Feb 26 2010 2:05pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: A Crown of Swords, Part 14

What up, yo: welcome to the Wheel of Time Re-read!

I hope that all of you up here with me in the Northeast are enjoying the frozen tundra-like mien, because I’m really, really over it, myself.

Today’s entry covers Chapters 22 and 23 of A Crown of Swords, in which it might be bunnies, or maybe midgets, but probably not. Also, hangovers.

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, in which you can find links to news, reviews, and all manner of information regarding the newest release, The Gathering Storm, and for WOT-related stuff in general.

This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 12, The Gathering Storm. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And that’s what that is, so now, the post!

Chapter 22: Small Sacrifices


What Happens
Elayne stands with Nynaeve in front of the Wandering Woman, and wishes she were still in bed. She hopes Aviendha and Birgitte learn something useful watching Carridin today, and feels proud that Aviendha had not even considered coming along to make sure Elayne did what they had agreed. Nynaeve stares at the inn with horror, and repeats again that she will not apologize. Elayne thinks of how Nynaeve had been carrying on all morning about wearing funereal white, and claiming she wasn’t able to Heal Birgitte’s hangover, and tells Nynaeve that she agreed to this, so to quit sulking. She ignores Nynaeve’s splutters and further protests, and goes in, asking the skinny servant girl inside for “Master Cauthon”; the girl eyes them sullenly, muttering something about “gilded women,” and directs them upstairs. Nynaeve opines that Mat must have “pushed his attentions” on the girl, but Elayne continues to ignore her as they go upstairs. She hesitates at Mat’s door, and Nynaeve quickly takes advantage, insisting that Aviendha’s “drivel” is impossible.

“We did not agree to anything impossible, Nynaeve.” Keeping her voice firm took an effort. Some of what Aviendha had suggested, apparently in all seriousness . . . She actually had suggested letting the man switch them! “What we did agree to is quite possible.” Barely.

She knocks, and Nynaeve tries to leave when there is no answer, so Elayne just goes in; Nynaeve follows with a sigh. Mat is on his bed, still fully dressed, with a wet cloth over his eyes and the foxhead medallion hanging out of his shirt, which makes Elayne’s fingers itch. He mumbles for “Nerim” to go away, or bring him a new skull, and Elayne tells him it’s not Nerim. Mat stares blearily at them with bloodshot eyes, and Elayne feels satisfaction that he seems more miserable than Birgitte. He demands to know what they’re doing here “in the middle of the night,” and Nynaeve asks sharply if he remembers talking with Birgitte. Mat goes alert (well, alerter) and asks what Birgitte told them.

“She informed us of your demands, Master Cauthon,” Elayne said formally. This must be how it felt to stand before the headsman’s block, there was nothing for it but to keep her head high and face whatever came proudly. “I wish to thank you from my heart for rescuing me from the Stone of Tear.” There, she had begun, and it had not hurt. Not very much.

Nynaeve just glowers, until Elayne flicks her ear with Air, and then finally mumbles the same. Mat shrugs uncomfortably and says it was nothing, and then asks them to send Caira in on their way out. Elayne is outraged, and then Nynaeve lunges for his throat and Elayne has to restrain her. Mat has his head bowed and doesn’t notice any of this. Steeling herself, Elayne continues that they also apologize for the delay in thanking him, and the way they’ve treated him since, and to show it, they promise not to “belittle or demean” him in any way, nor to give him orders (Nynaeve winces), to tell him where they are going and when, and to listen to his advice.

Light, she had no wish to be Aiel, no wish to do any of this, but she wanted Aviendha’s respect. “If you . . . if you decide that we are . . . ” Not that she had any intention of becoming a sister-wife—the very idea was indecent!—but she did like her. “ . . . are putting ourselves in needless danger . . . ” It was not Aviendha’s fault that Rand had caught both their hearts. And Min’s as well. “ . . . we will accept bodyguards of your choosing . . . ” Fate or ta’veren or whatever, what was, was. She loved both women like sisters. “ . . . and keep them with us as long as possible.” Burn the man for doing this to her! It was not Mat Cauthon she meant.

Mat slowly looks at her, and comments mockingly that that she sounds like she has “an iron rod down her throat,” and asks Nynaeve if all that applies to her too.

“I won’t shout at you,” Nynaeve shouted. “And all the rest, too. I promise, you . . . you . . . !”

Mat clutches his head in pain at her volume, and mutters something like “flaming dice,” and it occurs to Elayne that he would be a very good source to learn “pithy” language from. Finally, Mat thanks Nynaeve, and says Birgitte said something about finding something for them; Nynaeve tells him that he won’t find it, but will accompany them to find it. He sneers and observes she’s backtracking already after promising to do what he says, and tells them if they want “a tame ta’veren on a leash” they can go ask Rand or Perrin. Nynaeve retorts that they promised no such thing, and Elayne points out that they promised to listen to his advice, not that they would have to take it, but sees Mat does not agree. She elects to let it go for the moment, and sits and explains to him about the Bowl. He becomes intrigued, but states flatly at the end that neither of them is setting foot outside the Palace, much less inside the Rahad, again without a squad of Redarms, and reminds them about the note in his coat, not to mention Carridin and Darkfriends. Elayne counters that they cannot hide, and Nynaeve adds that the Redarms thing is not sensible (choking off “ridiculous”); he doesn’t have enough soldiers to cover all four of them. Mat mutters that he supposes Aviendha and Birgitte don’t need “minders”; Nynaeve turns purple, and Elayne can’t decide whether it would be worse if he’d insulted them like that on purpose, or without realizing it. He asks if that’s all Birgitte told them, and Nynaeve snaps an affirmative; she and Elayne are both startled at his look of pleased surprise. Nynaeve then tells him he might as well work off his hangover by moving his things into the palace.

“The Wandering Woman is plenty good enough,” he began angrily, then stopped, a wondering expression spreading over his face. A horrified expression, Elayne would have said. That should teach him to growl when he had a head like a melon.

[…]Haggard eyes stared right through her. “Why did they bloody well have to stop now?” he moaned, so softly she barely heard. What under the Light did he mean by that?

“The rooms are fit for a king, Master . . . Mat. Tylin herself chose them, just down from her own. She has taken a very personal interest. Mat, you wouldn’t have us offend the Queen, would you?”

One look at his face, and Elayne hurriedly channeled to push open the window and empty the washbasin through it. If she had ever seen a man about to lose the contents of his stomach, he was staring red-eyed at her right that minute.

She tells him they must all make sacrifices, and does not understand why this makes him laugh hysterically and snarl at the same time. She offers to let Nynaeve Heal his hangover (reflecting that if ever Nynaeve was angry enough to channel, it was now), but Mat refuses with a sneer. But then he hesitates and adds sincerely that he thanks her for asking, and Elayne stares at him, wondering if Rand was going to be as confusing as Mat. They leave his room after making him promise to start moving to the palace, and Nynaeve shakes her fist at the ceiling and predicts that Mat will make trouble. Setalle Anan appears and observes that they will make more trouble for Mat than he ever could, and doubts she’s ever seen “so much foolishness poured into just two dresses.” Elayne wants to know just who she might be, and Setalle introduces herself before hustling them both inside an empty room. Nynaeve waves her serpent ring at her, but Setalle bulldozes over their protests to inform them that Mat Cauthon might “dandle them” on his knee, but he won’t harm them; but if they keep “this” up, they’ll harm him. Elayne tries to introduce herself by full title, but Setalle interrupts to hope that they can at least channel somewhat to be putting on this charade. Furious, Nynaeve embraces saidar and wraps Setalle completely up in Air. To Elayne’s surprise, this does not faze Setalle at all, and she continues, telling them what will happen if the real Aes Sedai in the Palace get their hands on them, and the only reason Setalle isn’t going to tell them is because she likes Mat and doesn’t want him to get in trouble too. Nynaeve again tries to interject, but Setalle rolls right over her words.

“Trying to keep up the lie does no good, Nynaeve. You look to be, oh, twenty-one give or take a year, so you might be as much as ten years older if you’ve already reached the slowing. You might even have worn the shawl four or five years. Except for one thing.” Her head, the only part of her she could move, swiveled toward Elayne. “You, child, aren’t old enough to have slowed yet, and no woman has ever worn the shawl as young as you. Never in the history of the Tower.”

She goes on that since Elayne can’t be Aes Sedai, therefore Nynaeve isn’t either, as no Aes Sedai would travel with a woman pretending to be a sister. Elayne frowns, wondering how an innkeeper who definitely cannot channel knows words like “slowing,” and reasons she must have gone to the Tower only to be turned away. She tells Nynaeve to release Setalle, planning to take her across to the Palace to learn for herself that they were not lying, but Setalle still won’t let anyone get a word in edgewise, telling them that she can help them; there is a group of women who “take in strays,” and Setalle will take Elayne and Nynaeve to them for Mat’s sake, but she needs to know if they truly ever were in the Tower, or are wilders. Elayne is over this and is ready to leave, but Nynaeve doesn’t move, asking for more information on this group. Setalle tells her they are called “the Circle,” and there are about fifty of them, who can help wilders or those who have been put out of the Tower find a life, and asks again if they were in the Tower. Nynaeve replies that they were told to leave the Tower, and Elayne is aghast, insisting that they are Aes Sedai, but Setalle laughs at her and tells them to take off their rings.

Elayne made a fist and thrust it behind her back. And watched Nynaeve meekly slip her ring off and tuck it into her belt pouch. Nynaeve, who howled every time Merilille or Adeleas or any of them forgot she was a full sister!

“Trust me, Elayne,” Nynaeve said.

Which Elayne would have had an easier time of if she had any notion what the woman was up to. Still, she did trust her. Mostly. “A small sacrifice,” she muttered.

Setalle tells her to quit pouting and come along. Elayne decides she is going to kick Nynaeve as soon as she gets a chance. Hard.


And the détente begins! YAY.

The whole scene in general is just tons of fun. I remember being vastly pleased at the nature of the promises Elayne and Nynaeve made, though I can see how it would make them choke, especially when you consider that they are making such promises to, so they believe, an irresponsible wastrel who would take every advantage of power over them, and who, thanks to the medallion, they have no method of controlling if he gets out of hand.

Given that, I have to give Elayne mad props in this chapter for so thoroughly sticking to her guns and going through with her promise to Aviendha. It’s even more impressive when you consider that she has no real cultural or personal basis for feeling impelled to do so; as a non-Aiel princess, after all, I don’t imagine she’s had a whole lot of practice at having to apologize or humble herself to anyone, ever—anyone she doesn’t regard as having rightful authority over her, anyway (meaning that I’m not counting her mother and such).

It might be nicer, of course, if she wanted to apologize to Mat because he genuinely deserves the gesture, as opposed to through loyalty to an outside party (Aviendha), but as I have comfortable foreknowledge of what’s going to happen to Elayne’s opinion of Mat by the end of ACOS, I can magnanimously give her the bye; it’s still the right thing to do, even if not precisely for the ideal reasons. So, yay Elayne.

Also, her flicking Nynaeve with Air was hilarious.

Nynaeve, of course, behaves abominably through this entire episode, but somehow I still continue to find her hysterical; I laughed out loud when she lunged for Mat like a crazy person. As I’ve observed before, as a character Nynaeve tends to slide back and forth over the “caricature” line, and this is definitely one of those times where she’s being played for laughs, in my opinion. Although, I do believe there is a more serious aspect to her behavior: I’ve Got A Theory, naturally, which I will expound upon in a moment.

The theme of rewarding sincerity continues here, as it’s only when Mat temporarily drops his guard and thanks Elayne for offering Healing that she first really begins to look at him as something other than a giant imposition. The first of many such small moments of awesome between them.

And actually, the fact that it is only at that point that she compares him to Rand indicates (to me, anyway) that this is one of the first times she sees Mat as a person, instead of a infuriating and puzzling—and unsettling—man.

A topic, it’s worth remembering, that Elayne has actually very little experience with, in spite of all her adventures. It’s easy to forget how young she is, but the (hilarious) line about “pithy” language here reminded me of that if nothing else did, and she deserves no little amount of slack for that, in my opinion. It puts her boneheaded shenanigans with the two letters to Rand in a slightly more sympathetic light too, if you think about it.

Anyway. It’s often a little unclear to me (intentionally, I think) as to what exact thing makes the dice in Mat’s head stop —or rather, not what actually causes them to stop, but what precise result that thing is supposed to lead to that makes it the pivotal decision/event. In this case, though, it’s pretty obvious. The most immediate result of Mat moving into the Palace is That Thing With Tylin, of course, but there’s no way that that’s so earth-shakingly important that the Pattern would get involved. For my money, the result the dice (i.e. the Pattern) is aiming for is that living in the Palace will eventually lead to Mat meeting Tuon. Though, of course, That Thing With Tylin is part and parcel of that…

The irony there, naturally, is that the thing he and Supergirls are actually trying to accomplish (finding the Bowl) ends up having nothing to do with Mat being in the Palace at all.

(Note: We Are Not Talking About That Thing Yet. That means YOU, buster.)

Setalle: I’m torn between really liking her for her loyalty to Mat, and wanting to smack her into next week for being yet another character who thinks strength equals being able to mow down anything in your path, metaphorical or otherwise. Plus, I hate people who interrupt me. I AM TALKING, WOMAN, WAIT YOUR TURN. Sheesh. Also, Moiraine would like a word with you about whether Aes Sedai will travel with a woman pretending to be a sister or not. So There. Thbbt!

The slowing thing, I will talk about when Elayne and Nynaeve discuss it. Elayne’s observation that Setalle definitely cannot channel is interesting, though, in that I think this might be our first real indication that there is a distinct difference between channelers who are stilled or gentled (like Siuan/Leane/Logain) and those who are burned out (like Setalle, aka Martine Jenata, do not argue with me).

We know from Nynaeve’s observations of the former three that channelers can tell that stilled/gentled people once were able to channel, but Elayne clearly thinks that Setalle can’t channel and never could, which indicates to me that burning yourself out is really burning out, as in total damage.

Which is a shame, as it probably means that Nynaeve’s genius Healing method would not work on a burned-out channeler. Pity.


Chapter 23: Next Door to a Weaver

What Happens
Setalle leads Elayne and Nynaeve through the kitchens, where she pauses specifically to talk to the cook and disparage the notion that “these two” are Aes Sedai; she implies that they’d spent all their money on those dresses to impress Mat and are now penniless, before yanking them both by the ear into the stableyard. Outside, she ignores their outrage to hope that no one will believe Caira’s version of things now, and orders them to follow her and not get lost. Elayne gives Nynaeve a meaningful look, but Nynaeve bolsters herself with the thought that this might get them out of having to rely on Mat, and meekly thanks Mistress Anan for her help. Setalle takes off on foot, warning them to keep up. As they follow, Elayne begins listing, in a cool, cutting tone, all the many useful and/or pleasant things they could be doing with their day, and hopes Nynaeve can explain to her why they are enduring this to go see a bunch of women who feed runaways.

“I do so want to understand, Nynaeve. I would hate to think I’m going to kick you the length of the Mol Hara for nothing.”

Nynaeve’s eyebrows drew down. Kick her? Elayne really was becoming violent, spending so much time with Aviendha. Someone ought to slap some sense into that pair.

Nynaeve replies that fifty women calling themselves “the Circle” doesn’t sound like a random bunch of women to her; it sounds organized. Elayne counters that the Tower would unquestionably break up any such organization if it existed, but even if it does exist, she doesn’t see what it has to do with them. Nynaeve explains that it’s “beyond reason” that fifty channeling women could be in the same city with a giant stash of angreal without knowing about it, and if they do, they can find the Bowl without involving Mat, and can forget those “absurd promises” they made him. Elayne answers that the promises were not a bribe, and they will keep them.

Elayne bit her underlip, frowning. All that iciness seemed to have vanished; she was herself again, apparently. Finally she said, “We would never have gone to the inn without Master Cauthon, so we’d never have met the remarkable Mistress Anan or been taken to this Circle. So if the Circle does lead us to the Bowl, we have to say he was the root cause.”

Mat Cauthon; his name boiled in her head. Nynaeve stumbled over her own feet and let go of her braid to lift her skirts. The alley was hardly as smooth as a paved square much less a palace floor. At times, Elayne in a taking was better than Elayne thinking clearly.

Nynaeve changes the subject to complain that no one has ever treated them the way Setalle just did, even those who doubted their veracity as Aes Sedai. Elayne notes that she thinks Setalle must have gone to the Tower at some point, as she knows things she shouldn’t otherwise; Nynaeve doesn’t care, but promises herself that Setalle will acknowledge her as Aes Sedai eventually. Setalle leads them through the city, stopping to chat with every innkeeper along the way, and tell them the same humiliating story about Elayne and Nynaeve she’d given her cook. Nynaeve observes miserably that they’ll never be able to show their faces at any of these places, which Elayne icily suspects is precisely the point; Nynaeve knows Elayne will make her sorry later if this idea doesn’t pay off, and tries to reassure her that the Circle will lead them right to the Bowl. Elayne is less than convinced. At length they arrive at a rather rundown-looking house next to a weaver shop, and Setalle warns them to watch their tongues and not embarrass her. A gray-haired maid is surprised to see Setalle, but lets her in respectfully and takes her off, admonishing Elayne and Nynaeve to wait. Nynaeve smiles as she senses a woman channeling, then another; Elayne’s protests grow less certain. They overhear Setalle speaking to a woman she calls Reanne. Reanne cannot believe Setalle has brought them there; Setalle apologizes and offers to “submit herself” for judgment, which shocks Reanne, who begs her forgiveness in turn. They enter the room, and Nynaeve is surprised to see Reanne looks considerably older than Setalle.

Why would the older woman humble herself so to the younger, and why would the younger allow it, however halfheartedly?

She’s also surprised at Reanne’s strength, which is at least at Sheriam or Kiruna’s level. She concludes Reanne must be a wilder, as she thinks the Tower would have held on to a woman like this no matter what, if she had ever been there. Reanne eyes them and supposes they’ll have to do something with them if they are what they claim, and then jumps and looks at Setalle, setting off another round of apologies and counter-apologies. They are interrupted when a middle-aged Cairhienin woman in a red belt (Berowin) barges in with a Saldaean woman about Nynaeve’s age (Garenia); Reanne chastises Berowin, and Nynaeve shoots Elayne a triumphant look; both newcomers can channel as well, Garenia strongly enough to match Lelaine or Romanda. Elayne sighs and silently concedes the point. Setalle Anan frowns at Garenia, and remarks that she closely resembles a woman she “met” once, Zarya Alkaese. Garenia blinks, and answers that is her grandmother’s sister’s name; Setalle laughs softly, and comments it was a long time ago. Reanne jumps in and politely kicks Setalle out, and Setalle leaves.

“Setalle!” Garenia exclaimed as soon as the innkeeper was gone. “That was Setalle Anan? How did she—? Light of Heaven! Even after seventy years, the Tower would—”

Reanne shuts her up and tells Nynaeve and Elayne to stay silent while they confer. As the others huddle off to the side, Elayne asks Nynaeve how much longer they must put up with this farce, and Nynaeve hisses at her to be quiet, trying to listen. She overhears Reanne say they might be wilders, which makes the others react with disgust. Nynaeve points out to Elayne in a whisper that Berowin is wearing a red belt, which makes seven Wise Women they’ve seen who not only can channel but who are clearly not native to Ebou Dar; Elayne is incredulous at what Nynaeve is suggesting, insisting that the Tower would have long ago squashed anything so widespread. Nynaeve replies that maybe the Tower doesn’t know, but she doesn’t really believe her own words. They are interrupted as they are both shielded from the Source; Reanne seizes them with flows of Air and runs them across the room, warning them they will held to strict rules of obedience if they are allowed to stay. Enraged, Nynaeve tries to burst the shield, but even though Berowin (who holds the shield) is much weaker in the Power than most Aes Sedai, the shield only stretches; Berowin smiles and comments that shielding is nearly a Talent with her, and she “could hold one of the Forsaken.” Nynaeve gives up, scowling, and Elayne comments to her that they could be drinking blueberry tea right now. Reanne tells her to be quiet.

“Our report of you says you both are forward and contentious, that you chase after men and lie. To which I add that you cannot follow simple instructions. All of which must change if you seek our help. All of it. This is most irregular. Be grateful we’re willing to speak to you.”

Elayne glares at Nynaeve, and Nynaeve answers Reanne that they do need their help, and tries to ask them about the Bowl, but Reanne cuts her off to pepper them both with questions only women who had been novices in the Tower would know the answer to, switching them with Air whenever they try to say anything else. Elayne is furious, but answers most of the questions, since Nynaeve only knows a few of them, having never been a novice. At length, Reanne supposes Nynaeve had really been there, since if Elayne had primed her with the answers she would have done a better job. Nynaeve forces herself to be polite, and tells them again that they are looking for a ter’angreal called the Bowl of the Winds, and need their guild or Circle’s help looking for it. Reanne tells her there is no guild, only a few friends, and they have nothing to do with ter’angreal/angreal/sa’angreal, as they are not Aes Sedai. The term “Aes Sedai” is imbued with reverential awe. She begins explaining to them how their initiation will go, starting with a trip to the country, and Elayne interrupts to tell Nynaeve that enough is enough; clearly they do not have it. She takes out her ring and puts it on, and declares to Reanne et al that she is Elayne Trakand, High Seat of House Trakand, Daughter-Heir of Andor and Aes Sedai of the Green Ajah, and she demands they release her immediately. Garenia and Berowin react with disgust and horror, respectively; Reanne warns her not to continue with that particular lie, and asks Nynaeve if she persists in “this madness” as well. Nynaeve is about to lie again, but Elayne shouts her name, and Nynaeve wearily answers that she is Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah.

“The true Amyrlin Seat, Egwene al’Vere, raised us to the shawl in Salidar. She’s no older than Elayne; you must have heard.” Not a glimmer of change in those three hard faces. “She sent us to find the Bowl of the Winds. With it, we can mend the weather.” Not a flicker of change. She tried to hold her anger down; she truly did. It just oozed up despite her. “You must want that! Look around you! The Dark One is strangling the world! If you have even a hint of where the Bowl might be, tell us!”

Reanne stands, and regrets that they will not accept her help. She gives them each three silver marks, and tells them they will be gone from Ebou Dar by sunrise tomorrow, after which she will begin circulating their descriptions, and make sure the sisters in the Palace hear about them, as well as the Whitecloaks; she is done with them. Nynaeve sullenly allows herself to be herded out, but tries to entreat Garenia and Berowin once more on the way; Berowin hesitates, but Garenia gets in Nynaeve’s face and says if it were up to her she would send them to “the farm” no matter what they say, which would teach them to be grateful. Berowin snaps at her that they hold no one against their will, and orders her to apologize.

And wonder of wonders, the woman who would have stood very close to the top had she been Aes Sedai looked sideways at the woman who would have stood near the bottom, and blushed crimson. “I ask forgiveness,” Garenia mumbled at Nynaeve. “My temper gets the better of me sometimes, and I say what I have no right to. I humbly ask forgiveness.” Another sidelong glance at Berowin, who nodded, producing a sigh of open relief.

Nynaeve and Elayne’s shields are released, and the women shove them out into the street and slam the door.

Talk talk talk talk talk talk sheesh.

Hokay. First, Nynaeve and my Theory about her and Mat. By rights this should be in the commentary to the previous chapter, maybe, but it was reading this chapter, and Nynaeve’s over-the-top reaction to Elayne’s reasoning about Mat being the cause of their getting to meet the Kin, that crystallized it in my mind, so deal.

I was reading over my commentary for LOC recently, and saw that I had remarked at being puzzled about this before, that Nynaeve basically just freaks the bloody hell out when it comes to Mat in any way, and wondering why it left me with the impression that Nynaeve is actually frightened of him, which made no sense to me at the time.

But it occurs to me that there have in fact been two different specific occasions when Mat frightened Nynaeve—not annoyed her or disturbed her, but actually scared the living crap out of her. The second and lesser one was very recently, in Salidar, when she realized Mat was unaffected by saidar and thought he was going to—well, I suppose I have to imagine that she thought he was going to spank her, since that’s apparently what happens to grown freakin’ women in Randland when—

Agh. *deletes two paragraphs*

So that’s one time Mat scared Nynaeve, but the first and (I theorize) much more frightening incident happened alllll the way back in TEOTW, when Moiraine et al found Mat in Caemlyn, almost totally consumed by the Shadar Logoth dagger. Here, I’ll quote the relevant bit:

“Pretty Nynaeve,” Mat spat. “A Wisdom isn’t supposed to think of herself as a woman, is she? Not a pretty woman. But you do, don’t you? Now. You can’t make yourself forget that you’re a pretty woman, now, and it frightens you. Everybody changes.” Nynaeve’s face paled as he spoke, whether with anger or something else, Rand could not tell.

I’m going to attempt to not overanalyze this (hah), but both of these incidents involve Mat doing something that would be frankly terrifying to someone like Nynaeve —which is to say, he pierced her defenses. Both physically and emotionally, in each respective case.

Granted, Mat was not exactly himself in the Caemlyn incident, but then again, what made that whole scene so unnerving (for everyone, including the reader) was that in a way it was Mat, only distorted to the worst possible version of himself. The things he said to each of them came from knowing them, and seeing what they each had to hide, and cruelly dragging it out into the open and using it against them. The impulse to do so may have come from the dagger, but Mat himself provided the method —and it was a chillingly effective one.

And I’m willing to bet that Nynaeve, of all the gang, would have been the one most likely to subconsciously remember that, and be frightened of it. Not that it was fun for any of the others either, but to someone as guarded and fundamentally insecure as Nynaeve, such an attack would be even worse. And combined with Mat’s general lack of respect for boundaries or propriety even when not under the influence of an evil dagger, and then his later (seeming) total immunity to channeling, well. I would venture to say that of all of Our Heroes, Mat is the only one, even excepting Rand, whom Nynaeve finds genuinely threatening to her personally—even if only subliminally. And anyway, subliminal threats are more often than not the worst ones; it’s even scarier when you don’t even know why you’re scared, methinks.

And so Nynaeve reacts to Mat the same way she does to anything that scares her, which is of course to get very, very angry at it. Ta da.

I’m not saying that all this makes Nynaeve’s behavior toward Mat okay, mind you. Clearly not. But if I’m right, at least it makes it a little less insane (or even out of character, dun) than I had previously considered it, which is a relief, so I’ll take it even if no one else does.

As a last note on this, I’m pretty sure that once the Supergirls leave Ebou Dar, Nynaeve and Mat are never together again (as of the end of TGS). I’m also now realizing that while I clearly recall Elayne’s warming to Mat by the end of ACOS, I don’t actually remember how Nynaeve and Mat’s relationship stands by the time they separate. So now I’m frankly very curious about what motivates Nynaeve to pose her impassioned (and awesome) defense of Mat in TGS, since in light of all the above it’s actually a rather startling one-eighty.

Assuming, of course, I’m not completely talking out of my ass with this whole theory, which is always possible. But I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for that.

Well, that got a lot more verbose than I thought it would, so I think I’m going to stop here, and leave discussion of the Kin and Setalle and alla that for the next chapter; it probably fits better there anyway.

So that’s our show, kids! Y’all be excellent in commentage, now. Have a great weekend, and assuming we don’t enter a new ice age by next Friday, I’ll see you then!

1. crsandoval
Thanks Leigh, I have been waiting all week for my fix and i just went to TOR at the right time..
2. Lsana
I'll admit that I have a hard time giving Elayne much credit for her "apology" in Chapter 22. She doesn't do it because she is aware of what she's done wrong, but because Aviendha believes she's done wrong, and she wants Avi's respect. She barges in on Mat when he's feeling terrible and forces him to accept it even though he obviously just wants her to go away. Then she does everything she can to rules-lawyer her way out of what she's just promised.

I do find it hilarious, though, that Elayne gets everything wrong in this chapter. Granted, most of it is due to things she has no way of knowing, but it is still kind of amusing that she doesn't interpret a single point correctly.

