Oct 27 2009 9:30am

The Wheel of Time: The Gathering Storm Review and Open Spoiler Thread!

NOTE: This thread is now closed. Please continue the conversation here.

Happy drop date, WOT fans!

Today marks the official U.S. release of the long-awaited twelfth novel in the Wheel of Time series, The Gathering Storm—the finest merchandise this side of the river Jordan, on sale today! Come on down, heh heh.

But you probably knew that. About time, eh?

Consequently, as promised, I have here my second and infinitely more spoiler-laden review of the book. This will also, coincidentally, provide you with a place on Tor.com to discuss your own spoilery thoughts and reactions to The Gathering Storm, because we love you and we want you to be happy.

So have at, but remember: please confine all spoilers for the new book to this post. There are many readers out there who for whatever reason are not able to obtain and read the novel on the day of release, so out of courtesy to them, please keep the spoilers concentrated in one easily-avoidable spot, mmkay? Thanks, y’all are rockalicious.

Also, this is obvious, but just for the record: There are GIANT, MASSIVE, BOOK-DESTROYING SPOILERS for The Gathering Storm under the cut. And you can bet that whatever I don’t spoil in the post, will get spoiled in the comments. Read at your own risk.

For what it’s worth, I strongly advise WOT readers to avoid this post until they have read the book. I know some of y’all have low willpower on this score, but I’m seriously telling you that you will miss out if you ruin the ending (and the middle, and all the other parts) for yourself before reading the actual book. Also, since I’m not going to be explicating the details of every last event I bring up, if you haven’t read the book first, some of the things I’m going to say may not make sense to you anyway, which is yet another reason to wait.

As someone with a terminal allergy to spoilers before the fact, that’s just my opinion, of course, and I ain’t your mama, but presumably you’re here because you semi-care about my opinions, so there you have one.

So, there’s all that. For those of you looking for a totally spoiler-free and yet also somehow-massively-verbose review of The Gathering Storm, go here. Honor to serve and alla that.

And now, having gotten all warnings, caveats, and stern remonstrances out of the way, click though to get to the meat. IF YOU DARE.

Just so you know, this is not going to be an exhaustive dissection of the book. For one thing, that would take too damn long, and second, I’m going to eventually be doing a very detailed recap of The Gathering Storm (henceforth abbreviated TGS) anyway, just like all the other books, so I have to save some gems of wisdom here.

*deep breath* Hokay. So, I guess the best way to go about this is to basically expand upon my little “list of scenes that made me react in some way” from the non-spoilered review, right? Right. It should be noted that several scenes fit several categories, so there will be some repetition in here.

It should also be noted that I’ve actually only done one complete read-through of TGS thus far, and that at Ludicrous Speed, so some of my memories have of necessity gone to plaid. I’m working on a second (much slower) read-through as I write this, but time constraints being what they are, I may not get to everything before this has to go up. We Shall See.

Anyway! The scenes. In the order I deem most coherent(ish):

Scene of partial *headdesk*ing: Was actually more of a “*headde*- wait. DAMMIT”, because it was when Cadsuane had her Moment of Awesome in besting Semirhage – and she did it with spanking.


That was ON PURPOSE, WASN’T IT, TEAM JORDAN. It’s a plot, I tell you. A PLOT AGAINST ME. I’m going to go curl up with a blankie now.

(Over-inflated sense of importance? Moi?)

Scenes that made me go “Aww”: When Siuan (finally!) bonded Bryne, and later on when he asked her to marry him. Aww. Their interaction in general in TGS was just sweet, which is something I don’t get to say too often about romantic relationships in WOT. Plus, one long-hanging prophecy down, whoo!

(As a side note, those Seanchan Black Ops kamikaze guys (I forget what they were called) really didn’t live up to their hype, did they?)

Scene that managed to profoundly irritate me at the exact same time I was going “HELLS, YES”: The (second) dinner scene in the Tower. Even as I was cheering Egwene’s verbal excoriation of Elaida, for it was unquestionably a Smackdown of Eloquent Awesomeness, I found it extremely difficult to believe Elaida wouldn’t have shut her up before she got more than two sentences into it. Plus, I have issues with Elaida’s character derailment, which sort of precedes TGS but really goes nuts here. I mean, she was always an incompetent martinet with delusions of grandeur, but in TGS (and especially in this scene) she’s practically twirling her moustaches and tying damsels to railroad tracks. Enh.

“Wait, what?” scenes: a number of them, really, including the manner in which Elaida was disposed of – not so much how she went (which was only appropriate, all things considered), but that we didn’t get to see her in the battle up to that point, at all. I don’t know, it was just kind of abrupt and “Oh, hey, we forgot all about her! Whoops, bye!” I just felt that as such a major antagonist, she sort of deserved a more detailed exit.

That being said, I devoutly hope that we will never ever see her again. If any part of Book 13 is concerned with mounting a rescue for her I may have to throw a tantrum.

Another “wait, what?” scene was the death of Sheriam. Though the scene in which she was exposed as Black Ajah was beyond awesome, I was like “That’s how Min’s viewing is fulfilled? Really?” I can’t decide if the viewing thing was clever or cheap, actually; it could really go either way. Of course, I may be a bit personally biased, as that whole thing torpedoed one of my favorite pet theories, that Sheriam was going to go down in a blaze of glory taking out Halima. Crap, I really liked that theory. Oh, well.

(Also, what, no thirteen on thirteen trick? Is that EVER going to come up? And Sheriam would have been so appropriate thematically for it! Man...)

And the big “wait, WHAT?” thing (but in a good way) was Rand channeling the True Power to escape Semirhage. Holy jumping Jehoshaphat, but I sure as hell never saw that coming. Not to mention, I believe the applicable category here is Very, Very Bad Things. Ai yi yi. Nothing Good Can Come Of This, y’all.

That scene is also the one that upset me so much I had to walk away for a while. This is my schizophrenic scene reaction, because while it was probably one of the most tension-filled and dramatic (i.e., well-done) scenes in the book, possibly in the series (certainly in the latter half of the series), I can’t say that I loved it. In fact I hated it, because it was so frickin’ terrible for Rand and Min. But you see the distinction: I didn’t hate it because it was awfully written, I hated it because it was as exactly as awful as it was supposed to be. So it was a great scene, but I hated it. Does that make any sense?

Speaking of which, Rand’s entire plot arc in TGS contains something of that schizoid reaction for me. I believe I am on record somewhere stating that I thought TPOD (Book 8, The Path of Daggers) marked Rand’s low point (both emotionally and in terms of my liking for the character); well, I was so, so very wrong, you guys. THIS was Rand’s low point, on both counts, and I was frankly shocked at what a terribly low low it was.

I’m not saying that it wasn’t necessary to have happened, storywise; if you view Rand as being the equivalent of an alcoholic (or anyone locked into a downward spiral of self-destructive behavior) who has to hit bottom before he can begin to climb back up again, it was totally necessary. And I’m not saying Rand didn’t have valid excuses either, like, oh, I dunno, the Head Evil Dude In Charge LEAKING INTO HIS BRAIN, but knowing all that did not make it any easier to read. I honestly kind of loathed Rand through 95% of his screen time, which, yeah, I’m really not happy to be made to dislike a protagonist so strongly. (In case you can’t tell, in general I am not a fan of antiheroes.)

Especially a character I had previously liked so much; Rand may not ever have been my absolute favorite character in WOT, but TPOD aside he was nearly always in the top five, and usually the top three. So while I’m sure his arc was probably very well done in a technical sense, I have a difficult time gaining enough objective space from my own extremely negative reaction in order to admit that.

This is what I was referring to as possible risks on Brandon’s part. Though obviously I know that Jordan outlined what was to happen in more than just a general sense, somehow the extremity of the depths to which Rand is sunk in TGS rings more to me of Sanderson’s demonstrated willingness to push the fantasy trope envelope (i.e. how horrible can we make the protagonist/hero/Messiah figure before he is riiight on the edge of irredeemable?) than Jordan’s more traditional adherence to, er, tradition.

Of course, I don’t know this is true for sure; I’m just guessing. Maybe this is exactly what Jordan planned all along and I have no idea what I’m talking about. But that’s the feeling I get, so there you have it.

(Aaand I now have a mental picture of Brandon chanting “How low! Can you go!” My brain, ladies and gentlemen.)

Whichever the case, Rand is the cause of both times I wanted to hurl the book across the room: once when he was reunited with Hurin, and when he finally reunited with (and then almost killed) his father Tam. (And a near third, when he offhandedly commented to Nynaeve that Lan’s death would “serve him well” or some such UTTER MORIDIN-LEAKING BULLSHIT. Gah.) Oh my God but I wanted to beat Rand senseless during these two scenes – actually more over the Hurin thing than Tam. Tam at least was sort of trying to provoke a reaction from Rand (if not remotely the one he got), and plus Rand was actually doing pretty okay with Tam – right up to where it all went to shit of course – but all poor adorable Hurin wanted was a kind word from “Lord Rand”. He was all so excited! And instead he got treated like dirt. Two, count ‘em TWO of the reunions I had been wishing and hoping for, and that’s how they go? GRRRRRR LEIGH SMASH.

Again, this is not me disparaging the scenes on their merits, so much as me expressing my feelings about what actually happened. Rand had better apologize to Hurin in the next book, is all I’m saying. Fortunately it looks like he might actually be in a headspace to do so, thanks to the ending.

And speaking of headspace: HAHAHAHAHA Lews Therin is gone. And in a way that STILL doesn’t definitively settle the “real or not real” question!!

Heh. Hah. HAH. HEE HOO HAH HAHAHA HAAAAAAH. I cannot figure out how I feel about that whole scene in general, but I tell you I chortled for like five minutes over the Lews Therin thing. I win again, Lews Therin! Except you don’t care, because you’re not here! HAH hee hee. You may all feel free to hate me now. Heh.

As to the end at large: I... really don’t know, you guys. I have to read it again. If I get to it before this goes up I may expand upon this, but otherwise I’ll let you guys argue about it, because I am well and truly divided. On the one hand I was like “THANK YOU JESUS, maybe Rand can stop being an asshole and I can like him again”, and on the other I was... feeling a bit anticlimactic about it all. I know it’s kind of insane to call a scene where basically Rand talks himself off the ledge of destroying the frickin’ world “anticlimactic”, but I think the operative word there is “talk”. I don’t know if this is unfair of me or not. Like I said, I’ll have to read it again.

Speaking of scenes that left me divided (not to mention stunned speechless): WHAT THE HELL, RAND, with the balefiring of an entire city. Or city-like compound, whatever. My reaction was seriously just, “Uh. So... wow, that... happened.” By all rights this should have infuriated me far more than the Hurin thing or the Tam thing, but I was just so shocked by it, I couldn’t even summon up any book-throwingness. Jeez.

Watch, I bet Graendal wasn’t even there, you guys. Yes, I know, the Compulsion on Whatshisname was gone, but you know the rules: we didn’t see a body! And on the one hand, if she wasn’t there, that makes what Rand did just that much worse; but on the other, if she was there, well, damn, because that means Graendal got an even lamer exit than Elaida did. We didn’t even get to see her! My reaction, she is torn!

Um, what else. Oh, right, the big one: my duly appointed Awesomely Awesome Scene of Awesomeness.

Which would be – Dah dah-dah DAH! – Verin’s Last Hour.

I’m sorry, I meant Verin’s Last Hour OF AWESOME.

I mean, come ON. That was frickin’ gorgeous, y’all. Seal, clapping like a. Oh, yeah.

I am so freaking vindicated in my love for Verin, you guys. For Indeed she did show herself to be the veritable Zen Master of Sneakiness to the very end, with the culmination of her Seventy-Year Project of Tying Up Like Fifty Plotlines In Twenty Pages. I ask you, what other WOT character has done so much for one fandom? NONE, that’s who, thank you, goodbye. Not to mention, she fooled EVERYONE – and that includes the readership at large!

Sure sure, there have always been those who believed she was Black, and I’m sure there were even a few out there who hit upon the exact Sidney Bristow Double Agent formula here (though now I’m picturing Verin in an electric blue rubber minidress, which is all kinds of wrong, and now you are too. You’re welcome), but I’m in a fair ex-WOTFAQ-editing position to say that the vast majority of the fandom never hit upon it. For we were most skillfully misled, you guys.

Most readers (including me) were of the opinion that she was not Black, but had removed the First Oath so that she could lie, with various iterations of Purple Ajah/Second Foundation Ajah/Very Old Verin Theory curlicues tacked on for effect. Read the FAQ article if you don’t believe me; the very fact that her article isn’t even in the “Black or not?” section speaks volumes.

We were so close to being right, but we weren’t, y’all. Not exactly. Because Verin (and Jordan) were just that sneaky. Too. Frickin. Brilliant. I sigh contentedly in their general direction!

So, yeah, I think it’s safe to say I hearted that scene. I will love it and hug it and squeeze it and call it George, oh yes. And I’ll fight any one of youse wiseguys what says different, see? Putemup, putemup!

(Okay, not really, because that means I would have to fight Jason Denzel, who I already know disagrees with me over which TGS Scene is Top Most Awesome. And, he’s a pretty nice guy, who also owns a fair amount of medieval weaponry, so I’ll let it go. JUST THIS ONCE.)

Incidentally, this is also one of the two scenes that made me choke up. Verin’s death was about as awesome a WOT character death as can well be imagined (certainly one of the most useful in, like, ever), but that made it even more upsetting that she had to go. I won’t lie, I had to get a tissue.

The other scene that made me tear up was, shockingly, the little vigil Faile and Co. held for their erstwhile protectors/propositioners while being held by the Shaido. Considering my virulent hatred for that entire plotline, getting mushy over Rolan et al was about the last damn thing I would have expected, and yet there I was. I don’t know, maybe it’s just that I’m more sensitized to expressions of grief than I used to be. Growing up sucks, sometimes.

Oh, yeah, which reminds me: Mat and Perrin were in this book.

And I can’t let a spoilerriffic review of TGS end without bringing up the Plot Arc of Total Awesomeness, only slightly eclipsed by Verin’s Hour of Awesome (which was really part of the arc anyway, so), which is of course the entire Battle for the White Tower.

Not just the actual battle part with the Seanchan, though that of course was beautifully done (excepting the lack of Elaida, natch), but the entire campaign Egwene wages from within to reunite the Tower, bring Elaida down, and finally at long-goddamn-last effect a Black Ajah Purge. Or, to put it another way, the awesomeness is encompassed by every single second Egwene is on screen. Basically, she rocked from start to finish, and as of this moment is in firm first place as my favorite (living) WOT character.

Our Ooh! Ooh! Girl is all grown up, y’all. I’m so proud! *sniffle*

And thank God she was there, y’all, because if the whole of TGS had been Mat and Perrin being irrelevant and Gawyn being an idiot and Rand being a giant city-balefiring jerk, I really would have thrown the book through the wall. On its merits, even.

But fortunately Team Jordan is savvy enough to figure out that we must leaven the sourness of bottom-hitting-avec-vague-promise-of-future triumph with the sweetness of actual triumph, and thus I am sated. At least until Book 13! In which Rand had better gain back his awesome, zallumsane.

Aaaand I’m spent. I know there’s tons I didn’t even get to, and I ended on kind of a weird note, but the madness must stop somewhere, and I’m sure you guys will be more than happy to lambaste my wrongness fill in the gaps in the comments.

(That’s how “lambaste” is spelled? Really? Huh.)

Anyway, we presume you have enjoyed your ride on TGS Spoiler Mountain, as we see you have managed to refrain from blowing up the planet theme park planet at the summit. Good on ya, Guvnor! Remain seated, please (Permanecer sentados, por favor) until the ride comes to a full stop. Then go forth, laugh, be fruitful, and multiply the comments! Peace out, G!

Leigh Butler is a writer and blogger for Tor.com, where she *headdesks* frequently for the amusement and edification of others, and also conducts a Re-read of the Wheel of Time series, which is currently completed through Book Six, Lord of Chaos. She currently lives in New York City, which is only appropriate.

John Massey
1. subwoofer
Leigh? Is that really you? Doing this to us? The faithful- who have kept you sane;) over the last few months?
"Et tu, Brute?"

Every other post comes up 1700 my time, today I have this to contend with in the wee hours.
"Get Thee behind me Satan!"

John Massey
2. subwoofer
TW Grace
3. TWGrace
Let the Lord of Chaos Rule!!!

Go Rand!!

Wilson Grooms
4. Wilson Grooms
Awesomely awesome girl.

Regards being out-armed by Jason, you just may know someone who has access to the Jordan armory. Moi? Never pictured you as Min, but then never looked up your sleeves either. You trying to lull Jason into thinking you're harmless?

Thanks for your honest reviews of my bubba's epic.

4th of 3
S Diller
5. CuenDiller
Not reading yet cause I just got the book! but so tempting
Kristina Blake
6. kab1
Aaaaaaah- I still don't have the book. audible.com is letting me down....I'm off to chat with their customer service (maybe they're on west coast time??)

wow- a message from Wilson! How exciting! everything about this release has me so giddy (I did a little jig this morning!), except for the fact that I don't have the book yet!

must not look up to read review....
Wilson Grooms
7. Robert Edwin
I hope that by the time I get to this book (yes, that's right, I haven't read it yet and I'm reading this post, I am EVIL) I can appreciate Egwene as much as you do, because right now I am in TFOH in my re-read and she is firmly ensconced in last place on my list of favorite characters.

Also, it sounds like Moiraine (first place on my list of favorite characters) doesn't come back in this book :(
Jason German
8. illian
Well, with Rand balefiring a city, the whole "he will know her wrath" bit makes a hell of a lot more sense.

Because, really, who else beside the Amyrlin Seat is going to get to officially chew out the Dragon Reborn/nominal head of the Black Tower (I forget, do they have an actual title for that yet?) for overstepping the bounds of using the One Power?
Chris Davis
9. SirSarek
Yeah, the lack of Moiraine rescuing was about the only thing I was disappointed with in this book. Definitely felt like a return to the WoT of old, despite the author change up. The first chapter was the only one that really felt out of place for me, and then after that I stopped noticing the different voice and just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Bravo to BS and RJ both!
Chris Davis
10. SirSarek
What did you guys think of the whole "Rand & Moridin have a friendly chat in T'A'R" scene? I'm trying to figure out just where this link up between the two of them is going. Obviously, that's why Rand was able to channel TP, but did he channel it himself or did he channel it through Moridin via the link? It seems like the two merging into one (I think it was Min's vision?) wasn't Rand & LT, but maybe Rand and Moridin after all?
Leigh Butler
11. leighdb
Wilson @ 4:

Knives? Well, they're nice and all, but in a showdown with the Denzel, I'll be needing SWORDS! Whoo!

Heh. Though this may not impress him, as I'm pretty sure he saw me (try to) swing one at JordanCon. It was kind of sad.

And you are so welcome. Honor to serve, as always.
Merrill Danford
12. Merrillific
Dude, you are hilarious. Did you cop the "LEIGH SMASH" thing from "The Tick"? Ahhh.. the Proto Clown... Well, I, for one, enjoy spoilers, and being that I have to wait another 4-bloody-6 weeks before I can get my copy, I'll take what I can get in the way of story-continuation satisfaction now, thank you very much!
Merrill Danford
13. Merrillific
YESSS!!!! I am super-psyched now, can't wait to read the Egwene line! Yum....

And also loved the Stenibeck/Looney Tunes reference... gah!
paul Hend
14. tugthis
Leigh, thanks in advance for this review, and altough I haven't read it yet, I will before my copy of the book arrives (unfortunately delayed by those trollocs at Amazon). I will because I value your opinion, and you are the "added value" in my WOT enjoyment. . . You and others. . .

Sorry if I may have been harsh with the earlier review that wasn't a review, but here you have made the sun come out and the birds sing. . .
Wilson Grooms
15. sus_b
Who else wants to know what's going down at the black tower? It was mentioned once!!
Joseph Blaidd
16. SteelBlaidd
Hello, my name is SteelBlaidd and I am a spoilier addict.

I can't get the book today :( so I'm Chaseing spoiliers around the net.

I would have been very disapointed if Rand hadn't gone to a very dark place. His experiance is, I think, supposed to parallel that of the Vietnam veterans who returned home to rejection and condemnation instead of honor and gratitude.

The depth of his PTSD is a result of his inability to deal with his guilt for killing his wife. I think that we haven't realy considered the marriage of Lews Therin Tellemon and Ilyena Moerelle Dalisar in suficient detail, in part because the only person who could tell us about it has been avoiding the topic as hard as he could.

It occurs to me the the reaction of Warders to the death of their Aes Sedai is suposed to mirror LTT reaction to the death of Ilyena.

Here is what I have been ably to deduce.
1. we know from his phisical description that LTT was "middle aged" for a male channeler, probably late middle age, so roughly 400 yars old at his death.
2. We know that Lanfear was his first lover and their relationship happened when they were young just learning the one power.
3. We know that Lanfear considers Ilyena to have 'stolen' LTT from her.
4. We know LTT and Ilyena had several children.
5. From the Guide we know that they were married 50 years before the War of the Power which lasted 10 years so they were married roughly 60 years.

From these I deduce that Ilyena and Lews Theirin got together relitively soon after his breakup with 'Mierin' and by the time of the Prolouge of tEotW they were very much Old Marrieds and happily married at that.

I think it's important to recognize that in many ways LTT's reaction to his wifes death is a model of the reaction of Warders to the death's of their Aes Sedai.
Chris Davis
17. SirSarek
@15 Yeah, I think that there was a mention of the sisters who had been sent there not reporting back yet which leads one to believe all did not go as planned with the bonding...
Kev Hamm
18. cavynmaicl
So not reading this yet, but only because MY COPY HAS YET TO ARRIVE! I'M DYING HERE! DYING I SAY!

(please return to your regular posting with my jealousies)
19. Joanne
Hi all! Another long time lurker on the re-read here due to too much work, but I will give in now.

Thank you for the great review Leigh! It was very satisfactory and I mostly agree with you.

I was lucky enough to get the book on Saturday due to a bookshop ignoring the release date here in Germany and I am dying to hear what everyone has to say about it.

can’t wait until next year… ;-)

@ SteelBlaidd
Good point about LTTs marriage, and definitely important in this book I think
Jason Denzel
20. JasonDenzel

DO you have any idea how HARD it is to not be able to talk about TGS since ... whatever month it was Ages go when I read the darned thing?

I seriously thought Rand was going to kill Min. Like, for reals, yo.

I thought that was it for her, and he (Rand) was going to truly be one and the same with Lews Therin in that they've both killed their honey's.

Best Scene in the Book (*holds up dueling sword to Leigh*): Rand gets collared and breaks out by using the True Power. Shiver me timbers. Wow.

BTW- some people have suggested that Rand drew the True Power via the link with Moridin. What do you think? I got the impression that it was just directly from the Dark One. The DO saw (or put?) Rand in a place so terrifying to him, and then offered the only means of escape. And if I were Rand, and that was my "Min", I can't say I would have chosen different. You?
Keith Benson
21. Midas
I just downloaded the audiobook, which clocks in at around 33 hours. It will be a LONG time before I get through that! (Unfortunately, I don't have the time to read this sucker any faster, though I'll probably purchase it too!) It'll be tough to avoid the review and the postings here in the meanwhile...
Leigh Butler
22. leighdb
jwdenzel @20:

some people have suggested that Rand drew the True Power via the link with Moridin. What do you think?

I definitely think the link with Moridin had something to do with it, but I don't think he got the TP *from* Moridin, per se. More like he got access to Moridin's access to it, if that makes sense.

Which makes me predict that next, Moridin will get access to Rand's various Warder bonds with Elayne et al. YIPE YIPE YIPE

I also have no basis for this, but I didn't get the impression that the DO was necessarily aware it was Rand (and not Moridin) drawing the TP. I could be totally wrong about that though.
Leigh Butler
23. leighdb
Merrillfic @12:

I thought the SMASH thing was from The Incredible Hulk, actually... But who knows where I actually got it from.
Joseph Blaidd
24. SteelBlaidd
*wind whistles*

It's quietin here. Guess everyone is to busy reading.
Wilson Grooms
25. Seanbob
How awful to EVER suggest that Rand should have to listen to one critical word from that self-important ingrate, Egwene. ALL of the true Aes Sedai should of been falling over themselve learning how to help Rand save the world. If they had instead of, as is the way of women, trying to control and manipulate what they have no right to, then perhaps Rand would of never been pushed to the depths he has fallen too. Rand has more to fear from his supposed friends than from his enemies. At least his enemies are open in their intent to destroy him whereas the friends think that the best way to help him is to control him rather than simply helping him and so they are destroying him.
26. Trigga
My book will be here 2marrow but..... from wut i have read from various spoilers this book won't be one of fav books for 3 reasons: my fav Mat gets down played in this new book. Rand goes insane(as if he wasn't already), and to much aes sedai/tar valon chaps which i hope ends in them all being collared.
Yehuda Porath
27. Yehuda
leighdb @22 - I don't think he got Moridin's access to the TP, I think it was from the DO himself. I think the DO gave Moridin instructions to help it along.

Look at the setup - Moridin tells him something the readers have known all along but none of the Good Guys did - the DO can bring his servants back from the dead. He also tells him that balefire will prevent this.

Then Shaidar Haran releases Semirhage and has her re-grab Rand. Rand, in his desperation, grabs at something he would never otherwise touch, the corrupting TP, and is also forced to break a massive internal rule, i.e. no killing women.

So now we have a corrupted Rand who has good internal reasons to use balefire alot and no longer has his major inhibition of care of women. If Rand can balefire enough so that the Pattern breaks down, the DO wins. If Rand is sufficiently corrupted to destroy himself and/or everybody on his side, the DO wins. All-in-all, a decent tradeoff for Semirhage and possibly Graendel.
Leigh Butler
28. leighdb
Yehuda @ 27:

Your point is well taken.

Fortunately for the Good Guys, Mohammed went to the mountain, so to speak, eh?
Pete Pratt
29. PeteP
Just finished the book for the first time (yes, I am a speed reader) I will read it again 2 or 3 times over the next few weeks, just so it sinks in.

Just a few notes -- Sanderson did pretty well overall, though I picked up a couple of things that RJ would never have written in a million years. Given the total effort, that is not bad at all.

Siuan/Gareth was really nice.

Semirhage's breaking was epic. As noted above, I wondered if it was a plot to get Rand to use the True Power as well.

On the other hand, maybe he actually got hold of the OTHER TRUE POWER, for one for Good Guys, coming from the Creator.

Nyn was all out awesome.

I really wanted Moiraine back, but I am glad that her eventual return was not the reason for Rand returning to being Rand.

Tuon *HEADDESK*. Girl, you were smarter than that. But pretty cool to resist Rand's super-ta'verenness.

Eg -- really good stuff here. She finally looks like she will no longer be annoying. Wow, it has taken a long time.

Oh, and I loved Verin's reveal so much. Getting to the true nature of being a Darkfriend/Black Ajah. Selfishness, not hatred or anger. Goes really well with Rand's moment of clarity in the end of the tGS.

Again, great book, though it was sure hard reading all the horrible stuff with Rand. A true rock bottom.
Wilson Grooms
30. astrawing

That's all I wanted to say.

Wilson Grooms
31. AllenWilson
Why the heck isn't there an ebook version?!? Come on tor you're killing me
Wilson Grooms
32. peterbinkowski
ahhh Leigh! I just couldnt keep my self from reading this! haha I wrote up a blog, as a storm leader of the chicago event, anticipating and just sharing what im feeling. This blog was definitely one of the influences ;)


argh!! cant wait until tomorrow! This book, especially Verin's thread seems to be simply flooring. Great Review!

~Peter Binkowski
Rob Trotter
33. shadar
So many great moments.
I'm with Jason - the Rand in the Collar killing min scene was possibly the most memorable scene from the books.

I loved every Avi point of view..

The Black Ajah getting carried off as slave trope (Liandrin (although she might have something else to do now), Galina, Elaida) is starting to feel old.

Laras feels almost as sneaky as Verin was.
P R Khangure
34. prk
I thoroughly enjoyed TGS, both as a nostalgic trip to rasfwrj times, but also as the book itself.

Rand being forced to strangle Min, and the emotional fallout from it.

Rand using one of the treacherous nobles as a Graendal metre, to see if balefiring the entire compound was successful.

How low Rand plummeted in his reunion with Tam...

Total exultation at the end of the book, that the White Tower stands, albeit a little battered, and that Egwene won her battle and is the Amyrlin of the reunited Tower.

I was a little disappointed that we didn't see anything of Elayne this time, but I assume we'll get there in book #13.

Anyone else thinking Rand, Elayne & Aviendha wielding Callandor at the Final Battle?

So much to talk about, but I also need to re-read, given the pace at which I ripped through it this time.

William Fettes
35. Wolfmage
I haven't fully finished yet, (I'm near the end), but I'll share some impressions.

First, I must commend Brandon on his writing, it really is excellent. Looking back, the high quality of the overall work both contrastingly validates and diminishes the criticism I had of Chapter 1. The panic of some fans that BS would ruin the series looks laughable now, because that chapter is IMO the worst written section in the whole book. Some will say those criticisms were always exaggerated, but the contrast is real to me - none of the subsequent sections had any major points where I had trouble with the characterisation or got my immersion spoiled or snagged by discordant idioms or descriptive prose. I didn't think Mat was off either, the only thing wrong with his bits was the very first part of Mat's first chapter, which was just an unnecessary and awkwardly belaboured analogy. Otherwise he captured Mat well enough for me.

Indeed, I think BS improves on RJ's pacing in many ways, and he is particularly good at getting into characters' heads more directly than RJ, though sometimes less subtly, as well as integrating fan perceptions and ideas into the book.

Am I the only one who didn't really have much of a problem with Rand's use of balefire in Bandar Eban? Perhaps I missed the evidence that there were non-compulsion ruined people who were killed, but I didn't see any. Rand's justification was reasonable IMO if a little detached from the humanity of it. Fact is, it worked and killed Graendal permanently. For me, I found his flippant remark about Lan's death, his dark aura / new attitude and his TP usage to be far more concerning than his usage of balefire there. Tam is another story.

I generally loved Semirhage's scenes and her dialogue was very well written. It was cool seeing Sorilea casually belittle her and get a reaction, but I felt the whole spanking and eating off the floor thing reducing her to tears straight away was a bit simplistic for me at least.

The scene with Rand and Min was just chilling and spellbinding. It gave me goosebumps reading it, and the TP revelation was amazing.

Loved seeing Cadsuane acknowledge her limits a bit more and acknowledge Nynaeve. That was long overdue.

I really liked Egwene in this book. She is still kind of annoying with her hubris at times but she is fully in my top 5 now after a long time in the bottom order. I loved how she used my exact argument about the illegitimacy of the coup against Siuan (due to BA involvement in such a narrow vote) to win over the BA hunters. I claim vindication on that point even if I originally got the number of Sitters wrong.

Verin - OMG - Verin is the best. I knew that my appreciation of her was well founded. What a cool pay-off that was. I didn't see it coming, but it was amazing.

Gawyn - arg - whilst it was good to finally get inside his head a bit more in a way that actually deals with his past action, these chapters really just confirmed that he is an idiot. His rationale for siding with Elaida and killing Hammar was emotional and childish. Nothing about duty or oaths to the Tower at that stage - that came after. Nothing about knowing Elaida better or enforcing the law. Turns out it was as petty as not understanding the situation with Egwene and Elayne, and being bitter at Siuan, and then blindly picking the wrong side. We never get a good reason for his ongoing loyalty to the Tower despite him having ongoing reservations about the fact that the TAS are trying to get him killed. Indeed, the Younglings come off as a bunch of unthinking slavish idiots as a whole. Also, he still has no good reason to believe Rand killed Morgase. Moreover, his flight from the Younglings to 'save' Egwene damsel-in-distress style is little improvement. His big fighting entrance to the SAS camp and his line that a 'blademaster' was here to see the General was showy and juvenile. Having Gareth Bryne challenge him as a spoiled princeling who couldn't pick a side was immensely satisfying. I used to think Egwene and Gawyn deserved each other, now I really think Egwene could do much better.

For that reason I didn't even get much satisfaction out of his dicking practicing the sword forms and being blademaster which I usually love. The whole thing with him easily beating the guy who could sometimes beat Lan was just taking away cool points from a far superior character, Lan, to give them to a far inferior character, Gawyn.

Some people complained about Avi's scenes, but I thought they were great. I really liked the Wise Ones' Q&A with her about Rand and other issues. It really showed Avi's evolution as a thinker and bookended her journey from a spear-sister. Her uncertainty about being punished didn't annoy me and the arc was more interesting than Perrin's and even Mat's arcs. In fact, I don't really think Perrin needed to be in the book at all. Also her firefighting was way cool.

Min was good - I knew her reading and philosophising would be important. Take that Min haters.
Rikka Cordin
36. Rikka
I'm 31 chapters in and DAMN it's rollercoaster-y. full report will come sometime tomorrow but I'm taking a break after something like 6.5 hrs of reading. Only a few more!
Wendy Churchill
37. LadyTaurean
OMG, this book evoked so many reactions and emotions from me. I literally yelled out "What the hell is going on with Aviendha???" so loud I scared my cat. I bawled so energetically during the Rand/Semi/Min scene that he then came back to see what the hell was wrong with ME. I actually think Gawyn is on his way to finding his center, and that impressed me. Still too much to fully process... just WOW!
38. vecki
Ok, I haven't got the book yet, but I generally find spoilers do not bother me (usually because I've forgotten them all before I get around to reading the book).

I'm going on a book hunt today for it, but due to a whole plethora of factors I won't be able to start reading it, even if I do find it, until tomorrow.

That said, sounds AWESOME. Yes, that's ALLCAPS AWESOME.

Jonah Feldman
39. relogical
Damn! Just finished the book, and hell, yeah! It was awesome. I mean, I hated everything Rand did, but it was so well done, especially the ending. I'm glad he won't be like that for the next two. Regarding him using the True Power, I guess it could have something to do with Moridin, but my first thought was that he reversed the a'dam and took the TP from Semirhage. On a side note, why the hell did Moridin tell him about the resurrection/balefire thing?

Brandon did an amazing job getting into the characters' thoughts. It made Rand's character arc unbelievably emotional.

Cadsuane should have thought things through better, but she didn't do anything too unreasonable.

Egwene is the most awesomest, greatest character ever. Except Rodel Ituralde. Oh, and frakking Verin was even more awesome than that. And Gawyn was better than usual. I liked Bryne mentoring him and asking where the hell Gawyn's logic has been for the past eight books.

No word on who Demandred and Mesaana are? Who killed Asmodean? Drat.

My least favorite parts were the ones I was looking forward to most: Rand meeting Tuon, Rand meeting Hurin, Rand meeting Tam. Ouch. Maybe they can give him another chance now that Rand is slightly saner?

And of course, I am very conflicted about Elaida's fate. Should I party, or just jump with joy?
Justin Levitt
40. TyranAmiros
First, the book was AWESOME (@38 :) )

My two put-the-book-down-and-walk-away moments of disbelief were Rand's fight with Semirhage and his attack on Graendal. But at the same time, add me to the list of people skeptical Graendal is really dead.

I think BS did a really good job with Egwene and the resolution of the tower split. One noticeable thing I struggled with was that it did feel like a book split in half--so little development on Perrin and Mat, no Elayne (not that I mind this), no Padan Fain. I did love the return of Beslan and thought Tuon was awesome as usual, though it was strange to see Selucia in her new role. I can't wait for Mat to finish rescuing Moiraine so we can get Mat, Rand, and Fortuona in the same room.

New theory time--Rand uses the True Source to hold the DO back as the bore is sealed, thus keeping saidin and saidar from getting tainted.
Wilson Grooms
41. moondivatx
OK!!! I just need to know...did Min die?
William Fettes
42. Wolfmage
relogical @ 39

"I guess it could have something to do with Moridin, but my first thought was that he reversed the a'dam and took the TP from Semirhage."

Nah, the TP can't be used without the Dark One's blessing. So Rand might have been able to sense it better via his link with Moridin, but he could only access it as part of the DO's will.

"On a side note, why the hell did Moridin tell him about the resurrection/balefire thing?"

I've always thought that Ishmael was way more important than other Foresaken; he doesn't really care about their deaths. In many ways they're not important. There's never been any true competition for Naeblis only an illusory contest. In that sense, he's the one not motivated by selfishness - contra Verin's dicta.

"And Gawyn was better than usual. I liked Bryne mentoring him and asking where the hell Gawyn's logic has been for the past eight books."

Yes, it's an improvement for me because it sets him on the right path for a change.

TyranAmiros @ 40

"New theory time--Rand uses the True Source to hold the DO back as the bore is sealed, thus keeping saidin and saidar from getting tainted."

As above, I don't think you can draw the TP (not TS) without the DO's sanction.
Justin Levitt
43. TyranAmiros
Wolfmage @ 42

Possibly, but I'm not sure why the DO would have given Rand permission to balefire Semi, particularly since Semi's forcing Rand to kill Min would probably have broken Rand forever. I don't think we know enough about the True Power to take the Forsaken at their word, particularly those who rarely use the TP.

Alternatively, if Rand is touching the TP through Moridin, who has permission, the DO may not be able to stop Rand.
Greg Bloom
44. MuleHeadedLummox
Just got done with my eight hour marathon read-through. Overall I thought this was an excellent addition to the series and found the endings of both major storylines to be very satisfying. I thought BS did very well and didn't really have any problems with the characterization except that Mat seemed to be played too much for humor. Granted, this was probably intentional as the funniest chapter in the book (Legends) comes immediately after one of the biggest WHAT THE HELL! moments at the end of the previous chapter, so this was probably meant to be an emotional swing.

Rand's story arc was depressing, but I think it worked very well. When Rand started to flip out on Tam I seriously thought that he was going to end up killing his own father. We see Rand slipping further and further down the path of insanity, before finally coming to grips with himself at the end. His continual fear of being 'boxed' was never so explicitly stated by RJ as it was in TGS, but Rand's story arc in this book called for him to go over the edge before coming back, and I think it worked well.

Egwene's arc was also satisfying, and I actually like Gawyn for a few seconds of it, although they came and went (mostly went). Am I the only one that loved how she shot him down at the end? She's grown up, now it's his turn if he wants to be her Warder. I agree that this storyline has the moments of awesome, while Rand's has the dark moments and the WTF moments, keeping the book from being overly dark. The Siuan/Bryne scene where she explains her motives was one of the best in the book IMHO. I also noticed something Leigh has pointed out in her re-read, that while people in WOT tend to not share information, when they do share information, it tends to meet with positive results, and this lowering of her defences eventually leads to Bryne trusting Siuan enough to ask to be both her Warder and husband.

"A Visit from Verin Sedai" and Egwene's actions during the Seanchan Raid where the other two parts of the book that could definitely be called Crowning Moments of Awesome for their respective characters. I'm interested in seeing exactly what the Seanchan will get up to in the next two books, but hopefully Rand will be in a better state of mind to deal with it.

Aviendha and Min also both got some decent development. I pegged Avi's punishments as some sort of final Wise One test right off, but I didn't realize exactly what she had to do to pass that test. I just wish we had seen her again at some point. (How long does it take her to get to Rhuidean anyway?) I liked the scene where Min shows up Beldeine in prophecy interpretation.

On that note, my theory on the prophecy 'He shall hold a blade of light in his hands, and the three shall be one.' is as follows. The reason for the flaw in Callandor that magnifies the taint is that Callandor is somehow linked to the True Power as well as saidin. Rand will need to use Callandor in a weaving of all three Powers: saidin, saidar, and the True Power. This may be in the sealing, where he will form a buffer with the TP, and repair the pattern with both saidin and saidar.

Finally, I felt that Perrin's storyline was mostly a placeholder, to avoid having him absent from the book entirely as he was in TFoH. Although it was nice to see him and Faile, (and Faile more grown up from her experiences as a Shaido captive), not much really happened here. Of course, we are given several very tantilizing hints of what is to come in both his and Mat's storylines. We know that Perrin will indeed meet up with Galad, and that Morgase's identity will come out, although we'll have to wait for Towers of Midnight to find out how. And I'm probably not the only one who can't wait to find out what Verin wants Mat to do for her.
Henry Loose
45. schrodinger
3/4ths the way through it and so far all i've had to eat today was two nutrigrain bars for breakfast. its now almost 10 and i have to stop to eat something. all i have to say so far is f-ing BadAss.
William Fettes
46. Wolfmage
TyranAmiros @ 43

"Possibly, but I'm not sure why the DO would have given Rand permission to balefire Semi, particularly since Semi's forcing Rand to kill Min would probably have broken Rand forever."

Interesting point. That does make sense.

"I don't think we know enough about the True Power to take the Forsaken at their word, particularly those who rarely use the TP."

We're had a fair bit of confirmation though. We know that from the Age of Legends a total of 30 people, including Ishmael, were 'given' access. Then we have Foresaken in the current age thinking that Moridin was crazy to use so much TP, implying that it was open to them to use it if they accepted the risks. But then we have Moridin in Winter's Heart with exclusive access now that he is Naeblis. That seems pretty conclusive to me.

"Alternatively, if Rand is touching the TP through Moridin, who has permission, the DO may not be able to stop Rand."

That would be one way to solve the problem of the DO seemingly giving Semi one last chance, whilst explaining how Rand could access it.

If it's true, then your theory might work, although it seems kinda unfair that Rand has to use the a connection to the DO to win.
Wilson Grooms
47. David DeLaney
I have read the book. I haven't read Leigh's spoiler-post yet. I do have to contribute the following, though:

Subway - footlong tuna cheese mayo mustard lettuce onion oil vinegar salt pepper oregano, XL Dr Pepper, 2 cookies

... no wait, wrong cut and paste. Let me try again:

The Wall of Books grows, and series come and pass, leaving reviews that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is forgotten when the series that gave it birth comes again. In one series, called unending by some, a series long past, a series yet to come, a sequel arose around the high Tor. The sequel was not the beginning; neither was it the end. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the growing of the Wall of Books. ...But it was the beginning of _an_ end.

Having finished the book (with a 4-hour nap, then a rehearsal, in the middle, neither really by choice)? I have to completely agree with Leigh's previous spoiler-free review: ... holy SHIT.

People were complaining that nothing was happening in some of the previous books. :) I don't think we'll get that in the future.

(And ... there's TWO MORE TO COME YET. *twitch*)

Tony Zbaraschuk
48. tonyz

Actually, squee-squee-squee.

For the Egwene plotline, anyway. She is so incredibly awesome all through this that it hurts my brain to contemplate it. Particularly her interactions with Silviana, but watching her with a circle of novices drawing through a sa'angreal to blast dragons from the sky... darn it, that should have been the cover. Someone better do a fanart piece of that.

The Rand plotline hurt, badly. Not that it wasn't well-written, but watching him do that to himself, boy did it hurt. Though the moment where he explains his reasoning to Nynaeve, that's pretty incredible (as is the fact that she doesn't have an answer; there's really no *rational* answer to that sort of despair, you have to pull out on the strength of other things.) And it was very interesting seeing that for both Rand and Egwene, the moment of calm peacefulness among normal folk was the moment of sanity-restoration.

Much good and funky stuff. There are a couple of places where I think Sanderson hit the "here's a metaphor" button a little too hard, but... on the whole, it really works very well.

Structurally, the book was much better balanced than some of the previous ones. Rapid inter-character flipping, not long-drawn-out passages on one character. Reasonable balance of appearances, and some really awesome moments by so many characters.

Oh, and I think the DO was deliberately using up Semirhage for that moment. He let Rand channel the True Power, and he's the one wanting people to use balefire (the only way out of that situation. Remember, he and Ishamael DON'T want to kill Rand. If they wanted to kill Rand, they could have done so pretty much any time the last eleven books.
Wilson Grooms
49. Planeswalker
jwdenzel @20:

hahaha, so happy i found that dragonmount forum for TGS spoilers. one week ahead was getting me fidgety wanting someone to talk to too. i can't imagine months ahead!


good recap of scenes. weird for me though because although i find so many great scenes, only one gave me the goosebumps - Egwene+novices vs Seanchan raid... I have to agree with your fast recap still.

Here are my Top 3s of scenes with meanings:

Disregarded Exits:
1. Mishima - really, no one cares though
2. Graendal - i think she's dead. But w0w, no body? no fight? Oh dear, and I would have wanted more HalimaxGraendal!!! =)
3. Black Ajah (aka Sheriam, et al) - tempted to place Elaida here but I guess we'll be seeing more of her later.

Gone Bonkers:
1. Rand - stone to steel to cuendillar to cotton??? hehehe
2. Elaida - i can't remember her going this crazy in KoD. must be Mesaana's work...
3. Villagers/Zombies - the DO really has twisted the Pattern bad.

Next Book Expectations:
1. Verin's Letter to Mat - Verin's sneakiness til the end! =)
2. Callandor - how will this be used to seal the DO? now that CK is destroyed. Min is getting the idea, but somehow Cadsuane already knows about this
3. Rand meets Seanchan vs Aes Sedai - however will these 3 powers form our group of Light

Moments of Awesomeness:
1. Ooh Ooh Girl Egwene and Novices - I still wouldn't put her at the top all time just because she still thinks to 'guide' Rand. Well, all AS do... Anyways, here in TGS, she owns it.
3. Ituralde - great great General.
4. Cadsuane vs Semirhage - see what pride can do??? Oh and Leigh, spanking? definitely they conspire against you. =)
5. Min - "This is what we all get when we try to control Rand!" - at least one of them is wise enough to see. I heart Min.

Unexpected Twists:
1. Verin - I'm sorry, I wasn't that enamored with her final hour. It's mostly because Egwene gets all the credit of killing those BA. I know she could never do it herself. But at least for 70 years, she could have had done something more than just a book (of course, she's Brown) for Egwene to take action. Really now, maybe it's just me but I'm more excited with her letter to Mat. And not with the invisible book.
2. Rand's reunion with Tam and Hurin - Well Rand was crazy... but fans have been waiting for this too long, and that's what happened?
3. Rand and Min and Choeden Kal and True Power and Balefire-abuse and Lews Therin (That line though that says "there never was a Lews Therin inside him" made me think that Leigh was really right. It was only memories from LTT and not a separate entity. Though, earlier he also mentioned "second chance". Oh well, Brandon should have been more specific with this. Debates are on again.)
Wilson Grooms
50. Be'Lal
For how much happened, surprisingly few longstanding issues are definitively cleared up. By my count, the following WOTFAQ questions are definitively answered:


On the other hand, the following sections of the WOTFAQ should have new material added, but questions are still outstanding:
2.3.07 BF and paradoxes
2.3.14 7SSR
2.6.6 Military Roundup
Most of section 4--4.2 beggar staff fulfilled?

And of course, new questions could be added:
Is Graendal really dead?
Rand and the TP--DO's plan, or not?
Why would Moridin tell Rand about BF'ing the FS?
What is Up with the BOTO?

And, in the interests of completeness, a list of sections that should have been updated after KOD, but haven't been yet despite certain Oaths, that we didn't learn much new about in TGS:
May we expect the Brown Ajah to get with it already?
Wilson Grooms
51. Darkhero
It seems to me Moridin told rand about Balefiring to destroy the pattern. Ol' Mori doesn't seem like he really loves the pattern and wants it to maybe end cause he's tried of being reborn, easiest way is to have Rand Either Balefire him or use enough of it to destroy the pattern. The Dark One would then win by default.
William Fettes
52. Wolfmage

I count 2?

1. Don't betray DO
2. Keep secrets until hour of death.
3. Profit?
William Fettes
53. Wolfmage
Yeah, I'd say the chances of Graendal being alive are minuscule. Samuel's death had far more ambiguity to it and he was toast. This is pretty clear cut unless you think someone else compelled him and they got balefired.
Leigh Butler
54. leighdb
Wolfmage @35:

I didn't bring it up in the review, but I disagree with you about Mat, more or less. I got used to the new Mat as his POVs went on, but it was definitely not the same character voice in my opinion. And that first analogy was actively painful.

I have hopes, though, that he will improve once he actually has something to do.

To numerous folks:

One thing to keep in mind in the Moridin/TP debates is that Graendal's POV in the Prologue shows that this link between Moridin and Rand goes both ways. Rand was getting eviller, so what might be happening to Moridin?
gaylord dean
55. DeadlyArgon
well worth the wait.
great work BS and thanks!
for not letting RJ down...
your work is by no means a disappointment.
can't wait for the next one.

oh and shadar@33 were you saying that Elaida is Black? Verin expressly wrote that she is not. Or did i misunderstand you? Anyways, Verin is really great! Over the years i can not decide wether to think her Black or she just discovered that the oaths can be removed (in my regard, she is smart enough to have figured it out). Turns out i was waaaaaaaay underestimating her. What she did puts her, for me, in the same light as Moiraine. It really is a pity that Saerin took the rod when it was Verin who needs it most.

What's up with Laras anyway?

About Rand, he was easily the most irritating person in most parts of the book, too cold, too hard-headed, too....annoying hehehe. I'm still unsure wether to wish that she got Graendal with that monstrous balefire or that she got away so that they can get down to a real showdown of powers (because it seems that the all the women FS, except for Lanfear, lose too easily. why?) i was really really really glad when at his last chapter i got to say "he's back". yay!!!!

Although i think that Elaida deserved what she got i was not entirely happy with the way it was told, i was thinking that it would have been more satisfying had the scene been like that where Adelorna almost got captured, except that she, of course, lost. i think the wall falling down on her is too convenient for her. but at least, she won't be able to use that bungling mind of hers anymore. how the hell did someone like that end up being advisor to a queen anyway? now, suffer much SUFFA! (evil laughter!)

That was great about Egwene, she's one of my faves now.Ü

Where's Fain? Hope Rand or anybody else gets to kill him before they march for Shayol Ghul...hehehe

oh, and i reckon the answer to what that prophecy Min was trying to decipher was that Rand would have to use saidin, saidar and the TP to seal up the hole on the DO's prison once again. That may be the way to avoid tainting saidin again.
Wilson Grooms
56. David DeLaney
Couple minor points:

We do see Rand thinking he _still_ doesn't know where Asmodean is. Hopefully that'll get cleared up in one of the remaining two.

From the Glossary: I don't know if anyone's pointed this out before ... but the 'calendar' entry makes it clear that the Third Age is -after- our own. How? By showing that the year's length is slightly LONGER than it is today - 365.35 days, compared to today's 365.242197 ...


PS: My captcha is "David corrupts". MUA HA HAAAAA!
Holly Finnen-Stewart
57. Branwhin
Okay. Doing something I haven't done much here, because I have to tell somebody or I'm going to explode: relating my first impressions without reading everybody else's comments first.

Leigh; no, flaming kidding! Holy SHIT!!!! I've just gotten off the roller coaster.

The Dark One is in Very. Deep. Guano. The Dragon rides again on the Winds of Time! /smug And as many predicted (hoped? I was one) Tam was the key. Not, though, in any way I would have hoped. Poor kid. And poor Da! Here's hoping Tam gets his hug really soon.

I think Brandon (and Jordan) both wanted us to get a hold of Rand again. He'd been slipping too far from us in the past few books; so hard most of us (thank the Light) couldn't identify with him. The cracks in his wall early on, even though we knew Semi was on the loose...

...and a sharp swat to Jahar and any other Borderman(person) who had the brilliant idea to keep a Forsaken in the DARK, no matter how demoralizing it might be!!! Mind you, Mr Superfade might be having an easier time with that these days.

Rand ... oh, lovey. I didn't quite cry till the end of the book when the ice broke finally, but ... OW! And here I sat (or lay cozily with a cat curled up about my person), mentally screaming at him ... no, you idiot, don't touch, don't go there ... oh, shit. You did that. Hurin's right, he's really stinky. That said I don't really see what *else* he could have done there.

Wow. I'm in a haze of absolute bliss, here. Well done, Team Jordan! Thank you most profoundly, Harriet, Brandon! RJ (can't call him Jim, sorry, it seems ... overly familiar somehow) is smiling.

Cadsuane was there in the roller coaster with me, too - up and down like a proverbial yo-yo. She most certainly had the right idea ... I've been mentally shrieking at Rand to quit acting like Aridhol for a while now ... but she went about it in the most irritating manner possible.

And Verin?????? AAAAAUGH! Sneaky, sneaky Verin ... I love you anyway, dear, rest in peace. Oh, hi, Verin! You're ... oh, so you *did* remove the Oath someho... WTF!!!???? Wait, wait, but the Black can't *talk* about... Oh. Er, well then.

Daigian. Dammit. Though Nynaeve very much FTW ... particularly as she stands to benefit most from the power structure as it stands. FTW in general, actually; well done Wisdom!

Some definite Egwene Awesomesauce, too - from her resistance, to changing tactics with the ground crumbling underfoot, to Silviana Brehon for Keeper. Very, very cool.

And a big AWWWWW for Siuan and Gareth. And Gawyn has found his brains! Somewhat. I still want to swat him for believing baseless rumour, but well, if somebody I'd met once was rumoured to have killed my parent/s and was running about claiming to be ... hmm. Won't go any further with that one.

Kay. Hi, Hurin! Good to see you again ... poor thing. You weren't expecting that, were you dear.

Right. I'll shut up now. Except for JOY!!!! And I'm almost happiest to be sharing my joy with such a wonderful group of people. Thanks, Leigh!

Wilson Grooms
58. douglasm
Wow. This book has easily claimed the #1 spot on my favorite books of all time list. Well done, Mr. Sanderson, very well done.

My personal favorite scene was the entire sequence with Egwene during the Seanchan attack. No dose of forkroot tea is going to stop her from fighting back, no sir.

There were two major moments near the beginning of that where I felt like actually cheering out loud:
1) Someone actually did something intelligent for once. Specifically, Egwene kept her head and gave the novices a crash course in linking that allowed her to use their power with her skill, neatly circumventing the whole forkroot problem.
2) Someone (again, Egwene) actually went and used some of that giant stockpile of *greal the White Tower has. The overwhelmingly dominant tendency of the WT to gather objects of the power and then leave them to collect dust, even the ones they understand like, say, every last one of the angreals and sa'angreals, has been an immense annoyance to me for a large part of the series.

And then there's the whole imagery of her standing there in the blasted hole in the Tower, hair streaming in the wind, blasting down every Seanchan in sight and doing a better job of fighting back than the entire rest of the Tower combined. I loved the little moment of confusion and dawning comprehension when the Aes Sedai near the base of the Tower learned about it.
Henry Loose
59. schrodinger
*contented sigh* just finished. And I completely agree. Holy SHIT! that was amazing. So many new things, with more questions than answers, but my main question: will the hit be good? was answered. It was GOOD. Oh so good. After finishing it my mind has shut down and i'm on autopilot. I expect to reboot in the morning and spend the next few weeks of my life rereading this book and the series as a whole. I might be able to form coherent arguments on this book. My mind is melted from all the awesomeness of this book (I paused at least 6 times during my reading to do happy dances). Two more years before Nirvana though, but this was pretty damn close.
Wilson Grooms
60. kab1
Just got done. It's way too late to write anything coherent, but had to come on here and see others comments.

The book left me feeling dazed. woah. so much happened.

Egwene and her actions during the Seanchan attack were particularly awesome.

and of course sneaky Verin, I love her! I'm particularly excited to see the rest of her orders play out, I think Mat said he saw a number of the sealed letters in her pouch. What about all of the BA that were executed, will the DO be bringing them back to life? I know they are not strong channelers in respect to the Forsaken, but better than nada? Or maybe the DO is satisfied with what's going on at the BT- we got a glimpse of that. I'm worried for Pevara.

@20 and others I do think that Rand channeling the TP has to do with his link to Moridin. Not sure why, but the fact that Moridin can channel it and they are "linked" seems important.

The part where I was most stunned was when Semi had Rand collared and he was hurting Min, I totally thought he was going to kill her. My whole body tensed up and my eyes skipped to the bottom of the page looking for her name again and if she was alive. I had to set the book down afterwards.

The entire book was awesome, great job Mr Jordan and Mr. Sanderson. I really enjoyed the flow of the book and the short constantly changing POVs throughout.
Wilson Grooms
61. stargazer
Let the speculatin' and analyzin' begin!

OK, so Verin: definitely Awesome. But also still mysterious and sneaky. Why did she choose right *now* for her big reveal, and why did she choose Egwene? What made her decide to leave Tear and head for Tar Valon, rather than either (a) biding her time longer for another attempt to see if she could actually get the Oath Rod and de-darkify herself somehow, or else just (b) having her Last Conversation with, say, Cadsuane and Nynaeve instead. Or Rand, for that matter.

As far as I can tell, when she headed north, she had no idea exactly what sort of situation she was headed into. Why was she confident enough to traipse across half the continent to find Egwene imprisoned in a war zone? I can't remember clearly enough her last scenes in KoD, and I don't have my copy at hand right now. What was the trigger that made her, after 70 years of very excellent sneaking and spying, to decide the time was up?

@40 - I had the exact same thought regarding sealing this time. The other option would be that *this* is why Rand has to die, to prevent the re-tainting through him. If LTT was touching the Dark One during the sealing, then maybe the DO reached through the weaves and through LTT to get at the Source to taint it. Arrange things such that Rand unleashes the sealing weave at precisely the same time as his blood is shed on the rocks etc. Then the DO gets sealed in and doesn't have a conduit to try Taint Mark II.

The moment of biggest surprise for me that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere else yet: Rand vaporizing the Choedan Kal. Ever since the saidar half got slagged during the Cleansing, I'd been wondering how Rand and co were going to fight the Dark One with such an unbalanced superweapon. Huh. That solution did *not* cross my mind. Nope. I think I'm putting my money on Callandor with Rand and his two channeling sweeties now. (With Min nearby directing strategy. I really do hope she's the one who figures out the necessary clever solution for resealing...)

Puzzle the second (though this one's not nearly as fun to debate...): So, um, about that Taim guy? Yeah, wonder what he's been up to lately...
Zachary A
62. Zeal
This book was really freaking tense and exceptionally well done.

My only real complaint is how Mat and Talmanes are portrayed. Mat was my favourite character and I found my skimming through his chapters because they were just so damned painful. Sadly, I didn't even miss much because the majority of his chapters are an important event dominated by Mat and Talmanes being turned into some kind of hyuckabilly Statler and Waldorf routine. I kept expecting an excange like:

Talmanes: Hey, Mat! Why do they do they call it the one power?
Mat: Because you certainly wouldn't want it twice!

Which, is really not how Mat's character voice should be. Mat's humour has always been more wry and dry than hyucktastic back and forths. I think the main problem here is that Sanderson tried to write Mat as funny but it's both the wrong kind of funny and, additionally, completely lacking in humour.

But the worst thing done to Mat, I feel, is that Mat the Commander who oozed an almost arrogantly nonchalant confidence has been replaced with He Who Must Be Constantly Second Guessed By His Subordinates. It's just URGH. Mat is meant to know how to lead and command it's kind of his thing. What was that crap with Vanin and Roidelle? You don't let your army get lost for days because your head scout is jealous of your cartographer. It just isn't how Mat would run a command.

And, while I am griping, what was the deal with his whining? Sure, Mat will kvetch and grouse til the cows come home. But out and out whining? Nonononono.

In conclusion: Really liked the book, didn't like how Mat was portrayed.
63. mattyh
@54 leighdb
"Rand was getting eviller, so what might be happening to Moridin?"

my guess is that moridin would be getting randy, or randier.

jokes aside, their interaction is going to be interesting, now that rand has found himself again.
Wilson Grooms
64. Planeswalker
I've been hearing comments about Mat being different in this book. I guess Brandon will be having a harder time in the next (Tower of Genjei) or easier one once he gets the fans input. I'm hoping Mat will be Mat in the next book, Brandon won't even try to be that humorous. =)


Where are you guys? In your bunkers? I'm assuming there should be no more twitches now. C'mon let's get the discussion going!!! =)
Pete Pratt
65. PeteP
I totally agree that Mat's [b][i]voice[/i] sounded completely off. I do hope Brandon does better next book (or he may end up ruining my favorite character)
Helen Peters
66. Helen
I've not read the posts yet as I'm still only halfway through. But I have a question. Where did Rand's sword come from that he remembers it as one of his memories, not as one of LTT's memories? Is it LTT's sword that he saw in the ancestratron back in Rhuidean? I'd go and look (it's TSR isn't it?), but don't want to be reading 2 wot books at once and totally confuse myself.

Edit - also am I the only person who never noticed the first a in Ishamael's name until one of the first chapters where someone went 'Isha-'???
James Jones
67. jamesedjones
OMG This - was - a - terrible - book. Please be aware that every non-spoiler review we saw came from someone with a vested interest in seeing the book succeed. It stunk! And (although I hate to say it) the book should never have been split.

Mat went from a clever scoundrel to being a clueless buffoon. If you've read the other works by BS, you'll know Mat came directly from Alcatraz. His humor was no longer sharp; it was long and boring. In Alcatraz this is incredible, and very clever, because his rambling diversions are part of the humor. But BS could not pull off Mat.

Aviendha came across as painfully dense to anyone who has read Feist's Riftwar saga. Her part should have been no more than one chapter that started with her hand in the bucket! The other shaming punishments could have been 1-2 paragraphs each, and seen from retrospective.

Rand should have been 3 chapters, MAX. Semi escapes and tortures him, which he escapes. He goes to Arad Domon, pisses off the Aiel, and finds Greandal, whom he balefires. He leaves Arad Domon, deals with some family drama, and finds he can cry while continuing his never-ending whining. Done.

