes frantic. Anyone who is willing to let the rest of the world burn if he doesn't get his wife back is in need of therapy.


He is in the top 2 of my fav characters. But really? Confidence? Effortless authority? I do not get that from him. Everything is a struggle. His dealing with the AS (both), Taim and the rest of the Ashaman (must kill them all....stop it you), and Logian for that matter. What about the nobles (pick a country).

I get what you were trying to say and other than those 3 I can't think of any other men who are leaders that don't have the qualities you listed. It is a damn shame that we don't see the POV of more women like that. That would truly make this series the most enjoyable ever. IMHO it already is but hey, there is always room for improvement

Ok you guys can resume your craziness

The hero worship glasses thing. I mean no offense, we all have them. Just sayin
167. RedGesear
Haha, Faile a leopard? I would have called her a fox... Sorry, that was terrible! Seriously though, after the girl I just dated? Leopard please! Or a Lox... ;)
168. MasterAlThor
Isn't a Lox from a Dr. Suess book??? I am sure it is, just lemme get my kids book
169. Lily of the Valley
I thought lox was the smoked salmon you put on bagels with cream cheese.
170. alreadymadwithstrongwomen
HurinSmells @153
We also have a POV from Graendal stating Cyndane is still stronger than her. And no matter how strong Moiraine is, she isn't forsaken class. So swapping their strengths is out the window as far as I'm concerned.
I'd agree with the enhanced liquidity though. :P
171. AppleBrandy
@115 -

Vowel shifts between the name of a place and the people who inhabit it isn't unheard of in the RL, although I can't think of a good example now. :P

Teer-ans sounds dumb, so the vowel shifts from e-grade to a-grade.
Tess Laird
172. thewindrose
longtimefan @ 117-

About the Two Rivers braiding tradition. Is Bela old enough to braid her mane? Was she just a young filly caught up in a wirlwind adventure or a mature mare who chose to remain unbraided and unbridled?

I suppose if Bela is the Creator as some theories postulate then she has past the age of braiding and then some.

Bela is the avatar of the Creator, or so I have heard.

For a short time, she had flowers braided into her hair, however she shook them out. She remains unbraided and unbridled to this day...
Maiane Bakroeva
173. Isilel
@165 SteelBlaidd:

in WoT there are a lot more women in leadership roles then men.

Well, that's just not true.

Men in leadership roles that we have seen: Rhuarc and other Aiel chiefs - all of whom just exude the calm, natural authority we are talking about,

Pedron Niall - evil and misguided but ditto,

Turak - leader of Corenne, who withstood Fain's corruption, which is no mean feat,

Gareth Bryne, Ituralde - commanders of huge armies, who carry it out with great flair,

and how could I have forgotten Bashere?

Dobraine Taborwyn who manages to rule Cahirien well _without_ Rhuarc holding his hand, etc.

As less imposing examples of men in authority we have the High Lords of Tear, Beslan, who is now the new king of Altara, Eamon Valda, etc.

What do we have on the female front? Morgase seemed like this kind of natural leader in the beginning, but once she lost the throne she became utterly useless - a huge disappointment (also compare and contrast with Bryne).

Siuan is certainly very intelligent and a skilled manipulator, but even when she was in power her rule was contested - that's why she had to steamroll over folks. Now she plays a clerk and a secret advisor to her successor and is pushed around by almost everybody else in her faction.

Berelain? Needed to be spanked by Rhuarc and then for him to hold her hand and that's before she decided to drive one of Rand's most important allies crazy.

Tylin? Difficult to say much about her, apart from her being a molester.

Alliandre? Pretty much a wet rag.

Elaida? Heh.

Well, I guess I'll give you Tylee Kirgan. But that's only one character.

Tuon, we didn't really see in action as a leader.

Master AlThor @166:

Yes, Mat and Perrin do display that efforless leadership and quiet authority. People follow them without any conscious trying on their part. Their struggles with leadership concern their own feelings about it, not forcing people to take them seriously and follow them in the first place. I mean their armies here, not the SGs or private entanglemenets.

