Apr 2 2010 2:58pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: A Crown of Swords, Part 19

Greetings, WOTlings! I return triumphantly from Moving Hell only mostly dead, and thus bring you a Wheel of Time Re-read. For that is a noble cause, my friends.

However, given that mostly dead is only slightly alive, today’s entry will be a tad truncated, covering just Chapter 32 of A Crown of Swords.

But fear not! Starting next week (barring disaster, natch), we will be back to the old school Re-read, with two posts a week, so I think you’ll live. The only difference being that I will be posting on Tuesdays and Fridays, rather than Mondays. Because I said so, that’s why!

Anyway. 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 my story and I’m sticking to it, by gum. Onward!

Chapter 32: Sealed to the Flame


What Happens
Elaida dreams that she is sitting before the Tower of the Hall, al’Thor chained and docile next to her and Alviarin humble before her, as she passes judgment on the rebels. Sheriam screams wildly as she, Romanda, and Lelaine are sentenced to be birched and stilled, and Egwene throws herself before Elaida and begs for mercy. Elaida declares that she can be merciful, and grants Egwene clemency in return for being the first to swear a fourth Oath, of obedience to the Amyrlin Seat. The rebels all fall down on their knees begging for the same.

Egwene crawled up the steps to kiss the hem of Elaida’s dress.

“I yield myself to your will, Mother,” she murmured through her tears. “Thank you. Oh, thank you!”

Alviarin seized Elaida’s shoulder, shook her. “Wake up, you fool woman!” she growled.

Elaida’s eyes popped open to the dim light of a single lamp held by Alviarin, bending over her bed with a hand on her shoulder. Still only half-awake, she mumbled, “What did you say?”

“I said, ‘Please wake up, Mother,’ ” Alviarin replied coolly. “Covarla Baldene has returned from Cairhien.”

Elaida groggily asks where Galina is, before remembering that Alviarin would not know what she was talking about, but Alviarin replies that Covarla believes Galina is either dead or captured. Elaida jumps up and commands Alviarin to explain as she dresses, but only hears snatches of the story. In the sitting room, Elaida demands of Covarla where Katerine is (who should have taken command after Galina); Covarla answers that Katerine is missing, too, and she stands highest of those left. Stunned, Elaida asks how many are left, and Covarla replies twelve sisters out of thirty-nine, including herself. Elaida reflects in shock that even in the Trolloc Wars the Tower had never suffered such casualties, and interrupts Covarla to declare that the Aiel wilders must be taught a lesson and the prisoners rescued, and al’Thor retaken. Covarla tries to say something about “these men”, but Elaida interrupts again to ask if she has maintained secrecy, which Covarla confirms. Dismissing her comments about Gawyn (reflecting Galina would have to pay for his survival as well if she ever turned up again), Elaida commands Covarla to hide herself and the remaining sisters in the party in Dorlan, one of the small hamlets across the bridges from Tar Valon. Covarla leaves, white-faced, and Elaida demands of Alviarin why she did not learn of this sooner, when it happened seven days ago; Alviarin answers that she can only tell her what the Ajahs pass on, and asks if Elaida really means to court a third debacle by attempting to take al’Thor again. Elaida asks, what does she mean by a “third” debacle?

“You didn’t listen, Mother.” Shockingly, Alviarin sat without being given permission, crossing her knees and serenely arranging her skirts. “Covarla thought they might have held out against the wilders—though I believe she is nowhere near as certain as she tried to pretend—but the men were another matter. Several hundred of them in black coats, all channeling. She was very certain of that, and so are the others, apparently. Living weapons, she called them. I think she nearly soiled herself just remembering.”

Stunned again, Elaida says that’s impossible, and Alviarin adds casually that since al’Thor can travel, it seems logical to suppose these men can too, and given that al’Thor might feel he “owes” Elaida something over his treatment at Galina’s hands, reflects it might be “unpleasant” if these men suddenly popped up inside the Tower itself. Alviarin continues, though, that if that were going to happen it probably would have already, and supposes that they have gone back to Caemlyn, in which case Toveine has quite the shock awaiting her. Hoarsely, Elaida tells Alviarin to send orders to call off the attack, but Alviarin smiles and points out that there is no way to get any such orders to Toveine before it is too late.

“I think you are in great trouble, Elaida.” Cold eyes stared into Elaida’s and cold words slid smoothly from Alviarin’s smiling lips. “Sooner or later, the Hall will learn of the disaster with al’Thor. Galina might have satisfied the Hall, possibly, but I doubt Covarla will; they will want someone... higher... to pay. And sooner or later, we will all learn Toveine’s fate. It will be difficult to keep this on your shoulders then.” Casually, she adjusted the Amyrlin’s stole around Elaida’s neck.

Alviarin goes on that it might be avoided, though, if Elaida listens to her Keeper. Elaida’s outrage at Alviarin’s lack of respect is subsumed in her panic, and she asks for Alviarin’s advice. Alviarin tells her that first, Toveine and Galina must be abandoned to their respective fates, and Elaida should reconsider her decision not to increase the Tower guard. Elaida agrees to these, numbly, and Alviarin continues that next Elaida will order searches of the rooms of Josaine and Adelorna (both Green), as they have been hiding angreal without permission, and punish them harshly, while at the same time holding up Doraise (Brown), Kiyoshi (Gray) and Farellien (Yellow) as “models of preserving the law.” Elaida knows that this will incite vast discord between the Green Ajah and the others, and asks why.

“Elaida, it should be enough for you that it is my advice.” Mocking, honeyed ice suddenly turned to cold iron. “I want to hear you say that you will do as you are told. There’s no point in me working to keep the stole on your neck, otherwise. Say it!”

“I—” Elaida tried to look away. Oh, Light, she had to think! Her belly was clenched in a knot. “I will—do—as I—am told.”

Alviarin smiles and says next they (meaning she) will decide what to do about al’Thor, opining it is time he was openly “called to heel,” and takes her leave. Elaida hurls her wine goblet across the room, wondering how her Foretelling could be so wrong, then stops and reconsiders. All she has to do is get rid of Alviarin, and suddenly she thinks of a way.

Outside Elaida’s apartment, Alviarin is amazed that her hands aren’t shaking, but reflects she has nothing to fear unless Elaida learns that she had lied about not knowing about al’Thor’s rescue; and either way, short of the rebels appearing outside the city gates, Elaida’s fate was assured in a matter of weeks, as soon as the inevitable news about Toveine gets out.

In any case, it had begun, and if she wished she knew what “it” was, all she really had to do was obey. And watch. And learn. Perhaps she would wear the seven-striped stole herself when all was done.

Seaine (a Sitter for the White) is amazed when Elaida enters her apartments, but curtsies properly. Elaida points out abruptly that Seaine did not stand for her as Amyrlin, but nor did she flee the Tower once she learned about it, the only such Sitter not to do so. Elaida asks why, and Seaine replies that she could do nothing else; the Tower must be whole. Elaida, seeming strangely nervous to Seaine, commands her to undertake an inquiry entirely in secret, as exposure could mean disaster. Elaida tells her that she believes treason exists in the Tower, and tells Seaine to find it, no matter how high it goes, “even to the Keeper herself,” and bring whoever it is before Elaida. Seaine replies that she understands her commands, and Elaida leaves; Seaine reflects that she doesn’t understand more than that, though. She thinks it through, and reflects that Elaida should have been furious at the notion of treason, but she had been nervous; she wonders what could make Elaida of all people nervous, and is terrified when she suddenly thinks of the answer. She leaves her rooms, and heads to the Red Ajah’s quarters in the Tower, noting the tension in the halls, and that the sisters in the corridors are all clumping together by Ajah only. The Red sisters are most displeased to see a White invading their territory; finally, she gets someone to show her to Pevara’s rooms. Pevara, by contrast, greets Seaine warmly.

It was sad that [Pevara] had chosen Red, no matter how good her reasons, because she still liked men. The Red did attract women who were naturally suspicious of men, of course, but others chose it because the task of finding men who could channel was important. Whether they liked men, or disliked them, or did not care one way or the other in the beginning, however, not many women could belong to the Red for long without taking a jaundiced view of all men.

Pevara, though, had openly said that she thought Reds should have Warders. Pevara apologizes to Seaine for giving her “the cut direct” after attaining the shawl; Seaine, knowing the Red Ajah’s policy of discouraging friendships outside the Ajah, tells her not to worry about it. They reminisce for a bit on the pranks they pulled together as novices and Accepted, and then Seaine tells her that she is here because Pevara is the only one she can trust to ask for help. Pevara agrees to help immediately, and after some hesitation, Seaine explains that she believes the Amyrlin wishes Seaine to hunt down… Darkfriends in the Tower. Pevara goes stony; her entire family had been murdered by Darkfriends, and she says flatly what Seaine had hedged around: the Black Ajah. She tells Seaine she has always been sure of their existence, and asks what Seaine knows of events right after the Aiel War.

“Two Amyrlins dying suddenly in the space of five years,” Seaine said carefully. She assumed the other woman meant events in the Tower. Truth to tell, until being raised a Sitter nearly fifteen years ago, just a year after Pevara, she had not given much attention to anything outside the Tower. And not that much inside, really. “A great many sisters died in those years, as I recall. Do you mean to say you think the... the Black Ajah had a hand in that?” There; she had said it, and the name had not burned her tongue.

“I don’t know,” Pevara said softly, shaking her head “You’ve done well to wrap yourself deep in philosophy. There were... things... done then, and Sealed to the Flame.” She drew a troubled breath.

Seaine returns to the subject of their investigation, and points out that logically, any Black sister must be able to lie, and so they should look at the records; if they can prove a sister wrote one thing and did another, they have found a Darkfriend. Pevara agrees, and adds that Seaine was very brave to come to her, as Darkfriends have murdered siblings and parents even to hide what they are. Seaine shivers, but thinks it is too late to turn back now.

Oh em gee, you guys, Elaida started something that wasn’t a total disaster! Even if she didn’t mean to! It’s like we’re on Opposite Planet!

Seriously, though, I remember thinking Holy crap, no way, because something that should have happened CENTURIES AGO (literally, no less) finally happens—because of ELAIDA. That’s… really rather clever, plotwise. The Law of Unintended Consequences doesn’t always work in a negative direction, it turns out!

Also, Black Ajah Hunt! Finally! Whoo!

AND we finally meet an awesome Red sister! After only seven books! Wonders, they keep failing to cease! And I really must stop ending sentences with exclamation points!

Of course, Pevara is only awesome in all the ways she is totally unlike a Red sister at all, but hey. Sometimes, refraining from dental examination of the subject of equine generosity is the best way to go. You know?

I continue to guiltily find Alviarin awesome, as well. Even evilness cannot stop my vicarious enjoyment of any character who gets to give Elaida the smackdown, because wow that must have felt good.

I still think, by the way, that Alviarin has consistently been by far the most effective villain in the whole series, outstripping any of the Forsaken, with the possible exception of Ishy (and, as of TGS, Semirhage. YIPE YIPE YIPE). I mean, come on; in terms of sheer damage done to the forces of Light, I’d say engineering a civil war within the Tower, supposedly the single greatest bastion of good against the Shadow, is pretty damn impressive as evil deeds go.

One must assume she’ll be rewarded for that. Besides getting Superfade eczema on the forehead, I mean. I hear there’s several openings for female Forsaken now!

On the Tower in general: I’ve been doing some thinking about it, and the more I think about it the more of a brilliant fictional construct it becomes to me – right down to how much it turns out to suck. In this way, it is even more like the Roman Catholic Church than I previously supposed!

What? What did I say?

Okay, I did that on purpose.

But… I’m also kind of not kidding.

The organizational and historical parallels between the Church and the Tower, of course, are obvious, and have been noted by both fans and Jordan himself. The Novice/Accepted/Aes Sedai progression mirrors that of the initiation process of the clergy, for example, while the hierarchy of the ruling body (the Hall and Amyrlin) owes more than a little to that of the Pope and the College of Bishops. And the Tower split, as I’ve said before, is a direct reference to the Papal Schism of the late 12th century. And this is only scratching the surface of these kinds of parallels.

However, I think Jordan was also drawing a broader, more socio-political parallel between the two as well. Both the White Tower and the Roman Catholic Church are institutions that were (and are) intended, in theory, to be pure, infallible and incorruptible bastions of good—preservers and promoters of, basically, the salvation of the world (though of course what each considers that salvation to actually be is very different). Both, in practice, have turned out not to be quite so infallible or incorruptible—sometimes, horribly so.

I don’t think this is really up for debate in regards to the Church these days. Even if you have somehow managed to be living under a rock for the last month or so and not heard of the most recent scandals, any remotely objective history of Christianity turns up any number of actions, decisions, and entire eras in which the Church did not exactly take the moral high ground, so to speak.

Clearly, the same is true of the Church’s WOT equivalent, and that is not at all an accident, in my opinion. I think Jordan’s progression with his portrayal of the Tower was quite deliberate, in fact, and while of course this is my own individual perspective, I have to say it rather eerily reflects the progression of my own view of the Catholic Church (which, in case it matters, is the faith in which I was raised).

First we are introduced to this seemingly all-knowing, stern yet benevolent, powerful group, whose members are both revered and somewhat feared by the general populace for their power, and who seem to be the only ones who hold the answers – answers in general, but most significantly, answers to the world’s survival itself. But the more we get to know this institution, and the more we learn about its history and policies, the more we realize that however much it may believe its own PR, the fact is it is a human institution, and therefore just as prone to politicking, ignorance, prejudice, corruption, greed, and morally questionable behavior as any other organization.

In fact, it may be more prone to these maladies, simply because by its very nature, such flaws may not be admitted to exist. One can hardly declare oneself infallible and then acknowledge one has made a mistake, right? And if one cannot even acknowledge a problem exists, how is it supposed to be corrected?

Good question! And the answer is, with a LOT of difficulty, over a very long period of time—if it can be done at all. As we have seen.

(Galileo suggested that the earth goes around the sun in 1610; he was formally forgiven by the Church for suggesting it in 1992. I’m just saying.)

The “Vileness” after the Aiel War, first referred to by Cadsuane and brought up here again by Pevara, is just one of many ways Jordan is making this point, in tandem with the whole Kin business and so forth and so on. The parallels to certain unsavory and/or embarrassing events in the Church’s past, as well as the accompanying reluctance or outright refusal to admit to the shadiness of such episodes, is obvious enough that I hardly feel the need to belabor it.