After dealing with Egwene, which was a HUGE waste of Aes Sedai and soldiers (Gawyn) thinking and agonizing over doing nothing, this book should have been 100,000 words. And it still would have been one of the most boring and uneventful in the series. Bah!
F Shelley
68. FSS
I'll try to post more later, but wanted to get this out of my head quickly:

Since Rand balefired the shit out of Graendal using the Choeden Kal.

And since the prevailing theory of readers is that she killed Asmodean (I still say Lanfear did, but I can't think how she did it), let's use that for little discussion (I'm sure you all see where I'm headed).

Will we see Asmodean show before Tarmon Gaidon? How weird would that be ? After all, there's a flippin reason everyone stopped using balefire.

Or, how about Sammael? Would he have died without Graendal manipulating him? Is that the reason someone matching his description is ordering Shadowspawn around? I know the memory of someone's actions should remain after they're balefired, but RJ did posit the problems with the ripple effect of balefire.
F Shelley
69. FSS
OK - as for the larger issue of the book:

OK, I admit, I was worried about the different tone in CH 1 a few weeks ago, but you know, it sorta acted as an innoculation against the different tone, and I was able (with a couple of exceptions) to ignore the difference and just enjoy the story.

And the story, I thought, was very good!! Oh, we could go on about Mat being more whiny (although Talmanes' transformation into semi-funny person was a larger leap for me). And there were some scenes I thought should be included (Galad and Morgase), but overall, seeing the various plotlines resolved and Rand's development to evil and (hopefully) back to good (we don't know the results of his epiphany yet) made this a very satisfying read.

I won't argue with the people who hated it. If you hate the book, or are just disappointed with it, I certainly won't argue with you, and I hope you didn't waste too much money on it. But I really loved it, and was afraid I'd despise it, so I'm pleasantly surprised and very happy.

Of course, I read teh thing in about 8 hours yesterday, broken only by going to get my kid from school and then dinner, so my brain is still spinning. I will be re-reading it more slowly now over the next week or so, and may find more nuggets to nit-pick. But today I am very happy this book was written, and can't wait to read the next 2 books.
Rachel Vines
70. metria31183
I finished the book last night, and it was a great book. I had read this review before I started on the book, I knew what was coming, but I was still pleasantly surprised at the way some events played out (Verin's death specifically).

I only have two realy criticisms:

While Mat was funny to me in this book, he was still over the top. This was not Robert Jordan's Mat. I hope Sanderson has toned him down for the next book since Mat will be a major character.


Seriously, ZOMBIES? WTF? ZOMBIES? Are you fucking kidding me? (I acutally yelled this out when I was reading that chapter. My husband though I had lost it). I truly don't get why everyone is obsessed with zombies today (but that's a rant for another time). I thought that chapter was one of the worst nods to pop culture ever. I really wanted to stop and chunk the book across the room when I read it. Please BS, no more effing zombies!!!!!
Sam Kelly
71. Eithin
I'll start by saying I liked it, and in many respects it rocked. Much appreciation to Sanderson for that. Egwene and Verin and a few others get to show off the unambiguously good parts of the Aes Sedai, and Nynaeve seems to be recovering from her attack of comicreliefitis. The Battle of the White Tower easily outclasses Dumai's Wells in sheer awesomeness, and the sensible characters (Egwene, Bryne, Nynaeve on a good day) appear to have started handing out clues to the others.

On the other hand, I'm now going to complain about the relatively few things I didn't like, because I have much more to say about those than the more numerous good parts.

Mat: where was he? Who was this misogynist comic-relief stranger? The false-identities scene was sidesplitting, but it wasn't either a) Mat or b) any actual character. It's straight from an AD&D party. I'd honestly rather not see him onscreen at all, and just hear about - or be able to imagine - what he's doing.

The White Tower BA-hunters: they used to rock, but here they just got unceremoniously pushed into the sidelines for fear of stealing some of Egwene's glory. She really does have enough of her own that she shouldn't have any fear of sharing.

Cadsuane: I'm not sure whether she got mishandled, or her inner risible incompetence got revealed. Everyone's talked her up since she appeared, but she hasn't actually done much of anything useful, and here she just makes a succession of arrogant rookie mistakes. Assuming that Semirhage would do anything except laugh at torture? This parallels Rand's method of dealing with Graendal. You never, ever play a Forsaken at their own game. Worse, Cadsuane appears to be infecting Sorilea with crapness.

Semirhage: she breaks to one session of mild humiliation, and can't bear to miss a meal? Oh, dear. And, regarding the ongoing spanking discussion: here, Cadsuane is specifically and purposely doing it because it's the most socially humiliating thing she can think of. It's just not something you do to anyone you respect.

The Asha'man: at least we're getting a start on their true potential. Never mind faffing around with blowing up heads like melons when you can Travel. On the other hand, I sincerely hope the next book opens in Caemlyn, with one of Perrin's Asha'man bringing a cloaked-and-hooded Morgase to see her daughter, because the only possible excuse for not doing that and a whole pile of similar things is an Idiot Ball the size of the Choedan Kal.
Rikka Cordin
72. Rikka
okay. bullet points.

I think Mat went hella cray-cray and I'm upset about it (when did he go from being badass and entertaining to being ridiculous and overly paranoid?).

Egwene has been on the rise since she embraced he Aiel heart and that train ain't stopping anytime soon. Looks like she's taken over the badassery train.

Siuan + Gareth = winz0r.

Aviendha is both dense and very absent! DISLIKE.

What happened to Elayne?

And the Black Tower?

And Lan? (screen time over lip service any day, kthnxbai)

I'm still hella excited for Moiraine to get rescued.

I was so right about Verin!

When did Cadsuane get so petty?

Thank god Tam came back.
James Jones
73. jamesedjones
OK. Verin was awesome, and her ending was awesome, and her sneakiness was awesome. Loved Her!

But it did not make up for the book. And, I gotta admit, I lost a lot of respect for Jason and Leigh for their non-spoiler reviews. Both of them had my admiration and respect for their brutally honest assesment of the WOT. That went out the window, and Leigh was only slightly redeemed in this post.

Disappointment, you are bitter.
Wilson Grooms
74. Tabernerus
The whole Egwene thread qualifies as one of my new favorite terms: Competency Porn.

There's something so very freaking refreshing about watching a competent person go about their job in an effective manner. Particularly in WoT. Wow. It's like all the scenes of Lan, Ituralde, and Bryne rolled into one and then amplified. It was awesome.

Seriously, the Light should just put her in charge of the whole damn show, and get out of the way.

F Shelley
75. FSS
Oh, and Tuon's new name. I really hated it. All I could think was "Fortuona favors the foolish". Bah.

And the Avienda thing took too long, too. I figured out the whole "can-she-call-them-on-the-unfair-test-thing" as soon as it appeared. Not that I'm smarter than Avienda; it was in the plot of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode (where all wisdom begins)...
Philip Thomann
76. normalphil
Cadsuane: The thing that got revealed to me was; "Great idea. Failed execution due to deep seated institutional factors."

For ex; Dredging up Tam? Damn near saved the world, and that was all her. Keeping direct control of the execution by loading him up as a talking Aes Sedai hand-puppet? Made it a near reality-destroying disaster.

Worked out in the end, but whew.
Kristina Blake
77. kab1
okay, so I'd have to agree with jej's assessment of the Avi storyline. I pretty much knew where that was going after her first useless punishment. I wish this had been a bit shorter. Maybe her remembering many punishments and one scene where she agonizes over her toh, but really to cut to the chase and have her say she's a WO already. Overall, I think this arc is ok for a first read through, but won't be something I'll enjoy reading over and over. EDIT- I see FFS agrees as well.

Additionally, I'd agree with Eithin @71, I don't think Semi would break down after one spanking session with Cads. I can see her showing some signs of disliking it, but I would think more sessions of humiliation would be necessary (off screen please) before she would eat off the floor.

On Cads herself, I would agree with Jason that I think she's well written for the most part, but I disliked the scene with Rand when he banishes her. I don't think this was true to the unflappable character we've seen thus far. While I think she truly may have been at a loss for words and shocked to the core, I think in this case she would have just been silent and/or said "very well" and not broken off mid-sentence or seemed floundering for words as she was portrayed in that scene.

as for Mat- yeah, I thought he seemed a bit off, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I think I was reading his parts too fast, as I was like, are they at the Tower? nope. speedread. I think some of the comments on his humor may be right. I'm going to have to reread his parts and see what seems different to me and compare to him now to all his scene in CoT in Luca's show.

Gawyn- made much progress in my opinion, at the point when he found out Egwene was amyrlin, I was literally yelling at him. See! See! you are on the wrong side!!! I can't wait till he finds out Morgase is alive. I also enjoyed Egwene being distant with him, and not so head over heels. They do need to have a long discussion. I think not so much about trying to save her from the tower (the freaking Seanchan were attacking afterall and everyone knows how much she hates them) but overall his lack of trust in her about Rand and the WT. Kinda bums me out that she chooses to get angry over his rescue of her (again- Seanchan!) as a trust issue and not all of his earlier trust issues. For all Siuan knew, Egwene was dosed with forkroot and could have been easily collared. Bah.
Wilson Grooms
78. deadly argon
honestly, you want to compress whole TGS? ok, do it, then post it. then wait and see how we'll take it. moreover, see how effing hard writing it would be. maybe then you could appreciate the effort put in writing it...

ok, i agree that mat isn't the mat we know and love but, in general, the whole book is great. i still agree with jason and leigh. this book rocks!
Leigh Butler
79. leighdb
jamesedjones @ 73:

I'm sorry you feel that way. And also a little puzzled, since hopefully you grant that people are allowed to have opinions differing from your own.

I can see losing respect for a person who holds the opinion that, say, the moon is square or wine comes from lemurs or something obviously wrong and/or stupid, but in such a subjective context as "do I like this book or not", especially one where so many people besides myself and Jason obviously disagree with you, I have to say I find your declaration of loss of respect a bit over the top, to say the least. I don't presume to tell you your business, but if your criteria for respect is based solely on how closely other people's opinions match yours, I predict you're in for a lot of disappointment in life.

Not to mention your extremely insulting implication in comment #67 that I only said I liked the book because I blog on Tor's website. If you really think I'm a such a heinous sellout, I have to wonder why you're even here.
James Jones
80. jamesedjones
52 Wolfmage

Did we ever get confirmation that there had to be 3 BA oaths?

79 leighdb

I never said you were a sellout. I just said you had a vested interest in the book, and that I lost a little respect for you. Am I not allowed to do that?

Edit: OK, maybe I'm not.
Wilson Grooms
81. CJB
In regard to Brandon's writing of Mat, I think he possibly tried too hard and was far too modern with the sense of humor (plus using phrases like "do the math" made me cringe a bit).

It's a bit like he pegged Mat as "the funny one" and went too far with it.

Overall I loved the book and I think most of the little problems I had are down to personal taste (eg, Graendal's disappointing end).
Jonah Feldman
82. relogical
I felt Mat was a little more comic-relief than usual, but he was still true to character. It's not like he can be all awesome all the time, and right now he's bitter and irritated because he has to feed his army on an aimless march north and his wife went back to care for her evil empire.

I didn't really mind Mat not doing that much since he was stuck in the middle of nowhere, but what the hell is Perrin still doing wherever he is? If the Asha'man are too tired to make a gateway for the whole army, then they should Gate over to the Black Tower, bring fifty Asha'man back, and have them do it! No excuses. Just when he was finished with the Subplot of Doom, they make him stand still for a book.

One other thing I just caught: when Verin met Mat, she seemed to be carrying other letters. Has she left instructions with anyone else?
James Jones
83. jamesedjones
79 leighdb

You expressed some disappointment in the book with the spoiler post. Why could you have not offered anything other than an amazing review in your non-spoiler post? Would it have spoiled anything to say that Mat didn't sound exactly like Mat?

No, you do not have to agree with me. I love the fact that your opinions differ a lot from my own. I find a great deal of value in your disappointment of parts that I absolutely loved (such as the end of LOC). I just took your non-spoiler post at face value, and jumped at the idea that this book would be one of the all time best, with no discernable problems. Yes, it was a let down.

I still love you Leigh. You're right up there with Verin. But I can't help but kick myself for thinking the non-spoiler post was a bonafide statement of the books value. It was my own foolishness.
Leigh Butler
84. leighdb
jamesedjones @ 80:

Of course you are. As I am allowed to be insulted by your implication therein.

Substituting the euphemism of "vested interest" in lieu of "sellout" does not in fact change the basic nature of what you're alleging.

relogical @82:

I kind of got the impression that Verin had a bunch of different letters *for Mat*, and she picked which one to use based on their conversation. I'm not sure why I think this, but I do. Because it's Sneakier, I guess.
Sam Mickel
85. Samadai
Holy shit is the correct assessment. I was as worried as the next person about how BS was going to pull it off but not anymore. This was without a doubt every bit as good as any of the better books by RJ.

Egwene has turned into the character of awesome. She got better with every scene. finally the great purge of the Blacks. Now they are running to join the the other dreadlords.

Verin is truly the ideal Brown Aes Sedai, anything for the sake of knowledge. She saved the White Tower at the cost of her soul.Although I know she came back to the light and was saved for another turning.

Poor Rand finally jumped off the sanity roller coaster and it damn near cost him everything again.

My moment of awesome is him questioning why he should allow the world to go on, and Lews Therin answering "we live to love again" and by doing so we bring back those we love "Ilyena" I love how he destroys the CK knowing its power was to great.

On Callandor, I am of two minds. one is that he links with Nynaeve and Alivia (them being the 2 strongest channelers) and in the process learning how Alivia will help him die and live again.
The second has Narishma linked with Nynaeve and Alivia using Callandor to remake the Dark Ones prison as Rand uses his link to Moridin to use the true power to cause a feedback effect on the DO which will allow the prison to be closed for good.
Sam Mickel
86. Samadai
Leigh, loved your review and agree with what you said. I am so glad you are doing this and wish I had discovered the online fan group with you. I wish i could have been in that group of people you met with.
I would have loved the opportunity to spend time talking to people about the WoT.
You inspire my loyalty and and my Ji.

One of your biggest fans.

Zachary A
87. Zeal
In a somewhat non plot-related question:

Is that really the cover of the US edition? Really?

Because man is that hideous. Seriously, Tor, why do you keep giving Darrell Sweet your money?
James Jones
88. jamesedjones
84 leighdb
Substituting the euphemism of "vested interest" in lieu of "sellout" does not in fact change the basic nature of what you're alleging.
Sure it does. My CEO has a vested interest in the company I work for. But the CEO of AIG was a sellout. But let me apologize for what I said. It went to far, and could clearly be construed as insulting. I shouldn't have said it. I'm very sorry.
Wilson Grooms
89. avidreader
Does anyone know how long it will probably take for this book to come out in paperback? I really don't want to buy it in hardback since I have the rest of the series in paperback, but I'm dying to read it!! the people who borrowed it from the library before me had better read really fast!!!
Wilson Grooms
90. daggers
my favorite part of this book was when Egwene tells elaida she'd call her a darkfriend but the dark one would be too embarassed to have her. made me laugh for like 5 mins
Wilson Grooms
91. douglasm
67 jamesedjones

Mat went from a clever scoundrel to being a clueless buffoon. If you've read the other works by BS, you'll know Mat came directly from Alcatraz. His humor was no longer sharp; it was long and boring. In Alcatraz this is incredible, and very clever, because his rambling diversions are part of the humor. But BS could not pull off Mat.

Clueless? I'm not seeing it. Buffoon maybe, but he's always been a buffoon, just one who is also a military genius and ta'veren.

Aviendha came across as painfully dense to anyone who has read Feist's Riftwar saga. Her part should have been no more than one chapter that started with her hand in the bucket! The other shaming punishments could have been 1-2 paragraphs each, and seen from retrospective.

Introducing the problem and solving it a page or two later would have trivialized it. The fact that a similar kind of rite of passage was used in a small number of other stories does not automatically mean everyone will recognize it, and it is no surprise to me whatsoever that someone coming from a culture that emphasizes accepting punishments and shame for dishonor as much as the Aiel do would take a long time to pick up on this, especially when it is delivered by authority figures she respects greatly and has been training under for some time with absolutely no hint of the trial that was coming.

Rand should have been 3 chapters, MAX. Semi escapes and tortures him, which he escapes. He goes to Arad Domon, pisses off the Aiel, and finds Greandal, whom he balefires. He leaves Arad Domon, deals with some family drama, and finds he can cry while continuing his never-ending whining. Done.

I sincerely doubt that would have been enough to show just how far down he went before finally turning around, and showing that depth in full was necessary to give the recovery proper context. And there were a few other important things he did, like rescuing Rodel Ituralde, talking with Tuon, and learning about balefire killing Forsaken permanently and teaching it to the Asha'man.

After dealing with Egwene, which was a HUGE waste of Aes Sedai and soldiers (Gawyn) thinking and agonizing over doing nothing,
Uniting the White Tower is hardly "nothing", nor is the specific detail of managing it without an assault and getting the loyalist side to accept Egwene voluntarily.

this book should have been 100,000 words. And it still would have been one of the most boring and uneventful in the series. Bah!
Uneventful? Huh? Semirhage dead, Graendal dead, the White Tower united, Elaida made a damane, the Black Ajah exposed, Rand and Lews Therin integrating, Rand learning and accepting that hard != good, the Seanchan attacking the White Tower, Rand and Tuon meeting, Rand channeling the True Power... If that's "uneventful" I'm not sure I want to know what would qualify as "eventful" in your opinion. I could see "boring" if you are completely uninterested in the White Tower and Rand plot arcs but not "uneventful", and a rather large portion of the fan base finds at least one of those arcs very interesting.
Jason Deshaies
92. darxbane
I haven't read all the Mat chapters yet, but I though what I read so far was not that bad. He's finally getting his turn in the love makes you crazy wheel and he found out he is not only a lord but a PRINCE. You add that to his already stuck being a general when he hates fighting, and he now has accomplished the three things he most wanted to avoid. I can understand why the Mat fanboys/girls would be so upset (sorry JEJ), but he is much more realistic for finally showing a little strain, even if it is in the form of goofy whining (at least he isn't dark and brooding, or dark and brooding, like Rand and Perrin). I though that rant he had in his first POV was awesome, by the way. Also, IIRC, Talmanes does show his humor in the past, I can think of one scene where Mat is striking out hard against a barmaid.

While I'm at it, Aviendha's scenes were great. She had all the answers in her head, but she could not become a Wise One until she believed it herself, and her just figuring it out offscreen would have been cheap, in my opinion.

There, I have no vested interest in this story, and I love it. I won't call it the best book yet, because I am not considering it one book, but just the first volume of the last book.
Wilson Grooms
93. t0kengirl
I love this book.

Eventful, interesting and full of What The F*** just happened moments.

Verin is truly sneaky awesomeness incarnate, bind the woman to the wheel as a hero!
Philip Thomann
94. normalphil
Also, 20% Black Ajah membership? What the hell is wrong with those people/that institution? What does the ambient head-damage have to be to enduringly hide that?
Wilson Grooms
95. Texas Hovda
OK.. I finished last night and will re-read again tonight. Somewhat confused regarding LTT finally shutting up. How was that accomplished by simply destroying the terangreal / sa angreal? Perhaps the re-read will clear it up.
Leigh Butler
96. leighdb
jamesedjones @ 88:

Apology accepted.

avidreader @ 89:

Most WOT books are released in paperback a year after the hardcover release, so you have a rather long wait I'm afraid. Maybe you could get it from a library in the meantime?

normalphil @ 94:

I don't find it surprising. Power attracts corruption, and the White Tower has been the most powerful institution in Randland for thousands of years. It's only natural that they should attract a higher percentage of Darkfriends than the general population.

That said, I'm willing to bet that the percentage of Darkfriends in the *Black* Tower is going to make that 20% look positively piddly.
Pete Pratt
97. PeteP
On the 20% BA -- I would further add that it relates both to the WT structure and the DO's goals.

The WT is a flawed institution set up with unreasonable rankings and structures (Avi's shock at how the Wise Ones decide who is in charge, etc. was priceless -- shows how far she had gone from her Aiel roots), as was also discussed by Nyn and Daighan.

It has also drifted from a service group (Aes Sedai = servants of all) to a ruling one.

The WT encourages arrogance and selfishness, the very things the DO wants in his folks, per Verin.

Also, James I feel you with regards to Mat. Everything related to Mat could have appeared in a BS novel, just change the names.

I just really think Brandon may not understand Mat very well. I just wish he had left him out of this one completely, even though I would have complained about that too.
Wilson Grooms
98. kab1
I'd agree with Leigh, the BT looks like it will have way more then 20% darkfriends.

Hmmm, I thought the multiple letters that Verin had meant they were going to multiple people and I was a bit exited that we'd see more of Verin's sneakiness to come. But Leigh you may be right in that they were different letters to Mat and she picked one based on his reaction.

Also, I know the scene with Tam was shocking, but i thought the part where Rand just left Arad Domon after finding out the food had spoiled was the most shocked. I mean, he just left. period. I realize there's not much he could have done but still. wow.

I wonder when Rand and co will realize just what's going on with the Rand/Moridin link. Is the fact that only bad taveren incidents are now happening around Rand indicative of the link to Moridin's evil or the increased touch of the DO? The "cloud" of darkness around Rand seems to be due to his link with Moridin. I realize Rand talked himself (yes, I agree talked?!?) out of being so hard, but I gotta think that link with Moridin is still going to cause him to be quite dark. I did like how quickly Min's viewing of Dragonmount came to pass.
Wilson Grooms
99. winterking
Didn't care as much for Mat's chapters--Talmanes' sense of humor seemed new and unusual, Mat's style was off, and the zombies...not so much. Plus the bit about the long backstories for his allies--where did that come from?

Verin=Awesome. One of the most brilliant achievements of the forces of light, I think; getting a dedicated, intelligent, careful, cautious agent inside the Black Ajah was vital, but nobody had managed it. I'm not sure anyone besides Verin could have managed it.

My new personal theory about Rand using the True Power...that's how he's going to Seal the Bore. Lews Therin talks about how their mistake was using Saidin to actually touch the Dark One, that's what allowed his counterstroke. But if the only thing touching the Dark One is...himself, how can he taint anything?
100. DavidBills
Don't forget that channelers can be turned to the dark against their will.

On another note, did any rasfwr-j alumni notice that Rand turned into Novak after almost killing Min?
Jason Denzel
101. JasonDenzel
Regarding Mat

I'm with you guys who think Mat sounded "off". I gave this feedback to Brandon after reading the book, but it was too late in the game for him to go back and make big changes like that. I obviously cannot speak for him, but I do know that he's very, very aware of our opinions on Mat, and I suspect that he'll make extra efforts for that character in Towers of Midnight. Cause let's face it, we pretty much know that book is going to be all Mat. Look at the title. (No, I don't have special insider knowledge on that. Just fan speculation)

Back to Mat in TGS. What threw me off was the first scene where we saw Mat. His joking was more akin to what we would expect from Mat in book 1, not the slight-more-sober version we know from CoT and KoD.

Over the course of his chapters, he sounded more like I would expect. But those first few scenes left a bad taste in my mouth.

That said, I didn't lose sleep over this. Mat's role is likely to be more significant in the next two books, and Brandon's going to be on the look-out for how he handles him. I think he'll be in good hands.
Nora Murphy
102. Lyubov
Maybe it's the I-just-finished-the-book high talking, but I really loved it.

The Egwene storyline was probably the most overtly awesome (I was positively giddy for the majority of her chapters, particularly the battle with the Seanchan), but the sections that had me glued to the edge of my metaphorical seat were those dealing with Rand. For the first time in a very long time, I felt complete, unadulterated sympathy for the guy. (Does it make me a bad person that I was not particularly disturbed by his balefiring of Graendal's compound? The deaths of her slaves, while regrettable, seem to me to be almost a mercy, considering that the level of Compulsion they were under made their future salvation next to impossible.) The cruelest aspect of the book, for me, was that even as Rand is fighting to not be placed in boxes by really every single person he knows, his entire existence is a prison. That's why the last chapter was absolutely necessary. While anticlimactic, until Rand figured out a way to conceive of his own life in terms that gave him some degree of freedom, he would never be able to accomplish anything.

And I'll add my voice complaining that Mat's scenes felt very off. (Plus the detour in Zombie-ville struck me as profoundly unnecessary.) The wonderful humor of RJ's Mat was never his one-liners, but rather his whole voice--the way he reacted to the people and events around him within his own head. This Mat seemed like he was auditioning for a role in a Joss Whedon show. And while I love Whedon as much as the next geek, that's just not Mat.
Jason Deshaies
103. darxbane
I guess I am in the minority about Mat in this case. His courtship of Tuon of the toughest battle he ever had, and, in marrying her, became a prince. If I were Talmanes, reserved or not, I'd be needling the World's Greatest Nobility/Marriage Hater to no end, now that he is both married and a lord (this doesn't eve take into consideration the fact that he married the leader of his enemies, or that she left after finally finishing the ceremony). It's funny what causes people to lose their mind, but his opening rant is only funny because he is so exasperated he doesn't know what to do with himself. Why is it so hard for us to believe events can make people act outside their normal character sometimes? It was a risky move for BS, but I think I see where he's coming from.
104. Braig
While I can see everyone's point of Mat being "off",
for myself, I laughed out loud to every exchange.
To me, I read it kind of as Mat in total wonderment of his total change of fate.

Face it, he has come to realize all that he has tried to avoid throughout the story.

As far as the zombies, it was mentioned as a "snag in the pattern"
Maybe a foreshadowing of things to come?
Sam Mickel
105. Samadai
RE; Verin and the letters.

Don't forget that Verin didn't know if she was meeting Mat or Perrin so the letters could have been for either one.
106. Lily of the Valley
Mat disappointed me. I found his entire appearance slightly painful, which, considering I'm a Shameless Rabid Mat Fangirl, was hard to swallow. It was like expecting Nathan Fillion and getting Will Farrel. ):

bloody face if you stay past sunset. Try the pies."]

I hold out hope BS just hit a sharp learning curve with him, though, and he'll be back and better than ever in ToM. :D Until then, I cringe and reserve judgment.

Now. *smooths skirts* The rest of the book was FRAKKIN AWESOME. End. Of. Story.


Seriously, this thing never slowed down. Talk about an emotional roller coaster! Egwene was awesome, Nynaeve was awesome , Rand was scary and amazing, poor little Daigian D:, White Tower Battle of WIN, SneakySneaky Verin is all the Amazing and Awesome we've always suspected her to be and MORE, and...and.... *collapses with happy*

THIS is arguably in the Top Three for best WOT books in the series. Mr. Jordan, Mr. Sanderson, I tip my hat to you.
James Jones
107. jamesedjones
101 jwdenzel
What threw me off was the first scene where we saw Mat. His joking was more akin to what we would expect from Mat in book 1, not the slight-more-sober version we know from CoT and KoD.
So that leaves us with the question of how you would change it. I know Mat needs to sound more wry, but I honestly can't offer any constructive criticism. I know how it sounds wrong to me, but I'm unsure how to make it sound right. Did you make any suggestions to BS? Does anyone have any solid guidance on how Mat should sound; what changes BS could make?
Henry Loose
108. schrodinger
@Lily 106

*collapses with happy*
i've been trying to come up with a phrase to describe exactly how this book made me feel... thank you.
*collapses with happy*
favorite scene: last chapter, Rand gets things together, watch out shadow, our boy just shook off everything you gave him (plus his own self inhibitions) and here comes the right hook.

Everything with Egwene was awesome, same with sneakysneaky Verin. My only qualm with Egwene is her insistence on "controlling Rand", however, going on what she had seen and heard, it probably seems logical to her. I'm sure that once she and Rand meet again, that attitude will change (as Rand has changed).

Towers of Midnight. ToM hopefully will stand for Tons of Mat. Moiraine's reunion with Rand will be something to look forward to, as she heads his list of women dead because of him.
Jason Denzel
109. JasonDenzel
@jamesedjones 107

The key, IMO, is that in the earlier books, (and in TGS) Mat says witty thoughts outloud. In TGS he joked more freely than he did in the more recent novels. I think we would see a noticeable change if he keeps those witty comments in his thoughts while making a complimentary (conflicting?) comment outloud in his dialogue.

Again, while I'm sure he'd love all of our feedback, I think we just need to trust him and Team Jordan to do their job and be the professionals that they all are. They know this was an issue for what appears to be a large number fans now, and they have a lot of opportunities to make changes to the way they approach this character. Wham Bam.

@schrodinger 108... "ToM = Tons of Mat" lol!! Agreed.
Pete Pratt
110. PeteP
jwdenzel @ 101 -- Glad to hear that Brandon has been informed about the massive issue with Mat. It feels as though he punted this one, putting in some Mat just to do it and cribbing it from his other work.

Mat is a character with a lot more depth than anything Sanderson has ever created in his own work and very distant from Sanderson's personal existence.

I think RJ thought of Mat as a very close friend. Yes, Mat is the Trickster, the Son of Battles, the Gambler. He is clever and capable.

I really was bothered by the "saidered" line -- something Mat would never say (he would just the say the One Power.

Anyway, Brandon said in the interview on Dragonmount that Tuon was the hardest character he ever had to write because her mindset was so different. That may be superficially the most difficult, but Sanderson likes writing strong female characters, so this one is not that big of a stretch for him, really.

Writing Mat correctly, while superficially similar to a couple of BS's characters, is much more difficult in all reality. Hopefully he can slow down and get it right for ToM.
lin mei
111. twicemarked
I think people should not be so happy about the current state of Rand.

The DO is like a drug dealer who just gave away the first free sample of his drug to a kid. He could not care less he made a loss on this sale. He is confident that his products will hook Rand.

The TP is said to be much more addictive that the One Power. And people who can no longer channel the One Power (stilled or burned out) would be depressed and die soon. Imagine the addiction Rand will show in the next two books.

Rand may have to be linked with two women constantly in a circle to prevent him from going suicidal from this. Or perhaps he need the Crystal Throne to cure him of his addiction. So I am not so sure Rand has hit rock bottom yet.
Henry Loose
112. schrodinger
@Mat's (and to lesser extent Talmanes' differences)
I like to look for reasons in the plot that would allow for these differences (such as life changing events or extended absences).
Mat's marriage: life changing... he seems to be going through a "mid-life" crisis (post marriage, whatever), so he's likely to be more flippant, and revert to old habits.
Talmanes: extended absence, possibly gaining a sense of humor, or, he has always had it and, as Mat points out, is just smiling on the inside. (and finds Mats present situation so amusing that it actually is starting to show on the outside).

Also, I haven't had time to read all the posts, so I don't know if anyone else is thinking this, but come on! Graendal needs to be taken care of in a more personalized way (not balefired from afar, but up close). Here's my theory: Graendal realizes what
Rand is doing, or is just being cautious, but anyway, she compels the lord dude sent to her as a test to leave with info in his head that whomever lives in that house is loyal to Rand. A secondary layer of compulsion is then set on him to compel him to not be compelled (or she set the weave to go byebye after something happened, like the destruction of her compound). As soon as she compels him she goes to chill at Moridin's place in the Blight.
Dorothy Johnston
113. CloudMist
To me, the only part of Mat's arc that was off was the bit where he's rehearsing everyone's cover stories.

And the then-Tuon had her own awesomeness when she fought off Rand's taveren pull. But if both Mat and Rand are present the next time the Empress (MSLF) meets the Dragon, she won't stand a chance.
Joseph Blaidd
114. SteelBlaidd
So first impressions. I'm Just through Matt meeting Verin.

Wish that Avi and Min had had more time to connect but, I loved the insights into the Aiel mind set.

Rand's decent in to blackness is just what I expected, very mournful. His conversation with Min right before Simarhage's attack is something that was long overdue the timeing was indeed perfect to do the maximum damage. Cadsuane's goof is the same one every other person but Min and the Forsaken has made. They don't take the events of LTT's life into account when dealing with Rand.

I LIKED the Mat chapters. Hes obviously attempting to deal with his new marital status especialy the part where he gets all of the head aches and none of the benifits, I'd whine too. Regarding Talmenes's "change" remember this is something that Mat is learnning about him too.

The thing that I found most interesting was the way that the inhabitants of hinderstrap had addapted to the way the way the Lord of the GRAVE's influance has twisted reality around them.

I thought the elaborate "cover" stories was hillarious as it isobvious that he's trying to orginise his FIRST covert op with know idea how to do it. Combat stratagy and inteligence work are very different.
Wilson Grooms
115. SoneA
The thing i love most with this book is the scene very Egwene does some major asskicking. In my opinion it was the best scene in the entire book.

And wow, Verin is brave, i wonder if she knows that the dark one can bring people back from the grave.
Wilson Grooms
116. mikauk
Rand: I definitely cried during the Semirhage Sad Bracelets scene, and maybe screamed a little bit (my roommate already thinks I'm insane, it's cool), and while I was SUPER frustrated the whole time it was in a way that said "RAND YOU ARE SO STUPID AND YET SO BELIEVABLE!" Although, I completely missed the line where LTT went away; must reread last three chapters.

Egwene: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I must have tweeted ten thousand exclamation marks as I read this. I agree with Competency Porn as an excellent label for this. The part where Siuan and Gareth dragged her out of the Tower as she feebly protested was, for me, the exact amount of "AAAAAAARGH WHY WHY WHY" needed to balance the upcoming Purge of Awesome.

Perrin: bleh. I have never liked Perrin and I doubt I will, but sitting there angsting about wagons does not help. The ceremony with Faile et al definitely struck a nerve though.

Mat: I agree that he sounded odd, but I for one welcome some straight up humor in this series. It's no shame to shoot off a one-liner that makes the reader laugh. And the Hinderstrap-face-pies line was indeed pure awesome. Perhaps, for me, the most out-of-character moment was the phrase "saidared". Really?

Query: did anyone notice an abuse of italics in character dialogue? That was one of the things that jumped out at me.
117. Lily of the Valley
I noticed the italics, but I'm wondering if anyone else noticed the over abundance of "Well"s and "Why"s.

I'm trying not to nitpick. xD I'm profoundly happy that this book and the other two are here to wrap up this series. Brandon, if you're reading this, know we love you! We're just...adjusting. I think that is an apt word for. 83 Once we adjust, all will be well.
Wilson Grooms
118. stargazer
Moiraine's reunion with Rand will be something to look forward to, as she heads his list of women dead because of him.

I agree - but it's deeper than just that. In a sense (more true now that Rand and LTT have apparently integrated) the real name at the top of the list is Ilyena. And Rand's just had the insight that, as long as the Wheel keeps turning, she gets the chance to be reborn. She, and he, get the chance to do it again, and maybe better.

Well, that's true for every other name on his list, too. That's going to be Rand's real motivation to fight the DO now. Not just because it "has to be done", not just to save Min+Avi+Elayne, not just to keep Ilyena's soul spinning away out there somewhere, but to give another chance to every single woman on his list, to earn redemption for his sins in this life, and the chance to do it again better next time ages hence. Moiraine's coming back is going to be a big deal. But as long as the Wheel turns, they all get that second chance. (OK, except for the few balefired DFs. But I can't remember, has anyone other than Forsaken been BFed before Graendal's lair?)

@114: re "covert ops". OK, folks, here's the real debate. Military masterminds at work: Mat Cauthon versus Miles Vorkosigan. Who comes out on top? Or do they just both run in brilliant circles around each other's plots until their collective fanbases collapse squeeing in joy? I figure laser weapons and jumpships versus saidar/din and traveling is a fair game, and Mat is clearly picking up on the strategic implications of cannons quickly enough after all. I think it'd be a pretty even fight.
Rebecca Zmarzly
119. bowlwoman
leighdb @ 22

I definitely think the link with Moridin had something to do with it, but I don't think he got the TP *from* Moridin, per se. More like he got access to Moridin's access to it, if that makes sense.

Kinda like Rand piggybacking off of Moridin's wifi connection? :)
120. Lily of the Valley
I just got this. Mat literally married Lady Luck. Get it? Aha. Ha ha. Ha. *snortgiggle* Sorry. Couldn't resist. xD
Wilson Grooms
121. wawwen
I liked the book, but felt some of the dialogue was off throughout the entire book, Mat was completely off, and some revelations were just so sudden as to just feel very deus ex machina.

To be fair, I thought Dashiva = Osan'gar was way out there the first time I read it, but after more thought and another read through I didn't feel that way. I think Sheriam = black will end up the same way, but "Hi I'm Verin, your dress is green! I'm black ajah!" reveal isn't sitting well for me.

I had a real problem with Mat's new voice, I though he was too much in the vein of Sandersons' characters from other books (mercenaries from Warbreaker in particular), and the "saidar-ed" comment was way out of left field. Mat is my favorite character, and with how well Sanderson handled this I'm sure it will only get better.

I find it really odd that he found Tuon hard to write, because I think he did an excellent job if all the TGS Tuon POV are Sanderson's work and not Jordans. If he can get that far into a character he doesn't understand and make it work, then I'm sure he can get into Mat and make it work as well.

I was prepared for a awful sequence of novels to end WOT, similar to the KJ Anderson/Brian Herbert finish to Dune, but Sanderson's approach is so far above that as to make the non-Frank Herbert ending to the Dune cycle look like bad fanfiction next to a real work of art.

Speaking of Tuon, I can't read her new name (Fortuona) without instantly thinking about Carl Orff. It's really bothering me. :(
Wilson Grooms
122. QuantumEve
Wow! TGS was awesome! I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved reading it.

My favorite line in the book, "I'd name you Darkfriend as well, but I suspect the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you." The picture immediately came to mind of one of the Sitters at the table going, "Oh no she di'nt!" The White Tower chapters were the best part of the book and Egwene was MAGNIFICENT!

My second favorite line, "By the way, that dress you're wearing is green." Oh my, Verin is turned out to be just as dastardly clever and awesome as I hoped she would be. I'm sad she's dead, but happy with the wayher storyline ended. I think she's a case of going back to the Light in her final moments (like what's his name in TGH) so that the Dark One can't have access to her soul. At least, that's what I hope.

The only part of the book I actually teared up for was Nynaeve's conversation with Rand when he says that he knows that becoming so hard will destroy him. It just seemed so, so hopeless and set up the things he *almost* does later in the book nicely. I was very happy that he finally found himself at the end, although his realization on why he needs to live rang a little hollow, especially contrasted with the immensity of what he was actually doing (holding so much Power) at the time.

I agree with #98 kabl - the most shocking scene to me was when he ran away from a whole city bound to starve. It seemed much, much more horrifying than what he did to Graendal's palace.

I also agree with all the comments that Mat was "off." He just didn't seem to act like I expected Mat would in his scenes, even given his new status as a married man. I think BS wrote him in because people would be so disappointed if he wasn't there at all, but it just didn't seem natural.

I loved getting so many points of view in this book. I liked Avi's story line and it was refreshing to get her POV instead of just seeing her through Elayne's eyes for the last books. I hope we get a lot more of her when she returns from Rhuidean. I'd love to see her come to Rand as a full-fledged, confident Wise One and woman.

Loved Nynaeve in this book, too. I think she's come into her own too, and really acted like Moraine in a lot of ways...taking initiative and being more understanding with Rand. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm not chomping to see Mor come back in the next book! I'm afraid that Min's viewing of Nyn is NOT a good sign for Lan's chances of surviving TG. :(

All in all, Brandon Sanderson did great work and I thank him for taking up the WoT mantle so all of us fans get to find out the end of this story.

So, how long until the next book's out?
Wilson Grooms
123. QuantumEve
Oh, and #106 Lily of the Valley - no, you were the only when picturing NPH when Egwene said that. Too funny.
Brandon D
124. Ishmayl
Book was absolutely great. Started reading at 2:00 PM yesterday afternoon, read straight until after midnight, then started again at 3:00 PM today and just put it down. I have no problem fully admitting that I dedicated two days of my life to reading a fantasy novel.

I am so pleased that one of my theories of a long time came to pass - that Tam would be instrumental in helping Rand recover. I had a lot of different ideas on how that would play out, all the way down to (yes) Rand killing Tam, and then realizing what he'd done, and I'm so happy it didn't go that far.

Also, very disappointed that we saw in Rand's head his viewing of Perrin and Galad talking, and then we got the "afterwards" of Nynaeve bringing Tam back of course, but we never got to experience that. Hopefully, there will be just a schmidgin of time-going-backwards-ness in the next book to cover thoroughly what Mat and Perrin have been up to, with none of the "Three Months Later..." BS.

I love that people are remembering Moraine so fondly, even Nynaeve in her own way. Definitely leads to some interesting reunion situations happening in the (hopefully) near future.

And man, I had some moments in the book. Of course, Verin's Awesome Moment of Awesomeness was way up there, but the SECOND SCENE (yes, it deserves ALL CAPS) with Egwene and Elaida (during the dinner) was too good. I don't remember the exact line, but the "I would name you a Darkfriend myself, but I don't think the Dark One would claim you" (or something like that) was pretty fantastic.

Cannot wait for the next book.
Wilson Grooms
125. TedB
I just finished TGS, and wow....I definitely loved it, I haven't been this excited after finishing a book in years.

There was somewhat of a different style here compared to some of the recent books that I definitely appreciated: It felt..."tighter". I felt that I was on a raging river flowing towards a destination, not floating on the tide wondering if I'm getting closer to shore or farther. There was less....meandering and plenty of action, and we still have two books to go.

I think this tighter style is linked both to (1) the series impending end and the natural tying off of storylines, and (2) BS's style (being a fan of his other works, this flowed perfectly for me).

I had found myself a little lost at times in the past, as sometimes scenes would drag on a little too long and it felt like we were treading water (beautiful, vibrantly described water, in gorgeous weather, but treading all the same).

TGS was stylistically different in some ways than what has come before, but still was a great read and never pulled me out of the WoT universe. Some small things were different, but I don't want an RJ clone trying to write like him. I want another talented artist taking the structure and notes and bringing an end to a 20+ year story as best he knows how. Brandon has done so with gusto! If only the book tour stopped at more destinations, I would love to extend my gratitude in person.

Ideally, RJ would have been able to finish his epic himself, but the Pattern weaves as it wills. I have no fears about future with BS at the helm, I just wish I could dive into the next two books immediately. Kudos for Harriet, Brandon, Team Jordan, and TOR for making all this happen.
Jennifer McBride
126. vegetathalas
Overall, I thought the book was incredibly awesome. I finished it at 6 a.m. this morning and woke up 8 hours later still wearing happy.

That said, I was disappointed with Mat's voice...and Semirhage's eating off the floor...to avoid more humiliation??? Seriously? Too easy. But her revenge with the male a'dam was awesome, as was the True Force thing. Likewise, Masema's death was strangely easy for all the build-up over the past few books, as was Graendal's and the character lost some of her subtlety. I always thought she was incredibly opulent because, like Verin or Perrin marching under the Manetheran banner, she was hiding her true subtle nature. Yet she didn't seem to have much. I was annoyed we never got any info on Rand's sword, it seemed a cheap trick to build suspense since Rand knows what it is, so why is he being all mysterious even in his own head. And yes, as soon as I saw that first Aveindha scene I started shouting "Pug! Pug! Just say your place is not with them!" And wouldn't all the apprentices notice that the Wise Ones, right before they are raised Wise Ones, have to go through a period of Dat'sang? But since everything's been done before, it's really impossible to be new. That's why I'm always surprised by revelations where I don't guess the right answer. I always thought that if Sheriam was black ajah, she'd handle the ferrets thing with Egwene better AND would have managed to get herself promoted to Amyrilin in the first place. And I was mildly distressed by the idea that the Ajah heads controlled not only the election of their own sitters, but the ones in the rebel camp as well--since there wasn't a hall among the rebels when they left, why would the Ajah heads/sitters who left know to raise up young/unusual sisters? Will Romanda be in the hall of the White Tower? And how did they know Halima was a Forsaken and not just a man weaving a Saidin illusion around herself all the time to confuse everybody? And the name Fortuona is yick, but heck, maybe all Empresses in Seanchan pick names that invite the gods of irony to slaughter them. And where did Berelin go? Did she just pack up and say, "you win Faile, I'm off to cavort with Galad?"

But minor nitpicks compared with a lot of awesome. Especially Egwene's awesome. And I laughed when I read saidar-ed. Okay, out of character, maybe, but still a hilarious word. And Gareth and Suane's sweetness almost made me cry. They're my favorite couple next to Nynaeve and Lan.

I'm going to have to disagree with you Leah on Graendel's death. Though it was too quick for me--she was my favorite Forsaken and she gets like two minutes of screen time before I have to say goodbye?--but at this point, Rand's going to have to start mowing the Chosen down like sheep at a butcher's--there's still six left to go through in two more books. Samael had no body, after all.

What I'm wondering is: why did the Black Ajah have the flaw in the black ajah oath in the first place? Why not just swear not to reveal any black ajah secrets, period? It's like they meant the hole deliberately to be there. I can't imagine Aes Sedai with their penchant for twisting words wouldn't deliberate on EVERY SINGLE word and cut out anything that didn't fit. Maybe they wanted to be able to torture secrets out of their own members by beating them to the hour of their own death or something. Anyway, Verin rocks.

Is Mesaana still in the Tower? I'm dying to find out. And are their more Seanchan assassins hanging around in the Tower? What will the Seanchan do with traveling?
Wilson Grooms
127. douglasm
121 wawwen

Sheriam has been suspected of being black for a considerable while by the fans more into analyzing the series. Those same fans have also known that something was up with Verin since The Great Hunt, with quite a few more hints of it popping up since, and her being black was one of the favored theories.

Do a google search for Wheel of Time FAQ if you want to see all the evidence plus a detailed analysis of it.
William Fettes
128. Wolfmage
leighdb @ 54

”I didn't bring it up in the review, but I disagree with you about Mat, more or less. I got used to the new Mat as his POVs went on, but it was definitely not the same character voice in my opinion. And that first analogy was actively painful.”

Fair enough. When I do a second read-through, and I’m not so anxious to return to other plot threads, I will no doubt pick up on these shortcoming more readily as Mat’s my favourite character. Reading some of the other commentators, such as Zeal @ 62, I think I can see how BS’s Mat voice probably fails to deliver the same edge and wit, but at this stage I wasn’t too put off by it because his story arc was so peripheral. Some bits were better than others too.

jamesedjones @ 67

“Aviendha came across as painfully dense to anyone who has read Feist's Riftwar saga. Her part should have been no more than one chapter that started with her hand in the bucket! The other shaming punishments could have been 1-2 paragraphs each, and seen from retrospective.”

I don’t see how you can say she was dense. The whole point of these sections is not Aviendha’s uncertainty, it’s the truth and wisdom she demonstrates with her responses to Amy and co about Rand’s dealings with the Chiefs and other issues. She is impressive in this and very far from the prickly and more one-dimensional spear sister she used to be.

Eithin @ 71

“Semirhage: she breaks to one session of mild humiliation, and can't bear to miss a meal? Oh, dear.”

Yeah, I agree it was kinda stupid. I would have preferred an evolution of Sorilea's first remark which broke her down intellectually.

“The White Tower BA-hunters: they used to rock, but here they just got unceremoniously pushed into the sidelines for fear of stealing some of Egwene's glory. She really does have enough of her own that she shouldn't have any fear of sharing.”

Ah, but this is a familiar pattern for her character; Egwene’s ascendancy has often been a zero-sum loss for others. Certainly it happened with Nynaeve and in some ways Siuan too, though at least she is a willing adviser. I really did love Egwene in this book, but I agree with you that they could have dialled back some of the elements which made her singularly responsible for everything and everyone gushing about how amazing she is without taking away from her crowning moments of awesome.

kab1 @ 77

“On Cads herself, I would agree with Jason that I think she's well written for the most part, but I disliked the scene with Rand when he banishes her. I don't think this was true to the unflappable character we've seen thus far.”

I felt the opposite. I think it gave Cadsuane some added realism, correcting a somewhat unrealistic outward constancy, and emphasising the seriousness of the situation. It’s all very well to have tremendous carriage, dignity and cunning pragmatism, drawing on a wealth of experience with taking and gentling male channellers. But all her past projects are as nothing compared to Rand and the Last Battle. Whatever that toothless wilder taught her about the long game, she was still entirely too used to being cock of the walk, dealing with other infantile and petty Aes Sedai, and seeing men with a Far Madding matriarch’s blind spots. So many people talk up her experience with male channellers, but Rand is nothing like the untrained middling men she would be used to dealing with. Being very wise and pragmatic doesn’t mean you never lose your equilibrium anyway; look at Amys and Sorilea – it’s not like they always have a ready answer to every question or never feel exasperated. They've been balked by Rand many a time and she couldn't just get away with slapping manners into him every time just because Min had a viewing. It’s unrealistic. Previously, we only witnessed currents of uncertainty buried within Cadsuane’s thoughts which betrayed her outward calm, but with Rand’s transformation she was wise enough to realise the bravado approach would no longer work and she was in real danger.
Sam Kelly
129. Eithin
Vegetathalas: the mysterious sword is presumably LTT's original one. If as the text seems to suggest it was dug up from under the male Choedan Kal, then it's from the right era, and nobody else would use the Dragon imagery. I assume it's going to be relevant, since it turns up just when Rand is explicitly rejecting swords in favour of more useful methods.

Ishmayl: Hopefully, there will be just a schmidgin of time-going-backwards-ness in the next book to cover thoroughly what Mat and Perrin have been up to, with none of the "Three Months Later..." BS.

Oh, please no! We find out at the end of TGS that Things Have Been Happening with Perrin, and that none of them - with the exception of Morgase's reveal - were interesting enough for Tam to tell Rand about. I like long books as much as anyone, and more than most, but I want the next book to start off going forwards, rather than going back to catch up and wait for everyone to get to the same stage in the plot. Sanderson's got a good pace going, and he's not going to slow it down with another gratuitous half-dozen chapters of Faile and Berelain being idots.

Wolfmage: The thing about Aviendha is that she's really smart and capable, but the abusive hierarchy she's lived in for her entire life has made her understandably slow to get with the program. When they change the rules on her without telling her, no wonder she's confused.
Wilson Grooms
130. wawwen
@127 douglasm

I said the reveal did not sit well with me, not the fact that she was black ajah did not sit well with me. I know I am not a regular poster but I am heavily familiar with all the theories in the WOT FAQ since pre-LOC release and the rasfwr-j discussion that went with it to the most current update.

I appreciate your sentiment to point me to the FAQ (which is something I have done to others) but unfortunately I am not a clueless new poster, and far from someone who is not interested in analyzing the series. I prefer to not do it in the open and do not wish to apologize for not having the "net cred" for it.

That being said, I did not like the abruptness of the reveal and even though I read the book start to finish in about seven hours it was one of the things that stuck at me instead of feeling organic.
Leigh Butler
131. leighdb
Lily @ 120:

Oh wow, I never even twigged to that. That's... kind of awesome. Heh.
Claire Edwards
132. ClaireBelle
Honestly I'm kind of surprised at all the hating going on... I thought the book was amazing, I read it from cover to cover in six hours - that's how damn awesome it was!!

I didn't really notice any changes in voice, although I'm willing to accept that it may be something that irks me more on re-reading. I found Mat's story arc to be blessed relief, I honestly thought he was hilarious but in a Mat way and the book really needed that kind of levity! Rand's story was so so dark, I had to stop reading a few times because it was such a painful story. And whilst I loved Egwene's plotline that was also pretty serious stuff, MoA but damn serious. Hence the fact that I am majorly grateful for the Mat storylines - I'm assuming his job is going to get a lot more difficult in ToM...
I also didn't mind the zombies either - I saw them as very freaky DO stuff not pop culture references.

Goodness how am I going to wait a year for the next one?!
Thomas Keith
133. insectoid
Well, it took me almost 20 hours (not straight!), but I'm finally finished. (It actually felt longer than that; can't imagine why!) I have my own one-word review, before I read this thread:


More later.
Wilson Grooms
134. Dakota1

Thanks for the comment, negative is always popular. I've read the series it has it's faults but is meant to be fun. You're comments are mean spirited and well, "unimportant". It's easier to tear down then be free thinking. Enjoy or don't it's your choice. Don't feel that you speak for a majority (or imply) that you're opinion is important.

Wilson Grooms
135. Planeswalker
Yes please, tone down a bit on the Mat-is-off issue... He is off, I admit because I know... I'm a Mat fan... But really now, it's ok! He didn't do much in TGS anyway. Brandon's adjusting too, like we all do. Besides, I'm on the 'Mat-will-be-funny-smart-ass' bandwagon in the next book.

Brandon, if you hear me man. TGS is AWESOME!!! Can't wait for next year! Next year, ok? =)
Wilson Grooms
136. thomas2222
Just finished - Overall I couldn't put the book down. I'm satisfied with Rand's and Egwene's arcs and general character, although I could tell that nearly all of their POV's were written by Brandon (in fact, I'm not sure what in the book actually was written by RJ, most of it felt like BS to me). That being said, Mat - who has been my favorite character since book 3 - was terrible. I get that Brandon chose to write in his own voice and I respect that, but the Mat in this book was not true to the character we have seen in the second half of the series. Reading his parts was painful, especially the parts with contemporary humor - i.e. "do the math". But worse than that, he just seemed incompetent. Everyone with him seemed incompetent. Vanin? bad. Talmanes? bad. Thom? not as bad as the rest actually. What Mat went through in KoD is no excuse for his "behavior" in TGS. It just wasn't him...despite all of that, I'm thankful I will have the opportunity to find out what happens to Mat and everyone else in this series. Compared to never knowing, I can live with his character being defiled, even if it is painful...
Jennifer McBride
137. vegetathalas
@ 129 -- I don't know. Rand recognizes the sword from his own memories. How would he, himself, remember LTT's sword? But I did read it at a breakneck pace so its quite possible I missed something. I didn't notice the implication that the sword was being dug up from the pit around the Choeden Kal. From what I remember, it could have been dug up out of a farmer's yard in a twist of Ta'veren chance.

We're negative because we love. Overall, from what I've seen on the web, the reaction to the book is positive. For fans used to pouring over the text looking for clues, its hard not to be slightly nitpicky.
Wilson Grooms
138. June Faramore
This book reeked of awesome staring at me in the front of the bookstore, and it did not disappoint. Hurray for no more annoying Egwene. Hurray for the end of the neverending subplot, though if the bit of Perrin we saw is any indication, more annoying dicking around from him may be in our future. I can hope not I guess, since he doesn't have a lot of time left. I agree with those that say Mat was necessarily different in this book. His is my favorite, and I still enjoyed him. I liked Talmanes as straight man. I also see the zombie town as important in indicating just how badly the pattern is falling apart. It worked for me. As did saidared. Mat is always intentionally, overly cheeky with Aes Sedai.

I am too burned out from 12 hours of reading and the netbook's dying, so ta ta for now.

P.S. Verin is now my favorite character.
Rob Munnelly
139. RobMRobM
I just finished as well. I liked it. I'd say a top 5 or 6 book but not up with the classics. The Egwene arc was one of top two or three in the entire series, which goes a long way. Here's my wall o text with quick thoughts.

- Loved the Eg arc, which has been strong and consistent since LoC. Getting around the forkroot by linking and then grabbing the 'greal was really well done. Kicking the butts of both sets of AS after her second raising was also well done - they deserved. And I totally called Silviana as Keeper. But who is the Seanchan that will save her -and why will she need to be saved; and how will Gawyn either cause her execution and save her. I thought that would occur during Tower saving process. What's next? Loved and somewhat shocked by the abrupt executions of the BA.

- Have to agree that Elaida as even more of a Snidely Whiplash cartoon villain didn't do much for me. A bit more subtlety would have added drama but I was still all squee when Eg took her down. And I totally called her getting caught by Seanchan.

- Thank God Gawyn is heading in the right direction and I'm actually happy he only got part of the way back into good graces. All poodles and kisses with Eg would have been too much. Big headdesk how he left Younglings with no explanation. Pfaugh. Also, why doesn't he travel to see his sister to check in and catch up. Elayne will let him come back to get Eg?

- Glad for the payoff with Brynne and Siuan. The sexual tension was killing me.

- The Mat arc was definitely off, in tone and in plot (the zombie village was a fail as was the script for the next one). BS needs to work on it big time for next book. Close to a token appearance so didn't matter in grand scheme. Totally called he needed to go to Camelyn but surprised no POV there in this book. Aludra - who are they going to use the Dragons on? Satan??????

- Perrin's arc wasn't so hot either, what there was of it. Character development was fine but I just didn't like the plot, almost to point of getting a touch head-desky of a feeling. Faile killing Masema in Pro was a pleasant surprise but I couldn't figure out who served as her troops and how she could be sure they wouldn't talk to Perrin. Any ideas? I do agree Faile and company in the woods was interesting.

- Can't believe they didn't do the Perrin-Galad meeting on screen yet. Arrgh. I'm still betting that Tam is the one who recognizes Morgase. But Tam in Tear casts doubt on my Tam-Morgase twu wuv theory. So, who else can Tam cozy up to, as I am convinced he'll be married and happy with someone by series end? Leane (god, I hope so)? Seluccia? Cadsuane (hope not).

- Tuon was definitely off as well, especially at the beginning (about how could he possibly be a farmer - but she knew from Mat and the Band that he was a country boy too). Yes, I got the Lady Luck joke with her name. Love Seluccia as truth teller. Props to Linda at Thirteenth for calling that she'd have a name tied to luck. Fortuna started getting closer to her usual awesomeness (she's my favorite character in the entire series) at end. Interesting that we're teeing up TPOD II where Rand is convinced he's lost battle with Seanchan and, in turn, Seanchan will come back from TV feeling they've lost as well. We're going to get the cool scene in the next book: Fortuna - I will join with you if you let me husband, the Prince of the Ravens, command the joint armies - and you'll have to find him and bring him to me. Rand - OK, where can I find him. Fortuna - check the wireless connection in your brain and tell me.

- Not enough Tylee. She'll be very important in getting Fortuna to reach out to Rand somehow. Wouldnt it be funny if they have to use Elaida as the travelling messenger to make a peace offering to Rand? Actually, no.

- I liked the Avi stuff even though I saw it for miles away. Hated that she was gone second half of book. Guess she had to get away, as her lovin the Dragon will be a big part of how he gets back to being human later.

- huge oh ohs when Pevara and Reds and Myrelle and company both aren't coming back from Black Tower. Enter Logain to save the day in next book. (By the way, where was he all book???) Bet all the BAs in the WT will be at BT by sundown.

- Loved the Verin arc (even though her time with Mat was forced). The Egwene scene rocked. Absolutely awesome and perfect.

- The Rand arc had interesting points but didn't resonate with me as much as Eg's did. Loved the Min scene and I thought she was totally dead. I actually liked the Graendel BF'ing. Made sense to me. Hated the treatment of Lan and thought it was unrealistic and overkill. Virtually a father figure to him - dismissal that easily was a fail. I was shocked by the Tam scene - more realistic due to his anger at Cadsuane. Loved the walking around scene in Ebou Dar and his epiphany on top of Dragonmount, but still can't believe he destroyed the CK. And I can't believe he said LTT wasn't real. I DON'T BUY IT. And - did the sword belong to Turak at Falme? Sounds like it. Was it LTT's sword from way back when? I'm unclear.

- Very much enjoyed Nyn.

- Liked some of the Cad scenes but others were headdesk time. Great move getting Tam but then trying to manipulate the conversation??????? Where's the bubble wrap for my head.

- hard to believe it, but I missed Elayne. And where the heck is Talann from the Sea Folk. I thought they'd show up at Rebel camp. Logain? Demandred??????

Good job Brandon, good job Leigh. Onward and upward to the Towers.

Wilson Grooms
140. Ford75
@124 Ishmayl
My reading of TGS was almost identical to yours (2:00pm to 12:00 yesterday, 2:00pm to 7:00 tonight - LOL)

I found the book extremely satisfying. Loved the Verin reveal. Loved Egwene's entire arc. Holy Shit at the Semirhage/Rand/TP scene. Enjoy your new life Suffa!

My only complaints (well, complaints is maybe too strong a word, irritants maybe?, even milder than that) I also felt Mat was a little off. The quick deaths of Graendal and Semirhage (particularily Graendel, as I think she's my favorite Chosen. And Semi only because I wanted more interaction with her and Cadsuane's people).

BS did a great job overall.
Wilson Grooms
141. Confutus
Does anybody get else get the feeling that Semi was set up by the DO? She wouldn't have died if Rand hadn't used the TP on her, but she was following the DO's orders when she collared him, and it was certainly no accident that the TP was available for him to use, in light of what effect that one dose was having on him.
Elaida..next best thing to DSIAF, but it wasn't entirely her fault. Padan Fain had had a go at her, which would account for some of the transformation from merely cold and hard to incompetent megalomaniac.
Marina Brindley
142. WhereWomenGlow
Rob @ 139

"Tam in Tear casts doubt on my Tam-Morgase twu wuv theory."

There's a line in the Tam/Rand discussion in The One He Lost that made me think of you and your favourite love hope :-)

" "Kings don't whine, they deliberate." He seemed to be quoting someone, though Rand had no idea who. Oddly, Tam gave a brief chuckle."