Compare and contrast with trials and tribulations of Egwene and Elayne.

Re: Rand, he naturally has more of a struggle, but still - since TGH various people followed him and looked to him for orders - and not because they thought that he needed protection from the big world or from his own foolishness, like various SGs hangers-on do.

That's the fundamental difference, actually - people follow the 3 TR boys because they expect _them_ to lead/protect them.
By contrast people followed the SGs until recently because they were convinced that the SGs needed protection.
And SGs had to really claw their way to authority - which is still an on-going process.
174. Silvertip
SteelBlaidd @ 165:

That's a really interesting point about male vs female sovereigns that I hadn't thought about (although thanks to Isilel for the counterexamples, nice one with Turak). It seems that most of the really admirable male leaders I named are military captains rather than political types. It's certainly possible that RJ tends to portray top generals (especially those who rose in meritocracies, e.g. Ituralde, Bryne, probably Niall, but not Weiramon) as more generally competent and sane than political sovereigns (especially hereditary monarchs) and that some of the gender stuff is a side effect of that.

(btw no offense taken at all, you made me laugh: But just to be clear, I was trying to point out a tendency in how RJ draws characters, not confessing to a mancrush on Agelmar Jahad. Although topknots in the right spot can be awfully cute.)

Interestingly, one nonsympathetic female leader I find completely convincing is Elaida. Her type is pan-gender; pan-cultural; pan-human; probably exists under the ice on Europa too. But is she drawn differently from Tenobia because she is a leader of an all-female society, rather than being in direct authority over men? Hmm.

Tenobia vs. Henry VIII, fascinating. Sounds like a nice topic for a term paper for somebody. Not me, thankfully. The best comparison would probably be recent popular-culture portrayals like "The Tudors," which I never saw.

MasterAlThor @166, you're of course absolutely right that Mat/Perrin/Rand don't fit in the pattern I drew from less central characters. They may be more fully drawn just *because* they're central (the books would be a lot less satisfying if, say, Mat showed up fully developed with Rodel Ituralde's character), and they're also much younger. What will the three of them be like in thirty years, assuming they and their roles survive Armageddon?

I actually hope we see more of Ethenielle as the books go on. (An example of what MasterAlThor was wishing for also, I think). She'd be a great offset for some of her, um, less well bolted together Borderland neighbors.

This is all great food for thought as I get warmed up for TGS, but it hasn't really undone what I see as a (small) weakness in these (wonderful) books: the appearance of a number of females in their leadership roles as cartoon-ey rather than realistically drawn, and cartoon-ey in a particular late 20th-early-21st-century stereotype way that became prominent as a reaction to the success of the women's movement. Like I said, I'll give Jordan tons of credit for the expanded role of women in WoT, but I think he failed to shake off one particular blind spot of his own society in this case. Like all of us do sometimes!
Sara H
175. LadyBelaine
Silvertip@174 -
"Like I said, I'll give Jordan tons of credit for the expanded role of women in WoT, but I think he failed to shake off one particular blind spot of his own society in this case. Like all of us do sometimes! "

One of things that drives me bonkers is that despite the enhanced political leadership, every single female ruler/leader has a male advisor for miltary matters - The Queen of Andor has her First Prince of the Sword, the Mistress of the Ships has her Swordmaster, The Queen of Kandor has her Swordbearer, ruling ladies have their Lance-Captains etc...

Is there no military minded female ruler who doesn't need a man for this stuff?
176. AppleBrandy
Generals need to be able to fight (or to have in the past) to get their soldiers to follow them. It still stands that to swing a sword effectively takes great upper body strength, and with all that RJ changed, he didn't change human physiology. :)
James Jones
177. jamesedjones
175 LadyBelaine

Well, there's Elayne and Birgitte - No, wait. That doesn't count, does it?