And when you think of the Tower in this way, it also makes it a lot easier to understand how difficult it is for most Aes Sedai to even contemplate the existence of the Black Ajah: for them, it’s like suggesting priests could be pedophiles. I think that… pretty much sums it up, there.

And here’s the thing: in my opinion, Jordan was not drawing this parallel for the opportunity to point a finger and go “You suck, nyah!” to the Church—or to the Tower, for that matter. I don’t think he was trying to say that either the Church or his fictional equivalent of it are made worthless by their errors, even the appalling ones; that would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

I think, rather, that he was pointing out that corruption within cannot be corrected until it is acknowledged. That admission of fallibility is not a death-knell, but in fact may be the only thing that allows survival.

Rot only increases in the dark; it is only through exposure, bringing it to light, that it can be expunged. Which is basically the point of Egwene’s entire storyline, especially in TGS, and why it (and she) is so very awesome.

Whether life will imitate art in this regard… well. Your guess is as good as mine on that one.

So THAT wasn’t controversial at all, heh. I feel like I’m back in the game! And with that, I leave you to enjoy yourselves in the comments. Just remember: it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Then it’s fun and games without depth perception! See you next week!

1. MikkiJ
Yeah new post!!
2. ValMar
2 posts a week!!!
Also, very happy for you finally moving. I hate this stuff myself so I appreciate the inconvenience you've had Leigh.
j p
4. sps49
Hey, Pevara is cool just by being a relatively normal and sane person after joining the Red Ajah.

And when these books were first being written, there was not as much going on in Holy Mother Church as has come to light in the past, say, 10 years.

Cain't nobody act like their sh*t don't stink, y'all.

And- Tuesdays and Fridays are acceptable.
Jeff Weston
5. JWezy
Leighdb: That admission of fallibility is not a death-knell, but in fact may be the only thing that allows survival.

I think this is true about all the characters (and probably most people as well) - their worst harm is done when they are denying the possibility that they are wrong.
Thomas Keith
6. insectoid
Am still laughing at Subwoofer's giant Post-It note. ;)

Hee hee... two PB references in 1 paragraph! Great post as always, Leigh, and we're all glad you (and presumably, the ducks) survived the move. :)

Alviarin: GRR. ::throws things:: And yet, I can put up with her, because she's the only one who's given Elaida the what-for.

::laughing out loud at chipmunk::

Pevara: Probably the only Red I could call Awesome at this point (although Silviana comes close).

John Mann
7. jcmnyu
I can't tell you how many times I have had the same conversation about how your religious awareness changes as you age. The all knowing/infallible institution which dominates your childhood shrinks in your adulthood. For some it is reduced to inconsequential, others, like me, a source of guilt and conscience wringing.

One example I would add about the parallels between the two is the power for good that is sitting there like potential energy and never put to use. The Aes Sedai gather all the knowledge and skills they can and rarely go out into the world to make it better. What engineering marvels could they provide the world if the Brown Ajah came out of Tar Valon? How much suffering could Yellow Ajah healing centers alleviate? The Vatican has buildings filled with fine art and other valuable objects. How much suffering could be eliminated (and good will engendered) if the Pope declared that they were going to sell a bunch of paintings and sculptures and provide clean water to sub-Saharan Africa? Talk about win-win.

And count me among those who look forward to the "double your pleasure" return to two posts a week.
Lannis .
8. Lannis
K, see? This is why I reread these books... I totally forgot that the fourth Oath was foreshadowed waaaay back in aCoS!

Hi Seaine. I see we're now at that point in the series where every new Aes Sedai name starting with S has me jumping onto Google to keep 'em all straight... yeah, thanks for that. :/

Thanks for the recap Leigh! Enjoy your long weekend! :)
Matthew Smith
9. blocksmith

Another well-crafted re-read.

Cannot disagree with the parallels. The history of the Tower and the Church are checkered with tragic events, awesome events, and criminal events.

In some ways, it is difficult, however, to compare the acts committed by the BA to events in the RC Church. Was there ever a group (meaning an organized society within the Church) dedicated to evil? Supporting Satan? I think not.

The tragic events supported by the Church are numerous and mostly the result of the either blind faith/lack of knowledge (missionaries spreading disease in aboriginal cultures), faith and greed (Spanish Inquisition, Chrusades), mis-guided politics (non-condemnation of Nazis), or disturbed/criminal individuals (recent sex-abuse scandal). I am most critical of the last one because a) happened during my lifetime and b) it demonstrated criminal behavior by the offenders and the enablers (Leaders of the Church to the highest level) that redistributed abusive priests without conscience.

Relative to the Tower, certainly "light-side" AS are guilty of arrogance and separationism, but as far as I can tell, most of the truly bad events occur either at the manipulation by or the direct implementation of the BA.

All that said, I do not consider your comments an attack on the faith that is Catholicism, more it is the fact that with any organization of power, unchecked power corrupts and the organization that is the Roman Catholic Church has demonstrated its susceptibility like any other.

Back to WOT, the fact that the oft inept Elaida doesn't really suspect Alviarin of being Black but is trying to find a way to get her out the way is truly that unintended consequences you mention.

Anyway...Good Friday to all and to all a great weekend... Easter, Passover, or otherwise.
John Massey
10. subwoofer
Grab a top 10- whoot! Except everyone else is out having lives and such.

What to say? Hmmmmmmmm...

Of all the chapters in the know universe to do a oner, we pick this one? Yeeeeeeeesh. I always pictured Aliviarin slapping Elaida awake.

Smack! "Wake up!" Smack!

Hmmmmm? "OUCH! Were you hitting me?" Elaida exclaimed holding her cheek. " You dare to strike the Amrylin?"

"What? No, I think you dreamed it,"Al says innocently...

Håkan Eriksson
11. h_a_eriksson
* I agree with you completely on your anlysis of the church analogy.

* Maybe I'm a bit sadistic, but I thoroughly enjoyed the section where Elida has her "wet dream" where all she dreams of come true, and then gets her brusque wake up shake by Alviarin. :) Made my day re-reading that part.
James Jones
12. jamesedjones
This is one of my favorite chapters in the series. Mostly, because we get the viewpoint of one of the worst characters realizing just how much the world has changed since her last correspondence. But also, because we get two new Aes Sedai who: are not driven by their own selfishness, and are willing to acknowledge a problem rather than deny it or work it into their own schemes. Sure, the problem was assigned to them by the Amyrlin (as they see it), but I'm willing to give 'em the benefit of the doubt.

On the whole "White Tower as a bastion for goodness":

This, to me, is a load of crap. Yep, I said it. It might have been RJ's intent, and I'm pretty sure that it's just my own perception comming into play, here. But I finished books 1-5 before I had to wait for the next one. And once you meet the aiel Wise Ones you realize just how f***ed up the White Tower is, and how awesome it could have been. This might have been partly due to the Black Ajah, but it's mainly ivory tower arrogance. Artur Hawkwing kept the WT locked down on their island for a few decades, and even with Ishy's influence on him, the world did not fall apart or get consumed by false dragons.

Without the WT, another organization would have risen to take its place. It prolly would have been just as corrupted and misguided as the original. It's balance yall. That's how this world works. ;)

Edit: If anything will bring Freelancer back for a response... lol
Janet Hopkins
13. JanDSedai
Yeah Liegh! Tuesdays and Fridays are fine!

Knowing by book 7 RJ's prediliction for foreshadowing, I was on tenterhooks until book 8 wondering if Pevara were Black Ajah herself. how could she be so convinced that her family was killed by darkfriends-- unless SHE were that darkfriend?! And that creepy little shrine to her dead family... and that comment, "Darkfriends have been known to kill siblings and parents". I was sure Seaine had jumped from the frying pan into the fire! And that Pevara was Black Ajah.

Maybe she was related to Hadnan Kadere?
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
"Alviarin continues that next Elaida will order searches of the rooms of Josaine and Adelorna (both Green), as they have been hiding angreal without permission, and punish them harshly, while at the same time holding up Doraise (Brown), Kiyoshi (Gray) and Farellien (Yellow) as “models of preserving the law.” "

Passage adds poignancy and piquancy to the Eg-Adelorna discussion in TGS during the tower battle when Eg asks how familiar Ad is with the angreal in the storeroom and she responds "very." Query what she was doing with the angreal at this point in the story - perhaps working out secret battle applications for the Green ajah that Alv wanted to disrupt using Elaida's punishment?

Also, do we know from TGS that Doraise, Kiyoshi and Farellien are black? Assume so, based on this.
Debbie Solomon
15. dsolo
Sympathies for your moving hell. We moved 10 months ago and are still not unpacked (of course, we moved in and started a total remodel or as I like to think of it - Limbo). On the plus side, as you unpack, you rediscover stuff you forgot you had.

Oh, Elaida, was there ever any other Aes Sedai as clueless as you? To subwoofer@10 and h_a_@11, I enjoyed the mental picture of Elaida's rude awakening (pun intended).

JanSedai@13 - I also thought Pevara was possible Black Ajah, after her Darkfriend remark and also, because Alviarin didn't send any Black Ajah with Toveine. Her group is the only one we can be sure of at this point.
John Massey
16. subwoofer
Well, I don't want to get into a big religious debate, although I am sure that is in the cards this week but... Edit- fitting post for Easter weekend.

So anyways, the church. I go to church usually every week or every second week, depending on when my dad is playing the organ. Like it there. Good people. The thing about it that I realize, is that we are all just people. Regular folks. We all put our pants on one leg at a time, we all make mistakes, we all have aches and pains, we all can be hurt, we are all rich or poor. Doesn't matter. Nothing perfect going on there. I think that there is a misconception that church-going folk have a holier than thou attitude. Not so much.

For me, I know I am far off the mark from being a perfect human being. But church is where I ask for forgiveness and try to do better there and out in the world. Church is my ground and my guide. It is not for everyone, heck, my wife is a lapse catholic. But it is part of who I am.

WoT. Same thing here. We have people, ladies, who have the power to shake the earth. Forsaken are prime examples of this. After 3000 years, they are like demi-gods and stuff of tall tales. But as we read, we find that they are all too human. They are full of pettiness, greed, corruption, lack of trust etc.

The Aes Sedai have their hang ups too. Schemes for power and control, secrets, rivalries etc. But the sisters do try to work together, they do make mistakes, they do penance and ask forgiveness. The Mother is revered but is held accountable by the Hall. These ladies are all human, they make mistakes, but they are trying and they do, in the end, what is needed to represent Team Light. Look at Verin and whatsherpickle in Emmonds Field battle. Look at the sister's healing Mat. Look at the Oaths.

I am not saying that Aes Sedai are without fault. Heck, you all have read my previous posts, you know how I feel. The reality is, these ladies have power but do have a system that attempts to keep them in check. Instead they could be doing a big power grab and planting themselves on thrones. That does not happen as they are trying to heal and help the world and are going to be on the front lines come TG.

Rand is another example. Tons of power. Still human. Still makes mistakes. But he is trying. Legends have been spun to make him larger than life, but if he goes for a period of time without bathing, he stinks. Same for everyone.

LTT- the OG Dragon. Held up so high, with reverence and fear. Kinslayer/ Dragon. All rolled into one. This is the reality of being human. It is what defines us. We either set our hearts to good and stumble, fall and pick ourselves up. Or we take the other path.

Tess Laird
17. thewindrose
RobMRobM -
As of tGS those three are not mentioned to be of the black ajah, here is a list from the Thirteenth Depository.

Tricia Irish
18. Tektonica
Thank you Leigh! Glad you survived your move, with insight and humor intact! Congratulations! Great reread.

It's really hard for me to read anything about Elaida...I start to feel my blood boil...but loved her "wet dream", LOL haericson@11, and her smack down by Alvirian.

However.....I kind of find it difficult to see Elaida doing such a 180 with Alvirian.....she's such a blind, tough nut, I just don't see her cracking that easily. I found it unbelievable initially, and I still do. Al is a great evil character, but I think Elaida is too deluded to fall for her "let me guide you" crap. Her head is just too big. Sigh. Well, that's the story, so......

As for the Church/Tower parallels....absolutely. My biggest problem with organized religion is their "infallibility". Well said, Leigh.

Happy Easter, Passover, weekend to all....
John Massey
19. subwoofer
Hate to get epic here, but as I was chatting on Gabbly I realized that this was also laying the groundwork for Egwene's coming awesomeness. If Elaida didn't bungle sooooo much, if she was actually a decent Amrylin, then how would Eggy ever rise to power and gain the respect of the Tower at such a young age?

Woulda been a tough road. Elaida, being a douche, paved the road for later Moments of Awesome for Eggs. No question. Bungling with Galina, bungling with the siters sent to "fix" the Black Tower, bungling with her concept of what an Amrylin is, just general bungling and incompetence made Elaida such a stinker that Eggy could not help but succeed.

Rob Munnelly
20. RobMRobM
@17. Thanks. Then why is Alv holding them up as models? Are they incompetent and ineffectual and Alv wants to help them advance? Help me out here. R
Matthew Smith
21. blocksmith

I believe it is simply to foment discontent amongst the Ajah's as Elaida surmises.

Which should have been a HUGE clue to Elaida that Alvairin was black. What other entity would want the ajahs at each other's throats? Of course, that supposes that Elaida is not so blind as to acknowledge the existence of said BA.
Leigh Butler
22. leighdb
RobM @20:

The reason is that (as Elaida realizes) the Greens would immediately conclude that the other three had ratted Adelorna and Josaine out, which would foment discord between the Green and the other three Ajahs.
Tess Laird
23. thewindrose
RObMRobM - I think Alviarin just wanted to step up the animosity between the Ajah's, and just picked some random sisters. She wouldn't want to draw any attention to her special friends - now would she:)

Janet Hopkins
24. JanDSedai
re: the sisters held up as models
They are all of different Ajahs from the Green, and the implication is that they ratted out the angreals. This furthers the divisions of the Ajahs, and weakens the Tower.
25. Lsana
Alviarin is all kinds of awesome. In order for an epic good/evil showdown to occur, evil has to have a few competent people on their side, and Alvi is one of the few that I think is a real threat. WoT needs more villains like her. Also, I enjoyed watching her beat up on Elaida.