Hmmmmmm.. Who might Tam have been chatting to that would make a statement like that? That he would be chuckling about? I took that as a hint that Tam and Morgase have been getting to know each other, discussing Rand. Of course, there are LOTS of other people he could have had that quote from, and just because he quotes and chuckles doesn't mean there's an impending wedding, but still... Morgase seems the obvious choice to me, and it just seemed like a strange thing to specifically note unless there was something more behind it. It could just be wishful thinking, or over-thinking, on my part - I do also very much want some twu wuv for Tam - but I'm going with my theory that it's a Tam/Morgase hint :-)
Rob Trotter
143. shadar

Liah. Rand BFed her in Shadar Logoth (aCoS Chapter 41).
Zachary A
144. Zeal
WhereWomenGlow @ 142

Personally, I'm not seeing Morgase as being the obvious choice for where Tam picked up that quote from. To me it seems more likely that it's something he picked up while serving the King of Illian in the Companions.
gaylord dean
145. DeadlyArgon
Rob @139

I mostly agree with all your points except for the sword being Turak's. Rand's sword now, although power-wrought, has no herons on it, as would a blademaster's. I seem to recall from TGH that just before they fought, Turak said something like "Now let's see how it is like to earn a heron-marked blade this side of the ocean."(or something like that, i don't have my book with me) Then Rand, upon seeing that Turak's sword bore heron marks as well, actually panicked in his mind. In TGS Min specifically noted that the sword has no herons on it. So that pretty much makes it impossible for the sword to be Turak's. I've been thinking about it also but there are no clear clues to be had. The sword could perhaps belong to one of the previous False Dragons like Guaire Amalasan or Raolin Darksbane, both of whom are among the strongest. Maybe Rand read about it while he was researching about the Prophecies and everything about the Dragon. I could totally get it if one of those False Dragons, and remember, they believe that they are the Dragon Reborn, managed to acquire a power-wrought sword then have the scabbard personalized by engraving dragons on it. any takers on this theory? pretty far-fetched but, hey, this is jut a theory. I'm pretty sure you guys would allow me that. ;P

One other thing that occured to me lately regarding the sword and the three becoming one, we all seem to have forgotten or put aside the fact that Rand, Mat and Perrin are connected. Maybe it's got something to do with them. After all, the shadow's first plan was to "cut down one leg of the tripod and it will topple". I don't know how they could be one, maybe in action, but i wouldn't be surprised if that part of the prophecy is actually about the Rand the Dragon Reborn, Mat the Horn-sounder and Perrin the banner-wolfman fighting side by side in TG. (I got the bannerman part from TGH, when Hawking addressed Perrin as bannerman. :D) But i still think that my first theory (the one about saidin,saidar and TP being used to seal the bore again) is entirely plausible.
Zachary A
146. Zeal
gaylord827 @ 145

I've heard some speculation on other forums I've poked my head into that the sword might be Justice, Hawkwing's sword. LTT wouldn't remember it because he was well before Hawkwing's time but Rand would remember it due to Falme.

It seems like a decent theory to me, but I'm curious why Hawkwing would have a sword shaped like that. Ultimately, however, I think I'm just going to sit on the fence and adopt the position that we haven't been given enough information to go by just yet.

I think I'm going to adopt a similar stance with the Callandor-3 become 1 prophecy too. However, just to throw speculation out there, my first impression on reading that line was that Rand, LTT and Moridin would merge at some point. However, considering the ending and Rand's belief that LTT was never anybody but himself, it seems somewhat less plausible. However, I do like your theories.
gaylord dean
147. DeadlyArgon
zeal @ 146
The Justice theory is good except for the fact that Artur Hawking himself despises anybody who can channel, ergo his siege on TV. I just can't see him having his sword depicting dragons when it is popularly linked to LTT, the Dragon, a man who can channel.
Sean Banawnie
148. Seanie
Just finished .

Egwene was great in KOD.
But just got awesome.
Cool she told off nitwit{suddenly swordmaster Gawyn}

Rand - yikes.
two more books to get it together.

spanking--I almost dropped my book--and thought , "What is Leigh gonna say?"
and ROFLMAO-ed
well-bedtime and I am bleary-eyed.
William Fettes
149. Wolfmage
RobMRobM @ 139

Thanks for posting your impressions. I agreed with most of your positives, and I thought most of your criticisms were fair.

“Have to agree that Elaida as even more of a Snidely Whiplash cartoon villain didn't do much for me. A bit more subtlety would have added drama but I was still all squee when Eg took her down.”

Quite true. I keep going back and forth on whether her crazy is adequately explained by the SL dagger or whether they just went too far building her up in preparation for the pay-off and validating Egwene. Either way, the book errs on the side of cartoon villainy, but arguably it was already straying into cartoon territory in KoD and before and I also thought some of the adoration / supplication to Egwene was cartoonish at times too - albeit awesome all the same.

“All poodles and kisses with Eg would have been too much.”

Yep. It would have seriously tainted Egwene’s arc for me if they did that. As it is, the road block focuses solely on the rescue attempt and his inability to see her as Amyrlin, which only really goes part-way to acquit against his overall idiocy in the series. But it was a lot better than the kissy-kissy Rand killed my mother, I killed Hammar and I’m fighting for Elaida status quo.

“Perrin's arc wasn't so hot either, what there was of it.”

I was completely disinterested in Perrin’s arc. I think it will remain that way until we get to see the Galad-Morgase reunion on-screen or something happens with wolves and darkhounds. Masema's death was cool, I suppose, but I could care less about Faile or anyone else except Balwer in Perrin's entourage. Tam's comment that he thought Perrin was over lordly-leadership aversion reflected me being over Perrin in general. And wagon wheels? Seriously?

“Tuon was definitely off as well, especially at the beginning (about how could he possibly be a farmer - but she knew from Mat and the Band that he was a country boy too)”

I didn’t think Tuon was off at all. I thought she was one of Brandon's best efforts.

I thought that was a mistake at first too, but Tuon only knew Mat grew up with Rand (Chapter 25 & 26 KoD). She didn’t know they grew up in a village. That was what Mat tells Aludra.
Wilson Grooms
150. David DeLaney
The sword? Him recognizing it from his own memories means it's not LTT's sword, period. And no, it wouldn't be Turak's, Turak didn't decorate his sword like that. He DID see it at Falme though... in the _sky_; it's got to be Artur Pendraeg's sword, to match all the hints he's giving about it (Invincible, if I remember right?).

Zachary A
151. Zeal
gaylord827 @ 147

Good point. However, Rand does think at one point that the only dragon he'd ever heard of was The Dragon. It's possible that the association between the dragon (creature) and the Dragon (person) was as obscure in Hawkwing's time as it was in Rand's before the dragon banner was taken out of the Eye and Rand got the dragons on his arms. It's possible the markings on the sword were ta'veren coincidence. Hawkwing was a ta'veren too, afterall.

However, even if that aspect were completely wrong there's another possible factor. Hawkwing didn't always hate Aes Sedai. He grew to hate them after being manipulated by Ishamael and that Red Amyrlin whose name I will never remember. Now, he hated Aes Sedai to the degree that he refused to send for one to save his life. But would he hate them enough to throw away a power wrought sword? My money would be on no. Firstly, because it's one thing to use an object of the power and another to be touched by it. Secondly, it just doesn't seem like the kind of thing a soldier would ever throw away.

Although, I think I'm being presumptuous here. Is it ever actually mentioned that the sword is power wrought?
gaylord dean
152. DeadlyArgon

I have to admit, your arguments got me thinking twice (specially the one about them being ta'veren). =) Glad to be having this discussion with someone like you. However, i lean on the side that Hawking, on accounts of being a royalty, is knowledgeable of LTT and the dragons.

And although i agree with you that nobody, not even Hawking himself, would have thrown a power-wrought sword, it is entirely possible to have the scabbard changed. Just like what Rand did with Laman's.

I don't think the Justice has ever been mentioned as power-wrought but it is entirely possible, again on reasons that he is High King.

What if, in all incredulity, the sword did indeed turn out to be Justice picked up by Raolin/Yulan/Guaire? LOL nah...too far-fetched, i think...
Aidan Young
153. aidanyoung1102

The whole weight of the series has shifted towards the Last Battle. I can't believe we have to wait another year.

I had Verin pegged exactly. But no one else I talked to agreed with me. She was AWESOME.

Honestly, this book had me SCARED at times. I have never felt that before in the WOT. It was great.

Brandon's writing style felt so appropriate for the direction that the series is moving. He captures a darkness that is more raw that Jordan's style and also started to unify characters in a very believable and emotional way for me.

Matt and Perrin were both pretty lame, though. But, they were obviously just getting set up for their next moves. Matt's arc should prove to be awesome. I wonder what Perrin is going to do to get back into relevance?

Another thing I liked: Brandon made some choices to wrap things up quickly and then did it. Because let's face it: Jordan had WAAAAYYYYY too many little plot threads out there to possibly give the all the attention that they deserved.

Examples of quick wrap-ups:
-Meeting with Tuon
-Black Ajah cleansing
-Elaida capture (do we really want to see her any more than necessary? Doesn't your head hurt enough from hitting that desk?),
-Arad Doman (didn't need another tedious Nation-winning plot)
-Aviendha (cool to get her POV, and now she will come back as a legit character again)

I'm looking forward to:

-Fortuona's next meeting with our heroes (humble pie has been served...?)
-Tower of Ghenji (duh)...What impact will Moiraine's return have?
-Faile getting less than 10 pages for the rest of the series (one can hope)
-Galad and Rand meeting
-Gawyn having to admit he's a big DOUCHE
-Moridin/Rand plot development
-Aviendha and Rand, um, well...
-Lan NOT dying...please?
-What is UP with the Black Tower?
Michael McCarthy
154. KilMichaelMcC
One thing about Elaida's characterization it seems to me to be frequently overlooked is her meeting with Padan Fain way back in Fires of Heaven. I believe that in one of Fain's POV's he thinks about how he had "brushed" her with the taint he carried from Aridhol. This, I think, lies at the heart of her transformation from mere incompetence to what we see she's finally become in this book. That her lashing out at Egwene includes denouncing her as a Darkfriend for no logical cause strikes me as directly indicative of this.

On an unrelated note, unnecessary exclamation points are the new "smoothed skirts."
155. mattyh
i am really looking forward to the moiraine + nynaeve reunion. even more so than rand + moiraine. nynaeve's entire driving force for the first few books was learning enough of the power to get even with moiraine.

i hope moiraine is impressed with nynaeve's growth. i certainly am :)
Justin Levitt
156. TyranAmiros
I'm not so sure Graendal's really dead. It would be a bit strange for her to go so anti-climatically. She's been a key Forsaken since TSR and it would be kinda disappointing for her to go out with such a bust...I guess that will be something to discuss as we wait for Towers of Midnight ;)

Personally, I was happy that Elayne and Perrin got the short shrift in the book. I've been tired of Elayne since WH and Perrin since PoD. I loved the focus on Rand in particular, since his character development has kind of been neglected since CoS. I was also thankful the Tower plot ended and the Black Ajah plot came to some resolution--like Mat and the Daughter of the Nine Moons, it needed to end.

However, I also think the lack of Elayne does point to Andor as a key thread for ToM--we have to see Elayne's coronation and the Black Tower thread come to a head. Presumably, this will involve Morgase, Galad, and possibly Gareth Bryne. One heavily foreshadowed plot point from as far back as TDR is a battle in Caemlyn (Egwene's Accepted test).

I would not be surprised if the Battle of Caemlyn turns out to be the "meeting point" of all the major characters before the start of Tarmon Gai'don. Elayne's already there, Mat's planning on going there (even if he drops by the Tower of Ghenji on his way to pick up Moiraine), Perrin has good reasons to drop by, as does Egwene, to resolve all the lingering White Tower/Black Tower threads, and Rand...can certainly find at least one reason to drop by.
Barry T
157. blindillusion
I just finished the book and had to write something.

I don't know if this is mentioned above, but it seems to me channeling the TP was exactly what the DO wanted to happen.

I mean come on, from that point on Rand is surrounded by the Shadow. No few of the key players in this novel mention the "black halo" around him. His ta'veren effect on the Pattern goes completely evil. Even his own heart shrinks away from him as his mind become evil.

Because I'll pose this little thought to everyone. What's the worst emotion you can feel towards someone? Love, hate, anger, fear, etc etc etc. No, the worst emotion is indifference. And that's where Rand was heading. He didn't care anymore. Who wants something like THAT to save them?

Anyway, back to the point above. The DO let Rand channel the TP power in order to conquer the Savior. This would be the "tempting of Jesus" section of the Bible that is WOT.

No one else catch that little exstacy moment Rand felt after the TP bit? He liked it even more that all the Power he could hold with the Choedan Kal. Yes, I think Rand was playing very well into the DO's hands there...pretty much starting to think much like our favorite Forsaken.

And I'm sorry, but after Min's viewing if that was Rand's "beggar" scene we just saw I'm a little disappointed. Granted, I hope is was the "beggar" scene because now we don't have to think about it anymore, but still, it just seemed a little...well, dull to me.

Anyway, a short recap of other characters:

Verin = Moment of Silence. She was awesome. And she was having so much FUN doing it. AWESOME to the nenth degree. I believe nothing more needs to be said.

Mat = FUNNY AS HELL!!! The almost role-playing scene...I had to put the book down I was laughing so hard.

Perrin = I kinda pegged him in one of my earlier comments. Guy's about to have to go through some of the same stuff Rand went through. Hope he handles it better.

Egwene = I've always liked her. She did awesome things. I'm happy. Can't wait to see her meet up with Rand.

Tuon = Hmm, WOW. She stood up to a devil there. And I shall continue to call her Tuon because she took about the dumbest name I think I've ever heard of for her new name. Egads girl, WTF!!

Nyn = Awesome. She did cool things and we all rejoice.

Avi = I kinda knew what they were doing from the start. Guess we'll just have to see what comes of it.

Elaida, er Suffa = ahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahah

Gawyn = He standing at the right path but still don't know if he's going to take it. Mmppph. Eh well, we'll see.

Cads = What did you expect?

Tam = I LOVE what you had to say after the fact.

Min = Coolness. Level head. Devotion. She'll be the one to explain the "three will be one". Good job.

Taim = Opps, guess we'll have to wait and see.

Elayne = Well, who's about to probably find out her mother is still alive.... Speaking of which, what's Gawyn going to do when he's given this little tidbit?

Talmanes = The perfect counterpoint to Mat. Who'd of thunk it?

Thom = I cannot wait for you to get what you deserve.

Moridin = Egads I hope his little plan backfired and nothing more will come of bringing Rand around to the Dark Side of the Force for a moment there.

Semmy = Lates girl. You were spooky while you lasted.

Gheldy = Hmmm. I'm one to say you're still around.

Pretty much every speaking role in the book = Wonderful.

Mr Jordan = Thank you.

Mr Sanderson = You did a wonderful job.

To anyone above who mentioned what I have mentioned here = I'm sorry. I'm exhausted and didn't really have time to read through all the posts. I just hope someone reads this wall of text and thinks, "Hey, why didn't I notice that?"

The Storm has come and it was AWESOME!!!

Bring on Midnight!!!

err, sorry for any mispelled words and grammatical errors.

edit: On the topic of the sword. Didn't Rand mention they found it under a just dug up statue? Not sure which statue, but that's the impression I got...I'd assumed the actual Choedan Kal as it's the only statue I remember being renovated recently.

Could it be Justice? I don't see why not. But considering Rand mentioned Turak in passing and didn't connect the man with his new sword, I'd say that kind of dispells the Turak's Sword Thoery.
158. Freeammo
Long time lurker, first time poster.

Firstly thanks to Leigh for a wonderful review, or in fact wonderful pair of reviews! Superbly written.

And boy I loved the book!

aidanyoung1102 @ 153

Totally agree with you about Brandon's style. The book definitely had a "Brandon Climax" over the last third or so, reminded me a lot of Elantris in that regard.

Just a few comments. Apologies if they have been mentioned in the posts above - I have only glanced through!

Rand and LTT - it was fascinating how the physical and mental aspects of the merging happened. My thoughts are that LTT himself was never real (although the memories were), but was actually Rand's emotional self - a schizophrenic alter ego. It was at the start of TSR, when Rand made the decision to become "hard" that he first started getting memories of LTT. As Rand became harder and harder, his emotional half - LTT - became more and more coherent.

Which leads me then to my scene of awesomeness - Rand and Tam's meeting. The last gamble of the Aes Sedai and Wise Ones, and it JUST did enough! I think the fact that there are so many "favourite scenes" in the comments above says more about the book than any number of appreciate reviews can say.

Last mini point - Rand with the TP - I think that Semirhage was "set up" by the DO as a punishment for failure. Rand channelling the TP almost cost him his last link to sanity, plus it punished a "failure" in a truly evil way - giving her false hope before utter despair.

And I've not even mentioned Egwene, Verin (in awe of her courage) and the White Tower! Stunning. With plenty of exclamation marks!
Wilson Grooms
159. stargazer
OK, so this is a little far afield from the main events of TGS. But I just had a thought, so bear with me a moment.... There's been a lot of speculation about how badly learning the truth about sul'dams channeling would shake the Seanchan. I've always been confused how they could possibly not know already, given that presumably they can manufacture more a'dam, and that presumably you need at least some amount of understanding of how an a'dam works in order to make one?

I figure there are two possible ways ouf of this: Either they've got a black box ter'angreal that manufactures a'dams without anyone having to understand the weaves, or some Seanchan secretly already do know the truth. I can imagine a special force of da'covale sul'dam, trusted to know the truth about themselves long enough to manufacture a'dams, and then to take their own lives in service to the empire and its need for secrecy. Plausible, cruel, but very efficient - just like most Seanchan government.
Wilson Grooms
160. ania hyek
i dont know guys how i stopped myself from reading this post
2 days and still no chance of getting a hand on the book here

uugghhhhhhhh i hate it
Abraham Park
161. Abe
Hmmm...I have to get this off my chest, quite heavy. First and foremost, I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. Please...I'M NOT BLAMING MR. SANDERSON, but when I came across what I'm guessing was Mr. Sanderson's writing, I kept thinking - If this character's name wasn't written here, I may be reading a different book. I'm not saying his writing ability is inferior to Jordan's, the reading just felt very, very, very different.

I know I'm clearing defining the definition of a whiny b***h, and I am going to have to deal with it. I mean, I can't bring Mr. Jordan back now can I?

Now apart from the writing style, I thought this one scene was downright non-WOTish. So... Hinderstap...What? I didn't know there was a copy of 28 Days Later's movie script in here!

And this - > Semirhage when thinking of torture - A small, eager part of herself had looked forward to them. BDSM much?

And this - > Fortuona? When I read her name for the first time, I kept thinking of this - "Fanta! Fanta! Do you wanna... Fanta! Fanta!" Anyone else?
Ryan Thistlethwaite
162. shintemaster
I haven't read a word of this review or the comments, and won't until I get a chance to read the book (hopefully this weekend).

Can I just say that the urge to get into this topic is absolutely and horrifyingly strong. Goodbye til next week!
Marina Brindley
163. WhereWomenGlow
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Felt a bit like Leigh did in her first review, was quite blown away by the sheer amount of significant events. Having raced through it this first time, I'm definitely going to have to go back and go through it more slowly, I'm sure there's a lot of small things I've missed. But first impression definitely WOW.

It did feel a little different to me, but probably less than I expected, and it didn't bother me too much. It drew me back in to the familiar story easily, and that was what I needed to make me happy with it. One thing I did feel was that some of the voices, especially internal, were less subtle – more direct statements, less obscure hints. I also felt a difference in pace that linked in with that, but I had the same thoughts as TedB@125, in that the impending end of the series and the natural tying off of storylines contributes to that, it wasn't only a stylistic thing. The natural arc of the series is of course also a big factor in why so much happens and so many long running mysteries are resolved.

All in all VERY satisfying. Not always enjoyable – most of Rand's POVs were painful to read – but extremely satisfying. Great job on a super difficult task, BS and Team Jordan!

Favourite chapter – Verin with Egwene. Cried and cheered simultaneously. Wonderful sneaky sneaky Verin will be sorely missed.

Was blown away by the escape of Semirhage and the subsequent Min/Rand scene. Huge surprise when Rand drew on the True Power to escape. Wow, wow and more wow. Can't wait to see the implications of that, in both directions.

Gareth and Siuan was very nicely done, big aaaawwwww moment for me.

Gawyn continues to irritate me. His decision making leaves a lot to be desired, and he's so childish it's not funny.

Egwene is very much the star of the book. Was very excited when she finally got to the BA hunters, and enjoyed the second dinner scene, although I do have to agree with previous comments on Elaida's character going a little OTT. The Seanchean attack scenes were just totally MOA – felt the need for a fist pump there! :-) Pretty much all of Egwene = awesome.

Nyn is also fabulous in this book. Admittedly, she's always been my personal favourite, but still, she rocks in this book.

Rand made me sad, a lot, but scared too, more so than ever before. I really wasn't sure if he was going to kill Tam or not in that scene, and that made it seriously scary not just for Tam but for Rand.

Liked the chapter titles – The Death of Tuon made my heart skip a beat when I turned to it! - and the new chapter icons were interesting too.

Zeal @ 144
That did occur to me too, but I thought it was more likely he'd be chuckling about Morgase than the King of Illian. Like I said though, wishful thinking could well be involved :-)
Ed Rafferty
164. BigBoy57
Loved it, just loved it. Well worth the wait and only 12 months until the next one!

The scene where Rand is being forced to to strangle Min was too much for me - I was on the train home from work and I had to put the book down and let a couple of stations go by before I could pick it up and read on - my eyes would not move down the page, they kept flicking up and away - a very strange feeling, let me tell you.

Great review Leigh and marvellously well done by Brandon & RJ.

Roll on the Towers!
F Shelley
165. FSS
Oh - and about the food spoilage issue (especially in Arad Doman): is it Rand causing all the food to spoil? I remember a dream of Rand's in TEOTW where Thom goes all "Fisher King" quoting about the Dragon being one with the land. It would seem that the food rotting is a visable sign of Rand's heart's status, not the Dark One's touch. This would also explain why keepings and wardings no longer work to keep food fresh. It's not the DO or a faialing of the Power, it's the Pattern itself. It will be interesting to see if Rand's epiphany will change this...
Wilson Grooms
166. SoneA
Page* ( sorry for spelling)
Wilson Grooms
167. SoneA
Gaylord @ 152
I totally missed the whole sword thing.
Could you give me a reference to where it is?
I mean like pagenumber /chapter
Rob Munnelly
168. RobMRobM
@165. That is an incredibly perceptive observation. Wow. Agree 100%. Note that once Rand gets his act together at end, sunlight dawns over Tar Valon in the final chapter. Rob
Rob Munnelly
169. RobMRobM
By the way, here are some of my predictions from the last LOC post. Looks like I did OK but most will be RAFO for next book:

Rand and Avi will renew their "relationship" (with Min's approval) and she'll get knocked up. -- Next book.

Eg will discover the BA hunters in the WT by discovering the conflicting oaths sworn by the ferrets. She will be enlisted to help and the BA hunters will be a backbone of efforts to put her in place of Elaida. -- mostly correct

Mat will drop the bulk of his camp followers in Camelyn before he heads to Tower of Ghenjie, and Setalle will begin helping Elayne with ter'greals. -- first half is correct; see next book re Setalle.

Tallanvor will die trying to save Morgase from harm and Tam will save her. -- Next book.
Rob Munnelly
170. RobMRobM
Another prediction from last LoC thread

@309 - Elaida collared could definitely happen. Seanchan will attack using their Fists of Heaven, elite troops that attack via Raken. Keep in mind Elaida is keeping her rooms at the top of the highest tower. Boom - little Laida starts pleasing her sul'dam to get treats. -- Yes!!!!
Rob Munnelly
171. RobMRobM
On a less successful note, with some trepidation I supported Lsiel's theory that Sheriam was getting abused by Lelaine rather than Halima. Nice theory but didn't work.

Ditto re her theory that Lelaine would try to usurp Eg's position as Amyrlin> Moving in that direction but never got there - 1/3 credit at best.

I also said that Eg would be tried by Elaida for some crime and that Siuan and Gawyn would come to try to save her. 1/3 credit at best.
Pete Pratt
172. PeteP
On the sword -- its in an early chapter -- I just ran through this part in my re-read last night. My theory -- this was not the only time Rand was spun out since LTT died. Some of the other "False" Dragons were Rand/LTT. The sword was of those guys', especially since LTT does not remember it, but Rand does.
Henry Loose
173. schrodinger
I just thought of something... when Semi escaped, she got Rand to choke Min... later, LTT added her name to the list, but she lived... Rand used the TP to heal her... he used the power of the DO to heal her... she could have been dead and the use of the TP can heal death... or I'm completely wrong. Aaaaand.... Discuss!

Also, I had several theories on the nature of Rand's head condition... regarding his present condition at the end of the book, I believe that he is now The Dragon from TAR, but with the Rand part of him in control (as he is the most recent version of himself), so essentially, he is like Birgitte, existing in the world as a hero, remembering all he did.
F Shelley
174. FSS
OK - here's another new theory Re: Egwene's dream that a Seanchan would help her off the cliff and they would reach the summit together. That COULD be the attack that ipso facto deposed Elaida, but could it be Tylee realizing that Aes Sedai don't deserve to be collared? Could she rise even further and make peace in Randland and peace with Tar Valon? What happens to Tuon? Does she go home and fight for Seandar and leave Tylee in charge?

RobM - hopefully you weren't being sarcastic with me re: my comments at 165. I only come here and the old Atari forums for my WoT fix. If this had been discovered earlier (the Fisher King thing is starting to seem obvious in retrospect) I'm sorry I missed it. I'm just a poor old project manager, not Comp Lit major. Of course, if my comment really IS new, maybe I missed my calling...
Matthew Smith
175. blocksmith
So much to comment on...where to start. I thought TGS was fantastic. I was concerned after reading/hearing chapters 1 and 2 because I felt the different style. These differences, with one exception, disappeared for me while reading the novel in its entirety. Very Well Done, BrS. (BS means something completely different for me).

First and foremost, I loved the balefiring of Graendal and the Narrows. A) It was one of those "if you got the power to take out one of your worst enemies, use it" moments that fans have been longing for. B)the scene reminded me of WWII. The decision to drop the atomic bom, even though sacrificing innocents, to halt additional countless casualties. A difficult decision but one that needed to be done.

Also, Rand's final scene on Dragonmount was great, but I could not get the image of the Grinch's heart growing a size to large out of mind.

And finally, characters are COMMUNICATING! I know not all of them, but some. Especially loved Siuan relating to Bryne why she "broke" her oath. Explanation=understanding.


I attributed Elaida's descent to crazy as gradual PFES (Padan Fain Exposure Syndrome). Kind of like listening to Nancy Pelosi too much :).

And, yes, used to be Verin=sneaky; now Verin=holycrapbadass/sneaky, which = awesome^2

Kab1 @60

My reaction entirely to the Rand/Min/Semirhage scene.

Also, I compared it immediately to Jesus Christ and the crucification. Semirhage's words are so close to "Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?", excepting only she was not redeemed. A very interesting parallel. Surprised no one mentioned this yet.

Kab1 @ 98

The Arad Domon abandonment bothered me the most also.

Jamsedjones @67 and Jwdenzel@101

I agree with Mr. Jones on one point only...I thought the Aviendha scenes were drawn out beyond need. I disagree with everything else. My reaction to the changes in Mat's character (which I noticed, tough not to) I attributed to post-marriage stress disorder. All married men have gone through it. I change, you change, we all change...'cause there is now someone in your life more important than you. Further, I thought the Mat and Talmanes exchange about women was LOL hilarious...no, that does not make me misogynistic.

Mr. Sanderson, keep up the great work and be proud of the job you did. I know RJ is smiling...no braid tugging there.
Rob Munnelly
176. RobMRobM
@174. Not sarcastic at all. Dare I say, brilliant insight.
Wilson Grooms
177. Tabernerus
There are at least a couple of comments in this thread that suggest that after the finale, Rand can no longer channel the One Power - that he was severed when he crushed the CK. Or maybe I totally read the comments wrong. Always a distinct possibility. :-)

What do people think? We got the barest few lines of dialogue, none of which had much to do with "Hey, look at this wondering True Source I can still clearly channel!" I suspect I'm reading too much into a couple of lines ("The power winked out."). Can someone please soothe my nerves here?
Wilson Grooms
178. tearl
LOVED the book!

...But I do agree that Mat was "off". The thing that stood out to me was not the whining or one-liners but the capture/assault plan. Multiple assumed characters with PAGES of backstory, "there was good drama in those pages". All this from a guy who maybe has read a book, sometime.

That said, it set up one of the LOL moments for me, from Mandevwin after the plan was called off,

"Does this mean I can go back to my poor aged aunt?"
Pete Pratt
179. PeteP
I did not think the Avi chapters were over done. We have had very few Avi chapters and I was glad to get them.

I do not think she was too slow to explode. Avi had internalized the Aiel culture so much (obey, accept discipline, etc) that she had to break throw to actually reject all of her training and beliefs.

As noted in the book, the Wise Ones had to work extra hard to get her to finally break the conditioning. Much like Nyn breaking her block, I really loved Avi breaking her ingrained conditioning to realize she is fully in control of herself. And then I loved her finding out how Wise Ones structure themselves.
Jason Deshaies
180. darxbane
I got through the Hinderstrap and Verin meetings last night. I agree about the aged poor Aunt thing - that was pretty funny. Although it is true that Mat didn't read much, he also wasn't trained as a master general, either. The memories he received may have been mostly about battles, but he did have memories of dancing and other things, all of which became natural abilities of his. It's not too hard to assume that one of the memories he got was from a soldier who was also and accomplished writer.

I don't understand where the zombie thing is coming from. The whole town goes insane every night, then everything resets in the morning. None of them are "undead", and they don't try to eat each other, just kill each other. It's quite a dabolical curse, knowing you do something horrible each night, but not remembering any of it. You people are way too protective of Mat. I would love to find out that RJ completed one of the Mat scenes you are all complaining about, just to see the reaction.
Wilson Grooms
181. ArgusRun
The three for Callandor.... Nyn and Moraine. That's why Moraine needs to be back. And Nyn will continue to be drawn between her love for Lan and her duty to Rand as both a Two Rivers man and the Dragon.

Rand will have to convince her that her real place in the upcoming battle is with Rand.

OMG the book was awesome!!!!!
Wilson Grooms
182. Wes S.
TGS was pure awesome. And Verin...wow. Same for Egwene. This was her book as much as anything.

Somebody needs to slap this current edition of Mat. His depiction was the one thing that rang false about the whole book to me.

(Well, that and the cover art. Rand is depicted as managing to look both angry and constipated. And that upraised fist is just begging to have a middle finger photoshopped onto it, "Last Great Defiance" style.)

I devoured TGS as soon as I got it; I'll take my time with the novel in a second reading this weekend. High points for me, besides Verin and Egwene:

"The Gathering Storm" struck me as much a depiction of Rand's mental state as it was the coming of the Last Battle.

I'm sure Suffa will be a good damane...snork.

And if Cadsuane really wanted Rand to "learn to laugh and cry again," all she had to do was let him watch her rub Semirhage's nose in her own mess and paddle her bottom like a disobedient puppy. That scene sure had me ROFLMAOing to the point of tears...

Rand's meeting with Tam...eek.

Semi, Rand and Min...eek.

And I thought only the Dark One could give permission for someone to channel the True Power? If he did let Rand touch the TP...agreed, it must have been an attempt to subvert Rand somehow. And Rand's descent into madness seemed to accelerate after he touched it, even given what Semi did to Rand and Min before Rand balefired her.

My first thought on the "sword of light and the three shall be as one" thing was that it meant Rand was channeling through Callandor with the aid of the three women he's bonded to (with Elayne and Aviendha, as the ones who can channel, helping him buffer the flows and Min somehow linked to he other two). However, if that's so where does that leave Alanna, who's also bonded to him?

If this is the correct theory: Wonder if Alanna's going to check out in the next installment of the series?

(Word verification: "Fresno Franklin?" WTF?)
Wilson Grooms
183. Nightbaron
I agree with RobMRobM, FSS's insight about the Fisher King tied to the land and the food corruption being tied to him was one of the best theories I've seen out there. Thanks!

Ok, so what a book, eh? It's hard to comment without repeating a lot of what's been said, but I know I'm not the only one feeling a desperate need to discuss and comment, so here goes. I'll try to focus on what hasn't been said, but know that what I don't mention, I probably LOVED.

I thought the book was great, and that Sanderson's effort was masterful. Knowing he kept a lot of Jordan's writing and patched it with his own, I was afraid to read a fractured book, but I found it seamless, with a style that was somewhat in between Jordan's and Sanderson's own.

I also agree with what seems to be a majority, that Mat felt off. The first monologue was very awkward, as was the "saidared" line. Making up new words, or unusual verbs out of words feels really contemporary (Whedonesque, as mentioned), but overall I didn't bug me much. I thought his interactions with the band bordered on comedy routine, but it wasn't enough to make me dislike it.

When Leigh first posted that some of Branderson's choices were brave, I assumed she meant a very different scene. I know Sanderson posted that one of the things he needed to sometimes figure was out to get the right people at the right place and the right time, so the scene which jumped up at me as "brave" was Mat and Verin's Great Ta'veren Pull. It felt like an extreme interpretation of the definition of Ta'veren, only to get Verin to Mat's location when she had no idea where he was, and while it was interesting, it just felt... extreme.

I see that, like me, most people figured out Aviendha's situation from the beginning. It doesn't meant I found it too long, or predictable, it means I thought it was perfectly in line with the world we've known for a long time, and therefore made perfect sense.

I really enjoyed that the chapters were slightly shorter than usual, and that there was much more POV jumping than usual. I thought it made the book flow much better than when we get big blocks of chapters for every PoV.

I was a bit saddened that we learned that Galad would meet with Perrin's team through Rand's swirling colors, or that Mat was in Caemlyn the same way. I think it's obviously due to the split in books and the decision to include Rand's full arc while keeping Perrin and Mat's for the next book, and that we'll see it from their PoV when it actually happens. I REALLY hope we don't skip over it, as it is something I'm greatly looking forward to.

I really enjoyed the meeting between Rand and Tuon, which would have been my "book-throwing" moment. It made perfect sense, but it was so aggravating! Loved it.

I didn't think zombies when in Hinderstap (though I can see the resemblance now), and thought it was an interesting new way of seeing the Dark One's touch on the world. Made for a fun action sequence.

Loved learning more about Bandar Eban and Arad Doman in general. I thought that while Graendal's alleged death (I think she IS dead, myself) felt a bit anti-climactic, I thik it made perfect sense. How do you kill someone who WON'T face off with you? I also loved the detective work by Nynaeve and Rand to corner her. It was the most proactive Team Light has ever been in regards to Forsaken.

My theory for Rand's new sword is that it's the (now, after the Choedal Kan has been destroyed) most powerful sa'angreal for men. It had been mentioned that there were two more powerful than Callandor, and we knew the first, so I think this might end up being the second. Just a theory.

I know I'm not mentioning the moments of awesome like Verin, Egwene's entire arc, Rand channeling the TP, etc... because you all have said it much better than I did.

Over all, loved the book, really excited to read more of your reactions!
Wilson Grooms
184. Merrillfic
Leigh @ 23:

Well, maybe "The Tick" writers got it from "The Hulk." They were pretty groovy that way, and it'd be just like me to miss it.

The episode in question involved a clown genetically engineered by a scientist to be SUPER-funny, but ended up being super powerful to go along with being super funny-looking, and he'd get really, really hurt by people laughing at it. Then he'd go "CLOWN SMASH!" with this angry face and bust s**t up.
Wilson Grooms
185. douglasm
I just thought of an interesting crazy theory:

Part 1: The Callandor + "three shall be as one" line of prophecy.
Part 2: The theory several commenters have suggested of Rand piggybacking on Moridin's access to the True Power without the Dark One's approval.
Part 3: To make the Seals, Lews Therin and the Hundred Companions had to touch the Dark One with their weaves.

Crazy speculative conclusion: The final sealing will be done by Rand, in a circle, with a man channeling saidin, a women channeling saidar, and Rand himself channeling the True Power, using Callandor to amplify all three. Some part of the seal has to touch the Dark One, apparently, and this time around that part will be made of the True Power woven against the Dark One's will by Rand co-opting Moridin's access. Go ahead, Dark One, taint the True Power, I dare you! :-P

Of course, there's also the problem of whether the Dark One could directly control or dismantle something woven of the True Power after it was formed, but maybe the touching-the-Dark-One part is only necessary to anchor the seals while they are being woven.
Wilson Grooms
186. Ishmayl
129. Eithin:

Ishmayl: Hopefully, there will be just a schmidgin of time-going-backwards-ness in the next book to cover thoroughly what Mat and Perrin have been up to, with none of the "Three Months Later..." BS.

Oh, please no! We find out at the end of TGS that Things Have Been Happening with Perrin, and that none of them - with the exception of Morgase's reveal - were interesting enough for Tam to tell Rand about. I like long books as much as anyone, and more than most, but I want the next book to start off going forwards, rather than going back to catch up and wait for everyone to get to the same stage in the plot. Sanderson's got a good pace going, and he's not going to slow it down with another gratuitous half-dozen chapters of Faile and Berelain being idots.

So you're telling me you don't want to see Galad's reaction to meeting his mother, Galad and Berelain's reactions to each other, and even (possibly more importantly), Byar and Dain's reactions to coming across Perrin again??? Forgive me for wanting to see those reactions that will surely be pretty dramatic.
187. marcamante
First off, absolutely loved the book, though I need to read it again to absorb everything. I definitely yelled out loud during the Rand/Min scene, it was so intense.

But, as a huge Mat fan, I was also disappointed with his sequences, though after his second chapter I felt that he improved a lot. and I actually liked the Hinderstap scene, and he did have some of his usual humor as well. Also Vanin and Talmanes bugged me, they felt really odd. But this was not even close to damaging my opinion of the book

the one thing that DID really irk me was the Choedan Kal access key suddenly becoming pocket sized. I mean, wtf? It had to be carried in a big scrip before, and was mentioned to be at least a foot tall or so. Its smallness and transportability seemed like a plot issue at times, so this really bothered me. BUT...I'm really nitpicky

Egwene, though, was totally awesome, she's always been a favorite and got even better.

I think BS did a great job and I'm really looking forward to the next books!
Sarah Wilson
188. Wilson
First, loved the book, though I agree about Mat, and I'm trying to justify it in my head having something to do with maturing and figuring out how to adjust to being married. I felt that Mat's whole point of being in this book was to add filler via brain pictures of other two, and I was yelling at him to just get on with saving Moiraine already!!

Though there were many awesome parts, my fav?

Tam - What the hell did you do to my son!?!

I'm glad someone had sense to put blame where it was needed. Thanks also to Min for that.
F Shelley
189. FSS
@187 - agree with your comment about the size of the CK access key. It just seemed weird, although I do remember something about Rand having an "oversized" pocket, but it would have to be the size of his chest to fit a 1 foot statue in there.

I'm guessing this was a small mistake on BS' part. Not a huge deal, but just a little weird...
Barry T
190. blindillusion

Your theory is interesting though I question whether the Seals will be used at all. The Seals create a patch. Rand has to completely re-do the DO's Prison.

Though in retrospect this theory is possible. After all, using all three of the Powers to heal the Prison could be what causes the backlash, and this time the backlash takes the ability to channel from mankind.

It has to happen at some point. This is Earth we're talking about. Eventually the Wheel has to spin back around to, well...us.
Wilson Grooms
191. Confutus
It wasn't until I wrote it out for myself that I realized that the odd speling of ForTUONa's name is meaningful.
Wilson Grooms
192. Steve Dallas
I finished the book last night and loved it. There were many great moments in it.

The Egwene storyline was extremely well done and the Verin/BA revelation was definately an awesome moment of the series.

I somehow guessed exactly what was going on with Avheindha, probably because I'm also a big fan of Raymond Feist. It was very similar to how Pug figured out that he was no longer a novice magician.
Wilson Grooms
193. enlotta7
Oddly enough, I had the most problem with the first part of Egwene's storyline. She just seemed a bit TOO, I dunno, saintly to me. It wasn't until Elaida's dinner scene with Egwene standing up to her, did I really get that sense of "oh, awesome!" It was good from then on out, though.

And thank you, Faile, for taking care of Masema. Ugh. That man bothered me. Also, glad that Perrin finally took that small bit of time to think of Aram.

I was a bit upset that both Verin and Sheriam wound up being BA, but loved (and hated) Verin's last scene. It was beautifully written.

Mat-I though his scenes were very funny. But, no, not really the Mat we know and love.

It's always darkest before the dawn (or however that quote goes) seems to be Rand's thing this book and it works for me, but god, did I keep saying, "What are you DOING?" and "Oh, no you didn't."

In the end, very satisfied. Plotlines got resolved and people actually TALKED TO EACH OTHER. Loved, loved, loved.
Leigh Butler
194. leighdb
Nightbaron @ 183:

See, the thing I assumed about Verin's Tale of Ta'veren Pull Woe was that it was lies from start to finish.


I'm pretty much positive Rand's sword is Hawkwing's Justice. The reason is because the only other time besides the first chapter Rand thinks about it is when he arrives in Falme, which *specifically reminds him* of the sword.

Pretty much clinches it for me.
Wilson Grooms
195. Mike G.
I applaud "competency porn" as a description of the Egwene sections. Awesome.

And the Verin solution was so perfectly Brown Ajah, it was great.

1 question, though, @50 Be'Lal:

For how much happened, surprisingly few longstanding issues are definitively cleared up. By my count, the following WOTFAQ questions are definitively answered:


I missed that in my quick read - how was the money question answered?


F Shelley
196. FSS
@194 - well, there's also this (seemingly straightforward prophecy from the beginning of TEOTW:

And it came to pass in those days, as it had come before and would come again, that the Dark lay heavy on the land and weighed down the hearts of men, and the green things failed, and hope died. And men cried out to the Creator, saying, O Light of the Heavens, Light of the World, let the Promised One be born of the mountain, according to the prophecies, as he was in ages past and will be in ages to come. Let the Prince of the Morning sing to the land that green things will grow and the valleys give forth lambs. Let the arm of the Lord of the Dawn shelter us from the Dark, and the great sword of justice defend us. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.
(from Charal Drianaan to Calamon,
The Cycle of the Dragon.
Author unknown, the Fourth Age)

Since that's from the 4th Age, it seems likely the sword in question would be Justice, called by name...
Wilson Grooms
197. Dholton
I finished reading last night, and overall I loved it. Much of what I liked and not so liked has already been discussed, so I'll try to avoid repeats. Here we go:

Mat- I think the main problem with BS's treatment of Mat was that most of the humor concerning Mat was due to his internal thoughts and reactions to what was happening around him, whereas BS mostly treated him from an external point of view, using comic dialogue, as opposed to an internal monologue.

Parallels- I was struck by the number of parallels of people and situations both within this book and between books. For instance, the similarity between Verin and Moiraine, and their endings (if that's the correct term for Moiraine). Both made great sacrifices for the greater good, both left farewell letters, and in my opinion, each in their own inimitable fashion proved that they are truly the epitome of what it means to be an Aes Sedai (in the best way).

Another parallel is between the situations of Rand and Egwene. Both being essentially tortured, and tested to their limits, and there is much comparing and contrasting how each reacts. Egwene herself even remarks on it.

Then there's the whole prophecy re Callandor. "The three must be one." Now the obvious conclusion, (too me anyway) is that Avi, Min and Elayne, must act together with Rand to use Callandor to seal the Bore. But one that may be less obvious is that there have been hints that Rand and Lews Therin must merge, (which has happened), and also I think that Rand and *Moridin* will in some way be merging thru their link. Again, "the three must be one." Rand, LT and Moridin. An interesting male/female parallel of unification.

Artwork- Now I'm no great fan of DKS, and didn't really like the TGS cover. And while reading the early part of the book, I was surprised that the scene it portrayed was ostensibly such a minor one. But as I continued reading the book, I came to realize that one of the main arcs of the book was Rand's descent into near(?) madness. So, while I may fault DKS's execution of the cover, I have to give him some props for a thematically appropriate one.

Now, the image that I would like to see depicted someday, in some form, would be that of Egwene in the Battle of the White Tower. I see it in my mind's eye, pov from behind her as she stands looking out of a hole in the wall, sa'angreal in hand, glowing with the power, wind blowing in her hair. Awesome!

I don't remember the exact circumstances, due to my rush to read the book, but hints are given that the Last Battle may not be what Rand (and we) think it will be. While I have no doubt some battles will be involved, I think the Last Battle itself will be something else. Evidence points to at least some of it taking place in Rand's mind. Will he be goaded into using balefire to destroy the Pattern? (Of course that's largely settled now....for the momemt)


1) Given the level of the DO's awareness of his followers as evidenced by what he did to Mesaana, I'm surprised Verin got away with as much as she did. Also, just realized another piece of Verin's Awesomeness: she's still vulnerable to the DO even after death, and she probably knew it and did it anyway. *sigh of sadness*

2) As noted by others, BS did seem to use some real world turns of phrase, which I would have thought the editing process would have caught, such as "loss of face" or "do the math"

3) While BS may have had some problems with Mat's voice, and to a lesser extent some others, I thought he was spot on with Egwene.

4) Leaving aside the moral problems of how he actually did it, I thought Rand's approach to dealing with Graendal was perfect. Don't oppose a schemer with schemes, but as directly as possible. That being said, I was disappointed there was no pov given of her, (or Elaida for that matter).
5) While the scenes with Rand, Semirhage and Min, and Rand and Tam where intense, my biggest Moment of Despair was when Siuan and Gawyn "rescued" Egwene. I screamed "NOOOOO!!!" at the thought of all her hard work gone to waste.

6) Having Mat's ta'vereness grab Verin from a distance (and up to now, they've had to be on the spot to have an effect I think) was really a rather brute force method to get Mat where he needed to be for the next book.

7) That being said, if I'm reading the timelines correct for the different plot threads, I think both Mat and Perrin's are a couple weeks behind Rand and Egwene's, as evidenced by Rand's glimpes of the other two. They seem to be ahead of the actual POV's we get of the two. So I'm guessing ToM will occurring largely concurrent with TGS events, catching everybody up temporally speaking for the Last Battle in AMOL.

8) One of the Minor Moments of Awesome was Rand's revelation to Nynaeve that he *knows* they think hardness is the wrong direction, and gives his reasons. Self-awarenes revealed! (even if he's still wrong)

9) I'm still hoping that we'll see Egwene telling Verin's Story to her sisters. Such nobility should be honored publicly.

10) Oh, Verin...her true tragedy is that she didn't need to die. She just the oath rod. *sniff*
F Shelley
198. FSS
@195 - Tower Aes Sedai started beating the Salidar Aes Sedai to the various kingdom's money people to collect their tribute, and the kingdoms wouldn't pay twice. Can't remember the chapter though.

The same chapter also said something about the fact that the tribute was no longer needed, but done to keep everyone in their place; that the tower had better ways to raise money, but it didn't go into that.

I imagine the same way rich people stay rich, investments and stealing.
Wilson Grooms
199. Confutus
Tam's comments to Cadsuane put a finger on a sore spot. I am hard put to think of a single one of the Aes Sedai who has not begun trying to bully or manipulate Rand.
It seems that this is a moral blindness caused by the three oaths. Egwene is the first to see that the Wise Ones and the Windfinders are respected, not seen as scheming manipulators, and that the oath to speak no word that is not true has to be internalized. The fact that the Aes Sedai have relied on an externally enforced binding while trying to evade the letter has created a well deserved reputation for being scheming, manipulative, and untrustworthy.
Rand has been reacting to that bullying and manipulation as well as the nearly indistinguishable manipulations of the DO and his minions. Nynaeve and Egwene are the only two of the Aes Sedai who have ever seen the good-natured, good-hearted young man that Tam raised and knew. To everyone else, Rand is a terrible, fearsome creature of destruction, power and madness.
Now that Rand has teetered on the edge and come back, I'm hoping he will find his center and become a true champion of the Light.
Eva Lane
200. eblij
Well there doesn't seem to be any more to say than has already been said, but I want to add my voice to the general chorus in support of Egwene. She is absolutely made of awesome. I think ended up SQUEE-ing a lot for her.

Verin: still awesome.

Rand's chapters were so tragic. I felt exhausted by his descent into madness and depression. This *has* to be rock bottom, right? RIGHT? I'm really excited to see how link between Rand and Moridin plays out.

I would say the only thing I really had an issue with was Mat. I found his chapters less exciting than usual and the character less competent, but I'm more than willing to admit that I was all about Egwene during the first reading. Wow.

When's the next one?! Can't wait...aaaah!
Wilson Grooms
201. kab1
@142 and @RobM- I also totally thought of you and your Tam and Morgase theory when reading that "Kings don't whine" line. Literally, I stopped, and thought oh maybe he got that from Morgase! and then kept reading. Heh. I'm not sure if Tam and Morgase are in the future (I'd actually like to see her with Tallanvor, ever since the scene where he reswore his oaths to her was described) but I'd like to see Tam with someone, but I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't get resolutions like that.
Wilson Grooms
202. MSedai

After so much floating around plot-wise, it was absolutely awesome to have things start happening!
And I have to agree with pretty much everyone on this thread that Mat seemed a little off, although the only time it pulled me out of the story was the 'saidared' comment.

As to Verin- I read the "I am Black Ajah" line and stopped reading to hit myself over the head several times with the book--I didn't have a desk handy. I mean, geez, how many convoluted crazy theories were there about Verin, and I never heard too many people going, well, what if she actually did go Black Ajah to be undercover? Awesome.

And the comment about LTT not really being real? I read that and thought, oh Leigh is going to shove that in everyone's face! She did it gracefully, however.

I really like the Fisher King explanation for why Rand seemed to be emanating evil, I want it to be that so much more than his brush with the TP and connection with Moridin, although I suspect I will be disappointed.

I'm not sure I believe that Graendal is actually dead, because of how much we were set up in the prologue to start getting to see more of her, but that could be a case of RJ setting it up and BS finishing it quickly to get it out of the way...

I think that Egwene/Gawyn is still major trouble. I can't believe that he is going to be totally ok with her being Amyrlin and telling him he has been a total a**hole, and oh, by the way, you are an idiot for thinking Rand killed Morgase. I think she is still in danger from him, and just because they have finally met again does not necessarily mean the Warder option of Min's vision is on its way.

And I was a little confused with the Aviendha plotline, because I was sure she needed to come back to be the one to save Rand. Maybe she still does, because recovering from that much of a hell is not going to be peaches and cream.

And does anyone think that Rand bowing to the Crystal Throne is a possibility? I think it is more likely in his new mindset- I mean that has been so much set up I can't imagine that it will be completely tossed out as WRONG-try again! Maybe it happens in such a way as that Rand doesn't think he has submitted, but For(Tuon)a does?

And lastly, I didn't catch Fortuona=Lady Luck, but I did get Rand's heart of stone=cuendillar.
Michael McCarthy
203. KilMichaelMcC
Wanted to point out a continuity error I (think) I noticed: Sulin leads the Maidens who scout out around Greandal's place, but she's still supposed to be with Perrin's group, isn't she?
Joseph Blaidd
204. SteelBlaidd
As I think back over this newest instalment in the WoT the overarching theams of the book.

There are three main theams that underlie every single POV in this book. They are Leadership, Constraints, and Motivation. What does a leader do and why do they do it. This comes out most explicetly in Rand as he comes back to himself as he contemplates his fathers question about his motivation, but we see it in Perrin's first real self examination, the whole Tower fiasco is a result of the majority of the sisters being more intersted in being "in charge" than in thinking about what they were going to do once the were. Tuon and Aviendha both think deeply about addapting to the new people they need to deal with and what the burdens of maintaing peace are. We get Besalain's accepting of the burdans of true kingship even if it is as a subject of the Empress.

Gwayn provides the oppoutunity for several important observations on what happens when you don't take sufficient thought to why you do something especialy if your deccisions affect lots of people. We saw his problem as far back as tEotW when his mom chastises him for just following allong when Elayne does something stupid. He can't afford to do things because they're easy and make him feel better.

The constraints of Rand's life are mirrored in Perrin and Mat, both of whom are just now begining to realize that they are just as firmly bound to the pattern and that they can't hide from it in obscureity. Rand has accepted the binding of the patten but that has made him less and less willing to accept other bonds. Compare this to Avhienda who has bound her self to the position of Aprentice and ji'e'toh and must learn that the duty of being a Wise One requires knowing when to break these bonds.

13Depository Thread
Wilson Grooms
205. Snowlan
Truly an awesome book -- it took me a little while to get used to BrS's writing style -- but he in the end does an excellent job of entering and chronicling RJ's Wheel of Time world. (Although there are a few minor but glaring missteps, such as Talmanes -- A Cairheinen - suddenly developing a taste for a "red coat, trimmed with gold" and the unexplained shift in the proper form of addressing the unveiled Tuon from "Highness" at the end of KOD to "Highest Daughter" in TGS) . . . But overall, I was very impressed.

I was not disappointed with Rand's last two chapters, because they seemed (to me) to sum up and provide the capstone to the most important theme I saw running through the entire arcs of character development for Rand, Egwene, and Avienda. I would attempt to summarize that theme as: "maturity recognizes that true strength comes from the inner knowledge of yourself and your own motives, not from anything external."

Avienda ceases to be an apprentice when she relies on her own strength and ceases to look for approval from the other Wise Ones - when she trusts her internal compass more than external approval.

Egwene becomes the true Amylin when she realizes her responsibility for the whole Tower whether or not those she serves acknowledge her as the Amyrlin, something internal - and deeper - than just trying to tear down Elaida and force all to an external acknowledge of her position.

Rand's motivation for fighting the Last Battle shifts from something external - "I will do what I must, because Pattern chose me and I have no choice" - to something deeper and internal - "I choose to continue this battle because I myself want to fight it and I think good will come of it."

This theme is not limited to the main characters. Shemerin lost her position as an Aes Sedai because she accepted and internalized Elaida's judgment on her own worth. By contrast, Verin's dying message can be distilled to "they can make me externally Black Ajah, but they can't force me to become a Darkfriend in my heart."

As Tam said to Rand (thus provoking the final catharsis): "The choice isn't always about what you do, son, but why you do it."
Henry Loose
206. schrodinger
@Snowlan 205
I think you just hit the nail on the head as to what this book was about (while Eg's kicking some Seanchan ass was good, Rand's decision chapters at the end were the best of the entire book).
Pete Pratt
207. PeteP
Re-reading last night, I had another favorite line -- when Siuan and Eg are meeting up early in the book and Siuan tells Eg about Asha'man bonding Aes Seadi. Eg goes all "who gave the Dragon Reborn permission to allow his men to do this" etc. And Siuan responds "He is the Dragon Reborn. He does not need to ask permission" -- a classic display of why Eg is still being stupid toward Rand and why Siuan is awesome.
Rachel Vines
208. metria31183
I remember taking Siuan's comment as sarcasm when I read that. IMO, it's not a good example of how Siuan sees Rand in a better light than Egwene.
Pete Pratt
209. PeteP
I did not see that as sarcasm, especially given how she tries to divert the blame from Rand in the next sentence.

Siuan fully realizes that Rand is the Dragon Reborn and has since she first saw him. Meanwhile, Eg still thinks Rand is the boy she had a crush on that is too big for his britches.

Speaking of this, I am very glad Nyn no longer has this problem -- again, major props to Nynaeve in tGS. She may not have the single chapter of greatness like the Golden Crane, but Nyn as a bunch of good stuff and acts more adult than she did in the earlier books.
Rikka Cordin
210. Rikka
@121 wawwen

O Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi

hrm. Oh Fortune, empress of the world... how fitting. ;)

also, anyone else feel like Egwene and Rand parallel each other in some very interesting ways? The two of them united would be a force to reckon with!
Sam Mickel
212. Samadai
I just had a holy shit moment.

What if the ending of tGS when Rand is laughing again is really when he officially becomes the Dragon Reborn. It would go along with the prophecy and allow the land to start healing before the last battle. because lets face it even if the light wins there will be no food for anyone to eat and most if not all will die.
Sam Mickel
213. Samadai
Rand comes down from the mountain as a beggar, ends up with the traveling people, teaches them the song of growing, Perrins' next quest is to find him and bring him back to face the DO( thus fulfilling mins second time Perrin has to be there.
Wilson Grooms
214. wawwen
@210 Rikka

Much of the piece is about love, making love, drinking (lots of drinking actually) and I think (but not sure as it's been a long time since I read the translation) gambling. The work as a whole also is about the turning of fortune's wheel.
Wilson Grooms
215. Lily of the Valley
I imagine the same way rich people stay rich, investments and stealing.

Yes, because hard work and managerial skill has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Re: Nynaeve - While she didn't have a singular moment of condensed Win such as The Golden Crane, I found that I enjoyed her just as much if not more than the previous books in her few chapters here. While I still disagree with the entire premise of "controlling" or "guiding" Rand, I can appreciate her worry on his behalf and her willingness to take some initiative to help him reach his goals, such as finding and killing Graendal.

I also noticed that she really didn't provide as much humor as before with her internal dialogue, but the difference is one I didn't notice until now and am satisfied with. :) She's matured, and is really starting to be worthy of both respect and her position within the Aes Sedai hierarchy. I get the feeling tht eventually she will be high up on the White Tower ladder not just for her inborn Power-weilding abilites, but for herself.

Also: Am not feeling a Happily Ever After vibe for her and Lan. ): Way to go, Min.
F Shelley
216. FSS
@215 - sorry, was trying to be funny, not class-warfare-ish.

...on the other hand, how much hard work and managerial skill has the White Tower shown prior to Egwene taking over?
Wilson Grooms
217. D.S. Crankshaw
I have to agree that Mat was off. He was funny, no question, but not really on character. The first scene, and his rant, seemed off to me, though it was hard to put a finger on it. He definitely complains about women, and will go on about it sometimes, but I think the real problem was the stretched analogy. Not that he's never used an analogy before (especially analogies concerning dice), but that one just went on and on.

But the one that really threw me, and which others have pointed out already, was the Legends chapter. It was the funniest chapter in the book, and it was really, really unlike Mat. First, Mat is a skilled liar. It's practically the first thing we learn about him. He's certainly capable of making up extended stories on the spot (see The Dragon Reborn, when he meets Gaebril and Morgase), but he's smart enough to keep them simple, and not too imaginative. And his lying is usually improvisational, not planned. I can see him coming up with a cover story, but something that involved? Then, of course, there's writing out pages and pages of backstory. We only see Mat write something once in the novels, in A Crown of Swords, and it's quite clear that he's not much for it. To quote: "His hand was awkward and square. He had no love of writing." It's a laborious task for him. Yeah, I have a hard time seeing him writing pages and pages of elaborate backstory.
Wilson Grooms
218. Lily of the Valley
I'm sorry, too. .-. It's just, one day I wanna BE rich, and I get kind of irked when people insinuate that rich people are thieves and don't deserve their fortunes. Don't get me wrong, there are horrible people out there with lots of money *coughBernieMadofcough* but really, no more than there are average horrible people with less money.

And, you're right on the second count. Pretty sure the leaders of the nations that are bowing to the Aes Sedai have more kill actually managing things than the Aes Sedai themselves.

Which is kind of sad.

Hopefully that'll change now. :D
Wilson Grooms
219. Lily of the Valley
*skill, even.

@__@ I need to log in...
Wilson Grooms
220. CBeats
I noticed that few people have complained about the complete lack of Elayne in this book. I wonder why...? I was frankly fine without a single point of view from her. Completely fine.
Leigh, your review was great.
This book was
a) a million times better than any of the other WoT books and
b) a billion times better than any other book I have ever read.

Top moments:

-Egwene saying "Coward!" to Elaida.

-the metal clicking around Rand's neck

-him discovering a strange, alien power, something other than the One Power

-Egwene opening the door and seeing Verin

-Verin admitting to being Black Ajah

-Sheriam's chapter's beginning where it is revealed she is Black Ajah

-Egwene standing at the hole in the tower with the angreal, blasting fire at the to'raken

-Tuon declaring "I am the Empress"

baahhhh there are other ones too but I just can't think of them.

True, Mat's chapters were a little odd. I'm also slightly thrown off by Perrin's lack of clarity with Faile, as well as Cadsuane's role for the rest of the series. She is not as significant or legendary to me as a reader as she used to be.

Aviendha's chapters were pretty good, if a little repetitive. I look forward to hearing more about her trip to Rhuidean.
Overall an incredible, amazing story.

ps - was anyone else surprised at how thick it actually was? I certainly was...
Wilson Grooms
221. brinoch
leighdb @194:

I had the same impression regarding the sword. Pretty clearly that sword is Hawkwing's Justice. There aren't that many specific swords mentioned in the series to begin with, and a stroll through Rand's memory reveals significantly fewer that it could be.

Thinking further about it... I think the sword's lineage will be fairly critical to the eventual truce between the Seanchan and the remainder of Randland. In fact, spinning the thought further, it may very well be that the line "the future teeters on the edge of a blade" refers to Justice, possession of Justice, or Rand giving Tuon/Fortuona the blade as part of the truce.

Given their Hawkwing ancestor worship, I think they would value that blade *very* highly.
Wilson Grooms
222. Bagsy
Just finished the book and I can honestly say it was worth waiting for. It was fast paced and so much happened it reminded me of the earlier books in the series. I loved Egwene in this book where before in the series I have found her annoying. The Verin reveal was awesome. All in all I have to say thankyou Brandon Sanderson and keep up the good work.
Wilson Grooms
223. Be'Lal
1. Did Perrin ever explain why he didn't send an A-mail to ask for help Traveling to wherever he's going? Now that Rand has actually started sending messengers/communicating/moving his forces it feels more artificial that Perrin doesn't. I suppose he might still think his mission is supposed to be Deep Undercover (dumb as that would be for him to think given all that's happened), but why wouldn't Rand have at least tried to check up on him by now?