Re Nynaeve, Mat, and TGS: I think it is because in her heart Nynaeve still sees herself as Wisdom of Emmond's Field, and that makes Mat one of her people. She might call him a wastrel, but woe betide the stranger who does the same thing. She might feel justified in switching him, but would rip anyone else limb from limb if they tried. Mat is an Emmond's Fielder, and no conquering, AS-enslaving Seanchan Princess is going to come in and bad-mouth him, not while Nynaeve has anything to say about it.
3. Branwhin
Hey, Leigh!

Thanks for another reread. I have grown quite fond of Nynaeve, and have always very much liked Elayne (unlike many around here, apparently).

It does suck to admit you've been a doof.

And I think for Nynaeve, whether Emond's Fielders saw any of her mistakes as weakness (Cenn Buie certainly did), admitting that she was wrong was the *last* thing she wanted to do. Poor thing.

Not that she wouldn't drive me nuts if I were actually in her company. But reading about her is so much fun.

I *am* impressed by the way Nynaeve is able to act meek with Setalle, though, once she has the hunch about the Kin. A very clever young woman, for all her faults.

Also, Berowin FTW! That's a really impressive Talent. I wonder if she'll ever get the chance to hang onto a Forsaken? There are fewer and fewer of those...

Keep up the wonderful!

Juan Avila
4. Cumadrin
as soon as you mentioned your theory about Nynaeve and Mat here, before i read the EotW passage (cause i already knew you were going to mean that passage) i went 'a-ha! DUH!'

very keen observation. that passage completely slipped my mind all this time. not that i forgot it, but it's relevance. i agree with your theory. you truly are awesome Leigh, good observation and memory.

wish i had something more to add other than praise, but i don't at the minute. oh well, i'm sure you'll live.
Ron Garrison
5. Man-0-Manetheran
Ahh. I giggled all the way through this first chapter. “'I won’t shout at you,' Nynaeve shouted." I loved the internal/external conflicting dialog that propels the comedy. And, of course, hangovers are always funny - except when they are yours.

Elayne's fascination with "pithy" language has always been a redeeming element, even when I was less than thrilled with her.
Nyn/Mat: Excellent find. I hadn't remembered that passage in tEotW. I agree, nothing terrifies Nyn more than someone seeing through the image she likes to project. From this point forward, at least, she knows Mat can see through her, and she fears him doing it publicly again. Therefore she feels the need to constantly downgrade him in other's eyes - hoping they won't believe anything he says.
I need to re-read her "impassioned defense of Mat" in TGS. In all the MOA's in that book, this didn't stick out to me. Hmmm.
John Mann
6. jcmnyu
I have another theory. Nynaeve is just maddeningly inconsistent. She doesn't know what she thinks from one moment to the next, only what she wants and doesn't want. In this chapter, she doesn't want to apologize to a boy/man she once ordered around as a pseudo mother figure. Later, she defends the same boy/man because she feels kinship to someone born in her village, and everyone from her village is better than everyone else. Nynaeve doesn't begin to stop swinging from extreme to extreme until Lan shows up and can deflate her bubble with expert efficiency when necessary. Correct me if I'm wrong, but since Lan gave her his signet ring, has Nynaeve gone off the deep end in his presence? I'd say the determining factor of Nynaeve, crazy woman, is her proximity to Lan. Matt just happens to be an easy target for her crazy in this book.
7. Lost in my own mind
The way I see Nynaeve has changed as I have gotten older. When I started reading the series (eighteen years ago!) I really didn't like her. In fact, I found her incredibly annoying, especially in books 7-10. Now as I have gone through this re-read I have come to love her, I completely agree with Leigh she is seriously funny. Leigh mentions a number of places she is particularly funny, but just to give one more example, I love when she complains about how violent Elayne is becoming and says that someone needs to "slap some sense" into her.
Bonnie Andrews
8. misfortuona
Thank you Leigh, wonderful and funny as always.

I laughed constantly through chapter 22.
Yes I wanted to strangle Nynaeve for being so pig-headed, but I wouldn't have been able to for laughing had I been there.

And Mat, if anyone deserved a hang over it's him. What I love is that he makes no effort to man up about it. I'm a mess, say what you need to say and let me die.

Elayne, ugg. Pitty she plays the straight man here, but we gotta take what we get.

I think you've called the Nynaeve Mat in TGS right. She's protecting her own.

Jeff Weston
9. JWezy
I agree with Lsana. Several times in EOTW and TGH, Nynaeve comments/thinks that she has to defend Egwene and the boys against "outsiders", a term she uses more than once. That is how I read the outburst in TGS.

Mostly those events are regarding the WT, and I cannot off the top of my head think of any other similar outburst that isn't triggered by the WT until TGS, but it still rings true.

And yes, this has always been one of my favorite funny moments in the series, though not necessarily one of my favorite moments overall. I tend to lean toward the moments of great plot exposition where things that were murky abruptly becomes clear, and you are led to understand that even more than you had thought was going on was going on (was going on?), like the history of the Aiel or the resolution of the great Verin debate.

I also love the one-off POVs, where the writing seems to tighten up and we are able to feel the moment, rather than the character. Things like Hadnan Kadere's thoughts of his sister, the EOTW prologue (I still cannot read the first paragraph without embarking on a re-read), the farmer in the prologue of TGS (it just gives me the creeps).
Ron Garrison
10. Man-0-Manetheran
"seriously funny" - good two word summation of Nyn, LIMOM. That's why I've always cast her with a comic actress. She's a conflicted yet totally awesome character, and it would take a skilled actress to do her justice.
Antoni Ivanov
11. tonka
Leigh, I think your theory about Nynaeve and Mat is pretty good and I totally agree.
Lannis .
12. Lannis
Ah, nothing like a hot cup of apple cider and a zippy new reread post to say TGIF!

Re: The Apology... I'm not certain an apology truly counts as an apology if the apologizer is not truly apologetic (ha!). Hypocritically, as a day care provider, I make offenders apologize and give hugs to help console trampled feelings and well, give me hope (not certainty--but hope) for what I'm party to unleashing on society...

Re: An Aes Sedai traveling with someone posing as a sister... Setalle's line is a throwaway that harkens back to the WoT theme of Absolutes That Don't Exist. This is one of my favourite themes in the books, because I'm a sucker for it. Tell me gentling can't be Healed? I'll believe it--and have my socks knocked off when it's proven otherwise!

I'm not sure I've mentioned this, but one of my favourite parts of this reread is the recap, if only because I can revisit the characters I've know for so long (ahem--18 years?! Gah!) with a fresh perspective.

Thanks Leigh! Have a fabulous weekend, I'll think un-snowy thoughts for you! :)
Noneo Yourbusiness
13. Longtimefan
The added dimension of Nynaeve having a subconsious fear of Mat does make sense. Her opinion of him has never been that great since she represented "order" of a sort in the Village as a Wisdom in training and he was "chaos" of a sort being the local "prankster". Never meaning any harm but amusing himself which may come at the expense of others if of nothing more than thier pride. Nynaeve does value her pride as do many people who seek to keep "order".

But to feel afraid of "chaos" you cannot change or guide as a person of "order" has some affect. Obviously respecting that person who represents that "differece of opinion" is not first on the list.

It also does not help thier relationship in the exchange that Nynaeve feels that she is exerting a great effort on her part to be "respectful" of Mat and he does not visibly return the effort to appreciate her change or show any change himself.

It can be irritating to anyone to feel that they are putting out an effort that is not being appriciated in the way they want it to be recognized.

I think part of the reason Nynaeve can defend Mat in The Gathering Storm is beyond his being an Edmond's Feilder and someone she has known long before the world went all sideways and complicated is that she has a better sense of self at that point in time and in knowing herself she has a different appreciation of other people she knows as well.

Age and experience will do that to people. Even fictional people if they are well developed.
14. alreadymadwithnyn'stemper
Mat mutters that he supposes Aviendha and Birgitte don’t need “minders”
Ha! So true.

“a tame ta’veren on a leash”
Of course they would actually try this eventually, simply because they did not want to have to ask Mat nicely to deal with the annoying SeaFolk. With typical results. Score another one for Mat.

Good call on why Nynaeve might be afraid of Mat. Scary to think that even half out of it with the dagger he still makes an observation that is clearly spot on. Something that escaped the supposedly more stable (at the time) Rand or Perrin. Personally, I just figured she simply did not want to be in a subordinate position to these boys, when as Wisdom she had the authority to spank them if they so much as stepped wrong. Subconsciously she might have been afraid they could pay her back for all those times she spanked or switched just because she was in a bad temper.
Maiane Bakroeva
15. Isilel
Yea, these are funny chapters. And BTW, the funny thing about Elayne is that while in the first chapter she clearly apologizes only because of Avi, in the second she is working at being properly grateful to him - i.e. "he is the root cause".

I don't buy Elayne's princess exemption, BTW - she had a lot of practice humbling herself and apologizing by now and it seems that even at home people like Lini, Bryne or even Elaida took no gaf from her.
Of course, Mat immediately conveys his equally low opinion of the SGs and the notion that he should be in charge, which kinda makes the whole exercise more difficult for them...

Also, I am at loss how a girl with two brothers, to one of which she used to be close, could be so utterly perplexed by men ;). But maybe that's just me.

Nyn is a hoot. Yes, she is extreme... but not unrealistic.

Re: the SGs feeling that Setalle could not channel, they just don't sense her. Neither could Siuan and Leane be sensed when stilled. Nynaeve had to touch them bodily and apply a variant of Delving to find the cut. So, IMHO, it adds no new info on whether burning out in general and Setalle in particular are Healable.

I hope that she is, since somebody must utilize the ter'angreal trove in some way now that Elayne is prevented for the rest of the series. Maybe even to learn ter'angreal making and stuff. Would be also nice to have Setalle as Elayne's student for a time, heh.

BTW, let me trot out again my theory that Setalle's burning out was set up by the BA and likely by Verin herself because Setalle/Martine learned something dangerous to them or was offered recruitment for digging where she shouldn't à la Verin, but refused it.
She suffers from amnesia of the several days preceding her accident according to whoever told her story back in whatever volume of the saga ;) and IMHO sight of Verin in TGS will shock her into remembrance.
Juan Avila
16. Cumadrin
@15 Isilel

Verin stopped by Mat's camp, when Satelle is there, and nothing came about. then she died. so i think not.

this was in tGS of course
Tricia Irish
17. Tektonica
Thank you for recapping the chatty chapter, so I didn't have to read it. Ug.
The Kin drove me pretty crazy at first, and I didn't understand Nynaeve haring off with Setalle either, the first time I read it. I do think it's awfully insightful of her, being that she had just been in a snit over Mat. I remember thinking, "How did Nynaeve get so curious and smart here?" Oh well.

Setalle interrupting them in the Inn made me crazy too. My daughter is the only person I know that does that to me and it makes me nuts.

Your theory about Mat being the only person who really pierces Nynaeve's armor, creating her fear/anger at him, is very interesting. You're probably very right there. Thank you. I never really understood why she was always so down on him in particular.

I would think her defense of him in tGS harks back to her history of him in the TR and that loyalty, but I need to reread that part in tGS.

Another great post, Leigh! Thanks.
Ron Garrison
18. Man-0-Manetheran
Nyn's defense of Mat as a TR thing:
It reminds me of Mat's treatment of the Amyrlin Egwene in Salidar.
Barry T
19. blindillusion
“Setalle!” Garenia exclaimed as soon as the innkeeper was gone. “That was Setalle Anan? How did she—? Light of Heaven! Even after seventy years, the Tower would—”
There's that number again.

Hmm, I say hmm.

Just what happened 70 years ago...besides lots and lots of things that have yet to be fully revealed....

Wonder if part of Verin's 70 Year Plan was to get Martine Janata to begin her study of ter'angreal. And then after 40 years Verin found what she was looking for and - silenced - Martine (thanks Isilel) to keep things - err - quiet.

Hmm, hmm. *cough*

Sorry, Don't have much time to flesh this out. Physical Training Test for the Soldiers...Yay.
Don Barkauskas
20. bad_platypus
and those who are burned out (like Setalle, aka Martine Jenata, do not argue with me).
Thank you for this! On one of the previous re-reads, someone (won't bother looking up who) told me flat-out that I only believed this because " wanted to believe it"---as opposed to the fairly overwhelming (if circumstantial) evidence that exists.

Most of the time, I don't get invested in wanting one theory over another---I just want to know which is true. For me, the only WoT theory I ever actually wanted to be true was one by John Novak reported on the WoT FAQ (at the very bottom of the linked page):
"My sneaking suspicion is that both Adeleas and Vandene were Black Ajah, but of different cells, and this is one of those grisly little ironies Jordan likes to throw in every so often-- I like the image (so to speak) of Adeleas sprawled out on the floor, conscious but unable to speak, figuring out in a flash that Vandene is also Black Ajah... and being physically unable to communicate that before she got her throat slashed."
That really appealed to my sense of irony.

How about you guys? Are there any theories that you wanted to be true?
Maiane Bakroeva
21. Isilel
Cumardin @15:

We didn't see Setalle on-screen in TGS though. So, if a memory cascade happened, it would have been left for ToM, where I hope that we will see some more of Verin's last actions, too.

Oh, and BTW great insight of Leigh's re: Nyn feeling threatened by Mat due to the TEoTW incident. I agree 100%.
Barry T
22. blindillusion
The Olver is Gaidal Cain Theory: It just seemed that with who Olver is growing up around, it would have made since. Also, I doubt Olver will be old enough to fight in the main sequence story-line...but, well...The Last Battle should be called the Last Battle with the Dark One...not World Peace Forever and Always Once It's Done.

Great Battle done, but the World not done with Battle and all that jazz type stuff...ya know?

Now I really do have to go Preside Over That Test...blah at being the "CO".

I'd also like to add that I agree with Leigh as well regarding the tEotW scene. Mat struck her to the quick, something she believed to be impossible coming from one of the people she helped “raise”.

Also, I tend to see Nynaeve and Mat as having very similiary personalities. CMIIW, but doesn't Nynaeve tend to competely go off the wall when dealing with people who are like her?
23. evinfuilt
Just have to say this first chapter with The Kin is my least favorite in the entire series. I guess I just can't stand people being treated like that, it angers me. They're supposedly good guys, but they're idiots, self absorbed... you know, lil Aes Sedai. I always have trouble reading it, from the moment Setalle shows up and drags the wonder twins off I can't wait for the outcome (their return) but I just hate this meeting.
24. Dholton
The Apology truly is one of my favorite moments in the series. Especially because I've listened to the audiobook. The way Kate Reading depicts the whole scene, particularly the way she has Elayne say/think "Odious Man!" is so utterly hilarious, I treasure it every time I hear it.
Antoni Ivanov
25. tonka
Good call on why Nynaeve might be afraid of Mat. Scary to think that even half out of it with the dagger he still makes an observation that is clearly spot on. Something that escaped the supposedly more stable (at the time) Rand or Perrin.

That's not true. Rand has always been good at spotting on things. There has been numerous occasions about people being astonished how observant Rand is.
Even before he was told Rand guessed correctly that Colavaere was crowned.Again later when Rand calmed some servant who was scared. How had Rand known it was there?
And there are more occasion in the later books. In the last book there were a few times that he shocked people with his unnerving way to guess things that most people are not able.
Ron Garrison
26. Man-0-Manetheran
"Now I really do have to go Preside Over That Test...blah at being the "CO"."

Hmm. Sounds like Mat.
Ron Garrison
27. Man-0-Manetheran
I believe you are mis-reading what AMW wrote:
Something that escaped the supposedly more stable (at the time) Rand or Perrin.
He did not say Rand was not observant. He simply said that he and Perrin did not observe this particular thing.
Marcus W
28. toryx
Leigh says,

It might be nicer, of course, if she wanted to apologize to Mat because he genuinely deserves the gesture, as opposed to through loyalty to an outside party (Aviendha)...

Which is exactly why Elayne's apology carries no weight with me whatsoever. If she'd accepted that Birgitte and Aviendha were right and that she'd truly treated Mat poorly and sincerely meant the apology without the other motive (which benefits her, I'd be more impressed. But alas...

Okay. I guess this is one of those moments when Elayne is slightly more tolerable for me, but I still really, really dislike her. And by the way, I actually dislike Elayne more and more on every re-read. Nynaeve, on the other hand, I like a lot more now than I did in the beginning. Part of it is because she's hilarious; I'll forgive a lot for someone who makes me laugh.

I also think it's fantastic that a former Aes Sedai who still has a lot of AS ways (like interrupting people) actually thinks well of Mat. That's so unusual in itself that it makes up for the way she handled Elayne and Nynaeve.

I still want to know, however, why Elayne and Nynaeve felt they had to go offer their apologies when they knew Mat would still be suffering from a hangover? How did they expect him to act when he's in such bad shape? It either indicates that they hoped to catch him when he was down and therefore take advantage while giving the apology, or they just weren't thinking. Either way, I'm not impressed.

I think Leigh's right on the money with Nynaeve's reaction whenever Mat comes up, and I also believe that the scene in TGS was...okay, not very well done. It was one of those things that didn't work for me. I do think that Nynaeve is fiercely protective of her "boys" no matter what, and even though Mat itches her like poison oak she certainly would be defensive of him, particularly when he's not around to irritate her. Actually, that latter is probably the key factor. Mainly because when she looks at him, I think she can't help but see the part of him that beat past her barrier in Andor that one afternoon, and it'll probably always change the way she sees him.
29. Alfvaen
Oh my god, these are like the two most annoying chapters in this book, and possibly the entire series for me. And Mat has nothing to do with it.

I can't help but feel purely outraged at the persistent inability of Setalle Anan, and the Kin, to take Nynaeve and Elayne at all seriously. Maybe it makes sense from their POV, that it's ludicrous that Elayne could be a full Aes Sedai, and they want to help protect them from the real sisters in the city. But the fact that they ignore them, they don't listen, they dismiss everything N&E say, drives me up the wall every bloody time.

Of course, it does make it a sweet triumph when, after N&E assert their control over the Ebou Dar sisters, they show those Kin a thing or two about real Aes Sedai, but Setalle never has been properly punctured, it seems to me. (Maybe it was Cadsuane who arranged her burning-out, to eliminate her competition.)
31. Smoke_Cc
correct me if i am wrong but the AS's burned out at dumai's well were all healed so why wouldn't Setalle Anan be healable as well?
Ron Garrison
33. Man-0-Manetheran
"I still want to know, however, why Elayne and Nynaeve felt they had to go offer their apologies when they knew Mat would still be suffering from a hangover? "

That's good writing! RJ was showing (without telling) that they were not sincere in their apology. They offered it, but in reality had no concern for Mat's feelings.

::can you tell it's a slow day at work?::
34. Alfvaen

I think the Dumai's Wells victims were actually stilled, not burned out. Being burned out, it seems to me, is caused either by attempting to channel too much of the One Power, or by misusing a ter'angreal, which probably amounts to the same thing. If another person removes the ability to channel from you, then that's stilling. Perhaps stilling someone by accident isn't quite the same as stilling them on purpose, but I think the effects are more similar than burning out.
Bonnie Andrews
35. misfortuona
Not that I'm about to defend Elayne and Nynaeve, but my guess is they just never gave it any thought. Nyn is of the opinion that Mat can and does carouse to his hearts content.
Thoughtless I know, but ... aw who am I kidding. They kenw the state Birgitte was in. They must have known Mat would be similarly afflicted.

Smoke and Alfvaen
This just doesn't make any sense. Stilling, burned out, seems like the same thing to me. The burnouts should be able to be healed as well.

Mis-agrees with MOM
Brandon D
36. Ishmayl
"which it might be bunnies, or maybe midgets"

I appreciate a good Buffy reference every now and then.
37. agord
" in which it might be bunnies, or maybe midgets" LoL at former revenge demons?
Ron Garrison
38. Man-0-Manetheran
Mis: "they just never gave it any thought" Yeah. That's what I'm sayin' - never gave it any thought.
39. alreadymadwithclueless
Man-o-Manetheran @27 and Tonka @25
I'll also throw out there that Rand was pretty clueless until Moiraine coached him and LTT started talking to him.
Barry T
40. blindillusion
Don't forget Thom and Elayne. They played roles in that training too.
Kurt Lorey
41. Shimrod
Froward. It wasn't a typo. "froward and contentious".

From Webster's: "not easily controlled; stubbornly willful; contrary; refractory."

I'd say that it was exactly what RJ meant to say about Elayne and Nynaeve.

And, to say the least, I am quite familiar with that archaic Middle English word. ;)

But, at least I'm not a Rickroller.
Ron Garrison
42. Man-0-Manetheran
I posted it earlier today on the Open Comments board, but I reserve the term "pretty clueless" for Gawyn. Pretty & Clueless.
j p
43. sps49
But, Leigh, I wanna talk about That Thi-mmmph!
Birgit F
45. birgit
El probably went to apologize as soon as possible to get the unpleasant task done. If they had waited it would have been even more difficult to convince Ny to come along.
Bonnie Andrews
46. misfortuona
Damn. I got balefired!! One to many posts today I guess.

Theory I most want to see.
Mat held by the Finn and having everything taken from him but what they gave him.

It isn't pink ribbons, but I still like the visual.

47. nor3
Mis@35, re burnouts/stilling

Actually, i dont have much of a problem with burning out and stilling being different problems. Different types of injuries. A cut and a burn (I'm fairly sure stilling has been compared to cutting more than once, and burning is obviously, well, burning out). You can stitch up a cut and it will heal, but you cant somehow replace burnt skin. I hope that analogy made sense.
Sam Mickel
48. Samadai
If I recall correctly, then 2 of the sisters are stilled and the other is burnt out, when Rand breaks out of the box.
49. Gentleman Farmer
@28 toryx

Generally speaking, I agree with you, and also dislike Elayne.

There are, however, times when I do like and sympathize with her character. My most recent re-read, I found myself being much more tolerant of her.

With all respect to the Shaido storyline, for me the biggest waste of time and paper is the war of succession in Andor, probably because Elayne is so annoying.

That being said, this time I tried to assess it from her standpoint. Her family hasn't held the throne any length of time, in fact she's the first after her mother to take the throne.

Her only concept of how to come to the throne is to do just like her mother did (more of her learning to grow up by following in her mother's footsteps, much like her flirtation with Thom).

So she can't accept that she didn't need to fight a war to get the throne, that she should just take a happy land and rule it (like Darlin or Gregorin) based on her lawful title to the throne.

She needs to make a big production out of it just so she can feel entitled to her throne.

I don't find that I like her character more, but I like how she's written in character... a young woman who has been trained to be a queen, but really has no idea of how to go about becoming a queen.

I even found that analysis helped (marginally) excuse her dereliction of duty in not taking the throne on hearing of her mother's death. She's scared to try to step up and be queen, so her need to have little adventures is more a matter of her having difficulty facing her fear than it is a lack of care or concern for her people and kingdom.
Bonnie Andrews
50. misfortuona
Skin grafts! But I guess I see the point. Just doesn't seem to me that they'd be that different, but then again I suppose it makes sense story wise, so I won't argue with the creator if it turns out it can't be healed.

Mis-trust in the creator
Ron Garrison
51. Man-0-Manetheran
Hmm. Perrin picturing Mat naked... Silver studded leather harnesses... Bondage! Perhaps the Tower of Ghenjei is a gay disco?
52. alreadymadwithstilled
Samadai @48
All three are stilled and Healed back by Damer.
Bonnie Andrews
53. misfortuona
Now come on that isn't fair. I am at work. Okay so nobody is around but I might have choked here.
Gotta learn not to drink and read.

Thomas Keith
54. insectoid
Awesome post, Leigh! I'd send you some SoCal sunshine, but ah...we don't have any at the moment. Just rain clouds.

El & Nyn: Hilarious, especially Elayne figuring she could learn "pithy" language from Mat. And the flick on the ear.

Setalle and the Kin: When I first read this, I was about ready to throw the book against the wall, for all the lack of taking the girls the least bit seriously. I felt as frustrated as Elayne—how dare they! And the one-liners:
“I do so want to understand, Nynaeve. I would hate to think I’m going to kick you the length of the Mol Hara for nothing.”

Cumadrin @16: Ah, but we haven't seen Verin Travel Mat's party to Caemlyn yet (AMoL was split, remember), so there's a possibility they could still meet in ToM. Oh wait... Isilel beat me to it (BTW Is, you ref'd the wrong number).

M-0-M @51: That's rather naughty of you. ;D

Jack Diamond
55. violetdancer
Coming out of self-imposed retirement to say: Leigh Butler, you rock!

When I caught up on reading over the last few days I wrote out a sticky note to myself. "Look in TEotW for that cruel thing Mat says to Nynaeve." I agree with you 110%. Not only did he see into her soul and comment on it in front of others, but he did so just as she was making a big discovery about herself: that she loved Lan. It wasn't so much that she thought of herself as pretty but that she hoped she was pretty enough for him!

One other thing I caught while reading the section several chapters ago for the watcher's (aka Moridin) POV. He says so much can be learned from a callbox, especially when there are only two others. Does anyone have a clue about this?

I assume this means that Moridin has one of them and is using it to spy with? On other Forsaken? Wet? Blind? Free? Other gurus who like to look things up? Help!
56. nor3
mis@50 : well, if it's a skin graft, maybe they'll figure out a way to take someone elses ability to channel and graft it onto a burnt out channeler. But I think that extends my thin-to-begin-with analogy a bit too far...
Jay Dauro
57. J.Dauro
Samadai @48

What you may be remembering is that two are unconcious, and one is screaming. All three are stilled.

Gentleman Farmer @49
She cannot "just step up and take the throne." She has to get the required number of Major Houses to support her (or conquer them, which she cannot and will not do.) And until KoD, they do not support her.

I realize many people view this plot arc as tedious, but I find it to be quite telling. In it, Elayne learns a lot on how to be a queen. (Then again, I don't really find the kidnapping plot that boring either. There are parts I do not like to read (in both) but not because they are tedious.
Jack Diamond
58. violetdancer
Oh, and way to go Canada! Something special about being the host country and winning the hockey gold! Even if it means the US has to settle for silver.
59. nor3

Didn't Sammael give a call box to Sevanna, and thats how she called him to meet in the woods? So the two other boxes would be Sammael's and the one he gave to Sevanna. In fact, just after that meeting, Moridin follows Sammael and Graendal (it was graendal, wasn't it?) through the woods for a little bit, so presumably he found out about the meeting from the call box. Maybe after Sammeal sent the shaido haring all around Randland, Graendal took the other call box to keep in touch with her ally Sammael, not realising Moridin could listen in...
61. alreadymadwithitems
insectoid @54
Verin would have gone to the White Tower after Travelling Mat and his Band to Caemlyn.

nor3 @59
Problem is, we really have no way of knowing how those items Sammael gave away worked. We know the Binder he gave was a dead ringer for the White Tower Oath Rod. I doubt he would give the Shaido a truly useful item, though.
Jacy Clark
62. Amalisa
Great post, as always!

I'd forgotten about that moment from TEOTW and, in this context, it does add to the shadings of the relationship that exists between Nynaeve and Mat. Mat-the-trickster obviously had issues with authority going back to, like, the cradle which would have put him at odds with Nyn early and often. (Yes, I know she wasn't the Wisdom all that time.) To have the tables turned, so to speak, would not set well with her - even without the added creepy insight into her mama-died-when-I-was-young-daddy-treated-me-like-a-son-omigod-look-who-I'm-falling-in-love-with issues.