As to the rest of this chapter, though, does anyone else feel that this was one of the more pointless subplots? Ultimately, for all the risks that Seaine and Pevara take, as clever and as brave as they were in finding a way to detect the BA and applying that method, they ultimately fail to accomplish anything. They don't stop any critical plots, they don't detect anyone who wasn't already in Verin's little book, they don't even get any credit for being willing to work across the ajahs. It seems like the very definition of a Shaggy Dog story, and the books would hardly be different if this plot had never occurred. It's a pity, because I like Seaine and Pevara; I think they are probably my two favorite Aes Sedai. But I can't think of a good reason for this subplot to be part of the series.

One last, minor point: Seaine swears to keep Elaida's words "in my heart," sealed to the flame, and then immediately goes and spills her guts to Pevara. A bit of a warning, perhaps, about those Aes Sedai who swore to Rand and Egwene: an Aes Sedai is fully capable of breaking an oath.
John Massey
26. subwoofer
Hi Leigh!

Made my week by talking about the two fixes a week coming back! Won't be so long between hits. It was like going through withdrawal. I would have come over and helped for er... beer... after Easter of course;)

Best of news:)

Edit: procrastinating on opening boxes and getting settled?

Sheila McEvoy
27. SuffatheDamane
I always wondered if Alviarin knew that Adelorna was the Captain-General of the Green, and picked her to just be all the more inflammatory.

Which leads me to the thought that Josaine was probably something like the First-Lieutenant (or whatever) of the Green Ajah for exactly the same reason.
Sheila McEvoy
29. SuffatheDamane

"One last, minor point: Seaine swears to keep Elaida's words "in my heart," sealed to the flame, and then immediately goes and spills her guts to Pevara. A bit of a warning, perhaps, about those Aes Sedai who swore to Rand and Egwene: an Aes Sedai is fully capable of breaking an oath."

See, I initially thought that meant that Seaine was Black Ajah and that was technically true - she kept the words "in her heart" (if by heart, you mean her cell of Black sisters), but then realized that didn't make any sense whatsoever because a Black sister wouldn't need to be bothered avoiding a lie.

I did also think that Pevara was pretty suspicious and that she had murdered her whole family to prevent being exposed as a Darkfriend.

In retrospect, I was pretty paramoid about all of them, at that point.
Kev Hamm
30. cavynmaicl
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye, then it's MARBLES! Hehe.
Tess Laird
31. thewindrose
Seaine was such a perfect person for Elaida to come to for this search. (Meaning clueless and unable to read between the lines.)
Think if Elaida had brought this to someone like Mo:
Elaida bounded to her feet. "I charge you to follow the stench of treason, no matter where it leads or how high, even to the Keeper herself. Yes,even to her. What you find, whoever it leads to, you will bring before the Amyrlin Seat alone, Seaine. No one else must know. Do you understand me?"

Moiraine would have gone straight to the thought of 'Gee, Elaida has it in for Alviarin, I wonder why'.

And then, Seaine almost ends her search/life early:
Talene was a friend, and she thought she could be sure of her, but thinking was not enough for this. Later, if possible, she would approach Talene.

33. Denari6

Done moving? meh now you get to unpack and realize that you have nowhere to place certain items and other arrangements will just not work.

**happy happy joy joy D**

I rather enjoyed your discussion points. I never considered Aes Sedai concepts outside of the magic user fantasy role. I concur whole heartedly.

Blocksmith @9:

"In some ways, it is difficult, however, to compare the acts committed by the BA to events in the RC Church. Was there ever a group (meaning an organized society within the Church) dedicated to evil? Supporting Satan? I think not."

Yes and no friend. I think the biggest point here is that Aes Sedai know there is a dark lord and hordes of minions awaiting to descend upon them. Any living soul in WoT can go to the blight and see for themselves that there is acutally this mystical power of doom waiting to instigate the end of days. Thus, anyone who becomes a dark friend is evil and should be executed. We saw this crime and version of punishment in the various cultures from the Seanchan to the Aiel. Even after 3000 years or so since the war of power people know there is evil. Reality is of course different. All of the what I like to call church abuses were done under the assumption that evil is real today and must be destroyed. As you have stated the Church has purged itself and populations under its control of evil using terror, torture and fire to stamp out any who they view as a "dark friend". People were excommunicated from the church and burned at the stake for heresy. Its not too far a comparason to view the stilling and beheading of black ajah as being similar. The critical question is, Was the heretic really evil or just different? Dark friends however are just evil in WoT.

"Relative to the Tower, certainly "light-side" AS are guilty of arrogance and separationism, but as far as I can tell, most of the truly bad events occur either at the manipulation by or the direct implementation of the BA."

I have wondered about this in WoT. There are evil doers in WoT, (presumably those who break universal morals ie rape, rob etc) and then there are darkfriends who gave their soul to the dark one. Questions I pose, do evil deeds a dark friend make? OR does it require submission specific to the DO. I recall the picpocket Elaine used to track Captain whatever his name was. Clearly the man was a criminal unrepentant. However, Elaine treats with him as if he is just a man gone wrong and not a dark friend. As I ponder this question further I wish to consider the "different evil that is/was Aridhol. Here we have a relatively unknown mystical evil that when given the chance battles the evil of the DO. It would make one consider that the DO is just not the evil of WoT universe. He is just a "flavor" of evil. Further does the flavor of evil significant in the view of the creator, (our very silent puppet master in white).

Lots of questions sorry guys for the wall of text.

Alice Arneson
34. Wetlandernw
Wow, I get in this soon for once, and the great stuff has already been said!

First, Leigh, congratulations on surviving The Move, and only mostly dead. Did you get the chocolate coating?

blocksmith @ 9 - Excellent analysis. Very good point, that the wrong-doing in the Catholic Church is human failing and abuse of power, not a direct parallel of the committed-to-the-Dark-One Black Ajah. (To be fair, the RC church isn't the only organization, religious or otherwise, subject to such failings. But it's the best analogy, because of the extent and longevity of the institution.)

Even the Oaths are a loose parallel, given that they were each instituted to combat a particular misperception or abuse of power, as the Creeds were adopted to combat particular heresies. Of course, the analogy stops there, because the Oath Rod doesn't have a RL parallel, and it's the Rod, not the Oaths themselves, that causes the problems. (And I don't see the Creeds as causing problems.)

The other parallel between WT and RCC that I noted at the moment is something jamesedjones mentioned - how the other channeling groups point up the realization that the WT isn't what it should have been. The other organizations, too, have their faults, but most function effectively in their societies. I'll leave the further extrapolation of that argument, especially as applicable to Christianity, to your own logic.

More later? I know there's more to comment on in the chapter, but I gotta run. *sigh* Another 20 comments were posted since I started/stopped/started/stopped/finished... Will read soon, I promise!
Maiane Bakroeva
35. Isilel
Wow, we are going back to 2x weekly! Great news - thanks Leigh. May you prosper in your new and doubtlessly awesome domicile! ;).

Yes, I also like Alviarin a lot. Halfway intelligent villains are rare jewels in WoT and should be treasured. I really hope that she gets her moment at the helm of the forces of evil - IMHO, much lesser OP strength or not, lesser OP knowledge or not, she could be much more effective than any FS apart from Ishy. If only the DO had the wits to see it...

Re: the WT, I slightly disagree. The AS don't have the same kind of automatic authority among the populace as RL clergy did. The War of Power and the Breaking was always held against them, to one degree or another and people were suspicious of them ditto, hence the Oaths. And given that the WT eschews open violence to attain it's political goals - well, I'd have expected that it would need more general competence to survive as a major political power for as long as it did.
So, yea, human failings here or there the deluge of idiocy on AS part that we were exposed to since LoC didn't make all that much sense to me.
I'd also point out that at least in some respects the non-DF AS actually are surprisingly incorruptible.

Oh, and speaking of competence - I'd have expected both AS camps to check for male channelers obsessively, using all means at their disposal, since they heard about Dumai's Wells, or in SAS case, FS being at large. Incongruous.

Lsana @25:

Ultimately, for all the risks that Seaine and Pevara take, as clever and as brave as they were in finding a way to detect the BA and applying that method, they ultimately fail to accomplish anything.

The point of it is, IMHO, that no outsider, no matter how brilliant and brave, could have unmasked and routed out the BA. Even an insider had to have been a genius and very lucky to succeed. All these AS and Amyrlins who failed to do so for 2 millenia weren't inept fools - it was an absolutely impossible task. The BA hunt shows us just how impossible it was - and sets up the very satisfying MoA resolution to this major obstacle. Personally, I enjoyed how this was handled far more than how the Cleansing of saidin was.

Frankly, IMHO instead of the Bowl of Winds or fight for the Andoran succession or (shudder) the plotline that wouldn't die - that's what should have occupied Our Heroes at this point in the storyline. Instead of Rand talking about it a couple of times and then suddenly knowing how to do it and everything that was needed to accomplish it turning out to be trivial. But I digress.

JJ @12:

Artur Hawkwing kept the WT locked down on their island for a few decades, and even with Ishy's influence on him, the world did not fall apart or get consumed by false dragons.

Because he was a very strong ta'veren. As soon as he was gone, everything that he had accomplished and nearly everything that people have managed to build up before his ascension was smashed to pieces. Without any need of numberless Trolloc hordes, I'd like to point out.
Not a good example to support you position ;).

BTW, I strongly suspect that the AS were far more involved in general populace's lives and better integrated before the altercation with Hawkwing. But when he turned on them, it was those who were involved who were the most vulnerable and thus suffered disproportionally. Hence the remoteness of the "modern" AS.
Alice Arneson
36. Wetlandernw
RobMRobM @14 - We do NOT know that Doraise, Kiyoshi and Farellien are black; they were not specifically named in the Black-list in TGS. They might be, but it might just have been that they were reasonable examples of "good behavior" while at the same time being from the Brown, Gray and Yellow Ajahs. I think the purpose was more the fomenting of discord than the actual promotion of BA sisters. And everyone already said that.

subwoofer @16 - Well said, bro.

Denari6 @33 - The point blocksmith was making about the BA is that there has, as far as we know, not been a hidden organization within the church specifically and purposely dedicated to Satan. There have indeed been individuals throughout time who dedicate themselves to evil or even to Satan; whether the many people executed by the Church in past times for such things were actually so dedicated is questionable. But witch hunts aside, blocksmith's "I think not" was specific to an organization within the church.

Regarding your question do evil deeds a dark friend make? RJ's direct answer was NO, most certainly not. There is a distinction (in WoT) between those who do morally reprehensible things and those who give themselves to the DO. Excerpted from his answer to a question about how someone would go about becoming a Darkfriend:
One of the fastest ways to attract attention is to show yourself willing to kill to advance yourself or simply for gain. That doesn't mean that every strongarm who's willing to slit a throat to steal a purse is a Darkfriend. Some of those might well be horrified by the suggestion. This method has its drawbacks, of course, since if you attract the attention of the authorities first, you are very likely to end up with a noose around your neck or a trip to the headsman's block.
37. alreadymadwithblackhunt
RobMRobM @14
Alviarin would not have held those three up to such scrutiny if they were black.

SuffatheDamane @27
Alviarin does note in a later POV that all the Ajah heads were known to her.

Wetlandernw @34
I don't know. The distinguishing feature so far of darkfriends, including Black Ajah and Forsaken, is selfishness. Which is pretty much the same reason for a lot of the abuses the RC made.
Don Barkauskas
38. bad_platypus
Lsana @25: As Isilel@35 points out, it's just proof of how hard the task was. It also illustrates the usefulness of the "hearts" system. The whole purpose of such a system is to minimize the damage done if the network is discovered. It worked perfectly, as the hunters hit multiple dead ends and couldn't discover any more before Alviarin got her hint that the BA was in danger. It was only through Verin's 70-odd years of mole activity that the network was fully compromised.

I have to admit, I really wanted the BA Hunters to succeed, but the resolution RJ/BWS provided was so much more satisfying. I'm with Isilel@35 on this one.
Ron Garrison
39. Man-0-Manetheran
“And I really must stop ending sentences with exclamation points!” Stress will do that to ya! Welcome back to the world of the living Leigh. I think we rejoice as much as thee. Tuesdays and Fridays. Oh yea! Oh yea!

What a joy it was to read this chapter again knowing what we know now. First time I read about Rand sitting at her feet like a little damane...”WTF?” Now look who’s a good damane, Suffa.

Your comparison of the White Tower and the Holy Roman Catholic Church is quite accurate I think. I emphasize “Roman” as it traces its structure from them and the Roman predilection for infallible Caesars.

I’m tempted to parallel the Whitecloaks with the Hutaree bunch.... Enough to say that and let you all think about it.
Tricia Irish
40. Tektonica

Totally agree. Another plot and a lot of words that didn't go anywhere for me.
Could really do without it, IMHO.

Does no one think that Elaida's 180, knuckling under to Alvi immediately, to let her "guide her" was out of character? Seemed very odd to me.

Very excited about 2 posts per week! Thanks, Leigh!
41. McCaemlyn
Leigh: congrats on the move!

To blocksmith@9: I totally agree with your assessment.

There is one minor point that I would clarify about the Church: it only claims to be infallible in certain very specific cases (e.g., the pope speaking ex cathedra, or an ecumenical council).
Alice Arneson
43. Wetlandernw
alreadymadwithblackhunt @37 - No, the distinguishing feature of darkfriends/Black Ajah/Forsaken is that they have sworn to the Dark One. They don't have a corner on selfishness. :) True, it seems to be their most prevalent common feature, and they take it to extremes, but there is plenty of selfishness to be found in those not committed to the DO as well. Less in those who are overtly committed to Team Light, but even there you see it to some extent.

On a philosophical note, a wise man once said "We all do what we most want to do." I think he was right.

And @several, I'm with Isilel too. (Did I just say that? What do you know...;) ) The contrast between what the BA-Hunters managed in a few months (?), the numerous dead-ends they met and their overall lack of progress, verus what Verin did in 70 years of dedicated effort, points out just how difficult it was to find the BA in any large proportion. Also how awesome Verin was.

Re: Elaida's 180... hmmm. In defense of its probability, she just got the double whammy of two spectacular failures, totally of her own devising; not just "oops" but "all the capital numbers on the keyboard and then some". She had placed so much confidence in them, sending a total of, what, about 90 AS? into completely untenable situations, pretty much wiping them out and/or rendering them useless. At this point, that's roughly 1/3 of the TAS. That's gotta hurt, folks. (As of LoC, Chapter 7, there are 294 AS aligned with Elaida.) Alviarin is the only one (as far as Elaida knows) who knows the extent of those two failures and could, with very little difficulty, walk into the Hall and have Elaida deposed in two minutes. In the shock of the moment, and not knowing as much as she thinks she does (story of her life!) about Alviarin, she might not realize that it could be as dangerous to Alviarin as herself. In any case, she can't risk it.