2. How did Elza know she'd been Compulsed? Easy answer is that Shadar Haran could tell (though Verin in PoD: Deceptive Appearances thinks it takes impressive Delving to tell, SH could conceivably have that skill). A more interesting answer is that Verin had to report it somehow. Given the whole still being alive thing, it's unlikely that she reported it unless she did it on orders (since her covert Black Ajah Light Ops have to have still been secret unless Alviarin is even more incompentent than Elaida). The clear implication in PoD was that Verin's Compulsion was the proximate cause of all of the TAS DW captives swearing fealty to Rand. Was that the Shadow's goal? If so, why? To increase chaos (as both TAS and SAS freak out at it)? To get Rand to trust more BA? Do these goals warrant giving Rand so many more AS? Note, ironically, the number of Dragonsworn AS at the Cleansing. I find this interesting because the appearances in the PoD prologue title are even more deceiving if Verin is directly working for the Shadow.

3. Related query: Did Ishy order her to follow the Hunting party? Note that she directly lied then, and the discrepency was noticed later (though no one followed up). Deliberate? Why?

4. And why the field trip to the 2R? Related to the FS who sent Slayer after Fain? Or a low-level BA able to sneak off and help a ta'veren friend without getting caught?

5. Re: Gawyn rescuing Egwene. It could be that one of the Seanchan Shadow Assassin types would have gotten her had she stayed. She had just been the focal point of the only effective resistence, while wielding the supersangreal. At the point of the Rescue she had just sent everyone away and was on the edge of collapse--an extremely easy target. If Gawyn et al. hadn't come, it's easy to picture a Shadow Assassin making it to her in the confusion and hitting her with one of the poison dart things. Which would work well for the Seanchan. And she could have been easy prey for Mesaana, for that matter, who could have been doing her own damage control in the aftermath of the attack, and who sounded ready to be rid of Eggy last we heard from her.

6. Largely approve of the hasty executions of the BA, but I'm not convinced it wouldn't have been worth pumping at least a few of them for more info--DF contacts, past BA plans, etc. And it would have been easier to break them given that Eggy knows how to still them to break the Oaths, then Heal them back to make them reswear Oaths of obedience. (Though that could uncover Siuan. Who Eggy hates right now, so not really an objection. Leanne, though. . .). Or there's the a'dam solution: I've long thought that once Elayne figured out how to make a'dam that BA would be more useful fighting for the Light at TG. At least it could form a point of compromise for the Seanchan ('we'll trade you these ten AS for those ten. . .').

7. Who was Maseema's FS controller? We know Arangar has impersonated someone before, but she was busy being dead during a lot of Maseema's crazy antics in TFoH. Though it's possible he was crazy on his own then, given that that also predated Operation: Let the Lord of Chaos Rule for the Dark.
Wilson Grooms
224. EarthandIce
All I can say is WOW! There have been comments dealing with the pre-release Prologue, 1st and 2nd chapters not sounding like Jordan, but I have to say when I read the prologue, it was like I was in Randland looking at the clouds. I for one could not tell where Jordan left off and Sanderson picked up. Awesome, and then some. Faile was so much less irritating, and we got to see almost all of the main characters. So much going on that I know I will re-read it several times.
William Fettes
225. Wolfmage
douglasm @ 58
2) Someone (again, Egwene) actually went and used some of that giant stockpile of *greal the White Tower has.

The only thing that had me pause a bit in relation to Egwene’s sa’angreal usage was how it could work with her forkroot-induced limitations. We know that angreal and sa’angreal don’t give a fixed amount of power to any user; they amplify your inherent ability. But Egwene holds the wand herself; she doesn’t give it to another another novice who can use it alone and draw through them. Given how little she could channel, I’m not sure Egwene should even been able to use it at all.

Of course, she was already linked at that stage, and using the power of the circle through the wand, but that in itself made me wonder how consistent it was with past circles that we’ve seen that use angreals. In WH, for example, I got the impression that Jahar needed to draw through Callandor before the circle formed so that Elza could use it in the circle. Moreover, Jahar had to be the one holding Callandor for Elza to draw through him into it. Obviously that’s saidar versus saidin, but the principle is the same. If we follow the logic of Egwene's novice circle, then it seems that the circle could have linked without channelling aids, and then Elza herself could have picked up Callandor and added its power to the circle.

I got a similar individual-usage impression from the Bowl of the Winds circle. For example, we know that Nynaeve and co joined the circle with their individual angreals one-by-one, rather than circle adding them after the fact. So is there a difference between this and a circle head simply picking up an angreal and using it with the power of the circle as whole after it is formed? It seems there should be. But that begs another question about all-saidar circles. If you can put the whole circle’s power through an angreal, then surely the scalability of angreal-power means you would be wasting massive amounts of power if you configure the circle so that each individual joins the circle with their individual angreals. But that is exactly how most circles we've seen use angreals! So it’s a bit of a can of worms.
Sam Mickel
226. Samadai
She doesn't have to still them to break the oaths all she has to do is make them forswear all oaths that they have taken before. That is what the BA hunters did to the sitter Talene in tPoD's. Then all shewould have to do is make them swear the 3 oaths again along with a 4th oath that they will never take another oath from anyone ever again.
Wilson Grooms
227. David DeLaney
FSS@196 - ... ... foreshadowed _before the first part of the main book even starts_. Is there any wonder why we wuv this series?

After some thought (but before my first reread, so I may be missing bits), I think I can put a finger on at least a little of why Mat seemed "off". Others have noted that we saw more of him from the external view, and a lot of Mat's 'voice' has always been from his internal monologues.

Specifically, in part, the "mistakenly self-centered" aspect of them; he's always thinking to himself of how stuff will affect _him_, and how he doesn't want to do such-and-such, and just wants to get away, and hates being manipulated, especially by wimminz ... but then the actions he TAKES belie that. "I am no bloody hero!" he thinks, just before leaping into battle, or dashing into that metaphorical burning house. "This knowledge stuffed in my head, it's awesome, but I wanted _my_ memories, and if I actually try to use it it's gonna fail disastrously", just before strategically outmaneuvering an opposing force. Etc etc. He's the trickster / rogue archetype; a basic underpinning of how he thinks of himself is that it's _not his fault_ that Stuff is happening. Even when it's his actions that precipitate it or guide it.

Certainly, getting married could distract him some - but he didn't have all that much time to settle into BEING married, or to have to adjust to the new situation with Tuon right there. Some of the change could be due to postnuptial shock, sure ... but some of it seems to be from not getting a good handle on what Mat's built his self-image around through the rest of the series. He's not a broad-comedy/slapstick guy at base; he's a self-deprecating-humor / incongrity-between-thought-and-action guy. And if we don't see much of his inner monologue, a lot of that gets lost; there's no contrast between thought and action to play off of. As others have noted, I hope Brandon levels up some in depicting him in the next two books.

(He may well be realizing he's not going to be able to get away from what the Pattern wants him to do. But ... I don't see him as ACCEPTING that internally, rather as continually grumbling about it and mentally muttering about not being able to escape his Fate/Destiny/Doomity Doom Doom. Odin wasn't a comedic character, after all, though Loki was in places.)

Wilson Grooms
228. Be'Lal

But the BA Hunters only could get the captured BA to forswear the Dark Oaths by torturing them for an extended period of time. (Arguably, in light of Verin's revelations, the BA Hunters had to torture a BA to the point where either she felt as if her death was imminent or to where she was too crazy to know what she was doing, or else the BA in question would be physically unable to forswear herself because to do so would be to reveal herself. Thus, arguably, even if Eggy had the OR she couldn't have helped Verin, because Verin couldn't have forsworn herself deliberately without expecting to die immediately thereafter). So using the Torture Terangreal to break 200(!) BA at once wouldn't really have been time-efficient compared to still->Heal->swear-or-die. Though, come to think of it, many AS may not have the stomach for doing it that way either.

Doing it that way would have also had the side effect of leaving the BA in question weaker than before (regardless of whether the weakness was due to same-gender healing or because Nyn's method is inferior to Flinn's) and thus less of a risk should she escape somehow.
Wilson Grooms
229. D. S. Crankshaw
Okay, so I got my complaints about Mat in, so what did I think overall? Well, if we ignore the Mat characterization complaints, I liked it. The raid on the Tower was well-written, and Egwene did quite well. I also liked the confrontation between Rand and Tuon. I didn't see how either could back down, which just emphasizes how necessary Mat is in making peace between them. Did anyone else notice how the prophecy at the end is from the Seanchan version of the Cycle? The assumption's pretty much been that the Seanchan's version is corrupted, but I wonder if it's not that simple--they have some things right that the mainland doesn't, and vice versa.

One thing I noticed is that there were a lot more Black Ajah than I expected. I would have pegged the number around 100, and even that was kind of high. If the White Tower only has a thousand Aes Sedai (which was just Rand's and Taim's estimate), that's fully a fifth of them. They likely outnumber any of the legitimate Ajahs. Which makes you wonder--how many of the Black Tower are Darkfriends? I'd say there's a good chance that Taim is, and his closest followers. And since he's had pretty much free reign over the Black Tower, how many has he recruited? How many might he have turned against their will? When that comes to a head, it's going to be bloody. I have a feeling that the missing Aes Sedai have run afoul of the Darkfriends at the Black Tower, and it looks like Egwene has plans to follow up on it.
john mullen
230. johntheirishmongol
I wasn't able to get the book til last tues but I was on the road driving and couldnt read it it though it was frustratingly near to me. But I did get to read it and I think that overall it was amazing.

Verin, I will miss dearly. She may have been black but she was never evil. She is probably the smartest character in the entire series

All the way thru the book I kept wondering when some of the Cad, Ny, and the others were going to get a clue about finding a way to work with Rand instead of trying to manage him. That sequence with him at the end finding himself again was great.

I also thought that the Egwene storyline was great and the battle with the Seanchean was very well done. So many BA surprised me. As did the idea of her executing them all. I now think that finding Mesaana is pretty simple. It has to be Laras. She tried to get rid of Egwene when she realized that Eg was the force behind the ajahs starting to work together. Her excuse is very lame.

I didn't have an issue with how Mat was written, especially since I thought a lot of it was because he was a newly married guy separated from his wife, who is in danger all the time. I didn't think of the town as being full of zombies as much as it was some kind of bubble of evil issue, and there were dead I drising in the previous book so it was not the first instance.

Did Perrin do anything? Just maybe a little change of attitude but nothing I got a handle on.

I was really hoping for Tower of Ghenji but I suppose I can wait one more year...grrrrrrrrrr

So Leigh, when do you pick up the rereads again????
231. bluecansam
Too many comments to speak to directly, so I’ll just give my initial comments.

First off, if I have to read the lines, “So and so gritted his/her teeth,” or, “So and so ground his/her teeth,” in book 13, I’ll go nuts.

I obviously didn’t expect Brandon Sanderson to get everything exactly right, or to imitate RJ’s voice, but I do feel like some of the repeated lines, or slightly illogical statements were due more to poor editing than any writing flaws. At the pace Brandon Sanderson writes, editors are just that much more important.

But those are technical problems, which, for the most part, can be ignored for the greater story-arc (I say as I grind my teeth).

If I were to point to a character I felt was the most off, I’d have to name Mat. I found his chapters reading as more comical relief and smacking of too much buffoonery than Mat chapters normally have. For example, the end of the night of the dreaming zombie village chapter really bothered me. I didn’t feel that making jokes after such a terrifying experience was true to the voice and spirit of Mat chapters of previous installments.

In general, I felt like BS exaggerated Mat’s flaws as a character to try and make sure we, the reader, would think, “Oh! That’s definitely the Mat I know.” The heavy-handed way Mat was represented made me really respect the subtlety RJ used when writing Mat and the people who follow him. As Leigh with Mat in the first two books of WoT, I just wanted to smack him around in TGS.

I would suspect that Rand’s character likely followed the character arc RJ intended. Rand is definitely the main thread of the entire series, and while RJ loved all his characters equally, I’ve heard interviews that lead me to believe that RJ, himself, identified most with Rand. I think, out of all the characters, Rand’s story would likely have been the strictest in RJ’s notes. Or maybe that’s just me and my silly feelings. Even though Rand is a frustrating character, an ass and not really all that likable in the later books, I like that his character is not static. I like that I don’t like him. His character is the one I most identify with and has been my favorite character since book one. Which leads me to the statement; if I were to name the character BS was spot on with, I’d say Rand.

I love Nynaeve, too. Always and forever.
William Fettes
232. Wolfmage
PeteP @ 207

"He does not need to ask permission" -- a classic display of why Eg is still being stupid toward Rand and why Siuan is awesome."

Yeah, her outrage at was over the top. Though she was at least somewhat mollified by Rand's sending other Ashaman to be bonded, there’s an underlying sexist presumption that bonding should only work one way, and that Rand is to blame for everything the Ashaman do. They’re lucking the BT didn’t execute all of them.
Having now had some more time to think about it, I do have a few niggles about Egwene in the book notwithstanding that she has soared high in my affections. For example, in addition to the Ashaman comment, I thought it was a quite poor to let stand that Red’s comment that men generally aren’t to be trusted at the end. She had no need to let it stand for the moment – it was baseless nonsense.

Moreover, I thought she was a bit too magnanimous with the TAS who were far more to blame for letting Elaida disband the Blue and run the Tower into the ground, than whatever alleged wound to the spirit of the Tower that Egwene thinks the rebels did. Indeed, she was rather drunk on the whole Tower conceit that it is the centre of the universe that I began to lose the sense of her anology that the Tower was just the one spot on the floor she could start cleaning. Whilst I applaud her decision to appoint Silviana as Keeper and acknowledge a new broader purpose for the Reds, she practically bent over backwards to assuage bruised egos. I doubt so much was necessary to win over the various factions and form a unity leadership. I'm not suggesting a night of the long knives or penances or whatever - just being a bit less belaboured about the sins of the rebels.

Also, did anyone else think she seriously mistreated Siuan? I mean, giving her the rough side of her tongue was warranted, but the fact is Egwene was wrong that the rescue ruined her plans. Her comment that Siuan had lost her trust and confidence was ridiculous. Egwene certainly earned her position by her own lights in the end, but she would be nowhere without Siuan’s teaching and constant guidance, and her whole agenda as a captive in the Tower would be impossible without Siuan doing her guerrilla politics magic to keep her position viable. If there is one person Egwene is indebted to for her position it is Siuan – yet Egwene uses kid gloves for the idiot Aes Sedai and gives Siuan the cold shoulder. If there was no intervening invasion and Siuan just acted unilaterallty / precipitously it might be different - but the last thing Siuan saw was Egwene getting torn out of TAR and then the Seanchan attack happened. She hardly defied the spirit of her commitment to Egwene.
Helen Peters
233. Helen
OK, finished at 1am this morning, caught up with the comments, now I have niggles to question you with.

Verin being black ajah. This was the one part that I had to stop and go inform hubby that 'we knew she was dodgy, but I never expected that'. Needless to say he looked at me as though I were potty. But the question is why is she black ajah. She said she was given the choice between swearing and dying. So have we just found our 13x2 convert? And that's why she sought them out to betray, because she was turned against her will? She's old enough that she'd had the shawl for a fair while before joining the BA if that happened to start the 70 year plan (so 70 years ago).
Second related question: How old was Sheriam (yes I know, totally rude to be talking of AS age), I've a feeling that she's a contemporary of Mo and Siuan, which would make her too young to be one of the 13 that turned Verin - and someone correct me here if not?

I also thought Avi was being awfully slow in the realisation of her punishments (and was mentally shouting at her all the way through) but thinking about it, if she'd been faster we'd not have had the tar-man and the great waterspout (which I loved).

I hated Semi being so thick. Her POV - the shield was gone, she could sense saidar, she went to embrace the source, no those so called AS would feel her do so - well hang on Semi, if they can feel you embrace the source then surely they'd have realised by now that their shield is down, they're dead! (that was my mental shout) but as RobM (I think) said earlier, I was 1/3 right:)

Who wants to bet that the reason Rand will know the Amyrlin's wrath is not coz he balefired Graendal but because he made the offer of bonding Ash'aman, Eg sent some to the black tower and they've been killed/captured/stilled/bonded themselves.
F Shelley
234. FSS
2 more things:

Who thinks Rand/Mat/Perrin's Magical Kaleidoscope of Love will work when Mat goes to the Tower of Ghengei?

How freaked out will Rand be if he sees Moiraine with Mat and Thom?

Oh - and @233, Sheriam was raised after Moiraine and Suian (we learn in New Spring: The Novel).
F Shelley
235. FSS

I think Demandred will be the General in Charge of the Legion of the Dragon.
Wilson Grooms
236. D. S. Crankshaw
Speaking of Nynaeve and Mat, I thought her defense of Mat before Tuon was overdone. It's the only time I thought Nynaeve was off character. Yes, Nynaeve will leap to the defense of any of the Two Rivers folk, especially to the Seanchan, but I just can't see: "one of the finest men you will ever know," "his heart is golden." I don't think she's ever thought of Mat in those terms--she still thinks of him too much as a boy for her to be able to think of him in those terms. I'd expect her to say something like "that man's a trial, but he means well and he keeps his word, which is more than I can say for most," accompanied by a challenging glare.

As for Egwene and her comments on the Asha'man, well, that's certainly annoying, but it's in character. The question to ask, though, is what would Egwene, or any Amyrlin, have done if Rand had sent Asha'man to destroy the White Tower, rather than the other way around. She'd have gentled, and probably executed, the lot of them, of course. Then went to war against the Black Tower, burned it to the ground, and salted the earth it was built on. Could any of them imagine an Amyrlin who'd merely captured and made the Asha'man into Warders (admittedly, against their will and with a compulsion that Egwene doesn't know about yet), then offered to let the Black Tower do the same to an equal number of Aes Sedai? I'd like to see some Aes Sedai, somewhere, acknowledge that the sisters who attacked the Black Tower got off easy. Maybe they could offer a prisoner exchange, you know, if the White Tower had anything to offer in return.
Sam Mickel
237. Samadai
Helen @233

Verin was not 13^2, I think. I believe she was studying the black ajah and got so far in she had no choice to either take the oaths or the Black leaders would just kill her

Sheriam was also around the same age as Moraine and Siuan.

I would guess within a decade
William Fettes
238. Wolfmage
D. S. Crankshaw @ 236

Well said. There's no way they would simply bond them and then offer a counter-bond arrangement as a gesture of goodwill.
Wilson Grooms
239. mikauk

@196 Prophecy from TEOTW

And it came to pass in those days, as it had come before and would come again, that the Dark lay heavy on the land and weighed down the hearts of men, and the green things failed, and hope died. And men cried out to the Creator, saying, O Light of the Heavens, Light of the World, let the Promised One be born of the mountain, according to the prophecies, as he was in ages past and will be in ages to come. Let the Prince of the Morning sing to the land that green things will grow and the valleys give forth lambs. Let the arm of the Lord of the Dawn shelter us from the Dark, and the great sword of justice defend us. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.
(from Charal Drianaan to Calamon,
The Cycle of the Dragon.
Author unknown, the Fourth Age)

Remember when Egwene does her need walk and she ends up in a Tinker camp? TEH SONG, WE IS GOIN' TO FIND IT!

Also, re: "The Power winked out", I immediately assumed that Rand had just accidentally turned off the True Source, but that can't possibly be it.
Wilson Grooms
240. mikauk
The part that is supposed to be bolded, but isn't because clearly I don't understand "bbCode", is the line about "Let the Prince of the Morning sing to the land".
241. Poapst
AMAZING. That's all I have to say.
PS> Any theories up and running yet on Callandor's magic number of 3 importance yet? I've heard some about using the TP, Saidin and Saidar together through it to seal the DO, something about Rand, Nyna and Eg to run wild, blending between Elayne, Avi and Min to create a new Ilyena and many more.
242. Poapst
@ Mikauk
Ya. Tinker Song finding = Epic. Betcha Moiraine will have some clues for Rand when she gets back from Finland (and Avi once she gets back from her waste test)
F Shelley
243. FSS
And I've been thinking Avienda would take Rand as Gai'shain and teach him to sing...
Wilson Grooms
244. Norry
As someone who's been a huge Egs fan since she slinged that crow WAAAY back in TEotW, this book was completely full of win. Happily, the major Egs scenes played out almost exactly as I'd predicted them (though the setbacks were a bit surprising) so yay.

The saddest scene for me in the book is where Sarene figures out that Egs has the novices fighting. Although an excellent scene, the fact that the novices were fighting saddened me greatly.
Wilson Grooms
245. Planeswalker

w0w, i never thought of that... Mesaana = Laras!!!
good guess man!
Wilson Grooms
246. Cyarger
Legends is my favorite chapter! Mat writig back story? Awesomeness!
247. mattyh
aaack i just thought of something dreadful! myrelle still holds lan's bond, and she's MIA at the black tower, noooo. poor nynaeve :(
Wilson Grooms
248. sps49
Semi was set up by the DO to fail while putting Rand in desparate straits. Using the TP has to be the DO trying to seduce Rand to the Dark Side. It came close to working, and it still might. Nobody in the story voiced it, but he was definitely turning into the Great Lord. I mean, the Dark One. And what kind of victory would that be?

He spent way to much time "holding: the TP, even if he didn't use it. I worry about the next book, although maybe everyone will fucking finally stay on track.

Who else wants to smack Cadsuane? And loves Min and Nynaeve for realizing that he needs help, not control, like Moiraine finally realized?

I do believe Graendal is gone, which means someone else will take credit for Asmodean.

Does Tuon not believe she can be taught to channel? She knows, right?

The title of the last chapter took the suspense away, because I remembered the veins from the triple bonding scene. Still a good chapter, though! Blowing up the Chedan Kal suprised me. I thought he might actually kill the DO with it.

I have to go for now, but I'll be back to read the rest of the comments.

And why can't I login?
j p
249. sps49
Oh- and Laras definitely gave of an Evil vibe here.

Still want to smack Cads.
Wilson Grooms
250. DMM
@235 FSS

I think Demandred might be King Roedran of Murandy.

He said he had a throne. Murandy is basically the only country left that isn't bent to Rand or the Seanchan, and whose ruler we haven't met.
Wilson Grooms
251. tanis0
Too. Many. Comments. I don't have time to read them all yet, but here are some thoughts of mine.

Rand's sword: Most likely Hawkwing's. It will probably come up in the next book with the Seanchan arc now that Rand might be willing to bow his head a little.

Balefire et. al: You know good and well that every person there was subjected to horrific Compulsion and was beyond salvation. Granted, removing their chance at rebirth was a bit much, but remember that Rand considered not having to be reborn a mercy until the very end of the book. Remember, crazy people don't act at random -- they act according to very specific rules that sane people know to be fallacious.

My new favorite character (in any series / novel ever): Verin. She was always 2-3 on my list (following Mat and / or Rand, depending on the point in the story -- I like anti-heroes, if ya' can't tell. Min too btw, but not until she becomes all bookish), and I was one of the ones that was 90% sure she was a BA double agent working for the light. Hey, if you have enough crack-brained theories, you have to be right once in a while. PS. I knew that Moria was BA because NOBODY who had Loial go by Mr. Underhill when traveling incognito would make a non-evil character named Moria.

Best scene: Verin + Egwene. Next probably Egwene + Elaida 2 (I wrote my first fan letter EVER after reading that scene), then Aviendha becoming a Wise One. I think I teared up more than Leigh did. Wow. *hides*

On Egwene + Elaida 2: Remember that Elaida isn't used to anyone opposing here for quite some time. Also, Egwene has developed a presence that is probably only 2nd to Rand's in the world. It's entirely reasonable that Elaida is too stunned to shut her up right away. Not to mention she doesn't believe for a second that Egwene will out-argue her.

On "The 3 will be as 1": Probably refers to either Aviendha / Min / Elayne or Rand / LTT / Moridin. Since the passage is related to Callandor, I'm inclined to believe the former.

Best quote: "'How do you fight someone smarter than yourself?' Rand whispered. 'The answer is simple. You make her think that you are sitting down across the table from her, ready to play her game. Then you punch her in the face as hard as you can.'" Hahaha! Priceless. I think that's better than tickling an Aes Sedai under the chin. :D
Wilson Grooms
252. TheAndy
Thought: Has anyone ever wondered about the reverse Trinity of team Superfade?

Dark One - reverse God
Moridin - scary Jesus
Shadar Haran - holy spirit

12 dark apostles, rising from the dead, that sort of thing. Something to consider. I really should sleep now.

Also does anyone else ever pity Elaida? I've always thought she was driven inFain.

And also: why zombies? Why?
Wilson Grooms
253. Dholton
Some more random thoughts:

Did anybody notice the throwaway mention that Beldeine bonding Karldin!? The sourpuss that went with Loial to the steddings? Sheesh!

I suspect that the Seanchan that is going to help Egwene is going to be one of the Assassins or whatever they're called. There are still four unaccounted for after all.

It just occurred to me to ask: Is Rand integrating LTT the beginning of a trend to get rid of all the other voices in his head? Only one, two...five more voices to go!
Heidi Byrd
254. sweetlilflower
Avi had to be in this book so much to show her transition from being an action warrior to being a thinking warrior.
Wilson Grooms
255. Dholton
@251 amongst others

Does BFing really prevent rebirth in the normal Wheel turning sense? I seem to remember reading something RJ said that while the temporal discontinuity of BFing prevents the DO from resurrecting a person, the soul itself is not lost,and can still be reborn thru the Turning of the Wheel of Time.
Heidi Byrd
256. sweetlilflower
What do you think of Talmanes being Demandred?
Heidi Byrd
257. sweetlilflower

I think you are right, it only keeps the DO from snatching the soul
Wilson Grooms
258. thewindrose
First thoughts on this effort - way to go Brandon and Team Jordan. I was back in Randland, and what a page turner!

A second go through, along with comments will bring more in depth thoughts, but for right now...
I thought Rand quite clever to send Ramshalan to Graendal's, and use him as a gauge. We have been hammered over the head about how heavily Graendal uses Compulsion,and that unwinding one of her weavings leaves a drooling idiot who dies shortly after, - Kerb being a good timely example.
Shocked at the Semirhage set-up. DO definitly wants Rand using the TP and balefiring.
With the bit of distancing we have between Min and Rand now, and Avi all grown-up into her Wiseone role, I see her helping Rand coming back to a more relateable hero for us.(Not to mention a tie up of the 4/babes prophecy.)

I don't see a lot of comments on this:Egwene shook her head. "It just occurred to me. This is what it must have been like for Rand. No, worse. The stories say he was locked in a box smaller than my cell. At least I can spend part of the evenings chatting with you. He had nobody. He was without the belief that his beatings meant something."
She feels a connection with him over this, and I beleive it will be one of the things that help them to start working together.

So, while I was excited that some people were actually communicating wit each other, the biggie - trust and communiation between genders- has not happened yet. And this will need to happen in ToM or TG will not end well.

Scenes that tugged at my heart - Rand staring into Mins eyes as Semi forces him to choke her(why don't her bruises go away with the balefiring?) The night Faile and crew remember their protectors - "we have great toh to them. I don't think it can be repaid. But we can remember them."
Mat and Thom, starting to joke like before(before Thom became an SG sidekick - please be bact to MOA status!!!) Verin, who could tell no one for 70+ year what was up, except to Tomas, finally able to tell Egwene. Your soul is of a pure white,Verin," Egwene said softly. "Like the Light itself."

Lots to think on, I look forward to discussing with you all:)
Wilson Grooms
259. tanis0
@255: Possibly. I don't really know. I think it's irrelevant to the current discussion anyway. Rand has only just found out that Balefire prevents the DO from returning someone to life. He's already heard that it rips your thread from the pattern. I think it's safe to think he'd suspect that they couldn't be reborn, regardless of the truth.

On a side note, let me advance a theory. We'll see Verin again in one of 3 ways.

1) Tortured by the DO, ala Keri al'Thor,
2) Sheltered in the hand of the creator, whatever that means, or
3) Tied to the wheel, either in TAR or when the horn blows. I'm hoping for this one. :D
Wilson Grooms
260. Baaneral
First, I want to say WooHoo Leigh! I've never read one of your reviews, but after this I will be keeping an eye on you. Anyone throws out that many cartoon references in one review is someone I want to read more of.

Now, to the book.....

Yeeha! is all I can say. I started it Tuesday afternoon and finished it Wednesday night. THEN I ate something and went to sleep. What a ride.

I loved the whole thing, beginning to end. I didn't see any differences in writing styles, I was too absorbed in the story. Of course, having spent all day today reading the blog, now I can look back and say, yeah, maybe Mat was a bit off, but not so much as Tuon, not Fortuona yet, wishing she had her Matrim. Where'd that come from?

The Graendal trick, that was nice. And yes, I think she's toast. And I think the DO planned it that way. First he tells Semirhage she was a bad girl. The fact that he sent Shaidar Haran to tell her was a bad omen for her. So when she does as she was told, the DO gave Rand a lil' taste of the big bad mojo as her punishment. Now, as planned, he's a little off his rocker and goes after Graendal, nearly taking out the pattern as well, just as the DO wants. Probably assumed Rand would keep spiraling from there. Was probably down in his hole chuckling right up until Rand had his moment on the mountain. Bummer for him. But he's planted that little seed of the TP, so we'll have to see if that takes root.

As for Egwene, I was a little sick of her until she was captured. The way she came out of her shell was great. No "Pardon me," just BOOM! I liked the way the whole split tower/black ajah thing came together. And Elaida, well, she Was warned... Hopefully we will get to see her in passing at TG, as someone recognises her body on the end of a leash or something.

One thought about leashes, there was a mention about the marath'damane this side of the ocean not being able to be used as weapons. Obviously oaths are stronger than the a'dam. But what about the captured BA's? This may be a BAD THING.

I loved everything about how Rand went down and finally came back, but I'm seeing a lot in this blog about his bond to Moridin. I'm pretty sure that started back in Shadar Logoth, when Rand was chasing Sammael. The third man was probably Moridin, actually helping Rand get rid of Sammael so he could be Na'Bleis(However it's spelled). But our heroes hadn't seen Ghostbusters, so they didn't know that Crossing The Streams (Balefire) was BAD. So now those two are linked, and maybe there's some personality leakage going both ways, which would explain why Moridin seemed so tired of the whole thing when he and Rand had their little chat this time round.

I was disappointed that I have to wait another year for Mat to rescue Moiraine, although it is more Thom's deal. I won't be surprised if Thom and Moiraine end up getting together. Now that we've seen Siuan and Gareth get together, why not? and lets put together Morgase with Tallanvor. And Tam, well, think about it. He's an OLDER guy, so he's not likely to end up with Berelain or Morgase....But Lini? Hmmmmm. SHE'd know a little about the ways of kings and queens, no? Bet noone's thought of that!

One other thing. I think Olver is a Forsaken, but not which one, and I'm fairly certain Taim is Demandred. Logain's glory will come from defeating him and saving the Black Tower from ruin.

That's all for me, but Favorite Scene, it's a toss-up

Verin's Finale or Rand playing poker with Graendal

Have fun, see ya next year ;)
Pete Pratt
261. PeteP
Wolfmage @232 -- I think it hit it straight on with Eg's overreaction with Siuan, but I think Eg did it for other reasons, using the rescue as an excuse.

Now that Eg has the Tower whole and has been trained by Siuan, Eg does not need Siuan (master of deceipt and plots that she is) close to her. In fact, Eg wants her as far away as possible in order to limit Siuan's manipulation of her.

It reminded me of Eg's abuse of Nyn when Eg was trying to cover up for her lies and deceipt. As much as Eg improves, the more she still has the very bad tendencies.
262. blitz23_ca
THE stand out novel of the series, thus far. Sanderson steps up to the plate and seamlessly weaves a masterpiece, virtually without flaw. To be able to produce such an exquisite literary delight, while knowing it would be subjected to a level of scrutiny heresofar unheard of, quite simply astounds me.

Bravo, Brandon! I believe that in one giant, tantalizing and scintillating step, you've done more to banish any doubts from the minds of pessimistic naysayers and doubters than I would have thought possible. I eagerly await your next two installments of this fantastic journey we call The Wheel Of Time. I have no doubt in your ability to deliver a stunningly powerful and epic climax to this much beloved fantasy saga.
Congratulations, Mr. Sanderson. Never for a second doubt your ability to continue on and honor Mr. Jordan's legacy. He couldn't help but be proud of you, I'm sure. Take care and good luck!
David Scotton
263. Kaxon
Well, at this point it seems like there's way too much for me to reply to in this thread, but I'll just post a couple thoughts.

Overall, I liked the book a lot. There were a few points that dragged, but overall the pacing was a lot better than books 8-10, and maybe better than 5,7, and 11 as well. Rand did bother me a lot this book, but he was obviously supposed to, and the ending kind of redeemed that for me.

I actually absolutely loved the ending, I think it ranks up there with LOC and TGH as one of my favorite endings in the series (Especially taken as a while with the climax to the Tower war). I think I can understand some disappointment that there wasn't any asskicking involved, but in my opinion this ending was exactly what this book needed. Rand's biggest problems throughout the whole book were his anger and violence, which aren't things you can beat by fighting. His biggest enemy in this book was himself, and he had to overcome that to finish the arc of the book. Also, after that scene I don't think it's remotely open for debate that Lews Therin was part of Rand all along. It was stated flat out.

Mat to me definitely did not seem like the same character as before - but so far he hasn't done anything that annoyed me. I'm hoping Sanderson will manage to find his voice a little better next book. I guess his actions weren't out of character this time, but his voice definitely sounded wrong to me.

Egwene: definitely the highlight of the book, for the second volume in a row. Pretty much everything she did was awesome. Not much more to say about that. Verin's sacrifice was great too, but man - that chapter was probably the biggest example of Sanderson just dumping things on the table in a way Jordan never would have done. I think Jordan probably would have written the reveal more skillfully, but on the other hand the "dump it on the table" approach is pretty needed at this point in the series, so I can't really complain.

- David
David Scotton
264. Kaxon
Also, re: the ending...

For a minute I seriously thought Rand was going to kill himself on Dragonmount, or possibly live but break the Wheel of Time. The thought even crossed my mind that the splitting the book announcement might have been a ruse to make the suddenness of the ending a surprise. That might be a testament to my gullibility but I think it also says something about how well that scene was written.
Wilson Grooms
265. cthedges
Pretty keen to see the fallout from the Rand and Seanchan meeting. Remembering his answer from the Finns, and also the fact he's seemed to regain his sanity, I can't see how a direct assault could achieve the peace he needs. Perhaps the revelation sul'dam can channel will work? That would definetely make me laugh!

Then again, Mat may just sit down and use his ta'veren to talk sense to Tuon(I forget her new name in the book). I can't see the Seanchan being disregarded from here on. I personally believe they will have a major role in the Last Battle, as from all reports there seem to be A LOT of trollocs etc in the Blight. I think their military prowess will be a help to the Light if they can be persuaded to fight. Then again Egwene will probably rage and not allow it so I guess we'll just wait and see!
Wilson Grooms
266. tanis0
cthedges @ 265:

In Tuon's POV, she says that the empire is supposed to fight (and defeat) the DO's forces and THEN release the DR to fight the DO. Sounds stupid, but that seems to be what they believe. So, I don't think anyone could keep the Seanchan from TG without ignoring TG altogether in order to stop them. Or using the Chodal Kal to eradicate them of course, but that seems unlikely now. The trick will be in coordinating the two forces in such a way that they can actually get some meaningful strategy in place. Otherwise, Rand will die and / or the DO will win, as per the Finn's answer.
267. bluecansam
263: Kaxon

I completely agree with you. I can understand how Leigh would feel awkward about the end of the book basically being Rand/LTT talking Rand down from the edge, but Rand has always, always been his own worst enemy. "Talking," always does feel a bit, I don't know, boring? heavy-handed? Not entirely sure what, but I do understand how one could feel like it was a gob of exposition. However, I think Brandon Sanderson tried his hardest to externalize that conflict as he could. I particularly like the part when Rand was struggling to his feet to destroy the Sean Chan, but couldn't because of the expressions on the faces of the people trying to help him, "So concerned." I really can't see how else Rand could have resolved his internal struggle save through essentially talking to himself and the Creator.

Leigh was also disappointed how the Sean Chan super shadow spies were treated. Actually, for me, the fact they really weren't addressed after the attempt on Siuan's life makes me feel extremely apprehensive for the WT next book. Who will they kill? How will they undermine Egwene? Will they ever manage to do anything truly terrible?

And about the spanking scene in this book, I would have expected that situation to actually be a scene in which Leigh would approve. The spanking was meant to demean, humiliate, and make someone feel like they were less, all the problems Leigh had with the previous situations, only this time, rather than the object of the spanking being someone the spanker is supposed to respect and love, the spanker is trying to show just how much she does disrespect the spanked. Most effective. It's sad that during the entire scene, I couldn't help thinking, "I wonder what Leigh is going to write about this."
j p
268. sps49
Maybe it's fortunate for me that I haven't read any of Sanderson's books yet. I still plan to, but if this has saved me from being distracted or taken out of the story then I may have dodged a bullet. As it was, I felt Mat was still rattled by his marriage (and lack of nookie afterward); I had no problems. Well, except if Moiraine or Nynaeve had been there, someone would have tried harder to solve Groundhog Day Town's problem.

kab1 @98- I think the TP was skewing Rand's ta'veren events, but we will see. I also think the Domani would have cheered his departure even if they knew the food had spoiled. Hopefully more Sea Folk ships are enroute.

And everyone, I can't see the DO allowing Rand to use the TP against him. Even if it was via Moridin (which I don't agree with), he would simply cut Moridin off.

I was very worried about Rand, but the Egwene arc



Upon reflection, I don't think Laras is Mesaana; she would have vaporized Egwene when she refused to leave. But I don't trust her anymore. Her actions have met with my approval, but they also have served Chaos.

Lily @106- Tarmon Gaidon is coming. Suit up!

PeteP @110- When Mat said to "saidar it", I was taken back to someone in the Belgariad who suggested one of the sorcerers just "wiggle your fingers" at some problem.

stargazer @118- Elza and Liah were balefired. At least one Draghkar and some Darkhounds, too.

What were the new chapter icons? I noticed the mice, but no others.

Nightbaron @183- The two sa'angreal more powerful than Callandor are the male Choedan Kal and the female Choedan Kal.

So why didn't Verin use the Oath Rod long before this?
Wilson Grooms
269. cthedges
Yeah that is quite true, I just re read the chapter then. I think more what I was getting at is how Rand will get the Seanchan behind his banner. Tuon seems to believe their Prophecies about Rand kneeling before her which I don't believe Rand will do, especially once he re unites with Egwene and finds out about the Seanchan attack. I personally think that sul'dam can learn to channel is too big a secret for it not to be revealed before the end of the series.

Also I dont know how Rand is going to bind the nine moons to him. Is Tuon considered the Daughter of the Nine Moons still now that she is Empress?Unless that is a reference to Mat marrying Tuon and in a roundabout way binding Tuon to him through Mat? I wouldn't think that would be the case but if anyone has any information on it I would love to know!
Wilson Grooms
270. gaylord827
Olver a Forsaken?
How did you come up with that?
And no, Taim is not Demandred, as per RJ's own statement. Demandred's decoy character is yet to be shown in any book.
Wilson Grooms
271. Mike G.
@198 FSS, in response to my query about how the money FAQ was answered, said:

@195 - Tower Aes Sedai started beating the Salidar Aes Sedai to the various kingdom's money people to collect their tribute, and the kingdoms wouldn't pay twice.

Hah, cool. I completely missed that as an organized long-term pattern.

When I read it, I thought the payments were short-term shakedowns "for the duration of the emergency".

The long-term nature of the tribute makes a lot more sense.
Wilson Grooms
272. bfg_123
Wolfmage @ 232 - yes she over reacted to Siuan, she needs people that can use their own initiative or she'll be stuck like Perrin with everyone asking her for the smallest detail.

I'm now conflicted about Egwene - on the one hand she was awesome and I'm glad that the splits pretty much over, but she tore into the BA hunters for the 4th oath they forced on the ferrets, she tore into Elaida for thinking about a 4th oath of fealty, but how many AS did she have swear fealty to her? Seems hypocritical to me (please don't hate me)

Also is it possible that Rand will kneel before the Empress? He has after all now stood on his grave and laughed... (I actually liked that scene, possibly one of the few victories he can claim for the light that aren't tainted by dark actions). I also agree with the people who were more shocked by his leaving Arad Doman to starve and be taken over by the Seanchan than his treatment of Hurin and Tam (although tehy both upset me).

Possible solution for the Seanchan, the biggest problem with having peace with them, is their attitude to channelers - what would happen if Tuon/Fortuona channeled, she has the ability if not the spark? Also what happened to all the expected furor over that revelation?

Is there still hope for perrin, it's been ages since I've enjoyed his stories, pretty much since Faile in fact...

Arrrgghhh, so much to think about.

thewindrose @258 - guess Mins bruises din't go away because it was Rand that actually gave them to her, but then that was only cos he was made too... possibly a timey wimey problem there
Wilson Grooms
273. vangiuli
During one of her encounters with Siuan in Tel'aran'rhiod, Egwene finally learns of the Cleansing of saidin. Her reaction can, at best,
be defined as of mild surprise. In that she is
no different than the one the other rebel Aes Sedai had when they knew of it.

I want to ascribe that reaction to them having more present matters in their mind which block them from realizing that with the Cleansing,
something big has changed, something that
puts in discussion the very reason of being
of the White Tower itself, in a way the split
never got even close.

You see, the question is:
Why does the White Tower exist?
or, alternatively:
Which reasons justify its existence?

The Tower, in my opinion, has two major reasons, or pillars, for its being and a minor one.
The minor one is organizing and ordering the female channelers. I call it "minor" because,
as the examples of Windfinders, Aiel Wise Ones, etc. demonstrate, you don't need the White Tower
to avoid the possibility of rogue channelers.

The two pillars of its existence
can be summarized as

a) Tarmon Gai'don and
b) the Taint on saidin.

With Tarmon Gai'don I mean everything necessary to help humankind be prepared to the Last Battle
With the Taint, protecting people from male channelers doomed to getting mad because of the Taint and from anything else however linked to it.

Now we are in a situation where one pillar is gone and the other is just a few months (or weeks) from it being gone too. All that means in a very short
time the Tower will have no reason to exist.
Moreover, one can also consider that the White Tower has profoundly contributed to shaping the Pattern of this Third Age, an Age which will
give soon over to a new Fourth Age and a new Pattern. And in this Pattern there can't be
a place for an institution so deeply linked to another Age.

As I said before, all the Aes Sedai who knows about the Cleansing have had other important matters to deal with, Egwene more than others.
Still, I can't help wondering why no Aes Sedai considers all the implicatons of a cleansed saidin and if we'll see someone ever doing that.

Just imagine the reaction of any Aes Sedai hearing the White Tower has no reason to exist anymore.
Or Egwene when being told she'll be the Last Amyrlin Seat!

James Jones
274. jamesedjones
236 D. S. Crankshaw
Speaking of Nynaeve and Mat, I thought her defense of Mat before Tuon was overdone.
Nah. It was typical Nynaeve. She had been forced, in her mind, to apologize to Mat. Then watched as women around her, that she respected, begin to treat Mat with respect. I'm pretty sure she still thinks of Mat as a scoundrel and layabout. But she couldn't let anyone else express that.
Tony Zbaraschuk
275. tonyz
Tuon does know she can channel; it came up with Mat and the Aes Sedai with them earlier. She just refuses to do such a disgusting and criminal thing.
Wilson Grooms
276. billebrooks
I can beat you with one hand tied behind my back.
I can beat you with both hands tied behind my back.
I can beat you with both hands and one foot tied behind my back. I'm limber, and I'm a girl. I'll hop on one foot.
You can have Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby, Bob Gibson, and anybody else you want.
I'll take all giggling little girls.

And I can STILL beat you.

I just need to have a few girls swing the bat together, because those bats are heavy, you know?

She didn't beat the big boys, did she? Oh yes she did!

Ok, girls, carry me down to where the bats are. Reach in there, and take out that big invisible bat. Hah hah...I have Teddy Roosevelt's big stick!

Coming to bat, Egwene al'Vere! Girls, you'll have to bat for me! Swing that bat like this.

Here's the pitch: What? Those novices hit it around the Earth 20 times? The umpire awards Egwene's team 20 runs! Ruth, Williams, and the rest walk off the field, knowing they can't win.

Don't like baseball? How about this:
Can I stand on one card? I've got 21. I win. Hardy har har.

Yes, indeed. Egwene al'Vere, beat Tuon's raid with only a few novices helping her, while under the influence of forkroot. Oh, there were others doing their part, but they might as well have not been there.

If Robert Jordan came up with this, wake him up from the dead so that I can shake his hand. If Brandon Sanderson did, I've got two words for ol' Jimmy Rigney: you're fired!

Only one thing really bothered about this whole scene. Why weren't wards placed around the Big Stick? Surely even Elaida, knowing that her enemies have Traveling, couldn't have been so stupid as to ward only the door?

About Rand: Anybody ever read the Berserk manga or seen the anime? There's this iconic "When his ambition crumbles..." moment when Griffith loses his sanity and then becomes evil. Did Moridin slip a behelit in Rand's pocket?

In this hour, in this place, a sacrifice must be offered to achieve your desire of killing the Dark One.

Semirhage? Graendal? No. Not good enough. It must be someone dear to you: Tam al'Thor.
Only then will the last vestiges of your humanity be shed. Wait, your desire is...destroying the world? Uh, I was just kidding...we can call the whole thing off, ok?

Maybe there is something wrong with me, but it didn't bother me when Rand killed Graendal and her coterie of zombies. Was I supposed to feel sorry for people who were effectively already dead? The one guy I was worried about walked away completely unharmed. You do realize that there was really no other way to kill a Forsaken who refuses to stand and fight? That angreal of hers didn't do her much good either.

That scene with Moridin and Rand: I thought gadzooks, Moridin's told the truth, and he's said too much. And then, there was that whole setup where Rand killed Semirhage. Ah, maybe Moridin did lie about Rand coming to him. That's just a little too convenient.
James Jones
277. jamesedjones
251 & 259 tanis0

Here's where they got the info. Balefire does not destroy the soul completely and forever. Here is the link, and the definition of balefire is on page 126. Enjoy!

Edit: It's a 3.5 Mb .pdf file, so you might have to be patient. :)
Helen Peters
278. Helen
New chapter icons: the only one I noticed was the cobwebs, oops, sorry, the age lace disintegrating.
Hang on, no, Cads had a new one also, her hair ornaments, before I'm sure she was birds flying in a square.

Also, back with Verin. Does anyone else think her detour to Mat may not have been his taveren tugging, but the pattern keeping her away from the tower until Egs had all but won and could do some good with the info she was given. If she'd have been given it before she'd not have been able to act on it. How in the world would the SAS be able to keep 70 BA members under surveillance with out tipping them off. They couldn't use the novices or accepted as they'd be fair game to be killed off, and they weren't sure that those 70 were all of them.

Back with Verin and Mat, I'm voting on the letter and instructions being some clue (if not outright instructions) on how to get into the ToG. Verin being BA could have met Cyndane and know where Mo is being held, so could know how to get her out.

Oh and if we're assuming that she knows some of the forsaken could not Asmo have recognised her rooting around in the wine cellar?

And by the way, Asmo wasn't balefired, unless someone made a mistake. We've now had it confirmed that BF stops the DO bringing back the forsaken. RJ said that his method of death and where he died was what was stopping him being resurected. So if he was BFed then where he died should be irrelevant.

Sorry for bringing that up, I'll go away now.
Wilson Grooms
279. tanis0
jamesedjones @ 277:

Fair enough, but I still contend that Rand himself has every reason to believe that the person cannot be reborn and none to believe that they can.
Wilson Grooms
280. KoRa80L
The book was awesome. I can not wait for the next one. Sanderson did such a good job. I loved the humor. I found myself laughing out loud in the middle of the night. I also found my eyes full of tears. Doesn't a good book do that? Isn't that the point? Nuff Said!
F Shelley
281. FSS
@278 - I don't see how Verin would know that, unless it's a really obscure branch of the prophesies that we don't know about.

I've been thinking the letter will contain detailed instructions on where to find the Horn of Valere.
Wilson Grooms
282. Sluggonics
@99 winterking:

I agree with your theory about Rand needing to use the TP to seal the DO's prison instead of Saidin. Seems to me that's pretty clear what Sanderson is setting up. He actually took the time to have Rand speculate about it, and there must be a reason. The important part about that was needing to have someone actually "touch" the DO in order to seal the prison. It's possible that Rand could end up doing this through Moridin. Or the set-up could be that he's going to do it himself, now that he himself has "accessed" the TP.

Also, the biggest difference between TGS and the books authored by Jordan? The fact that men and women had ACTUAL CONVERSATIONS. People COMMUNICATED in this book. The first truly jarring example of this was when Faile, lying in bed with Perrin, said something about what, exactly, women look for in men-- she actually EXPLAINED female behavior to Perrin. This never would have happened in a million years in Jordan's books.

It's like the characters finally got out of the emotionally- and personality-stunted ruts they were in for 11 books, and actually started behaving like REAL PEOPLE.

It was tremendously refreshing and invigorating. It was like watching characters who'd been in developmental stasis for years suddenly take their first steps forward in new self-realization. I thank Brandon Sanderson profusely for that. He must have thought the same thing-- that writing a status quo of these characters and their whining, self-doubting, self-important, non-communicative, endlessly-never-understanding-or-learning-anything-about-the-opposite-sex-despite-continual-opportunities-to-do-so, secret-keeping, self-conscious and ultimately mind-numbingly repetitive behavior wouldn't allow any of the climax-building events we read in TGS to ACTUALLY HAPPEN. I mean, Perrin finally, finally realizes "hey, maybe I should quit fighting this being a leader thing so that I can actually FUNCTION"? Congratulations, it only took you 11 books and dozens and dozens of endlessly repetitive inner monologues! Siuan and Bryne actually talk openly about a loving relationship? Faile and Perrin express genuine affection for one another that's not layered in confused and/or borderline angry inner monologuing? I'm sorry, is this a WOT book? I must be reading something else, because men and women don't discuss relationships, or ANYTHING, in mutually agreeable terms in Randland!

Always one of the most frustrating things about the WOT books for me. Yes, I understand that the dichotomy of male/female relationships and worldviews are the central theme of WOT. However much you want to illustrate that theme, eventually you need to have the characters learn something from it, because, ultimately, relationships between men and women are not actually THAT complicated. They are complex, yes, they are not INCSCRUTABLE and IMPOSSIBLE to understand. Not 11 books' worth of complicated, anyway.
283. bluecansam
I want to add my voice to the group of people who were requesting Tor make ebook versions of WoT. I forget who mentioned it earlier, but that was a source of frustration for me, too.

Is there a place one can send suggestions to Tor? With the advent of e-readers, I had really hoped there would be greater availability of new-release books.
Jason Deshaies
284. darxbane
Wolfmage @225,
I don't know if anyone answered this yet, but She did have enough channeling ability to create a light, so if she could channel, the Sa'Angreal would amplify that channeling. I agree that it is in direct relation to how much power you can wield, as there is also commentary that, even linked with 6 or so novices, and the Sa'Angreal, she isn't quite as strong as she would have been by herself, forkroot free.

I finished last night, and while I don't have time to comment on everything, I can official go on record to say that this book was everything I expected and more.

One more thing. If Rand didn't kill Graendal, then who compulsed that little Ramshlam guy Rand sent to her?
Matthew Smith
285. blocksmith

Is that Forever Socialist Society?


There have been other significant events after which Mat has reverted to humor for whatever reason. I am reminded of the Aiel attack on his camp after which Nerim is sewing up his wounds.

Helen@233 and Samadai@237

Samadai is absolutely correct...she decides to investigate/gain information about the BA. That investigation brings her to the point of either a) discovery or b) the realization that she needs to join to complete her investigation. I suspect discovery as it was stated "join or die".


Nynaeve repeatedly classifies Mat as a scoundrel to people that know him and/or are close to her sll the way through their trip to Ebou Dar. I think this is a case of her being protective of Mat to those that don't know him. It's ok for her to say such things, but not for anyone else. Kind of like Mat was one of her children.


You are one of the few others mentioned this as a key. As I stated earlier, I thought one of the best scenes for this was Siuan explaining her oath breaking to Bryne.

To all commenters...please keep the theories for the next book coming. Very enjoyable to read and consider.

In that vein, I will throw some ideas out there...

Tuon (Fortuona) realizes that the raid on the White Tower had very limited success but they do gain the ability to Travel (see Elaida's, I mean Suffi's re-entrance into the story).

We don't get to know what was in Verin's letter...Mat waits the 30 days in Caemlyn then goes to the TOG.

Also, we will see our first introduction of Dreadlords in TOM, including Taim as the Head Dread.
Wilson Grooms
286. Nightbaron
jamesedjones @274
Also, she herself was surprised by her vehement defense of Mat, as we see in a later chapter. I think she might have been caught in Rand's (or even Mat's) ta'veren-ness. Or, maybe Tuon is ta'veren herself, considering how she was able to resist Rand's effect on her.

sps49 @268:
Here is a quote I found, but I don't know the chapter the quote is quoting, but anyway, Jordan was asked:
"Q: In The Shadow Rising, Lanfear mentioned two sa'angreal stronger than Callandor that a male could use. Is the second one ever going to appear?
RJ: Read And Find Out."

Therefore, I'm expecting that sa'angreal to appear at some point.
Wilson Grooms
287. Confutus
Where has the Black Ajah gone?
Gary Schaper
288. Garyfury
I'm curious... did anybody else read the scene with Min going through Herid Fel's books and notes, and thinking about picking up his investigation, and get a certain poignant intertextual riff off of that?
Wilson Grooms
289. Carly L
I finished the book last night (yes, two days after it came out, and I still had to go to work, and make dinner, and all that good stuff).

I agree with you Leigh, Rand channeling the "True" Power (I keep thinking of it as the Dark Power instead) and trying to kill Min made me put down the book and walk away. My hubby, who's not reading it until he finishes the rest of the series, asked me what was up, and I said "I don't like it very much right now". Thematically, it makes sense, and I get why it's in there, but still. I didn't like it at all.

As for the best scene in the book, I love the description of Egwene standing in a hole in the White Tower with the "vora sa'angreal" and fighting basically the entire Seanchan raid by herself! Egwene is made of awesomeness in this book!!
Pete Pratt
290. PeteP
I though Nyn's defense of Mat had more to do with Rand's getting so apathetic about his friends and allies then anything else. In defending Mat to Tuon, Nyn is also trying to get Rand to become human again.

Nyn, once she actually chooses to reverse course (which is mostly impossible for her), goes in with her whole heart, fearless and bold. Nyn, while knowing Mat is still the scoundrel, also knows that he is extremely capable and gifted, maybe the only SG who really has accepted Mat for who he is.
Chin Bawambi
291. bawambi
Leigh, just found your chapter reviews as a prelude to reading the book - excellent

Sorry can't agree at all. I found every book since Rhuidean to be 200,000 words too much. Had a long discussion years ago with an old friend who stopped reading WoT - we seriously think that there must have been an editor change after Falme because you could have read the first few books as stand-alone novels and not until this book could you do that again. I'm actually going to give my copy to my buddy to read again without reading the 2-3 books that he missed and see what he thinks.

was "apology accepted" done in a jamesEjones vader voice LOL

I think folks around here tend to forget that most of the major (read:two rivers) protagonists have gone through the puberty/young adult arc within this series and are now only learning the interpersonal lessons that adults take for granted.
I'm pretty certain that the winding down of the headdesking within the male/female relationships is all RJ's voice.
Wilson Grooms
292. CJB
sweetlilflower@256 - I'm suspicious about Talmanes too. I hope I'm wrong, but that little conversation in Mat's first chapter about Roedran did make me think that Talmanes may be a bit shifty.
Rikka Cordin
293. Rikka
@214, I know, I had to translate it in junior year Latin class ;) Nothing like drinking songs to get highschoolers into the classics.

@251 c. Moria BEST LOGIC EVAR! :D
Chin Bawambi
294. bawambi
Im not sure who originally asked balefire question but my 2 favorite balefire instances before this book were when Rand kills Rahvin thereby resurrecting Mat and Avi and when Rand takes out the darkhounds.
Rob Munnelly
295. RobMRobM
@285 "Tuon (Fortuona) realizes that the raid on the White Tower had very limited success but they do gain the ability to Travel (see Elaida's, I mean Suffi's re-entrance into the story)."

Fort will recognize that the attack on the WT was a disaster. They lost more than half of their raken and more damane than they got back. Yes, they'll have access to travelling but the cost was steep. She's already scared close to poopless from meeting the DR and how he'll respond to the attack; she knows how formidable her own PoR is in the field. Tylee will shortly tell her how formidable Perrin is in the field. And now she realizes that the marath'damane can kick butt. There's also the Asha'man, who scare the poop out of the Seanchan already. The only issue is when and how she will re-approach the DR to say "my bad" and begin to work together.

My strong assumption is she'll be desperate to get her PoR to her for support and advice, as well as love, and propose a partnership with Mat as General of the combined forces. The problem is he'll be out of pocket for a bit going to the Tower of Ghenji, getting Moiraine and losing an eye in the process. Query how she'll respond - perhaps sending Tylee back to Perrin and saying she's prepared to negotiate but only after her hubby is found.

Wilson Grooms
296. yebeme
Egwene is unquestionably set up as the brightest point of light for the good guys this book, but I found her storyline a little off putting. As someone noted earlier, she was suddenly given to speechifying. And the reaction was always the same, chapter after chapter--people go from argumentative in response, to uncertain, to "quiet filling the room." This was the formula for several chapters, to the point that Egwene felt more like she was being fed lines by fans and the writer (and since the writer is ALSO a fan, it makes sense) than an organic character.

Couple that with the inherent nature of her captivity--if they punish her, she wins--and you have a scenario where she can't really lose, which isn't altogether compelling. Actually, her only failure was getting rescued, which was something she couldn't control. It was interesting and it felt good to see her take Elaida on, but that was only because someone needed to finally say something to her. That it was Egwene and the way it was done, with points anyone and everyone within the Tower should have made before only made the inevitable reunion seem more unavoidable, and so I sort of lost interest. I was just along for the ride, and while it was an enjoyable one, I wasn't especially thrilled.

In short...Egwene felt like a Mary Sue. There. I said it.

Now, Rand, on the other hand, felt compelling to me. How many epic fantasy series set up the hero as having a problem not much bigger than winning the big game at the end? Johnny Football Hero needing to throw a touchdown pass against the vaunted Black Curtain of the Shadow Defense? But Rand has lived two lives full of tragedy and impossible responsibilities, already failed at it once, has had to do and become things he never wanted to, almost was forced to kill, once again, a woman he loves. Can you imagine the pain of suddenly remembering the War of the Shadow? Repressed memories stay repressed for a reason.

The end, I personally thought, was amongst the best in the series. Poignant, even. Made me cry, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Rand has always done his duty and never really questioned why. It was always because he was the only one who could, and in a responsible, Two Rivers way, that made sense. But it also led him to a dark place. Finally choosing to be a force for good because he wants to, realizing he's been given an opportunity and not a responsibility, actually freeing himself of guilt...I don't know how that's not climactic. Certainly more interesting than Egwene in the Tower. But then, I actually thought he might nuke the Seanchan or kill Tam or seriously damage the Pattern, so seeing him go from the depths to the heights (literally) was wonderful.
Barry T
297. blindillusion
Just a quick comment:

The Super Raken Flyers Club, aka Bloodknives, that everyone keeps wondering about...well, they should all be dead by now. The ring tar's they're wearing will kill them in "a matter of days." And, seeing as it took them a few days to reach Tar Valon, odds are they're all dead by now.

And as for their badassness that Tuon at el mentions...well, are we really surprised? Of course the Seanchan think overmuch of their weapons. But I'll bet a Bloodknife has never gone against a Warder before...and Bryne is one badass Warder.

Oh, coolest Tuon section goes to:

"We have changed everything," Fortuona said softly. "General Galgan is wrong; this will not give the Dragon Reborn a worse bargaining position. It will turn him against us."

"And was he not against us before?" Selucia asked.

"No," Fortuona said. "We were against him."

"And there is a differenc?"

"Yes," Fortuona said, watching the cloud of to'raken, just barely visible in the sky. "There is. I fear we shall soon see just how big a difference that is."

Way to give props. Can't wait to see what his reaction is. Though if I were her, I'd worry more about Egwene.
Matthew Smith
298. blocksmith
RobmRobm@295 and Blindillusion@297

I wanted to go there with the results of the Raken Raid on the WT...just couldn't visualize how Eg and Tuon (easier to type than Fortuona) get to "meet".

Since Tuon can be a Sul'dam, any chance Eg clamps an A'dam on her to show her the error of her ways?

I agree that the raid was not a complete success, but we do not yet know how many damane/sul'damane were lost, only that around 40 (I believe) AS and accepted/novices were taken. Did I miss something that more than 40 damane were destroyed?

And yes, regardless of the success or lack thereof, the consequences will be dire.
Matthew Smith
299. blocksmith
Oh...and just one more to 300...surprised it took this long.
Rob Munnelly
301. RobMRobM

just kidding.

Edit - darn it, Sam.
Sam Mickel
302. Samadai
I think that the sul'dam thing just won't make a difference until after TG.

sorry Rob
Sam Mickel
303. Samadai
I have never had as much fun online as I have had during these rereads.
You guys are all invited to my bunker for cookies
Rob Munnelly
305. RobMRobM
@298. Egwene's group alone took out more than 30 raken (out of a 100 or so in the battle) and captured 10 damane. Since many raken were carrying damane, assume there were additional deaths there. While other parts of WT didn't do as well, no doubt collectively they exceeded 15 or 20 raken. I haven't yet seen a figure for how many AS were taken back to Ebou Dar but I have trouble imagining more than 20.
James Jones
306. jamesedjones
300 Samadai

Sub's still dealing with the new dog house. Might not claim a post until 400. :(
F Shelley
307. FSS
@293 - I wouldn't see why Elyas would feel Elza getting balefired. He's bonded to Rina something-or-other. Last name starts with an H.