Just to muddle things a little more, I remember when Mat learned from Mother Guenna (TDR, "In Search of a Remedy") that the Super Girls had been taken by Liandrin et al. He tried to put his fist through a wall (which I thought was a bit extreme on its face) and
he broad woman took his hand in a strong grip, but the fingers she used to probe were surprisingly gentle. "Nothing broken," she grunted after a while. Her eyes were just as gentle as she studied his face. "It seems you care for them. One of them, at least, I suppose it is. I am sorry, Mat Cauthon."
I've always assumed (and still believe) that this was an oblique reference to Elayne. I mean, isn't it part of the "lovable rogue" trope that he secretly hearts his best friend's girlfriend? Then later in this book, when confronting the gholam he tells it that it can't have "her" - also Elayne. Then there's a very oblique reference in PoD when Elayne thinks of Mat as her "very strange, very instructive subject. He had come for her, too, and had offered more". (Did Mat hit on Elayne sometime early in TSR? Did I miss something?)

Sorry... off track. Back to the Nynaeve/Mat thing... By the end of ACOS, remember that two very profound things have happened to Nynaeve. First, she learned how to surrender to saidar. Second, she got married. And I can forgive the Sea Folk a lot of things for no other reason than their very sensible - within their societal context - marriage ceremony and its (unintended) benefits to Nynaeve. Specifically, that she cannot claim what she has heretofore considered to be her prerogative to be a) right and b) in control 100% of the time. As for the seeming 180 degree turnaround by TGS... marriage, dealing with the Kin and Sea Folk in Caemlyn, the excursion to Far Madding, the cleansing of saidin, Cadsuane, watching Rand descend into something worse than madness - all of those things rubbed some of the rougher edges off of Nynaeve - even brought her back to her protective Wisdom-ness, sort of - so that when the time came to jump down Tuon's throat when she thought Mat was being disparaged, well... there you go. Not that I don't think Nynaeve was perhaps a little surprised by her own vehemence...

Edit for punctuation.
63. nor3
alreadymadwithitems@61 : a call box isnt particularly usefull if you think you have the only two in the world (presumably he doesnt know about the one Moridin has), and you can easily travel to Arad Doman if you ever need to talk to your only ally. Why wouldnt he give one to the Shaido, who he doesnt really care about apart from their chaos spreading usefullness.

As for Moridn listening in with them, presumably its like tapping a phone. Or using a computer to hack someone elses e-mail.
64. Freelancer
And the Elayne-haters will continue to blast her in spite of her attempt at sincerity, and continue to give Nyaeve a pass in spite of her blatant hypocrisy (I agree with Leigh regarding the source of Nynaeve's discomfort with Mat, but emotional baggage aside).

I do not now, and never have hated Nynaeve. But I cannot fathom her getting better press than Elayne, who always wants to do right (a shared trait with Galad that she would deny to her death), and forces herself to it once she learns what the right thing is.

Yes, Elayne's motivations for apologizing to Mat are not completely pure. That happens to be realistic. Very few people approach an apology, especially to someone they aren't particularly fond of, with altruistic and selfless intent.

Speaking of apologies, the business between Setalle and Reanne deserves a full treatment. Elayne is non-plussed by the whole scene. Why does the elder lady, a strong channeler, abase herself to the younger non-channeler? And why does Setalle, whom we now know was a significant sister in the Tower, likewise humble herself before a woman who never earned the ring, much less the shawl?

Let's take Setalle's angle first. In all of her time as Aes Sedai, the unspoken law was deference to a stronger channeler; the greater the disparity in strength, the greater the deference. As we learned from Siuan and Leanne, that goes double for a former channeler to a current channeler. Reanne's specific status with the Tower is irrelevant, since Setalle is no longer a sister either. To her, she must show deference to a channeler, period.

Now Reanne's POV. Since none of the Kin ever reached the point of learning about deference in the Tower being based upon strength in the Power, they erroneously apply what they logically conclude must be the determining factors for heirarchy. Age, length of time in the Tower as Accepted/Novice. To them, even a burnt-out Sister is a Sister, an Aes Sedai who attained what they could not. In the eyes of the Kin, regardless of her loss of ability, Setalle is far above them and worthy of deference.


“Setalle!” Garenia exclaimed as soon as the innkeeper was gone. “That was Setalle Anan? How did she—? Light of Heaven! Even after seventy years, the Tower would—”

What happened 70 years before was that Zarya Alkaese ran away from the Tower. She knew Martine Janata as Aes Sedai from novice classes. She knew that even after seventy years, the Tower would drag her back on her knees for punishment as a runaway.

RE: Setalle's behavior towards Nynaeve and Elayne. I find it completely reasonable given what we now know about her. She is extremely indignant at two children posing as sisters, and what Aes Sedai of former high standing would do less than attempt to put the fear of the Light into them? Or refuse to hear their obviously false stories? Or run roughshod over their protests? It is totally in keeping with her past experience, her indoctrination in Tower law and tradition, her acquaintence with the Kin, and her nature in general. Of course, before we begin to suspect (through Elayne) that she had been to the Tower, we just think she's an overbearing innkeeper who thinks she knows everyone's business.

Finally, it's extremely interesting how, during this sequence, each of the SGs shows insight into one thing, but not another. Elayne catches all the "tells" Setalle is throwing out about her Aes Sedai knowledge, while Nynaeve is totally oblivious. Nynaeve twigs to the Circle being like a real organization of channelers, with possible connection to the Bowl, while Elayne can't imagine such a group being overlooked by the Tower (of course we know they weren't, but that's the next segment). All-in-all, an excellent expository segment.
Elayne hating to think she's going to kick Nynaeve across the square for nothing? Priceless.
65. alreadymadwiththebox
Amalisa @62
Nynaeve is just being contradictory. I'm sure she feels obligated in defending Mat to perceived outsiders, but face to face with Mat I'll bet she will not give him a whit more respect than he deserves and probably a lot less. Just like she's giving him now.

nor3 @63
This is assuming it works like a phone. What if it's more like a pager? Or a voicemail recorder? Or a homing beacon?
66. Alfvaen
Freelancer@64: If Setalle had a different name in the Tower (as seems to be the case), then why does Garenia/Zarya react to that name? Do the Kin, then, know not only who Setalle is but who she was? One presumes this knowledge is not widespread in Ebou Dar. The same change of features that kept people from recognizing Siuan and Leane post-stilling (and Mesaana without the illusion of the Oath Rod's effects?) would probably have kept anyone who knew her in the Tower from recognizing her. So how precisely do they know who Setalle is, by name?
Tricia Irish
67. Tektonica
To the Mat, Nynaeve, Elayne, Cads haters, I give you an excerpt of an essay on Proust regarding characterization, that I posted in full a week or so ago......

.....A portrait of someone we know has been built up gradually, bit by bit, over years of experience until it becomes something like a portrait, and it is always a process...... The portrait is an end product, not a beginning, a process. Our experiences aren’t given to us in neat packages, they are built up slowly piece by piece over time. Only later, can the pieces of a character be fitted into something like a portrait.

Nynaeve and Elayne are really beginning to pick up speed on their respective character arcs. Nynaeve's gets going with breaking her block and marrying Lan. Elayne's gets underway during the Succession story. Yawn, but it is important.
Joseph Blaidd
68. SteelBlaidd
"Young man, there's no need to feel down.
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
I said, young man, 'cause you're in a new town
There's no need to be unhappy. "

I'm going to have to disagree with you on Elayne.
She was expecting the whole trip to ED to take 2 weeks, 3 on the outside. Without traveling it would take her at least a couple months to get home anyway, so she figured traveling gave her some wiggle room to take care of a legitimate threat to her kingdom. And there is noway thet she could take the throne at this point without a fight and likly that it was imposible by the time she learned about her mothers death. Morgase was facing public disaproval already in tEotW and Rahvin had done his best to make her even more unpopularin an effort to smooth his way to direct control.

But then I like reading the succession so YMMV.

As to why Elayn is so baffled by men with two Brothers. The problem is 1) that they are her brothers and 2) she is the Daughter Heir. In other words her relationships withthem have been pretty static for many years and they were ones in which she had authority. She's only just now trying to figure out how to deal with Men-as-Equals.
Ron Garrison
69. Man-0-Manetheran
Steel! I get it! The Tower of Ghenjei is the local YMCA!

Insectoid: You're too young to know what any of this means. Navigate away from the page.

EDIT: Just noticed that by coicidence this post is tagged with the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai.
Captain Hammer
70. Randalator

Today’s entry covers Chapters 22 and 23 of A Crown of Swords, in which it might be bunnies, or maybe midgets

What, no witches? Some evil witches...

*sees disapproving Aes Sedai glares*

...which is ridiculous, 'cause witches – they were persecuted, Wicca good, and love the earth, and women power, and I’ll be over here...


re: Nynaeve - Mat

Nice observation about the defense piercing. I totally failed to connect that incident with Nynaeves attitude towards Mat. But I think it's completely in character for her to react that way. And thus another piece of the bullseye falls into my lap like dominos in a house of cards...checkmate!

I love this re-read...
Jennifer B
71. JennB
It always amazes me how every one loves Mat and thinks when he is a jerk it's endearing yet when Nynaeve is a jerk everyone hates on her.

I was 13 or 14 when I started reading this series (18-19 years ago like several posters above). As a teenage girl, I guess I always identified with the young female characters, including Nynaeve. Still do.

People tend to overlook how Mat constantly is rude to and insults Ny, El, and Eg. He doesn't realize it (just as he can't figure out who Olver's role model is) but he still does it. While the girls treat him poorly, it definatly goes both ways.

I just get tired of all the Mat lovers hating on the girls without looking at how Mat acts. I like Mat for the most part (except in TGH when he is so mean to Rand) but when it comes to disrespect, rudeness, and underhanded insults, he is just as bad as the the girls, if not worse.

Would Mat thank Nynaeve for rescue if their roles were reversed? Of course not. In fact as far as I can remember, he has never thanked her for saving his life and caring for him in TDR.

I think that Mat and Nynaeve are so alike that they grate on each other's nerves just by being in the same room, but they will always be there for each other and defend each other to outsiders. In fact I think that Nynaeve's defense of Mat in TGS was perfectly in character. It is what I would have expected her to do.
72. nor3
box@65 : When Sevanna tells the wise ones to channel into it, Sammael's voice speaks to them out of thin air. Sounds pretty like a phone to me.

alf@66 : Prehaps they just know the innkeeper, Sattelle Annan.
“Setalle!” Garenia exclaimed as soon as the innkeeper was gone. “That was Setalle Anan? How did she—? Light of Heaven! Even after seventy years, the Tower would—”
Could mean ''How did this inkeeper know all about the kin, runaways, channeling and the tower? I've been away a long time, and a lot has probably changed, but surely they havn't changed so much that coomon innkeepers know about the workings of the tower!''

Course, I might be wrong, but hey...
Don Barkauskas
73. bad_platypus
Re: the Mat/Nynaeve thing

Having just finished my first re-read of tGS, I had actually noticed that Nynaeve herself doesn't know why she defended Mat to Tuon. She muses about this in Ch. 44 right after Rand tells her where to find Perrin, as well as the fact that she's actually worried about having abandoned Mat in Ebou Dar.

It's actually a very human reaction---we naturally protect "us" against "them", even when we don't treat "us" very well. The "Nobody messes with my siblings (except me)" reaction.

As a personal example, when I was in 5th grade we were playing touch football on an icy parking lot during recess at school and someone blocked me from behind (something that would be a penalty in a refereed game), causing me to fall and break my wrist. Afterwards, a classmate who had never been anything but mean to me offered to get them back for me. I politely declined, but it was a nice offer (in some sense of the word "nice").
74. nor3
JennB, i was really agreeing with you on every point untill you said ''I like Mat for the most part''. Youre not allowed in the Mat-Haters club! (We already have two whole members!)
75. jdbo
blindillusion@22 , re: The Olver is Gaidal Cain Theory

I like this theory - and given Olver's intent to go see the Snakes and Foxes, and the time-twisting nature of the *fin's worlds, I imagine that Olver will enter the silver tower, be left behind/wander off on his own somehow, and eventually return as grown-up Gaidal.

Anyway, just elaborating on the theory.
Thomas Keith
76. insectoid
AMW @61: Yes, that was my point.

M-0-M @69: Bah! I wasn't born yesterday.

And, what's with all the Mat-bashing? Mat is totally Awesome. Most of the time. :)

Sam Mickel
77. Samadai
It is pretty clear to me that Setalle Anan recognized Garenia as Zarya Alkaese. She knew her as an accepted back in the tower. That is why she laughs softly when Garenia says Zarya was her grandmas sister. As she is A former Aes Sedai she would know about the Kin to some degree. She also had to have the Kin help her with a hard birth for one of her children.

Garenia says what she says about her because she had heard about Setalle Anan through the Kin, but recognized her voice or facial features from her past encounters with her at Tar Valon. what she was surely going to say was. " Even after 70 years, the Tower would try to take her(Garenia) back as a runaway."

That is why Garenia is sent to the farm.
78. Freelancer

It is clear by Reanne's show of extreme deference and humility to Setalle that she, and probably all of the Knitting Circle, know who Setalle was. Remember that they have all learned to go by different names over the years (centuries), and also to be very careful. Therefore it is not unnatural that even though she clearly has recognized Martine Sedai, Garenia (Zarya) uses the woman's "current" name. Of course, in the midst of being careful about the name, she nearly cracks out of school about her own past in the Tower, earning herself a turn on the Farm.


I totally agree! I wish I'd said that! ::whistle::

Ok, ok, let's do it like this. Mat supporters in this corner, Mat haters in that corner. Elayne haters along this side, Elayne supporters along that side. Nynaeve haters in this neutral corner, Nynaeve supporters ... Are you serious? Get out of town.

And let the games begin!
Jennifer B
79. JennB
Nor3 @74
Truthfully the only character I have had a severe dislike to from the beginning is Faile, though Mat would be pretty low on my list of main characters if I had to rank them. We did that on this blog many months ago (before I even started my lastest reread). I should go back and find it to see how my latest reread has affected my opinions.
Jennifer B
80. JennB
Does anybody remember which post that was?
81. Freelancer
I'm moderately confident that it was part of the monstrosity known to us today as TSR#10. Failing that, there was a substantial thread not long before that as well, which could easily have been where the "character ranking" survey occured. Wetlandernw, was that one your work? Perhaps she has something bookmarked from her manic data correlation days on the forum.
Jay Dauro
83. J.Dauro
jdbo @75

He cannot return as Gaidal Cain, unless he is already Gaidal Cain, since the soul stays the same.

Crossroads of Twilight book tour 20 January 2003 - Dayton, OH
Q: Is Olver Gaidal Cain?
RJ: No. I didn't really think that this would last as long as it has. The timing is wrong. He has another reason for being there besides being a red herring, though.
Q: He's too old.
RJ: Yes. Time in Tel'aran'rhiod and the real world run at different rates, but it never runs backwards. You may spend an hour in Tel'aran'rhiod, and a day has passed when you get back, or you may spend a day, and an hour has passed when you get back, but you'll never go in on Tuesday and come back on Monday.
Q: Is the difference in time constant?
RJ: No. It's fairly random. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes the same as real time.
Q: It's different for different people, then?
RJ: Yes. Unless they're together in Tel'aran'rhiod. Then the same amount of time passes for them obviously.
Jacy Clark
85. Amalisa
JennB -

Try The Fires of Heaven blog # 14. Your post was #140, I believe.

(Tried to do it the cool imbedded url way, but it kept saying it was flagged as possible spam. *sigh*)
Bonnie Andrews
86. misfortuona
But Free, what do we do when we fit into more than one spot. Support Mat, obviously. Tolerate Elayne, and she gets better over time. Best I can figure out you expect me to hang from the ceiling and I can't do that without a trapeze.

Jennifer B
87. JennB
I searched though all of The Shadow Rising and the first 5 of the Fires of Heaven before I gave up. I'll go check out #14 now.
Sam Mickel
88. Samadai

monstrosity! what! I don't know what you are talking about. The Shadow Rising part 10 was the most well thought out constructive bunch of posts we have ever had. ;D
Sam Mickel
89. Samadai
I like Mat, Elayne and Nynaeve. And there is no way you want to have three of me in separate corners. Could you imagine the horror of three of me?
Ron Garrison
90. Man-0-Manetheran
"Can't we all just get along?"
I love all the characters!

...except Sevanna. I really hate her.
Barry T
92. blindillusion
Just wanted to say real quick before I read the rest of the comments...I realize that the runaway happened 70 years ago...but from discussion before this post...quite a few things happened 70 years ago.
Alice Arneson
93. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @81 - It does sound like me, but I gotta say no. The only surveys I collected were the personal data and Ajah choice. I do think the character ranking might have happened in TSR#10, though - we talked about all manner of idiocy that time around. (As opposed to all the other times when we talk only perfect sense.)
Alice Arneson
94. Wetlandernw
@78 - Games? Shenanigans, I say! Like Sam, I'll be in two corners and a wall - or running around in circles. I like all of them. I like all the "good guys" except Berelain, and hate all the bad guys. Isn't that what I'm supposed to be doing? ;)
Barry T
95. blindillusion
and Katerine, I hate Katerine.

Oh, and jdbo. I wasn't putting that forth as a possible theory...but as one I was sad to see nixed.
Barry T
97. blindillusion
Galina is quite horrible...and i hate her...but at least she gets what she deserves.

Oh...and Eyndel. That guy sucks.
Rob Munnelly
98. RobMRobM
Is this the survey you guys are looking for? Open Spoiler thread, Part Une.

3334. RobMRobM
VIEW ALL BY · Saturday December 05, 2009 07:52am EST
Flag | Bookmark | Edit

22 responses. Survey says

Rand: 4.38
Mat: 4.56
Perrin: 3.45
Egwene: 4.52
Nynaeve: 4.75
Thom: 4.31
Faile: 2.7
Fortuona: 3.2
Cadsuane: 2.15
Berelain: 2.72
Aviendha: 3.84
Min: 4.27
Lan: 4.68
Bashere: 3.81
Elayne: 3.45
Logain: 3.61

Partial vote category

Moiraine: 4.99
Verin: 4.83
Loial: 4.75
Rhuarc: 3.83
Gawyn: 1.85
Siuan: 4.13
Gareth (one vote): 5
Taim (one vote): 1


Major character: Nyneave in upset over Mat
Minor character with full voting: Lan
Minor character with limited voting: Moiraine


Major character: Faile
Minor character with full voting: Cadsuane
Minor character with limited voting: Gawyn

Most variable responses: Bashere, Berelain, Fortuona.

Ron Garrison
99. Man-0-Manetheran
Aw, comeon blind! Don't pick on Eyndel! He was just following orders.
Rob Munnelly
100. RobMRobM
By the way, Leigh missed the central point of the first chapter - the "small sacrifices" dialog where Mat rakes the girls by telling them if he had asked them to make the same sacrifice, they would have bitten his head off. Pretty funny - and true - statement by Mat.

On reflection, same thing in reverse happened to Avi in TSR. They had her make the small sacrifice of being Rand's teacher, and it almost killed her - because she actually was in wuv with him.

Actually, they all made small sacrifices in this chapter - Elayne to make apology to Mat, Mat to move into palace, Nyn to bite her tongue and play along with Setalle.

Barry T
101. blindillusion
Ding ding ding...someone who knows who Eyndel is. Most people say...huh?

But hey, at least this time I didn't want to push him down the stairs.
102. ZamIt
Nynaeve = Nancy Drew.
Bonnie Andrews
103. misfortuona
Yep I had no idea. He explained to me in detail over on Gabbly.
I was surprised that no one commented about the sacrifices thing before as well. I kept forgeting.

Mis- There is just too much hate here tonight. I think we need a group hug.
Ron Garrison
104. Man-0-Manetheran
Mis - What's that Gabbly link again? I'm blocked at work, but I should be able to hook up at home now. ::hug::
105. saintsfan4life
51. Man-0-Manetheran

Hmm. Perrin picturing Mat naked... Silver studded leather harnesses... Bondage! Perhaps the Tower of Ghenjei is a gay disco?

Bwahahahahahaha... *wipes tears away* thanks for that... that was the funniest thing i heard all day!
107. OwMasha
RobM @100 & Mis @103 - skipping over Mat's 'small sacrifice' might have been a strategic move, to keep us away from a certain subject a bit longer, yes?
Rob Munnelly
108. RobMRobM
Re the Nyneave-Mat thing: I don't buy the EoTW scene as the major underlying factor in Nyn's refusal to interact with Mat in the end of LoC and in ACoS. It's a nice thought but the problem is that I don't recall any unusual problems with Nyn's interactions with Mat in the four books following that troubling scene which would suggest that it profoundly affected Nyn on a psych/emotional level. If there are suggestions or foretellings during the first half of the series, gurus should bring them forward.

I do see it principally, if not exclusively, tied to the LoC scene itself in which Nyn kicked Mat for his (to her) misbehavior and he went after her clearly intending to to her or something else until Egwene reined him in. While Nyn is very (if not insanely) brave when fighting bad guys, when she puts on her Wisdom hat she acts like a bully. She is the dealer out of justice rather than the one being judged. In the Two Rivers, that authority was respected. Even though people bitched about how she treated others, it was (reluctantly) accepted. Rand and Perrin would have accepted it.

With Mat, after she dispensed "justice" in Salidar, she immediately realized that he was not going to accept that passively. Not only did he make clear he was willing, and planning, to return the favor, but she realized to her dismay there was nothing she could do to stop him. The power didn't touch him and he was far stronger than her physically. She plainly felt fear, something foreign to the core in her self-image as Wisdom. And instead of accepting it (like saidar) and dealing with it, she supressed the feeling by the two psychological tools she had on hand - keeping away from him as much as possible and justifying her distance by disparaging his attributes to Elayne, Avi and the rest. "Fear is the mindkiller...."

Birgit F
110. birgit
This is assuming it works like a phone. What if it's more like a pager? Or a voicemail recorder? Or a homing beacon?

It's probably a walkie-talkie where everyone on the same frequency can listen in.

If Setalle had a different name in the Tower (as seems to be the case), then why does Garenia/Zarya react to that name?

She has probably heard about the innkeeper Setalle from the other Kin, but when she sees her she realizes who she really is.
Antoni Ivanov
112. tonka
Man-o-Manetheran @27
Point Taken , I must have misread.

alreadymadwithsomethingagain @39
I wouldn't call him clueless at all. While not as good as after Moiraine (and maybe Thom a little )'s training, LTT and such he still was quite perceptive. After all he figure out all by himself that he needed to go to Rhuidean.And he did pretty well in the second book.
Tricia Irish
113. Tektonica

Nice exposition on Nynaeve's head. I think the potential "punishment" from Mat in Salidar was the icing on the cake of her Mat fear. He is someone she can't control, plus he knows her tooooo well.

I think it touches the core of her fear, which is "imposter syndrome". She was a young, pretty Wisdom in her village, desperate to be taken seriously, and now is a "questionably" raised Aes Sedai, desperate to be validated by the other sisters. The fact that Mat is not affected by her weaves and is not "in awe" of her Wisdom/AS abilities exposes her fear of not being good enough.

I just can't stay up and play late with the big boys. Darn. You seem to have lots of fun. And then there are those of you up at 5AM....what planet are you on? Do you have some funny pills to share? I need sleep!

And thanks for the survey data find, Rob.
Debbie Solomon
114. dsolo
I really love reading the various theories on why the characters behave as they do. It really enhances the story for me. I do agree with both theories about Ny/Mat. I don't think it's just Mat's past behavior though. She was put in a position of authority at a young age, and since she didn't have the gray hair to signal that she was to be taken seriously, she resorted to bullying. Not necessarily the best move, but she does have anger management issues. Now she is not a Wisdom, she is AS, without going through the years of training to help her discipline herself. In addition, she doesn't trust AS. Sometimes, she seems to revert to the bullying Wisdom almost like being in her comfort zone. It doesn't help that the only time she can channel is when she's angry. Patterns get ingrained.

I don't really hate any of the major Light characters, especially not Eyndal (thank goodness for the wot encyclopedia), although they can be annoying. I do agree with despising Galina and Sevanna, but must add Liandrin. Wonder what happens to her now that Suroth is gone. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of her.
Bonnie Andrews
115. misfortuona
Re Liandrin. Well I would think that given how fond of ex AS Damane Tuon is, she'll tuck her into her own personal kennel for a while.


Tricia Irish
116. Tektonica
What will Elaida do/say when she sees Liandrin in a collar too? (Not to mention the other AS's that were taken.) What will the other's say about Elaida? Bad Amyrlin!

I guess this would be better on the GD thread....
Bonnie Andrews
117. misfortuona
Hi again.
Does Elaida know that Liandrin is BA? I can't recall.

Barry T
118. blindillusion
Isn't there still a question of whether or not Elaida even acknowledges the Black Ajah? The BA hunters (i.e. Seaine) eventually realized that Elaida sent them (her) to look for traitorous acts by Alviarin, not the Black Ajah itself.

Elaida is far, far, FAR too short-sighted to look for something as important as the BA. (Which is amusing, considering she can Fortell.) Nope, she wanted her main rival dethroned.
Bill Reamy
119. BillinHI
The Kin and Setalle Anan's interaction with Elayne and Nynaeve: as usual, even though there are a LOT of words being thrown around, there is NO real communication taking place! Everyone is being bone-headed, with the Kin slightly in the lead here.
Bill Reamy
120. BillinHI
Almost forgot: time to batten down the hatches or get out the surfboard: tsunami on the way. Hopefully it will turn out to be a fizzle like the last one a few years back that wound up as a six inch "wave".

Edit: Probably still better than all the snow in the Northeast (and even in Baltimore, my former hometown).
Kathy Keith
121. Babokathy
SoCal PST 10:55

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring!

This is the perfect place to be, reading and commenting and speculating with you all, on this seemingly umpteenth weekend of rain. Sure beats the East's frozen feet.

I'm fairly confused on the concept of Satalle Anan being either able OR unable to detect whether or not Elayne or Nynaeve can channel more strongly than any of those Kin across the street. She was not convinced by being wrapped in Air. So why would she inadvertantly drag them off to the Kin, unless she'd been eavesdropping at Mat's door? She must've heard them mention the "Bowl", yes? To help them? or just get them punished?

If she burnt herself out years ago, and can get in through the Kin's door, why don't all of the Kin know Setalle's identity?

Surely the ones who are channeling must sense E.'s and N.'s abilities. I was sure they would have gone into the back room and had a huddle as if to say "Can you feel how strong they are?!" Maybe they wait until the SG's are out the door.
Kathy Keith
122. Babokathy
BillinHI @ 120

Just heard about the enormous quake the rocked the country of Chile. Hope you and yours in Hawaii are up on high ground. Even California to Alaska are getting coastal warnings of tsunami. Another quake hit Japan. Too many too frequently. Makes a Californian shivver.

Rim of Fire. Naughty tectonic plates! Even Antarctica had a big chunk the size of Oahu break off Friday. I think it's time to re-visit the Bunker idea; be swell if we could make one earthquake/volcano proof.
Jacy Clark
123. Amalisa
A coincidence that I considered tectonic activity before moving to west central Texas? Not at all! Tornados and hail the size of grapefruit, I can deal with! The ground beneath my feet moving of its own accord - not so much!

So I vote we put the bunker right here. *points*
Bonnie Andrews
124. misfortuona
We'll get on that. In the meantime, all you west-coasters take care. Don't want to be missing posters next week.

126. peachy
@113 : Agreed. The simplest explanation for Nyn's fear of Mat is that she wants, more than anything, for people to take her seriously. Mat - who knows her as well as anyone - manifestly doesn't... and at some level, given her own insecurities and self-doubts, she has to wonder if he's right.
Alice Arneson
127. Wetlandernw
Babokathy @121 - They keep telling me that San Diego is perfect - 70's all year round. But the only two times I've been there, it was nearly 100 in September, and 50's & rainy in February. Hmph. ;)

About Setalle... I don't think she could detect the girls' ability to channel; at first she guessed they must be able to, at least a little, in order to claim to be AS. After they wrapped her in Air, it was obvious that at least one of them could channel, but that's no proof of how strong they really are. She was going to let them go with a promise to leave Mat alone (at least that's the way I read it), but she had mentioned a group of women who could help them. Nynaeve asked her to take them to those women, in the hope that they might know where the Bowl (and the stash) was. Setalle fully expected them to be punished for their claim to be AS, but also expected them to be assimilated into the Kin once they were done with their penance.