Oh, yeah, and she got all that immediately upon being awakened from a lovely dream about all her ambitions being fulfilled... And Alviarin none too gently whacked her with the clue-by-four about the Black Tower, which Elaida had completely missed in listening to Covarla's report. Yeah, the 180 might seem a bit much, but she was in an... awkward... position. Ya think?
43. AndrewB
Boo. thewindrose @31 and alreadymadwiththeblackhunt @37 beat me to their respective comments re the mention of Talene in this chapter and Avlviarin's knowledge of the identities of the heads of the Ajahs.

The parallels between the RC and the WOT that Leigh discussed in her commentary is fascinating. Too bad I do not have the time to digest her (and others) comments and make my own comment. Maybe sometime this weekend.

IMHO, the hunt for BA that Seaine and Pevara (and later the other Sitters) conduct is my favorite sub plot in the entire series. (By sub plot, I mean a storyline that does not involve Rand, Mat or Perrin or the Four Supergirls ).

Does anybody have a sub plot that they think is better than the TAS Black Ajah hunt? Inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks for reading my musings?
Mikey Bennett
44. EvilMonkey
Tek@ 40, I think Elaida caved so quickly because of the shock of the entire thing. I mean not only was she woken up from what amounts to a wet dream with some extremely bad news, she is forced to confront something in her real time that pretty much shatters a part of the fantasy world she lives in, namely hundreds of men who can travel instead of the handful she believes could possibly exist(she is a Red after all, and takes real pride in her Ajah's purpose). Once she had a little time to think about it she was able to fit these disasters into her fantasy world and make moves to perserve her world view accordingly bc of her fortelling. And she did unwittingly initiate the hunt for the BA in the attempt to crush a rival.

As for the hunt itself, it seems to me that RJ never introduces characters as strong as Pevara for nothing. Mebbe the hunt didn't go anywhere but that doesn't mean that their role is kaput. I see great things (or terrible ones) in the future for the hunters. Of course I dont know what they are. I think we are all stuck in the RAFO zone on this one.

Awesome analysis people, too bad we dont get paid for this.

Alice Arneson
45. Wetlandernw
EvilMonkey @44 - too bad we don't get paid for this. LOL! Hey, if I got paid even minimum wage for all the time I've spent on here, I'd have a fair few bucks!
Jennifer B
46. JennB
Re Elaida's 180
I got a good sense of blackmail in this scene. Alviarin's offer to guide Elaida so she can keep her seat is a very subtle threat. She will out Elaida's secrets if Elaida doesn't do as she says.
Wetlandernw touches on this in 43.
47. Longtimelurker
it seems that Leigh caught the bug of Princess Bride referrals from recents comments, FTW

and subsumed, that's a high-falitin' word there

and almost obscure gift-horsing

as to the Church-WoT parallel analysis, why yes, of course


As follows from Leigh's analysis of the tower being unwilling to recognize mistakes, the worst thing that can happen to a sister of high standing is publication of a failure. alviarin is threatening to publish the two biggest failures of an amyrlin in a very long time, which terrifies elaida into submission. it does make sense

and is that wetlandernw agreeing with isilel? is it still the 1st? and a cohcolate coated PB reference for her, too

You folks seriously need to check this out. It's the 2nd, ok? So no joke. You do need a facebook account to see it.!/profile.php?id=100000544710019&ref=ts
Lannis .
49. Lannis
@ Longtimelurker: BAHA! That's hilarious!

Oh, Free, you funny guy! ;)
50. Lurking Canadian
This post has motivated me to stop lurking and say something. I think the parallel to the Church is obvious, so don't really disagree, but the parallel is flawed, because the Tower lacks anything like a secular arm. During the Middle Ages, the Church was the center of life in Europe. For the Aes Sedai to be truly analogous, the Brown Ajah would have to be running schools and universities in every town and city, the Yellow would have to be running health clinics and hospitals, the Grey would have to set up a federal court system, and so on. (Not sure what the Blues would do.)

It would even make more sense, in the story, for Jordan to have set it up like this, because as it is, the Aes Sedai let their enemies control the public's perception. If you look at Rand's opinion of Aes Sedai at the beginning of the story, it is essentially Whitecloak propaganda. Or, imagine how much easier it would be to find girls who can channel, boys who can channel, or, say, Dragons Reborn, if there were an Aes Sedai eqiuvalent of the parish priest. It's a flaw, in my opinion. The Vatican was always an insular ivory tower of infighting and politicking, so you could keep that without making the entire organization seem so dumb.

Of Alviarin...yeah, she's the most competent villain, but she's still strangely Aes Sedai in the end. The world is coming to an end, the Great Lord is about to rise, the Forsaken walk the Earth, and the highest ambition she has is to be the Amyrlin Seat?
Jay Dauro
51. J.Dauro
Leigh - Congratulations on the move. Get some rest. If you haven't got your health, then you haven't got anything.

Isilel & others

The hunters do manage to at least prove that the Black Ajah exists, which many sisters would have denied. (Granted many of our folks didn't need proof.) I think they also should get credit for showing Egwene that not all of the Tower was dithering. And Egwene credits the BA Hunters for the technique of using the Oath Rod to find the BA, when she uses it to cleanse the AS.
Thomas Keith
52. insectoid
I can see you, Freelancer... can you see me? ;)

Tricia Irish
53. Tektonica
longtimelurker......thanks and who are you???

Very funny Free! :-)

Wetlander@42: Of course you are correct about the double blows to her plans and ego she just received, and about the real threat from Alviarin. I'm just amazed she recognized it, she's usually in such a selfish dream world.

Even after she starts doing all the stupid, divisive things Alvi suggests and the Tower is destroying itself, she's seems to be back in her "fog world", not listening to others, issuing edicts and being completely self-centered. These are not the actions of a savvy leader. She could've made several more effective plans to unseat Alviarin or discredit her, but she just twiddles her thumbs while Rome burns and the other sisters ignore her.

Given what we know about her lack of defense strategies and the way she ignores others' advice, I am still kind of amazed that she woke up long enough to see a real threat from Alviarin and cave into her without more of a fight. After some time of reflection, she could've mounted a many pronged defense.

I know she went to Pevara, but then she just kind washed her hands of it, with a few cursory check ups. One rather amorphous plan. At least Pevara had some vision and did something worthwhile. And I do agree Pevara, etc. did show that the BA does exist and that all AS aren't totally self-serving, but still, not an interesting plot line to me. Just sayin'.....
Barry T
54. blindillusion
Free FTW.

But...but...I brought out my "All the good things wrapped up nice" saying. =(.

Wasted. 'Tis a shame.

(Now I really need to read through the posts and see what's what.)
Ron Garrison
55. Man-0-Manetheran
OK. Don't do Facebook and I won't sign up. Can anyone clue me in on Free's actions? I thought his "goodbye" yesterday was an April Fools joke, but that didn't seem his style. Whazzup?
Ed Dyer
56. HumbleReader
Hi Leigh
Congrats on finishing your Move.

Even if you have somehow managed to be living under a rock for the last month or so...

I'll preface this with an acknowledgement that I was brought up and have continued in a different sect of the Church from Leigh. The UC of Canada is one which has had a significant nummber of clergy who abused their charges in native schools
in the last century, and has I think, faced up to that, so I hope I am not speaking too much out of turn. We certainly know we are not infallible :-)

The local RC Archbishop, in his homily before 100 priests and a full congregation Wednesday this week, declared that it's time to acknowledge that the Roman Catholic Church is falling apart.

He might know that more than most, since he is looking after the neighbouring diocese where the bishop was arrested for having child porn on his laptop last fall.

Linden MacIntyre, author of "The Bishop's Man" (2009, Random House) grew up in that same district. The Bishops Man, for those who haven't read it, is the bishop's "fixer", who deals with out of line members of the clergy. A page turner of a different sort of "fiction" from Fantasy.

block@9 I agree with your assessment of the participants in the recent sex abuse scandals, except that I'm not so sure that it was just individuals - I'm thinking that the abusers' colleagues had to know something of what was going on. And of course the current Pope has been accused of being the head "fixer" earlier in his career.

Time to get back to preparing for Easter service.
Bonnie Andrews
57. misfortuona
Glad to see you've settled your ducks, or at least got their boxes in one place. Excellent commentary on the chapter and the parallels of church and tower.

Nice prank, and a wonderfully unique method of breaking the silence.
Good to see you back, sort of.

Mis-squeeing about 2 posts a week
Bonnie Andrews
58. misfortuona
Free has a Free Tor-fan page set up with a note saying of course it was an april fools prank.

Mis-filling in on Free
Ron Garrison
59. Man-0-Manetheran
Ahhh. The old "fakes own death and see who comes to the funeral" trope.
Thomas Keith
60. insectoid
Mis @58: Oh, that rascal! LOL!

No one got my movie reference? ::pouts::

Julian Augustus
61. Alisonwonderland
Leigh @ 0:
I still think, by the way, that Alviarin has consistently been by far the most effective villain in the whole series, outstripping any of the Forsaken, with the possible exception of Ishy (and, as of TGS, Semirhage. YIPE YIPE YIPE). I mean, come on; in terms of sheer damage done to the forces of Light, I’d say engineering a civil war within the Tower, supposedly the single greatest bastion of good against the Shadow, is pretty damn impressive as evil deeds go.

I think you may be wrong here. Let me re-phrase that: I think you are giving the wrong person credit, or discredit, as it were. We didn't know at this point in the story, but it becomes fairly obvious in later books that Alviarin's actions to engineer the near-civil war in the Tower were all taken under the direction of Mesaana. I would suggest that if we are looking for a truly effective servant of the DO other than Ishy, it has to be the guiding hand (or brain) behind the crippling of the Tower, Mesaana, rather than the tool, Alviarin.
62. Freelancer
I was planning to drop the April Fool bomb after about four hours or twenty posts, whichever came first. But thewindrose put the kaibosh on that after less than an hour and only 5 comments, so I had to "play dead" for a while longer.

I promise that I was not trolling for any of the very moving and generous thoughts which were expressed, it didn't cross my mind to consider that until Cadsuwallop's reply. I gotta say, evoking the Phoebe Cates line from Pale Rider, almost had me giving in.

I figured maybe two or three would have something pleasant to say, while many more would just be glad they didn't have my pomposity, my verbosity, my intractible rigidity to deal with any more. (My apologies to everyone in this category, you know who you are)

Humbly begging forgiveness,


Wetlandernw, I cannot believe how hard it was to compose those comments with irregular punctuation, inconsistent grammar, and almost no capitalization. I imagine you would understand.
Julian Augustus
63. Alisonwonderland
I don't see anything strange about Elaida's rapid capitulation to Alviarin in this chapter. She knew very well that if Alviarin denounced her to the Hall for being so incompetent as to order a huge number of sisters to their deaths or capture, there was a very real possibility that she (Elaida) would be deposed, stilled and executed. At that moment, Elaida would have clutched at any straw to keep her head on her shoulders.
Ron Garrison
64. Man-0-Manetheran
Well Free, I first considered it to be an April Fool, but I didn't think you were vain enough to do it just to see who missed you. The other option then was to believe you were really leaving. That didn't seem believable either after all your time here. So, sorry about the 'wallop, but it did bring you out from undercover! Glad to have you back.
Barry T
65. blindillusion
But the question is...did Free create a Facebook account just to show the tell?

Crafty and well thought out, that. But then...look who we're talking about....
66. Freelancer
Nah, I'm not that sick. The facebook account was mostly to get a better view to what certain authors are up to, primarily Brandon. While many maintain a blog decently, they ALL update their FB pages regularly. And forget it, I don't do "tweet".

But once I'd started the gag, I decided on how I'd reveal. It wasn't as smooth as I wanted, but oh well.
john mullen
67. johntheirishmongol
I thought this was an interesting chapter, and Alviarin is usually fun to see. Too bad she got stretched too thin by the Forsaken.

While there are some superficial matching to the RCC, it's very superficial. The WT feels more like an individual bishopery, since there is only the one permanent facility and one major activity. The RCC has teaching, nunnerys, churches, schools, universities, hundreds of other activities and millions of employees. BTW, I'm not religious nor do I particularly care about religion, I just think it's a bit too facile a comparison.
Lynn McDonald
68. meal6225
Easter weekend and we have our own little resurrection--Freelancer returns!
I must confess I had some weird guilt when Free's last post commented on my Chumbawumba song.

Sorry if this is being lazy and not looking it up for myself--but what was Toveine's mission? Is she the AS on her way to the Black Tower?

Yeah 2 entries a week! Bday is Monday so thanks for the present Leigh!
Alice Arneson
69. Wetlandernw
Freelancer - I can only imagine how hard it was to write the longtimelurker post trying not to sound like yourself. I can occasional miss a typo, but it's beastly hard to do them on purpose. You have my sympathy! It was a cool reveal, though. I enjoyed it.
Janet Hopkins
70. JanDSedai
Re: Toveine
Yes, Toveine is the Red Ajah leader of the mission to subdue the "half-dozen" men who can channel. She is bonded by Logain, along with another sister.
Maiane Bakroeva
71. Isilel
AndrewB, @43:

IMHO, the hunt for BA that Seaine and Pevara (and later the other Sitters) conduct is my favorite sub plot in the entire series.

I enjoyed it more than most of what the main characters were up to in books 7-11. Here people were trying to do something that was clearly necessary and actually had a direct bearing on the TG. And they had to be actually clever, cautious and tenacious as things didn't just fall in their lap.
That they ultimately failed - well, it just showcases how monumental the task was and that the Shadow has done this _one_ thing right during the millenia of preparation.
Also, it sets up an immensely satisfying MoA for Verin, without tipping the author's hand.

BTW, I wish that Egwene didn't run her mouth off re: how she knew so much about the BA just yet, because Verin's information could also be used to root out non-channeling/male channeler DFs, who can't be conveniently tested on the OR. Which would have been priceless.
But will they be warned now? Or will everybody assume with typical WoT myopia that Verin's info was _only_ about the BA? I hope so, cause everybody's non-AS entourages need a thorough cleansing too.
Tricia Irish
72. Tektonica
Good one Free.....I had a feeling longtimelurker was you! @53.