@285 - I already apologized for inadvertantly dragging class warfare in here. Let it go.
Don Barkauskas
308. bad_platypus
sps49 @268:
Nightbaron @183- The two sa'angreal more powerful than Callandor are the male Choedan Kal and the female Choedan Kal.
The actual quote was that there are "two more powerful that a man can use," (emphasis added), so we still don't know the one other than the male Choedan Kal.
Upon reflection, I don't think Laras is Mesaana; she would have vaporized Egwene when she refused to leave. But I don't trust her anymore. Her actions have met with my approval, but they also have served Chaos.
I agree with you; I think the major problem with Laras as Mesaana is that she is too prominent a figure to be able to disappear for significant lengths time without explanation, which seems to me to be a prime necessity for Mesaana's alter ego. (People would probably notice if Laras is out of the kitchen too often.)
Wilson Grooms
309. Cadsuwallop
Regarding Laras as Mesaana:

"Heavens, no," Verin said. "She's many things, but not a Darkfriend. You'd sooner find a Whitecloak marry an Aes Sedai than find Laras swearing to the Great Lord. Extraordinary woman. And quite good at judging the flavor of teas."

Ok, so yes Verin CAN lie, but did she and if so, for what reason? Practically with her dying breath she wishes she could have given Egwene Mesaana's identity.

Or is this sneaky, tricking Verin being sneaky and tricky to the end?

Is there a Whitecloak (or former Whitecloak? married to an Aes Sedai? Is this foreshadowing?

So many questions answered in this book, so many more to go!!

Off topic - my husband decided to make my day even sweeter on Tuesday and thought cookies would go great with my book. He brought me chocolate chips and snickerdoodles and thought I was insane when I laughed and asked him to put them in the bunker!
john mullen
310. johntheirishmongol
Rob: Cuendillar cookies are hard on your teeth, and sit in your tummy like a rock.
Matthew Smith
312. blocksmith

Could have sworn there was an Egwene introspective where she compares the dead and missing to her WT BA list and comes up with 40 legit missing (ie, not run off because the BA alarm to bail went off) of which 24 were full AS.


No worries...all in good fun with no harm/insult intended. You may flame away if I start quoting Dick Cheney.

Warm, soft oatmeal raisin cookies with hot, black coffee is the only way to go...although I don't think I have ever tried a snickerdoodle. Leave the cuendillaros alone...they promote tooth decay.
Wilson Grooms
313. douglasm
darxbane @284

The "almost as much as herself without forkroot" was when she had the circle but not the sa'angreal. After she got the sa'angreal she was channeling enough power that she was absolutely confident that no damane the Seanchan could possibly have would even come close to being able to shield her. She gave an analogy something like children trying to stop a waterfall with just their hands, as I recall.

My guess is that the increased power from the sa'angreal was based on her actual ability, not her forkroot-limited ability. It was established way back with the Bowl of Winds that using an angreal is very similar to leading a link, and Egwene had just demonstrated that forkroot short of the amount that prevents channeling entirely has no effect on your ability to lead a circle. Furthermore, the ability to manage many flows at once is highly correlated with and probably directly caused by high strength in the power, but even in KoD Egwene retained all of her ability to manage multiple flows despite forkroot. I think forkroot reduces the amount of power you can channel unaided but has no effect on related abilities or the magnitude of any aid you get. It's like the forkroot gives -90% power, the sa'angreal gives +10000% power, and the two combine to give +9910% power.

That, or she somehow got it to work based on the circle's strength, but that seems to contradict previous circle-with-angreal arrangements.
F Shelley
314. FSS
@312 - Oh all right. I feel grumpy today for some reason. Probably because it will be a whole year before the next book. Someone go poke Brandon with a stick. He needs to hurry!
315. bluecansam
285: blocksmith

There was a subtlety to the section you mentioned, and a heavy-handed element to the example I mentioned that illustrates the differences in sharp contrast. Thank you for proving my point even further.

I wrote my initial comment without reading all the comments. I more wanted to respond to what Leigh wrote, rather than all the comments, which would have taken forever. I have read quite a lot of them now, though, and I'm amazed just how many people did have problems with how Mat was written.

A lot of you are filling in the blanks for BS, which is fine. I do think that's what we'll ultimately all have to do, especially if his portrayal of Mat doesn't improve over these last two books. I can't really blame BS, actually. Out of all the characters, I would expect Mat to be one of the most difficult to write.

So there we have it. Mat is different. Many of us recognize it. We'll just have to move on and hope we can grow to love the Mat BS is writing.
Matthew Smith
316. blocksmith

Just thought of something else...

When you resume your re-read, I expect you will try to keep your reviews TGS spoiler-free (maybe not...).

I anticipate this to be tres difficile in light of some of the explosive/momentous revelations in TGS.

I look forward to your attempts, but don't worry, if you can't keep the spoilers out, I'm sure we will all still respect you in the morning.

FSS @314

I'm thinking maybe alot of pokes with sticks...the twitching for TOM began about 1/2 hour after I put down TGS.
Wilson Grooms
317. Azith
It might be a little early for theory discussion...but this one I cant get out of my head.

The passage that Min and Cadsuane were talking about dealing with The becoming one and Callandor.

I Think they are referring to The Three powers. Saidar, Saidin, and the True power.

Callador is 'flawed' because it is ment to channel all three powers, not just one or two. Cadsuane thinks its flawed because she likely has no idea about the existence of the true power.

This is supported if you consider what we think will happen at the last battle. Lets say that the true power isnt really the Dark ones power...its what should be in the world. The Dark one was blocking it from reaching through and thus was blocked by the seals along with the dark one. The seals need to be destroyed so Rand can use the full force of all three powers to properly destroy the Dark one.

and he needs Callandor...the only saangreal that can protect him from channeling too much of all of the powers to meld the flows.
Wilson Grooms
318. Sluggonics
I agree with you; I think the major problem with Laras as Mesaana is that she is too prominent a figure to be able to disappear for significant lengths time without explanation, which seems to me to be a prime necessity for Mesaana's alter ego.

Interestingly, I noted that in this book Tarna Feir was mentioned being away on a "mysterious mission" and had apparently been gone for some time. Given that I haven't read the books immediately prior to this one in years, and ended up mostly skimming through them at the time anyway (so boring!)-- what "mysterious mission" is Tarna currently on? Presumably we were told in one of the past few books? I always liked her as Mesaana because of the number of oddities about her personality given in COT:22 One Answer.
Wilson Grooms
319. Poapst
Totally agree. Not that I didn't like Egwene, but really... Rand's side was more compelling from a story PoV.
I have the feeling that Tuon and Rand will make a peace allowing Tuon to keep the Damane already collared who don't want to leave (aka: All of them.) which will explain Egwene's prophesised 'ANGER' at Rand.
Can't wait for the Avi/Rand reunion, or the Rand/Elayne one (+2 :D).
I did want to know everyone's take on the prophesy that Min had early in the book about Nyna weeping over a grave. Who is close to Nyna who's gonna die?!?! I feel like it would be Lan, but that may be too obvious. And Rand's gonna be on a Pyre/Boat or some such thing according to Min's viewings so it can't be him....

PS> Cuendillar cookies = delicious.
F Shelley
320. FSS
#318 - Tarna went with the non-men hating Red Ajah gang to bond Ashaman in the Epilouge of KoD. Since sometimes the epilouges happen out of sync with the ending of the current book and the start of the next book (thinking of Mogheidien's escape, specifically), she could have been out on that mission.

Of course it could be something different, too, like the levy-collecting mission.
Wilson Grooms
321. woody_145
I think the scene with Rand and Moridin was one of the most enlightening. It sounded almost as if Moridin aka ishy was second guessing his devotion to the DO. Or maybe he was just pissed that Rand was becoming the "betrayer of hope", where would that leave him? As for the ending? AWESOME! seriously how can you find that anti-anything! It was exactly how I had hoped it would come, welcome back Rand!! The only problem I have is that I have to wait another entire frick'n year AGAIN! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.
James Jones
322. jamesedjones
317 Azith

Woah. You just earned yourself an automatic chair in the Looney Theory corporation board of directors. That one's Awesome!

(My support might not be what you were looking for :P)

So now we just need to determine who is going to channel what. Moridin for the TP, Alivia for saidar, and Rand for saidin? Or will Rand channel both the TP and saidin with Alivia and someone else? Or Elayne and Avi? This is like that commerical for all the potential ways to have your Whataburger. ;)

Seriously, I really like the idea that Callandor offers so much trouble as a tool because they aren't using all of its necessary functionality.
F Shelley
323. FSS
@321 - really? I though Moridin was laughing at the rest of the Forsaken for actually believing that they would be in charge of anything because if the DO wins, obviously (to him) creation itself would cease to exist. He knows he'd die too, and seems OK with it. And he knows Rand could win, and it would be another Age, and is OK with that too. He thinks he really can't be defeated, because his and Rand's souls will continue the contest "until the Shadow is triumphant!" - TOETW, prolouge.
Barry T
324. blindillusion
Just some stuff I picked up from another thread, and I liked the words.
Plus, there is no way in God's green flaming earth Mat Bloody Cauthon is going to let Bode get collared.

I think we all know that when the chips are down, there is nobody you'd rather have on your side than Mat, not even "loyal Perrin" or "liquid nuke wielding Rand"

No worries about Bode. She's with the rebels. Replacing her on "cuendillar chain detail" is what got Egwene captured

But it does raise a question....Why the hell wasn't Bode in this book? You'd think there'd at least be an honorable mention with her thanking Egwene for taking her place...or something.

[b]EDIT for something I cannot recall anyone talking about yet:

Did we see Rand's beggar scene in Just Another Man? He had his thread bare cloak. He had his staff. And also, according to the end prophecy, a "blind" man regained his sight...or something along those lines. I don't have my book in front of me.
John Alt
325. John_A
Awesome Book

A couple things I got out of it (trying not to repeat what I've seen above)

Rand, Mat, and Perrin spend time reflecting on the near death of their wives, and all 3 are changed by it. In fact, either directly or indirectly it helps all 3 get their heads on straight. I'd guess there is some over-arc tie-in I'm glossing over here.

I think the only other reason we saw Mat in this book is to expose Aludra's progress. Her "dragons" have to be ready for one of the next two books in a plausible amount of time. I don't buy it (it's far too short,) but BS has to deal with the belated timeline given him. Well, the letter was probably important, too, but didn't have to come here. It could have been told in flashback in the next book.

I was surprised to find Eg's need was the Tinker camp. I wonder if it has to do with "Tell the Dragon....." scratched in blood on the Tinker wagon Mat found so long ago? It could be tied into the song, and getting the seeds to sprout and all, but somehow there's got to be another piece to that puzzle. Perhaps all the Tinker wagons in Ebou Dar throw another link/twist in the Seanchan/Dragon/White Tower saga. They are in the right place to feed the starving people of Ebou Dar. Maybe a tie into the "feel her wrath" vision when Eg finds out he left all those people to starve? Ow, head hurting now.

The DO have been using the Chosen as pawns in this and every other age, to bend the Dragon to break the pattern. Moridin and Shadar Harin are pieces I haven't figured out yet. Yes, Moridin is the Dark's counterpart (counterforce?) to the Dragon, but where does Shadar Haran(sp) fit in?

The fact Trollocs are using the ways probably means they are clean again, in some fashion.

Throughout this book, Rand was acting more and more like the people of Aridhol/Shadar Logoth. I was convinced that his cleansing of the taint had left the Fain portion of his wound to advance on him, or it was some other Fain link affect. I was blown away when Rand drew the TP, and it became clear it was the DO/Moridin all along. Or was it? I'm lost as to where the Fain/Aridhol lesson/arc is going. I'm hoping he doesn't get an Elaida/Maseema two page exit.
Wilson Grooms
326. yebeme
I assumed Rand drawing the TP was through Moridin. Didn't he see a face in his vision for a split second just before he seized it? I took that as a sign that he saw Moridin, took the TP through him and then used it to off Semi.
Wilson Grooms
327. ania hyek
it is one thing i have to say for myself 3 days no book for me yet ( sulking... green with jealousy) and still stopping myself from reading this preview
Barry T
328. blindillusion
I think the only other reason we saw Mat in this book is to expose Aludra's progress. Her "dragons" have to be ready for one of the next two books in a plausible amount of time. I don't buy it (it's far too short,) but BS has to deal with the belated timeline given him. Well, the letter was probably important, too, but didn't have to come here. It could have been told in flashback in the next book.

I doubt the dragons/dragon eggs are going to be used in the Last Battle, or at least not many. I'm thinking cannons/guns will be a 4th Age weapon.

After all, Gaidal Cain is probably going to be a 4th Age Hero.

I wonder who Shivan the Hunter & Calian the Chooser will be? I'm thinking Shivan will be played by Olver. Mr Jordan said the kid is not a red-herring.
Rob Munnelly
329. RobMRobM
@325. "I was surprised to find Eg's need was the Tinker camp." Yes - I had the same thought. One of those subtle points that, once the ruckus dies down, will occupy us in theoryland for the next year. R
Rob Munnelly
330. RobMRobM
@328. "I doubt the dragons/dragon eggs are going to be used in the Last Battle, or at least not many. I'm thinking cannons/guns will be a 4th Age weapon."

Strongly disagree. They'll be used in here and now. Maybe Rand will send them up to Tarwin's Gap with Lan to reinforce the Golden Crane Light TM forces.
Wilson Grooms
331. kab1
@109 jwdenzel and @197 Dholton. I’ve gone over the parts with Mat again, and I agree with your analysis. I also agree that Mat’s in excellent hands with Brandon and team Jordan. For anyone who knows Brandon, please tell him that even if he was a little off, Mat was still quite funny and the book is fantastic! Loved it.

@various comments on Perrin. I also wonder when he’s going to come back to relevancy. He now has Galad and Morgase with him and everyone knows who Morgase is (Yippee!). I really, really hope that first meeting of Galad and Morgase, her reveal and everyone’s reaction, most importantly Faile and Alliandre (just their expressions would be hilarious, after their time with the Shaido), are written in the next book! Pretty Please! I’d much rather have that scene than Perrin being lord under a wagon. And for all the comments that Mat was a bit off, I’d say Perrin was spot on.

@165, I’d never thought of that before. I like the theory!

re: the Avi chapters, I said before I thought her angst was a bit drawn out, but I did want to add that I loved having her PoV back and seeing her interact with Amys. I would have loved to see her journey to Rhuidian and back as well (maybe next book?). I can’t wait till she comes back as a WO and sees Rand. squee!

Also, I thought Tuon was spot on. Very well done. One of the things that nailed her character for me was that she spoke directly to Beslyn (not using her voice and shocking the other blood) to explain things to him, but in the midst of this she still would have him strapped for not averting his eyes. Very Tuon to me. I really like her character, and will find myself agreeing with her thoughts/actions, but then, bam, something she does/thinks will be so Seanchan. The Rand/Egwene/Tuon interactions to come have me very interested. I think it will be great when they all find out Tuon and Mat are married and he’s Prince of the Ravens (or now Emperor??!!). I wonder what would happen if someone slapped an adam on her- seems like it might be the only way to get her to realize how wrong they are.

@180- I agree with you on the they’re not Zombies thing. For me, it fits in with the appearance of other evils that have been happening and I wouldn’t be surprised if RJ had sketched out that village/scene and Brandon filled it in. Maybe because it’s a reoccurring thing and not a “bubble” of evil that it seems weird to people. But there was that other village that Perrin was in when hunting for Faile that also was tainted- can’t remember the details, one of the AS wanted to stay and help.

@205. Excellent analysis.

@281 Verin’s letter containing something about the horn makes perfect sense. So much so, that I’m embarrassed I didn’t make the connection before.

@325 Yes, I’m excited to see new Tinker theories come out.

I also like the importance that Callandor is taking in the series/ new theories. Seems fitting that it should play an important role at TG, possible along with another Sangreal

Wow, that was a long one, I’m off to the bunker for Samadai’s cookies. Glad we’re finally getting to the refreshments!
Richard Fife
332. R.Fife
OK, read the post, haven't read the comments, I will try (325 comments? really? Mother's Milk in a Cup)

My initial reactions:
Demandred's army is the Black Tower, proxying via Taim. Re-inforced in the Meeting of Evil where we are mislead into thinking Grendael will be important (aside as balefire bait).

Rand's dark place oddly did not irritate me near as much as Gawyn's emo'ing. I actually did scream at the book in every scene where Gawyn plotted Rand's death. Similar for Perrin's scenes, actually (on his unchanged emo-ness).

Chapter 20's opening, with Mat's dice-game description of women, had me laughing to hard I had to call a friend up and read the scene to him. Actually is my best friend who reminds me quite a bit of Mat....

I'd say my "crowning moment of awesome" was actually Egwene fighting the Seanchan. Finally someone sticking it to them with the Power in a way that needed done.

And as to the writing itself:
There were a few phrases, much as Leigh said in the non-spoiler thread, that stick out to me. One thing does bother me (and I might even go pester Maria about this), when Cads was meeting with the innkeeper, and he commented that there were Aiel in the city, she said "I hadn't noticed." Granted, she was being sarcastic, but I have to wonder... can Aes Sedai be sarcastic? I mean, technically, sarcasm is by its nature a lie, just one that isn't meant to be believed (then again, saying Egwene's dress is green or Sheriam's hair is red is the same way, kinda.) I kind of find it hard to think Cads could slip around the oaths like that.

...Perhaps SHE is purple ajah! I'd still rather have my true purple ajah'd Verin (I'm calling her purple cause I can!), but still... AS Sarcasm bugs me. Have we ever seen an AS use outright sarcasm before?
Matthew Smith
333. blocksmith

I throw you kudos galore early on and you submarine me...(see 298).

Just kidding...obviously I am on the same page with regards to Tuon.

Relative to Eg's T-road visit to the Tinkers...at the time of reading I made a mental note "Revisit this with more time on hands...it will be important...just not now". After mulling it over, the only significant thing that makes sense is The Song. But for all I know, it could be another message from a dying Aiel...we will RAFO but have fun guessing until the next.
Rob Munnelly
334. RobMRobM
Let's start a contest re the ToM prologue.

Avi at the test or coming back from Rhuidean

Lan's golden crane status update.

The deep poop situation of Tarna, Pevara, Myrelle, etc at the Black Tower.... or Logain checking it out.

Talaan and Merlille showing up in TV to put her in the White Tower.

Barry T
335. blindillusion
One thing. Rand makes mention several times that Mat is still in that city. Well, we all know where he is, but as Rand is several weeks ahead of Mat in the storyline, does this mean Mat never read Verin's letter?

RomM@330 - I suppose it depends on how long it will be until the Last Battle and how long it takes Aludra to gather all her supplies, build what is needed, test what is built, fix any problems, test the corrections and then find a way to get the dragons to the necessary people.

And from what I read of this book, the Last Battle is only a few months away. About the only way this is going to happen is if Mat either gets Egwene to let him use Novices and Accepted or he gets Tuon to let him use damane to make the things.

We know what Egwene will say and Mat will not want to give Tuon/the Seanchan this technology.

But then, if Mat does get them off the assembly line in time for the Last Battle just as many people will die using them as they kill. It'd make the DO happy.
Rob Munnelly
336. RobMRobM
@366 - Wonder if building dragons will be a job for Elayne to supervise in ToM while she is getting bigger and Mat is off chasing Moiraine. Not sure what else she is supposed to do other than marshall her own armies for TG and work with Setalle re making use of new ter-greals.

Separate point - want to bet Sharina gets sent up to join Lan's troops in Tarwin's Gap? That would accord with Nyn's acceptatron vision.
Joseph Daly
337. Joed1414
Finished yesterday. This was the best book in the series IMO just for the amount of stuff that happens. All of it awesome. I liked when Ituralde talked about juggling and the bard in Caemlyn. Thom is bad ass. I liked the Matt scenes they were funny. I also choked up when they asked Nyn about Matt and she told them he was a Hero finally talking Matt up for a change. She was pretty awesome through the whole book. Egwene was even more awesome. I'd love to see someone animate that last scene where they were in the hall looking at the light shine on dragonmount. That was cool. Verin stole the show. She made the ultimate sacrifice for the light. She should have been blue not brown although I understand why she chose brown. Can't wait for the next book. In the next book they must find the song so they all don't starve. Oddly I think its Thom who will find it i thought there was some foreshadowing there when he was talking about old songs with Matt. I also think they're gona have to rescue Ituralde and Lan. The borderlands will be destroyed and the last battle rage between the white and black tower and the 2 rivers. Also Rand "dies" in the next book. I can't wait to see how that turns out.
Sydo Zandstra
338. Fiddler

As I said before, all the Aes Sedai who knows about the Cleansing have had other important matters to deal with, Egwene more than others.
Still, I can't help wondering why no Aes Sedai considers all the implicatons of a cleansed saidin and if we'll see someone ever doing that.

Probably because none of those AS who know about it are White Ajah. Cadsuane had one White in her team, but IIRC that one was left behind in Cairhien before they all went out to cleanse Saidin.

Just wait until the first White Sister gets a confirmation that Saidin is clean...
Gary Schaper
339. Garyfury
@336, @335 -- Perhaps they can press some of their non-Oathed channelers into service, Power-forging the cannons so they work instead of exploding...
Wilson Grooms
340. douglasm
R.Fife @332

I don't remember exactly where, but I have seen a report of someone noticing a case of definite sarcasm from an Aes Sedai and asking RJ about it. RJ's answer was quite explicit that sarcasm is allowed by the first oath if the AS believes everyone present will understand it. I think the principle is that only statements that are both literally incorrect and intended to deceive are prevented, though the deception involved can be extremely minor, such as a slight exaggeration, and still qualify.
Barry T
341. blindillusion
Darn, I'm going to be away from my computer this weekend and was hoping to gets some thoughs on the probability of Rand's "beggar" scene in Just Another Man


whether or not you guys think Mat read Verin's letter since Rand keeps "seeing" him in Caemlyn. Rand's and Eqwene's story arcs is several weeks ahead of everyone else.

help a guy out?
Sam Mickel
342. Samadai
@341 blindillusion,

I was thinking that Rand is going to leave the mountain, wander the plains end up with the traveling people where he will teach them the song of growing. Then perrins next quest is findin g Rand in time fot the last battle(the second time Rand needs Perrin or bad things will happen)

I think Mat has read the letter and i bet it is about the location of the horn of valere.
Sam Mickel
343. Samadai
someone will have to or the world will be starving dead before the last battle.

of course these are just my opinion
Patrick Huff
344. pattack
I just completed The Gathering Storm. I was very reluctant to finish it, because it just meant a longer wait for the next book. I just had to keep reading like I was compelled to do so. Part of me wants to say it was the best book of the series so far, part of me is disappointed. I guess you could say I'm a little torn. I have always enjoyed the White Tower division story, so that is not the issue. I love Aviendha and have since the first pages she appeared in, (except for the whole Elayne story). I was usually impressed with Rand and his continued descent into madness. The disappointment is the handling of one charactor in particular. Matrim Cauthon. I won't give anything away for the readers who have not read the book, but I must say that his plotlines in this book were needless and pointless. Mat is a very popular charactor with me and I'm sure many fans of the series and to have his space in the book be reduced to a b horror movie was a waste of good paper in my opinion. Oh yes, we did find out some interesting details along the way, but as a whole it was a real bummer to not come up with better material. Hell, even Mat talking to himself for thirty pages would have been better than what I had to read. It reminded me of a bad episode of Star Trek TNG where the crew spends the whole hour reliving the day over and over again. I hope that the next two books have a bigger and better role for him to play or this whole series in my opinion will be tarnished. Please give Mat some meat, I beg of you...
Wilson Grooms
345. Chriscot
I don't agree that Mat was that off. Someone said (in the early 100s) that Mat joked more freely in this book than in others (except maybe the early ones). Well, that was my impression too, and it makes perfect sense to me. Realize that it's been AGES since we've seen Mat with FRIENDS the way we do here. For the entire BowloftheWhines arc, he was being needled, manipulated, and ignored; for the time with Tuon and the show, he was jumping out of his skin as a fugitive, dealing with having kidnapped his future wife and leader of his enemy, dealing with challenges from Egeanin, the Aes Sedai, the Suldam, the showfolk...he was *not* at ease.

Now Mat's with the Band again, and while he's stressed (and freaked about Tuon), most of the stress he's been under is currently resolved. Tuon's gone and safe, Egeanin's no longer fighting for control, they're away from the show and the immediate Seanchan threat, etc. And he's surrounded by friends again. So he's more open with the jokes.

Personally, one of the things I liked about the difference between this book and the last several is that these people acted like they were friends, or (as with Nynaeve and Rand) at least remembered they'd been friends, once upon a time. Some of that's been lacking lately, and it's nice to see the teamofthelight starting to come together again.

I don't like zombie stories, but the Hinderstrap Zombie episode was appropriately creepy, horrifying, and really, really sad. Poor folks. It was well done as one of the worst evil bubbles ever. Plus it gave Mat a moment of awesome when he went in alone to save one of his men.

Also, Avi was fine. She hasn't seen the ST:TNG or read Raymond E. Feist, and her entire culture has raised her to submit to ridiculous punishments. It takes true wisdom to be able to slough that off - a degree of cultural awareness that is rare in Randland - and all told it didn't take up much of the book, so the complaints don't make much sense to me.

The rest of the book...freaking awesome, as has been said. Egwene ruled, Sneaky Verin is sneakily awesomelicious (thought I'm a bit skeptical even of *her* being able to id the whole BA without being caught, but she's sneaky, sneaky, smart, sneaky, careful, and sneaky). Bryne smacking some sense (verbally) into Gawyn was good. Perrin was a little enh, considering how his Shaido story turned around and became awesome in Knife of Dreams, I was surprised that he was now being all self-doubty again. But Nynaeve showed moments of awesome, Rand was terrifying and sad, and Brandon/Jordan are awesome for how they pulled off how terrifying and sad Rand was. I was totally freaked by seeing Rand in Moridin's colors all the time, and by seeing the black aura around him - so like the aura or black cord Rand saw around the male Forsaken in the early books. The Shadow's always wanted to turn and corrupt Rand, more than it has to beat him; it was so close. I was really really all but convinced that Min was going to die; that Nynaeve with her (awesome) confrontations with Rand was going to push him into turning on her; and that Tam was toast. Which, if it had happened, I don't know that my ability to like Rand would ever have come back. As it was, I'm convinced that that horrific episode was enough to drive him to his final crisis, and to come through it.

Happy happy awesomeness.

When's the next book? *twitch*

Towers of Midnight - Ghenjei and Black?
Roger Powell
346. forkroot
Let me start with the statement that I love the WoT Series and I think TGS is a fantastic addition. So when you see criticism below, please read it within that context.

Now here's the hardest part: I think Sanderson did an outstanding (but not flawless) job considered he was handed a mess. Ouch! Hurts to say that about a series I love, but it's true. The truism about a design not being complete until everything that can be taken away is removed applies here.

Sometime around ACoS, RJ let the series lose focus (others may differ on the timing). I remember being mildly surprised when an important character like Cadsuane was not introduced (nor foreshadowed) until the 7th book of the series. Then when the 8th book began by introducing another plot line (the Borderlander armies going south) it was clear that the story had gotten overburden with plot threads.

Since "thought experiments" have been popular in the reread, here's one: Imagine removing the "Masema becomes the Prophet" plot line completely. Do you honestly believe the story would have suffered?

I understand that some will not share my opinion, and indeed I'm conflicted because I love reading the books and the more plot lines, the more chapters, the more pleasure for me.

Nevertheless, Sanderson was handed an impossible task: "Clean up all these plot lines in one book please" Yeah, right. Wasn't going to happen without ruining the series, even if RJ had tried it.

Sanderson was also handed the task of immersing himself in arguably the most complex fantasy world out there, and then continuing the story while trying to keep the character voices accurate all in about a year (realistically).

He did a GREAT job. Really. Yes, he missed on a few things:

1) Pretty much a universal consensus that he missed on Mat. Other posters have this covered.

2) Modern idioms sneaked into the text ("Do that math"). I call these his "Homicidal Hat-Trick" moments. I think BS is less aware of what is "current jargon" because he is young and doesn't remember when people didn't say "not an option". Can you imagine how jarring it would be to have a WoT character say "right on!" when affirming something. Those of us who grew to maturity in the 70s would have thought nothing of it.

3) Technical errors - Sulin was supposed to be with Perrin (Big OOPS!). Joline didn't count her warders when demanding horses from Mat. Some of this reflects on "Team Jordan" that should have helped by catching those errors.

4) Since we're speaking of warders, this wasn't a technical error, but omitting Elza's warder (Fearil) from any mention (when she was balefired) was annoying. At least a sentence saying that he went bonkers and died dueling another warder ... or something.

Some stuff just had to be rushed (back to the "too many plot lines to resolve" problem.) There wasn't time for an involved cat/mouse game with Graendal. We've had plenty of "Forsaken duels" with Rand already; I thought BS did an outstanding job with that plot line as he eliminated Graendal and continued to harden Rand's character at the same time.

BS also helped smooth over RJ's rushed plot line enders with some nice retrospectives on Aram and Rolan. Also, good job of ending the Masema plot thread.

A quick nod of agreement with other posters who have praised Egwene's plot arc, Verin's reveal, and how Gareth/Suian was handled.

What I haven't seen much comment on is the fantastic job that Sanderson did with the reintegration of Rand's character. He gave us plenty of clues as throughout the book LTT becomes saner and saner as Rand becomes less and less sane. As the book progresses, we also see Rand more and more comfortable with accessing LTT's memories "seamlessly". Then the monster clue comes when Rand visits Moridin in T'AR and is fully integrated for a moment. All this sets up the resolution on Dragonmount beautifully.

Lastly, I really hope to hear that Demandred or some other agent of the Shadow has controlled the Borderlanders. Otherwise the whole bit with Far Madding was way out of character. Good Grief! Lord Agelmar (one of the five Great Captains) and Queen Ethenielle (accounted as competent) are with this group - they would not run off in fear from the 'Big-Bad-Dwagon'. Agelmar even knows Rand.

One more point: There were many emotional "in-book" moments for me, but the first surprise "teary" moment came as I opened the book and read the Foreward.
Wilson Grooms
347. little minion
Great review, Leigh!

Most of my reactions consisted of:

"OH. MY. GOD." (Rand storyline + Verin chapter)
"Oh SNAP!" (Egwene one-liners)
"Awwwww!" (Siuan and Gareth)

I skimmed the Mat bits, although I actually did enjoy his women analogy.

Still hate Perrin and Faile. LAME!!!

And, as always, Nynaeve defined excellence. Especially now that I know how to pronounce her name.

Some thoughts:

BA PURGE: I think Egwene opted for the purge rather than giving the BA sisters a chance to redeem themselves because she wanted to honor Verin's sacrifice, and she believed that it's more expedient to execute them since they're so untrustworthy.

CALLANDOR & THE THREE MERGING: Rand + Nynaeve + Moiraine, with Alivia in the sidelines for the kill.

NEXT BOOK: Mat rescues Moiraine! Logain beats the crap out of Taim! Morgase and Elayne reunite!

Argh I can't wait! In the meantime, I'll re-read tGS until the pages fray.
Noneo Yourbusiness
348. Longtimefan
I am not that fond of the Mat character and I will agree the character was a bit off. One of the things for me that no one had mentioned yet was is comment on his own hat. It seemed a bit to "aware" for something he had picked up to shade his eyes in the desert and then just wore out of habit.

I was not thinking zombies however, I was thinking star trek. It does showcase the result of the Dark One gaining power effectively.

Should the Dark One win there would be no "reset". In the total darkness of that victory all people would become as beasts of violence and destroy each other until all are gone.

Not something the townsfolk care to dwell on.

My looney theory on Min's revelation about the Sword of light and the three as one.

Rand has to wield Callandor (he destroyed the sphere, which by the way was on the road to Caihieren (sp) so was the road and perhaps the city damaged by this explosion?) and to do so he needs two women he can trust.

Moiraine and Aliva.

Moiraine has to come back for something important (Min's viewing) and Alvia will help him die (battling the DO)

Moiraine will have to lead the flows with her knowledge gained in the Tower of Genji (out of the Dark One's view so not considered a threat).

Going into it all three will know that they will die wielding the power together through Callandor to defeat the Dark One. They will do it anyway.

No loony theory on how Rand comes back to life after that.
349. Freelancer
My wife loves me! I came home from work yesterday to find my copy of TGS at my place on the dinner table. And a ticket for the signing line at the San Diego stop on Brandon's tour. Talk about shocked. No clue how I'm going to match that.

So I had just enough time after finishing the book this morning to wash up and change clothes to avoid being late for work. So forgive me, but I've a lot to comment on, and haven't bothered to read anything but Leigh's writeup.

Leigh, I admit that while I read, I was trying to relate your non-spoiler scene reactions to chapters, and I misidentified a few. But there was no mistaking the awesomest (I had expected something to do with Lan, heh).

Sneaky, sneaky, SNEAKY Verin! Mole for the Light?!? When she said Egwene's dress was green, I was like, "Yes!, she has removed her Oaths!" Then when she said she was Black I just thought, "Right, she just admitted she could lie, what kind of joke is this?" And then awesomeness blossomed bigger and badder from there. Amazing.

The scenes in the Tower are written so well. I heart Silviana, doing her duty even when she doesn't approve, but standing up for integrity when it goes too far, no matter the cost. Strong stuff, but not the strongest. Egwene pwns. Circle up some accepteds/novices, gate to the storeroom, and POWERUP! The battle scenes are outstanding. The reconciliation of the Tower was better. Very, very deftly handled.

I bow before those who believed Sheriam was a DF.

I feel exactly as Leigh did about the disastrous meetings with both Hurin and Tam, but the timing is flawless from the viewpoint of the story as a whole. If Rand had come away from his meeting with Tam as a little less inhuman, it would have taken so much longer for him to "hit bottom", and get that settled.

With what happened on Dragonmount, the story heads into the penultimate installment with the new Rand. The twitching will be gloriously painful over the next year. And yes, the debate over LTT will continue to rage. Of course he's real, but Rand has allowed a complete integration of their personalities, by giving LTT hope that Ilyena lived another turn on the Wheel. Beautiful.

On The Big Tease. Rand, in one of those swirling colors moments, sees Perrin talking to Galad. So, I called this one two books ago on the theory boards (though I admit my original prediction had Galad helping free Faile/Alliandre/Morgase et al), but we still haven't seen it happen! We know from Tam that everyone now knows who Morgase is (and it sort of raises the stock of the Tam/Morgase theory, except that Tallanvor is still alive and well), but we still haven't seen it happen! Egads, the seeds of twitching, they are planted shallow and close together.

Nothing directly from Taim, Logain, or the Black Tower in this whole volume. Wow.

Nothing from Elayne either, for that matter. I estimate that 73% of the fandom are pleased.

Gawyn. Rash, unstable, finally realizing that sticking with his first decision is illogical. Most definitely not a victim of Compulsion, just twisted judgement.

Aviendha's ascendance. I'm afraid this one was too obvious, with the first set of "punishments" that had no source, I saw what was happening. After that it was more like wanting to smack her on the back of her head and say, "Hello, McFly! Anybody home in there? Step up already!"

Rand balefiring an entire manor to get Graendal. Flawlessly brilliant. How can anyone have a negative reaction to this? He was right, nobody who was in there had a functional mind left, he was doing them a favor. Sending the local dandy in to get "Compulsed" as a verification of Graendal's demise is so shrewd that it proves Rand isn't insane. He never had to risk himself or someone he cared about getting within her reach. This was smarter than Mat's best moves with the Band.

Nynaeve, still with the massive blind spots regarding men as a group, and Rand in particular. And yet willing to suppose that he knows what he's doing, just when everyone else thinks he's gone full-bore loopy. She cares, and that matters a ton.

Cadsuane. Rand is right. She had him boxed in by his own behavior and her arrogance. She is still important to him, and very smart, but she has blown it big time. Especially by sending Tam to Rand with a script. Maybe, just maybe, the New Rand will give her another chance, but put her in the place he put Moiraine during her last months with him.

Tuon. Definitely her turn on the "trust the wrong intel and make a horrible mistake because of it" merry-go-round. She really still thinks that the White Tower serves the Dragon, or vice versa? Plus, I had been hoping that her position vis-a-vis marath-damane had softened over the last few months.

Siuan/Gareth. It's about time. Love Bryne's intoxicated reaction to the Warder benefits, and the temporary suspense of "the second demand".

Ok, that's enough for now. Except to say to Brandon Sanderson and Team Jordan an immense THANK YOU. This book is WoT, first word to last, there is nothing lost. The depth of scenery, the richness of dramatic detail, the pace of the dialog, it was all RIGHT. Bravo.
Mitchell Swan
350. mcswan
Wow. Finished yesterday. Other than general glee over Verin's awesomeness, and happiness with how the Tower split worked out, I'll only say one thing I haven't seen anyone else mention. (If I'm wrong, let me know) It's minor, but now Suian and Leane are now bound again.

Suian's fallback of being able to lie is finally gone!
Barry T
351. blindillusion
Hey Free@349, glad you'll be able to join the fun.
Wilson Grooms
352. Dholton

I don't think she's Mesaana. I can't imagine her in a bronze dress with embroidery for one thing. But her bolt hole in the kitchen does lead me to believe that she helps novices and accepted run away from the Tower if they need to. Maybe even as an agent of the Kin.

@Three are One

I'll say again, I think the three are Avi, Min and Elayne. There's a reason that Pattern has Rand fall in love with them (and vice versa of course). Since Callandor requires two female Channelers, that's Avi and Elayne. As for Min, I believe that her viewings in concert with her bond with Rand will in some way provide the necessary guidance for Rand's use of Callandor in sealing the Bore.
Roger Powell
353. forkroot
My wife loves me! I came home from work yesterday to find my copy of TGS at my place on the dinner table. And a ticket for the signing line at the San Diego stop on Brandon's tour. Talk about shocked. No clue how I'm going to match that.
Wow...your wife had her own WoT MOA. Thanks for sharing that cool tidbit!

Cadsuane. Rand is right. She had him boxed in by his own behavior and her arrogance. She is still important to him, and very smart, but she has blown it big time. Especially by sending Tam to Rand with a script. Maybe, just maybe, the New Rand will give her another chance, but put her in the place he put Moiraine during her last months with him.
I don't know...I'm trying to decide if she has fulfilled Min's viewing yet. She certainly had a causal link in the process that taught Rand to laugh again; OTOH I think Min said something about her teaching all the Asha'man something.
Roger Powell
354. forkroot
Thoughts about Tam "spilling the beans" on Morgase: Yeah it was a disappointment - it takes a lot of the tension out of any forthcoming "reveal" scene with Perrin (and possibly Galad).

I have a hunch on what happened - it's quite possible that the Morgase reveal originally preceded the chapter with Rand and Tam, back before Brandon realized he had to split the manuscript. He did state that he had to move some stuff around once that decision was made.

If that's the case, it's too bad that the one little bit in Tam's conversation didn't get taken out. Oh well, we've all known that Morgase would be revealed sooner or later, we just haven't known the exact circumstances and we still don't.
Wilson Grooms
355. Jambo
I felt a bunch of the prophecies were messily tied up, which was a little disappointing. The whole laughing/crying thing...ehhhh, i couldve done without the whole "ARGHHHHH, let's kill Pop's!!!!1!" thing, but I actually thought Lews Therin was a whole lotta awesome here (now that i think about it, he was awesome for the whole book!)....and maybe someone can confirm, but i dont think Rand actually cried, he just laughed..... i hoping rand and tam being reunited would be better, i've been lookin forward to that scene since the beginning of the books, but i thought it turned out awfully flat imo.

the begger thing was a little fail in my opinion; very forced....

and what's the deal with Rand's eyes, all the foreshadowing pointed to him going blind, but after the first chapter they stopped talking about it?

the true source part absolutely blew my mind, it was NUTSSS. i was like :O holy CRAP!

i dont know if neone else noticed this but i felt a few of the character's personalities changed. mat for instance came across as much more 'joke-y' than we've seen before, and Verin was pretty different acting too, though im not sure how to explain it.

oooo i almost forgot! what happened to the sword carrying woman who was supposed to save Egwene during the seanchan raid????? or im i miss-remembering something?

and GAHH they didnt show Perrin meeting up with Galad! :( what the heck? i hope they touch on that in the next book....

I also found the book to be very long, and especially in some parts, to accomplish not a lot. For instance most of the stuff with Mat... his scenes were a decent length but in the end they introduced very little...i couldve seen his whole part being condensed and stuck in the prologue like what happened in a few of the previous books.

anddddd im out of this to say finally lol. i actually really enjoyed this book, im just nitpicking a little bit right now :P
Roger Powell
356. forkroot
Jambo@355 (and many others above)
It's the "True Power" when referring to the power from the DO. The "True Source" is another name for the two halves saidan/saidar. I agree that it's confusing - blame RJ on that one.
F Shelley
357. FSS
Question for the group:

I'm still stumped at how Rand put the Choeden Kal access key in an "oversized" coat pocket. It supposed to be a foot high statue, right?

I've always thought the thing was kind of blocky (like the Heisman trophy), but is it tall and skinny? Is there a piece of art (fan art) or otherwise that shows how it looks? I don't remember one in the BBOBA...
Joseph Daly
358. Joed1414
Rand will cry when he sees Morraine.
Sydo Zandstra
359. Fiddler

I'm from a country that uses the Decimal metrical system. And I always took the size of the access keys to the CK to be exactly as it said to me: about the size of a foot, as in the body part that's on the bottom of your leg.

Remember there was a broken Female access key shown in Tanchico. I doubt it was the size of a foot as in British/American metrical systems. Access Keys that size would be as unuseful as the main statues.

I like to think that's a prank on RJ's part to all you British/American speakers. :P ;)
Don Barkauskas
360. bad_platypus
Jambo @355:
oooo i almost forgot! what happened to the sword carrying woman who was supposed to save Egwene during the seanchan raid????? or im i miss-remembering something?
You're not missing anything, except that the vision never actually showed it happening during the Seanchen raid; we all (or most of us, anyway) just assumed that's when it would happen.

Now it looks like it will happen during Tarmon Gai'don (although it's possible there will be a raid by the White Tower to attempt to rescue the captive AS---I doubt it, and Egwene wouldn't be allowed to go on it even if it did happen) and I'm guessing Tylee is the Seanchen woman.


Well, I'm 6'1" (185 cm to you :-)) and my foot is almost exactly a foot (= 12 in ~ 30 cm) long. Even given that the average person is shorter than I am and has a smaller foot, it's probably still at least close. So whichever measure you use, it's still pretty big for a pocket.
361. Freelancer

I've always seen them as tall and skinny, mildly similar to this:

but with a small crystal sphere, no lightning bolt wings, no stylized posture, and certainly not gold plated.


Rand may or may not cry when he sees Moiraine, but Min will lose it completely. She still believes that a viewing of hers failed. Squee won't be in it for her.


And just how big do you suppose a foot is (that body part on the end of a leg) for someone of Rand's height? My feet are rather small for my height (6'4", less than Rand is supposed to be), and they are barely short of 12" in length. A foot is a foot, indeed.

Also, a statue smaller than the size of an adult male's actual foot would not have been big enough for Rand and Asmodean to both have a solid grip on it in the Rhuidean fight.

An oversized coat pocket could most certainly be able to fit a 12" statue, with the sphere sticking out (as is described in one scene).


I don't believe that either of Min's viewings to which you refer have been fulfilled as of yet. Cadsuane has not taught anything to Rand and all the Asha'man. Cadsuane and Sorilea make a pact to teach him laughter and tears, but there's been no evidence of them accomplishing that either. And the blind beggar bit hasn't happened at all. His little walkabout in Ebou Dar when he is considering balefiring the entire city is not it.
Wilson Grooms
362. rimorob
Regarding Graendal's quiet exit, or Who Killed Asmodean?

One possibility to consider is that Graendal is dead, but not done 'exiting'. Semirhage was killed with a tiny thread of balefire. Graendal was killed with substantially more than what killed Rahvin. Remember what happened to Asmodean when Rahvin died? He got resurrected after at least half an hour, maybe more.

So here's a long shot: could we see Asmodean resurrected in Caemlyn? What about other actions of Graendal? For instance, is Alsalam coming back? Again, the amount of balefire used was very large, both as shown, and from the fact that the Aes Sedai could sense it from Bandar Eban. I would be very surprised if we saw no balefire event trail going forward. BS was too diligent in showing the magnitude of the event....

What does everyone think?
Thomas Keith
363. insectoid
Freelancer @349: I'll be at the SD signing, too. My mom and I are first in line. ;)

Still gathering my thoughts on the book.
Jacy Clark
364. Amalisa

I now think that finding Mesaana is pretty simple. It has to be Laras.

I don't think so... When Alviarin was having her last meeting with Mesaana, the one interrupted by the Dark One, Alviarin had a brief glimpse of the Forsaken. Tantalizingly familiar... just short of middle years... blue eyes. From a purely administrative standpoint, as Keeper, Alviarin would have known the Mistress of the Kitchens on sight. Also, Laras has been described as a very large woman, something that Alviarin didn't note when she saw Mesaana unmasked.

No, I think it is far more likely that Mesaana is masquerading as a relatively low-rank or average Aes Sedai, buried deep within an Ajah. Considering her origins as a teacher, I'm leaning toward the Brown sister on Egwene's short list.

Of course, I could be wrong.

I'm still digesting the book. I listened to it first, and now I'm reading it. My impressions to this point...

Rand isn't whining anymore. No. No more whining. Instead, he's scaring the hell out of people. He goes to a very dark place. And I don't mean Shayol Ghul. In fact, I think Shayol Ghul might actually have been an improvement. Which makes the last scene with him all the more satisfying.

Egwene. Made. Of. Awesome. She goes from Gandhi to Valkyrie in a blink when the Seanchan attack the Tower.

Verin... Sneaky, devious, heroic Verin. She actually managed to have her cake and eat it, too (washed down by a cup of tea). I cried.

Siuan and Gareth Brynn. "You sleep with your sword?" "Always." Laughed out loud!

Nynaeve - love, love and love her! She is walking such a tightrope here! Between Aes Sedai and village Wisdom, between duty to Rand and love for Lan. And Min's viewing about her scared me, although I'm hoping that it could be any other number of things and not what immediately came to mind.

Min. Poor, poor Min.

Tuon. Not smart, girl. A bad, bad move. Do not pit yourself against the White Tower (and by extension, Egwene, again) or you will be seriously smacked down! Although, right on for "Suffa"! Thanks for that! We owe you!

Tam. Gawyn. Faile. Aviendha. All had moments of "oh, yeah!" in the book.

Cadsuane overstepped her bounds in some ways (and paid for it) but in one very important sense, what she did may have actually saved the day in the long run. Even if Rand (and Tam) are/were majorly annoyed by it.

Two more Forsaken down. Or maybe one. We'll see. It really confuses the count when there's no body to identify, doesn't it.

Mat. "Groundhog Day" meets "Nightmare on Elm Street".

Like I said, still re-reading, dissecting, analyzing so any of the above is subject to some modification. I'm not at the point where I can debate authenticity of character (although, I agree that Mat seemed a little off. More like the boy that left the Two Rivers rather than the man who swept me off my feet when he swept his hat from his head after Tuon completed the marriage ceremony.) or start formulating theories about "Towers of Midnight". Although I do have an idea of how I would like for it to start, and will hold on to it until later. Except to say, what better way to prove you have left the "box" behind than to willingly walk into a box...

*goes back to reading*
365. Freelancer

Two things. First, if Graendal didn't kill Asmodean (I'm in the camp that she did), the whole theory is out. Second, Asmodean has been gone months, it's hard to imagine Graendal's actions being nullified by balefire that far back, no matter how strong.

The dramatic buildup of Rand preparing the uber-large weave of balefire stands on its own, because he drew more from the Choeden Kal than during the cleansing, in order to make sure he hit the entire structure and left Graendal no chance of escape.

For those who think she isn't dead because there's no body to inspect, I submit that Ramshalan's loss of Compulsion is absolute proof. Nynaeve verified that he was under heavy Compulsion moments before Rand attacked, and immediately afterward he had no trace left. It took Nynaeve hours to undo the Compulsion on the boy, and it left him senseless and dying. Ramshalan's mind is fully restored. Only the temporal reversal of the weave could produce those results.

Graendal is toast.
Patrick Huff
366. pattack
Callandor Rand+Elayne+Aviendha, anyone else want to take a stab?
Wilson Grooms
367. Norry
On the things to bring up this year:

Now that we know Sheriam is BA, what does that mean for Chesa? I believe consensus was that she was not a DF, but a BA plant combined with Aran'gar removal of the other maids... :(
Wilson Grooms
368. Chriscot
Looney theory, about the men who need to merge thing...Rand's soul will get transmigrated into Moridin's body, and vice versa, possibly through help from Alivia. Or possibly Alivia will help kill Rand's body with Moridin's soul. Rand-in-Moridin will live on after Tarmon Gai'don, happily ever after with Minelayniendha, free from his many wounds and hurts...but in secret! Few, if any beyond those three, will know he's still alive.

Think about it - Rand and Moridin have to become "one", and there's some (lots) of slippage already. Moridin's hand hurts, Rand's in his dreams, Rand's using the True Power, etc. Rand has to die and live again - this would accomplish that. For Rand to live happily ever after, he needs to survive secretly - having the Dragon Reborn known to still be in the world would make nations and channelers too nervous. They'd never leave him alone. This way, nobody but those closest to him would ever know.

Oh, there's also Min's viewing about Avi and the kids - that Aviendha will have Rand's babies, but that there's something odd. The "something odd" is that the babies will be fathered by Rand after he body-switches.

It's a looney theory, and the last point about the father of Aviendha's babies actually gives me the heebie-jeebies...but I could see it happening!

Oh...and I'm surprised Leigh thinks the truth of Rand/Lews Therin wasn't settled in this book. I'd always thought Lews Therin was a real, separate personality until about 6 weeks ago, when I discovered Leigh's commentaries and read through 'em all. The idea she (and others, I know, but I encountered it here) explained, about the Lews Therin personality being a defense mechanism to contain the crazy, made good sense, and seemed to fit with what I was seeing in re-reads, like how much more developed the LTT personality becomes after the Aes Sedai put Rand in the box.

Anyway, this book seemed to settle the issue, with the "Lews Therin had never been there anyway" line at the end.
369. Freelancer
Callandor and the "three will become one" vision has two possibilities:

1) Rand and the two saidar channelers with which he must be linked to use it safely. Elayne and Aviendha are the clear favorites in that business.

2) Reference to the three Powers joined. Saidin, saidar, and the True Power.

Since my take on the scene where Rand destroys the Domination Band (and then Semirhage & Elza) is that he pulled the TP from his connection with Moridin, it is quite possible for him to figure out how to use it without the Dark One stopping him.

But I'm not sure that's what it means. Both have merit.
Patrick Huff
370. pattack
Rimorob, I don't think Asmodean is gone I believe he will resurface in one of ther last two books. The king was probably already dead before the balefire attack. Mesaana has me stumped though. I have been wracking my brain trying to discover her identity to no avail. She has been described in the books and I am sure there are hints to her identity, but I can't make the connection. Wouldn't it be awesome if she was collared? One thing that I was surprised about in TGS was not the fact that Verin was Black Ajah, but that she was still a servant of the light in doing it. That definitely threw me. It would have been nice if Egwene would have named some of the sisters who were taken besides Elaida. I was hoping to have some more questions answered than questions revealed this time, but hanging on the cliff till the end ain't bad either.....
Wilson Grooms
371. Chriscot
Oh, about Graendal's death:

She always seemed cool (in a despicably evil way) and unflappable, and I'm sorry she died off-screen. Rand's plan was tactically brilliant, if morally bankrupt...and he explained his reasoning. How do you beat someone smarter than you? Don't play chess, smack 'em as hard as you can.

But some that have defended his action seem to forget that, in using that much balefire to burn so much from the pattern, he caused ripples felt miles away at a time where the Pattern *clearly* needs *NO* more stress. He could easily have tipped the balance there and destroyed everybody. That's why his action should be condemned, regardless of whether it was either right or effective.

Nynaeve gets awesome points for her strong condemnation of it, though...and right after he's done it, too. She sees how far he's slipped and how incredibly powerful he is, but she doesn't back down. And she condemns it in a way that shows she still cares about him. *And* she shows enough realism to question if he's right, enough morality and concern to, with Min's prompting, reaffirm that he's not right, and enough humility to go to Cadsuane. Very mature.

Re: Rand's aura, and the times he's asking people (Cadsuane, the compelled guy from the prison) "Do you believe I'm the Dragon and could stop your heart"...is he using the True Power in addition to his ta'verenness? Did he channel the True Power at other times than just when he was collared? I especially wonder about the time he goes all dark while questioning the Compulsed guy (just before the Graendal attack), and Nynaeve's and Min's tea immediately goes bad. That seems to indicate the touch of the Dark One being close, and True Power use would explain that. Thoughts?

Oh, Callandor+3...Rand, Elayne, Aviendha is a contender. Rand, Nynaeve, Alivia is also possible - the three strongest lightside folks (minus Sharina if she achieves her full potential, but Rand doesn't know her, and he knows and trusts Nynaeve and Alivia).

Random question: where WAS Logain in this book, anyway?
372. Freelancer
Oh, I totally forgot...

Leigh, when Cadsuane turned Semirhage across her knee and spanked her silly, I came to the same conclusion you did. They wrote that scene just so you'd have a fit. What a mixed up reaction you must have had. I found it quite satisfying.

That is to say, with you in mind, I roared with laughter.
Sam Mickel
373. Samadai
looney theory regarding mins vision of nynaeve mourning the person Min doesn't see.

Nynaeve is mourning Lan and decidess she can't take it, she discovers the way to heal death.
Rand, Moridin, and Shaidar Haran are fighting,Rand reaches through Moridin and balefires shaidar. the dark one thinks its Moridin and takes his soul. Moridins body dies ans so does Rands because of their connection. Nynaeve finds Rands soul and causes it to inhabit Moridins body( which is already starting to resemble Rand.)

what do you think?
Henry Loose
374. schrodinger
Samadai hit on something in the above post. To stop Rand from channeling TP, all the DO has to do is kill Moridin and elevate someone else to his position.
Wilson Grooms
375. Chriscot
Re: Balefire

Why does everyone keep saying balefire removes your chance of rebirth? It removes your chance of DO-instigated resurrection-via-transmigration to another body, because per RJ the DO has to be prepared to grab your soul, and since balefire kills you retroactively, it happens before the DO can get ready.

But I've never been of the impression that you wouldn't still get spun back into the Pattern at some point. Have I just missed it all that time?

Because if so, then that's an incredibly horrible thing to have done.
376. Freelancer

Nynaeve gets credit for what you refer to, but she still hasn't grown up regarding her bias that men are fools, individually and collectively, and cannot do anything right without a woman's guidance. She's worse than everyone calls Egwene on that count.

Also, Nynaeve's assessment of Rand's action is wrong, in the end, and her loathing of it had nothing to do with danger to the Pattern. What he did was right. Just as Nynaeve says to Min in this passage, a conventional assault on the manor would have killed Graendal's pets just as dead, and let her escape. His tactic was proper, wise, and cunning.

Now, let's look at Tam's talk with Rand. The question is not how you do something, but why. If Rand's why was wrong (and it was at that time), then even though the action itself was prudent, it harmed him further. This is the danger. And it is what Cadsuane is right about.

Ahh, I just remember something. johntheirishmongol@230, Laras cannot be Mesaana. Her own POV has her masquerading as a sister. I'm still quite strongly of the opinion that she's Danelle. How did she get her place among those who deposed Siuan and raised Elaida? She's a loner, she's not that old, she isn't in a position of authority. She's completely out of place among that group, and yet she's among the TAS sitting attendance on Elaida in the days following her elevation. As for Verin, yes, she can lie, but she's just committed suicide and is telling Egwene how to beat the Black. There is no reason for her to not ID Laras if she were a DF. Doesn't pass the smell test. And as Laras, it would be, for Mesaana, impossible to explain any absence from the Tower. If she were masquerading as other than a sister, it would be someone with no prominence whatever. The Mistress of the Kitchens, with her authority and responsibility, would be a horrible choice.
377. Freelancer
Balefire death = permanent = forever. No more thread in the Pattern, no more being spun into it.
john mullen
378. johntheirishmongol
@364 Amalisa

What you may not have considered is that it is pretty easy for one of the Forsaken to disguise themselves and invert the weaves so that it cannot be sensed. If you remember in KoD, Semirhage was disguised from Rand and without Cadsuane's angreal Rand would have been captured.

I still am good with my theory, don't think it is totally looney.
Wilson Grooms
379. rimorob
To freelancer@365:

I think it's reasonably well-established (80% chance?) that Graendal killed Asmodean. So at least I can speculate on a solid foundation. In addition, BS had said he would revisit the question of who killed Asmodean unambiguously. If it was Graendal, then someone else must have known about it; but so far, we haven't seen any suggestive clues. It occurred to me an elegant way out to bring back Asmodean himself and have him reminisce about having been killed by Graendal just a second ago.

Most importantly, I was not insisting that Asmodean specifically would come back; I was just suggesting a major effect which would tie together with a substantial loose thread. My other choice was the coming back of Alsalam, but there may be other good opportunities which I've missed. I'm mainly curious whether people agree with this broader premise - that we'll see major undoings of Graendal's work in the future.
Jacy Clark
380. Amalisa
@378 John...

No, I took that into consideration. I also took into consideration Mesaana's absolute terror at being confronted by the Dark One, and Alviarin's own observation that the woman was tantalizingly familiar. I'm not sure that anyone's weave - including one of the Forsaken's - would have stood up to the kind of fear that Mesaana was experiencing. And if that's the case, why would she be two people in the Tower at once. Laras and the woman that Alviarin almost recognized? I still don't buy it.

Not saying that your theory is loony, by any means; this entire series has been chock-full of twists and turns - to the point that I could believe almost anyone is still capable of showing up as a DF. :)
Wilson Grooms
381. Lost in my own mind
Fav Scene: battle for the white tower. I have never been the biggest Egwene hater, but in this book she was defenitely my favorite. Her re-uniting the Aes Sedai after being raised Amylrin was also great.

I agree with leigh about Perrin and Mat, there story in this booked seemed pointless. By the way, Mat seemed very different to me in these books. His character seemed the place where I suspect the differences between Sanderson and Jordan shone through the brightest.

I didn't miss seeing Elaida's capture at all, it bothers me less than missing when Couladin was killed.

It also bothered me how the Seanchen administration of Ebou Dar was characterized. Remember they make everyone bow and scrape to their betters. I am still disgusted by these people and hoped that Rand would do some serious damage to them at the end.
382. DavidBills
@377 - Freelancer

Balefire death = permanent = forever. No more thread in the Pattern, no more being spun into it.
This is definitely not the case. See Section 2.3.07 of the WoT FAQ where Jordan addressed this at a book signing.
Wilson Grooms
383. Dholton

Incorrectamundo sir! Asked and answered, see @277 for the correct answer re BFing.

New Looney Theory:

Ok, after reading other theories re Three to One, I will incorporate some into my exising theory. It is a Trinity of Trinities: Rand/LTT/Moridin + Avi/Min/Elayne +Saidin/Saidar/TP, three threes required to seal the Bore. Numerology shall rule the day!
Henry Loose
384. schrodinger
@Lost in my own mind 381

Mat being the first consort or co ruler or whatever his position is now that tuon is fortuona will probably have something to do with a more, shall we say, democratic system of government (although I highly doubt that that issue will be dealt with in the remaining books. It would have been an issue for the books RJ was planning for after he finished with Tarmon Gai'don, unfortunately, I doubt we will get those ever (or, at the very least, when BS has aged a lot and is ready to have another stab at WoT)
Wilson Grooms
385. spacechampion
Where do I go to report a misprint?

Here I am, enjoying my first read of TGS, and I come to page 224 where Gawyn finds out about Egwene being Amylin and captured, and he's sneaking out of Dorlan... only to see on the next page start mid-paragraph in the middle of an Egwene scene... on page 193.

Two full and two partial chapters are missing.

pages 193-224 are repeated, 225 to 256 completely missing.

Blood and bloody ashes!! It's too late in the night to see if my bookstore has a copy without this misprint and will exchange mine.
Wilson Grooms
386. Snowlan
Regarding the Seanchen and "bowing and scraping" -- actually the Seanchen seem (at least in the way they conquer people) a lot like the Romans. As long as you give them the respect they require, they pretty much leave you alone.

Here was the Roman way -- Come in with overwhelming force, professional soldiers, and superior technology. Once the locals have submitted, let them keep running their own affairs as they see fit, as long as they acknowledge the Emperor (or Empress) as supreme and pay their taxes. Raise a few of the local leaders into your own aristocracy (for Romans that meant raising a few provincials into the Senatorial Class). Build roads and encourage trade. Keep order, and uphold the law. Create colonies of loyal Romans (or Seanchen) to keep an eye on the locals, but otherwise let the locals continue their own existence. In other words, make it a clear advantage to be part of the Empire.

So . . . Beslan is still King of Altara; there is a new Panarch and King in Tarabon. The local lords keep their manors. Beslan is raised to the High Blood and is considering adopting Seanchan ways (much like Roman provincials who became Senators began to wear togas). It’s easier on the poor, because the Seanchen protect them from injustice and greedy nobles - even if you can’t look the Empress in the eye.