Setalle had learned of the Kin when they had helped her with a difficult childbirth; she stays away from them, mostly, out of courtesy. She doesn't fit into their world, and her presence only makes them uncomfortable. I don't think the Kin know her "real" name, or those who do respect her enough not to make it widely known. My guess is that most of the Kin who know of her (which would be anyone living in Ebou Dar for a turn, so probably most of them by now) mostly know her name, her inn and that she was formerly an AS. Not that many of them would have occasion to meet her in person.

BillinHI - I thought of you as soon as I heard about the earthquake and expected tsunamis this morning. Stay safe!!
Bill Reamy
128. BillinHI
All good so far. Wife and I are 200 feet up in Makaha Valley, so no problem here. Watching TV shot of Hilo Bay on the Big Island and they are getting surges but nothing damaging.
Tricia Irish
129. Tektonica
Worrying about my coastal friends.....California to Hawaii. You guys live in a dangerous place. Earthquakes, Tsunamis, place for a bunker. Can't do it here in Florida. Hurricanes. And if you dig a hole, you hit water in about 6 feet....instant lake. (We're really just a coral reef.) I vote for the center of the country....Texas just might work, Amalisa.

I have data on our Tomboy/Map poll and I think I"m going to post it here on the Reread thread....keep our Shiny New General Discussion thread from growing too fast. What do you all think? Where should I put it?
Thomas Keith
130. insectoid
First and foremost: BillinHI and anyone else in the danger zone—stay safe!

Wet @127: Re: SD... You get used to it. :)

Tek @129: I vote for here.

Bill Reamy
131. BillinHI
Tektonica @129: Here is a good spot for the poll results. As for weather, every place has its bad weather or other problems, so all in all I'll take Hawaii.
Tricia Irish
132. Tektonica
Tomboy/Background/Map Poll from COS Part 13, post 60

Thanks to Blind@55: for mentioning this……
Re: Nynaeve:Also...she was raised more as a boy than a girl...
Precipitating the question:
How many of you ladies feel you were a Tomboy as a kid?

38 Respondents Total

25 - Women
13 - Men
2 – Don’t know gender
40 – Total. Discrepency for posts where men talk about their wives as well.

A word about Tomboys vs. Girly Girls…..several ladies said they were both, and the fact of the matter is, we were girls not boys, and so even though we may have had “boyish” tendencies, many of us still liked cooking and sewing, clothes and makeup, “girly” things. That said, I have lumped the “fence sitters” into the Tomboy category because those who were GGs, clearly did not have any TB tendencies.

Women Only
Tomboys - 22
Girly Girls – 2
Fence Sitters – 3

Men & Women
Rural or Suburban Outdoorsy – 25
Urban Indoorsy – 5
Didn’t mention it – 8

Map Lovers - 14

The map thing didn’t come up until part way through the responses, so it may not accurately reflect our collective affinity for maps.

It seems to me that most of Our Posters were outdoorsy, adventurous types as children. Most of the women were tomboys, and most of us love maps. Most of the tomboyish women mentioned science, mechanical skills, geographical interest, maps, adventure and sports to have been of interest to them….things that are more traditionally “male” bastions. Many of us appear to be parents, many married, many mention love of cooking and sewing which are more traditionally female pursuits, as well.

All this begs the question, Nature or Nurture? Many women mentioned being turned on to Fantasy/SF by brothers or parents. Many grew up in isolated rural environments where entertaining oneself is required. Being isolated, whether from physical circumstances or a difficult homelife, tends to turn one inward toward an inner life of adventure, fantasy and escape. Or is genetics the factor? Probably a bit of both, as most things are. A natural predilection is enhanced by circumstance.

Obviously people change, hormones kick in, circumstances intervene, kids grow up, but I think the “core” personality probably remains. I personally feel relieved to find other women who appear very “normal,” well- rounded, and traditional in many ways and that, like myself, enjoy SF/Fantasy, and the ideas, philosophies, and adventures therein. It seems we are trying to be all things. My personal theory is that we can have it all, just not all at the same time.

I would be very curious to know the professions we women grew into, to see if we followed our younger predilections. That might be too personal /or it might be another survey!

If anyone is interested, I could give you a list of respondents and their post numbers and/or notes from the posts, but that would be VERY long. If you want to read for yourself, the question was posed on Reread Part 13 @ post 60. Answers appear from there.

I’d be very interested to hear any thoughts that you may have about these observations.

And Thanks for participating in my little poll…gals and guys!
John Massey
133. subwoofer
Hello all:)

Does anybody feel like Leigh is speaking strictly to themselves, er... or about themselves?

So, no to the Tylin thing, no to spankings... what does that leave?

Well, how about the Aiel. I always thought that Egwene was onto something when she suggested that the Sisters could learn a thing or two about how to handle themselves from the Aiel. For all intents and purposes, I like Jei'e'toh. The idea of it would give some humility to many of the AS. And a sense of grounding too. I really appreciate that a person like Sorilea, that can barely channel, gets respect because of her will and wisdom.

It is an interesting contrast to see what Eggy does with her Aiel training, rising twice to be Amrylin. The way she conducts herself, the honor, the way she points out the obvious in regards to Elaida by her new viewpoint. Elayne is on the cusp of it from Aviendha, but I think that the SG's could all spend some time in the Aiel tents.

Jennifer B
134. JennB
RobMRobM @108
I agree totally. I don't really think the EoTW scene has much to do with Mat and Nynaeve's interactions. I also see it kind of like a sister ambushing her stronger brother with a kick and then realizing there is nowhere to run. In addition Egwene told Nynaeve to avoid Mat in case he decided to punish her for kicking him.

BTW Can't wait until Elayne and Nynaeve get to come back to rub the Kin's noses in it!
Alice Arneson
135. Wetlandernw
Tektonica @132 - Thanks for the compilation! As for the follow-on... Yes, No, and everything in between. :) For myself, I got a degree in Chemical Engineering, with minors in Chemistry and English Literature. Did a few odd jobs while looking for "real" work, then worked as an engineer for 11 years, when I quit to become a full-time mom. Never loved work enough to be willing to share my kids' childhood with it. ;)

Notes on the previous survey... I don't think I mentioned it at the time, but I definitely had a girly side. Sewed most of my own clothes from high school well into my professional career; now I don't have time. I actually wore dresses most of my growing-up years; it didn't stop me from doing much, though.

And FWIW, a long time ago we did a survey on age/gender/education/profession. I never bothered to correlate profession based on gender, but in general I ended up with this and that.
136. AndrewB
Amalisa @62

In TDR, Mat is fustrated because he made a promise to Thom and himself that he would save the girls from Rahvin's plot (i.e. his sending the Darkfriend lord into Tear to quietly kill the SGs so that Belal (sp?) would not notice.

Later, in LoC, he makes a promise to Rand to see Elyane safely in Camelyn.

One of the characters (I believe it was Egwene noted that Mat always keeps his promises. This was the basis for his reaction; not his secret affection for Elayne.

Thanks for reading my musings.
Jennifer B
137. JennB
I have a degree in aquatic sciences. I spent several years working out in the woods, mainly for USGS and the Forest Service. Because of where I live, job options where very limited so I worked for the Humane Society for a few years before becoming a stay at home mom. ( We are expecting number two on my son's second birthday in May. Still looking for a good boy name.)

I was a tomboy, not into girly stuff at all.

I was an only child and lived with my mom during school and my dad in the summer. I never had any friends where my dad lived so I read alot. I always preferred fantasy and mythology. Don't know why.
138. AndrewB
Not sure if this qualifies as a theory that I hopedwould come true but did not (because I have never heard/read an articulation of this theory), but here goes.

I hoped that Mor had truely died when she and Lanfear torpedoed through the doorway into Finn land. She would then come back as a heroe of the horn when Mat sounds it as the last battle. Thus fufilling Min's vision. (The one saying that she was part of the key to victory over the Shadow.) Under my theory, the sounding of the horn would be essential to the Light's victory at TG.

Alas, the events of KoD disproved my theory.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Debbie Solomon
139. dsolo
Babokathy @ 122 - I think Setalle thought they were wilders, so being wrapped in air didn't convince her they were AS. I had a thought while reading all the comments. Maybe the reason Setalle behaved the way they did was part of Mat's ta'averen effect. Elayne touches on it when she mentions that they would never have met Setalle if they hadn't gone to apologize, so he was the root cause. Could that be a hint from RJ?
Janet Hopkins
140. JanDSedai
re: Setalle Anan and Garenia
It has been more that 20 yrs since Setalle had the Knitting Circle help her. It stands to reason that they would have talked about a burned-out Aes Sedai going by the name of (S)etalle (A)nan (Though the Kin that helped her did not know her real name). Garenia knows that this is SA because Reanne uses her name. So she exclaims "This is Setalle Anan?!" (Not!) Later down the page, she pushes Reanne for the real identity of this person, without getting a good answer. So, it appears that she knew the person called S A by another name.

Haven't posted in the last coupla days because I am at a sci-fi convention, ConCave in Bowling Green, KY. But I found a computer in the hotel, so I am catching up with all the comments. But, it's time for parties, so I will talk to y'all tomorrow. Throw a party in the bunker for me!
Sandy Brewer
141. ShaggyBella
It was random chance (Ta'averen) when he picked the Wandering Woman Inn. The dice stopped rolling for Mat when he first met Setalle Anan. So I guess things were going according to the pattern.
142. OwMasha
Freelancer @64 (going waaay back, I know) - the little bit about Elayne and Galad's common drive to do 'what's right' (and how she'd deny it 'til the end of time) stood out a little bit, but I wasn't sure why until the thread went on about Mat and Nyn - I'm starting to think there's a HUGE parallel there.

If we made a list of the WoT's 'rulebreakers with hearts of gold', we'd all put Mat near the top ... but I think it's an aspect of Elayne's character that gets overlooked A LOT. I don't know if it's because she has a more 'screw the rules, I will MAKE THEM when I am Queen' disposition, but it's been there from her very first scene when she (rather cheekily) insisted that the 'dirty peasant' in her garden was a guest and, no, would not be going to prison. I'm probably not backing up this assertion so thoroughly, but ... anybody else get this vibe from her? Especially when she starts looking at Mat as 'instructive'...

Meanwhile, Nynaeve and Galad are trying to keep an eye on them/keep some kind of Proper Order, but because Elayne technically outranks Galad and Mat is ta'veren (so ... pretty much unstoppable), they're thwarted at every turn.

So, basically I'm seeing genderflipped variants of the same dynamic ... which, well, strikes me as interesting, especially in such a dischotomised series/setting. And I don't want to go on if it's hedging toward any hot buttons, but ... well, thoughts?

p.s. Amalisa @62 - somehow, my brain processed mama-died-when-I-was-young-daddy-treated-me-like-a-son-omigod-look-who-I'm-falling-in-love-with issues as some sort of catchy pop chorus or jingle. Definitely delayed my building this wall of text ... you may have a secret weapon there.
Leigh Butler
143. leighdb
subwoofer @133:

Does anybody feel like Leigh is speaking strictly to themselves, er... or about themselves?

(a) I am not a committee!

(b) I do actually read the comments, you know. If you have a question or criticism, why not ask/tell me directly?

(c) Seriously, who is "themselves"? This is the strangest sentence ever.

(d) Assuming you are saying what I think you're saying, please see my response to tugthis in this comment.
144. OwMasha
leighdb@ 143 - I read that as 'does anyone on the board feel Leigh's taken them, personally, into consideration as she established which Things are Things To Not Speak About (yet)?'

I don't wanna see the grown-ups fight! ::bursts into tears::
John Massey
145. subwoofer
@Leighdb, shucks, I feel special now. The committee spoke too me:) I am all warm and fuzzy.

er... read your comment, but you used really big words and it confused me. I think you said "yay for discussion"?

You know how some of us, well okay, me... er I, have fun poking some of those hot button topics. I just figured-
We Are Not Talking About That Thing Yet. That means YOU, buster.
I was the chosen one.We are still friends about SWSNBN right?

Strange sentences? I thought you said you read my comments? Strange is all I do.

No questions really... well okay, maybe one...What's another word for thesaurus? Ahhhh, I got nuthin'.

Good times:)

Bonnie Andrews
146. misfortuona
Another Survey? Are you secretly compiling info for the Government. Tax man? Hmmm. Aliens?
Whatever I love surveys.

My life's come full circle. Started out in small rural community. Left looking for something bigger. Spent 16 years in the city. 10 as a Travel consultant in Alberta and BC, then after I had two children decided to go to university. Finally completed a BA in Physical Geography, minor in Earth and Environmental Science.
Moved back to Saskatchewan, currently managing a small sporting goods store in same small rural community.

That's Mis in a nutshell. Which is where I should probably be kept.

Mis-Aren't you glad you asked.
Rob Munnelly
147. RobMRobM
Oh fearless leader @143. Methinks you misunderstood yonder Woof's post - as Jane Austen (through Elizabeth Bennett) would say, "Quite the opposite, in fact." Rob
148. nor3
Re : The weather thing : You guys should all move to Ireland! The worst we ever get is drizzle. Light drizzle.

Except, of course, the BIG FREEZE of 09/10, where we got a whole 3 INCHES of snow. Tough times.

Anyways, hope you survived the tsunami!
Rob Munnelly
149. RobMRobM
Nor3 - As my sister in law says, there's a reason why Ireland is so green - the rain falls most days.

Where are you in Ireland? I've been over to see my cousins in Mayo (Ballina/Killala) and my wife's family in Kerry (north side of Dingle penin).

I went to play golf at Ballybunion and it was hurricane conditions so I cancelled; went back two days later and it was 85F and no wind. Didn't get a real links golf experience. Rob
Karen Jacobs
150. KJacobs
Tek @ 132 - Thanks for pulling all that info together on the survey!

As for the latest query: my degree is in psychology, but for a multitude of reasons never ended up working in that field. For the last 10 years I've been managing the office for an electrical engineering firm south of Boston. Definitely a suburban kind of girl - still live within 10 miles of where I grew up - I find driving into the city very intimidating! Married, two kids of the furry, four-legged variety (brother & sister Maine Coon cats), one of whom has made this entry very difficult as he keeps chasing the cursor across the screen :)

I'm glad you guys have been relatively quiet this weekend - it has given me a chance to catch up! Usually by Monday morning I'm so far in the hole that I barely get through them all by Friday.
151. nor3
I'm in the Big Schmoke, aka. Dublin. (although ask a random person from Ireland and they have a 1 in 4 chance of living here) You probably saw our fair airport on your way to the west :)

You have cousins in Killala? My granny's from there!!! Never actually been myself, only ever headed over that way for Irish college, spent all of my summers up in Donegal (where, btw, I played quite a lot of links golf (well, for a given value of ''played''))

Oh, and Dingle is known as An Daingean now.
John Massey
152. subwoofer

Just checking in...

Kjacobs came up with some interesting insights regarding the Finn. Too bad it was on Gabbly.

And we discovered a new use for cheese and we cured dutch elm disease....

Tricia Irish
153. Tektonica

Thanks for the update on your career and the links to the old surveys. This is really fascinating to me for some reason. I don't think I know of any other Chemistry/English about diverse! Love it! I was lucky enough to be able to quit my job when my second was born to really enjoy their little lives, as well. Getting back into it now is a bit difficult though.

Thanks for joining our little survey!


I've always liked Elayne. I know she sniffs and puts her nose in the air, but she's also pretty open to learning about people and takes change and new events in stride. She was very young and sheltered at the beginning of this series, but through new (common) friends, adventures in the Real World, finding a guy, chaos, Aes Sedai and channeling, the possible death of her mother, and the reality of probably being Queen, she is evolving. She is really pretty open and competent.

I like that she is becoming Aware of Mat as something special. She and Birgit are about the only ones who do. More to come on that front.


You are Waaaay too funny. Thanks for the belly laugh.


I assure you I am completely harmless.....Just "getting to know you...", **bursts into song**....Thanks for the input! Looks like a good place to raise kids. Obviously, you liked it!
Maiane Bakroeva
154. Isilel
Freelancer @64:

I do not now, and never have hated Nynaeve. But I cannot fathom her getting better press than Elayne

I never hated Elayne, but she stands about equal with Mat in my affections - i.e. lukewarm. And BTW, IMHO the 2 of them had incomparably more chemistry together than with their foreordained SOs. They would have made a great couple and in much more natural and believable fashion.

Anyway, what I reproach Elayne for is her lacking sense of duty re: Andor, her abominable treatment of her brothers and really shabby treatment of Thom.

She hares off to Falme because she wants to have an adventure and has a crush on Rand. Does she stop to think what it would do to Andor and her brothers if something happened to her? No. And yes, she is 16, yadda yadda, but for somebody in her position it is inexcusable nevertheless.

Then she returns to the WT after lengthy absence and realization that she is in danger due to Falme, yes, but also was in danger to begin with, i.e. Liandrin's planned "arrangements" for her. Does it occur to her that her brothers may _also_ be in danger? With all the BAs around? No, of course not.
Does she think of what they must have gone through, Gawyn, who was sworn from childhood to protect her and Galad with his sense of duty? Ha!

And then she hares off again - and it is more justified, because she knows that she is in terrible danger and it is better to be a moving target. But now that she knows the stakes, has seen the risks, does she stop to think that not only are her brothers in deadly danger too that they are completely unaware of, but what it would do to them if something happened to her?

She is supposed to love Gawyn and he is supposed to become her most trusted functionary - does it occur to her to include him in some way?
Or at least to leave him some explanation so that he wouldn't go crazy with fear for her and guilt for failing his duty?
Does she not see, finally, that a trained warrior could be helpful with what they were about?

Her hatred of Galad is also very distasteful. Yes, he must have been a real annoyance for an adventurous prankster of a younger sibling, but Elayne is not a kid anymore.
She is supposed to become a ruler for Pete's sake - why does it never occur to her to think through why he is the way he is? That he tries to make up/compensate for perceived horrific failure of duty committed by his parents?

And finally, Thom. Yes, Elayne is not as offensively patronizing and domineering to him as Nyn and eventually more inclusive, but also unlike the totally blinkered Nyn, she can see Thom's true worth and yet doesn't treat him with respect and trust that he deserves.

Generally, Elayne has no excuse for gender blinkers - she was raised to be a ruler, which would necessarily include effectual team-work with men. Which is why, although she is more reasonable than Nyn, I blame her more for failing to do so.
Tricia Irish
155. Tektonica

I can certainly see your argument re: Elayne. She's pretty self-involved, until someone bashes her on the head with reality...Avi, Birgitte. She reminds me of my own teenagers when they were long term in the moment. Elayne should be more responsible, given her position, but alas, she's pretty typical. She is also following in the footsteps of all the other characters in Randland who have no communication skiils. Don't listen, don't exchange information, are in the dark. Ug.
Tess Laird
156. thewindrose
Sometime I wonder what education Elayne did get to become a ruler. I mean, as a ruler in Andor, she has to have children, a girl for sure, to follow her on the throne. So why wouldn't more education be about interactions between genders?

Case in point: Elayne managed not to gape. Her knowledge of men was limited to Rand and what Lini and her mother had told her. Was Rand going to be as confusing as Mat Cauthon?

Morgase has that terribly heart wetching plotline, where she gets defiled worse and worse. Yet in her cohernt moments, she can astutley deal with men. Her marraige was a political marriage. During this and afterwards she had one of the best to teach her how to become a very influentail ruler - Thom. Wouldn't she try to pass this knowledge to her daughter somehow. She must know that hiding this real life type lesson is harmful. I am not saying she should go into pillow talk, but lessons like how to handle a political marriage would make sence. Or how to find comfort when you can.

John Massey
157. subwoofer
And I'm just sayin' but Mat's sentiment about Tuon could also translate to Elayne. Rich people live sheltered lives. Would not know one end of the vacuum from the other.

John Massey
158. subwoofer
psssst Gabbly's this way-->

John Massey
159. subwoofer
Er I meant Thom...
"Trust me, Mat. I think you'll find she has lived a very sheltered life in some ways."
Sheltered? When her own brothers and sisters tried to kill her? "You wouldn't care to wager a crown on that would you?"
Thom chuckled. "Always glad to take your coin."
Tuon and Selucia came gliding back, faces expressionless. "I expected rougher garb on the patrons," Tuon said quietly, "and perhaps a fight or two, but the song is too salacious for a respectable inn. Though she much too covered to sing it properly, in my opinion. What is that for?" She added in tones on suspicion as Mat handed Thom a coin.

I think Thom has rich people figured out. I expect that this includes Elayne. I think that Elayne's quest for pithy language and so on casts her in a very similar role as Tuon. Elayne may have the training, but real world experience, not so much. She may have the odd skill at dealing with functionaries and knowing etiquette, but real people situations, it is all a learning experience, same as everyone in the story. Maybe even more so because of the buffer of the guards, nannies etc. protecting Elayne from how the world really is.

Antoni Ivanov
160. tonka
interactions between genders ?
That's not something you can just learn from reading or from your mother or nanny. You need real experience.It's something you can understand only by themselves.There are not set of rules how to deal with women or men.There might be some pointers but at the end the opposite sex is always confusing.
Barry T
161. blindillusion
I'm going to agree with Sub. Gabbly is the place to be.

'Tis amusing. And sometimes we even talk about WoT.

And one thing came up last night that might make a good survey:

Is it ever proper to walk up to someone and talk to them when they're reading a book in public?

I think it's doable...if you read the person right. Sometimes a book is a prop. Anyone agree?

Eh. Off to the store. Gabbly in a few. I see you Sub. All talking to yourself.
Maiane Bakroeva
162. Isilel
Tectonica @154:

Unlike many here, I think that Elayne's behavior to Mat is peanuts compared to her failings above. He didn't thank her for bringing him to Tar Valon for Healing either, after all.
Elayne didn't know Mat, largely let herself be influenced by Nyn's opinions and Mat's own behavior until now did little to disabuse her.
And I can't be all that indignant on Mat's behalf when he has been an equal ingrate to those who saved _him_.

When Elayne's mistake re: Mat is pointed out to her, she sets out to correct it, first to keep Avi's and Birgitte's respect, yes, but already in the second chapter she starts doing so because it is the right thing - i.e. "he is the root cause".

Her mistreatment and disregard of men she knew and was supposedly close to weighs much more heavily in her disfavor with me. Particularly since she thoughtlessly and needlessly smashes honor of some of them without slightest thought.

And, of course, Andor.
Tricia Irish
163. Tektonica

::waves hello:: Nice to hear from you! I would hope all kids could have the kind of talk/education in gender relations of which you speak, but sigh, I think a lot of parents avoid it like the plague, probably because they're no good at it either.

And yes, tonka, probably not something that can be taught...discussed maybe, but real life is the best teacher.


Ummm.....interrupting while someone's reading a book? Gotta look for the signals. IMHO, you can tell if the book's a prop by whether the person is looking up occasionally and looking around curiously. If so, they are probably looking for an interruption. If not or if they're frowning, turning away, legs and arms crossed....don't bug 'em. Body language! ( I hide in books on planes with earphones on, and in restaurants, if alone.)
Tricia Irish
164. Tektonica
oops...double post.
Karen Jacobs
165. KJacobs
I agree with Sub regarding the whole 'real world experience' issue with Elayne and Tuon. Anyone ever watch that Paris Hilton reality tv show, The Simple Life? I couldn't bring myself to sit through it, but wasn't part of the premise how completely clueless this rich pampered heiress was regarding how normal people make their way through life since she's had everything handed to her on a platter? I can't stand Paris Hilton myself, which makes it even worse that I now have an image of Elayne saying 'That's Hot!' in between sniffs and pointed chins :)
Barry T
166. blindillusion
Yep that's almost word for word what I said last night.

Great minds and all that.
Leigh Butler
167. leighdb
OwMasha @144 and subwoofer @145:

Ohhhhh. Okay, I totally misunderstood. My bad, mea culpa.

And to answer your actual question, subwoofer, yes, I totally meant you. Totally. For sure. Yup.
168. peachy
@154 - Totally with you on Mat & Elayne; they would have made a natural couple, not just personally but "professionally".
Ed Rafferty
169. BigBoy57
I knew I should have stayed away from the re-read.

Now, when ToM comes out, I'm going to expect to see a chapter titled "To The Blue Oyster" - agggghhhhh!!
Tess Laird
174. thewindrose
Ok - I am trying to post a comment, but it keeps getting flagged for spam. So I will take the ytube link out - it was Paris Hilton doing the burger commercial.

How about Elayne eating a burger on a uhhh,

carraige? (Well KJacobs led me there...sniff;)

I agree that there is nothing like real life to learn lessons, and there are some you just can't completely comprehend until you have been in the situation. But, I still think Elayne should know a little more than she does. (Was she really sheltered that much?)

subwoofer - Getting yelled at by Leigh?!
She must of tried to call someone and a$$ on the subway and it didn't work out well.

So I am not feeling any love for Setalle Anan?
"I couldn't believe it when Caira told me. I doubt I've ever seen so much foolishness poured into just two dresses."
I wasn't real sure of her on my first read. But on re-reads she just keeps getting cooler to me. Here's a lady who lost the world(how many times have we been told how losing the ability to touch/feel the power is like a death sentence?) Yet she didn't give up. She made a new life for herself. I hope being burned out can be fixed, because she would be a great help to Elayne with all of her prior studies into items that use the One Power. Plus she is a force of nature. And look how well she was able to converse with Tuon. Out of all the Randlanders, including Mat and Thom, she knows Tuon the best. I think Setalle will be very important in negotiations with Tuon.

I agree with Isilel, I think she was set up by the BA to have an accident. It will be interesting to see if we have any on screen time between Setalle and Verin in ToM.

175. ValMar
Everyone watching the hockey? I'm glad I'm relatively neutral.

Fascinating discussions on WOT. As usual I'll get in late.
Sandy Brewer
176. ShaggyBella
Great Game! Congratulations to both teams.
177. FellKnight
Sydo Zandstra
179. Fiddler
I stopped reading at #100. I will catch up at some point before Friday. :)

First, the part where Elayne and Nynaeve are forced to thank Mat is priceless. It has been my favourite part of WoT too. But I agree that the thanking is not heartfelt. Elayne does it because Aviendha said she should and Nynaeve does it because Elayne forced her to.

As for hating characters, I can only speak for myself, but hating is a strong word. Some characters are annoying. For example, Elayne annoys me. I don't think I am an Elayne-hater though because I still read the parts of WoT where she is in, as I have been doing in rereads for the last 18 years. I guess if I hated her I would have skipped some parts in the books a couple of times. The same goes for Egwene, actually. I found her very cool in tGS, but up until then, she annoyed me. Still good reading though. Maybe I am a masochist ;):P

Finally, and this is a general observation, I love all the analyzing and debating. But sometimes I get the feeling that we're over-analyzing stuff with the idea in the background that RJ all planned it, just for the sake of analyzing... I think that some of us are seeing more than what is there. RJ was a good writer, but not perfect ;)

Speaking of writers, I am currently trying to read Brandon's Mistborn series. I say trying, because I am in book 2 now, and it still doesn't grip me as in read-all-night-and-the-hell-with-what-time-you-should-get-up...
Thomas Keith
180. insectoid
Leigh @143:
I am not a committee!
Not sure if I should mention, but someone on gabbly nicknamed you Princess Leigh-a. With all due respect, of course. ;)

Nor3 @148: Ireland sounds like a nice place. But it's so far away.
(Okay, I will stop the Star Wars ref's now.)