Glad you're back. The reread just wouldn't have the depth without you! Nice to put a face to the words too. :-)

I tried to sign up for Brandon's NEW page (the first one being full) and now the NEW one's full. Harumph. If anyone gets any great news, please fill us all in over here. :-(

Bonnie Andrews
73. misfortuona
I usually post any interesting tidbits I pick up at Brandon's page. ;D
I'll be sure to continue.

Tess Laird
74. thewindrose
Indeed - Freelancer. I posted before I thought, but you persevered anyways:)
I could have pointed out that your account wasn't closed, but saw you were in the clear, so to speak.
So, as I said on 18 - you and toryx get spankings first - for being naughty.

Welcome back - prankster.

75. nor3
You know, I think I'll stay out of the whole church debate....
John Massey
76. subwoofer
@Free- yay!- I guess me and MOM are the only folks in the known universe that cannot be bothered with that hey-look-at-me site called facebook. Thanks Mis for the update. I have too many stories of staff burning company time on that tragedy of a site.

Despite a recent schism, I am in agreement with Isilel as well. The ladies in the Tower on the BA hunt were one of the rays of light in later books. BA was something that most AS were reluctant to talk about or even acknowledge. That this was actually being brought to light and dealt with was a monumental undertaking worthy of a story line with maybe even a main character. Even more baffling was that Elaida of all people was the instigator of the BA hunt. Who knew the queen supreme of bunglers actually might of done something good for the Tower in general.

So, even though this chapter is one of the wonkier chapters to do a one-off post, in the end I guess it is not so bad with the mitigating news of Leigh's two-fer posts and Free pulling shenanigans. Yay for Team Light!

John Massey
77. subwoofer

John Massey
78. subwoofer
Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

John Massey
79. subwoofer
Methinks the thread-gremlin at TOR is at it again.

I dunno- how are the teeth Leigh?

80. Fact checker
Phoebe Cates wasn't in Pale Rider (the name of the actress was Sidney Penny according to imdb.)
81. Fact checker
Sydney Penny, heh.
Tricia Irish
82. Tektonica
Mis@73: Thank you in advance for the updates!

Wind@74: Better get Leigh's approval on the spanking!

Nor3@75: Getting smart in your old age, eh, eh, eh......

Shenanigans is such a good word.

Back to the kitchen......
Roger Powell
83. forkroot
@Free- yay!- I guess me and MOM are the only folks in the known universe that cannot be bothered with that hey-look-at-me site called facebook.
Well I've been holding out too ... but my stepdaughter is killing me because she is posting all the cute pics of my granddaughters there and only dribbling a few out by other means. I'm getting close to caving in.
Tricia Irish
84. Tektonica
Listen, you Luddites.....Sub, Man-O, Fork,

Facebook is only as "invasive" as you let it be. You don't have to post or read drivel. Only go on when you feel like it.....once a week, once a month! See what the people you ARE interested in have to say, and you don't have to say anything unless noteworthy.

It's fun to share pictures and travel and catch up with your favorite causes, authors, sites. If you get inundated with silly games, just delete them. Only accept the friends you want. It's a good way to keep in touch and find lost friends.

YOU are in control......unless you don't have any....hahaha

....but Sub, after the Six Weeks of Lent, we know you do!

Really, it's not near as "in your face" as Twitter. Try can always quit too!
85. MasterAlThor
So Freelancer is longtimelurker....

Ok brother you got me, with that one. I almost put longtime on blast for seeming so uncaring about your leaving. Ha! I would have ended up blasting you.


I owe you one.


Loving it. 2 post a week and on a Tue ans Fri. I likey. Congrats on your move. If you need help with the unpacking and all that, Sub charges beer, I charge lunch. McDonald's will do. Or Coney Island, or a NY style pizza.

I am still trying to come up with a non offensive funny song for you. Have no fear, I will come up with something.


I am still working on songs for you I just have to find something that fits. So don't worry RobM2 you will get yours.

Alice Arneson
86. Wetlandernw
forkroot - pictures got me in too. There was a freak windstorm (gale force - in the Rockies - this does not happen) right down this short stretch of road where half my family lives. The only good pictures available were my niece's photos - on facebook. So I caved and got an account. I don't get on all that often; I have it set up so that if someone actually writes me a message, I get an email. Then I can go read it, respond if needed, check out a couple other people's walls to see if they are up to anything fun, and I'm gone again. I do know people who spend hours and hours on facebook; I spend my hours here instead. Hmmmm.
87. msjanc
Gotta jump in on the Church debate. Firstly the RC Church did not "forgive" Galileo in '92. It acknowleged that the church screwed up. A little late no doubt,(understatement of the year) And it is fallible. See # 41, The pope is only infallible when speaking in ex cathedra and he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals.I do think Jordan patterned the White Tower after the Church, as there are some parallels.
Bonnie Andrews
88. misfortuona
I have too many stories of staff burning company time on that tragedy of a site.

What a comment from one of the most prolific posters here. Of course you never mix the Re-read with work as we know, but still pot/kettle I say.

Facebook, as Tek said earlier is only as invasive as you want it to be and has given me an incredible method of keeping touch regularly with family and friends spread across the country, and now with my WOT friends around the world.

Mis-can’t believe I’m promoting FB
89. MasterAlThor
FB stole my wife.....

Yeah well hasn't stole me I say. No pot calling kettle anything over here.


Not at all.


Ok I'm serious.

91. Lsana
This comment is a bit late, because my internet died last night before I could post it, so my apolgies for rehashing old points.

Everyone who was suspicious of Pevara's family dying,

Pevara's family died when she was a novice, a couple of years after she came to the tower. She could not have killed them personally, and Seaine knew that. It might still be possible that she ordered someone else to do it, but I doubt a girl that young would have had the authority among Darkfriends.

@31 thewindrose,

I think you are being far too harsh on Seaine here. First, you are blaming her for not being a mindreader (or alternatively, someone who has read the first part of the chapter). To take that same quote you used:

"I charge you to follow the stench of treason, no matter where it leads or how high, even to the Keeper herself. Yes,even to her. What you find, whoever it leads to, you will bring before the Amyrlin Seat alone, Seaine."

I don't see any reason that Seaine should ignore that part about "no matter where it leads" and "whoever it leads" to and instead zero in on the part about Alviarin. If Elaida is trying to make the point that Seaine has the authority to go after anyone no matter how high, it would have been weird if Elaida had used anyone other than the Keeper as an example.

Also, as far as Talene goes, Seaine never seriously considers confiding in her about the BA search. Her thought there is just a wish that she could trust her old friend along with the knowledge that she can't. You might as well declare Suian a fool for wondering if she could trust Sheriam.

@35 Isilel,

I guess that's a valid interpretation of the BA hunt plotline, but if so, I feel like it should have gotten a better resolution. Egwene making some acknowledgment of their efforts, perhaps, along with the comment that they couldn't have succeeded. Or heck, even Alviarin killing them all in their beds, along with a bit of gloating about how brilliant the BA is to be able to stop them. It would be a downer resolution, but at least it would be a resolution. As it is, the subplot doesn't really resolve; it just ends, leaving me wondering, "Why did we bother with that in the first place?"

I do agree, though, that our heroes should have been doing something like this rather than getting caught in endless subplots about the weather or who rules a nation that may not exist in another couple of years. And I absolutely agree it would have been better to give more setup about how Saidin would be cleansed, but that's a topic for many posts from now.
92. J.Dauro
As far as the BA Hunter plot line goes, maybe it's over, and maybe it ain't. The fat lady hasn't sung yet.

And we do not know if it is important who rules Andor. Still, looking at the Arthurian parallels, it looks highly likely that the LB will probably involve Andor a lot. As will the battle for the BT. So we still have to see what is important.

And as much as some people despise the BotW plot arc, as WOT was written, without the use of the BotW, the story would be over. And the Light would not have won. Yes, RJ could have written the story without the DO's touch on the weather. But for that matter, he could have left out Mat, Perin, etc, and just ended it with the use of the EotW. But it wouldn't be the same story.

You may want to listen to BWS podcast of Writing Excuses. Last week among the topics discussed was the difference between Heroic Fantasy and Epic Fantasy.
Jennifer B
93. JennB
Nope you guys aren't the only ones. My husband has a FB account that he uses to communicate with his whole family as well as my brother and sister. Sometimes I think I should set one up too. I just haven't bothered.

Hey, I just discovered private messages! Sorry I didn't see your message before now.

Edited to say:
Son is napping, husband is painting his beehives and I have already read through all the comments. Maybe I should look into FB now.
John Massey
94. subwoofer
Well, if it comes right down to it, I use flickr, because you can do wayyyy more with images there. Bigger file space. I think I have said this in the past but it does bear repeating, for awhile there my wife and I were doing all sorts of crazy things so she would have stuff to post on her Facebook site. Not to mention the bunch of random people she has dug up from her past. Her friends from grade 7?! For me, the people I am in touch with- that was on purpose. If I have lost touch with a person, that was on purpose too.

As for my employees- that is company dollars they are burning with stuff they can visit at any point when they are not at work. I may be here, but I always am patient enough-usually- to deal with this after or before my work hours. I strongly promote practicing what you preach so I can't expect staff to live up to rules I flaunt myself.

So for all you folks holding out from Facebook- keep the home fires burning- maybe we will start a counter revolution. And like I said, for grandkid pics, there is always Flickr. It is less clunky- so I am lead to believe.

WoTish- well, I think there are still rocks to be upturned for the extensive network of BA in the Tower. Last time I checked- Mesaana is still floating around, and she may be sheltering/protecting others. When such a big purge occurs, the sisters may let their collective guard down. RJ did spend some time and paper explaining the infrastructure of the BA being about a bunch of cells where no one knows the complete layout. I believe this was done a purpose so some members still exist and roam free in the Tower. Some of the sisters we have speculated on may still come to light as baddies.

Rob Munnelly
95. RobMRobM
Had a lovely pre-Easter visit with my wife's cousins and my dear daughter threw up. And, after an hour of play, threw up again. Then three times on a hour and a half trip home. Then twice since then. Also been nasty things on other parts of her digestive system three times. Been informed by my sister in law that Easter dinner at her house is officially cancelled. The Easter Pizza might be coming to visit our house.

My wife is on FB but I've manage to avoid it so far. Too many WoT related time wasters so start down that road....

MAT - no stressing over songs. I always like lyrics from They Might Be Giants. Here's one of my old silly favorites, called Alienation is for the Rich:

I got to get a job
Got to get some pay
My son's gotta go to art school
He's leaving in three days
And the TV's in Esperanto
You know that that's a bitch
But alienation's for the rich
And I'm feeling poorer every day
Hey hey hey

Well I ain't feeling happy
About the state of things in my life
But I'm working to make it better
With a six of Miller High Life
Just drinking and a-driving
Making sure my dues get paid
Because alienation's for the rich
And I'm feeling poorer every day
Hey hey hey

And here's one for Blocksmith and Forkroot, to remind them of their youths, called Wicked Little Critter (keeping in mind that both leaders of the band come from Lincoln, down the street from Fork's old stomping grounds in Concord):

The pro is here to lead the way, to save the day
(wicked little critter)
He clips the puck from Bobby Orr, he shoots he scores
(wicked little critter)
As he proceeds to torch the place, as he proceeds to scorch the place
As he proceeds to torch the place, scorcher, torcher, scorcher
(wicked little critter)

He's a wicked little critter with a sissy bar
And he lays a patch on the tar
He's a wicked little critter with a sissy bar
And he lays a patch on the tar

And he pops a wheelie on his minibike
And he burns rubber, and he peels out
He's a wicked little critter with a sissy bar
And he lays a patch on the tar

And he clips the ball from Havlicek
And Havlicek is used and abused
He's a wicked little critter with a sissy bar
And he lays a patch on the tar

He decides to ditch, and he ditches
And nobody knows where he ditched
He's a wicked little critter with a sissy bar
And he lays a patch on the tar

It's a wicked little guy
Wicked pissa little guy
Wicked scorcher little critta
He's a wicked little guy

He's a dink
Way to go
I Like him
I got problems
96. Cadsuwallop
Free- I work in an office where April Fools pranks run rampant. I woke that morning prepared to be skeptical and keen-eyed for all things unusual.

Your post hit me with such sorrow that it drove all cognizance of the date directly out of my head. It never crossed my mind.

I am delighted that I was the first victim in your prank - especially because it means you aren't really gone!

Welcome back ;-)
Barry T
97. blindillusion
Hey everyone. Won't be around tomorrow. Just wanted to say: Happy Easter Sunday!!!


Tina Pierce
98. scissorrunner
ugh - I hope your daughter recovers quickly!!
and Easter Pizza doesn't sound bad.....

I too am another FB avoider (is that a word??).
RL is too full & this place is too fun for me to get involved with it

Leigh!! LOVE the return of 2 posts a week!!!! THANK YOU!!! Have fun trying to figure out where to put all your goodies in the new place. hopefully you'll find where they all belong. (for me, the new place for some stuff is the packing cartons they've been in since I moved 7 yrs ago. maybe I'll figure out what is in them someday.....)

"poor" Eladia. Watching her swallow all that Alviarin fed her was sad. Poetic, but sad. and maybe a touch of foreshadowing of the behavior required of Suffa?
99. FellKnight
So speaking of the re-read, or re(x20)-listen in my case, and of Mesanna and future shenanigans in the tower, in aCoS after Moghedien is freed, Egwene thinks to herself, "Well, at least she could now disclose some of Moghedien's other tricks, such as disguising yourself with the power, or hiding your ability from other women who can channel. It was too dangerous before to share this knowledge, when the sharing may have led to the unmasking of Moghedien in camp.".

So if she thinks that she can detect a hidden channeler in aCoS, then why not now?


p.s. @ 2 posts per week. Leigh, u r teh awsum.
100. FellKnight
p.p.p.p.p.s. 100! My first time, lol.

101. MasterAlThor

Good question. We will have to pester Brandon for an answer.


That link was too funny.


Happy Easter from the AlThor's

John Massey
102. subwoofer
Good morning everyone:)- 'tis a gorgeous and beautiful Easter Sunday in the land. Most important day in the Christian calendar. Yay!

Of less significance is that the symbolic rise from the depths of the grave also coincides with the symbolic rise of beer from the depths of my fridge. Ahhhhhhh. Of course I am still holding out until after breakfast and after church. Must give a nod to propriety.

@Fell- yay! Good on you:) We must always celebrate life's milestones or everything sinks into the mundane.