The Seanchen may dress and have a culture like the Chinese or Japanese, but they are governming like the Romans. It worked for the Romans for almost 1000 years or more, if you count the Eastern Roman Empire that we usually call Byzantium. No empire (other than possibly Imperial China) ever lasted longer than Rome.

Note: neither Imperial Rome nor Imperial China were ever democracies. Even in the days of the Roman Republic, it was really an oligarchy of senators who ran thing . . . Likewise, I doubt Seanchen would ever be a democracy either - even with Mat as consort.
Wilson Grooms
387. portia
Hi everyone; I am new doing this.
My feeling is that Rand cleansed himself with the C.K.; And that now, Moridin has not access to his mind.
I am looking forward to see an uncorrupted Rand to complete his reason of being.
Leigh Butler
388. leighdb
Freelancer @ 361:

My problem with the coat pocket thing wasn't the size so much as the weight. Your comparison to the Emmy is perfect, because I have had occasion to hold a real Emmy, and those suckers weigh a TON. I just don't get how Rand wouldn't be walking canted sideways if he stuck a foot-high stone statue in one side of his coat.

(ObFashionista: And it would totally ruin the line of the coat!)

Chriscot @ 368:

Oh...and I'm surprised Leigh thinks the truth of Rand/Lews Therin wasn't settled in this book.

Oh, *I* think it's totally settled. I was just giggling like mad because I knew how many fans would refuse to accept it.

It was the same thing with the Taimandred thing; even after Jordan said, flat out, in so many words, "Taim is not Demandred", there were *still* fans who wouldn't accept it. The Lews Therin thing will be no different. This I Foretell.

Freelancer @ 372:

*sticks out tongue at everyone*


Other theories bouncing around in the thread:

I have a severe moral problem with the notion that the True Power (i.e. L'eau de TOTALLY EVIL) can or should be used to do anything Light-oriented. While I definitely agree both saidin and saidar have to be involved, I'm not buying the True Power trifecta thing, personally.

Laras is not Mesaana. There's no way.

You guys, Asmodean is not coming back. It's been over a decade. Let it go.
Henry Loose
389. schrodinger
@Snowlan 386

you bring up a good point... as long as I never had to meet the Empress or Emperor, I probably would have been happy living in Rome... happy is a loose definition of the word.
Pete Pratt
390. PeteP
Freelance @ 349 --- Not to beat a dead horse -- but in what way does anything Gawyn say or do in this book contradict the theory that he is having after--effects of Compulsion. He is on the edge of insanity and seems incapable of rational thinking and reasoning. His discussions with Gareth really strike home how bad off Gawyn is.

Like his mom, he appears to be suffering long-term effects from major Compulsion. Just because others may rationalize actions Gawyn himself is incapable of understanding does not mean Gawyn was not compelled to act in those inexplicable ways.
William Fettes
391. Wolfmage
leighdb @ 388

There's no way it's settled though you were gracious enough not to try to make that claim in the OP. At best, the line that they had never been separate is the best evidence of the construct theory we've seen yet - though I maintain there was never any good evidence for it in any prior book. So I can't blithely dismiss it now, but I do still feel it is absurd and disingenuous for the many reasons I have identified in past posts. Accordingly, I sincerely hope that such a magical mind diskpart gimmick isn't the ultimate resolution.

As Freelancer argues, however, that line is still entirely compatible with Rand and LTT integrating. He effectively goes from one soul and two personalities into one soul and one personality - neither entirely Rand nor entirely LTT. It's like Tomas and Ashen-Shugar, except without the reverse causation.

It's important to note that LTT wasn't separate from Rand under the real theory either, because they are both authentic personalities of the same soul. Rand has just absorbed LTT and created a new unity which he had been determined to keep. The constructers still have no good mechanism for explaining LTT's creation as a perfect agency from mere memories and all the quirks that Rand is running as a perfect VM.
Henry Loose
392. schrodinger
@PeteP 390
can I refer you to one of Freelancer's earlier posts... i forget which one it was, but essentially, it was: not every irrational behavior is due to compulsion! and Gawyn is hardly insane, just conflicted, (also, he believes Rand killed his mother, so add to the conflict) No way is he under compulsion.

just let it go.
Wilson Grooms
393. mikauk
Regarding the 3-as-1 with Callandor, I just had a thought. Remember WAAAAAY back in the day when Moiraine said that Callandor in the hands of an Aes Sedai could level the walls of Tear? And everyone was like "SHENANIGANS" b/c it's a male sa'angreal? Perhaps this is Sanderson retconning (or maybe this was always in the plan) that Callandor works for saidin, the True Power, AND saidar? Although, the circle at the end of WH would probably have noticed, unless they just didn't try at all.

Just a thought.
Wilson Grooms
394. Laurel4Amyrlin

That really, really sucks, man.

One of the things I really enjoyed on my second read through (yes, I am that kind of loser) is the amount of foreshadowing of later events. Rand thinks at one point that although he misses Tam, he'd probably lose it if they got together. Egwene when she's serving Elaida x1 thinks about how Elaida would feel with the Seanchan collar around her neck. Aviendha, when she goes scouting with Rhuarc and comes back, saying that she was the only Wise One scouting, then taking it back when confronted. Things like that make a book worth the re-read. Over and over. Until ToM comes out.
Wilson Grooms
395. MatFan
BS did a great job imo with two exceptions ( mat & perrin) you can totally tell he had no idea how to step into there shoes. I mean mat didnt even sound, feel or act at all they way he has over the last several books. Also perrin going through a midlife crisis with an issue that as far as any of us could tell was solved before going back to the two rivers. No love to 2 of the greats, rather disappointed hope to see better storylines and writing for both of them in the next two books.

Last thing seizing the TP while controlled by the domination band seemed a pretty far stretch, everything up to point in that scene was messed up awesomeness but i kinda wanted do a classic leigh headdesk/book toss
Wilson Grooms
396. woody_145
The one thing I keep going to is Verin. And the reason is this:(pg. 600) "I only know that this battle isn't being fought the way that al'Thor assumes it will be"
Then I go to Herid Fel's comments in LoC and he seems to be confused over the term "the Last Battle"
So maybe The Last Battle isn't a Dragon prophecy but a Dark Lord prophecy. (I hope Egwene reads Verin's whole journal in the next book) So, what I'm saying is that if there isn't going to be a "Last Battle" then do we really need the dragons from Alludra, or ANY of the other things that seem to be needed before the end? Because really, how can there be a last anything if the wheel continues to turn? The only way there can be a last anything is if Shai'tan(yeah I said it) wins.
I know Rand will go to Shayol Ghul, but I think the "battle" will be won with the "armies" stopping the darkfriends from coming too far inland, not with them at Shayol Ghul itself.
I know I'm rambling, lol, but I also wonder how Narishma "follows" Rand but Logain gets the glory?
You know I should have just waited three years and read all three back to back!
Eric Wooster
397. edubbs
Fortuona says something about how 'Tuon is dead'. Does this mean she's not married to Mat any more? Have we heard anything about the Empress, or any of the High Blood for that matter being married? We've heard one of the ways that they can become married but not met any that are I believe. How could this change their relationship?
Wilson Grooms
398. D. S. Crankshaw
You know, I wouldn't call the raid on the White Tower a disaster for the Seanchan. True, they lost a bunch of raken, and may have lost more damane than they gained, but if they got Traveling out of it, it's a net gain for them.

My theory for what happens to the Seanchan--ultimately, someone important discovers that sul'dam can channel (almost inevitable considering how many Aes Sedai they've captured who either know or can figure it out), and decides that it's a very bad thing that one is now their empress. He or she exposes the empress, makes her damane, and starts a civil war. Fortunately, Mat gets word that his wife's in trouble and comes to the rescue. The problem is, however much their attitudes will have to shift about channeling, I'm not sure the Seanchan'll readily accept a channeler as Empress. In the end, I think there's a good chance that Mat will have to take over the Empire, which could result in quite a few changes, although Tuon will have to be on hand to advise him on how to make those changes without destroying the whole thing.
Wilson Grooms
399. blitz23_ca
Laras is not Mesanna. In New Spring Laras is found already working in the kitchen of the White Tower, 18 or so years BEFORE Rand is found and the rest of the Forsaken are released. Aside from Ishamael, who was only partially caught in the seal, Aginor and Balthamel were the first Forsaken released, as the seals began to weaken on the Dark One's prison. Hence, Mesanna as Laras makes no sense.
Undoubtedly, Laras will turn out to be someone who USED to be of prominence in the White Tower. Likely a former Aes Sedai, maybe a former Amyrlin Seat, that was deposed or stilled. Which would explain Verin's certainty that Laras would NEVER consort with anyone or thing from the Dark side.
Wilson Grooms
400. seomen92
Great book. One of the better ones.

Quick Comments:

1. I always disliked Egwene. I thought she sucked. In book 11, I started liking her. She is now tied with Perrin as my favorite. That scene in the battle with Adelorna...badazz. That scene with Elaida and at the end with Sheriam. Classic

2. I like Rand again. I like that he found meaning. Jordan always said that part of the story here was how a group of country boys would react to being tapped on the shoulder to save the world. First they run, then they are horrified, then they struggle and fight beccause they have to. Now they are finding meaning in the struggle. Mat pretty much ran and ran and ran, but he is simpler, and I think a little better hearted in some ways than Perrin and Rand. A little simpler. He regrets doing stuff, but his nature lets him keep it in better perspective. Now Tuon has given him a sense of responsibility. Perrin dodged the wolves, then he focused on Faile. Now he is finding his meaning. I cannot wait to see the "Wolf King" in the next couple of books. It will be awesome. Rand carries the weight of the world. It has almost killed him. Now he knows why he carries it. I think he will come shining through soon.

3. Jordan once said that Rand was like a boxer on the ropes, bleeding, cut, and the Shadow was reining blows on him. But Rand still has a knock out punch, if he can only find the heart to go two more rounds. He just found the heart. I thought the end of the book was perfectly done. Perfect.

4. I missed a few of Jordan's literary devices, but all in all Sanderson did well. His style is much more clipped and less flowery than Jordans. I never thought that Jordan's prose was very good (relies too much on literary devices, pithy repetitive catchphrases, and overly drawn out descriptive paragraphs), but that his story and world building was second to none. Sanderson's prose is certainly suited to an action story, though he is a bit abrupt where a little more description would be apt. I was also glad that NyNaeve pulled her braid less, and that we were not inundated with the male-female dichotomy that Jordan pummeled us with.

5. Thom and Mat seemed out of character a bit to me. However, I really liked the scene where Mat wrote out everyone's aliases. That was funny. Everyone else seemed spot on.

6. Verin....was....awesome. I always said she was Black since she lied in Book 2 about being sent by Morraine. However, I also thought that she had or would turn good, because she appeared in the same book as the Sheinaran fellow who turned good (whose name escapes me right now).

7. The best part of this book was how it answered questions and did not bring up new ones really. Thank the Light!!!

8. I was bummed that we didn't see Perrin discover that he was traveling with Morgase, and that we did not see Mat in Caemlyn with Elayne. They'll probably come back to this since it seems a problem caused by splitting the book.

9. Morraine Morraine Morraine. Better be in the next book. She'll come back and team up with Rand. I really liked how he was missing her counsel.

10. Did anyone else notice that those Seanchan assasins were not all accounted for? Watch your back, Ms. Coolest Amyrlin Ever.

11. Can anyone else wait to see Cadsuane and Egwene meet? I hope it happens.

12. The scene between Tam and Rand was heartbreaking. Really well done.

13. The scene with Semihrage and Cadsuane. That was awesome.

14. Hmmm. Avhienda in the Waste and Demandred in some kingdon or other (must be Shara). Who wants to bet that Avhienda goes toe to toe with Demandred. The waste will be one hell of a spot for the Sharans to cross to invade Randland. Also hope that we get to see Avhienda go through the pillars and discover something important like her ancestor made Callandor or wrote the prophecies or something.

15. I bet the prohecy Min read about Callandor is Rand fighting while in a circle with Elayne and Avhienda....maybe Alanna and Morraine?

16. When did Mat go into 28 Days Later? Cool scene though.

17. What happened to Logain, Taim, Elias...oh yeah...there are two more books.

18. Balefiring of Graendal.....awesome. She was a wastoid anyway and I didn't want to see any more of her. I hope she is toast.

19. The scene with Rand and Ishy in the dream. Very cool.

20. I am here....Great closing line.

Do we really have to wait another year for another one? Ughhhhh
401. Freelancer

I considered the Rand/LTT/Moridin Triumvirate for the Callandor prophecy, but rejected it. You see, LTT isn't there any more.


First, on the Emmy, yes, heavy, but the weight is all in that large base. The Choeden Kal access keys appear to be carved from some shiny white stone. If the statuette is fairly slender and standing erect, there is no need for a broad base, and it might not be very heavy at all. Anyway, a small thing, fashion faux pas aside.

I agree that the TP is a no-no.
Do be careful! Don't lose any of that stuff. That's concentrated evil. One drop of that could turn you all into hermit crabs.
I would hope that it isn't part of the answer to defeating the DO, by using the **dark side of the force**, I mean the evil True Power. But the Callandor three-in-one prophecy makes it hard to ignore when there are three forms of the Power out there.


With what little we really know about the mechanism of the connection between Rand and Moridin, it isn't at all implausible that one channeler could access a Power available to the other channeler. When a man and woman link, a person becomes able to wield and direct a Power which they cannot touch any other way. It isn't unreasonable to suppose that the crossed balefire streams of divergent Powers made such a thing operable between them.

Which reminds me, at least one comment suggested that the dark aura people were sensing around Rand was when he held the True Power. It is not, he did that only the once. It is that he has taken into himself, unwittingly or not, an aspect that is specifically connected with the shadow. Remember Rand's early dealings with Ba'alzamon, where it seemed that light failed near him. This is now happening with Rand (at least until the Dragonmount event, have to RAFO to find out if that's gone). It's a side-effect of having accessed the pure concentrated evil.
Bill Reamy
402. BillinHI
More comments later, as I have only skimmed the comments so far (stupid power outage cost me two hours of reading time last night!).

Egwene is definitely awesome here....BUT....she still thinks she can control Rand. AND her thoughts blasting Rand for "allowing" the Ashaman to bond Aes Sedai. Those women intended to still and execute the Ashaman. They got way much better than they deserved.

On the control issue, Min is about to really come into her own: she realizes (and articulates, I believe) that Cadsuane and all the rest should be thinking of how to help Rand, not control him.

I will need to re-read the ending particularly but I wonder about the "three become one" prophecy: could that be Rand/LTT/Moridin becoming one person? And is that what happened on top of old Smokie...uh, Dragonmount?

Definitely more to follow but need to really read the comments tonight and tomorrow.
403. Trigga
"Were in the box again!"
Thomas Garst
404. Garstzilla
YEEESSS, cool wonderful, great job. Agree mostly with everyone except about Mat. 345. Chriscot
Has it right by me except the one thing that so far no one has mentioned that I thought very important which was Matt accepting that finally that he was not going to find a way to stay out of things anymore. That acknoledgment on his part is the base of everything else that is going to happen in the next two books. Which has got to be big and explosive. Now if Leigh can come back and make the next rereads last until next book.

Great Job everyone.
405. Freelancer

Finally had the chance to go back through comments, and needed to hit you up on the sword business. The scholars dug up the sword in Arad Doman. The male Choeden Kal is in Cairhien. Just because it was the only statue where we had previously "seen" work being done, doesn't mean there isn't other archeological activities going on in the Westlands.

The sword isn't Justice.
Bill Reamy
406. BillinHI
Overall, I absolutely loved this book. When I first read Chapter 1 on-line I really noticed the different voice of Brandon's but this time I didn't notice it at all. Of course, I'm not really a critical reader anyway.

Yeah, besides almost getting Gareth Bryne killed, the Bloodknives apparently didn't accomplish much.

I also think Elaida deserved more of a send-off (and I wonder if Jordan had lived to write the whole ending if we wouldn't have seen more of her exit) but she most definitely got what she deserved.

Rand and the True Power: extremely bad to say the least. Was that a result of crossing streams with Moridin? That is also when the black aura around Rand shows up: also due to Moridin and the DO?

Hurin: The reunion could have gone better but I agree that Rand needed to make sure that it really WAS Hurin. Not the best way to go about it obviously. And what's up with the Borderlanders? Is that Demandred at work or is he really in Shara?

Verin: Truly beyond Awesome. Sneaky just doesn't begin to describe her. I will sorely miss her. And can't wait to find out what she passed on to Mat. Another case IMO of how much longer the whole thing would have been if RJ had lived. He wouldn't leave us just assuming that Verin got Mat and the Band to Caemlyn, he would have described it in some detail. Of course, that would have meant six last books instead of three!

Rand on Dragonmount: He definitely _almost_ did the DO's work for him and by deciding not to that the three have become one (LTT/Moridin gone from his head). OTH the prophecies of the end of the Last Battle make it sound like Rand is not totally integrated at that point.

Gareth/Siuan: Certainly the biggest AWWWWWWW moment in the book!

That's it for tonight!
Ed Rafferty
407. BigBoy57
Loving these comments - what a way to waste a Saturday afternoon.

Just had to throw in a looney theory - re Graendal.

I always wondered about that scene where Halima/Aran'gar makes a play for Graendal during the FS tea-party in KoD. It never rang true to me, seemed to come out of left field, so to speak.

Here's the theory - Graendal wasn't at home when lover girl/boy came calling and Halima was the FS who did the compulsion on Ramshalan - thus exit Halima and lucky old Graendal gets to scheme on. Proof? uh .....mmm - I did say it was looney.
j p
408. sps49
I have to go into more detail on the Graendal/ Asmodean deal, apparently.

Whoever killed him hasn't been talking about it much, if at all. Has anyone shown signs of knowing second hand that Asmodean was kiiled?

Mr. Sanderson has stated that we would find out (or so I hear). Who can we find out from? Best and most likely is the killer.

Graendal is not around to take credit for the assassination.

Therefore the killer is someone else; someone still alive/ not dead.

BigBoy57 @407- If Halima had Compelled Ramshalan, then Nynaeve would not have sensed the weaves of saidin.
Pete Pratt
409. PeteP
Schrodinger @ 392: I did not bring up the Gawyn-Compulsion debate -- Freelance wrote
Gawyn. Rash, unstable, finally realizing that sticking with his first decision is illogical. Most definitely not a victim of Compulsion, just twisted judgement.

Again, this is not Gawyn we are introduced to in tEotW or that appeared in tDR.

We know that his mother (maybe one of the smartest and most capable female characters in the series before Gaebril) has suffered from post-Compulsion syndrome.

We also know that she is lucky to be alive because of the effects of having serious Compulsion being removed.

So, how do we know based upon anything in this book that Gawyn was not a victim, rather than just an idiot?
Wilson Grooms
410. SuffatheDamane

"Egwene is definitely awesome here....BUT....she still thinks she can control Rand."

No, she still wants to GUIDE Rand. She repeatedly says guide AND she refers to Moiraine's example, by which he is thinking of Moiraine's method of dealing with Rand - it's similar to how she uses Saidar - one has to submit to it first. That was one of Moiraine's cooler lines.
Pete Pratt
411. PeteP
No, Eg still is need of a major attitude adjustment with regards to Rand. After, Eg still thinks Rand needs someone to hold his hand and give him "permission", while Eg the arrogant beats down on people like Siuan and continues on her hypocritical path (getting fealty from AS while condemning Elaida for similar tactics).

Eg is much improved over the last two books, but she still is "dive-in with both feet" Eg, adopting all the ideals and principles and habits of groups she is associated with, which means here that she will find it very difficult to act as something other than an arrogant Aes Sedai, ruler of the world now that she is Amyrlin Seat of the United White Tower.
Wilson Grooms
412. SuffatheDamane
Making that handful of sisters swear fealty is not the same as Elaida ordering an Oath of Obedience.

And I challenge you to find any quote from Egwene's POV that indicates that she think she is the ruler of the world.
All right first post here, so here goes, i think that the book was well written for someone who had to try to emulate his fav author. You could tell he imprinted some of what he thought the character should say in certain situations that have left us pulling our hair and saying if he or she would only say this. You can understand how Rand slipped into madness very quickly,from the shock of loosing his hand to almost killing Min, i thought that by bringing his dad into the picture, hoped it didnt turn into a cheesy scene, would shock Rand out of it, but with him on the pinnacle of the world with the power to destroy it and finally finding his balance, and im glad lews is finally gone, talk about sour grapes. Now looking on it though i guess Rand was still seeing through the eyes of his ancestors, hmmm have to look into that and see when was the first he heard ll's voice, before or after the test for being a cheif. cant wait for the nexts but dang let them all come out at once we can handle it , house may not be cleaned for a week but life will go on , have a safe Halloween. (could go on for days but enough for now).hmm or before of after the door in tear.
oh and 1 more thing, whats up with the dark aura and him thinking he can stop your heart by saying the word, good thing him and Masma didnt hook up imagine them together, wow, and back to the halo. so i guess we now know Rand and the land are one, considering that he ruined all the food where ever he was going, kind of a king auther thing going on. now Rands found him grail lets see what its gonna bring. and you know that the dark one was licking his lips and rubbing his hands watching Rand be the nut job he was for a while.
john mullen
415. johntheirishmongol
Since it has become a talking point, I thought i would throw in my idea of the 3 to use Callandor, since I had not seen it yet. I expect it will be the two most powerful women, which would be Nynaeve and Alivia.

I don't think there is really any doubt Graendal is dead and gone. The release of compulsion was proof of that.

Before this is over, I think I want to see a POV from the DO. What is his goal? Whats the point of being evil if you don't have one? Does he want to challenge the Creator? It's an interesting question because just being evil makes little sense unless that evil has a goal.
416. SoneA
I totally agree. Laras is not Meesana. She wouldnt have the time to dissapear a lot, as you can say she is quite prominent in the tower and people would notice if she went missing a lot
Wilson Grooms
417. khouk
Personally, I love the book. I did notice a bit of different voice in the first chapter. But I understood that we had a different author writing in our beloved WOT.

But let's be honest, the WOT needed a different voice. For the last few books it seemed as if the Wheel of Time was never-changing and never-ending. A plot that could have been finished in one book took three (Faile, Shaido). This book took care to finish a lot of plot lines and didn't add a lot of questions that needed to be answered.

I also loved the way BS arranged the chapters. He didn't stay on one character for several chapters in a row, he jumped to show us different characters and the way they responded to previous characters decisions or actions. This prevented the tedium that previous WOT books were offering up.

I mean no offense to RJ, rest his soul, but I think he lost his edge while writing the last few books. In the first few books he had a definite start and finish. The first book is a great example, start with sheepish sheep-herder, end with killing two Forsaken and discovering his power. Book two, start with sheepish farm-boy just coming to understand more about himself, end with farm-boy having to become a man and fight a Forsaken in the sky. The COT starts in the mud and ends in the mud, with everyone reading it hoping that something they just read had a purpose. The KOD did move the pieces a little farther than the previous book and it ended with people expecting/hoping for a lot from the next book.

This book was amazing when compared to the previous books. It had a swift pace and it had a great ending, although it didn't end with a great fight scene, it ended with the Dragon fighting himself and winning. I thought it was very powerful.

Sure Mat was written with a different voice, but Mat was true to Mat. BS just had more fun with Mat than RJ had recently. I appreciated the comic relief. I actually hope that BS continues this, especially when Mat goes into the Tower of Ghenjei. That place is a serious place and Mat's perspective can only help to lighten it up. I hope we get a lot of Thom's perspective to balance a funny Mat, and I also hope that Olver bonks Noal on the head or something and finds that he is person number three. It is obvious that he needs to be that third person. Especially with the specific mention of him playing Snakes and Foxes just to find a strategy when they enter the Tower.

I'm a noob to this blog, but like some other people who have posted for the first time, we aren't noobs to the series.
Patrick Huff
418. pattack
I was under the belief that Demandred was in Shara amassing his army. Then, it occurred to me that one of the forsaken is leading the borderlanders as well. We also have one of the forsaken in the Black Tower. We know demandred has already built the army, but where is it? As far as Moraine being one of the three to weild Callandor, I don't think so, just not powerful enough. Remember the fact that she always had an angreal with her to boost her power. I doubt if she is even middle of the road when it comes to the one power. Lan is definately going to get some help. Nynaeve is not going to let him bear the brunt of the trolloc attack alone. Oh, no doubt he will have amassed a great army himself by then, but I am guessing some Aes Sedai are going to be there as well. Or Mat and his dragon lady. I read one of the posts of Aviendha maybe taking down Demandred. Although it is a possibility if indeed he has taken Shara, but I would assume that she will return to Rand with the bridal wreath 2 seconds after returning from the waste. My theory on the Black Tower is this, Elayne will give birth to the twins, team up with Mat and Aludra and wipe the tower from the map. This in no way will effect any loyal Ashaman to Rand since we know that they do not inhabit the tower itself, only followers of Taim. So, which is it, Demandred in Shara, the borderlanders or the Black Tower? Any help here guys and gals?
Susan Brownhill
419. SusanB
THANK YOU! THANK YOU to all who were involved in making this book! I think it was the best in the series so far! It was AWESOME from beginning to end. Great Job!

Loved the Verin reveal...it made me cry. Egwene fighting the senchan gave me chills (and after reading that scene I decided no movie or tv show could ever do it justice - it was just too beautiful & powerful).

So glad Rand is finally human again! At least that is how I'm reading his final scene. And as much as I was tortured by all his earlier scenes I wouldn't want the book to be any shorter. Anything less than what it was would have lessened the impact of the final moment.

Some thoughts about the future:
Mesaana - I think she could still be in the white tower and not be one of the 3 unknown sisters. I think she could still be someone important. In previous books the forsaken have often looked down on DF and BA. They don't consider themselves one of them. SO...she could have sworn the 3 oaths & said she wasn't a DF or BA & it wouldn't have been a lie b/c she doesn't believe she is one of them. She is a Chosen, something completely different. So, I think she can still cause problems in the future.
Seanchan assasins...I think we will see more of them in the next book. I don't think they are done yet.
Rand & Seanchan...I think his trip to Ebou Dar made him realize the S are not so bad. I think he will kneel to Tuon (hate her new name)/crystal throne in the next book. Therefore fulfilling that prophesy. I think he will realize it is a small sacrifice to have peace. Though I think one condition will be that they are not allowed to take anymore damane.

And I am very happily looking forward to Mat reading the letter from Verin. I think it must have something to do with rescuing Moiraine. I also am looking forward to seeing Galad reunited with Morgase. I really hope they show those scenes & don't just leave them with the little glimpses we saw in this book.

Again thank you to all involved, I really loved the book & have NO complaints.
Helen Peters
420. Helen
OK, I have a problem, and I don't want to be pelted with cuendillar cookies here.
The fight for the white tower was essentially a victory for the Seanchan. Don't throw that at me, I'll explain.
The 3rd oath is only use the power as a weapon in defence of your life, that of another sister or warder (why not us mortals as well? but that's a question for later). Unfortunately now the WT knows that the Seanchan don't want to kill marath'demane but to collar them. So now the AS know their lives are not in danger from a Seanchan bearing a collar. So if a group of Seanchan loaded down with collars turns up on the grass in front of the tower how are the AS going to defend themselves? This could be a reason why Eg was so much more effective than the TAS in the defence, she wasn't at that point bound by the 3 oaths and was free to do whatever she wanted (as well as being more motivated to avoid capture coz she knew what would happen, the others didn't coz who would have accepted what a novice said when brought back from Falme after running away).
Discuss please. Or shoot me down, but don't throw those cookies.

Regarding whoever it was up there who said get over Asmo, he's been gone for 10 years and isn't coming back. Well Mo has been gone a couple of days longer than him and we've known for years she's coming back!
Henry Loose
421. schrodinger
@PeteP 409

"Again, this is not Gawyn we are introduced to in tEotW or that appeared in tDR.
We know that his mother (maybe one of the smartest and most capable female characters in the series before Gaebril) has suffered from post-Compulsion syndrome.
We also know that she is lucky to be alive because of the effects of having serious Compulsion being removed.
So, how do we know based upon anything in this book that Gawyn was not a victim, rather than just an idiot?"
ok. to address these one by one. First. People change, and judging by the depth of RJ's work, he know that and added it into his books. (Gawyn is, as i said previously, conflicted by the death of his mother, his love of Egwene, and his role in the takeover of the tower.
His mother: she did not have the compulsion removed by a channeler, she removed it herself (with the help of a few loyal subjects) by being stubborn, she was fighting it constantly, and the person doing the compulsion was not very proficient at it, afterwards, she seemed to be fine, just a little shocked that she had been what? oh yeah, SLEEPING with one of the Forsaken! Also, her possible feelings for Tallanover could contribute to any weird behavior, plus knowing the facts of what she did while under compulsion, so she is not suffering from pcs as you put it (dazed, confused, irrationality in reference to decisions about good/evil).
Victim/Idiot: the only person who could have used compulsion on him, going on the fact that RJ was at LEAST a competent author, would be Massena, as she was the one in the white tower, where Gawyn has spent most of the time, the most compelling (yes its a pun) evidence for your argument is that Gawyn sided with Elaida in the tower takeover, something out of the ordinary, definitely. However, many Aes Sedai sided with Elaida on the premise that the tower needed her or whatever their rational was. Are you suggesting that ALL of them were under compulsion? So, no evidence FOR your theory (we will know for sure once we find Massena, if she does not mention it, your theory is completely kaput), and a lot of evidence suggesting that he's just an idiot (or at least, that he's not under compulsion).
Wilson Grooms
422. khouk

I believe that Egwene could still defend herself under the three oaths. The reason being is that once you become marath'damane you are not yourself anymore. Your life is over, as you know it, you end up becoming something than the AS you were, or even the person you were. So technically, your life as you know it is threatened. As we all know, this is the kind of rule-bending that AS do all the time. If anyone understands this, it's Egwene.
Henry Loose
423. schrodinger
For all of you Asmodean is coming back people... *ahem* to quote RJ: "Asmodean. Is. Toast." (emphasis mine), end of story, or will you continue to go against the word of the AUTHOR of the series?
Sean Banawnie
424. Seanie
suffa(squee !) @412:
I have thought of Egwene's oaths as 'loyalty"(fealty) rather than obedience
the protection and trust she gives them , an expectation of loyalty is not unreasonable. obedience to nutjob Elaida however......totally different. Even is she wasn't a nutjob which she is ,still too scary.
Pete Pratt
425. PeteP
Oaths of Fealty are oaths of obedience -- and something out of Aes Sedai procedure.

As for Eg --- Aes Sedai all think they are the top dogs of the world, with the right and authority to order everyone around. Eg, as Amrylin Seat, knows she is the queen of the top dogs ruler of everything. Do you really think she has any desire to make the Aes Sedai [b][i]servants of all[/i] again? Please......
Pete Pratt
426. PeteP
As the BrS v RJ debate going on -- BrS is a good writer but not in RJ's league. tWoT did not need a new writer before RJ died.

Especially one who has changed the style of the writing by jumping from character to character at times, even in the same section without any transition, more of a 3rd person omniscient style them what RJ employed. I found this especially noticeable around the Zombie episode, as BrS jumped from Mat's thoughts to Talmanes' thoughts without any break. That whole section really was not written in RJ's style at all (well he did much better in other sections).
Wilson Grooms
427. SuffatheDamane

"Oaths of Fealty are oaths of obedience"

Well, if you say so, I guess my understanding English, the definitions of 'fealty' and 'obedience' and the textual repercussions in the novels are wrong and must conclude that the books actual mean something other than what they say in writing.

Thank the Light you were here! I was so, so very wrong.
Pete Pratt
428. PeteP
427 -- fealty means a pledge of allegiance and faithfulness. Fealty implies unfailing obedience and commitment to duties and obligations.

Wow, do you really think the pledging to by faithful and giving allegience is so far from pledging to obey?

Split hairs, but they are functionally equivalent, especially when undertaken by someone under the First Oath. Eg was doing the same thing that Elaida wished she could do and was working towards.
Wilson Grooms
429. Be'Lal
Just realized: In CoT "Surprises," Moria is the Sitter who calls for an alliance with the BT. Now that we know that she's BA, the possibilities for the BT storyline get even more interesting.

Note that Sheriam, also BA, freaks out when Moria proposes the alliance. Perhaps Moria was being controlled by a different FS (Demandred?), while we know Sheriam was under Halima's thumb.
Patrick Huff
430. pattack
@ Helen

Little was known about the Seanchan and their purpose at the tower. Sure, Egwene knew what the raid was for and Siuan as well, but for the most part the Aes Sedai in the tower must have felt like they were under serious threats to their lives. Egwene was so effective because she kept her head in a crucial situation. I would also suspect that the warders in the tower were to be killed on sight and part of the third oath pertains to defending warders also.
Wilson Grooms
431. Aye Aye Sedai
WOW - what an awesome book - yes there are a few flaws but if you really thought there would be no errors flaw - you are living in a fantasy worlds :)
Really better that I expected after reading the chap 1 online - that was clunky and does not represent the rest of the book.

I had pegged AVI's trial right away - not because of Feist but because of the earlier story line on the demotion of the AS to Accepted (shemierian?) and EG taking her Toh - she decided when it was over- was parallel - yes it went on but remember that Avi was always too proud and looked at punishments with honor. My issue was the Rand coming out and cursing the heavens - felt like it was just written to match the cover and no other reason.

Felt that the ends of Massema, Semi were way too quick - Graendal ok - worked with the compulsion check, but really no more screen time ?? Was kind of expecting her to have been posing as one of the Merchant council and some intrigues - esp giver her tasks to keep the war going.

Wanted to see the Prophet get it from a Forsaken and not from Faile. Would have had a chance to answer more questions and a more fitting end.

Mat was ok - the banter with Tal was overly verbose and the scripts sceen felt out of place - now if another character had proposed the scripts then that would have worked better. Thought that Verrin's "pull" was forced but then she may have been lying and just lying in wait to grab them before any other DF or Forsaken- yeah I can buy that her forced explanation was a Lie.

So is her note to Mat a Lie or the truth - guessing that the BA oath is that "if I betray the DO I will die within the hour" so if you plan to die you have an hour of freedom. But was she able to work for the light before this final hour? IF the DF are looking for the horn would she not have provided it to them and not left it in the tower. Also why would Messanna not have gone and grabbed some of that T'er stash and made it seem that a BA had taken it. T shenanigans - should have been some peek after the end of the last book.

More to say later

Well done Brandon - few typos in my edition but no printing errors.

To Pablo - can we get an online posting of errata from earlier books - I don't being able to repurchase new hardcovers of the early books unless you plan to republish with the new covers - but it would be nice to have an official source - either online or in an appendix with the official errata/changes that Harriet/Maria.Brandon etal have done on the previous books. (for instance changing the reference to Faile's age, etc).

James Hogan
432. Sonofthunder
Wow. Just finished the book last night in a glorious few hours...what a ride it was!! I don't think I can truly give it justice with a review, other than to say it met my expectations fully. While the style was obviously different from RJ, the characters felt RIGHT. Well, most of them at least(yes, Mat was my biggest problem). But in regards to Rand...I never expected him to fall as far as did in this book. I had no idea how dark this book would be. And journeying through the darkness...I had little hope of Rand finding himself again. So his glorious revelation on Dragonmount was spectacular indeed!! The haunting voice of Lews Therin, pointing Rand towards the only hope he had..."Why?" Magnificent. And his return to the Light was made even better by the darkness of his earlier acts(abandoning Arad Doman, almost killing Tam...truly, reading that almost broke my heart, seeing how far Rand had fallen). I could write far more about my favorite parts of the book(Egwene's lightning-blasting Seanchan from the sky is just too good!!), I don't want to write a short novel here myself! All I can say is that while there is no doubt we have a new author, I think he's proven himself worthy. And I can't wait for ToM. :)
Wilson Grooms
433. Dholton

The AS have NEVER considered themselves rulers (except in Tar Valon and it's surroundings). They specifically set themselves apart from the rest of the world, to provide guidance as the Servants of All. The whole point of the Three Oaths is to assure the world that they cannot threaten them with the One Power, and the fact they cannot lie gives them moral authority. There's a reason, when an Aes Sedai is sent to a country's ruler, it is not to give orders, but to advise. That's not to say they aren't arrogant, with a sense of entitlement that's been garnered over three millenia. But they still act, for the most part, in what they feel is in the best interests of everyone as a whole, not as rulers.

As for the difference between fealty and obedience, one simply has to look at the behavior of those that swore fealty to Rand, and those that were bonded by the Asha'man. Rand's AS begin acting on their own, interpreting what they feel is best in their service to Rand. On the other hand, the bonded AS are bound by obedience, and are essentially slaves. The Three Oaths would produce the same effect if they swore obedience as opposed to fealty,since they cannot lie.
Wilson Grooms
434. seomen92
Demandred is in Shara. They had an overthrow of their government, Graendal was his ally, and she suddenly has two Sharans among her pets. (See LOC) He's now consolidated his power. Look out Aviendha.

Also, Demandred was the "Dragon" that Masema saw. Demandred used Masema as a proxy and Sammael said in LOC, when visiting Graendal in Arad Doman, that events to the South (i.e Dragonmsworn rising under the prophet) had Demandred written all over it.

Given that, Demandred may be among the Borederlanders as well.

By acting through proxies, Demandred can be in many places at once.

I still think it would be great if Aviendha could best him. That would be cool and take him down a peg too.
Wilson Grooms
435. Michigan-89
I have not read the posts in awhile, but sitting here at work I got to thinking about TGS. (which means I do not have the book within checking distance) Correct me if i'm wrong but doesn't the K cycle mention a prophecy about... and this is NOT verbatem... "He shall slay them with the sword of peace" I know it related to the effect he will have on the Aiel, but maybe the sword he now carries IS the sword of peace...

Any thoughts???
Patrick Huff
436. pattack
Before reading TGS, I had a chat with my best friend who is also an avid WOT reader and we were discussing how the female forsaken would be dealt with. We both were in agreement that Rand would not be able to handle them due to the " I cannot kill women theme", and even to the end of Knife of Dreams, that theory held true. Never in my wildest dreams did I forsee a Rand capable of not only killing one, but two in one book. I was glad that he finally found redemption at the end and stood in the light, but I do believe there are other female forsaken to be dealt with. I don't know if the new Rand will be able to stomach doing what he did to Graendal and Semirhage, so that leads me to believe Nynaeve, Elayne, Egwene and Aviendha will deal with Cyndane and Moghedien. Don't know if a female forsaken weilding Saidin counts. I just hope Nynaeve gets to kick the crap out of the spider. I would guess I am not alone in that regard.
Wilson Grooms
437. Chriscot
Belal @ 429:

yeah, I've been wondering that too. Actually, I'm *really* disturbed to have Moria be Black Ajah; I gave her lots of awesome points for her actions in KoD setting up the BT alliance. A) Men and women need to work together, B) she showed that somebody in the SAS besides Egwene and Siuan could work effectively and subtly, C) she showed a remarkable ability to see the world as it was and adjust, instead of the normal AS-like trait of ignoring reality and expecting it to conform to your wishes. Her statement to Romanda about "We do be drowning" was one of the most honest and aware statements made by any AS in the series, or so I thought.

She and, surprisingly, Romanda (for her deus ex machina reveal of Halima), really impressed me in that book, and showed that the AS had more value than just the Supergirls.

So to have Moria be Black is really disturbing. Also, as you say, Sheriam was really disturbed by it, and Delana seemed pretty opposed as well...so whose instructions was Moria acting under?

Considering the way Delana had to keep changing sides to keep the SAS Hall balanced, I'd sort of figured she was the only Black among them...*sigh*

I LIKED Moria.

Sheriam I've not much cared for, but she was the strongest Black sister we knew of...but she just seems kind of pathetic.

I'm "glad" Alviarin escaped...she's a good villain.
Patrick Huff
438. pattack
@ Michigan 89
I did not find any reference to the sword other than in book ten COT "all that was, all that will be shall balance on the point of a sword". This isn't related, but i did find something interesting that I should have picked up on in reading TGS. In ACOS a small paragraph after the contents page lists all the wrongness experienced in the world in TGS. This is stated as a much- disputed translation of " The prophecies of the Dragon". Sometimes one question leads to another. Why Min or Cadsuane didn't pick up on this is a question I'll ask all of you. Maybe Cadsuane did know and needed events to play out first, but she doesn't even hint about a translation she undoubtable had in her possession. I will look on Encyclopaedia Wot and see if I can find an answer for ya...
Wilson Grooms
439. Michigan-89
@ Pattack
Thank you. Ya, I was reading TGS at like three yesterday morning and ran accross something along the lines of what I stated above. I believe it was when Aviendha was trying to figure out why she was being punished, and she was mentally reviewing Rand and his effects on the Aiel.

IDK, as I said I'm at work and this is not easily accessable at the moment. Thank you for looking.
Patrick Huff
440. pattack
Ok, this is just a guess. I did find the reference you were talking about and it states "he shall slay his people with the sword of peace and destroy them with the leaf". I think that this was his declaration after visiting Rhuidean about his people abandoning the ways of the leaf and the trauma it caused many of the Aiel. This could have happened already or is continuing to happen or it means that the Aiel will eventually all return to the way of the leaf. thus destroying their current existence, but not their entire race. I'm not real sure, It's only a guess. My oh my, this is fun to debate this stuff......
Wilson Grooms
441. Michigan-89
AHHHHH, so you view this as more of a generalization instead of a tangilble sword?

I guess it kind of makes sense. Because unless he starts killing Aiel with his sword it really wouldn't count as slaying his people with the sword of peace..... However, the aiel ARE starting to secong guess Rand's actions... maybe in the future?
Wilson Grooms
442. kab1
so many good comments!
@Blocksmith 333 re 298 obviously I was reading too fast! I totally missed what you said. I've been thinking about it more though, and a collar would really be too awful, I think it would be better if she came to the realization herself. Maybe by being forced to channel herself because of a awful situation she was in- needing to save Mat (or possibly even Egwene). (I'm assuming she could channel if necessary as Bethamine or Seta did when confronting Joline).

@334 prolouge. I'd love for Logain to be in the prolouge- totally missed him in this book (trying not to complain about it!)

re: Alludra's dragons. I think Elayne helping her with them makes sense, especially as she would have access to the metals/mines being ruler of Andor, but this also brings to mind Egwene's power with metals/ore. I don't have the book handy, so I can't remember what metals Alludra needed and if Ewgene would be able to help her out. But wait, Egwene's taken the oaths now, so I guess she couldn't help her, as that would be using the power to make a weapon. dang.

@ Free- congrats on the signing ticket!! I totally pictured the CK similar to an Oscar as well. Also, your comment about Avi's behavior had me rotfl (McFly!!!).

@Leigh, I'd agree that using the TP to battle the DO would be bad, as the TP is pure evil. but I aslo agree with Free@401, the "three become one" is tempting to assign as the three powers. I guess we're in RAFOland. Whatever the "three" refers to, I think that Rand is clearly wrong in stating that he will kill the DO, as the wheel must keep turning (I probably just stated something too obvious??).

lastly, a question for anyone who's a timeline junkie- How far along is Elayne in her pregnancy?
443. Freelancer
Some of these responses will be out of comment sequence, sorry.

Aye Aye Sedai@431
My issue was the Rand coming out and cursing the heavens - felt like it was just written to match the cover and no other reason.

The manuscript was completed long before the cover art was begun. I don't know how selection of the scene to be portrayed on a cover is decided, though I'd guess strongly that Harriet has veto power there. I understand your feeling that way though. When the hole was burned in the front wall of the house, we all knew that's where the cover was from. Sweet clearly doesn't read the series for content though, or Aviendha's blouse would provide more coverage and less cleavage.


Fealty is a pledge of service and dedication. It is not absolute obedience. An Oath of obedience to Elaida would have mad automatons of every sister in the Tower. It is quite clear that those sisters who swore fealty to Egwene are still capable of deciding for themselves where those lines are drawn. If you are set in your mind that there is no difference between Elaida's intentions and Egwene's, I'm not about to try and change that, but you've missed a great deal of what has been written.

I cannot believe you refuse to accept that Gawyn has never been under Compulsion. Simply compare the internal mental confusions of Morgase as she fights, resists, overcomes Rahvin's Compulsion. Gawyn never expresses a sensation even remotely akin to that. Elayne and Nynaeve were very briefly under a strong Compulsion from Moghedien, which she then lifted before leaving. They were totally disoriented, and began to see through it after a time. Different types of Compulsion, different circumstances, one milder but left in place, the other powerful but retracted, and similar mental states following. Gawyn? No, nothing resembling either. He doesn't act confused, but conflicted, which HE IS. He is rational and in control of himself at all times, but circumstances conspired to put him in a situation to choose poorly. Part of him begins to see this soon, but other things (the Younglings and their fealty to the White Tower for example, people he sees a need to provide leadership for) keep him in the wrong place.

Siuan was deposed in TSR, early in the book. Eight books later, about a year in story time, and not a word to support the idea that Gawyn was Compelled, other than his bad decision making. Speaking of which, if his decision making had not been under his own control, and he was Compelled to support Elaida, he would never have let Siuan and Leanne go. Now, which character during the last eight books hasn't made bad decisions? If that is your criteria, Perrin is under Compulsion. So is Egwene, Aviendha, Elayne, Cadsuane, 200,000 Borderlanders, etc.


Nynaeve would have either not been able to recognize the Compulsion on Ramshalan, or would have been able to tell it was composed of saidin, had it been from Halima. Also, Halimagarthamel is not so quick to Compel someone as Graendal.


Yes, it would seem that Graendal's death actually acquits her of Asmodean's murder.


According to the Saidar Strength Rankings at the 13thD, Moiraine was at rank 12 of 21. Now that might seem only middle-of-the-road if you only see the numbers, but look at how few people actually exist at that level and above. In NS Cadsuane indicates to Merean and the other sisters that aside from her, Meilyn and Kerene, Moiraine and four others (Elaida, Siuan, Leanne, Romanda) are the most powerful channelers in the Tower. So there were 3 Aes Sedai currently alive at that time stronger than Moiraine. Six of the 23 names ahead of Moiraine on that list are forsaken. the rest are Aiel Wise ones, Windfinders, Kin, and Alivia the former Damane.
Roger Powell
444. forkroot
various@various :-)
Not claiming to speak for anyone else (but I bet I am). Want me to read your post? Try the following:

1) Break it up into paragraphs - when I see an unbroken "stream of consciousness" post, I skip it.

2) Do the little stuff. Capitalize sentences, try to get the spelling right. My Firefox browser underlines misspelled words, so unless I'm using a proper name or fantasy word I can fix misspellings easily . (Heck, it fixed "consciousness" in this post :-) )

3) If you "loose" something, you are releasing it. If you "lose" something, you have misplaced it. You should know this if you made it past 4th grade. For those of you whom English is not their native tongue, you get a pass on this one.

4) I'm a little put off by posts that start with variations of "I didn't read the posts, but here's my opinion". Would you walk into a room of people and say "I haven't been listening to your conversation, but here's my opinion" ?

I'll grant that there are a lot of posts in this thread. If you can't at least scan them, try using the browser search on a key word so you might catch some posts relevant to your concern. A search on "Laras" will save you from posting your pet theory that Lara is Mesaana at comment number 500.

5) For extra credit, use an on-line resource to get difficult names etc. correct. My personal favorite is: Encyclopedia WoT.

6) Consider registering your screen name, then visit us often. I tend to pay attention more to regular posters, typically because they've been participating in the conversations and tend to bring up new ideas vs rehashing what has been said before.

There you have it. You are free to ignore this advice - tor.com won't take down posts unless they are abusive or involve copyright violations (not speaking for them, of course). On the other hand, you wrote it, you'd probably like someone to read it, so bear the above in mind.
Patrick Huff
445. pattack
Hey forkroot, who cares for your condescending crapola,(don't know if crapola has one p or two) we are all here to discuss and theorize the outcome of this terrific tale. If a word is misspelled or if we aren't all English professors like yourself, who cares. This is all for fun and discussion. No one is being graded on it. Loosen up pal or better yet, just go away. I could care less if you read my post anyway.
Henry Loose
446. schrodinger
I agree with forkroot... and guess what, I'M NOT AN ENGLISH PROFESSOR! yes this is for fun and discussion, but you should care about the discussion and your argument to put a little effort into it; unless you don't care about your argument, in which case, you probably shouldn't post it, because if you don't believe in it, we probably won't be convinced by it.
Krit Petty
447. bgrishinko
Okay so funny story. We are out waiting for the midnight release at BYU (I got book #10, it was awesome), and just jokingly, during conversation, I said, "You want to know something that makes everything better, so long as it's outside the main plot? Zombies! I mean seriously, just look at Call of Duty: World at War! ... etc. etc."

Who knew that this little comment would hold true to Hinderstap. As soon as that happened, I started laughing so hard. I thought the scene was great, although pandering to pop culture just a little, I agree that it gave an amazing sense of the DO's influence in the world.
oire andrew
448. erio
here in uganda am just dying for the day i will have
a copy. when are ebooks coming out
Patrick Huff
449. pattack
I don't think you get the point. I agree that care should be taken. I believe that is a given already if you make a post to begin with. I'm just not gonna rub someone's nose in it if they don't quite have the grammar correct. Let's remember this isn't real life, it's a fantasy novel. I'm not going to be that critical of someone if they misspell a name or get the facts wrong. Not only is it just a book, but a very large series of books. Considering the fact that the posts go on endlessly, I'm not going to read a post someone made three weeks ago and say, "oh, I guess i can't talk about that because someone already brought it up" that's bullshit!! we are free to discuss whatever we want when we want. I am not trying to convince anyone of anything, I will leave that to the writer. I am only offering theories, which never hold water. If you are here to convince people your opinion is correct, then maybe you don't deserve to be read in the first place... Enough said!!!!!
Bill Reamy
450. BillinHI
Zombies: There had to be another way to get Mat together with Verin, which to me seemed to be the whole point of that chapter. We know the Pattern is unraveling already, we don't need zombies to reinforce the point.

Tuon/Fortuona: That chapter title (The Death of Tuon) freaked me out, especially since the chapter started with someone else! I really hope someone can show her (and the rest of the Seanchan) the error of their ways re damane & dacovale. I can't think of a worse societal aspect unless it's the Sea Folk and their total reduction in status of a windfinder who loses her wavemistress. What's up with making a competent (and necessary) crewmember start from the bottom like that?

Mat: He did sound a bit off but I think part of it may be post-battle depression/let-down. He won't ever admit it, I don't think, but he misses Tuon. (I was going to add post-coital let-down, but that obviously never happened.)

Verin's letters: Unfortunately, we don't have a clear timeline for most of the goings-on in the book, but my first thought was that Verin was going to pass on letters to (many?) others, but now I'm not so sure. RAFO, I suppose, although we better find out in one of the last two books.

WT problems: I still wonder how much of their problems are the result of Ishamael's work early on. Another thing we'll probably never find out for sure.

Graendal and her minions balefired: Certainly won't miss her (and I do think she is dead: the compulsion being gone is my big clue.). And look what happened to her minion that Nynaeve "cured" of compulsion: he died within minutes. There's just not enough left of the person to continue with compulsion.

Towers of Midnight: Being plural, does that refer to both Ghenjei and the Black Tower? I definitely want to know what Taim is up to.

Tylee: I agree she should be massively important to altering Fortuona's mind-set - which certainly needs to be done.

Elaida: Have to agree that Fain accelerated her downward slide. She was never the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but I don't think she would have gone so far into idiocy/insanity without Fain's touch.

True Power/True Source: I know everybody assumes that only the DO can grant access to the True Power, but is this actually the case? Obviously he can (and does) forbid the Forsaken from touching it (except for Moridin), but does the True Power actually "belong" to the DO? Or am I confusing True Power and True Source?

Helen @233: I don't think Verin was turned if she was given a choice (swear or be executed). I think she had the cojones to believe she could be the Light's double agent and then proceeded to prove it over 70+ years.

For(tuon)a and channeling: Tuon knows at least theoretically that she can learn to channel but says she will not learn. Not necessarily one of her brighter moments. Hopefully she will come around.

Lily @106 et al re NPH: I also plugged "...wait for it...." into that phrase! LOL
Noneo Yourbusiness
451. Longtimefan
Just my two cents about Zombies and the lack thereof in the new book.

They are not Zombies in the small town. They are people who are alive under the taint of the Dark One.

They may not be able to leave the location and that would be more of a "ghost" limitation but they are clearly not "spirits".

The prevalence of zombie lore in current media culture does not mean that when someone turns into a murderous, nonspeaking fiend that they are automatically zombies. They are not the undead. They are people under a terrible curse that only applies itself at night and vanishes with the morning.

Also current zombie lore is far from the original zombie story which is about raising the dead for manual labor and the occasional murder of a rival or the eventual attack on the voodoo practician who raised the zombie in the first place.

I realize this may not change the current opinion that the characters in the town are "zombies".

Personally the casual categorization just seems a bit lazy and misses the point the author is trying to make about the horror of being under the Dark One's influence to the point of being a murderous animal with no future but destruction.

Also if they were "zombies" they would not stay down when "killed" by the outsiders or by the other villagers.
Patrick Huff
452. pattack
You know I never even considered Padan Fain's affect on Elaida. Thank you BillinHi for pointing that out. Perhaps she was under his influence after all. It might just be that she became power hungry and couldn't handle it. You know what they say "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".
Patrick Huff
453. pattack
Sorry freelancer, I was under the assumption that Moiraine was weaker in the power. I guess I'm just used to all these weapons of mass destruction like Egwene, Nynaeve, Aviendha, Cadsuane, Elayne and Alivia to name a few that would hold a better chance with the link. My bad.....
Wilson Grooms
454. NobleHunter
I'm surprised no one has commented on the complete fail of the Green Ajah during the attack on the tower. Especially since people have been beating on them during the re-reads. Hopefully they've learned their lesson and can be something other than the Ajah of I-really-like-men-a-lot.

And I wonder if the screwiness of the timelines in the book is designed to evoke the Pattern unraveling.
Wilson Grooms
455. Cadsuwallop
Aye Aye Sedai @ 431

If Verin could develop a cipher and keep a notebook for 70 years then I think she should have been able to write a note/instructions for Mat.

If, as part of her oaths as a Black, she couldn't THINK of betraying the dark, she would have had to convince herself that she was keeping the notebook for "dark reasons" just to be able to write it. 70 years is a long time to maintain an internal self deception.

If she could consider betrayal prior to her final hour, then there is no reason she shouldn't be able to write instructions for someone else.
Henry Loose
456. schrodinger
@pattack 449
I think you missed my point. we are here to, aside from convince people that our ideas are plausible, to be convinced by others that their ideas are plausible. I know that (for example) Freelancer has convinced me of many a thing during these discussion threads... forkroot's calm argument went along with several feelings that I have had while reading posts (it IS annoying when people bring up dead topics, and although I agree, 3 weeks (or even one week is to much to go back and read all the posts, but less than a week, while we're still under 500? I went back and read 'em all). Your (what i perceived to be) angry comments were less welcome with me, so I sided with forkroot's comments. What I am talking about when, as you put it: "oh, I guess i can't talk about that because someone already brought it up" is not that discussion should stop, but that it should be added to with new ideas, or started with the phrase: "I agree with..."

As you say "we are free to discuss whatever we want when we want" we chose to discuss the merits of our fellow posters' posts and what makes them good or what makes us read them, It was not meant to offend, and was actually meant to be constructive. I could say that "anger has no place here, and maybe because of that you don't deserve to be read". Or I could be nice and tell you (as I believe) that I think you should continue to post, as your ideas are valuable to the discussion, as are most everyone's on here. So relax and let us be nitpicky... it doesn't mean that you have to be ;-)

edit: 'nuff said
j p
457. sps49
Dholtan @433-

What books are you reading? Whatever their reasons, the Aes Sedai today expect everyone who is less than their equal in saidar to do as they say. Call it deference, call it advice, but in effect they rule. With no accountability.

The Amyrlin Seat has effectively been ruler of the Westlands. And whether she thinks of it in those terms or not, Egwene apparently is thinking like the West's top dog, with everyone else subject to her approval, tacit or otherwise.

I still think Demandred's army is the Black Tower (discussed in the pre-release postings).

And does anyone else wonder whether Sammael has been reincarnated yet?

Forkroot @444-

Mostly agree with you (with a ha! at Lara), but some commoon errors, i. e. "loosing" misuse, are because what spellchecker can tell you mean "losing"?

Also, if one posts while ignoring prior posts, why should anyone read that one's?

pattack @445-

Forkroot may have come across as a bit condescending, but the communication here consists only of writing- no voice inflection, no visual cues. So if we want our meaning to be understood, yes, we should try to use good writing techniques. We aren't being graded, but the real world is still grading us -on results.

As an example- Fain's effect on Elaida has been brought up in posts 141, 154, 175, 252, 450- and that's just this thread. BillinHI is agreeing with someone else about Elaida and Fain, so thanking that poster for pointing it out looks a bit off.

This thread is a tough one with the number of posts, but even before 100 posts we had the same Mat complaint, over and over.

Please don't get too defensive; you have brought up good ideas.
j p
458. sps49
Noblehunter @454-

I think other AS at the Tower mentioned the Green's lack of effective action; even the Captain-General (ha!). But, yeah, what good do they expect to be at TG? Do they at least take combat training in the Blight?
Wilson Grooms
459. Sluggonics
So, subscribing to the theory that Danelle is Mesaana in the tower, is it likely that she simply retook the three oaths with all the other sisters, and that she wouldn't have had to lie when she stated she's not Black Ajah-- since she's not.

I suppose that does bring up the question of what taking the three oaths could end up doing to her disguise, or her ability to lie at will. We don't really know how the whole "ageless" thing works, and whether "activating" it would cause some sort of interference or disruption of disguise weaves.

Presumably, if Mesaana just killed off Danelle and impersonated her, she NEVER took the 3 oaths originally. Would she even know what taking them would do to her? Maybe she just left the tower? Unfortunately, Danelle never came up in Egwene's musings.
Wilson Grooms
460. khouk

I agree with you. Demandred seems like the only possible choice for who runs the Black Tower. I'm unsure about the evidence against, since I can't find any. But since he has said that his army is ready, it seems to me that it is pretty clear that Taim's Ashaman at the Black Tower are pretty ready and that they are obviously DF, ala "Let the Lord of Chaos Rule." It also seems that Rand is starting to draw pretty heavily on the other Ashaman to assist in his other conquests.

If there is anything that I'm missing that would disprove this theory, I would love to hear it.
Wilson Grooms
461. Dholton
@457 sps

I merely bounce the question back to you.

The Seanchan rule. They have a standing army that occupies and keeps the peace. They have an empire they rule through local monarchs. They enforce laws. They have a system of informers, to catch those that break their laws.

The Aes Sedai do not rule. They influence. They guide. They advise. They mediate. They do not have a standing army to enforce their rule or conquer others. The Gray Ajah attempted to maintain the Grand Alliance formed against the Aiel. They failed. Is this rule? The Grays have mediated many treaties between countries whose rulers have subsequently repudiated said treaties. Would a ruler allow this? Berelain has an Aes Sedai advisor whose advice she ignores. Is this rule?

Again, I bounce your question back to you.
j p
462. sps49
Dholton @461-

I shouldn't have started off like I did; tone doesn't come across well when typing.

The Seanchan rule with an iron fist. Too tightly; it took then a looooong time to pacify just Seandar. If the Westlands were not a weak confederation (under the Amyrlin Seat) squabbling among themselves, the Senchan would have been pushed back at their every attempt.

I don't know why the Grand Alliance failed, but they had served their purpose; the Grays may have put in a perfunctory effort for appearances. Bottom line is that the Aes Sedai receive tribute from rulers who are well aware that, if they stray too far from their "advice", can be overruled (Siuan vs. Morgase & Brynn re: Gheldean), kidnapped- or killed.
Patrick Huff
463. pattack
I am passionate about what I do in every aspect of my life. I don't half ass anything I do. It's passion that keeps me reading great stories like this one. If I were critisized because I misspelled a word or didn't quite get a paragraph cut just right, it would destroy the credibility of my post. If it was constantly pointed out that is. This is about ideas, thoughts and theory, not english class. Let's try not to be too critical and help each other, not tear each other down by pointing out flaws in writing, rather point out flaws in theory. At least that can be argued. It just pissed me off is all and for that I am sorry. I would rather discuss the books anyways, that's why we all come here.
Patrick Huff
464. pattack
If Rand was as smart as I think he is, he would attack Seandar on their hometurf. Let's remember he was there with Aviendha in TFOH. Perhaps that would draw the army back across the ocean (Since they can now make gateways). I don't think the Seanchan would even be aware of an invasion as long as saidin was used to make gateways. I was reading the prophecies of the dragon and it states that the daughter of the nine moons would be bound to the dragon. What I did not find was any referance that Rand was to kneel before the crystal throne. Did anyone find any info related to this anywhere? I know Tuon had stated it on occation, but that was the only place I found it said.
Jonah Feldman
465. relogical
A few thoughts and questions:

So, Rand and Moridin have a connection. Callandor is turning out to be more important than we thought. Rand killed Ishamael with Callandor. Coincidence? I think not.

Give Sanderson a break about Mat. I found him fun, if not in the same way.

And I'm going to assume that RJ came up with the Hinderstap story; there's no way BS would just add it for the hell of it. Besides, we saw some similar weird stuff in The Great Hunt.

My crazy theories for this book were Mesaana=Laras and Demandred=Bashere, but now I'm not so sure.