I think you're right. Jordan saw women as not desiring to lead their armies. Although, IRL folks who want to do both end up as terrible civilian rulers.

Dang it! If we can't have everything we want in fiction, just where are we going to get it? ;)
178. Silvertip

Agreed. And well, although I generally find it unhelpful to try and see fiction through the lens of what we know about the author's life ... to risk an exception in this case, the man *did* go to The Citadel, and probably had those ideas literally drilled into him.

AppleBrandy @176, perhaps true for field generals, probably much less true for the person wearing the crown and his/her upper advisors (the Israeli military did pretty well under Golda Meir, although granted sword-wielding wasn't an issue).
179. PhantomIce
I'm no expert on the issue but I think (and Mat certainly thinks as the resident Randland expert) that Generals should not be in the fighting, they need to be away from the fighting so they can look at the battlefield overall and make decisions as battle progresses so no need for upperbody strength to wield swords.

I guess RJ chose to keep fighting wars as a largely male dominated interest as is the case pretty much everywhere including I believe Israel where though women serve and fight in the military it's still for shorter periods of time than men (2 years for women 3 for men last time I had friends serve there) and I think men are kept in the reserves longer.

After all purely practically speaking must keep women out of war for survival of species reasons at least long enough to bear the next generation

I think Tuon might not have a male military advisor and though a lot of her bodyguards are men her top bodyguard who goes everwhere with her is a woman (sorry don't have book next to me, can't remember her name)
Jay Dauro
180. J.Dauro
Phantomice @179

Her top bodyguard is Furyk Karede, commander of the Deathwatch Guard with Tuon, and male.

Selucia is Tuon's Chief Maid. She is also a Shadow bodyguard, the last line of defense before Tuon herself. But no one other than Tuon is supposed to know this. Anath may have known, and Thom does know, but her job is to be a surprise. So we really can't count her.

Tuon does have Military advisors, and IIRC her top advisor is male (Captain-General Galgan.) But in the Seanchen army, women are also battle leaders, so I would imagine her advisor could be female.
Joseph Blaidd
181. SteelBlaidd
Silver@174 The main point was not that the various female characters aren't some broad in their characterization, I would in fact argue that all of the characters are a bit of a caricature, but that we spend a lot more time inside the heads of the different Female characters (see this PoV list and the book stats at WoT Wiki)and that outside of the Big Three we just don't see the men very often, we just hear about them, and that makes it a lot easier for them to pull of the air of omni-competence. For example, how much of the romance of Siuan and Gareth do we actually spend with him and not with her and Egwene talking about him.

And "Gareth The Rock," "Mat the Rogue," and "Ruharc that Unflappable" are just as cartoonish as "Berilain the Slut," "Siuan the Fishwife" and "Faile the Clingy Jealous Girl."
Joseph Blaidd
182. SteelBlaidd
On the subject of the preponderance of male generals, notice that they are predominantly field commanders and Chiefs of Staff, a position one usually doesn't achieve without working up through the ranks (Mat excepted). There are plenty of women Commanders in Chief, which often requires an understanding of the strategic goals, i.e. politics, of war but often conflicts with the tactical considerations of winning battles.

Additionally organizational culture of armies skews toward a male self-organizational style. Boys naturally organize themselves into gangs where there is an "I say you do" type of relationship and armies are basically gangs with Government funding. Girls do cliques, which work a lot more like the Ajah and the White Tower.
James Jones
183. jamesedjones
182 SteelBlaidd
Girls do cliques, which work a lot more like the Ajah and the White Tower.

Stop sayin' stuff like that. There's no more room in the bunker.
Helen Peters
184. Helen
@171 swapping the vowels in place names...Denmark and Danish

PhantomIce @ 159
All I can remember about KoD is Perrin rescuing Faile, and Morgase making the flag move. Which in a way is good, coz in a few day's I'll be able to discover it all again.