Erm... as far as the religious parallels go, I also remember a parlay with Free about the lack of true religious following in WoT and the Tower specifically. There is no ajah devoted to the Creator, there are no other competing religions, heck, as far as I can see, there are no atheists in the land. Everyone is either a baddie or acknowledges the Creator. But there are no Sunday or any day devotionals. Praying doesn't really become a topic of talk and beyond various historical annals there is no formal Bible-type device. It is like the Creator is a gimme and that is about it. I think RJ mostly skirted this one.

Five more hours folks.

103. Freelancer
Happy Resurrection Day all. He is Risen. Because man is fallen. That includes everybody, so that there is no value in beating up on one individual, or one organization, for being made up of fallible humans.

One is good, God alone. He has done the work of redemption which pays the ransom for us, who have been enslaved by our own ungodly appetites and desires, and are unfit for His kingdom. The proof of His finished work being the resurrection from death to life, the day being celebrated the world over today.

For those disappointed at the "conclusion" of the Black Ajah hunt, I for one strongly approve of the way it ended, for two reasons. First, the method being employed by Perava & co. could not continue to be successful for much longer. There would have been some way for one of the caught BA sisters to telegraph the situation, and then it's open warfare between sisters. Two, it's very realistic for a plot of strong secondary significance like this to end in a way totally unconnected with its inception.

So Verin's book usurp's Perava's chance to be the Tower's hero (apostrophes galore). This isn't how most authors would resolve (or nearly resolve, anyway) a thread which has had growing screen time since this chapter. But most authors don't end up with quite so many folks discussing their work in such detail. Q.E.D.


Don't know why you believe that your comments would have driven me "out" on their own. My own expressions of those thoughts would differ greatly from yours, but the sentiments behind them are fairly close. I'd already determined by this point in my first read a parallel between the Tower and a conglomerate of several human institutions, and they are all far more damaged within than they would ever dare publicize.


You can close an account here? I wouldn't have done so, because I wouldn't have known you could. Most site registration thingies are just there...


That Facebook account exists solely to catch comments from a certain few authors who are more regular about updating FB than their own blogsites. Anyone who bothered to look at it would see there's nearly nothing there. I'm not that interested in the "Hey look at me" aspect to which you refer, and other than this crowd of loons, I don't interact much with strangers. On the other hand, having moved 7 times in the 16 years between my daughter being born and retiring military service, Facebook is a wonderful thing, since it has let her find friends she thought she'd never see again. Not every can choose when they drop a connection with another person, eh? It's the most painful thing about being an active duty parent, tearing your kids away from "home", and forcing them to call a strange place "home".

Everybody go to church today. It's good for you. You say there's too many hypocrites in church? That's ok, there's always room for one more.
104. alreadymadwithdeism
It's a Deist outlook, sub. The Creator started the ball rolling then pretty much left everything alone.
John Massey
105. subwoofer
@Free- Christ is risen indeed! And I prefer to think of myself as mallardjusted. heh.

I would bother to look at your Facebook account, but as I do not even have an account of me very own, 'tis an uphill climb.

There is a "lost soldiers" site for my battalion to keep in touch with each other too. We are all scattered to hell and breakfast so it works. I believe there is a FB page, but I am diggin' my heals in on dodging that plague on humanity.

John Massey
106. subwoofer
@alreadymadwhentheyswappedthesugarwithsalt- I can't resist. Deism hmmmm?

Tess Laird
107. thewindrose
Freelancer - I have always thought of you as relishing your privacy and not leaving loose ends - so yes, I thought you would have closed the account up.

The priest at our church had a great story he told us after the parable on the Prodigal Son. A parishioner came to him after the service and said there was no way he could have been like the father. In reply, the priest said, "in that case be glad that you are not God".

Lsana - I am not trying to be 'harsh' on Seaine. I was just commenting that someone like Moiraine or Cadsuanne would have drilled down to that thought.
Pevara even outlines how Seaine is not very perseptive:
"I don't know," Pevara said softly, shaking her head. "You've done well to wrap yourself deep into philosophy. There were...things...done then, and Sealed to the Flame." She drew a troubled breath.

I applaud Seaine for realizing she needed help(omg - she actually communicated with another sister!!). It was also refreshing to see sisters working together. With how rare it is that people are communicating and working together, I think there will be something to come from this in the last two books.

Tricia Irish
108. Tektonica
Sunrise service on the Beach and a glorious sunrise it was! A Non-demominational service and a great choir from a local Black Church. Needless to say the music was awesome. Great way to start the day!

Happy Easter to All.
Karen Jacobs
109. KJacobs
Good Morning All! I haven't caught up on Friday's post & comments yet, but just wanted to take a moment to wish a Happy Easter to all of you out there that celebrate!

Sub - I will raise a glass to you this afternoon!

Free - Relieved and grateful to see your name as I did a quick skim. You are one of the cornerstones of the commenters here, and it just wouldn't be the same without you!

Enjoy this gorgeous day, everyone!
Noneo Yourbusiness
110. Longtimefan
Happy Roman overlay on a pre-existing pagan celebration. Hopefully there are enough zombies and chocolates for everyone.
Richard Fife
112. R.Fife
@111 And alien face huggers, thanks to the talented Scott Brundage
Thomas Keith
113. insectoid
Mmm... zombie chocolates. ;)

I see the spam filter is up to its old tricks again...

Bonnie Andrews
114. misfortuona
Just a quick note to say Happy Easter to everybody.
My little gift to you all.

Mis-on a chocolate high :)
Tricia Irish
115. Tektonica
I have a pretty long essay I wrote on the Bhagavad Gita and how it relates to Randland and Tarmon Gaidon. I didn't find anything on the Gita on the 13th D and I think it might have been a pretty compelling resource for RJ.

If anyone is interested I'll post it. Probably on the GD thread. Let me know. I don't know what else to do with it!
116. Freelancer
Wow. San Diego just experienced the strongest earthquake I can recall outside of big ones in Los Angeles. I'll check the USGS in a moment, but I'd guess at least 5.6, and it lasted well over a minute where I was sitting. I dearly hope that this quake wasn't centered closer to LA, or...

No obvious damage where I am, as this was more of a rolling quake than thumping or shaking, but lots of liquid-like shifting of the house and much rattling of. . . everything.
117. Freelancer
First update. USGS has the quake centered 108 miles ESE of Tijuana, with a ground-zero magnitude of 6.9
Tina Pierce
118. scissorrunner
this ole planet is just shakin' too much!!Glad you're OK Free, hope everyone fares as well.

Happy Easter to all.
Had a wonderful day with the entire family.(well, 21 out of a possible 24 ain't too bad)

Made enough chocolate eggs for everyone!

If Suffa can control herself I'll bring 'em to the bunker.

Yes, Tek, I for one would love to read your essay!!
Alice Arneson
119. Wetlandernw
He is risen indeed!! Happy Easter, everyone!

Freelancer - Glad you're okay. Those rolling kind feel really strange, imo. Hope you don't have a lot of aftershocks. Have the hanging things stopped swinging yet? (You know, cups, plants, chandeliers, etc.)
120. nor3
:S Hope everything's OK free! Havn't seen any news or anything so I dunno how bad it is. I've never experienced an earthquake (good old uneventful Ireland :P ) so I'm actually quite curious as to what they're like, but I guess I should really count myself lucky.
Thomas Keith
121. insectoid
Free @116: Wow, indeed! I haven't felt the house shake that much for as long as I can remember (even Northridge!). The USGS map looks scary.

"He is born again! I feel him! The Dragon takes his first breath..." ;)

EDIT: Okay, so now they say it was a magnitude 7.2! I'll believe it...

122. MasterAlThor

Is this supposed to be a slam on Easter celebrations?

Happy Roman overlay on a pre-existing pagan celebration. Hopefully there are enough zombies and chocolates for everyone

If so, you are hereby being challenged.

Alice Arneson
123. Wetlandernw
Hey, insectoid and babokathy - is all okay with you as well? No damage?
Tricia Irish
124. Tektonica
Hope all is OK on the west coast. Haven't seen news all day except here!

Earthquakes everywhere! Yikes. The Dragon awakes, indeed.

Hope you are all OK. Keep us posted!
Thomas Keith
125. insectoid
Wet @123: Nope! Most that fell down was a dvd box. Just before the quake, my dad was busy installing an earthquake-resistant latch on the shotglass cabinet... Lucky none of them fell!

Brandon Wood
126. brad21088
@JanDSedai: If I remember correctly, Pevara's family was killed in a Darkfriend uprising that occurred in her town. Someone told her after the fact that her young brother had tried to keep the Darkfriends from his mother (or another sister?) but was murdered as well. I believe someone related the entire story to her, and the event was a rather well-known one (a Darkfriend uprising would be the most gossiped about story for quite some time, I imagine).
Joseph Blaidd
128. SteelBlaidd
Tek@115 If you have an article you think should be in the 13th Depository go and and post it in the forums there. I'm working (slowly(d'oh))on an article on PTSD.

A couple thoughts on the BA Hunters plot. I've noticed that RJ's purpose for a particular action in the books is not the same as the characters purpose and frequently he uses one plot thread to accomplish several different things. One of the big reasons for the Hunters Plot is that in means Verin can't get the Oath Rod which means she has to take poison and there for can't be Egwene's adviser and let her know more of what's going on with Rand and Mat.

On Elida and her state of denial about the BA. Part of the reason (Besides her membership in the Nefertiti/Cleopatra Club)is that according to Toveine Gazal's PoV in tPoD ch 26:the Extra Bit there were mutters about BA involvement in the Vileness after the Aiel War and that Elida had been involved in some sort of authority position but had escaped punishment. She may deny the BA in part because admitting to it's existence would require reexamining her own actions. And we all know just how much she Luuuuves admitting mistakes.

In other business, I hope everyone has had a happy and thoughtful Easter/Passover. I love this season. I was born on an Easter Sunday and the first weekend in April is when our Church holds it's Annual General Conference so I'm especially contemplative at this time.(,6353,310-1,00.html)

The Passage from Isaiah that Christ quoted at the start of his ministry(Luke 4:18 - has seemed especially relevant this year as I was called on to help bail a friend out of jail Saturday. He's a good man but is still working through the consequences of some of his actions from before he started coming to Church.

Isa. 61: 1 (1-2)
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;(

May we all be more loving and full of mercy in this coming year.
Rob Munnelly
129. RobMRobM
We survived Easter - my daughter did not have any more throwing or intestinal issues but we stayed homebound (having been uninvited to my sister in law's Easter dinner), worked in the yard on a spectacular day, and had Easter hot dogs for dinner. We'll hand out the chocolates, etc. next Sunday after my daughter has a chance to recover.

Heidi Byrd
130. sweetlilflower
@122, originally this time of year would have been a pagan holiday celebrating the rebirth of the world...I've always thought it was purposeful and kind of devious of God to have made the Resurrection occur at the same time in order to make it more palatable to the ignorant masses :)

On a side note, I hope everyone had a good day, including earthquakes, and that we all have some spirituality, Christian or otherwise. How empty life would be without some kind of Higher Being in our lives.
Jacy Clark
131. Amalisa
Free and insectoid...

Whole lotta shakin' goin' on!

Glad y'all are okay!!

(Just woke up... will have more later...)
Linda Taglieri
132. Linda
@128 Steelblaidd: Haven't seen you in a while! Good that you're around and even better, working on PTSD.

@115 Tektonica: So far I've mostly covered the Vedas of Hinduism. Time, the triad of Brahma (Perrin), Vishnu (Mat) and Shiva (Rand and also Moridin) and their respective wives. Lakshmi is like Tuon.

Also Jainism and Buddhism in some detail.
Noneo Yourbusiness
133. Longtimefan
@ 122 MasterAlThor,

It is not a "slam" on Easter the celebration or the celebrants. More of a gentle reminder that regardless of the prevailing posts not everyone is of the same "religious alignment".

As some people felt that only a "yay, Easter" was neccesary while others got a bit "proselytizey" I just felt that my freedom of expression would be as welcome. There is no need for a challenge. My beliefs are uncommon and would need far too much explanation. I am writing a book on it but it is slow going.

For you and for everyone, I do sincerely hope that to day was a nice day however you would chose to spend it.

And as a post note to those who had to settle the jitters of a quivering California I hope that very little damage happened. I have lived through several earthquakes in California and know how swift but dangerous they can be.

I do wish I had more to say about this particular chapter as I really liked the Black Ajah Hunter storyline for the intrigue. I felt that the development of two new sisters made for a richer glimpse into the workings of one of the central societies in the overall story. Also they were written as likable characters tasked with an assignment that the reader would want to see fulfilled and would even be happy to help with since they tend to have more information than the characters sometimes. After all, is not that why people yell at their books? They just want to help the characters they care about. :)
134. MasterAlThor

I should make myself clear. I don't challenge one's beliefs. I was challenging your statement that Christians picked a pagan holiday to have their most holy holiday on.

Your beliefs and thoughts are always welcome. Even if they are different and complicated.

Insctoid, Free and other Cali natives,

Move, now. We don't want you falling off into the ocean. Arizona is ripe to become beachfront property.

Jacy Clark
135. Amalisa
*sneezes lustily* Ah, it's mountain cedar allergy season in west Texas. And I am existing on a steady diet of Benadryl and cough medicine. So if any of the following a) doesn't make sense or b) is more long-winded than usual, well, blame it on the drugs. I won't care.


And here I was about to launch into a "discussion" over the cons of setting up a FB account for another person without their knowledge and/or against their will!

Well played!


I am also a Facebooker. It started out as a way to stay in touch with my son. Then there was the class reunion... then friends with new grandbabies, friends moving, etc... Like Wetlandernw, I also enjoyed the pictures of places and things posted by far off friends/family.

Now, I have my farm and my cafe and my city. And don't get me started on Bejeweled Blitz or WordTwist or Farkle. (No. Seriously. Don't get me started. Please. Arrgghh!)

As for WoT...

Leigh, congrats on your successful move and duck-wrangling.

Yay for the two-posts-a-week! *is stoked*

" and games without depth perception..." *struggles to keep a straight face... fails miserably*

sps49@4 My father was a Methodist minister, then a chaplain in the Navy. His expression was "s/he don't crap, s/he candies".


I agree with you re Pevara. And, barring anything like Mesaana-as-Silviana, I think Silviana attained "awesome" status by the end of TGS.

One of the things I enjoyed about the Pern books was how Anne McCaffrey went and filled in the backstory - not just with direct line prequels, but with neat "side stories". One of my favorites was "Nerilka's Story", an ancillary little book to "Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern", which was - of course - itself an important part of the history of Pern. "Moreta's Ride" and all that...