I'm wondering what Rand will be like once he gets back. He wouldn't apologize, right? That's just not how WoT characters do things. I hope he and Tam can work it out, though. Cadsuane was smart enough to realize that no one would have a better chance at getting through.
j p
466. sps49
pattack @463- it wasn't just you in the first place, I am sure. one of our most beloved and respected posters still uses "must of" instead of "must've" or "must have", but he gets his points across very clearly due in part to use of positive techniques listed in part by forkroot.

Since you brought it up- whether because of your passion or not, your posts come across as half-assed. We are really trying to help.

For instance- and recall it isn't just you- forkroot didn't pick at a paragraph cut just right, the constructive criticism made was that breaking a post (especially longer posts) into paragraphs makes it easier to read and comprehend that a single long paragraph. This is similar but more subtle that why ALL CAPS is tougher to read when used for more than a few words.

Like I said- well, wrote- earlier, it is harder to get a theory or idea across when typing than when someone is sitting across from you, so some care in writing is just a good idea.

Back to the theories! *swoosh*
Henry Loose
467. schrodinger
@pattack 463+464


It would be smart from Rand's pov to do that, however, he does not know that Seanchan is already in Chaos and that Tuon has essentially signed it off for a later date. Tuon was referring to the Seanchan version of the K Cycle, the Essanik cycle (which I assumed at first was Seanchan propaganda).

She is bound to him through Mat and my theory is that he will bow to her to get peace for the last battle. I don't think his bowing is mentioned anywhere else.
Roger Powell
468. forkroot
Hey forkroot, who cares for your condescending crapola,(don't know if crapola has one p or two)
Actually I thought that was a pretty funny retort, insult aside.

I also see how the post could be considered condescending based on the gratuitous comment about the 4th grade. My bad on that one.

That point aside, I'll stick to my guns on the rest of the post. Note that I didn't say "this is how you should post", I said "this is what you should do to encourage people to read your post".

Stripping out the ad hominen stuff, I believe your argument is that minor misspellings shouldn't matter. That's certainly a reasonable stance and despite what you might think, I tend to ignore those, if I even notice them.

The posts that are hard to read though, are the ones with constant misspellings, lack of punctuation, and no breaks.

The funniest thing is that I would not have characterized any of your posts that way. Scroll back and take a look, you'll soon see what I'm talking about.

As for the other stuff - remember again that I am talking about what makes me likely to read a post. As a rule, I tend to read every post; however from time to time we've had posters that I just skip over, based on what they've written before. I would not put your posts in that category, and despite the lash out, I intend to continue reading what you have to say.

Unless you start mixing up "loose" and "lose" ...(just kidding!!)
j p
469. sps49

If the Crystal Throne refers to the actual throne- I think it is another ter'angreal- then yes, Rand has to go to Seandar. If the prophecy is figurative, then Fortuona (ugh, bring back Tuon!) is already nearby.

I think it is more difficult than before to unite Rand with the Seanchan. I think they have to compromise on marath'damane, especially since sul'dam are just potential damane themselves.

But if ForTuona simply states her ability now, she might get deposed unanimously.
Ross Hathaway
470. RossH
Thanks to everyone who made this book happen - I really liked it. Before when I said I felt sort of removed from it, I was just comparing the first and second chapters to how I felt at climatic parts in other books. I really liked how the end was non-violent, a personal triumph for Rand, rather than some battle. This was very inspirational for me. His thoughts during the visit to Ebou Dar make me wonder if he will bow to Tuon or compromise his pride in some other way to gain her allegiance. Putting the killing of Graendal at a sort of random part in the book was cool too. I don't know why exactly; it just was. I wondered why we didn't see Aviendha after she went to Rhuidean, though.
It seems like the tables are always turning on people in the WoT. That's the way I like it. The turning tables of time.
Good luck mateys
Jacy Clark
471. Amalisa
Dholton and sps...

And therein lies the problem with the perception of the Aes Sedai - both inside and outside the White Tower. It's a problem that needs to be solved before the Last Battle. Perhaps it is something that Egwene will learn from the Seanchan - courtesy of the woman in her dreams who offers a hand and says they can make it to safety together. (Tylee or Egeanin/Leilwin, I believe. I can see scenarios fitting either one.)

Anyway... back to my point... (was channeling Verin for a moment there.)

There are Aes Sedai within the Tower who certainly believe that they, as a group, rule the world. Ego + great power can generate that sort of delusion of grandeur. There is a perception among the common folk that Aes Sedai pull the strings of rulers from time to time. (I wonder how many rulers might have used that perception to shunt the discontent of the people from the throne to the Tower after some sort of unpopular action or ruling. Two can certainly play that game.) But Dholton is right: influence does not equal rule.

On the other hand, influence can be a powerful thing. But influence tends to be more immediate and focused - to one decision, one campaign, one area of concern, with the intent of achieving a specific goal. For example, Siuan Sanche as Amyrlin influencing Morgase to pull Gareth Bryne away from the border or Murandy with the hope that a stable Murandian monarchy might result. As for kidnapping... I don't know that there is an exact count but I'd be very surprised if more than dozen monarchs have been made involuntary guests of the Tower in three thousand years. Sure, that's probably a dozen too many but, still... Same for killing. Far more likely that the Tower has either let nature take its course or failed to reach a ruler in time (à la Malkier).

As for the "tribute" thing... I'd be interested to know exactly when that originated. Maybe waaaay back when the White Tower was formed? Early on, when the Aes Sedai were seen as the first line of defense against male channelers? More likely at the behest of the Aes Sedai advisers to the thrones... I'm sure it's a chunk of change (certainly came in handy for the rebels) but hardly essential since I'm sure the Tower's primary source of revenue is the city of Tar Valon, itself.

Eh... still channeling Verin. Sorry about that...

Bottom line. Agree w/ Dholton. Aes Sedai don't rule, they influence. And it ain't the same. But from sps' viewpoint, a ruler who fails to listen to the Tower, does so at his or her own peril.
472. Freelancer

I accept that you will quickly view me as your enemy, and there's not a thing I can (or care to) do about that. Understand that before I continue.

Forkroot is a very common and well-respected commentor on Leigh Bulter's WoT reread blog. Be assured that he is as laid-back and tolerant as any there. I say this knowing that I am often considered one of the most judgemental commentors on those threads, an opinion I take no special action to diminish.

His statements @444 are, if you read very carefully, never aimed at an individual, neither are they designed as criticism. He points out less-than-preferred commenting techniques with the intention of helping some commenters to get their posts taken more seriously, or not ignored altogether. All-in-all, there's not a condescending thought in the entire post. Exceptionally defensive behavior in yours, though.

When a debate arises over something from a plot (such as whose sword Rand now carries, and why does he remember it), I give little to no credence to someone engaging in the debate if they cannot even spell the names of the principal characters correctly. (such as Lewis Tharin)

As for "stream of consciousness" type posts (see 413 or 418 for examples), they are difficult to read and when the thoughts jump about like a drunken butterfly it's hard to decide if the post is even worth the time. (You'll note that I did take the time to respond to you @418, only because I saw that you spelled all the relevant names correctly, so there.) Forkroot didn't say he'd grade you on how and when you broke paragraphs, but that if your post has none, he is less likely to read it or take it seriously.

Forkroot's purpose was advice on how to have your thoughts seen as credible on such a forum. And he is correct. My advice is, if the shoe doesn't fit, don't try to squeeze into it then complain that it isn't yours. If, however, it does fit, don't make yourself look stupid by slipping it on, then yelling at the cobbler.

(By the laws of forum posting, I'm sure there's at least one misspelled word above, have fun.)
Wilson Grooms
473. Dholton
@462 sps

I was wondering if you'd bring up those examples. *sigh* I grant you those would seem to refute my argument. However, as I said once in a post on the LOC recap thread, the position the Aes Sedai have chosen to take is one balanced on the edge of a knife. Rather than integrate themselves into Randland society, ala the Aiel Wise Ones or to rule :-) as they do in Shara (if behind the scenes), they have set themselves apart from society in what you might call the "Gandalf" role.

To do this, without becoming rulers or even despots, they have limited themselves with the Three Oaths. Over three millennia they have built up their influence, and yes, power through their reputation for wisdom(hah!), mystery of the One Power, and economically (I believe they established the first bank in Randland. Ask the Knights Templar if this didn't give them power). But all this was to provide guidance and arbitrate for the good of all, not to govern.

Now they may fall to one side or the other of that knife edge. Elaida's kidnappings were the first in centuries I believe, and an aberration. Siuan was always something of a blunt intrument as well, and I don't think she would have tried what she did with Morgase with anyone else, due to the special relationship between Andor and the Tower.

It's a very narrow path they walk, and there will always be those like Elaida who don't understand this and stray.

Anyway, enough of angels on pins debates. More Looney Theories!
j p
474. sps49
Amalisa @471-

Channeling Verin? So you are sworn to not betray the Great Lord until the very hour of your death? I clear my nose at you!

No, I don't, not really. This is a disagreement of degree, though, not like whether Gawyn was Compelled or not.

And whether Egwene thinks of herself in those terms or not (probably not), she does want the final say in matters she wants to have it in, and it does not occur to her that it isn't necessarily so.

Dholtan @473-


But nobody is paying attention to my Loony Theory of Sammael's resurrection! bawwww! I know Mashadar got him and that RJ said he is "toast", but that just means he is dead. I mentioned in one of the pre-release threads that there was someone at the Forsaken meeting who had an unusual amount of authorial attention, and usually when RJ put these in, we usually read them correctly.

Where is Sammy?
Patrick Huff
475. pattack
Ok I found it at last. In chapter 6 of TDR, Moiraine is talking about the prophecies of the dragon and that one of them mentioned kinda off handed was that the dragon would bind the nine moons to serve him. I wish I had a copy of the prophecies myself, because it would be easier to find this stuff. I even scoured the Encyclopaedia Wot website and this little bit of info wasn't in there. I guess another meeting will take place with the Dragon and Fortuona.
j p
476. sps49
The WoTFAQ (all hail) has a section listing Prophecies through CoT.

EDIT: Tuon's version is in Winter's Heart, Chapter 14.
Patrick Huff
477. pattack
Freelancer, I don't think anyone here is my enemy. Every poster on here has a right to their opinion, whether it be about grammar, the price of tea or a thought provoking arguement. I just want to have discussions on what has and what might happen. Not have someone grade my writing skill or lack there of. If someone doesn't want to read a post because it's too long or rambling gobbledygook it is their right as well. This is a non issue with me because it is an opinion on what one person will read or won't. I for instance won't read long posts or posts with 20 numbers in front of twenty points. That's just me, give me one or two ideas and it makes it easier to respond. I should not have gotten mad. Should have used bolder type I guess....... LOL
Kelly Houk
478. conanoxen

I think it is true that Tuon is bound to Rand through Mat. But there also needs to be something else to make them work together. Another meeting will have to happen, but I doubt that any of us could predict exactly what would happen or how it will happen.


I think Sammael burned his bridges before he died and suffered the ultimate penalty. The DO was probably not in a favorable mood to resurrect him. Moridin was already in the picture when this all took place and Sammael wasn't really a part of Moridin's plans. So I think he is gonzo.

I also believe that Graendel is done for, it seems that her sudden demise goes right along with Rands' dark behavior. He became so hard that he didn't think much about destroying anyone, as long as it fit his plans. Graendel's death fit his plans and any long banter with her, or playing a game to kill her didn't fit in with those plans. So Graendel's death had a purpose, she needed to be destroyed. He had no more qualms about killing women, Graendel was a sign of that disregard.

I'm sure that would be different now after his redemption at the end of the book. But since it has happened, the wheel turned as the wheel willed.
Patrick Huff
479. pattack
Judging from the WOTFAQ I tend to believe that the Seanchan version is a corrupted version of the prophecies. I think Tuon had it backwards.
j p
480. sps49
Maybe, but everybody's Prophecies are accurate so far, even the Dark ones. And Tuon is really good at reading omens.
Patrick Huff
481. pattack
I guess we shall see in a year or two won't we?
Kelly Houk
482. conanoxen

I tend to think that the Seanchan versions are also tainted to favor the Seanchan. Especially since they tend to have a biased view of everything. Their original prophecy may easily have said something along the lines of "they must bind themselves to the Dragon." But because they favor their own ways and rulers so much, the scholars, who are probably afraid of having a prophecy that places the High Blood below someone not of their blood, may have changed the wording to keep them in a good light. Remember anyone who appears to not show proper respect to the Blood can easily be executed.

I agree that Tuon is really good at reading omens, especially considering how well things turned out for the Seanchan in the attack on the WT. But I don't think her omens have predicted anything about the Seanchan's interactions with the Dragon Reborn. I don't believe her omen reading is prophecy. It is almost like a mood ring, telling whether a certain thing is a positive or a negative event. But it doesn't give specifics like a prophecy does.
Wilson Grooms
483. Aye Aye Sedai
OK who thought that we had misunderstood Cadsuane's teachings ?

After the Semi chapter I thought that perhaps her teaching lesson was that Rand would have to be stone or Cuiendalliar (sp and not I'm not going to look that speeling up :P) and so that he could kill the female forsaken (and DF too) and not have to continue the list. Of course this would have been a great misdirection from RJ !!!!

Until the end I was thinking that perhaps her role was to teach Rand to be emotionless so that he could draw the TP and not be hindered in fighting women. However it appears that we will see a laughing crying Rand soon.

Might have been interesting the other way but then might have just pissed you all off based on the posts I've seen,
Wilson Grooms
484. dobby100
I think mesama is still in the tower. And i think it might be silvina(keeper). they both have blue eyes, blond hair. and i think she might have asked the black ajah sitter when elaida wanted her to be stilled they should revork the sentence. She might have called off aleida in the hall which lead to her being demoted and imprisoned soo to side with winning side (eggwean). she got to be a keeper. atleast we know there are no more black ajah sitters in the tower only one Chosen.
Wilson Grooms
485. PJR
I always thought that "Half the light of the world" refers to the damane which are the source of the empires power. They represent metaphorically one half of the light. He will convince his wife to release them as he can provide an alternative (and monopoly of the methods/technology) in the form of cannons which will become the mainstay of their military might.

The flame symbolisation for tar valon/female channelers would seem to support this.
j p
486. sps49
Aye Aye Sedai @483-

Buh? Cadsuane wants to teach Rand "laughter and tears" because she thinks he is too hard (brittle). Sorilea agrees and wants the same thing.

I don't think Cads is aware the True Power exists, and she certainly would not want him to use something so Evil.
Wilson Grooms
487. Aye Aye Sedai
@486 SPS - Exactly - Classic misdirection

- just because Cads wants to believe that her role is to teach Laff & Tears but didn't RJ teach us that characters may be misinformed? We (and Rand) only know from MIn that Cads has an important role to teach a "lesson that he doesn't want to learn".

We may think ( like Cads) that this lesson is for Rand to be warm and cuddly again - but what if fandom was wrong - gasp - that's why I loved what I saw as the twist.

Until the end redemption on the Mount I was thinking that perhaps the lesson was learned by her saving the collar of sadness that was used by Semi - and in Rand's efforts to save Min he "learned to kill a woman" and to avoid emotions. I was actually impressed with this "twist" and up until the end was think that this was the Lesson learned and was a great twist on our expectations.

Just saying - this theme was picked up with Verrin's comment about the battle not being what Rand (or we Think it is) - Perhaps the battle was just won on the Mount - hmmmm
Bill Reamy
488. BillinHI
Sluggonics @282: I have to disagree with you on the point that RJ would never have written the scenes with Gareth/Siuan and Perrin/Faile. Those scenes (and others like them) had to be there and even RJ must have planned for them from the beginning. Much of the whole series is about character growth and their biggest fault has been lack of communication. The characters are finally realizing what must be done, e.g. Min and Nynaeve re helping Rand rather than controlling him. I think those scenes would have appeared even if RJ was still with us and completing the series himself.

bluecansam @283: Amazon at least has TGS available for the Kindle. I would have to assume that others also have it now or soon will.

blindillusion @297: Haven't re-read yet so I'm not sure, but do we know _when_ the Bloodknives would activate their ter'angreal rings? Didn't that take a drop of their own blood? Knowing that the flight to TV was going to take several days, surely they would not activate them before actually arriving at the battle site?

bad_platypus @308: I believe that Tamyrlin's ring is believed by most here to be the other male sa'angreal more powerful than Callandor.

Laras as Mesaana: I'm sure that was first mentioned as a joke: Even without Verin's statements about her, there's no way she's even a DF, let alone a Forsaken.

Aviendha's trip to Rhuidean: I _really_ hope we get her POV for her trip through the rings! That would be awesome.

Perrin's continued angst: Definitely a bit annoying but I think he's just now realizing how f***ed up his whole "Faile is more important than anything, even TG" thought process was. He is (just) now beginning to realize that he must become what the Pattern needs. That said, his interaction with Tylee Kirghan (as well as Mat's with Furyk Karede) will become pivotal in getting Randland and the Seanchan bunch together for the Last Battle.

forkroot @346: While I agree that the "Masema - Prophet" plotline dragged on way too long, IMO it was important for the Seanchan to find out about Perrin and his abilities which will hopefully bring the two sides to some kind of agreement before TG. Also totally agree re Demandred/Borderlanders: Something has got to be majorly wrong there.

forkroot @356: Thanks for answering my later query re True Power/Source. I was indeed confusing/melding the two.

SuffatheDamane @410: Haven't re-read yet, so you are probably right about Egwene's wording but as noted by Pete P @411, she still needs an attitude adjustment re Rand. As awesome as she is (and she has always been in my top 5 characters) she does share the problem almost all of the major characters have had in thinking that everyone else is wrong or misguided and only (insert character here) has the one true vision of how everything should be done. I especially agree with Pete P on her adopting the ideals/principles/habits of whatever group she is currently with. Moiraine was the same initially, but she had her epiphany and realized her error. I'm sure Egwene will do the same, hopefully in the next book, and she will become the most awesome Amyrlin ever.

Rand and the song: It certainly looks like Rand is causing at least some of the problems of the world and it seems accentuated since the TP use. As for the song, did he not witness the song in his trip through the Ancestratron? Somewhere in the back of his mind (where LTT used to hang out) he should be able to come up with it. But what if he needs another Green Man?

pattack @418: I don't think we know for certain that _all_ the Asha'man now at the Black Tower are Taim's followers and/or Darkfriends. I think Taim is Demandred's proxy (unless Ishamael/Moridin was his only influence) and I would really like to believe that Demandred is in Shara, if only so that we might find out a little bit more about that country. Someone brought up that they would have a hard time getting from Shara to the Dragonwall, but gateways would surely be used rather than a march across the Three-fold Land. I suspect, however, that Demandred is just controling the Borderlanders.

Helen @420: Defending the WT: Yeah, another problem of the 3 Oaths IMO, as well as evidence that Ishy was the instigator there. I guess in the heat of battle, with holes being blown in the sides of the WT and AS likely being killed just by that, they could decide they were justified in using the OP to defend themselves. I don't really agree, though, that it was a victory for the Seanchan, especially if they lost more damane than they gained. Of course, if they did gain travelling, which I guess we don't know (yet), that tips the scale to their side.

Now that I have _finally_ caught up in the comments, I can start my re-read (or maybe a re-listen) :-)
John Massey
489. subwoofer
Great googly moogly! Am slowly wailing through the comments, am 3/4 through the book and have some serious um... thoughts in regards to what the deuce happened and a brief comment on the writing style.

What was up with Rand for instance? The next time the DO talks to Rand in a dream sequence, I expect the classic- Luke! I am your father- tag line to crop up here. For Rand, this books reads like Empire Strikes Back, in terms of how dark it is for the main protagonist.

Ny, not near enough braid pulling, sniffing and generally bringing Rand down a notch or two. Maybe a style thing but I have come to expect more from her. When we last saw Ny, she was well on her way to becoming EPIC in her own right, so what gives now?

I am thinking that the next book is gonna read like Return of the Jedi, book 1 and 2. Or, I could be way ahead here and this is like Revenge of the Sith and Rand is Anny. Then this whole series is gonna end badly for all of us folks. At the least, very dark, and depending on your disposition, very unsatisfying.

And Caddy? Phaw! How could she have gone so sideways in such a short time? We get a page of her talking about her wards and how they are better than some AS think and pwang!- All her logic goes higgly piggly with one small little Forsaken getting set free. This ones needs some thinking on my part to digest. Then the ranting will being in earnest.

James Jones
490. jamesedjones
488 BillinHI
I think those scenes would have appeared even if RJ was still with us and completing the series himself.
Sure, but would they have appeared in this book? I would think that it's much more likely that this book would have been stretched out to 3 or 4 more. RJ was very careful about characters sharing information too quickly (maybe that was how he percieved real life). BS kinda tossed those reservations out the window, and decided that, in order to get from point A to point B, he'd just use the fastest route. And I recall reading in one of BS's blogs that he does not receive any additional compensation for extending the series. So there's no reason to feel otherwise.

Having said that, I still feel that BS extended a lot of the book to match the WOT style. Personally, I was not satisfied with the end result, but I cannot deny that it definitely felt like a WOT book (just POD or COT). :(
Jacy Clark
491. Amalisa

Channeling Verin? So you are sworn to not betray the Great Lord until the very hour of your death? I clear my nose at you!


No, I don't, not really. This is a disagreement of degree, though, not like whether Gawyn was Compelled or not.

Oh, I got that. And don't even get me started on the whole Gawyn-was-Compelled thing. 'Cause he wasn't. He was just young and stupid. Something he'll grow out of...
Wilson Grooms
492. ClaytonT
First off, LOVED the book. Knew I would too, after I went out and picked up Mistborn about 6 months ago and then plowed through the rest of the Sanderson catalog in rapid fashion. Very smart choice for finishing the series. Kudos Brandon.

Re: Mat - yes, he felt off to me too, mostly in the first scenes with Talmanes (not so off in the scripted backstories part, which I thought was totally Mat), but I seem to recall RJ writing or stating that Mat was the character most like him, who when he was writing him felt most like he was writing in the first person. So, maybe in that light the hardest character for BS or any other writer to 'nail'.

I also thought Nynaeve was very different. But in this case it was a VAST improvement.

In contrast to most posters here, I LOVED every Rand scene. Yes, they were painful, but they had a dangerous edge, a "what the heck is he gonna do next?" feel that was frankly riveting. I felt so much more engaged in Rand the character than I had in the last, oh, 5 or 6 books.

Graendel speculation: I really hope she's dead and gone, but my question is was Nynaeve actually able to discern a compulsion from G vs from some other female channeler? I was struck that Rand's "proof" could have come from any old BA that G had recruited and set up in the fort.

Good on you Rand for not riding into the Far Madding box, and shame on you Borderlanders. There better be a damn good explanation why you're so desparate to find Rand instead of resuming your posts.

Rand's not over the hump on his self-loathing in my opinion. Wait until he realizes all those poor compulsed souls in G's fort will never get their chance to take another turn on the wheel b/c he balefired 'em. Ouch.

Who else is thinking that Rand's little incognito trip to Ebou Dar will lead him to realize he should just hand over all his conquered lands to Seachan administration? A) they do it better than him (maintaining order, etc); and B) gets a lot of responsibility off his back. Dude, you've got enough to worry about, stop worrying about grain dist'n and let the pros handle it.

I think Tuon's (hate the new name) comeuppance will come when someone slaps an a'dam on her. Then she'll declare all damane free. Because really, there's no chance of all the forces of Light workinn together at the Last Battle with the whole "you keep enslaving our friends" thing hanging out there.

~750 pages and not ONE bloodly mention of Andoran successional politics!! My favorite omission of the whole book!

Loved the way the BT was downplayed here...only mention is that "oh crap, the folks we sent there never came back". Made BT seem much more ominous and foreboding. Bad things going on there man, baaaaad things.

Overall, just couldn't be more pleased with Brandon's work here. Don't ever tell me which chapters RJ wrote entirely and which he didn't - I don't really want to know. 1 year seems long but compared to the overall pace of the series it'll be here before we know it.
John Massey
493. subwoofer
'K, I lied, this is probably gonna start a fire storm but like my old friend Jack Burton used to say..."what the hell"...

One teeny weenie thing is that BS is immensely younger than RJ and that showed through to the character relationships. The way that the young deal with the old and vice versa. Past books, the kids were always trying to prove themselves and there was all sorts of internal monologues about insecurity. That was pretty much gonzo. It was like, "hey Rand, good to see you finally went through puberty".

Mat seems to of grown up too. Not a big fan of "Bloody ashes", but the dynamic of his rogue-ishness has changed. The village scene was sooo good though. Mat through and through. "I'm no bloody hero", but comes through in the clutch anyways. Way to cowboy up!

Eggy was awesome, but she is aging wayyy before her time. Being imprisoned and trapped in a bunker with Elaida will do that to a person. I would of headdesked but I accidentally dropped the bug killer and it broke the desk for me.

Good times!

-edited because some lunk head can't spell "One".

John Massey
494. subwoofer
Oh yeah... Subway - tuna rocks! Whole wheat, everything- hold the onions and done!

Wilson Grooms
495. Katiya
I have to say, Egwene ROCKED through this book, but in the end...they're all STILL doing the same thing. I was disgusted with her complete distance from Rand, even calling him "al'Thor" at one point, and she pretty much calls him "The Dragon Reborn" throughout the entire book. Doesn't she understand that controlling him isn't going to work? And she's got this like, the Aes Sedai are the only way to save the world mentality that makes me itch. Great that she's AS and all, that's seriously what they need, but she can't be TOO Aes Sedai...I mean, their whole system has flaws beyond the ones she's pledged to fix, that whole "we're all the world has" thing being one.

Awesome use of not-so-subtle clues with Rand's adoption of Moridin's colors after the TP Incident. I HATE Cadsuane even more now, even though her goals are admirable, and I'm so frickin' tired of every woman wandering around calling Rand stupid and idiotic and stubborn every five seconds! I applauded when Tam called Cadsuane out on her interpretation of Rand's behavior-- "he needs civility", HONESTLY. What is wrong with him is so much more than being stupid or even merely crazy...he has a leak in his brain, he is directly influenced by the Shadow champion. Granted no one on the Light side knows that, but it still irks me to see Rand's condition downplayed to his detriment.

And on that note..."the three shall become one"? I really don't know if I like the sound of that...

Either way, excellent review, Leigh...I laughed so hard imagining your reaction to the spanking scene that a family at the table in front of me in the mall thought I was choking on my food. Hehehe.
Wilson Grooms
496. Roseanne
That was brilliant! It felt like I didn't breathe for the last half of the book. As emotional as books 5 and 6 I thought. Brandon has my total respect for pulling that off.

I always loved Verin and had thought that maybe she was once black ajah but had renounced. Close, but not on the bullseye. The reveal was AWESOME. One of my favourite scenes.

I actually loved the ending and didn't see it as anti climatic at all. My impression was that in this book Rand was the big bad himself. He was turning into one of the Forsaken. So the ending was him facing himself and winning. Half way through the book I was thinking, "I don't see how the light can possibly win." But the end gave me hope again.

I can't stand Gawyn and I honesty don't know which of Min's viewing's interpretations will come true - that he kills Egwene or kneels at her feet (presumably as a warder). I don't trust him at all, and was interested in Egwene's reaction. Much better than if she'd welcomed him with open arms.

Truly awesome book and I cant wait for the next one.
Wilson Grooms
501. Doomriders
Semi & Graendal: Cheap deaths in some regards. For me Semi never really pops. I guess she never get's enough screen time to make me really know her. Sammael, Rahvin and Lanfear all seemed so much more real to me. If Graendal is dead I really think that takes her off the "who killed Asmo" list. I just don't think the rveal wil carry enough weight. I agree with Leigh that it feels cheap that we didn't get to see a Gaendal confrontation.

I think rand in the story explained it perfectly with Graendal. She would never face him face to face. There would never be a face off because she was to itelligent to fight someone leagues stronger than her face to face. I look at the Megaton Balefire as a parallel to the atomic bomb. It may have been unecessary, but it was a means to an end, even though it was terrible one. Rand eradicating the palace in a smiliar manner was in his mind the only way to kill her. As he would never see her face to face and left unchecked could possibly use compulsion on a loved one of his.
Wilson Grooms
497. Doomriders
I know some people complain that Mr. Sanderson did a sub-par job on Matrim. Yet, did everyone forget Talmanes and the comedy between the two of them? I was rolling when he was writing back stories and trying to justify them to people. Then that guy was worried about an Aunt he never had. I loved the movie 28 days later. Obviously that would make the village going mad my favorite scene. Nothing like raging zombie like folks attacking and killing each other. Just going absolutely mad! I also loved the ending, where Rand gets a grip on his emotions again and learns to live. I am in the club of the belief that there was no LTT. Rand just had information of the forsaken and LTT(holes filled via the mat route), he then let that information to create a voice in his head. This was made possible because of the taint and everyone comparing him to another person. It was stated at the end his split personality was merged.
Roger Powell
502. forkroot
Props to you for putting down a meaty post at 500 instead of just a "wowie I got 500!!"

forkroot @346: While I agree that the "Masema - Prophet" plotline dragged on way too long, IMO it was important for the Seanchan to find out about Perrin and his abilities which will hopefully bring the two sides to some kind of agreement before TG.
Just so you understand where I was going with this, my thought experiment still has Perrin going out to Ghealdan (presumably to deal with the Shaido and/or talk to Alliandre) and would still have Faile kidnapped and so forth. So it would still accomplish the plot objective you noted.

I know I may be in the minority, but I believe the true source was from the creator. I believe the creator was bailing out his child in great need.
I assume you are referring to Rand's escape from the sad bracelets and you meant the "True Power", i.e. a separate power that would not be blocked by the a'dam. How do you account for the black aura around Rand that comes right after this incident? It seems to me that the text makes it pretty clear that Rand accessed the True Power (the DO's power). The consensus seems to be that Rand accessed it through his connection with Moridin, which in turn stemmed from the crossed balefire incident at the end of ACoS.

While we're on the subject of Moridin: I too was amazed that he let out that important secret to Rand. (I'm talking about the fact that balefire prevents a Forsaken from being recycled.) Upon further reflection it occurred to me: Moridin/Ishamael may not be immune to Rand's ta'veren pull. We've certainly seen a lot of others let out secrets in Rand's presence.
Roger Powell
503. forkroot
{Removing the DO's taint, i.e. getting rid of a duplicate post}
Wilson Grooms
498. Miythrandir
This book was great in a lot of ways. I think my favorite part in the book was when Min tells Cadsuane and Co. that they should be trying to help Rand, not manipulating him. She seems to be one of the few people in WOT with brains. You would think by now that people would get that manipulation + rand = BAD.

Whenever I read the Cadsuane spanking Semirhage bit, I laughed with glee. Then I thought BS had to write this bit just to appease you, Leigh.

I feel for Tam and Hurin. Hopefully Rand apologizes to them.

Glad to see Elaida get captured. She SOOOOOO deserved it. Didn't really matter to me that she was abruptly captured. I too would have liked to the kamikaze ter angreal dudes in action a scene or two more. There should've been a scene of them taking out an aes sedai or soldier or something, but I loved how Byrne took that one out.

I wonder how Rand will be in the future...

Mat was funny as always. The only major difference in character I perceived was Talmanes - he was about as goofy as Mat was, and I never read that in the previous books. But hey, I can take humor. Humor is good.

I'll miss Verin. Never saw it coming that she would be a mole in the BA. Guess someone's gotta die on occasion in WoT. Very cool scene.

All in all a super book. Would've liked a happier storyline for Rand, but I guess he has to go low so that we can appreciate the highs to come.
Roger Powell
504. forkroot
Oh-oh ... tor.com seems to be getting unstable .. posts are getting moved around like sections in the White Tower. Is the DO touching our web site?
Wilson Grooms
499. Doomriders
I know I may be in the minority, but I believe the true source was from the creator. I believe the creator was bailing out his child in great need. I am under the belief that there is not just one side. The light side so to say, has to intervene and bail out its protagonists once in awhile also. Otherwise it would be a lopsided story with only evil possessing any form of power in the world.

Knowing Jordan was a devout Christian leads me to believe that Rand would have trials and tribulations such as jesus did. With the final battle being his redemption.
Wilson Grooms
505. Doomriders
Semi & Graendal: Cheap deaths in some regards. For me Semi never really pops. I guess she never get's enough screen time to make me really know her. Sammael, Rahvin and Lanfear all seemed so much more real to me. If Graendal is dead I really think that takes her off the "who killed Asmo" list. I just don't think the rveal wil carry enough weight. I agree with Leigh that it feels cheap that we didn't get to see a Gaendal confrontation.

I think rand in the story explained it perfectly with Graendal. She would never face him face to face. There would never be a face off because she was to itelligent to fight someone leagues stronger than her face to face. I look at the Megaton Balefire as a parallel to the atomic bomb. It may have been unecessary, but it was a means to an end, even though it was terrible one. Rand eradicating the palace in a smiliar manner was in his mind the only way to kill her. As he would never see her face to face and left unchecked could possibly use compulsion on a loved one of his.
Wilson Grooms
500. cps2195
alright folks just finished TGS this afternoon. Woot! Woot! I'm giddy with excitement at the chance to discuss it. If this goes long I apologize ahead of time. It's Halloween and I've been drinking.

First off, Thanks Leigh, Your commentary made me approach the book in a whole new way. There were instances early in the book were things that you've said really resonated with me. I finished my last read through about two months before Leigh's started (damn! can you believe it's been over 9 freaking months?) so I haven't had the opportunity to read WOT since reading everyone here's thoughts. My opnions and ideas were most definitely influenced by what I've read here. For examplw, the Semhirage spanking scene made me feel like BS & RJ were sticking there tongue out at Leigh. I think that says something about how well Leigh has her finger on the pulse of this story. Bravo Leigh! Bravo!

All right let's get it to it now. But when will it be now you ask? SOON. To the review:

Damn! after reading that I feel like I need a breather. I'm winded. That was like a heavyweight title fight. It took me about 300 pages to get into it but once I did that shit just knocked me dizzy.

In regards to the writing I have to say that there were instances were I felt I was reading BS and not RJ. In fact early in the book I visualized some characters differently then I had before. Maybe I'm a little older and in a different place then I was before...hell I wasn't married nor did I have any children (now I have two) when KOD was released. Maybe if I didn't know RJ died I wouldn't have noticed. But, I did. There were times when I felt like I was reading RJ and times I felt like I was reading BS. Hopefully one day we'll get BS to discuss it on his blog or maybe we'll get the book of annotations.

In some way's this book made me appreciate RJ's genius. While BS does a great job being subtle in his original titles I don't think he pulls it off as well in Randland.

Nonetheless, I loved this book. BS should be proud. I've spent 17 years reading and waiting...
and waiting.... and waiting to see how the story play's out. Some major plot lines get tied up here(Lews Therin, the AS rebellion etc..). I definitely felt ike the story is coming to a head.

Please don't get mad at me for the length....but, here are some specific thoughts:

Cadsuane: not as old as some people suspected. I think there is at least one member of the kin who is older. Most of the time in WOT we, as the reader sympathize with Rand. We,as the reader, get annoyed by everyone trying to manipulate him. In the TGS we are actually rooting for Cadsuane to succeed. We are shown that we don't always make the right move or decision sometimes other's do know best.

Rand: I think Leigh (or it could have possibly be one of the commentators)said something in the reread about Rand changing into more of a "force of nature" then a person about midway through the series. This book stresses that view. Rand is an UBER dick. He is in no way likable. He is still sympathetic (the dude has the weight of the world on his shoulders....literally.) I thought the scene where he talked about Lan and the diversion at the Gap bludgeoned us with this point. It seemed to lack the typical WOT subtlety.

Egwene: BADMOTHERFUCKIN'ASS! She carries this book. Right now she is my favorite WOT character. In a lot of ways her plot arc is a foil to Rand. She has to grow "harder" to endure her situation yet she does so without losing her humanity. She still has "trust" in others. She intuitively understands it's the "why" not the "what" that's important. We all so get one of the rare instances in WOT where we really see what a character can do with the One Power. I think up until this point we only get to see Rand (attacking the Seanchan with Callandor) due the whole "one man army" thing. Egwene is still too cool for lame ass Gawyn.

Verin: She freaking rocks. Thed best side character in WOT. This is a great to solve a major plot thread(the BA) in a relatively concise manner. I't nice to finally have an answer to the question so many had about the portal stones comment. How many years ago was that? Still I'm not sure she is completely dead. "the in case I do not return" comment made me wonder if she could be tied into the Moraine rescue.

Semi & Graendal: Cheap deaths in some regards. For me Semi never really pops. I guess she never get's enough screen time to make me really know her. Sammael, Rahvin and Lanfear all seemed so much more real to me. If Graendal is dead I really think that takes her off the "who killed Asmo" list. I just don't think the rveal wil carry enough weight. I agree with Leigh that it feels cheap that we didn't get to see a Gaendal confrontation.

Good to see her out of the picture but RJ & BS made me feel bad for her. I wanted her to get her comeuppance but not in that way. I actually felt *gasp* sympathetic with her. To me that seems like good writing. I do think she is gone from the series (much like Galina.) I think her rescue could possibly be in the Outrigger books (if they ever get written.)

Lwes Therin: In some parts of the book he is more likeable then Rand. He actually made me LOL. WOT did a great job of making the reader live the insanity. One of the major discussions in the WOT community focused around whether or not the "voice" was real or not. Well its nice to finaly now that it was just a manifestation of Rand's conscience.

Towards the end we get to see some growth from the AS and even from Gawyn. It seems like RJ & BS are trying to show the reader what can happen when we communicate and trust each other.

well I have a lot more thoughts but seeing as hwo long this has run I'll wait till later.
Wilson Grooms
506. Doomriders
This post moving is throwing me off quite a bit. I double posted thinking my post earlier was not posted :( I am sorry for that guys.

I assume you are referring to Rand's escape from the sad bracelets and you meant the "True Power", i.e. a separate power that would not be blocked by the a'dam. How do you account for the black aura around Rand that comes right after this incident? It seems to me that the text makes it pretty clear that Rand accessed the True Power (the DO's power). The consensus seems to be that Rand accessed it through his connection with Moridin, which in turn stemmed from the crossed balefire incident at the end of ACoS.

While we're on the subject of Moridin: I too was amazed that he let out that important secret to Rand. (I'm talking about the fact that balefire prevents a Forsaken from being recycled.) Upon further reflection it occurred to me: Moridin/Ishamael may not be immune to Rand's ta'veren pull. We've certainly seen a lot of others let out secrets in Rand's presence.

I know it was most likely the DO, but I enjoy balance in stories, yet a lot of high fantasy only ever shows the evil side having a hand in the issues of the world. While the good half merely just stands back and says I win regardless to bad for you it is foretold.

I looked at it in the sense of Moridin loathes Rand, Yet he cares not for the rest of the forsaken. Especially since he is Nae'blis(sp?)and wants no interference with his hated rival at Shayol Ghul. So he gave him a means to eliminate the others so it could be Mono E Mono.
Bill Reamy
507. BillinHI
bluecansam: I screwed up: TGS is not available for the Kindle. Winston Churchill wrote a book also titled "The Gathering Storm" and it's listed just below the prologue and I didn't look closely enough at that entry. Sorry about that. Come to think about it, I believe the WoT e-books are just now being released. TEotW is available and they will release each book in order each month, so TGS will not be available until next year. Mea culpa.
508. Freelancer
Aye Aye Sedai@483

Hmm. Cadsuane was always about getting Rand back to his humanity. She saw that he was too hard, and that him facing the Dark One that way would be worse than losing. She had the right goal. I believe that she felt she could trick him into moving her way though, and that wasn't wise.

Every poster on here has a right to their opinion

Nobody said they didn't...
Hey forkroot, who cares for your condescending crapola

Oh, wait, someone did. You.


::high five:: You go!


Regarding the balefire. I was already corrected on the same point. Having died by balefire doesn't preclude a soul from rebirth. It does prevent the Dark One from getting his hands on that soul for his own personal reincarnation method, due to timing issues.

I don't believe that Rand will give over all governmental administration to the Seanchan. But he will alter his demands of accomodation with them, and make a truce with Fortuona after all. I'll bet that Mat's next meeting with Rand, whenever that is, will have something to do with it. I wonder what Verin would have done with the knowledge that Mat was now a Seanchan prince.

Uhh, TOR? What happened? Comment sequence is currently:

I could see if a post or two were deleted for some reason, but rearranged order, that's spooky.


Looks like forkroot@502 is poking you with a sharp stick there.


Cadsuane is between 295-305 years old. I think that has been fairly common knowledge for some time. At least, references to her in both the encyclopaedia-wot and the Seven Spokes Chronology see it that way, giving her birth year as 705NE.
About Lews Therin, I have to disagree. He was a separate personality, which has now been assimilated by Rand. Given what has taken place up to now, would it not naturally seem, at that point, that he must not have really been there at all? The pain of Lews Therin, his guilt and anguish, are what prevented them from "joining" previously. Once he was able to answer his "why", and realized that Ilyena was not gone forever, but would have her own chance to live another life, he was able to let go, and Rand was able to absorb him fully. The question now is, does that give Rand access to all of the ancient memories? Then he'll know exactly what went wrong at Shayol Ghul, and with Min's imminent discoveries from her books, will be able to do the job right.
Wilson Grooms
509. QuantumEve
A couple thoughts on how the three become one vision will play out.

While I appreciate the idea of Rand channeling Callandor with Elayne and Avi, isn't Elayne going to be having her babies right around TG? If so, she won't be doing much channeling since she hasn't been able to touch saidar. Although I might be off on the timeline and how far alng she is. I'll admit I lost track of her timeline in this book, but it threw me off that Melaine was only just showing. I thought she got pregnant way before Elayne.

If anyone can clear up the timeline for me, I'd appreciate it.

I like the idea someone mentioned that the three will be Rand, Nyn and Moraine. It seems fitting somehow.
Wilson Grooms
510. dobby100
silvina is mesana what do you think?
Wilson Grooms
511. Leah J
I agree with your review, especially Egwene be the most awesome plot arc in the book and my current favorite character. Her scenes were what MADE this book! Gahh, it's about damned time.
512. Freelancer
I do not believe that Mesaana as Silviana would have stood up for Egwene against Elaida. It is clear to anyone in the Tower by now that Elaida's unstable behavior is serving Ruin, er, Chaos, while Egwene's actions are moving toward the restoration of Tower unity. Also, Silviana is well known, has been around for quite some time, and would be much harder to imitate successfully.
Wilson Grooms
513. UK Chris
Leigh, I was really surprised at what was (or wasn't) in your *headdesk* moments. I thought for sure Rand's use of Compulsion on Tuon was going to be first on the list. When I read that, I thought, "Yeah, this is what she meant!"

Overall, great book. The first 1/2 I was kind of like, "What do Leigh and Jason mean that a bunch of stuff happens?!" Then I read the other half and I was just floored. The Cadsuane exile thing really caught me by surprise. Two Forsaken being taken out was pretty big, and the Sheriam/Verin reveal had me talking out loud at the book. And on the whole "Saidared" thing -- yeah, that was pure Brandon, but I laughed out loud, as I still thought it was reasonable for Mat to say (except for the fact that in a world where technology isn't at such a fast growth rate -- and by extension knowledge isn't either -- the use of words outside of their standard use would be rare). But I still laughed, so HA!

Love the reviews -- thanks so much Leigh!
Wilson Grooms
514. UK Chris
Oh, two other things:
1. Doesn't Gareth or Siuan or SOMEONE know that Gaebril was Rahvin? That dead horse of Gawyn's needs to get burned.

2. Did anyone else understand what Light Eater (that Tuon mentioned she would give to the Dragon) is?
Helen Peters
515. Helen
@444 forkroot
I agree, but please remember the discussion back on the re-read threads where we learnt everyone's first language wasn't English. Even though the dodgy writing really grates sometimes, it's a damn sight better than my writing of any foreign language so I put up with it.

That said, how do you get firefox to underline spelling errors?

Back to Verin, the letters and the BA oath not to betray the DO until the hour of your death (OK not quite worded right). She gave the letter to Mat and had more in her pouch. How about they were for different people. Those people she's going to find in the next 10 days after dropping Mat off in Caemlyn. Then on day 10 when she's distributed all her instructions she goes to the tower, takes the poison and drops dead in front of Eg. At that point all the recipients open their letters as instructed. She's just condemned the DO at the hour of her death. Any thoughts?

@422 khouk
Sorry, I cannot accept your argument against mine. That's a threat against lifestyle not life. For your argument to hold up AS would be able to use the OP against a cutpurse who'd stolen their last coin as it would put them into penury until they could contact the tower and get some more.
I still think the 3rd oath gives them no defence (now that they know the seanchan don't kill damane) against being collared without being threatened.

Edit for typo
Maiane Bakroeva
516. Isilel
Loved the book! The state of eagerness that Leigh's WoT re-read put me in wasn't wasted. Sanderson did a great job.

I particularly loved Rand's story arc. Now, I am generally a fan of dark gritty fantasy and while IMHO it would have been even more powerful if Rand actually _killed_ somebody close to him, it made me genuinely fear for him.
Which is not a mean feat for a series that skirts irrevocable negative consequences as hard as WoT does and is as riddled with true prophecies of a happy end. Kudos.

It was also a pleasure to finally see a truly clever and nearly successful Forsaken plot - which also retroactively rehabilitates many seemingly stupid Shadow's actions from the previous volumes.

And BTW, IMHO conflicting Seanchan and Randland Prophecies of the Dragon are clearly Ishy's work as well, designed to provoke irreconcilable conflict between them and the DR. One or both of them are very likely false.

And my very personal headdesk - Rand is _still_ listening to Ishy much more than to people who are on his side.
Hm..., Rand why don't you stop and think _why_ Ishy would tell you about Dark reincarnation and balefire?

Anyway, folks who guessed long ago that Rand using balefire would be more destructive to the Pattern than random Forsaken doing the same were absolutely right.
That's why Ishydin preferred to leave the access ter'angreal with Rand rather than doing some Pattern-annihilation himself.

Egwene's arc was also very good, except that Sanderson tried to accentuate her awesomeness a little too hard. There was a little too much fawning directed at her and put downs/dumbing downs of other characters to make her look better.
Which was entirely unnecessary IMHO, because Egwene really was great and just showing her in action would have been preferable.
Liked the hint that she is a Hero of the Horn during the battle with Seanchan. I always suspected it.

BTW, I kind of wonder about her decision to seize SAS BAs before moving on Tar Valon. Wouldn't it have been wiser to wait until she could cleanse them all in one fell swoop? Or was the danger of BA somehow sabotaging her storming of TV and preventing reunification too great? TAS BAs were still free to act, though.
It was a great relief though that somebody didn't fool around with captive DFs until they could do more damage and/or escape, but just executed them. High time, I say!

Verin - great of course. I loved both her chapters and of course her life's work is completely MoA. However, some questions remain.
I.e., for instance, why she felt that she couldn't wait with her revelations for a day or two and search for Mesaana a little longer, not to mention make sure that Egs was in position to act on the information. Was somebody from the Shadow on to her?
Also, would the Oath Rod have actually solved her problems? The Shadow seems to have ways of always finding fugitive DFs, even if they are non-channelers.
Maybe that's why she didn't wait/try harder to get it - she knew that Oaths on the Rod here or there, she was doomed.
Dying of poison in Egs room could have also caused the latter serious difficulties, however, and I don't understand why Verin didn't give Egs her angreal either. Will it now be lost wherever Meidani dumped the body?

Re: souls of those sworn to the Shadow, IIRC RJ said that the DO only punishes his minions to improve their behavior or to state examples for other minions, he isn't into pointless revenge. So, I imagine that he wouldn't actually bother to grab souls of those he doesn't urgently need and they'll have the same chance of being reborn and rectifying their mistakes as everybody else. Not that they know it, of course.

Siuan - I really loved her chapters, except for where she was dumbed down to make Egs look better. Great interactions with Bryne - another favorite character.
I don't get the whole "let's marry when the world is saved" though, since chances of surviving until then wouldn't be high and even if, the world will continue to need saving after TG too, what with chaos, starvation, need to repair the Pattern, etc.
Seize the day, I say. Those 2 should have been wise enough to do so.

BTW, I also think that Egs "rescue" was entirely reasonable and that Egs fury at Siuan is rather unjust. Maybe Siuan should have stopped to revive Egs when she saw that Egs had a sa'angreal, but then, if Egs was too exhausted to stop them from taking her along, was she in any position to offer leadership to TAS? And lying there alone with left-over Seanchan possibly still prowling around was just too dangerous.

Mat - his chapters were relatively pointless, but funny, even though the tone was different.
I really enjoyed the fleshing out of Talmanes, a minor character whom I have always liked. Didn't feel OoC to me at all. We already knew that Cahirienin don't open up easily, but once their reserve is gone, they go the whole way.
Thom's as well.
And Aludra's. Frankly, I always thought that Mat had much more chemistry with Aludra (or even Elayne) than he did with Tuon.

Gotta run, more thoughts later.
Wilson Grooms
517. cthedges
@UK Chris 514
I think Lighteater would be the Seanchan name for the DO.

I havent read all the comments but does anyone know what the sword with the dragon scabbard that Rand finds so familiar is all about?
Wilson Grooms
518. Krafka
Some thoughts (in no particular order):

1.Overall - loved the book. While I would always have preferred to have RJ finish his story, I agree with several people that the writing had become flat since ACoS. I was grateful for the reduction of braid tugging and repetitive commentary on the differences between men and women.

2.Who wrote what? As curious as I am, I never want to know which parts are RJ and which parts are BS. We will never know what AMoL (all three final books) would have been if RJ had written it. We do know he left copious notes so that the basic story can be told. Frankly, if Harriet, Tor, or BS reveal which portions were "filled" by BS, it will only lead to discussions about "canon"

3.Rand. Finally, forward movement on Rand's story (vs. Rand Plot line). The final chapter was a great step forward in his personal story. Although it skirted the edge of "love conquers all" and will save the world, it stayed on this side of the shark without jumping it. I desperately hope that the 3-1/Callandor stuff doesn't lead to a Elayne/Min/Aviendha jumbled "love conquers all and saves the world" ending.

4.Item 3 notwithstanding. The entire Elayne/Min/Aviendha storyline needs some raison d'etre.

5.Mat's story. Everything that happened to Mat could have happened while traveling to Ghenji and saving Moiraine. Since none of the sisters with whom he's traveling can travel, Moiraine's return or failure to return (her note to Thom suggest that it is only a possibility that she can be saved) did not have to affect any of the other stories, yet. In the context of Rand's story, the reader's knowledge of Moiraine's actual death or nearness to him would have added to the conflict, as the other characters (Rand, Nynaeve, Siuan, etc) thought about how her presence could/would alter their current situation. There had better be a good reason for Mat's story to have limped along - Verin's note needs to fill a very specific role which would require delaying the attempt to save Moiraine.

Some stuff I want to see in the remaining two books, but probably won't:

1. Redemption. Characters seem to all be either good or evil. Verin's warder seems to be the only character to have strayed and is trying to return to the light (Verin herself - as awesome as her story is, is not a story of redemption). However, I don't want to see the salvation-pulled-from-the-edge-of-defeat moment absurd like Ish/Moridin deciding to turn on the DO. A pivotal, SINGLE redemption needs to occur. Isn't redemption a form of second chance, just as reincarnation is?

2. Elaida. Stupid, venal, selfish...but never, NEVER black ajah. After some time as a damane, she would be a perfect candidate for redemption (see above). As it is, her story ends much the same way as Galina - frankly, it's exactly the same as Galina, including the name change to a diminutive pet name. In an upcoming battle with the forces of the DO, it would be great to have a leashed Elaida, changed from her time as damane, do something to save the WT or Egwene, as the embodiment of the WT, with a knowing glance.

3. Someryn (un)leashed. As the Shaido leave, Therava scoops up Galina, but there is no sign of Someryn. We know that the Seanchan have taken many WO as damane. Women as strong as Someryn are few and far between and we now know that damane cannot link and form circles. Would love to see a leashed Someryn go toe-to-toe with Moghedian with Liandrin holding the leash. After an epic battle, in which Someryn wins, she is freed after being shielded by a circle of AS serving Rand (or perhaps Nynaeve and/or Alivia) and Liandrin finally, finally gets nailed.

4. Siuan and Leane healed. I just really want this for some reason. Their stories could not move forward if they had retained their former strengths. A Siuan who stood as high as Lelaine or Romanda would never have be drawn to Bryne. What we're likely to see is an offer to heal them, which Leane accepts, but Siuan does not - since she has "found what she is looking for" outside being AS. Maybe since she has now found Bryne, Siuan can have her full strength back - wishful thinking.

5. A Two Rivers Reunion special with previously unaired clips and interviews. Seriously, I would enjoy a scene where the original gang from the Two Rivers quietly retell their stories to each other. Their friendships drive huge portions of the story. It would be a nice gimme to put them all back together after the crisis and enjoy their friendship and company WITHOUT having to watch them grieve one of their fallen friends who sacrificed himself or herself. What I'm afraid we'll get is this scene with a toast to Rand who gave up his life to save the world (followed by a scene with him quietly walking away with a smile on his face with Min), even as they rejoice in his being able to tell the tale of their father to his kids by Elayne and Aviendha - whom they vow will grow up as "first sisters" and who will know the sacrifice their father made.
Kelly Houk
519. conanoxen

I'm not exactly sure how it is going to happen, but there is no way that Rand is going to be Permanently dead. Unless he is the most potent man in the world and with one sexual act produces multiple children for Aviendha.

But also, another prophecy was fulfilled in TGS. The one about the blind man standing on top of his grave shall have his eyes opened. (Bad translation) But it was started when Rand was blinded by his becoming too hard. Then fulfilled when he (LTT reborn) was standing on LTT's grave(Dragonmount) and becoming aware of himself once more.
John Massey
520. subwoofer
Must make comments before I forget again what I wanted to say...

@Free-s'okay- you made the point earlier that everyone is entitled to an opinion, so let 'er rip. As others can post as they see fit on this blog, so can I. Meh. I know better than to drink forkroot;)

@Tor people- bubble of evil for the post numbers- see what happens when you do not celebrate milestones!;P

@Isilel- couldn't agree more. It seems to me that there was a fair bit of dumbing down of characters around Eggy to make her shine more. It is like the collective I.Q. of the sisters dropped to room temperature as of late. Relying on "you can't speak that way to a Sister" more than any reasonably logical argument. And it wasn't nec. Eggy is awesome, the collective Sisters retardation just sped up the process.

Totally get Siuan's motivation too. What good is an Amrylin if she is dead or Stilled? Seanchan death or AS Stilling. End result is the loss of Eggy and Siuan could not take that chance.

Everyone seems to be retarded around Rand too. Some characters were written in just for exposition and were very flat. Stretches the bounds of ta'veren. Rhuarc is not "the stuff" anymore, and the Maidens seem to just take Rand's attitude now without giving him some back.

My disappointment lies in the way that BS makes Mat less of a douche. Mat's doucheness is what I, personally love about him. He seems all growed up now:(

I am also a bit put off by the end of the two female Forsaken. I was gunning for a battle against some AS here. See a Green, like Caddy wade in and smack Semi around. Chapter 1 was leading up to that, then the spanking crap came about and I was wanting a measure of redemption for that. IMHO, it was building up to conflict with the "no torturing the women" stuff from Rand. In the end, I understand the motivation of turning Rand to the Dark Side by getting him to touch the True Source, but I personally wanted a Forsaken beat down.

Will rant more later...

F Shelley
521. FSS
@519 - I agree Rand will live again after his Death at TG. I posted before (on a re-read thread) that I think he's tied to the Horn of Valere, and since Nynaeve never forgets a weave she seen once, and since she saw Birgitte get thrown out of T'A'R, she will find Rand in T'A'R after TG and send him out onto the Pattern again, sans wounds, missing limbs, blindness, and madness.

On the other hand, I'm thinking the "something strange" about Avi's 4 children will be that some of them will be adopted first children (possibly ELayne's after she dies)...
522. fcentauri8
I loved the book.

I have never hated Rand (my favorite character most of the time), I just feel sorry for him. I do disagree with some of his decisions like talking about Lan's death serving him outloud, and his treatment of Hurin. I thought the use o balefire on Graendal's city was a great plan, and I hope he continues to use balefire to eliminate all forsaken (avoiding other casualties when possible). It has bad side effects but if all the foresaken just come back when balefire isn't used.....what's the other more effective option? He should just do what needs to be done even if it means killing women...like Lanfear. I want Rand to apologize to Tam and Hurin in the next book. It's great that Rand's downward spiral has ended. Now Cadsuane can go and die somewhere..... I detest the idea of Rand being in a circle that he can't control (with Callandor).

Egwene (I like her as long as she doesn't mess with Rand. If she does, let her die)

Verin rocked.

Fucking Fortuona...

I want Moiraine back!

Gawyn really needs to meet Morgase, so they can talk.

Looking forward to the civil war in the black tower too. I bet it will be ridiculous, unless that battle is just part of Tarmon Gaidon. Here's to hoping for a Dumai's Wells times a hundred for Tarmon Gaidon.

I can't wait for Towers of Midnight!!! I feel like an addict without a fix now :(
Mark Stokes
523. Mark_S
Dang we need threads. So much to discuss. First Faile. Nice comeback, after hating you for a couple of books you managed to erase that in a few short paragraphs. Then sealed it by staying away for the rest of the book. Keep up the good work!
john mullen
524. johntheirishmongol

It may be that the whole point of Min/Elayne/Avienda was to give Rand someone to love so that he would be human again. I do feel he will be doing a whole lot of apologizing for being a jerk (I had other words in mind but I am a gentleman) which might get old pretty fast.

I hope destroying the Chodan Kal takes care of the Moridin connection. I thought that was what the light on top of dragonmount indicated.
Patrick Huff
525. pattack
I was talking about the Asha'man directly inside the Tower, not the entire compound. We know that Taim's closest followers are inside the Black tower itself, but the place is huge. I don't think he has corrupted the entire farm, village, town, whatever it is.
Lindy Brown
526. lbrown
47.5 hours of reading and I'm now done with the book (I finished yesterday afternoon). I read so much on Thursday that I gave myself a headache but I considered it all worth it.

The events that I am most disappointed about not seeing in this book were the Tower of Ghenjei/Rescuing of Moiraine and the gloriful reunion of the 3 Super Boys. Of course, the reunion probably would not have been gloriful if it had happened in this book but now has a chance of being gloriful in the next book, so there's that. I kept wondering if Mat was going to get to the Tower of Ghenjei in this book but as I kept reading I saw that that was not going to happen. Oh, well. What happened in this book more than compensated for the lack of Mat awesomeness.

Anyway, I generally thought Brandon did VERY WELL with this book. There were certain conversations, certain words here and there, that I thought were probably Brandon's but I hadn't considered that entire scenes might be entirely his until I read this post. Interesting. I agree with many that have said that they considered this book to be virtually seamless. (Brandon, on his blog, mentioned a possibility of releasing a statement (or whatever) detailing what was his and what was Robert Jordan's when all 3 books had come out. I'm not if I want to read about that or not. It might destroy the illusion.)

Anyway, that being said, I did find the POVs of Mat and Nynaeve to be just a little off. They didn't seem as natural to me as say, Egwene's. Egwene's POVs were perfect. I would not be surpised to learn that Jordan wrote all of Egwene's POVs (even though that's not very likely.)Aviendha's POVs were spot on, too. Pretty much everyone else's POVs seemed that way, too, so I really have to applaud Brandon Sanderson. And I also applaud him for Mat's and Nynaeve's POVs, as well. While they were a little bit off, I didn't view them as a major problem in enjoying their stories.
Tess Laird
527. thewindrose
The 13/13 trick - I think we will see it with the Reds that went to the BT. Pevara, Javindhra, Tarna, Jezrail, Melare. I think it has been aluded to too much not to be used. My hopes that it can be undone, I know a lot of us like Pevara.

There are a ton of allegories aluded to with 3 (Authurian, Christainity ect), however the True Power is bad, and I don't see that being tied into any good out come.

I thought Fortuona's thoughts interesting when she first met with Rand. She met with him as the DotNM, and therefore as an equal. After the meeting she said: "I am the Empress". Before this she could meet with Rand as an equal, and that was why she waited. Now becuase of her and her peoples beliefs, she will be above him as Empress. I am looking forward to see how this is played out. I think Mat will be at the next meeting, and Rand has grown accustomed to people thinking they are his betters, only to quickly turn the tables on those people.

With the Seanchan having Traveling now, will she have the Crystal Throne retrieved? With Rands Ta'verness and strenghth will it work? (Sigh, we have to wait another year to find out.)
Maiane Bakroeva
528. Isilel
Fcentauri8 @522:

I thought the use o balefire on Graendal's city was a great plan, and I hope he continues to use balefire to eliminate all forsaken (avoiding other casualties when possible).

Umm, yea, balefire destroys the Pattern, particularly when used by the Dragon Reborn and in large quantities. That mass food spoilage in Arad Doman was probably the direct result of the balefiring of Graendal's compound. Ishy didn't give Rand this bit of advice because he has humanity's best interests in mind, you know?

OK, to continue my thoughts:

Nynaeve - great. Her defense of Mat seemed to be a bit over the top, but then Nyn never does anything by halves. I love how she is still hot-tempered, though. And how very, very brave and dedicated, despite her anguish over Lan. Her time with Daigian was very touching, too.

Perrin - continues to be dull, sadly. I don't see why we couldn't have seen good stuff with him instead - like meeting with Whitecloaks and Morgase's reveal, and why they were "spoiled" like that for us.

Faile - props for finally taking care of the super-annoying Masema, having a non-irritating mourning scene for Mera'din and then vanishing.