@139. J.Dauro
Sara H
185. LadyBelaine
J.Dauro - "think Tuon might not have a male military advisor and though a lot of her bodyguards are men her top bodyguard who goes everwhere with her is a woman (sorry don't have book next to me, can't remember her name)"

Well, even as it seems that much of the Seanchan military is co-sex, with the seemingly inherent preference for ruling empresses, I'd wager that the position of the consort, Prince of the Ravens, is traditionally saddled with the military responsibilities, on the basis of how RJ has set things up everywhere else.

For another thing, wouldn't it seem that the Green Ajah would have as part of their training classes that are the equivalent of those taught at a military college? Shoudn't the Daughter-Heir get some of those classes too?

And most perplexing of all - we know that Saldaean girls are not taught "war or the sword," but their culture also includes the contradictory element that wives accompany the lords and officers on campaigns with the related expectation that they would take up command should their men fall..... odd, to say the least.
Jason Deshaies
187. darxbane
I agree with several above posts about perspective coloring our views of the characters. Most of the men described as great leaders rarely have a POV, so we are limited by how other characters perceive them. Gareth may seem all calm and collected, but I bet he can be as big an asshole to men in his command as any of the AS are to subordinates, we just never see it. Since we are talking about Bryne's unflappable composure, what about him trekking across half the continent and risking the lives of his most trusted soldiers just to chase a pretty face?

Matt, Rand and Perrin have the Taveren thing going, so that must be factored into the equation. Let's be honest, they are as foolish and ignorant as the girls are, as much of the time that the girls are.

As for women of authority (or influence) who are not annoying? Melaine, Bair, Amys, Sorilea, Sulin, Dyelin, Setalle Anan, Lini, Ethenielle (who is Queen of Kandor, and the opposite of Tenobia), Cadsuane (despite how she treats Rand), and last, but certainly not least, Alyse, who I can't believe nobody mentioned yet.

The difference in competence and control seems to have age factored in much more than gender (I know the Aes Sedai are exceptions, for the most part).
Jay Dauro
188. J.Dauro
LadyBelaine @185

That quote in paragraph 1 is from PhantomIce in 179

RJ has set the Seanchen up differently in many ways from the rest of Randland. So we have no idea if the PotR is a military position or not. In Mat's case, they would be hard pressed to find a better commander, but whether the position has that duty is unknown.

We also do not know what the Green Ajah studies of warfare, but most AS appear to have some knowledge of it, and the AS with Mat in KOD think they know much more about warfare than he does (to our amusement.)

Elayne says she got the same classes on warfare from Gareth Bryne that Gawyn did, just not the physical training.
Jason Deshaies
189. darxbane
And that is the key difference between a General who only commands vs a General who must also make sure the troops are properly trained in the physical aspect of war. The best strategy in the world will fail if your soldiers don't know what they are doing. Besides, does anyone else feel like the military leadership role is almost a consolation prize?
190. Freelancer

Bring the hammer, yes! Thank you for those responses to uninformed criticisms. You said about chauvinism in WoT what I earlier said about moral relativism. If it were true I wouldn't have read past the first or second volume.
191. alreadymadwithASwarfare
J. Dauro @188
Mat does note that all of the AS with him were trying to nose in his planning but that only Joline specifically knew anything of warfare.
192. Freelancer

And I assume that your point is due specifically to Joline being the Green among those with Mat.
Jay Dauro
194. J.Dauro
I believe that at times, we have seen some browns with knowledge of warfare, and all AS appear to have some knowledge of past wars and battles. However, it does appear that the greens have more knowledge of actual tactics and strategy.

Still Teslyn does attempt to run his first battle with the Seanchen, or at least tries to convince him that he cannot win.

** twitch **
Thomas Keith
195. insectoid
leighdb @158: Way to put your foot down!

PhantomIce @159: I have the same problem with CoT. I mean, I know something happened besides Egwene's capture, but burn me if I can remember what!