Leigh @167: LOL

Rob Munnelly
181. RobMRobM
nor@151. Given Killala's size (fewer than 4,000) we could be related. If you pass along your Granny's last and maiden names, I'll ask my brother, the family geneologist, whether there are possible connections worth exploring. Rob

P.s. As an example, I had an Irish cousin from Killala visiting last year. My brother and I met him in Boston, along with wife and 17 year old daughter who was shopping for a prom dress. The daughter ignored the family talk for a bit, then picked up my brother's very extensive family tree charts. She started by saying to her Dad "I didn't know Bill X was my cousin" and then "Hey, John's my best friend - he's a relative?" And then "I met that girl in science lab this year for the first time." And then "If two people are on this chart - does that mean they are cousins? Oooh, I have stories to tell when I get home. Real kissing cousins." And then "Can I take a copy of these charts home with me...?"

Barry T
182. blindillusion
Just thought of something. Gabbly is the Bunker. As soon as eveyone shows up at least. =)
183. alreadymadwithgabbly
goody... where's suffaida?
Kate Smith
184. Rukaiya
I too have a theory, though not one directly centering on Nynaeve. One of the things that's only hit me in my later re-reads is the way Jordan subtly shifts characters depending on the point of view he's currently writing from. This may seem obvious, but given the fact that, a lot of times, we see major characters from other characters' views, I feel it really impacts how we come to regard them.

I think Nynaeve is perhaps one of the best and most subtle examples of this. I do not think she's portrayed at all inconsistently. The apparent inconsistence is a result of the widely varying reactions other characters have to her. For instance, Nynaeve almost always comes off as much more unreasonable in Elayne's PoVs, because Elayne thinks that Nynaeve is unreasonable and hypocritical. Whereas in some of Nynaeve's own PoVs, she comes off much better, because you get to see her motivations and everything that's going on in her head.
Janet Hopkins
187. JanDSedai
Yes, Nyn and Elayne are very similar in many ways. Each has been forced by circumstances (being daughter-heir and wisdom -in -training) to show a maturity they have not psychologically achieved. They have both fallen in love with the first man they met. And they are both annoying as heck...

The character flaws each are sensitive to are what the viewpoint character is full of.
Alice Arneson
188. Wetlandernw
God keep your land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand with thanks to thee.

Congratulations, Canadians! I'm proud to be your neighbor and friend.
Sandy Brewer
189. ShaggyBella
Good evening from the Borderland. (Montana)

One thing similar about Mat & Elayne is how they each have a never-fail aspect: Mat has his grin he gives to the ladies..any lady, any time. He thinks works like a charm to get him what he wants. He credits Elayne with a "never fail" dimple:

...and Elayne the bloody Daughter-Heir, thinking she could get her way by sticking her nose in the air and telling you what for as bad as Nynaeve ever did, only Elayne was worse, because if frosty high-handedness failed, Elayne smiled and flashed her dimple and expected everybody to fall down because she was pretty.


Wide-eyed innocence might damage her standing with these women as much as flashing her dimple at him would; Elayne always expected that dimple to work where all else failed.

COS chs 22 & ch 37
(edit: wrong book cited)
190. Shloz
About Garenia:

IIRC, Berowin introduces her as "look who's just returned!", which means that she has just finished a turn as a merchant, rotating out of ED. At some point, I think in the Reanne POV in the next chapter or so, we learn that the rotations are for fifty years(!).

Which means that Garenia has not been in ED on a steady basis for fifty years, well before Martine got burned out. She has no reason to know that Setalle is anything but a respected inkeeper (from her occasional visits). Her shock is that an innkeeper not only knows of the kin, but knows who she is. Her remark about 70 years is that if someone outside of the Kin knows, the WT will surely find out, and even after 70 years will hunt her down (she thinks).

It would seem that at least Reanne knows who Setalle was (though I have no idea how that could be), but is doing her best to cover it up. She merely remarks that Setalle once needed their help, and can be trusted.
John Massey
191. subwoofer
@Wet, thank you, in the words of Tom Brokaw, we are your neigbors in so many ways:)

Made me very proud to be a Canadian. Now and always.

Awwwwww Leigh, we're still friends:) Yay!

Marcus W
192. toryx
Tektonica @ 132:
All this begs the question, Nature or Nurture?

That made me think of something that I'm not sure we've looked at yet. How many of us come from families that read Science Fiction and/or Fantasy in general?

For example, I myself was kind of the outcast on the subject. A few of us (by us, I mean my family) are readers, but I was the only one who read SF and as a result I was the odd one of the bunch. In fact, I got in quite a bit of trouble when I recommended to my sister that she try reading a fantasy book.

So in looking at the Nature vs. Nurture aspect of things, how many of us are descended of parents who enjoy that kind of thing? Did anyone else receive the sort of chastisement that I did over reading "that fantasy crap?"

RobM & nor3:

I love Ireland and have been pleased to have visited twice. A few of my ancestors hail from County Meath, though I don't know of anyone who lives there now.

I've visted Dublin twice and on the whole really enjoy it. On the other hand, driving there is murderously confusing. Doesn't anyone believe in signs? I actually missed my flight out because I got so thoroughly lost.

I've also been out to An Daingean and quite enjoyed it out there.

Fiddler @ 179:

Speaking of writers, I am currently trying to read Brandon's Mistborn series. I say trying, because I am in book 2 now, and it still doesn't grip me as in read-all-night-and-the-hell-with-what-time-you-should-get-up...

Finally, someone else who doesn't think the Mistborn series were all that. I've been trying to bite my tongue whenever someone praises it but...well, I'm just glad I'm not the only one who found it rather difficult to get through.
193. nor3
@toryx, re nature/nurture:

I'm TOTALLY in the same boat. None of my siblings read very much, and none of them like SF/fantasy very much - my sister was reluctant even to see avatar, because it was ''like all that science-fiction-ey crap''. My mother reads a ferocious amount of books, member of a book club and alla that, but frequently denounces the stuff I read as 'crap' and tries to get me to read 'proper' novels. I tried. They suck. Normal fiction is just boring.

and re: Irish signs : No, we dont believe in signs. Or rather, we believe signs are for the benefit of people who know where they're going. :p Glad you enjoyed it though! Funny to think that you came as a tourist to see the places I see on a daily basis...

@RobM: Granny's maiden name is Winters, married a Healy.... VERY wierd to think that we could be related...
Rob Munnelly
194. RobMRobM
Nor3 - those names aren't part of my core family group but I'll ask my brother on that and let you know of any possible overlap. So, you're probably safe. LOL.

Re Mistborn - absolutely loved the first book. Like an Ocean Eleven heist movie only better. Second and third books are good, and very intellectually cool in the way that they subvert standard fantasy tropes, but not great.

Re nature/nurture. My parents read omnivorously in everything except SFF. Three of my four brother read extensively in SFF, among other things. (The fourth brother has little interest in reading at all.)

Tricia Irish
195. Tektonica

Outcast? Ummm. Mom read Romance novels, Dad would only read non-fiction. Both read a lot though. In high school, when I was still around the house to be observed, I was reading classic literature, so I don't know what they would've thought. Now they are gone, so I can't ask. I doubt they would care. In my snotty "I'm so cool high school stage", I turned my nose up at my mom's Romance stuff, but I think I understand why she was going there, now that I'm older and" wiser". LOL. The RW leaves a lot to be desired sometimes.

I discovered SciFi first in college and Fantasy much later. I don't know anyone else who reads this stuff except a couple of my son's old high school buddies. They looked at me like I had invaded their territory. Sigh. Found a home here in the Bunker!


Elayne was worse, because if frosty high-handedness failed, Elayne smiled and flashed her dimple and expected everybody to fall down because she was pretty.

Another example of Mat being unaware of his own actions! His grin vs her dimple. LOL. Both he and Nynaeve have a remarkable ability to call the kettle black.
196. MasterAlThor
Congrats O Canada.

Not all of us USers think of you like South Park. Although it is a catchy tune....Blame Canada, Blame Canada.

Ahhhhh, anyway. Good job, you guys hosted a great Winter Olympics.

You are still the Blight though. But we love ya.

Karen Jacobs
197. KJacobs

Can't say I ever felt like an outcast, but I was always painfully shy (guess I still am, a little!), so books have always been a retreat for me. Subject matter was never an issue - I think my folks have been happy to see that I enjoy reading as much as they do, regardless of the genre. As I mentioned before, Mom & Dad are voracious readers, but Dad mainly sticks with Westerns and Mom is big into Romance, although last summer I finally got her to try the Harry Potter Series. At 80 years old, she devoured the whole series in two weeks. Still won't touch WOT, and didn't even like my all time fav Pride & Prejudice! Go figure! My younger sister has never been a big reader, but is currently reading (and enjoying!) Harry Potter with her 9 year old. Of my other 6 siblings, only one brother reads much at all, and he also is very much into SF/F.

Fiddler @ 179: There were parts of Mistborn that fully engrosed me, but for the most part one read-through is enough for me on that series. Elantris and Warbreaker, on the other hand, I found much more enjoyable, and have recommended both to several people.
Jay Dauro
198. J.Dauro

Mom & Dad are both readers, Mom more than Dad. She reads a lot of mystery, crime etc., but did do some SFF. My sister and I were both big into SFF, and Mom did start when we recommended specific books. However, they encouraged us to read anything, and would even help fund it. (Of course, they also provided transportation to the library, a much more cost-efficient method.)

I have Mom now (at 81) reading WOT. (She finished Harry Potter, all of the Marion Zimmer Bradley's, Pern, etc.) She just finished tDR. She does like the audiobboks, but mostly prefers the Kindle editions. So far she's been keeping up with the release schedule, but BWS better keep to the tentative release date, because Mom looks to be ready for ToM when it is due out. (At 82, I don't want to make her wait.)

Also my SO, is reading them. She's not going through as fast (having to work interfers with her reading time.)
199. Shard
Thanks for explaining this, yes Nynaeve does seem less insane to me now. I still think it was wrong for her to think he would rape her in that carriage house. I mean back when they lived in Emond's Field when did he ever show these kinds of signs? But then I guess by your analysis and showing that Caemlyn scene Nynaeve is subliminally afraid that those feelings are real in Mat and could come out.

Which then DOES make the TGS scene odd since I didn't have a problem with it in the first place.

If there is one thing that bugs me is a person being falsly accused of things and it seems to happen alot to Mat in this book. I guess she couldn't forget the Darkness she saw back in Caemlyn.
Jennifer B
200. JennB
Re Comments on Mistborn
I just finished Hero of Ages a week ago. I really liked the first book. The second was okay. The first half of the third really annoyed me, but I'm glad I read it because the end tied the trilogy up nicely.
Jennifer B
201. JennB
Shard @199
"he would rape her in that carriage house"??
What does this refer to?
Tricia Irish
202. Tektonica

Totally confused here.....what's the rape reference? Mat made comments about Nyn being a pretty woman now, but he never made any reference to anything sexual with her. She is like a sister/aunt to him. He was pretty out of his mind with the dagger thing when he called her on her attitudes.

I think what scared her was his knowing her true self/thoughts/attitudes and stating them in front of others.

Mat is a harmless rogue. He talks a good line, but has NEVER imposed himself on anyone.

If you know something else, please advise!
203. smcyc
Regarding the theory that burning out is not healable as stilling is. Never really thought about it before Leigh's commentary, but does make some sense. If you lose your hand in a 'clean' way (say an accident with a saw blade) it can be re-attached, though it will never work quite as well. If your hand is say 'blown off' in an explosion, well you now have a stump. Should this theory prove correct, I would submit that 'stilling' is like the saw blade where as 'burning' is like the explosion.
204. OldWoman
re the current survey:
None of my family read much as I was growing up, not my parents nor my siblings.
Now my son and 2 of my daughters read SFF and also my eldest grandson. I'm thinking of sending an Alcatraz to my granddaughter to read to my ggson to start another generation of SFF lovers.
WoT related. It is so difficult to change one's opinion of another no matter what goes on in life. I still have the opinion that my younger sister is silly and immature and she is in her 60's now. I should rethink some opinions else I stay shortsighted like the SG re Mat.
Debbie Solomon
205. dsolo
re: "rape" of Nynaeve. I didn't really remember Mat's creepy behavior until reading the references and I don't necessarily think Ny felt she was in danger of physical violation, but he was doing the mental and emotional version of it. Imagine someone that you had always perceived as an unruly scamp, and who held you in awe, suddenly frightening you. Teachers, parents, any authority figure owe part of their success to an ingrained respect for that authority, without that, they are vulnerable.

Think of all the parents/grandparents/teachers that nurture a child, and suddenly that child grows into a surly teen, gets into drugs or develops a psychiatric disorder and becomes a threat. That is much more frightening than an attack by a random psychopath. Put that in the context of a society that has lived with 3000 years of men suddenly becoming unstable and threatening their communities.

That just made another random thought come to me. No wonder male/female relationships are so crazy in Randland. Throw in the possibility of developing the ability to channel and no one can really be sure of anything. That whole society is in need of therapy.

re: healing "burnout" - my money is on Nynaeve and Damer Flynn. The AS accept too much as "fact", without really studying it. Remember, to them, the perception of being all-knowing, is more important than actually knowing.
Debbie Solomon
206. dsolo
I almost forgot. I think somehow, Ny is going to heal Rand's hand. I don't know how, but somehow, along with healing his "pockets of evil", he's going to be restored. Either that, or he's going to create a hand of saidar to use. Just another crazy theory.
Julian Augustus
207. Alisonwonderland
Isilel @ 154:
I see the point you are making with respect to Elayne, but in her defence I would say that you are not taking into account Nynaeve's influence on all the SG's behaviour when they were travelling together. I agree with you that El running away to Falme to have an "adventure" and also because she had a crush on Rand was rather thoughtless in excluding her brothers, but she was then very young as you also note.

The rest of your charges against her I am more inclined to blame the influence of Nynaeve. Recall that at that stage in their lives Nynaeve was unquestionably the leader of the Nyn-El-Eg group, and she would never, ever have agreed for Galad and Gawyn to come along on the trip to Tear, or to be told about it (see below). While Eg managed to break away from Nynaeve's bullying later, El still deferred to Nynaeve in most things even as late as WH.

Why do I think it is Nynaeve who would have blocked Galad and Gawyn? Nynaeve's almost pathological need to be in control and her determination to never tell a MAN anything because she is afraid the man would try to take control. When Rand (through Lan) and Moiraine sent Juilin and Thom to help Nyn and El on the Tanchico mission, Nyn had to be dragged kicking and screaming (figuratively) to agree to take them along. I remember in one of El's thoughts she justified not opposing Nyn when in one of her misogynistic tantrums that you have let Nyn have her way or she would be impossible to live with.

In short, while there is blame in the way Galad and Gawyn were treated, I suggest the more likely culprit is Nynaeve, not Elaine.
Jennifer B
208. JennB
My husband and I actually had a discussion about why Rand wouldn't be able to use a sword. We both agreed that he should be able to use the power to make a "hand" to hold the power wrought sword. It would be more complicated than an inanimate sword though.

Now duck and run before we get chided for discussing this on the wrong thread.
Ron Garrison
209. Man-0-Manetheran
Before we get to the next few chapters, I think it would be good to stick to an accepted definition of the term "rape." It seems like the term is being applied rather broadly, (and has been for quite some time here) and I don't think that serves a good discussion. For starters:
rape 1 |r?p|
the crime, committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with him without their consent and against their will, esp. by the threat or use of violence against them : he denied two charges of attempted rape | he had committed at least two rapes.
• figurative the wanton destruction or spoiling of a place or area : the rape of the Russian countryside.
• poetic/literary the abduction of a woman, esp. for the purpose of having sexual intercourse with her : the Rape of the Sabine Women.

(of a man) force (another person) to have sexual intercourse with him without their consent and against their will, esp. by the threat or use of violence against them : the woman was raped at knifepoint.
• figurative spoil or destroy (a place) : the timber industry is raping the land.
Julian Augustus
210. Alisonwonderland
Shard @ 199:
Thanks for explaining this, yes Nynaeve does seem less insane to me now. I still think it was wrong for her to think he would rape her in that carriage house. I mean back when they lived in Emond's Field when did he ever show these kinds of signs?

What?, What? If we were on the old newsgroup I would have said this is a troll.

dsolo @ 205:
re: "rape" of Nynaeve. I didn't really remember Mat's creepy behavior until reading the references and I don't necessarily think Ny felt she was in danger of physical violation, but he was doing the mental and emotional version of it.

I didn't really want to bring up the subject that shall not be discussed (at least not yet), but this is too much. How can anybody read that scene and think something sexual was involved? I can't believe it.
211. Lsana
I just wanted to say something on the parallel that keeps getting brought up: the SGs saved Mat from the illness/Mat saved them from the Stone, therefore they are even. I don't think this parallel holds up.

First of all, there is a major difference between what the girls did and what Mat did. Mat was in Falme and needed to get to the White Tower. The girls were in Falme for reasons totally unrelated to Mat and needed to get to the White Tower, again for reasons unrelated to Mat. They let him travel with them. Yeah, it was nice of them to help him along once he got too sick to travel by himself rather than just abandoning him by the side of the road, but it is the sort of nice thing that people do when they aren't complete and utter bastards. Overall, what the SGs did for Mat was the sort of thing you would do for any casual acquaintance: a nice thing, but one that doesn't put you in any danger or even inconvenience you very much.

Mat, on the other hand, completely altered his plans when he learned that the SGs were in danger and traveled to the other side of the continent from where he was planning to be. He broke into the most heavily guarded fortress in the world in order to rescue prisoners from the dungeon. Oh, and they were prisoners of the Black Ajah and one of the Forsaken (I can't remember if he knew about Bel'al or not, but he definitely knew about the BA). The number of ways he could die doing this are too numerous to count. This is the sort of thing that, as Birgitte says, you do only for someone important to you. It's an act of true heroism.

There is also the matter of their subsequent interactions: in their next meeting, Mat teases the SGs a bit, but he agrees to carry Elayne's letter, they spend quite a bit of time talking in a friendly way, and Mat promises to be there for them if they ever need him. Even if the words "Thank you" are never said explicitly, it's still clear he appreciates their actions. After Mat rescues them, however, the SGs are actively rude to him, smack him around with the OP, demand his medallion, and try to undermine his authority with the Band. There is no hint that they appreciate what he did, and indeed in their thoughts, quite the opposite.

I don't think this comparison holds up.
Marcus W
212. toryx
Lsana @ 211:

Thanks for post. You said everything I wanted to say but didn't have the heart to.

I'd only add that when Mat actually sees them for the first time since waking up from his experience, the first thing they do is try to manipulate him into doing something for them and being so obvious about it that even the kindest, most giving person in the world would likely be inclined to get his or her dander up.

Not to mention that he was unconscious for most of the trip back to the Tower and had no reason to think they were even involved in the Healing.

Frankly, there's no comparison between the two incidents.
John Massey
213. subwoofer
I never bothered comparing the two incidents because they were not worth comparing. Apples and oranges.

As for Rand's hand. I was thinking an Army of Darkness type device, pre Star Wars thinking. Something mechanical from the school. As for channeling Saidin what is the point of making a hand? Yeah he could hold a sword, but if he is going to go through the effort of channeling, why not just turn everyone to turnips or do what he did in KoD with the Death gates and so on. Just sayin' what Lanfear did. Rand wastes his time on the mundane when he could really kick butt.

Leigh Butler
214. leighdb
Man-O @ 209

Seriously, man, I'm trying to be light about it, but I really would prefer that we not get to that until we've gotten to that.

That said, I have no more idea what Shard was talking about than anyone else ("Carriage house"?), but I certainly never once meant to imply that Nynaeve was afraid of anything like that from Mat. I'm theorizing that Nynaeve is afraid of Mat, yes, but even she doesn't think he's capable of that kind of heinousness, in my opinion - to anyone, least of all herself. The notion is absurd.
Rob Munnelly
215. RobMRobM
Leigh - how's the house hunting process going? Rob
216. Freelancer
Nynaeve has built up walls of many forms since she first became Wisdom of Emond's Field. The one we can most easily understand was her block against channeling except when emotionally stoked. But there are many others, and the careful reader will recognize that they are there.

Leigh's commentary regarding Mat frightening Nynaeve in the scene in TEotW seemed quite succinct to me. Nynaeve is listening as Mat pokes a huge hole in one of her walls, tells a truth about her she hardly wishes to acknowledge herself, much less let anyone else in on. And he does so, not in private, but before a number of people, including Moiraine, for whom Nynaeve is just reaching her peak of loathing. Emotionally, this unnerves Nynaeve, because to her, it is a violation of the carefully crafted boundary she has between herself and pretty much everyone else. Not the least disturbing aspect of this is that she knows that what Mat says is true, and the fact that her hidden self isn't quite as hidden as she'd believed.

BTW, that scene occurs in his and Rand's room at The Queen's Blessing in Caemlyn. There's not a carriage house involved at all.
Barry T
217. blindillusion
I think the "carriage house" might have been the house in Salidar?

Eh, never mind. I can't make out what that comment is supposed to be saying.
219. alreadymadwithnyn'sissues
Nynaeve is just afraid that with the medallion Mat can spank any Aes Sedai that annoys him enough, and knows she certainly has given him enough reason to spank her. She just covers up the fear with an unwillingness to deal with him on any level that does not involve him blindly obeying whatever she says which she knows will never happen now.
Maiane Bakroeva
220. Isilel
Lsana @211:

I am not saying that SGs and Mat are even. I am saying that Mat is an equal ingrate to those who save _him_, so I don't get why the massive indignation when he gets the same from SGs. I don't say that SGs aren't wrong to behave as they do, but Mat certainly isn't the one to talk.

The girls were in Falme for reasons totally unrelated to Mat

Not entirely true, is it? They were told that the TR boys were in danger and needed their help. That's why they hared off to Falme.

and needed to get to the White Tower, again for reasons unrelated to Mat. They let him travel with them.

Didn't Moiraine say in TEoTW that once Mat lost his struggle against the dagger, the taint of SH would infect those around him? RJ said that this perception was wrong, but the characters don't know it. So, being around the very sick Mat was dangerous from their POV.

Mat didn't know about a Forsaken in Tear, IIRC.

After Mat rescues them, however, the SGs are actively rude to him, smack him around with the OP

Because he berated them for slugging one of their torturers, IIRC. A pretty much doofus moment for him. Not that I excuse the SGs here, but they had a reason to be emotionally overwrought. Don't people excuse Rand's rudeness at every turn because he has suffered so much? Well, here the SGs
have suffered. Waiting there, terribly battered, for 13 Myrdraal, 13 BAs and a Forsaken to show up was an emotionally scarring experience for sure.

Now, let's look at Mat's massive list of ingratitude, shall we?

1. Moiraine partially heals him from the dagger's influence in TEoTW. It is difficult and somewhat dangerous, as he tries to stick her with the dagger. Thanks? Nope. Rudeness? Oh, yes.

2. Rand and Perrin go after the dagger to save Mat in TGH. Thanks? Nope. Total beast to Rand most of the time.

3. Verin helpfully participates in search for the dagger, escorts Mat back to TV and participates in his Healing. Thanks? Nope. Rudeness? Yes. And BTW, Mat does recognize her in TGS, so amnesia defence doesn't really work.

4. SGs escort him to TV. Thanks? No. Yes, he does agree to carry the letter, but then SGs help him to escape TV, something he wants to do very much.

5. Siuan and Leane Heal him, saving him from certain death. Thanks? Nope. Rudeness? Yes.

6. Rand saves him from hanging. Thanks? Are you kidding me?

7. Moiraine saves him from dying by Darkhound saliva. Thanks? Zero, of course and more rudeness than ever.

So, basically if anybody deserved to experience ingratitude in return, it was Mat, IMHO.
Matthew Smith
221. blocksmith
First off, no way no how Mat intended any sort of sexual violence towards anyone. It's not in his character whether he was under the influence of the dagger or not.


While I agree Mat is not always the most polite or thankful person, I think most of your points are explained by the circumstances and the pressures at the time.

For 1 through 4, he is under the influence of the most malevolent force in Randland (excepting the DO himself). I think some "rudeness" (problems with rationality, slipping in/out of the old tongue, etc.) are to be expected. I think it was a greater statement by RJ that he held out so long against the dagger influence because of his strong character.

With 5, IIRC, he was thankful and did express gratitude, in his way, but was leery of being tied to strongly to AS. His entire life he heard people talk about AS in awe and with a measure of fear... "don't become entangled in AS affairs" syndrome.

I can't recall Mat's immediate reaction to being saved in Rhuidean, but I'm pretty sure he was somewhat pleased at being alive. Don't have STR to check but will.

and finally with 7, I know Rand understood the gravity of the situation with the Darkhounds but was Mat ever given an explanation as to the potential severity of his wound? I recall he thought it odd he needed healing for a scratch/burn on his hand, but don't remember him being told he could have died. If so, and he did not express some gratitude, then he was very wrong here. And in all honesty, his life was saved by both Rand and Moiraine, so they would both deserve some thanks.
Jay Dauro
222. J.Dauro
tFoH Chapter 6

No, Mat does not know that the saliva would kill him. To him "It was just a bloody itch!"

Mat does not thank Rand for saving him, however he does blame Rand for the attack in the first place. As we have noted, he does not see his own importance, and so feels that the only reason he was in danger was that Rand is his friend. "It's bloody hard on a man sometimes, being your friend."

We know Mat's importance, as do Rand and the others. But he still refuses to believe it. So, do you thank someone for saving you from danger, when it is their fault you are in danger to start with? Probably a good idea (especially when the someone is the DR) but I can understand not wanting to.
Barry T
223. blindillusion
Hmm, some people have just as much trouble expressing thankfulness as receiving it.

It's a realistic character trait, and as such, I fail to see the argument. Is Mat actively being an ass? I'd say no.

In these circumstances I suppose it depends on how much leeway you give towards people with this trait. Mat more than makes up for it in others ways, so I give him a pass. But, I suppose it all comes down to personnel preference. I have friends who act like this. As I'm in the military...I have a lot of friends like this. Some people simply cannot express how grateful they are...and as a result of not being able to express it, they revert to known expressions, such as rudeness.

And, yes, Mat has a tendency to be rude. He's comfortable with it.

Eh, I’ll end with saying I’m a fan of Mat because of who he is, not so much what he’s capable of or what he’s been given. I liked him from the moment he was introduced crouched beside that wagon talking mischief.

As for wish fulfillment…well, I wouldn’t have wanted to go through what he did to gain what he has. So, where’s the wish and where’s the fulfillment? Give me a yellow sun or a radioactive spider any day.
224. Lsana
@220 Isilel,

The girls were in Falme because Liandrin told them that Rand was in danger. She didn't say anything about Mat or Perrin. Moiraine had also told them that Mat wasn't contagious at this point; she had shielded him to prevent the contagion from spreading, and Egwene and Elayne at least tend to take anything the Aes Sedai say as gospel truth at this point.

The girls were rude to Mat before they ever came across, I think it was Joiya, and he protested them beating her. As for that incident, yes the girls were understandably upset, but Joiya was unconscious and completely disabled. Mat pointing out that it was unnecessary to beat her up was no different from the way Nynaeve acted in the previous book when Egwene was beating on the sul'dam. I happen to think Mat was 100% right here.

On your other points, I'd mostly be repeating what others said. A couple of original points:

2. Mat does thank Rand for looking for the dagger, sort of. Rand had done everything he could to put a wedge between himself and Mat prior to the search for the dagger, so Mat initially thought Rand had come on the quest in order to find the Horn. He finds out that Rand was looking for the dagger at the same time he finds out Rand could channel (which, from his perspective, is about the same as learning that Rand is a serial killer). So it's more a "um...thanks for trying to save my life, but honestly I'd prefer you stayed away and didn't kill me in my sleep."

4. Mat's agreeing to carry the letter if the girls will get him out of TV isn't a deal, it's a necessary condition for him to help. His view is more or less, "I'd love to help you, but I can't leave TV, and I'd have to in order to do what you want. If I could leave TV, I'd be happy to carry Elayne's letter."

5. Mat does thank Suian for healing him, pretty explicitly. It's a "Thank you for healing me, Mother, I'll be on my way now," but he does thank her.