Aviendha - liked the sympathetic insight into Aiel mindset since they started to mightily tick me off some volumes ago. May have been drawn out a bit, but generally nice. Interestingly enough, it is Avi's pride and obsession with personal honor that keeps her back for so long.

Of course, it is a bit silly that she is considered to be "ready" when training of WOs normally goes on for years and most of it isn't even channeling. There is no way that she could know a fraction of what WOs normally do, what with her constantly being around Rand or wandering off to hang out with SGs. But maybe it doesn't matter, with all impending huge changes. She is supposed to be the bridge, clearly.

BTW, with Aiel not standing up to Rand anymore - it is actually a sign that they are close to giving up on him. A very dangerous sign, indeed.

Cadsuane is a character whom I have always disliked, but her POV made her much more interesting and sympathetic.

Ditto Gawyn, who, while still a huge idiot in his POV, is actually quite realistic and human. Not to mention that it gave Bryne opportunity to shine.

Tuon was very well written and gets props for resisting Rand's ta'verenness and general thoughtfulness, except of course for her stubborn refusal to review her views on channelers and people being property.
I now suspect that she is all the more unreasonable because she is a sul'dam. Intelligent non-channelers like Egeanin and Tylee had no personal motivation to cling to old ways, but Tuon has a very powerful one.

I am also surprised that nobody protests the collaring of channelers, even feebly. I mean, they may not like AS, but most who get collared are village Wisdoms and the like. I.e. people who play very important and integral roles in communities. The Wise Women of Ebu Dar were pretty much revered by the populace, right?
So why didn't Beslan bring it up, however weakly? And for that matter, shouldn't sicknesses be on the rise in Seanchan-held territories as a result? Shouldn't some people blame the lack of spring growth on the lack of Wisdoms (or equivalent) listening to the wind?
Additionally, lack of general oppression and tyranny as well as internecine fighting that Seanchan believe free channelers to inevitably engage in should have puzzled some of them, no?

More later.
Wilson Grooms
529. draven27
Is anyone else annoyed with the word "politicking" showing up a few times in this book? Other than that and Mat not seeming quite right the book was awesome. Cant wait for the next one.
Lindy Brown
530. lbrown
@ 49. Planeswalker
(That line though that says "there never was a Lews Therin inside him" made me think that Leigh was really right. It was only memories from LTT and not a separate entity. Though, earlier he also mentioned "second chance". Oh well, Brandon should have been more specific with this. Debates are on again.)

I thought that the debates would be over. It clearly says that Lews Therin had never been there in the first place. To me, that defintely clears up this issue. Rand realized that Lews Therin was him and there had never been a separate entity from himself in his head. Now, I believe Rand accepts that Lews Therin is him and also Lews Therin's experiences are his, as well, that's why he had the "second chance" thought.

One interesting thing from that scene that I latched onto was Rand's thought that if he is alive again after commiting suicide 3000 years ago, Ilyena might be alive again, too.

I wonder if Rand is now going to go looking for Ilyena, or realize one of his girls is she.
Bill Reamy
531. BillinHI
Krafka @518: Not sure how I feel about your opinion that Verin's story is not one of redemption. On one hand, I don't think she needed redemption since she was forced into the BA and did it with the purpose of spying on them for Team Light. If that's what you meant, then I wholeheartedly agree. On the other hand, if you considered her a true DF, then she definitely redeemed herself at the end. Egwene's statement that her soul was pure white is right on. Also on the Two Rivers Reunion Special: that would make an absolutely epic epilogue to the final book! But you're probably right in that we won't get to see it. :(

FSS @521: Wow! Hadn't thought about that! (Nyn pulling Rand back out of TAR) But I certainly agree he will live after dying, one way or another.
Lindy Brown
532. lbrown
@ 49. Planeswalker

Graendal - i think she's dead. But wow, no body? no fight?

Greandal's end, while a little unfulfilling, is probably the only way to realistically do it. We've been told numerous times that Greandal will not fight Rand and will run if she thinks he's anywhere near her. So this was the only way to defeat her without risking her running somewhere else and then Rand would have have to find her all over again.
Wilson Grooms
533. .benja
I agree with everybody who thought that Verin was awesome. Awesome, awesome, AWESOME!!!

But am I the only one except Wolfmage @ 52 who thinks that we learned about two BA oaths? Don't betray the Dark One, and, separately, don't betray your secrets until the hour of your death? 'cuz, that, like, makes a difference? Especially taking into account Verin's explanation of how you can betray your fellow darkfriends, the Chosen... presumably the entire Black Ajah... as long as you don't betray the Great Lord himself? I don't doubt Verin's a Lightfriend at heart, but unless I'm missing something obvious that makes it just one oath, I shudder to think how she's justified her actions to herself.

Also, I think Egwene's public gushing about Verin may be followed by some reveals about the actions Verin thinks can't be redeemed by anything pithy and easy like killing yourself to see the Black Ajah destroyed.

Oh, on why the loophole: If I understood Verin correctly, all darkfriends swear the same oaths, only when you swear them on the Oath Rod, they're quite literally binding -- my guess is that the wording long predates them being sworn on the OR, and nobody thought the loophole sufficiently important to mess with the standard DO-approved oaths.
Wilson Grooms
534. DRock
I thought that all in all, it was an amazing book. If you look at the previous RJ book, the excitement usually happened within the last 100 pages, with the rest building up to that point. In TGS, nearly every chapter has very exciting happenings that lead to greater events either in this book or future ones. I especially liked the last scene with Rand destroying the male Choedan Kal.

I am left with one main question of many though: where is Demandred?????

There is debate as to whether he is really Taim and leads the Black Tower, but no solid evidence. Demandred is probably Rand's biggest rival at this point in time, and maybe has always been. But where is he???
Wilson Grooms
535. cps2195
Freelancer @ 508:

Maybe you read that chapter differently then I did but the Line: "For they were not two men and never had been." To me seemed to be saying that the voice was not Lews Therin but rather a manifestation of Rand's madness and conscience. It was a means for him to deal with his predicament. I think it is similar to split personality disorder. Sometimes people create a distinct personality to deal with a trauma that leaves them broken. The pressure and trauma Rand faces broke him. I really enjoyed the fact that LTT became more likable and Rand less so throughout this book. The harder Rand became the more human LTT became. The memories are real but Rand locked them away in the LTT personality.
Patrick Huff
536. pattack
Okay People, consider this. I have researched this a little and I think their is some credibility to the arguement I am about to make.

Mazrim Taim was introduced in the 4th chapter of TGH. This is well after the first of the forsaken had been freed of the weakened bore. He did a little damage in Saldaea, then was captured by red sisters. He escaped his capture and was followed by Davram Bashere to Andor. Min has had viewings regarding both men and both are dark and for all intent and porpose bad news.

I think Mazrim Taim is one of the forsaken in disguise. The best guess is Demandred, although this is debatable and Bashere is a plant by the forsaken to keep a close eye on Rand.

The borderlanders are a front to guard the Black Tower from the west ( mainly The White Tower) and a deal has been struck with the daughter Heir in the East. Why they are in Far Madding is a question I have no answer for, unless they feel that the White Tower divided is no longer a threat and they have considered the Seanchan a bigger one.

I don't know if this has already been discussed, but I find the actions of Taim to be a little more than a false dragon could muster on his own. Tell me what you think?
Patrick Huff
537. pattack
Morridin sure is a helper, setting up both chicks to take a big fall.
Wilson Grooms
538. cps2195

I thought the Taimendred theories were pretty well put to rest. I don't remember all the evidence off hand but I'm sure one of our resident WOT scholars can enlighten us.
Brandon Wood
539. brad21088
The weirdest part of reading this book for me was that it was cloudy all week, but didn't rain, until last night, when I finished the book. You know, the part where the storm breaks in the book as well. I realize it's just coincidence, but coincidence can be freaky! haha

I definitely agree that Verin's last hour was, by far, the best scene in the book. My second favorite scene was the Seanchan attack on the WT, where Egwene is blasting to'raken from the sky. Her mental dialogue, and the way the book describes her, is just pure awesomeness. I enjoyed Aviendha's POV chapters, but I knew exactly what she was doing "wrong" waaaay too early (you know, how she had to stand up to the Wise Ones to be a Wise One). I don't know if that's a bad thing, though. It might just mean that I'm starting to understand the Aiel, which is cool and creepy at the same time.

I'm so conflicted about the Seanchan. They bring stability, yes, but those who give up personal liberty for safety deserve neither, and all that.

Oh, biggest annoyance in TGS: THERE'S STILL NO MOIRAINE. She was one of my favorite characters, I've been waiting FOREVER for her to come back, and I have to wait for the next book?!?! DAMMIT!!! I realized towards the end of the book that we wouldn't be getting to the Tower of Ghenjei, because there wasn't enough of the book left to have a fully fleshed out adventure with Mat there. :( Oh, speaking of Mat, hey, zombies in Hinderstap. I've been generally annoyed with the whole "bubbles of evil" thing, because it makes the series more of a mystery religion type of deal, but as far as bubbles of evil go, the Hinderstap one was well done. Food spoiling is lame (but, of course, effective), but people randomly melting into super hot charcoal is just stupid. Although I did like Aviendha's awesome reaction. But, I'm rambling.

Oh, last thing that bothered me: it makes no sense that so many in the Black Ajah escaped. I really want to see Egwene personally smack-down Alviarin, and I want to know how they all knew they were being hunted. Oh, and... WHO THE HELL IS MESAANA??? Grrr, I hate waiting.

Anyway, great book, couldn't put it down, etc etc. I can certainly see why the "last book" was split into three. We need one more book to tie up the last of the hanging plotlines, and one more to actually get everything going with the Last Battle. And the Last Battle itself is sure to take a few chapters. Good job, Mr. Jordan, and good job to Brandon Sanderson as well.
Helen Peters
541. Helen
@536 and 538
Go see Leigh's comment at 388

539. brad21088
How The TAS BA escaped: one or maybe more of the 20 SAS BA who escaped went and warned their 'heart' who spread the news. They did have the best part of the day while Eg was massing her armies and waiting for that extra hour.
F Shelley
542. FSS
Hi guys - hate to rain on your parade, but the whole "Taim is Demandred" thing was debated ad naseum (with most thinking he was, including me) right up until Robert Jordan was asked and he said straight out: He isn't.


Remember, the first step of WoT scholarship is check the FAQ.

Unless you're lazy like me, in which case go ahead and whip it right out there (the theory in question, that is).
Wilson Grooms
543. Jeff Dougan
I'm only through comment 194, after not getting to start the book until Friday morning and needing to deal with things like trick-or-treating with my 4-year-old. That said, a few things that stuck out to me and that I have not seen commented on in the parts I've gotten through:

- In the brief Masema POV, I think that's the "Events to the south had Demandred's mark all over them." Seems Dem was impersonating Rand to Masema & corrupting the Prophet.

- Also seems to me that Faile's soldiers in that little excursion were the members of the Cha Faile.

- Looking forward to seeing Egwene & Rand meet, since the Dragon Reborn will "know anger."

- Wow, we were wrong on who Mesaana was likely to be. None of the names on Egwene's list was among the likely candidates.
Patrick Huff
544. pattack
OK, so Taim is not a forsaken, but you have to admit the proximity of his arrival and the loosening of the bore is too much coincidence. If he is not a forsaken then he is definately in close contact with one. I myself believe Demandred is in Shara. It would explain his absence from the battlefield so far.

I'm sure he will poke his hook nose, unsmiling head somewhere in the near future.
Kelly Houk
545. conanoxen
I agree, Demandred was leading Masema astray. But that doesn't explain who his army is. I'm not so sure that it is the Borderlander's. I still think he has a connection to the Black Tower. Since he was a direct rival to LTT, used to be best friend. He may decide to have his own Band of 100, ala the Black Tower.
someone else
546. Naraoia
Of course, if they did gain travelling, which I guess we don't know (yet), that tips the scale to their side.
Well, they do have Elaida, who can Travel...

Jeff Dougan@543 Well, the likely candidates not being on the list probably just means that she's still successfully hiding in the Tower. Verin couldn't figure out who she was, and when Egwene made everyone re-swear, Mesaana could completely honestly say that she wasn't a Darkfriend, since Forsaken don't think of themselves as mere Darkfriends. (Although SusanB@419 beat me to that point)

BTW, let me join the Verin lovers. OK, I was an idiot and spoiled the reveal by reading a random message board post before I was finished with the book, but it still hit me like a tram in the chest when I actually read the scene. "By the way, that dress you are wearing is green" = best line ever.

(Although it does make me wonder about sarcasm - someone somewhere explained that AS can use sarcasm so long as they think everyone listening knows they are doing it. Egwene knows her dress isn't green, and Verin knows that she knows, so wouldn't that line classify as Oath-compatible by the same logic?)

I can't wait to see how the new Rand works out once he comes off the mountain. The Rand in *this* book was positively creepy.
Wilson Grooms
547. J Hill
Well done! Well done! I'm delighted with the book. Perfect companion for sleepless nights w/ the flu.
There were only a couple of slow places - could happen to any book, any time. Otherwise, exceptionally well done! Like the perfect steak, eh?

I am delighted to find my extended family... Egwene, Rand, Cadsuane, et al.... in fine fettle & moving toward Tarmon Gai'don. Onward!

Now, would someone please get those next two volumes published so I can get some closure?????
j p
548. sps49
pattack @504-

I am not the only one who is sure that Taim was originally intended by RJ to be Demandred, but changed his mind. No, not to flip off the fandom, but because having it figured out so soon ruined a late reveal or something.

Cleaning the Black Tower is going to be tough; no vaporizing one person or building can be used because Rand wants and needs the non-Dark Asha'"men".

I still think the food spoilage was related to Rand and the True Power. He only used it once, but I think he held it several times, similar to females glowing when embracing saidar but not actively channeling.

I also don't understand why he is thought to draw the TP via his Moridin link- if so, he should also be able to draw saidin via Moridin, which he actually knows how to use. What makes sense to me is that the DO put him in a position with Semirhage where his only options would be drawing the highly addictive and very evil True Power or allowing his hads to be used to kill Min.

And it almost worked.

I hope he can resist through the next books; the Light is finally getting their stuff in one sock. I will be severely irritated if backsliding occurs.
Patrick Huff
549. pattack

If you read the passage after the contents section in A Crown of Swords, I believe it explains about all the weather/food issues.
Patrick Huff
550. pattack
Wish I would have picked up on this before TGS, it would have explained a lot. I was under the impression that these events were being caused by the dark ones touch. In a way, they probably are, just indirectly.
Wilson Grooms
551. J Hill
As for 'Who killed Asmodean?' DUH It was Slayer! That was in the 11th book. Did ya miss it?

So sorry! Hell, yeah. Verin is the awsomest!
552. bluecansam
"Also, if one posts while ignoring prior posts, why should anyone read that one's?"

I think people are doing it mainly to respond to Leigh's entry, and to also post without being influenced by other opinions and arguments. At least, that's why I did it that way. In short, the primary post is for Leigh.
Patrick Huff
553. pattack
@552 bluecansam

Some of this is going to be repeditive just due to the amount of posts going through. I don't exactly like this format, because of the length of the continuous thread. I wonder how any of us can keep track of it all. Hell, I don't even remember most of what Leigh wrote and I read that a few short days ago. There will be some repitition, but I for one don't mind because it allows casual posters to add their two cents worth without going through hours of posts.

Also, I would not have been able to correct sps49 concerning the weather/food issue prevelant in the last couple books. I ran across that while researching another issue, which was about another piece of the prophecy.

As far as using the Wotfaq, I prefer the Encyclopaedia Wot. It has a more broken down index in which to find info. Sometimes just old fashioned reading is the answer too. I have all twelve books right in front of me right now.

I wish the people on here posting, "I thought we went through this" would stop with the condescending attitude and allow the first timers and casual posters to express their thoughts without putting them down. How are we going to add to this thread without making them feel like crap right off the bat.

I like what Helen did for me. Point out an earlier thread and leave it at that. Putting someone down for a comment made in repitition just shows how small that person really is.

Back to the books folks.......
Patrick Huff
555. pattack
We have been talking about the Black Tower and one thing we do know is the foretelling that Elaida had in ACOS. It will be rent in fire and blood and sisters will walk its grounds.

From this we can gather that it will be destroyed at some point, but sisters already walk its grounds. So, who will destroy it is still up in the air.

Elaida has had many foretellings which have come true. From her perspective, it seemed like she would be the one to usher in many of them, but alas, she got caught up in her own press and payed the price for her failures.

This is a thought of a friend of mine. He is pretty sure that Logain will be the one to confront Taim and his band of Asha'man. I'm not so sure of this theory, but it would help those not loyal to Taim to have a figurehead they can follow.
Wilson Grooms
556. Aye Aye Sedai
508. Freelancer Re Cadsuane - again my point was that perhaps she is wrong to think that Rand needed to be Care bear Huggy and Laughter - (not just that she goes about it like a sledgehammer on crystal) but Min's vision is that she will teach him an important lesson - Has this been done? Can Brandon kill her in a traumatic and horrendous death- his words :))

In the middle of the book I thought this vision was fulfilled by teaching him to kill Semirage (and Graendal) and giving the A'shaman the leeway to use balefire on the forsaken. But then she sends in Tam al'Thor and while not exactly what she wanted to effect - has lead to Rand's soul searching and vision on the Mount. However this latter effect doesn't lead to any effect with the A'shaman so I don't think this was the outcome of the vision.

@50x - Rand was not Compelling Tuon - it was just the taveren tugging at Tuon - but it was not time to commit so she was able to sidestep so that all the Prophesies may be fufilled.

499. Doomriders
Don't recall RJ ever professing his own strong Catholic beliefs or ties - through or into his works. I do remember talking with him about the hate mail and blacklisting and general shit he received from devout religious folks who thought he was the DO and perverting their version of Christianity/Catholicism - mainly with the "magic" one power but also with the DO etc, etc, etc. This was around the time of the 4 or 5 th book and he thought he might be physically assaulted or bombed sometime by the virulent hate he encountered.

Re Black Oaths - Only reason for BA to take an oath on the rod is to restore the ageless look. DF can just give an oath. So the question is whether one oath is enough or if more than one is needed. So the wording is likely to allow a loophole - and perhaps has definition based upon the mind of the oather - such as with an AS needing to feel in imminent danger to use the OP as a weapon - thus sending a warder or themselves into battle.

Not clear if Verrin had different letters for matt or if she had letters for different people. Wonder if she would have died faster if some one had peaked and opened the letter early or if it was sufficient that she thought that she was going to be dead or saved.

Side question - did the BA that was re-oathed in the cellars get executed or allowed to live and be reformed? I was surprised at the large number of BA in each camp - would have thought smaller but more important and key figures - selectively picked. Numbers this large would have created issues much much sooner and allowed faster discovery,
Wilson Grooms
557. Branwhin
Yeep. Good luck, here, Tor ... this post is going to be heavier than the proverbial mountain by the time we're done!

Further wow-ness.

And while I'm still feeling thoroughly smug that The Dragon seems to be back in fighting form *mentally,* (though I doubt very much all his issues are gone), the poor fellow is still missing a hand, has a few extra holes in his anatomy (don't sneeze, dear), and now he's addicted to crack! YUCK.

I seem to recall him mentioning, too, that the CK temptation was balancing out his new addiction. Well, we saw in Ebou Dar that he doesn't want to channel saidin anymore. Uh-oh.

Fortunately, Lews Therin recognized the Dark One's power right off, so he knows just how nasty it is. And Rand al'Thor is the most stubborn individual on the planet. Probably *all* of him are that stubborn, actually; they/he need/s to be.

(Grr ... I wonder if the Heroes, in TAR, ever lament about the sudden need for different grammar to discuss various aspects of different lives?)

Now Moridin, I bet, if he realizes what happened or that was his hope all along, will be throwing temptation at Rand as fast as he can.

Also, regarding Egwene, I really loved her 'locked in a box' scene, where she came to realize just how horrible Rand's time was - how much worse he suffered. Once she has her moments of prophecied anger, whatever the trigger might be, I agree with the hope that it's a bridge between them.

And, while I was squeeing as hard as anybody during her ass-kicking scenes (most of them, frankly), I also noticed the near Mary-Sueish tendencies, and wish they had been less.

Though I must say I liked Adelorna's frantically disgusted "Battle Ajah indeed!" when she's getting pwned by the Seanchan. That degree of self-awareness is necessary! And I'm really worried about Myrelle and Lan...

Whee! Free, Subwoofer, glad you could join us so soon! Much WOT goodness still to be shared.

Err, what's a snickerdoodle, and may I have one? I brought leftover candy.

Wilson Grooms
558. MatFan

I suppose its possible the correlation between the Rand ala Moridin might have in a far off epic fantasy be possible---i'll it at that........

However You brought up somehting else i wanted to touch on...Rand's aura. I have a strange suspicion that he wants not limiting himself to the one occasion for its use. We had him channeling a few other times and i dont really recall him doubling over in nausea after his use the first time. Its something i noted while reading and before he got rid of LTT.

I'd like to hear more thoughts on that.
Rob S
559. RobSS
Just finished. A new record for me. 5 days

Sitting here now, the first thing that pops into my mind is Matt's screen time.
"women" I laughed out loud.

Loved it (even the part I hated)

When does book 13 come out?
Brandon Davis
560. bdavis562002
Interesting Theory:
1. Graendal kills Asmodean without balefire.
2. Rand balefires the living begeesus out of Grandal.
3. Asmodean is revived.
James Jones
561. jamesedjones
557 Branwhin
Err, what's a snickerdoodle, and may I have one?
Snickerdoodles are plain cookies with cinnamon and and sugar sprinkled on top. Help yourself, but be careful. If you like cinnamon, they're more addictive than the TP.
Wilson Grooms
562. Aye Aye Sedai
60. bdavis562002 and others

I think way to much time has passed from Asmo disappearing act to ever be returned - I assume the sheer power of BF was to capture the whole Palace and looks to have gone back in time al least 1-2 hrs - to affect the Compulsion Canary. Not clear that it went so far back as to have erased everything Graendal did - not even back to the start of this book else we should have see other effects reversed as well. Only way we will ever know it was Graendal is if we see a flash back in the next prologue gloating over killing asmo as she weaves Compulsion on the Canary or while having tea and then fade to white _ bwahhha

The best theory is that it was lanfear - only character that would have put fear on his face IMHO.
Lannis .
563. Lannis
Okey-dokey... um, forgive me, I haven't read all the comments, and frankly, it's almost my bedtime, so I thought I'd share then revisit the thread tomorrow...

First off: Yay! Finally done! Took a while, but with a gaggle of kids, who can blame me?!

One thing that drove me NUTS here was that even though Egwene was fabulous 98% of her screen time, I just wanted her to TALK to Gawyn... I mean, WTF? Girl's been moping around and pining after him for how many books, and then barely has the time of day for him?! I mean, dude not only tried to save your life, Girlie, but he slept outside your tent flap to get a word with you! Cut the boy some slack--at least let him know that you two need to have a heart to heart later... don't be so frakking callous! ARGH!

Glad to see I'm not the only one who noted that Mat's voice was a little different (Leigh @ 54)--though I wonder how much of that is to be passed off as his mental core is a little shaken now that he's married? Changed man? Hmm?

Aaaaand even though Verin is Black, I still heart Verin. I agree with Leigh--awesomesauce all the way, had a tissue in my hand and had to go and read it through again just to make sure I was really reading what I thought I was... oh, Verin, I will miss your little black heart and white soul... :(

And the whole thing was overall so good I give it a hearty two thumbs up--you know if my thumbs still worked properly after so many hours of propping up that giant tome! ;)

A big thanks to Team Jordan! The words "thank you" just don't suffice!

Oh, and Branwhin @ 557 this is a snickerdoodle. :)
Wilson Grooms
564. Snowlan
This responds to comments 499 and 556, regarding Robert Jordan's religious affiliation.

His funeral took place at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. That meshed with my prior understanding that he was Episcopal (i.e. Anglican), rather than Roman Catholic, at least in the later part of his life. I could be corrected, but that's my understanding.

So . . . For those who need a refresher, the Anglican/Episcopal Church has a lot of liturgy and ceremony (like Roman Catholicism), and has bishops (like Roman Catholicism), but does not acknowledge the primacy of the Pope. It is basically the world-wide church that grew from the Church of England -- meaning it has one foot in the Protestant world and one foot in the Catholic world.

In a very frivolous way, I've heard it said:

"The Anglican Communion: Catholic-lite -- all the liturgy, but half the guilt." (Apologies to anyone I've offended with that ancient joke.)
Wilson Grooms
565. cps2195
Aye Aye Sedai @ 562:

totally agree with you about Asmo being gone for good.

If Graendal is really dead then I really doubt she is Asmo's killer. Having a reveal through another character seems kind of weak.

Asmo's death happened after Lanfear was in Finnland so at the tie of his death she was eithe a.) captured
B.) reincarnated in the body of Cyndane (who other forsaken don't recognize)
Kelly Houk
566. conanoxen

My understanding of balefire is not that when someone is balefired that everything that they have done is erased or returned to normal, just those things that they have done within a certain amount of time. This would depend on the strength of the balefire used.

If balefire erased everything that someone had done, then Rand could saved everyone that Graendel killed or compulsed. Since balefire doesn't undo everything, then it only changes recent things. So even if she didn't balefire Asmodean, he is dead, even if Graendel was the killer, because balefire wouldn't fix his death. Plus the DO would not want to bring back a FS that had betrayed him by training Rand. Plus Asmo didn't appear to have too much ambition, he was like FS-lite.
Wilson Grooms
567. Aye Aye Sedai
Oh has any one compiles a history on Verrin and checked it for consistency? I've got this - (from 13th Depository) Sorilea gave Verin tasteless drops which in a small dose (three drops in water or one in wine) induce sleep and in larger doses kill (Winter’s Heart, Wonderful News). Verin was prepared to use them on Cadsuane until reassured that Cadsuane’s aims about Rand were compatible with her own.

I assume this is not what she used on herself since she wanted a stong tasting tea to hide the poison taste - why?

Also why did she agree with Cadsuane and also participate in killing Forsaken during the cleansing - would these have not been contrary to the BA goals? Was she free to pick her own orders or was she considered a lowly clerk in the BA and ignored.

Also giving the dream ter'angeralto the SG - was that not a betrayal?

Also what's the point in having a secret code when the code book is always with it? is that not like writing the combo to the lock on the back?

I will agree that she knew a lot about the prophesies and appears to have worked to move them along - question is why check out now ? Wondering what she knew and when she knew it - damn AS secrecy?

Also if the point of being aDF/BA/Chosen is self interest - isn't she a little too generous?

Just Sayin' cause I dont see anyone else saying.
Wilson Grooms
568. cps2195

I think you got my comment mixed up with someone else's.

agree with you completely.

I saw a really interesting thought on the Dragonmount board regarding the Tinkers.

What's the deal with a NEED search brining Egwene to a Tinker caravan?
Wilson Grooms
569. Aye Aye Sedai
@565. cps2195 Asmo's death happened after Lanfear was in Finnland so at the time of his death she was either a.) captured
B.) reincarnated in the body of Cyndane (who other forsaken don't recognize)

I'm not sure she was captured - if like Matt - the Finns escort would present her to the "council" (for lack of better description) - if she is aware or if like Matt she Rants and mentions 3 wishes then they will be granted - lets assume she like Matt also forgets to negotiate the bargain price which results in her death and then she can be resurrected ala Cyndane.

SO - it is possible and likely that she wished to kill Asmo and mentioned it aloud. Recall - he is not able to be reborn due to the How and the Where (and no BF/saidar/in was felt) Now this might suggest his death in Finland is beyond the DOs power to soul grab so this requires Lanfear to have been returned to the world before dying to allow the DO to grab her soul.

Hey - Pablo et al - can we get multiple discussion posts going - separated for - i dunno - characters - or themes. This blog will be linger than the one we broke way back when.....
Wilson Grooms
570. Laurel4Amyrlin

Verin wasn't alone in being able to fight the Forsaken during the cleansing despite being BA -- Elza did too.
Wilson Grooms
571. Doomriders
I was always under the impression that there were maybe a few hundred Aes Sedai. I usually had a count around 500-700 in my head. So when they said 200 were black it threw me a bit. I guess there were a lot more than the writing has ever lead on to.
Sam Mickel
572. Samadai
ayeayesedai @567

Verin wasn't selfish. She decided 70 years ago to study the Black Ajah. She got far enough into the Ajah where she had 2 choices join them or die. She chose to join them for self-survival and for the chance to continue studying them.

She was never Black at heart and only did what she did to survive. That is why she took her ending the way she did. She knew that Egwene was the best chance for a whole tower and gave her the tools she had been working with.
Sam Mickel
573. Samadai
Various commenters @ multiple posts,
Re: Verins letters,

Do not forget that Verin did not know if she was meeting Mat or Perrin, so it is entirely possible that 1 or more of the letters is for Perrin.
Greg Bloom
574. MuleHeadedLummox
@534 DRock

I had an idea for Demandred's identity in the prologue when he said: "My rule is secure. I gather for war. We will be ready." There is one place in particular where he could be ruling that has just gathered for war: Murandy. It would be ironic if Talmanes and the Band had helped Demandred secure the country under Roedran, who could be either Demandred himself or one of his proxies. Of course, other theories place him with the borderlanders, the Legion of the Dragon, and in Shara. All we know for sure is that his cover did not appear 'onscreen' (although he may have been mentioned) pre-KoD as per Jordan.

@571 Doomriders

There were approximately 1000 Aes Sedai at the start of the series. They split about in thirds with Elaida's takeover, with about a third supporting her, a third among the rebels, and a third just sitting on the sidelines waiting to see how the schism ended and not choosing a side. 200 total puts Black Ajah membership around 20%, as has been stated in previous posts, and does seem high, but then it's possible some were turned with the 13/13 trick.
Darth Agilus
575. darth.agilus
Professional Lurker here with my first post.

Fantastic work by Team Jordan! I loved it more than any book in years, maybe ever.

Everyone’s really covered my favorite scenes well but wanted to toss a few in. One of my favorites was the repeated use of “I’ll do whatever must be done” by different characters. Egwene and Elaida are great foils showing us just where Rand has gone psychologically. When Egwene says it, she is typically making a hard decision. Usually it is strict but fair, for the greater good, and the best possible choice. When Elaida says it she’s talking about forcing people to do exactly what she wants and it is often a horrible decision. With Rand prior to this book he was more like Egwene. This phrase was always about his acceptance that he would die. But now it is about his making hard, morally ambiguous decisions. They appear to be tactically correct but are completely Machiavellian. The problem isn’t that he’s as bad as Elaida but he’s stopped struggling with these decisions. A slipperly slope leading to making the easy decisions and thus becoming Elaida. But he’s no there yet.

I'll throw more up later but I need to say great job to BS and thanks to everyone involved. Don't listen to the nitpickers. It was a heck of a job and we appreciate your efforts and the hard decisions you had to make.
Jacy Clark
576. Amalisa
Aye Aye Sedai@567

Re Verin

First, I think that the DO et al did underestimate her. There were something like 200 Black Ajah, by her figures. Those BA's are/were certainly given to the same internal prejudices that they all are. Specifically, Browns are lost in their own thoughts, oblivious to the world yadda yadda yadda. There's also a certain amount of arrogance on the part of the DO, Himself. She had taken the vow (I'll get back to that in a minute) and that should be enough. She alluded to things she had done in His service, so no doubt there is death and destruction, murder and mayhem that can be laid at her feet. Enough to quiet any suspicions as she went about her real purpose.

And, yes, I still heart her.

Remember, beginning with New Spring and following, Cadsuane was herself a great big question mark. I went back to the scene you are recalling I don't know how many times because the whole entire question seemed to hinge on what Verin believed. (I might add, that was what finally convinced me that they both were not Black.) I see now the beauty of it - Verin was assured that Cadsuane was not Black and, therefore, could live. Because Verin recognized that, with Moiraine's death, Cadsuane was the one in best position to guide/advise/protect Rand. If she'd decided that Cadsuane was Black, she would have killed her. I have no doubt.

Yes, it is safe to assume that the liquid that Sorilea gave her was not asping rot.

I'm guessing you meant the cleansing of saidin and the attack of the Forsaken? Well, she admitted to Egwene that self-preservation was pretty important to her. Even Elza, during her internal monologue, hoped the Great Lord would understand if she had to kill a Chosen. Which she did. Verin and her group (Shalon the Windfinder and Kumira, another Brown Sister) fought with Graendal but, obviously, did not kill her.

You asked for a timeline for Verin. I find myself going back to Encyclopedia WOT a lot. Here is the link to Verin's character information. This may help.

In her chat over tea with Egwene, she stated that she had been commanded by the Amyrlin (Siuan, at that time) to give the SG's information regarding the thirteen BA who had fled the Tower. She did give Egwene the dream ter'angreal of her own volition. You know, I think back to that and remember that immediately after Egwene left her room, Verin became very distracted. I wonder (and we'll likely never know) if she'd developed something of a safeguard for times when she did act against the Dark One... Will have to think about that some more... But to answer your question, yes, it was a betrayal. Something that underlines what her true mission really was, I think.

As for keeping the two books together... that's what the ter'angreal bookmark was for - to keep them hidden. Anyone careful enough to successfuly infiltrate the BA for seventy years would be careful enough to protect her secrets. And if that doesn't satisfy as an answer, well... she gave them together to Egwene. Doesn't mean she kept them together all the time.

Don't consider Verin as a one dimensional DF/BA; she wasn't. Yes, self-preservation was important ("I joined them to keep my skin intact.") but self-sacrifice was also at the heart of her actions. By her account, she'd put herself in a position to study Darkfriends and the Black Ajah before swearing the oath to the DO. Apparently, the last serious error she made seventy years ago was in finding herself in a position where she had to, um, piss or get off the pot, so to speak. She had the courage to take the extra step, and she did.

I don't know why she chose to end it now. I'm guessing that that question may be answered as a result of the other things she'd put in motion. Maybe, circumstances being what they are, heading at breakneck speed toward Tarmon Gaidon, she had been forced to overplay her hand and knew it was about to catch up with her. Maybe she recognized that Egwene's first logical action as Amyrlin would be to purge the BA from the White Tower, in which case she would be exposed. Any one of those reasons or all of them or something else entirely. I imagine we'll find out, though.

Oh, and the Oath. The phrase ...at the hour of my death.... In the Catholic faith, part of the "Hail Mary" also uses that same wording: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen." I don't believe that either was meant to be so literally time specific (not "hour=sixty minutes" but "hour=when we die") but, in Verin's case, it was enough to provide her with the necessary loophole. Yay for that!
Wilson Grooms
577. Silvertip
Well done! The occasional glitches and "that doesn't sound right" much outweighed by everything that was done right.

Verin -- the Verin reveal matches what I've said for a long time is by far the best kind of reveal (in mysteries, say). That is: I never saw it coming, but in retrospect it's the way it really had to be. Not deus ex machina at all. She's pretty much the ultimate Brown ... of COURSE she would infiltrate the BA just to study the phenomenon! And then of COURSE she'd wind up getting trapped! And then be smart enough to blow them up on her own terms! It makes sense of everything in a way that's totally true to the character. Perfect. (And "that dress you're wearing is green" just about made me spray my coffee).

(Well, OK, maybe the "hour of my death" in the vow was a little bit of DeM. Anybody know if that was set up in an earlier book?)

If the other major "what's up with ... " character, namely Taim, is resolved in such a satisfying way, I will die happy. BTW, I was as convinced as anyone that Taim was Demandred, but there's no way that RJ intended that and then abandoned it when the commentators homed in on it. Those of us on these lists are a very small part of the universe of folks who read and like these books. Changing a storyline around in pique that somebody in a corner of the internet figured it out? Never.

Re the True Power -- put me firmly in the camp that thinks Semirhage was set up. The whole thing was planned (by Ishamael? DO himself? Beats me)to lure Rand into channeling the TP and plunge him deeper into psychic and moral darkness. Which immediately starts undermining him -- I was really struck by the contrast between the first impressions Rand made on Ituralde and on Tuon. Tuon picked up, not on what was wrong, but that *something* was, and it ended whatever chance there was for a truce and alliance against the Shadow.

The Perrin arc felt like the only thing that wound up being clumsy at the division after AMOL was split into three. (But, the three shall be one ...). Major events like Perrin encountering Galad and Morgase's uncovering taking place offstage and only referred to indirectly? Ah well. I can live with it, but it's clumsy.

I loved Min putting Cadsuane and Nynaeve in their place near the end of the book. She's totally right: They are repeating Elaida's mistake, although in much more well-meaning fashion.

I've opined before that Mat was the character RJ identified with most, and thus wrote the best dialogue for. I think Mat's not so much done poorly here as we're all so used to the incredible writing RJ did for him. That said, he did descend a bit into foppishness with the long backstories he invented, I wish someone had talked BS out of that.

I can't add anything to what everybody above has said about Egwene and awesomeness. So I'll limit myself to: Holy Shit!

How many days until ToM?

Michael Johnson
578. ZshadeZ
"The three must be as one"

People channeling? Bah. This holds the same problem with me as is the threee were nations bound. There are too many nations and too many channelers. What Three do we know? POWERS. Saidar, Saidin, TP. We know people can link using the male and female half in tendem, but if a link used all three, through a powerful TA...

Thats my idea on it. ^^
579. Freelancer
Umm, yea, balefire destroys the Pattern, particularly when used by the Dragon Reborn and in large quantities. That mass food spoilage in Arad Doman was probably the direct result of the balefiring of Graendal's compound.

Unrelated, IMO. The food spoilage is related to Rand, I agree. But there are two far better conjectures than as a result of balefire. 1) Rand's emotional darkness, with him being the Dragon and "one with the land", drives the rotting. 2) His use of the TP on Semirhage and Elza, the release of the darkness and expansion of the Dark One's touch which that event allowed. Everyone sees the shadow aura around him after that, surely a side effect could be the food spoilage.

It clearly says that Lews Therin had never been there in the first place.

Not quite so, here is what it says:
He knew - somehow - that he would never again hear Lews Therin's voice in his head. For they were not two men, and never had been.

A trick of semantics. Indeed they were not two men. They were two incarnate personalities of one man, one soul. Robert Jordan said as much. When once the Lews Therin personality could gain peace within himself about Ilyena, that although she did indeed die at his hand she could also have lived again, loved again, then the two could join as one. Could, as Semirhage said, integrate.

Ilyena was always the key. I have mixed opinions about whether it is wise or even useful if Rand decides to find a current-day Ilyena incarnation. It doesn't matter, his soul is at peace. On the other hand, Ilyena Sunhair seems to point very strongly at Elayne.

I'm so conflicted about the Seanchan. They bring stability, yes, but those who give up personal liberty for safety deserve neither, and all that.
So, if you believe the quote from which your last line derives, how can you be conflicted? Stability at what cost? No, I'm not conflicted about the Seanchan. Tyranny brings stability and security, but not liberty nor personal peace. And when liberty is unavailable to one segment of society, it doesn't truly exist for any.


Not if you subscribe to Taimandred.


Considering the Red/Black motif of Taim's palace at the Black Tower, it is strongly suspected by some that Moridin is his benefactor. Nobody yet knows where Demandred is. Graendal had visited Shara and brought back "pets", with an intention of getting Sammael interested in that direction, but we never find out why. Some believe this is evidence that Demandred is there, and Graendal wanted to intigate a fight between the two.

Aye Aye Sedai@556

Min's vision is that Cadsuane will teach a lesson to Rand and the Asha'man, to all of them. And they won't like it one bit. So no, it hasn't happened, and Cadsuane survives for a few more chapters.

Regarding the Black sisters in the Tower, given how Egwene dealt with those in the rebel camp, I cannot see her having any additional tolerance for those. Off with their heads!


There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 Aes Sedai total during the months following the Tower split.


Yes! I forgot to add that earlier. Verin's statement that it had been over 70 years since she last made a serious mistake was clearly her attempt to infiltrate the Black and getting caught, which demanded that she join or die. Also, taking note of the specific wording of the Oath, she couldn't begin spilling the details to Egwene until after she'd begun sipping the tea, meaning after it was certain that she was in "the hour of her death".
Wilson Grooms
580. Silvertip
Postscript: Anybody else get one of those bad feelings in the stomach from the similarities between Rand's dark aura and the description of Ishamael when he first appears in the Heart of the Stone at the end of TDR? This just can't be good.
Lindy Brown
581. lbrown
The funny thing is that with all this talk of Mat being the comic relief, the funniest comment in the book to me was not made by Mat, but by Min.

When Rand explained to her about LTT in his head and how he seized the power that one time, Min thought,"Light! He let the voice in his head wield the One Power?"

That comment had me giggling for like 3 minutes before I could get back to reading.
582. Freelancer
Ahh, regarding Mesaana...

Here is Graendal's internal POV from the Prologue:
Mesaana was in the White Tower, pretending to be one of what passed for an Aes Sedai in this Age. She was obvious and easy to read; Granedal's agents in the White Tower kept her well apprised of Mesaana's activities.
So Graendal knew for certain the hidden identity of Mesaana, and that it is a sister. No Laras, no servant, no non-channeler. I still say Danelle is the best candidate.

And I noted, while poking around again, not a word from Moghedien or Cyndane in this volume.
sandi vogel
583. sinfulcashew
Whew! I thought I might have to sign in again and am sooooo glad that I don't. I think it took me 5 min. just to fast forward down to this little box.

Obviously I haven't read all the comments yet. Will try to keep up over the next week?

!!!!!~LOVED THIS BOOK~!!!!!

So much happening, had to stop and digest.
One thing that stopped me in my tracks was the chapter heading:
The Death of Tuon.....
Just made me go HUH? How could he do that? (For some reason she is one of my favs. I think?)
My mind is going faster than the speed of light trying to figure out why?
Of course it didn't take too long to find out what was really going on, thank goodness.
I noticed that Leigh didn't make much of it.
Once I start to finish these comments, I'll probably hear a lot of stuff about it, I would think!

I haven't really twitched too much with the rereads, probably because I have the books and have been reading in between.
But now, I am going to be seriously twitchy and itchy and a basket case waiting for the next two books.

It is just so cool that Rand has finally gotten his groove back, and Eg is where she is (although I wish we could have followed Evilaida in her capture, etc.)
Verin was certainly a surprise and a welcome interlude?(wrong word) as I have never really gotten close to her. She didn't get in the front of things too much? I never thought her a Black though. But then she really wasn't!
Will certainly keep abreast of her and her doings in future rereads.

Some of the things that happen, seem to happen off screen and it is like something is missing by not getting a close up?????

Well, I am going to go up above and try to get through the comments by the next weekend?

Any one got any idea how to get back to the top -really- fast??

DUH.....figured it out on my own. I am tho thmart?
sandi vogel
584. sinfulcashew
I have lost track of Moridin being here?????
I have no memory of Rand and Moridin.
I used to have a question about a man waaaayyy back that helped Rand but ????
Wilson Grooms
585. Dholton
Not just a Looney Theory, but a Truly Looney Theory:

Where is Demandred? What forces has he gathered? What if he's be come the King of the Land of Madmen? A bunch of lunatic saidin wielders somehow under his control. Ouch!
Wilson Grooms
586. Man Bear Pig
i just want to know if any one else has an issue with their book around page 224. i seem to be missing pages and it skips back to the previous chapter.
Birgit F
587. birgit
I haven't read all the comments yet, but this is getting long enough anyway.

How do people manage to read the whole book for the first time in 6 hours? Amazon Germany delivered Thursday noon and I finished Sunday noon.

I think Rand's new sword is Justice is Guaire Amalasan's sword.
The sword was found near a statue. It might have been the Hawkwing statue in the abandoned stedding where he wanted to build his new capital. Hawkwing's career started during the War of the Second Dragon. He lead the capture of the False Dragon and could easily have taken his sword. Amalasan knew a lot about the Prophecies and could have had a sword with dragons. Hawkwing kept the sword and later it was called Justice.

"3 must be 1" theories:
- Rand forms a cirlce with El and Avi that is different from a normal circle because of their bond.
- Rand/LTT merges with Moridin. Alivia leads a circle using Callandor and severs them from the TP. Because the Dragon / Fisher King is one with the land, that severs the connection between the DO and the world, closing the Bore. Rand's body and Moridin's soul die and Rand lives in Moridin's body.

Graendal's lair is a castle/palace, not a city. Rand's strategy for killing her is clever (I do think she is really dead). It would be great if someone mentally stable like Bryne was doing it (of course he can't channel). The problem is that it is Rand who does it and it is a step in his development to "balefire everybody who doesn't do what I want".
The DO set up the sacrifice of Semi to break Rand's killing inhibition and turn him into a TP-wielding "balefire all" destroyer of the Pattern. The access to the TP comes directly from the DO, but Rand's knowledge of TP weaves might come from Moridin. The weaves must be different from OP weaves and Rand had no other way to learn how to do things with the TP.
Another parallel between Rand and Moridin is that Rand is often wearing Moridin's colors in this book.

Cads figures out how to break Semi because she thinks about how to break herself. Rand could get a tame AS by spanking Cads.

The assassins are called bloodknives. They can't hang around long to cause trouble later because their ter'angreal kills them after a few days. Who collects the ter'angreal after a bloodknife mission?

It fits that Elaida is captured before she realizes what is going on. She wouldn't have been good at fighting back anyway because she is too arrogant to believe that something could happen to her.

Are Verin's letters instructions for catching darkfriends? If the recipients open the letters after she is dead, that doesn't violate the Oath.
Did Verin ward the Draghkar that attacked Moiraine at Adeleas and Vandene's house?

Is Avi Rand's second chance for Ilyena?

Maybe Tam gets together with Setalle Anan.

Dragon Reborn/nominal head of the Black Tower (I forget, do they have an actual title for that yet?)

Taim is the M'Hael of the Black Tower, not Rand.

And since the prevailing theory of readers is that she killed Asmodean (I still say Lanfear did, but I can't think how she did it), let's use that for little discussion (I'm sure you all see where I'm headed).

Asmo's death is too long ago. Balefire that would be strong enough to bring him back woud rip the Pattern apart first.

And how did they know Halima was a Forsaken and not just a man weaving a Saidin illusion around herself all the time to confuse everybody?

What man except a Forsaken would disguise himself and live in the middle of AS?

Faile killing Masema in Pro was a pleasant surprise but I couldn't figure out who served as her troops and how she could be sure they wouldn't talk to Perrin. Any ideas?

Cha Faile, Faile's sworn former gai'shain, maybe Two Rivers men who believe he was with Berelain.

And wagon wheels? Seriously?

The wagons were just a distraction so Perrin wouldn't have to think about his real problems.

I would not be surprised if the Battle of Caemlyn turns out to be the "meeting point" of all the major characters before the start of Tarmon Gai'don. Elayne's already there, Mat's planning on going there (even if he drops by the Tower of Ghenji on his way to pick up Moiraine)

Mat first goes to Caemlyn and then to the Tower.

Either they've got a black box ter'angreal that manufactures a'dams without anyone having to understand the weaves, or some Seanchan secretly already do know the truth.

Some damane can make a'dam.

As Tam said to Rand (thus provoking the final catharsis): "The choice isn't always about what you do, son, but why you do it."

Dumbledore said the same thing to Harry.

Also, re: "The Power winked out", I immediately assumed that Rand had just accidentally turned off the True Source, but that can't possibly be it.

When Rand destroyed the CK, of course the large amount of saidin he could channel through it vanished.

What were the new chapter icons? I noticed the mice, but no others.

The mice are not new, they already appeared in New Spring, where Siuan and Moiraine put mice in Elaida's bed. There is a new icon for the fracturing Pattern.

The two sa'angreal more powerful than Callandor are the male Choedan Kal and the female Choedan Kal.

Lanfear says that there were two male sa'angreal more powerful than Callandor. One is the male CK, the other is unknown.

Also I dont know how Rand is going to bind the nine moons to him. Is Tuon considered the Daughter of the Nine Moons still now that she is Empress?

The Seanchan emperial court is the Court of the Nine Moons. Tuon was the Daughter of the Nine Moons, so Fortuona is the Nine Moons. Mat has to marry the Daughter of the Nine Moons, but Rand has to bind the Nine Moons to him.
Maiane Bakroeva
588. Isilel
Verin didn't keep the code with the "work". In the chapter where she Compels the da'tsang sisters she thinks that it might be time to _write down_ the code soon. She kept it in her head until then.

I really hope that Egs thinks to get Verin's notebooks too, with all the stuff about ta'veren studies. I still don't get why she didn't give Egs her angreal and the latest notebook that she must have had on her and why she endangered Egs by dying in her room. What if Meidani didn't come or wasn't strong enough to Travel?

Oh, and I guess that Verin could justify giving Egs the Dream ring by the danger it represented and opportunities for the Shadow to manipulate the SGs that it offered. Maybe that's why she didn't give Egs Coreanin Nedeal's notes as well - too much of a betrayal of the DO if she did.

On that occasion Verin also gave Egs hints that Ishy may still be out and about and probably never wholly imprisoned, but in a rather cryptic fashion that probably let her get away with it.

Oh, and I now have a wholly unsupported theory that Martine Jumata (Setalle) didn't make a mistake when she got burned out, but was eliminated by the BA because she was getting on to something or maybe because she shared Avi's Talent and it was considered to be too much of an advantage for the Light. I have a sinking sensation that whatever happened to her may have been Verin's work - under orders, of course.

Also, Verin, rather than a gholam could have been the one to kill Barthanes. Tearing somebody apart with the OP is not difficult.

Verin could be the one behind the spearing of Demira as well, as she could just recruit local and Aiel DFs to do it. The BA are fairly high on the overall DF pecking order. And as we know now Verin's motivations could be... complex.

And speaking of the BA - it was a bit of a cheat that only Sheriam out of people truly close to SGs turned out to be one. When Egs read the list and supposedly recognized the names of many people she liked, _I_ recognized only Sheriam and Moria, which seriously weakened the effect.
Of course, given how persuasively, open-mindedly and reasonably Moria spoke in favor of an alliance with male channelers, it was quite a boomer to find out that she was a BA and that all the supposed progress in that direction was probably aimed at getting Egs close circle 13x13ed.

Sheriam... was a disappointment. She really seemed too bumbling to be a BA to me and her reveal POV actually confirmed that she was a rather hapless DF. And then suddenly she was supposed to be really high up in the BA, one of the 3 who knew of Alviarin's position?
Completely unbelievable, IMHO. Somebody of her relatively young age would have had to be brilliant to get so far so quickly and we had ample proof that she was anything but. Both Alviarin and Galina are/were vastly more intelligent and capable.
Oh and that explanation of Min's vision seemed really clumsy, too.

I still think that a nasty, but not DF Lelaine with Sheriam as her pawn would have been more interesting, but whatever.

Speaking of looking for Mesaana and deducing Elaida's and BAs plans from their possessions, Egwene should really charge Siuan with it, IMHO. It is right up Siuan's alley.

Freelancer: balefire destabilizes the Pattern and presumably more so when done by Rand or Ishy would have just grabbed the access key himself and gone nuts with it.
The negative effects of Rand on the Pattern come from Rand's darkness and TP use, yes, but their magnitude is amplified by destabilization of the Pattern, IMHO.
That's why Ishydin told Rand to use balefire on the FS. It all hangs together and should have sent things into an inescapable downward spiral.
Susan Brownhill
589. SusanB
I think I've caught up on all the comments & there is something that no one has mentioned. In a previous reread many people commented on another taveren (sp?) being out there. Lots of people were trying to guess the identity.

So, now I am wondering...is Tuon (Fortouna) the other taveren? To me it makes sense b/c she was able to resist Rand's taveren pull when they met. She struggled, but she resisted. The struggle makes sense b/c Rand would be a much stronger Taveren. But he is not someone whom a normal person could resist. Also, she has never met Nicola, who can see Taveren.

What does everyone think?
Rob Munnelly
590. RobMRobM
"Verin could be the one behind the spearing of Demira as well, as she could just recruit local and Aiel DFs to do it. The BA are fairly high on the overall DF pecking order. And as we know now Verin's motivations could be... complex."

That was one of my first thoughts after hearing about Verin as well. None of the other suspects fit perfectly (activities re Taim in the City might lead to retribution by Rand; not Fain's style; Davred Hanlon was not yet in the City (I think). The need for Verin to help create a roadblock to smooth sailing re the SAS embassy and the care taken not to kill Demira (who was a fellow Brown as I recall) now makes Verin the prime suspect. Rob

P.s. Lsiel - your Lelaine theory was brilliant and you pretty much had me convinced. Sorry it didn't work out (no doubt because BS didn't know that RJ had it in mind, of course.)
Maiane Bakroeva
591. Isilel
Thank you RobMRobM! It wasn't properly my theory though, IIRC, I just presented it here with some enthusiasm.

Anyway, I used to think that attack on Demira was Taim's work, because I couldn't discern a convincing reason for Verin to disrupt negotiations. But now I think that she may have just been under orders from the Shadow and obeyed them in the least destructive way she could.
Wilson Grooms
592. Mike G.

I doubt the dragons/dragon eggs are going to be used in the Last Battle, or at least not many. I'm thinking cannons/guns will be a 4th Age weapon.

Obviously, making the dragons out of cuendillar would simplify the construction and engineering a lot.

No Aes Sedai who has sworn the 3 oaths could/would do it, though.

So my loony theory is that Mat kidnaps Bode, and convinces her to cuendillar the dragons.

Or someone in the black tower (or Rand) finds the male weave for cuendillar, if there is one...
John Massey
593. subwoofer
First off- Thank you Branwhin for the shout out- it's nice to be back. Wasn't sure of my time line as internet had to be hooked up and things have a tendency to go sideways recently:)

Is Fortuona ta'veren? I don't believe so. Ta'veren are usually drawn to each other and linked somehow and Fortuona exists outside that. Also, as demonstrated by Mat, the Pattern holds ta'veren tight and it is extremely... hard to resist the tug of Rand- Mat wanted to flee to a life of carousing and gambling, but the Pattern held him fast to Rand until Rand sent Mat elsewhere. If Fortuona was ta'veren then she would of been just as challenged to resist Rand.

Just to throw something else out there- why is Rand so queasy when tapping the power? He did cleanse Sadin, so that slick, greasy feeling should be gone. The only thing I can come up with are the wounds in his side, especially the one caused by Fain, reacting to the Source. I do not recall Rand feeling ill when he touched the True Source.

Speaking of Fain, what the deuce? How could such a pivotal character be missed? I was also missing Loial and Lan. At least Bela was there. Yay for Siuan! Also glad that Hopper smacked Perrin around. Maybe that will knock some sense into him. I don't get the single mindedness. Faile is with you dude, give over already!

I was also scratching my head at the destruction of the CK. Any thoughts on that? Granted Rand is full on kukoo for Cocoa Puffs now but still. Wasn't there a line about the draw of the CK canceling out the draw of the True Source? With Rand kacking the CK, does that mean he is going hard core for the True Power?

For Eggy- that white rod thingy came out of nowhere. And it was very convenient that the store room for major angreal was unguarded and everything was so easy to find. Regardless, the battle scene was awesome. That is the stuff that keeps me hanging on to this series- the high likelihood that as it approaches the end, serious whoop a$$ will be droppin'.

All in all kick butt! Next time, I get to be the Warder... *LOL

James Jones
594. jamesedjones
591 Isilel
Anyway, I used to think that attack on Demira was Taim's work, because I couldn't discern a convincing reason for Verin to disrupt negotiations.
While unlikely, they are not mutually exclusive. Looney Theory Time: I'd love it if Verin decided to expand her research over the last few months to include any dreadlords(dreadladies?). What if, through Alanna's clever research of the BT, Verin uncovered some DF Ashamen? We still have the sooper-dooper sneaky Verin we all know and love, but we can add the pseudo-Aiel men who are not afraid of AS, and willing to risk attacking one without killing her.

It's unlikely that Verin's book has a name that Egwene did not recognize, but I'd love it if she included it in a note to Mat or someone else.
Wilson Grooms
595. Shadowsouled
So after reading nearly 600 posts I think I can actually offer something new.

I, like many, worried about the fate of the sisters in the Black Tower (Theodrin, Faolain, Myrelle, and Nisao from the SAS and Tarna, Pevara et al from the TAS). However in LoC Min has a viewing of Faolain:

"A nasty woman. You'd think, if there was any justice, she would have an unpleasant future ahead of her."

So whatever happens to her at the BT, it's not bad enough to disallow her future from being pleasant. Hopefully the others are as safe.

And a big thanks to whoever reminded the board that Laras was in New Spring and therefore couldn't be Mesaana. Bugged the hell out of me everytime it came up.

Other than that, nothing else to say that hasn't been said. Egwene = AWESOME. Verin = AWESOME. TGS = AWESOME.
Ian Walker
597. Auspicium
Uhh, so I forgot to login for comment 595 , so you can direct all comments to this username now....

Also just occurred to me that if Faolain is a Darkfriend then being in the BT might not be so bad...
paul Hend
598. tugthis
The Halloween spirits were kind to me and delivered me my copy of TGS. Ruined most of football Sunday for me, but I am glad it is here. . . feel like I can start talking again.
Matthew Smith
599. blocksmith

Anyone that can throw out a Time Bandits quote is ok in my book. At least I think that's where the line came from.


The Seanchan raiding force orders were to capture or kill as many marath'damane as possible and they executed those orders. I think their actions put enough doubt in the AS minds as to what might happen when next they encounter Seanchan/Sul'dam to be able to fight.


See comments at 175...we are on the same page.


After reading Graendal being BFed, I had a similar reaction. I had hoped for an Asmo-like death scene...flash to diaphonously gowned G lying on a couch immediately after her meeting with Rand's messenger (by the way, very similar w/o the bleeding to Sammael's messenger also used to manipulate G) where she realizes she is found by LTT/Rand, now has to move her base of operations, and is trying to decide which of her pretties will make the trip when the wall in front of her dissolves and she has just enough time to realize she doesn't need to worry about wearing clean underwear.


During the review of these comments, I had the same thought while dwelling on the Tuon/Rand scene. How could she resist the T'averen pull that had affected so many others unless she was T'averen also?
Wilson Grooms
600. AlleyGirl
Verin! I'm going to miss her. I knew she couldn't be a true darkfriend. Sneaky till the end.

I wonder if Verin killed Amso?
John Massey
601. subwoofer
Pssst Tor... October is over...

Was also thinking about Elaida. It seems to me that there is a bit of poetic justice going on here. Reds typically feel that all male channelers should be captured, shielded and eventually gentled. Eggs will eventually break that train of thought as hinted when she raised Silviana( no relation to the light bulbs) to Keeper. Anyways, Galina was a poop and through the oath rod, she became captive of Therava and is now living the life of not having control over herself or her power. Elaida- same thing, different pile.

Mores the pity about Alviarin getting away. She will have something coming too. And Alvi is the Grand Poobah of the BA. Marked by Shaidar Haran, I think that she will be a major player in the next book, maybe as a foil for Eggy, now that Eggy is truely, in all eyes, the Amyrlin.

Also, I profoundly hope that the Aiel regain their honor in the next book. I am very curious by the comments the WO made about doing spin control for the Dragon Reborn's ham fisted ways.

Glad to see the Seanchan, including O' Fortuona realizing the truth about Trollocs- could be a chapter title. A Fade really needs to enter the picture for her at some point. Scare the pants off of her and wise her up some.

Oh yeah- interesting new icon for Night in Hinderstap. I believe that is the "fracturing the Pattern" birgit mentions in the epic post.

John Massey
602. subwoofer
Leigh? Is that you? 'Tis Monday! hows about a new post? Pretty, pretty, pretty pleazzzzze?

I'll buy you a pony. You could name it Bela...

Lannis .
603. Lannis
Forgive me if this has been said already... I'm still working through the comments and couldn't hold it in any longer...

Okay... woke up this morning with a thought... Egwene has executed all the BA she can find... but aside from keeping them from dirtying up the White Tower until the Last Battle, they'll be back if needed... the DO will just bring 'em back to fight as Dreadlords if he needs them...

Sheriam's "halo/blaze of glory" anyone?!

Yeah--the confessions weren't enough for me to justify Min's viewing... perhaps Sheriam'll be kick ass as a double-crossing Dreadlord in the Last Battle? Hmm...

Pick 'er apart, folks!

Oh, and as for the language... there was (literally) a couple of words that stood out for me... I found the word "idiot" was used a little too much (RJ would probably have used "fool" for most of those "idiots" though not all); and the word "kingdom" suddenly was spouting everywhere... and the Ideal Seek link showed I wasn't wrong in thinking that "kingdom" up until this point was rather rare. I think it was used in tGS more than it was the rest of the series combined. Seriously.

That said, my official opinion is EXCELLENT WORK! So blissful!
Bob Smith
604. chiech
I know that I have little chance of being read/actually responded to, but I need to know what I missed - didn't Rand BALEFIRE Semi, and why did it not erase back in time? He could have erased everything that happened with Min!

Oh well, I have much the same feelings as everyone else, but here there are:

The book was good/greatish ... in a word - Forced, but after Jordan that is to be expected.
Rand and Eg arc was great, I loved the character development; at times I was saying Rand - you are so right to be this way - too many times we have seen the BBEG with a gun/sword/lightsaber to the Hero's girlfriend's throat, and they give up the entire world to save the girlfriend. Lame. I for sure thought that Eg would invade the WT after escaping and screw everything up.
Matt - Holy OOC experience -it is like never knew you.
the Semi part was soooo well written, one of the best of the entire series

I am probably the only one, but I did not like Verin's death - come on an info dump for death, even from a Brown, is IMHO, poor. She was one of the most skillfully crafted characters I have ever read, and an info dump ...