MasterAlThor @168: Do you mean Lorax?

RobM² @193 and J.Dauro @194: I'll see your *twitches* and raise you a [b][i]*shiver*[/i]...
Rob Munnelly
196. RobMRobM
I hadn't noticed before but this is a GREAT line:

“She is with Deira right now, and if she doesn’t convince her mother she’s old enough to be married, she goes back to the camp, probably doing duty as her mother’s saddle...." I love Bashere.

triple twitch
Jason Deshaies
197. darxbane
I like how visibly impressed Bashere is when he examines the crushed silver goblet.

Rich Bennett
198. Neuralnet
damn steampunks... I am blaming them for not having a post yet. Dont they know that steampunk is just the second age in WoT
Joseph Blaidd
199. SteelBlaidd
More like the difference between the Battle Op and the Field Commander from Dickson's Dorsai novels.

On determines what needs to happen in order to achieve victory,the other figures out how to make it happen.
200. Freelancer

Be careful, Brandon Sanderson has declared himself a big steampunk fan. Watch out he doesn't rearrange the last books of WoT to that end.

Though, in retrospect, your last point is viable, given Mervin Poel's Steamwagon, Aludra's dragons, and other inventions that would reasonably belong to an era similar to the Victorian.
Jay Dauro
201. J.Dauro
darxbane @189

If you are commenting on Elayne not getting the physical training, I believe what she refered to was the actual combat training. As we see, she does have some knowledge of what training her men need to be ready to fight, and has a keen eye. (She sees the blisters and the booze before Mat does.) Most generals don't train the men, they have sergeants, etc to do the actual training. But they have to know what the men need and make sure it happens.

She was not trained to lead men in battle, she was trained to be able to judge the battle plans her advisors bring, so that she doesn't have to blindly depend on her advisors to make military decisions.

If you are refering to the differences between the Ajahs, I doubt any but the Green could really do battle planning. But again, I wouildn't bet that they couldn't whip an army into shape. And I certainly wouldn't attack an AS unless I was a channeler.
202. BobK

On Faile's age, check the Errata section of EWoT for the revision in LoC Prologue:

Faile is older than Ewin, not the same age. This correction will be included in the WOTFAQ.
203. Tomolson
OMG leave your soapbox at home this is a reread not your personal blog. If you would just do the reread we would be 2 or 3 books futher
204. bdj6020
Is there an RSS feed for letting one know when you have new posts for the reread?
205. zerlina
Is there a reason the recent updates arent showing up on the page with the others?
206. Entreri22
So why the long wait? Whats going on here?
Rob Munnelly
207. RobMRobM
This is post 26. We're up to post 29 elsewhere on site. Rob
208. Entreri22
Where on the site? and why don't they show up in the index?
Barry T
209. blindillusion

Try this:
211. Freelancer
Leigh posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday unless she states otherwise. If you don't see a current post using the Wheel of Time Re-read Index, try going to the blogger list on the left, find Leigh's name, and clicking. It will give you all of her posts in reverse chronological order (most recent at the top).

That should solve all of your worries.


Leigh seems to have an eye for the preferences of the majority of her readers. Since many of us tend to the deeply analytical, and are interested in the subplots and minutia of the series, that's how she rolls. She started this re-read trying to cover 6-8 chapters at a time, and it didn't work so well. She has determined to take a pace that suits her and us. Sorry if that doesn't fits your demands.
Kristina Blake
212. kab1
jej- wow, I clicked on the link and it actually went to post 29. you're too nice! Where is Fife anyways, I dont' think I've seen him post in a while, but I never pay attention to the names anyways!