1 and 7. Mat is planning to risk his life and quite possibly his soul to get Moiraine out of Finnland. I'm not sure it gets too much more grateful than that.
D.I. Rock
225. FeatherDancer
223. blindillusion

Another thing that is a reason for loving Mat is he's never looked down his nose at anyone as I recall. I think all of the SGs are guilty of that.
226. MasterAlThor
Alright I want in on this....

re:Mat vs SGs.

Lsana has some good points and so does Isilel. I come down kinda in the middle here.

Isilel is right when she says that the SGs went to help the boys. Mat never knew that. He was never told, should he be held accountable for that then? I don't think so.

I don't buy the whole "well we are travelling to the same place so you can ride with us" thing either. Mat was deathly sick from the dagger. Two of them were his friends from childhood. They would have rode with him anywhere in the world to get healed. But as he was ko'd most of the journey, I don't know how much he was aware of who was travelling with him.

As far as him being healed, was he told who healed him? Yep, he didn't thank them and he should have. Mat can be as ungreatful as anyone, but the dagger sickness can excuse things before he was healed, but not after.

Now I don't care what Mat said to the SGs when he rescued them at the Stone, the first words out of their mouths should have been "Thank the Creator and thank you Mat". Understandable that they were under duress. Understandable that they think of Mat as a scoundrel. But Mat put his life on the line to save his friends.

To be fair, the girls would do the same. But until they save Mat from certain death or worse, this isn't even a fair comparison.

Should Mat be more greatful, absolutely. In this Mat is an ingrate and it is one of his character flaws that I overlook way too often. Others might too because it is their favorite character.

My opinion is that the SGs, all of them, need to have that Elayne moment. I do agree with some of the commenters that said that it would be better if she did it cause it was the right thing to do, not just to impress Avi.

Mat, on the other hand, needs to have a moment where he realizes that they are his friends and will put their necks on the line just as quickly as he will.

I do have to say that Mat has the added problem of some of his friends taking up an occupation as something he has been taught to despise. I envision it like you being anti-military and some of your childhood friends joining the military. You love them you just hate their job.


By the way, I support the military.
Jennifer B
227. JennB
FeatherDancer @225
Mat looks down his nose at the SGs all the time, especially Elayne. He is always making comments to himself about her with her nose in the air or using her dimple, etc. We are not saying Mat is awful. We are just saying that the people who hate on the SGs are overlooking the fact that he treats them just as poorly as they treat him. It's mutual.

BTW Mat grows alot throughout the series.

He also starts out at the very beginning with one (and only) very important redeeming trait. He will always be there for his friends if they are in trouble. He first shows this when he cares for a very sick Rand in the stable even though he is in the grips of dagger paranoia.

Isel and I and others are not trying to convince you Mat lovers that he is horible and not worthy of your love. We are just trying to show you how he is just as guilty of poor behavior as the SGs when it comes to his antagonistic relationship with them.

(I have to admit when I read everyones arguements as to why they hate the SGs and love Mat I can't help but think about the way in our culture a strong willed or bossy woman in considered a bitch while a strong willed or bossy man in considered assertive.(Just replace strong willed or bossy with rude and disrespectful and you have our situation here with Mat and the girls. For some reason most readers find Mat's rudeness endearing while they find the girl's rudeness bitchy.))
James Jones
228. jamesedjones
227 JennB
He also starts out at the very beginning with one (and only) very important redeeming trait. He will always be there for his friends if they are in trouble.
You are forgetting that he ALWAYS keeps his promises (maybe you don't see that as a redeeming trait); and he doesn't complain about big, personal issues.
James Jones
229. jamesedjones
227 JennB
Just replace strong willed or bossy with rude and disrespectful and you have our situation here with Mat and the girls. For some reason most readers find Mat's rudeness endearing while they find the girl's rudeness bitchy.
That could be a good argument, if the narrative were third person omniscient. But we know what's in Mat's head; and we know what's in at least one of the girls' heads. Mat has respect for the girls. He doesn't dismiss them as useless without their channeling. He sees all of them as intelligent and strong individuals. The fact that he doesn't want to be anywhere near anyone channeling is part of his own issue.

This is not so for the girls. They look down on Mat and never offer any respect until this book. This is never so obvious as when they decide to trot him out as a taveren on a leash (Thank the light for Birgitte, lol). Male or female, real life or fiction, we all like a person to offer mutual respect and recognition.
D.I. Rock
230. FeatherDancer
227. JennB

I guess I interpret Matt's attitude & behavior somewhat differently. He is antagonistic to the girls but I don't construe it as looking down his nose. However, it seems to me from early on with Nynave, Moirane, Egwene, & then Elayne that the women always expected Matt to just come along and do what they were expected by the Wisdom, the Aes Sedai, the Daughter Heir. There has always been an attitude of superiority on the female side of the equation. When they have been inclusive of him in knowledge sharing and decision making he has reacted differently.

___________ As to this comment
(I have to admit when I read everyones arguements as to why they hate the SGs and love Mat I can't help but think about the way in our culture a strong willed or bossy woman in considered a bitch while a strong willed or bossy man in considered assertive.(Just replace strong willed or bossy with rude and disrespectful and you have our situation here with Mat and the girls. For some reason most readers find Mat's rudeness endearing while they find the girl's rudeness bitchy.))

I don't see this as a general gender perception argument. Strong willed and assertive people are most often viewed poorly when their tactics are brash and non inclusive. Some is bitches & some is bastards. Those of both genders that are most effective and excel at whatever they attempt, be it managing a board room or a PTO committee, are gracious, inclusive, and team centric. The SG's are not that way with Matt. Often they are not that way with each other. Hence my annoyance with them.
231. Lsana
@226 MasterAlThor,

You're more generous to the SGs than I am. For my part, I don't think they would put their necks on the line for Mat. Consider what happens in the Seanchan invasion: Mat is in danger, the SGs could save him, but it would mean putting themselves in danger. Their reaction is essentially, "Sucks to be Mat. Hope he can get himself out of this somehow."

@227 JennB,

Mat clearly thinks Elayne is stuck-up, but he's not the only one who thinks so, and he doesn't use that as an excuse to treat her like dirt. If, because she was stuck up, Mat decided he was justified in trying to demean her and undercut her authority with Adeleas and Vandene, you'd have a point.
Rob Munnelly
232. RobMRobM
Jenn - but when is Mat deliberately rude to anyone? His thoughts don't count. Wanting to bail out on a bad situation shouldn't count. Saying he's ready to help people who don't see the need to be helped shouldn't count. What's left?

- He helped Rand in EOTW.
- He was nice to the AS after healing in TDR.
- He brought Elayne's letter to her mother - it coincided with his desire to leave but he did do it to be nice to her as well.
- He may have been self involved but not obnoxious to others in Stone of Tear.
- I don't recall him being rude to Rand after getting cut down from the hanging incident.
- Apart from wanting to leave, he was nice to people in Carhien in TFOH.
- Apart from being thought presumptuous and self important, he was nice to the SGs and the AS in Salidar - except for getting angry when Nyn kicked him.
- He was nice to Nyn and Elayne while they were flinging poop at him and Elayne was interfering with his troops.


Barry T
233. blindillusion
Hmm. No hate for the SGs here:

I'm a fan of Egwene. I've always liked her.

I like Elayne. She has her moments. I just didn't really like her arc in some of the later novels.

And I love Nynaeve. She's always been up there with Mat as one of my favorite characters. Basically, to me at least, they're the same character::


Also, I'm one of the few (I guess) that likes Faile. And Min is perhaps in my Top 5 of favorite characters.

~ I've met all these characters to some degree or another (SBs and SGs). It's one of the reasons I read Mr Jordan's books. His characters are real and fully realized. I've never seen any inconsistencies with them. I don't believe any of them have ever acted OoC. And while there are things I dislike about each of them, I'd never say I hate any of the characters...:

With the exception of Katerine Alruddin. For some I just really want to see this character taken out. (Perhaps it's because Galina has already gotten her's...which was about the worst thing that could possibly happen to her.) Oh, and Eyndel....
234. MasterAlThor

Maybe I am giving them a little more credit than you.

Buuuuuuttttttttttt. What are you talking about when you say that they abandoned Mat? Nynaeve made a judgement call. Help Mat who might have Perrin and Rand helping him out or rescue Egwene who was in danger of being taken to Seanchan.

In her view, she believed that Egwene was in more danger than Mat. Egwene could very well have been killed for resisting.

I'm going to get flamed for this but.

Nynaeve is showing that she believes that Mat(a man)should be able to take care of himself. Egwene (a woman)was in a position where she clearly needed help.

I don't see your point here.


Edit: I have mistakenly figured on the wrong Seanchan attack. I humbly submit myself for judgement.
Jennifer B
235. JennB

"He doesn't dismiss them as useless without their channeling. He sees all of them as intelligent and strong individuals."

I'm sorry but he does this very thing in this chapter. Did you forget his comment about how Avi and Birgitte don't need minders but Elayne and Nynaeve do. That is incredibly insulting and demeaning.

As to everyone else, as I've said before, I have nothing against Mat with the exception of his treatment of Rand in TGH. I just think that Nynaeve and Elayne's actions toward him in this chapter make sense for their characters and aren't worthy of all the hate.

Blindillusion @233 re Mat and Nynaeve

"Basically, to me at least, they're the same character::"

I agree completely and this is the whole point I have been trying to make.

Edited to take out a dumb comment that offended lots of people.
Rob Munnelly
236. RobMRobM
By the way, Nyn does propose to go after Mat during the Seanchan attack in Ebou Dar (she expressly states that Mat helped save them so they should help him) but Elayne (correctly) points out all of them are wiped out from using the Bowl of Winds and would be no good for anything but being captured. They needed to help hundreds of Kin and Windfinders escape or be collared. Not reasonable to dis Nyn and Elayne for not going to Mat's assistance in this case.

Rob Munnelly
237. RobMRobM
Jenn @235. But Mat doesn't realize he's being insulting, as Elayne acknowledges in the text. That is different from the intentional insults and mistreatment Nyn and Elayne have foisted on Mat through the series. Not the same thing, IMO. Self-involved and not fully appreciative of the SG's concerns, yes. Intentionally insulting or rude, no.

Jennifer B
238. JennB
I think Lsana is referring to the invasion in Ebou Dar where Mat stays behind to find Olver.

But she is not taking into account that Mat is in very little danger from the Seanchan, while Nynaeve and Elayne and all the women with them are.

They do make a judgment call. They save hundreds of women from slavery while leaving Mat to fend for himself in an occupied city.
239. Lsana
@234 MasterAlThor,

I was referring to the end of 7/beginning of 8 when Mat is left behind in Ebou Dar.

I'm not saying that the SGs are being heartless here. They clearly care about the fact that Mat's being left. But they equally clearly decide that they aren't going to do anything about it. I'm not saying that they necessarily made the wrong choice. But it's not like they considered helping him so important that they, for example, tried to get a message to Rand through Egwene. They pretty much forget about him.

And yes, they would have been in a lot of danger if they had tried to go after him. Whereas it would have been all sunshine and daisies for Mat if he had been caught by the Black Ajah while trying to save them from the Stone.
Rob Munnelly
240. RobMRobM
Boy, I enjoy these flare ups. Nice job Jenn and Lsiel (and I mean this sincerely). R
Maiane Bakroeva
241. Isilel
Blindillusion @223:

Hmm, some people have just as much trouble expressing thankfulness as receiving it.

So, why is it heinious for the SGs to have this problem too, if it is OK for Mat? Why was it imperative for them to thank Mat and apologize to him, while not for Mat, to, say, Moiraine or Rand, etc.?

Re: Nynaeve and Mat being the same character. Well, they are similar, IMHO, but not the same. Nyn has much higher sense of responsibility and drive to accomplish things, but is a strident prude.
While Mat has self-deprecating humor and is a libertine ;).
Sure, being completely in denial about their heroic nature, hypocritically criticizing their own worst faults in other people, massive prejudices, etc. are the same and constantly result in unintentional hilarity around these characters.

Lsana @224:

As for that incident, yes the girls were understandably upset, but Joiya was unconscious and completely disabled.

Untrue. The very reason the SGs weren't able to get out of the cell without Mat's help was that Amico was only partially disabled and was fluctuating between the dream-state where she was shielded by Egwene from TAR and waking state where she was not. It was only when Nyn slugged her that the shield went wholly in.
That's the basis for SGs rancor re: their rescue - Mat would have been history if they themselves didn't restrain Amico first and then he cluelessly mouthed off to them. Not that I agree with their stance, but it was a doofus moment for Mat.


Of course Mat looks down on SGs and disparages their abilities - he does so vocally in this very chapter! Also, to the extent that he is motivated to actively participate in stuff, he always tries to take over. Like, again in this very chapter, in the Stone, in Salidar, etc. So, again, pot - kettle.

Not buying all these rationalizations why Mat's ingratitude and rudeness are somehow different from SGs either ;). They smack of finest Nyn-school justifications to me :).

Re: SGs leaving Mat in Ebu Dar and not coming back for him, this always troubled me too. Logically, he should have been in danger, as he was tightly associated with a group of AS, non-channeling man or not.
Somehow the Seanchan managed to implausibly never pursue the most fascinating subject of what a group of AS was up to in the royal palace immediately prior to their arrival... all the way until TGS.
Elizabeth Gingles
242. Spera
blind @ 233 Agree whole heartedly.
Sydo Zandstra
243. Fiddler

There were parts of Mistborn that fully engrosed me, but for the most part one read-through is enough for me on that series. Elantris and Warbreaker, on the other hand, I found much more enjoyable, and have recommended both to several people.

Thanks. I'll keep that in mind.
Marcus W
244. toryx
Fiddler @ 243:

Of all of Sanderson's work, I enjoyed Warbreaker the most. Personally, I was unable to complete Elantris. It just never grabbed me. Warbreaker started a little slowly but once it got rolling it was pretty satisfying.


I've decided for my own sanity that I'm not getting into the Mat vs. the girls argument. But I do enjoy watching it play out, and support Lsana's arguments.
Jacy Clark
245. Amalisa
Interesting discussion, all...

One point of clarification regarding the SGs, Kin and Sea Folk leaving Mat in Ebou Dar... In ACoS, "Promises to Keep", Mat tells them to go because "the Bowl is too important". He then charges the Warders with taking care of "all of them". He says, "eep them safe until I can reach you." (Previously, in Mat's presence, where they were going - the Farm - had been agreed upon. Easily reachable, even without a Gateway.) Mat then left to go find Olver, and the rest left for the Farm. The Seanchan did not attack Ebou Dar until after they had split up. (The end of ACoS and the beginning of APoD overlap each other in the timeline.)

To me, one of the most believable aspects of RJ's considerable gift for characterization is how he crafted the development of the major "good guy" characters. They all matured. Some more than others, and not all by leaps and bounds. There were several who had to have "aha!" moments. Some would backslide from time to time. But, overall, they matured, grew up, are farther along on the developmental scale than they were to start with.

And thank the Light. I seriously doubt anyone of us would still be reading the books otherwise...
Janet Hopkins
246. JanDSedai
Yes, I agree with Amalisa on the maturation of the characters. They have changed in so many ways in the two years the books cover.

Of course, the ages of the characters have a lot to do with that. Think about the person you were in high school as opposed to the person you were in college. Many people have a radical break in their personalities at that time. But in WOT, our heroes grow exponentially with their experiences. So much so, that they consider other people their age as youths or innocents.

I have enjoyed reading "Mat vs SG". And I hope that verbalizing the arguements for and against have helped us to not fall into the same pitfalls ourselves!
Barry T
247. blindillusion
Isilel ~ I’ve never said it was heinous. I just tend to defend Mat, not the SGs. But I’ve never villainized them for their treatment of Mat.

Mat gets a lot of flak for his personality. I tend to take people as they are…or have nothing to do with them, i.e. Cadsuane. Don’t like her, don’t want to read about her and if I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t…but I have to because she’s part of the story.

Also, just about ever gripe that has been laid at Mat’s feet applies to pretty much every character is this story (to some degree or another). But as Mat does it with a smirk on his face and a mocking attitude, he’s a cad not worthy of respect?
248. Lsana
@241 Isilel,

I had forgotten that they were still being shielded. I was wrong about that part. However, that doesn't really change what's going on from Mat's point of view. What he sees are his friends beating up on a defenseless woman for no reason, and he calls them on this (quite rightly). They're reaction is to tie him up with air and start yelling at him. A simple, "She wasn't helpless; her power was still working on us" would have sufficed. I was wrong about the exact circumstances, but Mat was still completely justified in his reaction, and the SGs were unjustified in their reaction to him.
Alice Arneson
249. Wetlandernw
Generally, I'm not getting into the debate. I like them all, and I can easily understand their reasons and motivations. For any one of them to behave differently than they did would be out of character, so I don't mind. However, I have to take exception to one comment:

JennB @235 ...his comment about how Avi and Birgitte don't need minders but Elayne and Nynaeve do. That is incredibly insulting and demeaning. You must be male if you don't understand how offensive that is. It may be offensive, but it's still true. Truth hurts sometimes. The hilariously funny part is that he wasn't even really talking to her - just thinking out loud. Aviendha and Birgitte were both trained fighters, perfectly capable of defending themselves in most situations they were likely to get into. Elayne & Nynaeve could only defend themselves by using the OP, something they were (rightly) reluctant to do given the circumstances, but they had, from anyone else's perspective, shown far less common sense about the situations they were willing to get themselves into. They did need it.

Also... I'm female, but I'm offended by the last sentence I quoted there. Of course it's insulting and demeaning. So? It would have been just as insulting and demeaning, and just as true, had he said it to a couple of boys who were acting the way Elayne & Nynaeve had been.
Bonnie Andrews
250. misfortuona
I agree totally. What reason would Mat have for expecting Elayne and Nynaeve to be able to look after themselves. Most AS have warders following them so that when they're in situations where the OP isn't enough they have physical protection.
They were acting the fools and he called them on it. Somebody should have. It's just too bad they're so busy being insulted to take him seriously.

Marcus W
251. toryx
Wetlandernw @ 249:

Also... I'm female, but I'm offended by the last sentence I quoted there.

Thanks for speaking up about it. When I read that same sentence my jaw dropped open.

I'm also inclined to agree that Mat has a point. The OP may make both women pretty capable in their own way, but they've still gotten themselves in an awful lot of trouble in the past (as they will again in the near future of this book) and they never seem to learn that being able to channel doesn't mean they're automatically safe in every situation.
Maiane Bakroeva
252. Isilel

Always glad to provide some fireworks!

Blidillusion @247:

I’ve never said it was heinous.

Yet a lot of people here and elsewhere did. And now people reproach SGs for not being completely sincere. Well, duh, Mat has yet to come even that far.
Unlike "that other thing" (TM), Mat was really getting a taste of his own medicine with SGs ingratitude.

Lsana @248:

Mat has been around channelers enough to know that a door wouldn't normally hold them. So, basically it was just Mat thoughtlessly jumping to conclusions and spouting stuff.

Besides, after having battered the SGs so heavily and having truly nefarious intentions towards them, Amico totally deserved a slug anyway.
Mat would have done the same to a man who did this to him, too.
Not to mention that leaving a partially conscious BA behind would have been incredibly dangerous.

Misfortuona @250:

What reason would Mat have for expecting Elayne and Nynaeve to be able to look after themselves.

Falme? Seriously, Nyn and El successfully hid in a Seanchan-held city for 2 months and managed to rescue Egwene, too.
What logical reason has Mat to think that they _can't_ handle themselves? Apart from prejudice.

And they were handling themselves no worse than he himself did, at least when they were out incognito in disguise, so there.

People harp on how the SGs should have known this or that about Mat and trusted/respected him more. Well, doesn't the same apply to him?
Jennifer B
253. JennB
Sorry I offended you. I just can't stand the condescending view that a capable woman can't take care of herself because she is "just a girl".

I disagree when you say that Mat is correct in thinking that he or Avi or Brigitte are more capable than Elayne or Nynaeve. And the fact that he doesn't realize he is insulting them only shows how little respect he has for them.

I understand that they are reluctant to use the OP unless forced, but they still have it. Not to mention they had already been making good use of Avi and Brigitte's superior physical skills, as well as disguises. They are not as dumb as Mat thinks they are.

I hope this response doesn't kick the anthill again. Runs and hides.
Barry T
254. blindillusion
Ah, but you addressed me. =)


~ I try to cut all the characters slack...though I really only address Mat with any regularity. The Main Principles in this story are all between the ages of 19-25 and most have led fairly simplistic lives where they never expected to have to deal with Human Interaction on the scale/of the type they are now dealing with. (I doubt even Elayne was truly taught to interact with people on the level she’s is now dealing with.)
Thomas Keith
255. insectoid
Blind @254: Interesting new avatar, but... where'd the cool 13 go? ;)

EDIT: Post 0xFF FTW! ::foolish grin::

Jennifer B
256. JennB
I edited my previous comment to take out the offensive line. I know that generalizing a predudice along gender lines is a bad idea. I was bad and got carried away. I'm sorry. :(

Please just realize that when a perfectly capable gender neutral adult treats another perfectly capable gender neutral adult as if they cannot take care of themselves it is offensive.
257. junior1234
I think people are reading WAY to much into the reasons that these characters are doings things. They are not people, they are fictional characters, and they act and speak however Jordan needs them to at the time. These in-depth psychology sessions are silly.

Jordan wanted the books to be focus around the 3 young male heroes, because he was writing for mainly a young male audience. Whenever a female character is getting a little too badass, especially Nyn as she's the Most badass, then the female character has to be taken down a notch or humiliated in some way to make sure the male heroes stay the center of the books.

Their characterizations are of secondary importance to pandering to the audience.

For those wanting to argue, have a good reason for all the spanking....
Alice Arneson
258. Wetlandernw
Jenn, what bothered me about your comment was the reverse sexism in the remark "You must be male if you don't understand how offensive that is." Mat would be perfectly capable of making that same remark to/about a group of young men, with neither more nor less truth. Would that make it more acceptable? Would you even notice it? Or would it just be funny?

Edit: Rats, I missed your last post. But "sexism" in both directions is rampant in the series, just as it is in real life. I guess I don't find it any more offensive when a male character assumes a female character needs protection, than when a female character assumes a male character needs guidance. Or what have you. Sometimes the point is valid, sometimes it's not; Randland stereotypes are just about as valid as the RL ones.
259. Gentleman Farmer
@257 junior1234

I'm not sure I agree with the comment for a couple of reasons. Firstly, good characterization in a novel (and RJ is very very good) allows the reader to anticipate or extrapolate for what a character would do in a given situation. Acting "out of character" is when a character doesn't act the way the reader has been led to believe he or she will act. I think it would be fair to say that I would consider it a pretty poor author if my only ability to rationalize a character's actions was because the plot demanded it or because the author was pandering to the audience.

On that basis I think it's perfectly legitimate to try to better understand the characters as created by the author, including "in-depth psychological sessions". Besides which, I find them a lot of fun, but I suppose YMMV.

On the second point though, one of the things I am consistently amazed by about WoT is how much it appeals to both genders. I can't think of any other fantasy series that has such a great balance of male and female fans. However annoying I sometimes find particular characters, there seem to be staunch defenders of those characters, and the defences and likes and dislikes (quite surprisingly) don't necessarily break down gender lines.

From the standpoint of "pandering" to the audience, RJ has done an exceptional job of being able to pander to both genders, not just the standard fantasy typical teenage male Conan fan. He's created a series that has broad appeal across standard fantasy demographics, and my personal viewpoint is that he's been successful in so doing because of the time and characterization he puts into the characters, to allow these in depth psychological studies of 40+ characters in the series.
Jennifer B
260. JennB
I understand your point. I am embarressed by how that comment came across, which is why I deleted it. I was on my way out the door when I posted and obviously did not think it through. While I do believe that Mat's views in this section are sexist, I did not mean to imply that any of the posters here were sexist and I did not mean to come across as reverse sexist.

As to whether I would notice if Mat made the remark regarding two capable young men. Of course I would and I would wonder why he thought so poorly of the abilities of those particular men.
261. ValMar
A thoroughly enjoyable discussion. It's like watching skillful fencers sparr.

It's beyond my level (or I'd rather disparage myself than work up some mental sweat) but I'll just add a little something. First, I dont't hate any of the mentioned characters, I wish them best.
SG's behaviour towards Mat can be justified rather well, as was already done. But only if you look at the case in isolation. I.e. only SG vs Mat. But if you look at SG vs, say, Thom? What hope does Mat have?
I am sure that the SG wish Mat the best, as they see it, in a bizzarely motherly way for their ages. But they hold him in contempt, IMO. Yet. And not only him. But this is a larger theme in the series.

PS I prefer this kind of gender issues and conflict than what we had/have, in RL.
Jennifer B
263. JennB
Wetlander@258 edit
I totally agree with you. This has been my whole point throughout this discussion. Both sides act poorly. (All the point and counter point just makes it seem like I am taking one side.) I felt that many posters were being very hard on Elayne and Nynaeve and their treatment of Mat. I just was trying to point out that he has been treating them poorly as well. He treats them poorly (whether intentional or not) so they react and treat him poorly or vice versa.
Jennifer B
264. JennB
I agree, they walk all over Thom and Julian. (Elayne also tries this with Mat. I believe Nynaeve would have too if she wasn't so busy hiding from him.) Nynaeve is sexist and a control freak and while Elayne is not, she still thinks she know better than them.

Luckily, at this point in the series I think they are beginning to grow, Elayne shows signs in this chapter and of course Nynaeve has her big moment of change coming up.

As was stated above, all the characters have arcs in which they grow.

Edited to say:
I hope that if we ever see Elayne and Nynaeve rejoin Thom and Julien that they will show some of this growth.
265. nor3
Goddamn.... Just deleted my entire comment.... Sigh... Anyway, cliffnotes version:

@junior1234 : Any GOOD author has a very clear idea of a character's psyche and what influences them. It allows them to create believeable and consistant characters. It is possible that the author didn't consider a particular incident important, but on the whole, he's not just making it up on the fly. RJ would have had reasons why Ny acted the way she did. The only issue is whether or not we've pinpointed the right one.

@everyone, re : sexism. Is it just me or does sexism rear its ugly head a LOT on this re-read? and re : SGs and Mat : even I, the Mat-hater, would argue that there is fault on both sides.
Karen Fox
266. thepupxpert
Lots of great posts on the SG vs. Mat issue and I'd like to point out that Mat showed up at the moment when the SG's had more or less figured out how to escape. I think they were completely surprised that he was there at all, and that they didn't need him to rescue them since they had it almost figured out themselves. (I know this because I'm always trying to figure out things myself and have been known to take offense at any offer of help.) So I think the SG's were surprised and angry that someone would think they needed help, and Mat was surprised and disappointed at their reaction that they didn't need his help. By the time they got around to apologizing to him, he'd filed it away with the strange things that some women do and had forgotten about it, hence his offhanded remmark to forget about it. That's my take on it anyway...
Thomas Keith
267. insectoid
Nor3 @265: Many of us (myself included) use a text editor to compose our comments and then copy-and-paste, in the event that eats them. :)

And re: sexism... no, it's not just you. I would say that it's one of the most hotly debated topics around here.

EDIT: see your 13 is back Blind. Was that a fluke? ;)

Alice Arneson
268. Wetlandernw
JennB @263 - ROFL!! That's exactly what happened to me with the big Cadsuane debate. I'm sure there are people who are convinced she's my idol, when in truth I find her annoying and awesome by turns. And sometimes both at once. I've found that to be one of the cool things about this discussion; as we go 'round on these things, my urge to play DA has given me a very different perspective on several characters. More about that next time it comes up, though.
Ron Garrison
269. Man-0-Manetheran
Nor3@265: Yes. Allegations of sexism happens WAAAAAY too much. After a bit, I just have to leave.
270. ValMar
Yes, Nyn especially seems to change after Lan shows up. Seems to become less frustrated. This can be taken as the reader prefers...
But yeah, I put "Yet" to signify that I was refering to the the way things are up to this point.
Jennifer B
271. JennB

"This can be taken as the reader prefers..."