In this chapter, there's a reference to something that I would like to know more about. It was the "quickly suppressed uprising of Darkfriends who had become convinced that the Dark One was about to break free". The one that resulted in the murder of Pevara's entire family, and that put her feet on the path to the Red Ajah. It gives a hint - to me, anyway - of a "religion" dedicated to the Dark One. Which - again, in my opinion - adds dimension to the "good vs evil" of the whole story. An "uprising" implies a large group, specific to a particular area - be it town or territory or, even, country. (For this particular "uprising", I rule out "country" because Kandor, being one of the Border nations, is important enough that I think some mention would have been made somewhere if the entire country had been wracked by that type of unrest.) So, in my imagination, I see Pevara's family as being not well-to-do; we know from CoT that they had not been able to afford ivory miniatures but Pevara had, as soon as she had the coin to do so, commissioned an artist to paint pictures of her dead family. Not well to do, but connected, somehow with the head of whatever House held the area where they lived. Perhaps they had gotten wind of a Darkfriend plot and passed the information along. The investigation maybe sparked the uprising, and Pevara's family was singled out for slaughter. So how did the group of Darkfriends (and it had to be a fairly large group, don't you think?) come to be organized enough to begin their plotting and/or uprising? What person or persons began sowing the seeds of misinformation about the DO's pending escape? How did they do so? Were there meetings, large gatherings under some other guise? Was it misinformation? Was there some near disaster that almost happened, there in the heart of Kandor? This inquiring mind wants to know.

The White Tower / Catholic Church parallel... That's been well covered so I'll just leave it lie, as we say in the South...


I agree with you. What a classic example of pure logic leading someone completely to the wrong conclusion. Not a bad conclusion. Just the wrong one. Seaine - obviously very smart but not a lot of common sense. But they do kick-start the other BA search, so "well done" there. Get the Ajah members talking again. And eventually they make Egwene's job somewhat easier since there is already a small group of Sisters (and Sitters) operating outside the pale, so to speak. (Thoroughly enjoyed the BA search story line, btw...)

Elaida, in general... Sheesh. I so totally dislike her. Even so, I felt a little sorry for her as she felt Alviarin tighten the noose around her neck. She deserved it. She was due. But Alviarin was so bloody cold about it. I know, I know. She's supposed to be. Still... As for the "rapid capitulation" - I think that was triggered totally by the threat of having to share Siuan's intended fate. For someone with Elaida's overweening pride, that would be a fate worse than death!


I'm with you regarding Mesaana's overseeing the breaking of the Tower from within. That's not to say that Alviarin didn't do an exceptional job following orders! But there was that point in her inner monologue when she clearly didn't understand why she was doing what she was doing.

Again, I'm glad that everyone in SoCal is okay!!
136. mediri
I was very excited that we finally reached the Black Ajah Hunters plot. I am not completely clear on why, but, like others above, I have always loved this storyline. Even though their methods were not turning out to be really effective, I liked seeing characters in the books actually doing the frustrating, day-by-day efforts that dominate the lives of us everyday people. Though the Verin resolution to much of the BA was probably necessary in the scheme of the approaching TG (and an awesome storyline), it still was a situation where the heroine gets the necessary answer sort of dropped into her lap in Egwene's case. Also, I liked getting to see the perspectives of competent sisters.

Despite loving Verin's story, I was sort of disappointed in how TGS handled the BA Hunters. From what I remember, it seemed like Egwene sort of rode roughshod over those sisters and they didn't receive any acknowledgment for acting the way sisters ought (employing the various skills of the different ajahs towards the specific goal of fighting evil). Hopefully, they will continue to develop these sisters' plot lines in the next book.
137. Freelancer
Thanks all for the well wishes. I'm not about to move. Wherever I would choose is just as likely to have a damaging natural disaster as here, and of a type I don't prefer. You can have your floods, tornados, hurricanes, etc. I'll take the quakes any day.

Amalisa, might I suggest alfalfa as an excellent allergy ameliorative. That alone, with no medications at all, saved my wife immense discomfort when we were stationed at Pt. Mugu, which is smack in the middle of a large agricultural area of Ventura County, and is a hayfever sufferer's nightmare.
Mikey Bennett
138. EvilMonkey
Happy technically day after Easter everybody.

I don't know why this thought popped into my head but mebbe a good RL parallel to the Whitecloaks would be if Jehovah's Witnesses had their own military arm. Not tryin to offend anyone or their beliefs by the by.

I think Egwene gives the hunters a some praise, though not specifically so and in somewhat of a backhanded manner in her Amyrlin speech. Don't have the text in front of me, forgiveness.

And as for some truly effective villains in this series, hows about a nod to Fain? Mesanna almost destroyed the White Tower, but Fain almost took the most important piece off the board. He almost killed Rand-twice! He gave the single most powerful person on earth at the time a wound that it took 3 of the best healers in the age just to contain it, couldn't even heal it. Not bad for a non-channeller, even if he is a complete fruit basket.

Kurt Lorey
139. Shimrod
@116 Free, et al:

Glad to hear everybody is good after the quake.

I really don't like the part when it feels like I'm on a rolling ocean. Only felt that one time in Bremerton, but that's enough for me!
a a-p
140. lostinshadow

I always imagined the RL parallel to the Whitecloaks as being the Puritans, particulary during the time of the Salem and other witch trials. Lent my books to a friend so I can't check, but don't Whitecloaks even refer to AS as witches from time to time?

glad to hear everyone is ok after the earthquake. I was in istanbul during the '99 earthquake where over 40,000 people died, so not the world's biggest fan of that particular kind of natural disaster.
Tricia Irish
141. Tektonica
Thank you Steelblaid@128 and Linda@132:

I think I'll just cut my essay on the Bhagavad Gita down to talking points to make it more manageable and post on the GD thread. Besides I can't even imagine holding myself up to 13th D standards...I'm a visual artist, not a writer.

Thanks for the heads up on the Vedas too, Linda. I do have trouble finding things over there.;-) I get lost easily in cyberspace....need a map!
James Jones
142. jamesedjones
Ok, is this just a major twist in the pattern, or is the xkcd author actually reading our comments? *check out the user name of the first tweeter* ;)

Glad to hear everyone on the post so far made it safely through the quake yesterday. Does anyone know if we're missing anyone from southern CA or NW Mexico this morning?
143. MasterAlThor

Exactly how does one do this?

*sneezes lustily*

As I understand the english language lust is a desirable act, or a longing for something.

James Jones
145. jamesedjones
134 MasterAlThor
Arizona is ripe to become beachfront property.
Ya gotta post a link for those things, MAT. :D
146. Freelancer

It might be a slight perversion of the normal use of language, but if you watch carefully, you will find authors refer to people doing otherwise benign and un-romantic things "lustily". Consider it being done grandly, or with gusto.
Andrew Belmont
147. rosetintdworld
I don't have much to say about this chapter (and am coming late to the party anyway, with a new post on Tuesday,) except that I too love Pevara and her cohorts.

Also, I feel the need to agree with Amalisa and others and *gasp* defend the "sort-of awesomeness" (to borrow a phrase of Leigh's) of Mesaana. *ducks and covers*

No, she isn't Semirhage or Ishamael. And the way she was thoroughly humiliated by SH doesn't exactly make her name synonymous with dignified evil. But we know she orchestrated: Tear, Siuan's removal, Dumai's Wells, possibly other events. Having her hand in the Tower schism and Dumai's Wells alone makes her more effective than at least half of the other Forsaken. While Alviarin certainly deserves some credit, as others have noted, she admits that she doesn't fully understand many of her orders.

I think that Mesaana's bad rep as a Forsaken is largely due to the squicky SH scene in CoT. But it also occurs to me that more than any other Forsaken (or any other character in the series) her significance has become apparant via retcon. By which I mean: everything noteworthy she has done happened before she ever appeared on screen. (Apart from Dumai's Wells-- but even then, we don't quite realize the extent of her involvement with the BA until a book later.)

(And she has done plenty noteworthy. More than other Forsaken, like Graendal and Rahvin, whose political acumen, and personal self-control, is much more intimidating.)

It's one thing to read something monumental feeling like you personally know the devious mind behind it. It's less thrilling, I think, to read a great battle scene and then find other three books later than some cipher has been responsible. This isn't a criticism of the books; in fact, thinking about it this way has made Mesaana and her role seem more interesting to me. But I think it does explain how people have undervalued Mesaana a bit.
148. Freelancer
Oh, and when the BIG ONE hits, the other 47 states are going into the Atlantic, and California will be both coasts. You'd all better move here quick.
149. Rand Al'Todd
@many RE: BA Hunters

The Verin "Reveal" certainly advanced the time line for the BA hunt. Considering how close it is getting to TG, there was not much time left for a protracted hunt.

And, although it certainly weakens the AS to lose about 200 potential warriors for TG, it does much less damage than having 200 traitors looking for the worst possible time (from the view of the Light) to reveal themselves.

But, if we were to presume an alternate history, could the BA hunter's method have worked (say if they tried 100 years ago) or would they ultimately have been detected and killed by the BA? Any real evidence that it happened that way in the past? (Certainly the BA was able to assasinate the sisters hunting for the DR at the time of New Spring.)

When the SAS sisters are purged the morning after the Seanchan attack, Egwene uses the BA Hunters' technique with the Rod and find 3 addtional BA sisters NOT on Verin's list.

So a) some props for the hunters - their method helped catch more baddies.
b) the method was also REQUIRED, as Egwene herself states - what Sitters would have believed her when she charged Sheriam unless she couid prove her charges? As it was, Sheriam gave herself away, but only when it became obvious that Egwene would be able to prove her charge.

However, after Verin's comments about the "hour of death" loophole in the Dark One's oaths, and the commonplace AS practice of wording their way around the 3 oaths, I am severely disappointed that Egwene has not appointed a committee to recommend enhancements to the oaths (not a fourth, but a reword of the existing oaths) to close some of the loopholes.

Possibly rather than "I will not tell a lie" it might be more important to swear "I will not utter any statement, or commit any act, which I, or any other reasonable person, would believe to actively support the Dark." -

So maybe another thread for conversation:

Propose improved versions of the 3 oaths.
(I will post this on the Open Thread.)
Lynn McDonald
150. meal6225
Free I agree with you--paradise is a myth. Mother Nature has bad news for every corner of this earth.
I grew up in Xenia, OH so the devastating power of a tornado is not lost on me. Stick with what you know
cause you can't hide.

In this house today is not "the day after Easter" but technically my birthday! I much prefer when it falls after Easter and not on Good Friday!
Ron Garrison
151. Man-0-Manetheran
I grew up in tornado country: green-black skies and oppresive positive ions signalling an approach were more terrifying than the actual tornado.

When I moved to California, I lived high up in the Hollywood Hills facing The Valley. Shortly before dawn I was awakened by a very large earthquake centered in the Valley. I sat up in bed right next to a plate glass window and watched in awe as vast sections of streetlights went out. The sky flashed with electricity, and we all shook together. Rather than being frightened or taking cover like a sane person, I just sat there in awe of it all. I later referred to it as a religious experience. Everyone as far as I could see was all experiencing the same shaking, and I sensed a unity with them all. In the years following there were more earthquakes, but nothing ever approached the "high" of that first one.
Tricia Irish
152. Tektonica

Happy Birthday! **confetti**balloons**cake**

April is a big month around our house too. My son's birthday is tomorrow....he'll be 20, but when he was little, Easter themed birthday's were very popular! Did you experience that too? (Daughter's is next week and mine the week after!) Busy month.

I think someone else on this blog has an April birthday too, Sam.....
154. MasterAlThor

My linkfu is non exsistant. I a looking for a sifu to teach me.

155. MasterAlThor
Um, that would be me. April 11th.

Happy Birthday Meal!!!! Why don't you like to have a Good Friday bday?

Kurt Lorey
156. Shimrod
Happy Birthday, April persons!

@148 Free:

Funny. When the "big one" hits you'll finally be qualifying for those dolphins you missed out on when you were younger. You and everybody else west of the fault line, that is. lol.
Matthew Smith
157. blocksmith
Hope everyone had a great in the Northeast was unbelievably fantastic.


You nailed it...thanks for taking care of that.


Please reread my post...I acknowledged that the individual acts, as horrible as they were, were allowed to carry on because of the re-assignments that occurred by the people with the knowledge. There was so much tragedy that could have been averted had someone forced the offenders into therapy or, as the law requires, jail.


Sorry, can't recall the song, but where were you at kids came down with the same thing and I think it's all your kids fault!!! Just kidding, but I think there must be some nasty bug going around.


Check out the lyrics to Tool's "Aenima"


Glad to see you back. Had no idea you were LTL, but saw right through your April Fool's. Still, very novel, IMO.

Also, @148, your hyperbole is more correct than most realize. A Northridge-type quake off the coast of Rhode Island would turn Boston and NYC into one-story piles of rubble. Same if one occurred (as has as recently as the 1600's) around Missouri...very bad things would happen. Haiti, as tragic as it was, would likely become a footnote to the history of quakes.
Rob Munnelly
158. RobMRobM
Block - at my wife's cousin's house in Southern NH (near Portsmouth) when the "deluge" started. There definitely is a bug going around, according to the Emergency Room (whom we consulted via phone on Saturday). My daughter recovered yesterday and was back at school today. Sorry if you had to deal with it as well. Rob
Tricia Irish
159. Tektonica

Oh boy, another April baby! What a popular month! Soon.....
James Jones
160. jamesedjones
154 MasterAlThor

You must search the northern places for your sifu. You will know him by the rumbling woofs... and the smell of iced tea and whiskey. Only then, will you truly become a master.

...heywaitaminute... :P
Matthew Smith
161. blocksmith

Ours manifested in Central CT right after Easter dinner. I think the seeds were sown in the Baystate, however.

BTW, did you catch the Opening Night Game? The WOT corollary to baseball is clearly Red Sox (light side) vs. Yankees (DO). This of course is through my RS shaded glasses that prevent me from seeing the Red Sox (Aridhol) vs. Yankees (DO) WOT corollary.

I will apologize in advance for aggravating all the underdog supporters out there for saying...


(excuse: I have a, ah, "vested interest" in Duke winning otherwise it would be Butler).
Matthew Smith
162. blocksmith
One other note...

I just realized that Leigh's post at 22 was remarkably similar to mine at 21.