The (quickest) way that I get to the posts that aren't showing in the index (the most recent ones are almost always missing) is just by looking at the "most recent comments" column on the left side of the homepage. Since we comment so often there's almost always one on the most/more recent posts. This will link to the comment and then I just scroll up from there to see the post. This works great as long as Tor isn't having a free giveaway that involves commenting!
213. Peter sil
I really liked this book, too. My book True Love Is Not Common;, has similar main character. I grew reading from this author since my high school. Hope that one day my book will reach many readers as this author.
Alexander Hatch
214. SpyderZH
Prior to the whole Demira-attack part, this was one of my favorite chapters in the book, especially the Bashere family reunion. It's hilarious to me seeing the stoic Perrin being thrown into the craziness of Deira and Bashere.

Also, concerning Min's vision on both the fireflies and the "needing Perrin", I always took them to kind of being connected. As Leigh said, the first is obviously Dumai's Well. I figure the other time has to be Tarmon Gai'don since Rand will obviously need both ta'verens for that to succeed. If it referred to anything else, she would have had to say he needs Perrin three times to survive.

Her other prophesy I took to also concern Tarmon Gai'don. I think the fireflies "strength" correlates to the ta'veren. When Rand was alone, the fireflies were getting beaten, implying Rand would be destroyed if he went into the battle alone. With one other ta'veren there, they held there own, implying it would be more evenly matched. If Rand, Mat, and Perrin ever meet up again before the battle with Min present, my guess is that the fireflies overtake the darkness, though them reconnecting before the battle is unlikely.
Derek Barolet
215. Derek.barolet
I actually like the Diera/Bashere relationship. Diera is my favorite Mom/wife character in WoT. And I am glad i commented late cause otherwise i might get fried by a flame or indignation hehe, but I honestly think that, while over exagerated, its an awesome dynamic. They are from borderlands, always at war and everyone needs to be strong, physically and emotionally and willed. They have worked out a pretty good system for a country of nothing but A-type personalities to me. On the other hand my wife is exact opposite of Diera, Thank God, so I dont have to worry about it from a personal standpoint.
216. Louis Theodore Tellman
Why does it seem so obvious to me that the attack on Demira was perpetrated on behalf of the Tower AS who just sat down and had a meeting with Sevannah and the Shaido...? I don't know... maybe I'm missing something.

Also, although RJ may have set up a whole lot of scenarious detailing how an ideal society might want to start behaving, I think we all need to realize that he was also trying to add a little realism and/or (gasp) *fantasy* into the mix with some of his, erm... less popular snippets of daily life. Truthfully, I think the whole antagonistically affectionate dynamic going on between Saldaean genders isn't entirely unreasonable.

Another little lesson I took from the books: different ways work for different people. At the end of the day, Davram has a ginormous amount of respect for Deira and vice-versa. Different cultures value different... erm... values. Being at the top of your "I can fight back if I chose to" game is a big one for Saldaeans apparently...
Edward Phippen
217. Grimwanderer
Mr Micawber @. 12:

"...I told her that if she were ever like Faile, I'd go for a Berelain in an instant, and she said that if I were like Goldeneyes, she'd go for a Rand or even the DO."


My partner and I nag each other when needed - and we can both be very stubborn - but I don't think either of us is a leopard that needs to be tamed.

On a more serious note... I do believe that Jordan felt that two strong partners worked better than a strong dominating a weaker. In context, though, the Saldean model (as others have pointed out) is just one of many many different relationship models that he uses in the series. There is nothing to suggest it is his image of a perfect relationship.

In fact, there is a good deal to suggest that his ideal relationship was two strong people with different talents, skills, viewpoints, etc coming together as equals. Each relationship would be made of two unique individuals... so the exact "configuration" (balance, assigned roles, etc) will vary from relationship to relationship. And probably from day to day or even hour to hour.

I think the ancient Aes Sedai symbol (aka: ying / yang) is a subtle nod at this. Not only is it made of two equal halves, but the dividing line is not a rigid straight line... It is sinuous.

I can certainly relate to Leigh's irritation (headdesk) at the description here of a Saldean relationship. It sounds very much like relationship hell to me. :-)

Anyway... Guess i should hush up now since I'm years late and no one will probably ever read this. :-)

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