While I absolutly love that scene, I have never been sure what I think about the cause and effect on Nynaeve's personality. It will be very interesting to read that discussion when it comes up.
272. ValMar
I was never sure too, nor did I particularly thought about it. I pleased about good ol' Nyn but never was interseted enough in order to think on it much. I am male, I must point out (puffs chest & scraches his chest hair)
But I'm sure I'll enjoy reading what people think about it here. They seldom disappoint.
Tricia Irish
273. Tektonica

Check out the 13th Depository and some other sites, if you want to see how in depth RJ is. He draws on many different epic myths, histories, and languages to put together an incredibly complex world. And his characters are often based on mythical/historical figures, altered a bit and sometimes combined. This is no simple tale, it's deeply philosophical and though provoking. I'm just sayin'.......:-)

Thoroughly enjoyed the Mat/SG debates. But just can't muster enough offense on either side to go there. They are flawed characters, all with good and bad points. Love 'em all.

Man-O@269: Ditto.
274. Freelancer
@everyone, re : sexism. Is it just me or does sexism rear its ugly head a LOT on this re-read? and re : SGs and Mat : even I, the Mat-hater, would argue that there is fault on both sides.

As they say in the military, it all falls on leadership.

Hi, Leigh!

Seriously, part of the reason that the "battle of the sexes" is such a regularly hot topic is due to our illustrious Hostess. She has made it clear on an occasional basis that her commentary is intended to foment discussion, and it seems that gender politics is a significant topic of thought for her. Another large part of the reason is that Jordan wrote a story that went where nobody before him had gone with any significant success, crafting a world where conventional gender stations were often reversed, flipped, twisted, jumbled, or otherwise paradigmatically different. If you don't believe he did this to generate thought on the part of readers, you don't know your author. It is one of the major morality themes running continuously through the story, and it is no accident.

The counterpoint of behavior between Nynaeve and Mat is precisely what he intended it to be, a souce of simultaneous humor and tension.

I do wholeheartedly disagree with Isilel's piece about Mat's ingratitude equaling or exceeding that of the girls, but I'll save that diatribe for later.
Rob Munnelly
275. RobMRobM
By the way,'s showbiz page linked yesterday to a January 2010 blog article about development of the EoTW movie. No real news but it did say the IMDB entry purported a likely 2011 completion date. Laisser les bon temps rouller!
Sandy Brewer
277. ShaggyBella
We interrupt your WOT discussion with an important announcement:

Tor has the new cover for the Lord of Chaos ebook.


Now back to our regular talk story...
Adam Bodestyne
278. thanners
It's probably bad form to post before reading any of the comments, but I realised that when I do read the comments first, I end up not posting my own. So.

You quoted a couple of lines about Nynaeve that I remember laughing at when I read them. "I won't shout at you," Nynaeve shouted. and Elayne really was becoming violent Someone out to slap some sense into that pair.

Also, I do love the chapters covered in the previous entry (which I don't think I commented on), and the points you mentioned in this one, because of that aspect of people suddenly seeing others in a different light. And yes, there are some incredibly awesome "moments" coming up for Mat, which will be witnessed by others and really change their opinion of him. And make my spine tingle when I read them. It tingles just thinking about those sections. :P

As far Nynaeve's defense of Mat in TGS: It never seemed too out of character for me. She always thinks of Mat as a bit of a scoundrel, but she is also loyal to him as an Emond's Fielder when it comes down to it. I believe later in this book when they have to leave Ebou Dar really quickly, she exhibits anguish at having to leave Mat behind.

Whew. And one more point regarding Burned Out vs Stilled/Gentled. Another (possible) difference is that a stilled woman can still feel something through an a'dam (e.g. when Siuan and Leane try on Moghedien's a'dam while Nynaeve was still studying them - LOC Prologue), though they can't fully use it. Setalle Anan tries to use an a'dam later on when Mat is planning his escape from Ebou Dar, but I don't recall whether she indicated in any way that the a'dam link even half-way worked.
Matthew Smith
279. blocksmith

Generally, I think you were off in your comment and I have to agree with Genleman Farmer@259, Nor3@265, and Freelancer@274. RJ put dumptruck loads of effort into developing characters and making sure that their actions were either A) in character or B) altered by understandable circumstances surrounding any out-of-character scene/action. If you think it was contrived, I would say only in the fact that the story is fiction, not the characters created to be part of the story.

I would add that the WOT series is not strictly about the three "boys". The importance of the female main cast (the SGs, Moiraine, Siuan, and more recently Tuon) not only is critical to the epic being told but, as part of that epic, just as important as the well-being of the three T'averen to the success of the light side. RJ has created a story that demonstrates better than any other the failures when communication/cooperation between "sides" and genders is not happening...and how successful/inspiring/awesome it can be when that communication does occur.
Bonnie Andrews
280. misfortuona
Glad I waited to post. You said everything I was going to say, only better.

Mis-happy to leave the thinking to someone else.
281. nor3
Now that you mention it, what is the general audience for these books? I'm sure there's been a survey done somewhere on this re-read, long before I started posting.
282. MasterAlThor
I have only a small comment here about Mat vs SGs.

When JB said that Mat was being.....rude. (JennB, I make mistakes too. Your forgiven, let's move on)
I have to say that Avi and Birgitte are trained in combat. To a man who doesn't rely on channeling, that would be reasonable.

Really let's break it down.

Mat sees that Moirane has Lan and most of the other Aes Sedai have Warders also. Elayne couldn't fight her way out of a wet paper bag and Nynaeve would just be overpowered.

Mat only sees the physical confrontation. He has been in battles large and small and Elayne and Nyn haven't. He knows that they can channel but how many times has he heard "an arrow in the back" thing? Channellers are not omnipotent, nor are they omniscient.

Before you say, "yeah but look at Rand". Mat has seen Rand train at weapons and hand to hand combat. Rand is the excepting, not the rule. Other than the Aiel, Mat has not seen any women train in combat.

I don't believe that Mat is being sexist in his statement. I think he is just thinking worse case scenario.

By the way, good on you Isilel, Wet and JennB for playing DA. I, for one, am glad that you guys want to make the rest of think from time to time.

Alice Arneson
283. Wetlandernw
nor3 @281 - We did a poll last May/June... The results only reflect the people here, of course, but I found the demographics pretty interesting.

I've thought about doing another one just for update and comparison. I'm betting the percentages wouldn't change much, though.
284. Rand Al'Todd
One parting shot about the attitudes Mat and the SGs have about each other.

Compare to Perrin's thoughts about Faile's pseudo-Aiel followers. He initially thinks they are incompetent idiots. Then, over one of the plot threads apparently intended to drive all WOT fans insane, he comes to see that they are not as sensless and useless as he originally thought.

Overall, the concept that one character does not understand/recognize/appreciate another's ability, even when faced with evidence, is yet another recurring theme in the story. Much of it comes down to the same "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude we see with Elaida, Caddy, etc. ad nauseum, where people just will not change their own perception of others. These failures occur among both sexes and all ages.

Based on comments, some of our favorite scenes are moments when the recognition light bulb does go on.(like Lan's recognition of Mat's ability to see the battle plan after a quick view of the map).
285. nor3
Thanks wetlander! I figured there'd be one. Very interesting answers.... I doubt a repeat would be worth your energy though, since the bulk of responses will probably be from the same people....

Also, I realised something VERY wierd when reading those results, namely : There are people (quite a lot of them, in fact) who have been reading this series for longer than I've been alive....
Alice Arneson
286. Wetlandernw
Makes for a bit of an odd feeling, doesn't it? :) Yup, some of us are older'n dirt.

Or not. Quite a range, though, isn't it? There was an older version, about two weeks before, which included some stats about education and vocation. That info slanted toward highly-educated and science-oriented, but was still pretty well scattered across the board. Locations, too - all over the US and Canada, a fair bit of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I didn't catch anyone in Africa or South America, and only one or two in Asia. Still. I think that's one of the beauties of this forum - so many different backgrounds and perspectives, and yet we all manage to get along pretty well for the most part.
Bonnie Andrews
288. misfortuona
There are people (quite a lot of them, in fact) who have been reading this series for longer than I've been alive....

Thanks a lot for that :-P

Mis- where'd you hide my cane
Marcus W
289. toryx
nor3 @ 285:

There are people (quite a lot of them, in fact) who have been reading this series for longer than I've been alive....

Light, that's a scary thought.

When did I get so old? Heck, Rand and the gang seem SO young now too...
Maiane Bakroeva
290. Isilel
MAT @282:

Mat only sees the physical confrontation.

Well, then he is wrong. And why on earth wouldn't the SGs been able to watch each other's backs as well as he could? They have been in the world for similar amounts of time. And Mat has been jumped more than they. Yea, due to his luck etc. he managed to escape every time, but he never noticed anything in advance either, did he? So, he shouldn't be the one to talk.

SGs have actually been in battle, in Falme, too. But the best way to not come to grief in a city is to avoid confrontations in the first place. Something, at which the disguised SGs have been much better than Mat.
Also, Avi, for instance was far more likely to provoke a confrontation, due to her brash Aiel ways. Quite undesirable when on undercover mission.
Janet Hopkins
292. JanDSedai
Re: RJ's readership
There was a study done (I believe in Great Britain) that the readership was perfectly balanced across all criteria that the survey measured; male/ female, old/ young, profesional/ bluecollar, voracious readers/ casual readers. Terez should have it; I think a read it over on Dragonmount.

So, I would hope to get a similarly balanced representation on this board. Certainly makes for better discussion when we all don't agree. And putting our thoughts into words, and sometimes playing Devil's Advocate to express opposing points of view, gives us a better understanding of the book, and of ourselves and each other.
Alice Arneson
293. Wetlandernw
scissorrunner @291 - LOL! I think it's all that contact with small children - isn't that supposed to keep you young? Maybe it works for the dirt too. My kids do their best to help it out, anyway.

JanDSedai @292 - I suspect our own survey was a little slanted due to it being an internet forum; it's only going to include those who make a habit of using the web and are reasonably comfortable with it. Still, that includes an ever-increasing spectrum, so we're not too far off.

I've been a little surprised at how much I've learned here from playing DA. Back when, nearly a year ago, it gained me a whole new perspective on Nynaeve, more recently on Cadsuane, and several others in between. Fortunately, I'll never have to defend Berelain in this crowd. :) That might be more than I could manage.
Tricia Irish
294. Tektonica

Kids will keep you young, but first they make you old.

Put me in the older than dirt camp.....thanks nor3.:-) You're probably my son's age. I find myself asking, "How did this happen?" Better than the alternative.
295. Freelancer
There are people (quite a lot of them, in fact) who have been reading this series for longer than I've been alive....

That feeling that others are expressing due to this comment, I first felt when I encountered a fresh young sailor who hadn't been born yet when I first enlisted.

The first time in my life I had a realization that I was getting "older" was in a record shop (ask your parents about those), where a kid pulls out a copy of Sgt Pepper's from the rack and shouts to his friend, "Hey, Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings!"


Mat isn't all that wrong. They are in Ebou Dar, by reputation one of the toughest cities in the land for physical confrontations. By now Mat knows they have been sneaking out for their hunt, and he knows there are darkfriends about. They haven't chosen to share with him just yet the depth of the Black Ajah and forsaken dangers they are in, so his primary concern is protecting them from physical harm.

At the same time, he is a very long way from having at his disposal all those pieces of information which we have come to take for granted. And it would be jarringly out of character for Mat to suddenly not have any of the biases, prejudices, and conceptions which he has grown up with, absent same information. So his behavior, while not what you would like it to be, is completely consistent with who his character is.
Tina Pierce
296. scissorrunner
yup-kids keep you young, but I think its funny when I get accused of being my g'daughter's mom!
Barry T
297. blindillusion
A kid pulls out a copy of Sgt Pepper's from the rack and shouts to his friend, "Hey, Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings!"
Now that's just sad. What's happening with musical education these days?
James Jones
298. jamesedjones
297 blindillusion
What's happening with musical education these days?
He was in a record store. He ain't talking about "these days". :D
Barry T
299. blindillusion
Record store? I still buy albums/CDs at a record store.
Bonnie Andrews
300. misfortuona

Mis-thanks for the heads up Blind :)
D.I. Rock
301. FeatherDancer
293. Wetlandernw

Fortunately, I'll never have to defend Berelain in this crowd. :) That might be more than I could manage.

What’s to defend? I love Berelain!
Jay Dauro
302. J.Dauro
Questioning Mat's comment about the girls needing a keeper.

From what we know, I can't say that Mat is completely wrong when comparing Nyneave and Elayne to Aviendha and Birgitte.

Nyneave especially, but also Elayne, have a tendency to not look ahead. Look at their first meeting with Aviendha. They go walking off, and go right into the bandit's clutches. Nyneave has a lot of woodscraft training, but still walks right into the ambush.

How often have we heard the "AS can take care of themselves" lines from the SG. It's not that they don't have the ability to use the power to protect themselves, it's more that they do not have the training to see the small signs that may precede an attack to warn them.

In this case, Mat may actually be better prepared. Yes, he is the same age as the girls. But in a way he is not. He has the memories and knowledge of many well trained soldiers. He has access to their training in strategy and tactics. He is able to look at a map of forces and see the pitfalls, and danger spots. This also includes the ability to lead in battle, and see the dangers there. He also trusts that his men have some of this training. Soldiers who live have to develop some of these skills.

Both Birgitte and Aviendha have some of this training. Nyneave does not have much of it. Elayne should have some training in it (from Gareth) but really no practice at doing it in the real world.

Even AS who have lived a long time, and presumedly have developed some of these skills, like having Warders around. Part of a warder's training is seeing these signs. Part of the advantage of a warder is having guards that devote much of their attention to just these details. How often are we told of a warder's watchfulness?

"Record"? What is a record?

(No, I don't get to use that, but I have heard it. I'm another of the oldtimers here. At least in chronological age.) Isn't it the Univesoty of Wisconsin that publishes a list of guidelines, what a student entering college this year has never seen? Such as records, dial phones, etc.

Edited for spelling.
Jay Dauro
303. J.Dauro
Ooops - Me @ 302

BTW, I'm not giving Mat a complete pass on this. Although he does well with these skills in battle, he is not so good in an urban environment. Part of this is his refusal to admit that someone might want to attack him.

But I do think that he is correct in saying that both Birgitte and Aviendha are probably safer in this situation than Nyneave or Elayne.
Thomas Keith
304. insectoid
Free @295:
A kid pulls out a copy of Sgt Pepper's from the rack and shouts to his friend, "Hey, Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings!"
Ouch. That had to hurt.

I'm not too young to not be familiar with records. 'Twas my dad playing old Beatles and Tull albums on reel-to-reel tape (recorded from record) that really started my education in music. And I've occasionally played a record I'm not familiar with on the turntable.

(Only thing I'm not familiar with is 8-tracks—what's that? ;))

Blind @299: Yeah, well, "these days" music or video stores that you can walk into are dwindling (around here, anyway), being replaced by online stores. ::sigh::

James Jones
305. jamesedjones
302 J.Dauro
From what we know, I can't say that Mat is completely wrong when comparing Nyneave and Elayne to Aviendha and Birgitte.
Avi, maybe. But not Birgette. She's a Hero Of The Horn. Don't you know she can climb a glass mountain, and kill a giant a the top.

...using a cross-grained bow made by a bowyer with cataracts.
D.I. Rock
306. FeatherDancer
299. blindillusion

Record store? I still buy albums/CDs at a record store.

If you are ever in Boone, NC, home of Appalachian State University, there is a very cool record store there with tons of "vintage" stock. I got a great deal on a Commander Cody album there.

Maiane Bakroeva
307. Isilel
Well, the funny thing is that the girls weren't attacked a single time when wandering around in disguise, IIRC, while Mat stumbled from one ambush into another. Whatever advantages his memories give him, seeing those danger signs in advance isn't once of them, seemingly ;).

It doesn't help of course that Mat likes seedy places, while wearing expensive clothes, flashing money and playing games of chance. He practically invites certain amount of violence. And of course, since he is not incognito, there are all those DFs after him, too.

Re: warders, well some AS manage to do without. And then, the SGs can watch each other's backs. If they managed to survive Falme and free Egwene, they are no less qualified to look after themselves than Mat is.
While they may have done some stupid things subsequently, they have learned from them and when incognito, they had no problems in Ebu Dar. It is only when they went out as themselves, that they were attacked, but then, Mat had exactly the same problem, so...
Rob Munnelly
308. RobMRobM
My old age epiphany was 12 years ago, when the two 20-something secretaries in my office had never heard of Mel Brooks. "Nice grouping."
Alice Arneson
309. Wetlandernw
Featherdancer @301 - See? That's why I'll never have to play DA on her behalf. I can say what I really think and know that plenty of people will take the other side without me.

J.Dauro @302 - Well said! Aviendha and Birgitte (especially Birgitte - jej!) have experience that Elayne & Nynaeve really are lacking. "Minder" might be a bit strong, at least in insult-quality-measurement, but he has a valid concern.
310. alreadymadwithgirlspride
Freelancer @295
FWIW I didn't even know about Wings until about 15 yrs ago. The whole time I was a Beatles fan.

J.Dauro @303
Well yes, he doesn't want to believe anybody will want to attack him, but in the urban battles we've seen him in, he's always stayed alive by keeping his eyes open. From footpads in Tar Valon to Swovan Night, to that party just outside of the Hell. He's always noticed when somebody was after him. Contrast that to Elayne and Nynaeve. They walked straight into the trap in Tear, narrowly avoided being kidnapped in Tarabon(only by the grace of Egeanin), incited war in Ghealdan(yes, Galad started it, but he would never have had to if the girls had simply trusted him instead of approaching an obviously unstable man) and again just by sheer luck narrowly avoid being kidnapped in Ebou Dar. AND through most of these vehemently proclaim they don't need any help from men, when they would never have gotten out of any of it without said men.
Marcus W
311. toryx
On Age:

It's always shocking for me to realize that there are a number of adults around these days (and probably online reading this right now) who have no memories of the days before cell phones, ready access to the internet (not to mention Yahoo! and Google) and, well, forums like this one.

Times sure do change. And fast!

Anyway, I don't really think that Nynaeve and Elayne are actually all that capable of protecting themselves. The only reason they managed to make it into Falme was because at that time in the writing, RJ hadn't fully developed just how easy it is for women channelers to notice the ability in others. The Seanchan are a LOT more effective at that by the time they take Ebou Dar than they were in Falme.

If the Circle had decided to take them to the Farm against their wishes, they would have succeeded without any difficulty at all. As it is, they're about to get attacked with fairly mundane weapons and it's only sheer luck that they weren't captured or killed.

So I'm sorry, but insulting as Mat is, he's also right. There's a reason Aes Sedai travel around with Warders. And they've had their share of close calls where they relied on men (or other, non-channeling women) as well.

Yet they still act like they're fully capable of protecting themselves.

It'd be nice if Mat were to learn some tact, but it'd also certainly help Elayne and Nynaeve's cases if they didn't bumble into trouble quite so often without thinking ahead.
D.I. Rock
312. FeatherDancer
311. toryx

It'd be nice if Mat were to learn some tact, but it'd also certainly help Elayne and Nynaeve's cases if they didn't bumble into trouble quite so often without thinking ahead.

Now where's the fun in that.
Alice Arneson
313. Wetlandernw
Isilel - read chapter 24, or wait until Friday. Yes, the girls do get attacked in Ebou Dar, on the way back from their first visit to the Kin.
Sam Mickel
314. Samadai

I hate to add fuel to the fire, but if Mat hadn't blown the Horn of Valere, the SG's new residence would be mainland Seanchan.
Jay Dauro
315. J.Dauro
alreadymadwithgirlspride @310

I believe that when Mat is attacked by the gholam in WH, he escapes because he steps on something and slips, thereby throwing off the aim of the attacker. (No books at work to check.) There are times when it's his luck that saves him.

I'm not saying that Mat is always better than Nyneave or Elayne in spotting danger. He is some of the time. But I believe he is correct in saying that Aviendha and Birgitte are better at it than Nyneave and Elayne. (And also better than he is, although he would never admit it.)
Sam Mickel
316. Samadai
I do realize that Ny and El and Min had rescued Egwene at that point, but if it wasn't for the Heroes there would not have been enough distraction to let them get away.

edit for:
I am only talking about this one incident. I don't care about who is the rudest
Rob Munnelly
317. RobMRobM
Wet - girls got attacked but not while in disguise (which Lsiel mentioned in her post, so technically her post is correct).
Ron Garrison
318. Man-0-Manetheran
Ah-hmm. ::climbs on detergent box::
Regarding this mountain of discussion about Mat and the SuperG's: Much in these chapters was written to be amusing. I personally find most of Chapter 22 hilarious. But the truth is, people don't always find the same things funny. One person's tongue-in-cheek remark is someone else's "outright rudeness." I've often thought some of Mat's remarks were just to "get a rise" out of someone. In many circles, that's usually considered play.
Alice Arneson
319. Wetlandernw
RobM - Technically correct, but if the disguise is their protection, forgetting it this time proves Mat's point.
James Jones
320. jamesedjones
314 Samadai

That sounds like a perfect idea. We need some more fanfic, Samadai. Maybe you could write it like a portal stone memory. *please*
D.I. Rock
321. FeatherDancer
318. Man-0-Manetheran

I've often thought some of Mat's remarks were just to "get a rise" out of someone. In many circles, that's usually considered play.

That was my point in post 312. So much of Mat's foot-in-mouth charm is how it makes us laugh. Similar for the girls but more in a little smirk than an outright guffaw kinda way. At least for me.
Ron Garrison
322. Man-0-Manetheran
jamesedjones @ 320 and Sam at 314:
How about a parallel universe where everyone is polite all the time and communicate every subtle nuance in a manner that no one is ever confused?

FeatherDancer: Yup. Have to agree!
Rob Munnelly
323. RobMRobM
319. Agreed but I always keep a watch out for my girl Lsiel.
Thomas Keith
324. insectoid
RobM² @323: Is that Isilel's nickname? Been wondering.

James Jones
325. jamesedjones
322 Man-0-Manetheran

You could fit the whole story in a novella. lol

...with enough room left over for another age or two.
326. nor3
Re : age : Sorry about that :S

Re : Avi and Birgitte's effectiveness : I accept all the points about Birgitte being able to handle herself better than El and Ny, but should Avi be included in the ''knows how to handle themselves'' category? I mean, she'd never even seen a city untill, what, maybe a year ago, right? A city is most dangerous to one who isn't familiar with it, and that would definately be Avi. Especially considering that she's an Aiel, raised by Ji'e'toh. It is frequently demonstrated that she doesn't understand wetlander customs, insults, etc.

Yes, she'd be more useful than the SG's at actually kicking someone in the face, but in an actual battle, the OP is just as likely to be of use. A bodygaurd wont be of much use in a pitched battle when you can wrap everyone up in air, or even firebomb the whole place. The use of a bodygaurd is to spot potential ''arrow in the back'' situations, ambushes, etc. But how is Avi going to be of help if she cant read the signs a city-slicker would see, or react to a situation because she's unfamiliar with the enviroment?

The princess and the farmgirl wont be particularly savvy either, but at least they weren't raised in the frickin desert.
327. ValMar
Common guys. Mat saying that Nyn and El need more protection than Birg and Avi is plain common sense.
The way he expressed it was bad, though. Even if Nyn and El were reasonable. It was likely to have the opposite effect.

Typical WOT
328. alreadymadwithgholam
J.Dauro @315
I'm not sure which scene you're talking about but if that's in Ebou Dar when they were collecting the Bowl, Mat fully expected trouble and brought all the men he had. If the Girls had had their way it would only have been just the two of them. Two of them against Black Ajah and a Gholam.
John Massey
329. subwoofer
Found the Bowl.

Maybe all this back and forth is pent up sexual tension? Ny is waaaaaay more agreeable after she hooks up with Lan. Elayne, well, her fun with Rand made her normal. Eggy- still waiting on her=) Mat still has to figure up from down with Tuon, Perrin did his quest to get his Faile. Rand, well he has three wives. I don't know what his problem is.

I'm just sayin'.

Rob Munnelly
330. RobMRobM
315/328 - Gholam scene is later - in Winter's Heart - when he is saved with help of Noal Charen. He does have a lucky ta'veren slip and then is able to fend of the G-man with the help of medallion and Noal.

Already - good point re the girls wanting to without protection. Mat decision to insist saved their bacon on that occasion.
332. alreadymadwiththebowl
That's a powerful artifact all right.
Bonnie Andrews
334. misfortuona
What would we do without you?

Thomas Keith
336. insectoid
Sub @329 et al: LOL. My mom says "Poor Sub can't have tequila to go with it!"

337. ValMar
Amen to all you said. I implied few posts ago that Nyn seemed less frustrated after Lan and his strong hands arrived.
The stuff in the Bowl, some kind of North American delicasy? I'll leave it for the windfinders...
Ron Garrison
338. Man-0-Manetheran
I've had that dip, and it is truly the "Bowl of the Winds." I'll never look at it the same way again.

Well, yes. It's a North American "creation." On the bottom you will find:
Refried BEANS
then sour cream,
pico de gallo with black olives.
Yes, really.
John Massey
339. subwoofer
Well folks, all I have to say is that RJ really does have a prolific sense of humor. Since Mat is prancing around in a hat remarkably similar to Zorro's I believe RJ has had some exposure to the culture. Then he comes along with Bowl of the Winds. C'mon, that's a gimme. As Man-O lists, refried beans, sour cream, cheese, etc in a bowl?! This stuff writes itself. Then RJ goes and creates a culture of people whom have windfinders?! I just about fell off my chair the first goabout when I read Nesta flipping out about the Bowl.

Muster the Windfinders! We have the Bowl of the Winds!

Maybe they could all form a circle again and point that thing at the DO. Old Hobb wouldn't stand a chance... I am also waiting for some of the Sea Folk to talk about the virtues of a high fiber diet.

340. ValMar
To me it looked like ice cream, cheese, peppers, olives.
With this stuff and all this talk of wind I think I got the joke, lol! Is this wonder actually called Bowl of Winds? This will be too much...
Alice Arneson
341. Wetlandernw
ValMar - in my experience it's usually known as "7-Layer Dip" (you eat it by scooping it up with tortilla chips) but Bowl of Winds would be totally appropriate for it. Around my house, I think it's got a new name. :)

This is killing me - I'm cracking up, but the joke doesn't translate properly to someone who hasn't read the books! So my husband and kids are just thinking I'm losing it all over again... (My husband finally started reading them, but he's doing a slow read so is only in TDR. I'm thinking he might just finish his first read in time for TofM. I kind of envy him...)
342. ValMar
Yeah, the joke is too imbedded in WOT to make sense to someone who hasn't read it and can't be explained, really.
I suppose if it was actually called BoWs it would've been mentioned by someone here already. Or more likely RJ would not have called it BoWs.

As for the speed of the read, it was at TDR that I trully found it nigh impossible to put the book down, so you never know.

Anyway, thanks all for clearing it up for me. Good night.
Ron Garrison
343. Man-0-Manetheran
And the giant-size version served every February shall be known as the Super Bowl of the Winds.
Barry T
344. blindillusion
And now I'm hungry. Think I'll be stopping by the store tomorrow to pick up the fixins for my own Bowl of the Winds.

Thanks Sub.

My wife, who has never enjoyed a concoction of such MOA proportions, thanks you as well.

edit: And I think I'll wash it down with the new Trenta from Starbucks. Because nothing says, "Damn, now that good!" than 31 ounces of coffee...or in my case a double Espresso French Vanilla with two sugars. =) Mmmm coffee.

Oh, and for all my friends at Gabbly: 4*4-3=13. =)
Rob Munnelly
345. RobMRobM
It's funny - I've been re-reading TPOD (since Leigh's pokiness has caused me to get unduly bored of re-reading ACOS again and again....) and it's not bad. Really. I recall having the same reaction last time I read it. The Egwene chapters are enjoyable. The lengthy Altara/Ebou Dar battles scenes are meaty. The assasination attempt on Rand in Carhien is a good set of scenes. The Perrin encounters with Morgase, Aliandre and Masema are well done, and even the Berelain-Faile scenes aren't too aggravating. There's the really cool start of the BA hunting in the White Tower and Toveine gets bonded by Logain. And even the thread that most people weary of, the use of Bowl of the Winds, escape to Andor and travel to Camelyn, has some good high points ("What are you going to do with the Dragon Reborn" "I'm going to bond him as my Warder and I hope to marry him, but that's not important....") It's a substantive book and it moves along the plot.

The downside to the novel, however, is that it is populated by a high percentage of aggravating characters: Sea Folk, Kin, Aes Sedai battling with Kin and Sea Folk, Nyn feeling grumpy, Cadsuane acting like Cadsuane, the Maidens beating up Rand for leaving them behind in the battle, the Black Tower representatives in the battle (who are grumpy and bitchy at all times), and Berelain/Faile/Aram/Masema, etc.

Rob (still waiting for Leigh to return to two-a-weeks).
Joseph Blaidd
346. SteelBlaidd
Your Physical Combat theory is very good. But but I would disagree on the reasoning. It's not that Nynaeve and Elayn lack combat ability. Mat is certainly aware of just how deadly a chaneler can be. It's that Elayne and Nynaeve lack what is called, in current US military jargon, "Situational Awareness." Especially when they are walking around in their Aes Sedai clothes they tend to stop paying attention to whats happening around them depending, subconsciously, on their status and AS reputation to protect them. This is why Elayne loses three purses and they almost get kidnapped in Tanchico(SR 46 with Elayne thinking that she wanted body guards just before for added irony). Mat can tell just by watching them that they are bad at being aware of their surroundings because its an essential skill for a soldier to have and telling who has it is essential for an officer. Mat has good situational awareness as evidenced by the kidnapping attempt on him in aCoS 17. Yes its luck that the floorboard squeaked but its Mat's SA that makes that squeak a warning.First he has paid enough attention to know that floors in The Wandering Woman don't squeak and he reacts to that squeak when it happens instead of dismissing it.It's also why he notices Mili Skane at the race track, he's always watching what's going on around him.

It doesn't mater what the environment is Avi is constantly on the lookout for threats (consider her observations about the refuges in tGS). Mat is not worried about the girls getting into duels he's worried about them getting mugged, so cultural stuff doesn't matter. Besides he expects Avi to win any duel she gets dragged into ;)
Maiane Bakroeva
347. Isilel
Ok, folks, I still disagree.

Falme proves that SGs can indeed have a very good situational awareness and it was completely in-line with the whole female channelers sensing each other stuff.
If they kept distance from damane and/or kept out of their line of sight, they weren't going to be sensed. Which is what they did. Also, their escape plan was more hindered by the whole ta'veren hulabuloo outside Falme than helped.

While the SGs had some less than stellar moments since, Mat doesn't know about them, so his dismissive opinion is pure prejudice. Besides, he is doing exactly the same thing - wandering around in rich clothes.
Also, SGs have learned from their bloopers. Their disguises in Ebu Dar protected them very well indeed.
And BTW, if they found the Bowl when in disguise, the BAs et al. couldn't have followed them to the cache and staged their little performance.

Re: threat assessment and situational awareness, Mat's performance is at least equally bad there. How many times has he been attacked? How often did he foresee it in advance? How often was it only his supernatural luck that saved him?

Also, while you all find it adorable how Mat can't figure out that he is being specifically targeted because he is so humble... surely he could at least consider that he is being attacked because of his connection with the DR/SGs? Him being so oblivious doesn't convince me of any skills in spotting threats, to say the least ;). Or of having a leg to stand on when he is dismissive of SGs sense :).

Oh, and I completely with Nor3, re: Avi. She should have been at a huge disadvantage when noticing clues due to cultural dissonance and inexperience with cities.
Also, hasn't it been mentioned that Avi is challenging and likely to provoke fights? While she is equipped to handle them (unless she POes a mob, which could also happen), that's certainly not the way to go, if one wants to search unobtrusively and in peace.
Matthew Smith
348. blocksmith
Isilel@290 and 347

For the sake of discussion, I offer three alternative scenes that demonstrate Elayne and Nyn need, and I mean need, support.

1) In TDR, I believe, Elayne, Nyn, and Eg, en-route to Tear, get captured by bandits(?) and are about to be turned over to a Myrdraal. Aiel (Avi and friends) save their bacon. Yes they were ambushed, but a couple of warders (or just MOA Lan) or some Redarms (I know this predates redarms...just an example) likely would have prevented or thwarted the attack.

2) TFOH, I believe, when Nyn and Elayne go to see Rhonda Macura they are dosed with Forkroot and need to be rescued by Thom and Juilin. A warder would have sensed the problem and without Thom and Juilin they would have been bundled up back to the WT, or worse.

3)Also TFOH, Nyn and Elayne required an escort from Galad, Uno and Shienarans, Birgitte, and Avi to make it through the mobs in...can't recall the name of the town...on the way to the ship (River Serpent). They could not/did not want to channel so as not to alert Moghedien to their location should she have been lurking.

These are just three of many examples. There is no doubt in my mind that Nyn and Elayne are capable of taking care of themselves under the right circumstances...hell, Nyn is one of the strongest channelers around (block aside), but if their use of Saidar is constrained by say proximate Seanchan Damane, Forsaken, etc., then they are limited. Mat is correct in his assumption that they need support in Ebou Dar.
Marcus W
349. toryx
Isilel @ 347:

Re: threat assessment and situational awareness, Mat's performance is at least equally bad there. How many times has he been attacked? How often did he foresee it in advance? How often was it only his supernatural luck that saved him?

Well you also have to keep in mind that Mat's "luck" puts him in danger as often as it gets him out of it. It all sort of balances out.

I don't agree that it's entirely situational awareness that gives Mat, Birgitte and Aviendha an advantage. The fact of the matter is, if Nynaeve and Elayne are caught in a situation where their channelling is of no use, they're not in any position to effectively defend themselves. They don't have the combat skills that the others do. That's one of the main reasons AS have Warders.

That doesn't make them less than the others though. Their skills are just focused in other areas. Wisdom and experience, which both girls are slow to gain, teach people not to ignore their weaknesses but to find other ways to balance them with their strengths.

I do agree, though, that Mat goes overboard with his evaluation of their capabilities. On the other hand, if they didn't treat him so badly, maybe he'd be a little more inclined to listen to them.

Edit to add: The fact of the matter is, both sides are guilty of mule-headed stubborness over these issues.
350. alreadymadwithsearches
Isilel @347
Well.. searching (or doing anything for that matter) unobtrusively isn't exactly a commonly used skill among the Girls anyway.
Sam Mickel
351. Samadai
Well it is time for another round of fiction fiction. To those it offends I apologize.
Mat sat nervously waiting as Rand and Verin went over to the portal stone. What are they talking about, Mat wondered. Why does Verin need Rands help? Mat grimaced as a momentary weakness overcame him.
I need that dagger; everything was ok when I had the dagger. The ruby was mesmerizing and he could gaze into it forever.
“What is taking them so long?” Mat muttered. He glanced up at Perrin as he rode closer. “Mat, how are you feeling?” Perrin asked.
“What do you think they are talking about?” “Why does Verin need help from Rand?” “You don’t think that Rand is going to”, Mat glances around to make sure no one is close, “to channel do you?”
Perrin looked quickly around and made a shushing motion at Mat. “I don’t know, but we have to get to Toman Head and find Fain don’t we.” “I think whatever Rand and Verin are doing will help us.”
“Gather around now” Verin said.
Mat and Perrin got closer and waited nervously with the Sheinarans.
When I get back and healed of my link to the dagger, I am finally going to be done with this mess, Mat thought to himself as the world faded.
It was Winternight, and Mat and his family was just leaving the Al’dais house after sharing sweet treats. When all of a sudden all the dogs started barking.
“Trollocs”, someone screamed. Mat turned around and noticed Lan and the lady Moiraine running out of the Winespring Inn. “Defend yourselves” Lan yelled once more as hideous creatures erupted all around town. “Mat take Bode and Eldrith and run and hide.” His dad yelled at him as he ran for his quarterstaff. Mat grabs both his sisters and they run for the woods. Just as he is passing the last house a creature from a nightmare stabs him with their sword. As he lays there dying he watches the trolloc rip Bodes head off as Eldrith gets run through.
“Something is wrong”, he hears Verin say.
Mat couldn’t stand watching his friend rot away any more, whatever was happening to Rand was unnatural. Not even Nynaeve could say what was wrong with him. Nothing helped anymore since Egwene died so suddenly one day after coming down with something that had her screaming until she died. So Mat hitched a ride out of town with the last merchant of the season. He made it to Baerlon, where he took a job with one of the mining companies. When the Seanchan came through to settle the town he spoke the oaths. His wife Min, wouldn’t take the oaths and led the resistance in town. She always claimed she could see strange things. When she was finally caught, the Seanchan High Lady of Baerlon, Strung him up with his wife. As they were about to be hung, Min looked at him and screamed. ”What about my visions, you were suppose to fight for the light.” As mat hung there gasping for air that would not come, he realized this is not how my life is suppose to be.
“something is happening”
Mat and Rand decided to leave the Two Rivers and journey out into the world just like Rands father Tam had. They made it to Baerlon where they heard about a giant abandoned city. Mat talked Rand into going and exploring the old city and looking for treasure. They arrived at the city just before nightfall and decided to sleep just inside the walls. They were both amazed by the size of it. Mat thought they could fit a hundred Emonds Fields in here. As they were settling down for the night a man entered the building they were in. “It has been a long time since this city has seen visitors. What are you doing here?” Mat told him about the stories and the treasure and he agreed to show them where the treasure was. Rand begged him not to go but he followed the man. They went down into an old cellar and Mat gasped in awe. “Help me carry some of this to my horse and you can have whatever you can carry out yourself.” As Mat and the man emerged outside the gate, the man lurched and said, “at last I am free.” Mat felt himself go cold as the man turned wraith touched him. “Thank you for the body young man, I will take care of it” Mat heard felt him say out of his own lips as Mat faded away.
Mat had followed Moiraine and Lan out of the Two Rivers, time and time again. He found out Rand could channel. The first time he betrayed Rands secret was after he found out. He went right back to camp and told Ingtar everything. Ingtar and the other Sheinarans surrounded Rand and stabbed him until he was dead. He betrayed them again to Turak, the Seanchan High Lord, his reward was to watch Rand torn apart with the One Power by Egwene Turaks newest Damane.
A thousand lives lived and in almost everyone he betrayed Rand in someway.
He felt his knees hit the earth and in shame grabbed his head. I couldn’t be that awful could I? he thought to himself. He felt Rand touch him on the shoulder and looked up. “Rand you know I would never betray you.” “I know Mat.” “Perrin”
Bonnie Andrews
352. misfortuona
Well done!!!
Thank you for the peek into what could have been Sam. This will help us all a little more able to make it till Friday.

Tina Pierce
354. scissorrunner
Samadi- very well done!!!!
d'ya happen to have Perrin's POV???

edit for spelling Samadi wrong - bad me
357. Freelancer
Nicely done Samadai.

I wonder what you would have written about Verin's POV of that event 2 years ago, and what you would write of it now. I wonder how many more paradigm-shifting reveals we have yet to face.

Ahh, Verin. Triple-sneaky Verin. Did she do something at that portal stone which caused the group's 4-month delay? Did she know Lord Luc as Slayer while she was in Emond's Field? Would she have poisoned Cadsuane if the old Green had turned out to be Black? Was she the other Aes Sedai at the DF social? (CW has always assumed it was Alviarin)

Inquiring minds, and all that.
Tricia Irish
358. Tektonica
Great Work Sam. You have a gift. Keep 'em coming, please.
Sam Mickel
359. Samadai
Ooh, A Verin POV, I don't know how I would of worked that. Since before I discovered all the internet talk I had assumed that Verin was part of an inside organization of Aes Sedai whose mission it was to make sure the DR lives for the last battle. (the purple ajah theory) although I didn't know of its existence back then.
Thomas Keith
360. insectoid
Sam @351: Woohoo fiction-fiction! Keep 'em coming. :)

Blind: Did y'all make that yourself? Very cool!! ;)

Bonnie Andrews
361. misfortuona
Hey yeah, nice catch insectoid.
I like the new avatar Blind. Very nice.

362. Freelancer
But 1 and 3 are not opposites. You just can't go around playing with primal forces like that. Then again, a triskaidekaphile wouldn't be afraid of bad luck, would he?
Ron Garrison
363. Man-0-Manetheran
Love of Triscuits? Well, I never liked them very much, but love? NEVER.
Thomas Keith
364. insectoid
M-0-M @363: Agreed! I never loved them, either.

Triskaidekophile isn't in Wiktionary... so does that mean that Blind is the only lover of the number 13 on Earth? ;)

Ron Garrison
365. Man-0-Manetheran
Buzz - It means that English is a fabulously adaptive language. While triskaidekaphobia is rather well known and in the dictionary, triskaidekaphile is not. But we know what it means even if Free was the first person to use it!
Barry T
366. blindillusion
I don't know...I'd say 1 and 3 are opposites. 1 is apparently the loneliest number and 3 is the smallest number needed to form a crowd.

And if a triskaidekophile is one who embraces the number 13, then where were you a few days ago when we were trying to figure out what the opposite of a triskaidekaphobiac would be? Oh don't get on Gabbly.

And of course I don't believe in bad luck. I believe in blind luck and crazy luck.

Oh, Insectoid...I added the numbers, but thanks. =)

Thanks Mis.

edit: Wait. Bug's right...Free created a Word to describe those like me (or me in particular).... Someone call Webster. We need to get on this quick.
Sam Mickel
367. Samadai
Thanks for all the good words on my story. I am only here to entertain.
John Massey
368. subwoofer
@Sam- Well done!!! But tell me, do you juggle?;)

369. AndrewB
Samadai: Great job on Mat's POV above.

Ah, the Purple Ajah theory. Now that is a blast from the past (usernet and all).

I agree with Toryx @349. Mat's Tavarenness often attracts his encounters. Take his encounter with "Mr. Fantastic" in the alley. If he does not encounter it, Mat would not be saved by Noal who probably will be key in rescuing Mor from Finnland.

Thanks for reading my musings.
370. Freelancer

I had been noticing your new avatar for awhile, but hadn't bothered to get a close look until now. Is that really an a'dam and Mat's dice icon together? Hasn't he put up with those things enough yet?


I honestly couldn't say if I'm the first. But since, as you suggest, the suffix applications of -phobia and -phila are common and clear enough, I never considered whether it was an unused term.


It seems the company IT folks got busted wasting time on Gabbly when it first came out, and the CIO directed in no uncertain terms that it be blocked in our network. And when I'm at home, I don't much get into live chat sites, though I will do my best to log in and wave once in awhile.


I can get four fairly steady, I've only pulled off more than one round of falls with 5 one time. People who make it look easy make me want to cry.

Finally, for everyone's enjoyment, am I the only one here who didn't know that the profile name is tool-tipped when you hover over someone's avatar image? ::stare:: Sheesh, thick as a brick.
Barry T
372. blindillusion
Hmm. Odd. Google just asked me if I'd misspelled triskaidekaphobia. But I can see the mug being an icon...perhaps Halloween?

And ah...four. Apples. Never got anywhere with five.
Sam Mickel
373. Samadai
Yes,I can juggle, but not very well, for lack of practice.
Ron Garrison
374. Man-0-Manetheran
Ain't the intrawebs amazing? I really like Blind's coffee mug and t-shirt collection.
Thomas Keith
375. insectoid
Free @371: LOL. Goofy mug indeed.

James Jones
376. jamesedjones
369 AndrewB

I thought the purple ajah guaranteed it would be there by 10 AM the next day.
377. alreadymadwithdeliveries
jamesedjones @376
If the order was processed after 1pm, it would arrive by 5pm the following day. If processed after 6pm, it would arrive by 12nn on the day after the following day.
Heidi Byrd
378. sweetlilflower
Later today we will get a new post to disect...but I didwant to make a quick comment about some of the comments above. I have read them all (daunting, I know) and something has jumped out at me. Several people have used the SGs experience in Falme as an example of how battle ready they are...but would Mat even know about that? He was still all addicted to the dagger at that point, and he wasn't even with them until the very end.

However, I would like to point out that both parties are in the wrong and they are also both correct to some extent of right and wrong, if that makes sense.

And I laughed out loud for a long time at the Bowl of Winds, and I will continue to chuckle over it for weeks to come. We should have one at Jordon*Con...

And Mat's POV from the portal stone was...inspired, truly a wonderful bit of fan fiction that fits with both the characters and the world as we know it.

So, that's my piece. I've logged on every other night to read the posts and the above comments are all I gotta say...C-ya!
craig thrift
379. gagecreedlives
Loved the story Samadai

And since I appear to be late to the party there isnt much else to say.

But I think I might have found something. I didnt see this noted earlier and if it has I apologise. When Nynaeve defends Mat's honour in tGS I do agree that its just the the people from the Two Rivers sticking together ala Egwene and Mat,but Nynaeve is also standing next to the most powerful taveren ever. How many times have we heard that being near a taveren could make you say or do something that you thought you would never do.
380. Freelancer

True enough, but when proximity to a major Ta'veren aids in someone's actions that way, there is usually a reaction of some sort pointing it out. In Nynaeve's case, there would have been a moment of mild incredulity about the strength of her pronouncements in Mat's favor. But she doesn't even flinch following her tirade at Tuon, suggesting that she would have said the same thing regardless of Rand's influence.
craig thrift
381. gagecreedlives
Yeah I agree completely Free just saw noone else had pointed it out after 378 comments and struggling with anything else relevant to add thought I would throw it out there :)

So what time does the twitching start (are we still doing that), and I hope the bunker has had a good airing out after subs chilli.
Tricia Irish
382. Tektonica
Morning all....Yes, GCL....we still *twitch*....a lot.....let the *twitching* commence!

I have to say, I've thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth Mat vs the SG's. The level of detail and knowledge and opinions here is always amazing and informative. Thank you all.

That said, I think much of what RJ wrote in this chapter was intended as "comic relief". He kept each of the SGs and Mat in character and played them against each other beautifully, while advancing their growth and providing much laughter, for me.

It's very hard for me to muster anger towards any of them.....slight annoyance, perhaps, in their lack of self-realization. They are amalgams of their various circumstances and prejudices, and as such are very human and charming and believable.

I think all of your dissecting of their personalities and actions has really expanded our (my) understanding of them as complete people. Thanks again.

And on to the new post.......

PS: Loved the Mug, Free. And Sub, Seven Layer Dip will forever be the Bowl of the Winds for me. Too funny.
383. MasterAlThor
Ahhh Sam,

You have done us a service my friend....almost makes up for your indiscretion with the "toothless wilder" bit. Oh yeah, you didn't think that I forgot that did you?


Thanks, I think that is what I wanted to say but I just didn't put it that way.


While Falme was a battle it was not for the SGs. They didn't attack, hold, or defend any positions. They were no better than people getting caught inbetween opposing armies, trying to get out of the way.

I am not saying that they are useless. I am not saying that they didn't rescue Egwene. I am saying that they didn't participate in a battle yet.

Bonnie Andrews
384. misfortuona
Ah yes, but the adam in this instance symbolizes the fact that he is tied to the seanchan by the pattern itself. Plus I just thought it was cool.

Maiane Bakroeva
385. Isilel
Well, a last salvo before the update.

Blocksmith @348:

1) Aiel (Avi and friends) save their bacon.

IIRC the SGs were about to fry their captors and the Fades when the Aiel made their appearance. It wasn't like in the Stone.
Also, in NS we saw Lan shot from an ambush, so it is unclear whether having a dude or 2 along would have prevented the attack. The silly thing was to disembark in the first place...

2)OTOH, Mat didn't notice that his GF was a DF, for Pete's sake! Would he had noticed a woman slipping him a mickey, as long as she had an enticingly ample cleavage? Not IMHO.

3) Do you seriously suggest that a couple of dudes would have easily made their way through the frenzied mobs in Samara? Carrying possessions, too?

Besides, Mat really doesn't know much about the SGs past foolishness. His dismissal is based purely on prejudice.
And before you say that SGs past mistakes justify his opinion - well, if we judge by Mat's past track record, then we wouldn't want him anywhere near dangerous esoteric objects, would we? Just like Mat has learned from past experiences, so have SGs.

Mat is correct in his assumption that they need support in Ebou Dar.

Do they need his support (and Thom's and Juilin's)? Of course! Both for the common-sense reason that when you need to find something important quickly, you'd better have as many trustworthy people (as in guaranteed non-DFs) as you have available out looking and for convoluted (and IMHO unnecessary) WoT reason that they absolutely can't find the cache without a ta'veren.

But do they need Mat's protection for safety reasons, because they can't look after themselves? Not really. They weren't attacked at all while they were searching in disguise and only once when out as themselves. Mat himself is attacked at every step.
And BTW, with masking of ability and inverted weaves the SGs don't even run the risk of attracting attention of other channelers anymore, not unless they do something blatant.

Generally, folks, you seem to be giving martial prowess more importance than it deserves, when the object is to unobtrusively find something.

Consider Balwer, the master at such things. He surely can't fight his way out of a paper bag. The trick is to adopt a persona that wouldn't attract attention or seem worthy of an attack. As Balwer does and the SGs successfully do when incognito in Ebu Dar.
Sydo Zandstra
386. Fiddler

That's exactly what happened to me with the big Cadsuane debate. I'm sure there are people who are convinced she's my idol, when in truth I find her annoying and awesome by turns. And sometimes both at once. I've found that to be one of the cool things about this discussion; as we go 'round on these things, my urge to play DA has given me a very different perspective on several characters. More about that next time it comes up, though.

I didn't join in there, because catching up was hard enough and you were already saying what I was thinking: annoying and awesome in turns.

I'm interested in that embroidery Cadsuane was stitching (think it was described in PoD ). I'm afraid it will have been forgotten though...

Incidentally, hello again. :)
Sydo Zandstra
387. Fiddler

Fortunately, I'll never have to defend Berelain in this crowd. :) That might be more than I could manage.

Featherdancer responding@301 :

What’s to defend? I love Berelain!

Hehe, me too. Can't wait for the next round... ;)
James Jones
388. jamesedjones
385 Isilel
IIRC the SGs were about to fry their captors and the Fades when the Aiel made their appearance.
Actually, you don't recall correctly. The girls' escape had just been discovered by the fade, and the aiel allowed a distraction from that. Without the aiel, the chaos could just have easily gone against the SG (of course, I believe the taveren twisting of the pattern protects the SG as much as the actual taveren). We all know one stray arrow or knife can kill anyone, especially if they are unfamiliar with close quarters fighting.
Alice Arneson
389. Wetlandernw
Fiddler, just in case you come back to this thread, hi again!!! Long time, eh? I'd been wondering where you'd got to.

You know, I'd forgotten the embroidery thing. I wonder if the subject is important, or if it was always just a "there she is, calmly working on her embroidery" thing. I'd love to find out.
390. GozerSoze
Why is the index page for the reread never up to date? It's kind of frustrating, I'd like to use it to know when there is a new post.
Sydo Zandstra
391. Fiddler

I'm always around, but I don't have much time to get into discussions. I do not access Tor from work. Your Cadsuane debating was fun, btw :D

I always had the idea something was up with that embroidery. I seem to recall it had something to do with North+East vs. West+South division of Randland. There was a lot of symbolism in it. I remember a rose (Andor?).

Oh well, we'll get there eventually.
392. alreadymadwithembroidery
IIRC Cadsuane's embroidery was the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai, though I suspect she's only doing the white part for now.
Linda Taglieri
393. Linda
I have some interest in embroidery. :D

Cadsuane's is of a Seal being held in a man's hand. The big deal is the cracks in the Seal and whether the man is holding it together or breaking it.

It is framed by bands of flowers (roses, starblaze, and sunburst alternating with daisies, heartsblush and snowcap) separated by bands of nettles and long-thorned briars. Presumably the flowers are the good guys and the nasty thorny plants the Shadow.
394. RichR
LB, I hope you are still reading comments for old posts. I totally disagree about the stilling/burned out issue. Nynaeve's observations are irrelevant. When she studied Siuan, Leane, and Logain, she was actively probing along where their connection of to the source was/should be. Elayne was doing nothing of the sort. She simply didn't feel the ability to channel in that passive way that female channelers do. We have pretty strong evidence that Siuan and Leane were in the exact same boat as Setalle. When escaping the Tower with Min, they were well within what Siuan knew to be the right range when Elaida strolled by with some sisters and weren't noticed. Siuan took it to mean the ability could no longer be sensed in her. Also, at least one Forsaken has told us that what modern channelers called "stilling", "gentling", and "burning out", they called "severing". If there had been a difference, it seems likely RJ would have highlighted that for us.
395. Louis Theodore Tellman
Just a quick note, even though I'm pretty sure no one's reading these comments this far back... Regarding Leigh's theory on Nynaeve's apparent terror of Mat (and, ironically, I haven't actually read all of the comments on this chapter so forgive me if I'm repeating stuff...):

Nynaeve, in my opinion, having gone through the whole "way too young to be a Wisdom" thing back home, is afraid mostly of having her dignity assaulted. She sees any affront to said dignity as a weakening of her authority and therefore power (what little authority she has now, that is). I doubt very much that she's afraid of Mat as a physical threat, nor do I think that she doesn't still see Mat as an ally, a friend, someone with whom she go wa-aay back wid. What she won't put past him, however, is that he would, in a heartbeat, do something that would humiliate her (i.e.: spank her for kicking him, lord it over her that she's in his debt for saving her from the BA in the Stone, etc...).

That being said, Nyn's apparent "turn-around" in TGS doesn't seem so much a "turn-around" as it does a different, more fundamental and unrelated aspect of their relationship (hopefully, that makes sense as I have actually no recollection of the situation to which Leigh is referring).

Just my thoughts...
396. yasiru89
For Nynaeve, the physical threat is just the same thing as humiliation, as the previous comment notes. I don't subscribe to Leigh's theory on the EotW event in so far as it counts for the main reason Nynaeve is so against Mat here. It might affect her subconsciously, but I doubt strongly enough to skew her opinions overtly. Perhaps what makes her defend him to Tuon is that once she realises Mat came through for them by saving Elayne later in the book, she (subconsciously) reconsiders the merit of her and Elayne's apology about the events in the Stone (or rather, she reevaluates her steadfast belief that there simply was no merit to the fool act), thereby seeing Mat in a positive light overall.
397. DougL
Mat defends Nynaeve against outside forces as well, they are, again, like family. Nynaeve will defend Mat from any outside force, other than those she has accepted into her broader family. So, Elayne could say whatever but Tuon cannot.

With Mat, well, Rand could say whatever about Nynaeve, but Joline cannot. That's about as close to family as you can get. I wasn't particularly nice to my younger brothers growing up by I was holy hell on anybody who tried to bully them at school.
Alice Arneson
398. Wetlandernw
DougL @397 - I think you're exactly correct on both Mat and Nynaeve. At home, it might be me against my brother (or sister) but outside, it's me and my brother against anybody who thinks they can pick on one of us.
399. sadface
"So now I’m frankly very curious about what motivates Nynaeve to pose her impassioned (and awesome) defense of Mat in TGS, since in light of all the above it’s actually a rather startling one-eighty."

Assuming your whole theory is right, the first thing that jumps to mind is that the moment where Nyn breaks her block fundamentally changed how she deals with fear, and there for fundamentally changed how she reacts to Matt. That moment taught her how to deal with fear without anger.

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