I promise I do not call Leigh more than once a month to find out what she is wearing so our outfits aren't the same and I already checked once this month so this was entirely coincidental.
Thomas Keith
163. insectoid
JEJ @142: ::reads comic:: BAHAHAhahaha!!

Free @148: LOL

Rob Munnelly
164. RobMRobM
@161. I saw the early loser innings and wasn't there for the big finale. Oh well. I work in a business with lots of CT folk, so the Sox-Yanks rivalry is relatively fierce (especially among the mailroom folk). (I was sad to see the Yanks win the WS last year. It was a great one liner to tell the Yanks fans it was a pity they hadn't won a title in this century.)

Jennifer B
165. JennB
What is Bhagavad Gita? I guess I should Google it.

To the people in the quake zone yesterday. Glad you are all safe and didn't get much earthquake damage.

Thank you. I felt the same way when I was reading through the posts yesterday (as well as a bit uncomfortable). I almost didn't come back to this thread today. On the other hand, I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Easter. We bundled up against the barely above freezing weather and took our son to an Easter egg hunt. While the event was disappointing, (It was set up like a race down a chute, so only the people in the front got eggs. The "chute" we were in was only for 0-3 year olds, but lots of older kids snuck in and there was no way our 22 month old could keep up.) it was nice to get outside between snow flurries.

Wow great questions and insights.

I don't feel sorry for Elaida in this scene. I think she gets what is coming to her. I do feel bad for her when she is captured by the Seanchan. I always wonder why such a horrible fate is considered so funny by so many here. I hope that the idea of damane is completly discredited and all the collars are destroyed by the end of the series.

Happy Birthday!!!!

Oh and I agree with all the comments about Messana. She is definately one of the most effective baddies. It is just all off screen.
Tricia Irish
166. Tektonica

I posted a lengthy post on the GD thread about the Bhagavad Gita today. It's actually an edited version of what I originally wrote. LOL. Really.

The Gita is part of a huge Indian poem the Mahabharata. It represents a turning point in Hinduism, and is a quasi-religious text. There are many parallels with the WOT, IMHO. Kind of interesting.....
Ed Dyer
167. HumbleReader

I could have written my post better, but the tragedy you speak of is exactly what I was thinking about, too. "The Bishop's Man" was the guy who arranged those transfers or reassignments, at least in one "fictional" location. It's a real hot issue here, and I expect more to be uncovered in the next year or so. Thing is its been going on for probably a hundred years that we have documented, and probably for centuries before. Just like the WT, who believe that only the WT can judge an Aes Sedai, these priests really seem to think that they are subject only to the rule of the church, and the church has been giving them a pass.

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

Roger Powell
168. forkroot
I think the reason a lot of people don't feel sorry for Elaida is that she really is evil, not just self-centered and ambitious. Leigh's recap reminds us that Elaida had given Galina explicit instructions to see that Gawyn would be killed. This makes her at least an accessory to attempted murder.

About Easter - There was an article in our local paper about how Easter, as a holiday, has resisted secularization much more than Christmas (the Easter Bunny notwithstanding.) As a consequence, the holiday does not dominate the news/season etc. like Christmas (or Halloween now.) Most Christian pastors when interviewed about this avowed that this is actually a "good thing". The holiday has retained more of it's meaning for Christians and is increasingly off the radar screen of non-Christians.

I remember years ago, virtually every business here in Phoenix was closed for Easter. (I suppose you could go back further and they were closed on every Sunday, but that's a discussion for a different day.) Now it's pretty much the same Sunday hours for every business.

I happen to be a Christian, but I think this trend (of letting religious holidays be religious holidays) is a good thing. I don't celebrate Yom Kippur, and although I respect my Jewish friends who do and would certainly accommodate it in mutual plans, I'm selfishly glad that the grocery store doesn't close that day.

I don't want to push Easter into anyone's face; heck, I don't want to push Christianity into anyone's face either. Not because I don't believe in it, but because I think it's a terrible way to win converts.

BTW, addressing Longtimefan's assertion that Easter is papered over a pagan holiday: While there are elements of truth to that (more so on the secular treatment, e.g the bunnies), it's really not so.

You can make a much better case for Christmas replacing the pagan Winter solstice since there is no biblical evidence that Jesus was born in December. OTOH, all accounts of the Crucifixion place the events at the time of Passover whose dating has always related to the Spring equinox.
Ed Dyer
169. HumbleReader
About Easter...

I noticed that hereabouts, all the major stores were closed on Easter, even Walmart. I guess I should not be surprised, since its been less than a decade since legislation to block them being open on regular Sundays was overturned.

Oh well, such is life in the hinterlands (or is it the Blight :-)

John Massey
170. subwoofer
Why should we not mind so much when Bossy the Cow gets collared? Well, there seems to be a whole section of tropes about said event. Be warned of the time sucker that is that site.

Beyond that, sorry for making people uncomfortable with my joy of Easter. I am by no means holding it against anyone if they have beliefs different from my own. If you are not Christian, that's okay, nobodies perfect:P

Um... except for Jennifer Connelly... and I am still pondering her role in my WoT movie.

Well, for the quake folks, life is a trade off. We don't get snakes, nasty bug-type things or quakes and such, but we do get nanner-freezing cold a fair chunk of the year. What did Mat say?-"What you gain in the swings, you lose in the round-abouts" or some such. I always say that nobody should be this far north unless they are in oil or play hockey.

Oh- and my wife is perfect too. She told me so herself.

Barry T
171. blindillusion
Don't would Jennifer Connelly look as a blonde? She could play Selucia...

She could be described as average height, bosomy and creamy-cheeked...all she needs is blonde hair....

And she could play Uber-Ninja Assassin.
John Massey
172. subwoofer
JC blonde? Easy Peasy.

But brilliant suggestion. Darn tooting that she comes out on top in the cage match too!

Barry T
173. blindillusion
35 seconds in. This guy so stole Mat's hat.


Someone needs to Red Hand this "Mark".

edit: Opps, where'd that extra "s" come from.

What "s" you may ask....
174. Freelancer

Are you referring to 1994, or 1971? And where along Mulholland in general, closer to Cahuenga pass, or Topanga Cyn?


Presuming by dolphins you mean submarine service designation, I missed out on nothing. I was offered sub service, and gave it the consideration it deserved. Almost a nano-second.


Earthquakes occur all the time deep under Manhattan. But the bedrock beneath the island is a prong of extremely dense granite, sitting amongst plates of less dense rock, making it one of the most naturally earthquake-safe places on earth. Tectonic energy, just as with other forms, follows the path of least resistance, and is therefore shunted to more "mobile" locations. Also, the number of different sub-plates in the region allow deeper activity to be transmitted toward the surface with much less violent results than areas with larger intact plates and distinct faultlines.


If it seems to some that my making a written statement of my faith is somehow "in your face", I am very sorry that you feel that way. I am not sorry for what I wrote. I serve a Creator who commands me to speak in His behalf. In a forum such as this, I agree that it isn't appropriate to do commonly, but on Resurrection Day, I will absolutely honor my Savior. I am never offended by someone here speaking of their beliefs if they differ from my own, please don't be offended that I have a faith I'm willing to share.
176. ValMar
Whilst I personally try to avoid mixing God and Church (including the Eastern Orthodox to which I belong- though how one determines that I don't really know) I really don't understand why some people complain that others hail Easter here.

To most folks here it is relevant, just as is American Football, ding balls, etc, so people aknowledge Easter, as they did, say, the super bowl.

I am European, don't care about many of the more insular American references in the forum but it will be extremely boorish for me to complain. It is reasonable that RL references here will be about US sports, bit of christianity, Thanksgiving, etc. Not about football, satanism, Queen's jubilee...

It is a matter of being reasonable, I believe.
Rob Munnelly
177. RobMRobM
@174. Free - I'd expect with your height that sub service would be a nonstarter.

Re earthquakes, I was in SF in October 1988 for an interview and flew home one day before the World Series quake. Glad I missed that one - that's as close as I have come to one.

On a separate note, I for one have no problem with the extent of your professions of faith on this forum, which are well spoken, heartfelt and not seeking to convert others (not much, anyway). I'm more inclined to be converted to Woof's worship of Jennifer Connelly. That's something to believe in....

178. Cadsuwallop
I'm not a Christian, but the joy evident in the Easter tidings of several posters made me smile. I don't have to share the same belief to be happy for someone who is filled with the peace and fulfillment that faith can bring.

We are all different, and it is one of the things that makes this forum so intriguing. We come for a shared interest, and we share bits and pieces of ourselves. Take from it what you like, learn from it what you can, and leave the rest.

Re: quakes. They scare me to death. The earth is the biggest physical thing we have - it shouldn't move!
Barry T
179. blindillusion
Cadsuwallop - *nods* Agreed.

I tend to follow the Christian belief system (though perhaps a skewed version of it). If someone wishes to express the joy they find through their beliefs, I for one say let them.

As an aside, I cannot stand Bible thumpers. But as I've yet to read a comment on this site that brought to mind a street-corner Fire-and-Brimstoner screeching at me that we're all following the wrong path, I believe those who wish to express the peace, and connection, they feel through their beliefs have every right to do so. Eh, it’s all font on an endless sheet of Internet paper….
stephanie keenan
180. adriel_moonstar
I'd like to wish a belated Happy Rites of Spring to all. I missed the last two posts since I was on "vacation" (we took my teenage daughter and a friend to England for spring break...).

I was bummed because these are definitely my favorite chapters of ACOS (And Elaine's MOA might be my all time favorite). I love the triumph of (fictional) reality over the AS myopia, momentary though it may be.

And I have to agree with Leigh that having Elaida (of all people) do something good with the Law of Unintended Consequences was an amazing bit of writing.

JennB @165
I agree with you that the institution of damane is totally evil. (Though I do like to believe that it is the rebirth destination of particularly rabid Whitecloaks...)

However, I think that folks' enjoyment (for lack of a better word) of Elaida's collaring comes from the fact that it is truely "poetic justice". She refused to believe the girls' reports of the Seanchen, (or Egwene's personal experience with the collar), she wouldn't listen to Egwene's warnings about the attack, she discounted all the reports from the Tower's eyes and ears. So really, she did get what she deserved. (Unlike many, I did not miss her presence during the battle at all. Pages of her screaming "This is not happening -BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!" really would not have improved the flow of the narrative for me.)

Besides, I do think that the damane will be freed by the end of the series, so her ordeal will be temporary.
J Lip
181. Cadsuwallop
Voting has opened on the finals of the cage match at

Rand sounds so...wrong.
Tricia Irish
182. Tektonica
cadswallop@178 & Blind@179: Agreed. Well said.


....enjoyment (for lack of a better word) of Elaida's collaring comes from the fact that it is truely "poetic justice". She refused to believe the girls' reports of the Seanchen, (or Egwene's personal experience with the collar), she wouldn't listen to Egwene's warnings about the attack, she discounted all the reports from the Tower's eyes and ears. So really, she did get what she deserved.

Absolutely. It is fiction and it is perfect symmetry. It may just be the kick in the head she needed to be awakened from her "fantasy" of domination of the WT and the Dragon. Maybe, just maybe, she'll be changed enough to have a MOA somewhere in the last two books to make up for all her idiocy. It would be nice to get a hint as to why she was respected enough to achieve the "Seat" in the first place.

Are we getting a new post today????
Tina Pierce
183. scissorrunner
The earth is the biggest physical thing we have - it shouldn't move!
(which by the way means "I agree")

but..... I love that everyone here feels free to express greetings that reflect their own beliefs. We all have 'em whether its a Father in Heaven or Mother Nature or any of countless others.
Like Blindillusion I too don't like the "thumpers" or "screechers", but they can thump & screech as long as they don't REQUIRE that I listen. That said, I am deeply religious and very active in my church, in fact I can't remember a time that I WASN'T teaching little kids in Primary, or the teens (right now :) ), or adult classes.
now, before I run the risk of sounding preachy - fave fun at least once a day! We exist & that should be a joy! go find some!

my next joy will be reading Leigh's newest post. today - right?????
184. Freelancer

I should warn you which street corners to avoid on the 2nd Friday night of each month, it seems. ::he said as he examined his slightly dented Holy Bible::
Rob Munnelly
185. RobMRobM
Re Elaida, the most telling point above re lack of sympathy was she absolutely intended to get Gawyn killed. Putting aside the out and out stupidity of killing off a member of ruling family of Andor that believed by her to be all important, that is an evil thought and eviscerates virtually any potential movement towards sympathy for her collared state. R
Marcus W
186. toryx
Cadsuwallop @ 181:

I agree. The bit written in Rand's voice sounded spectacularly bad. It almost makes me want to vote against him.

Not that I will, because his channelling definitely trumps Jaime's swordplay. And, you know, he needs to win to save all the worlds.
187. J.Dauro
Yes, we are supposed to get a new post today. Our pusher is stepping up to twice a week now. ;^)

And shouldn't we be seeing a new cover soon? Irene, where are you?
Tricia Irish
188. Tektonica
Heads up CageMatch fans. Rand's losing. He needs our votes. Hie thee to and VOTE!

That scumbag Jaime Lannister, while a very, ah, interesting character, doesn't know the meaning of the word "honor".
He must be defeated! Finally.
Ron Garrison
189. Man-0-Manetheran
Tek! The Dark One is blocking my access from work. I can't help Rand unless someone knows a way in via TAR.
190. ValMar
Re Elaida's order to kill Gawyn being evil.

Similar orders have been issued in RL many times, some not by people we would call "evil". E.g. in the days of the Cold War, in some Latin American countries leader who were deemed to be sympathetic to the Soviets were removed and replaced by a vile dictatorships. And vice-versa. For people's good...
People in power have to do nasty things sometimes.

Hmm, what is evil? Elaida might be, but "Evil" is very strong concept and sometimes we use it very easily, with a dash of hypocrisy, IMHO.

And I'm not defending Elaida, I think she got away too easy.
Tricia Irish
191. Tektonica
MANO@189: LOL. Help him tonight at home! You've got a window.....
Ron Garrison
192. Man-0-Manetheran
Free: It was 1971 and Laurel Canyon.

Cadsuwallop: "The earth is the biggest physical thing we have - it shouldn't move!" Which reminds me... Did anyone else see a recent news report about China's massive Three Gorges Dam? It was something to the effect of the weight of all the water in the reservoir shifting the Earth's axis slightly.

Easter: How can anyone not like bunnies and baby chicks?
Rob Munnelly
193. RobMRobM
@192. You're right, they are delicious.
Barry T
194. blindillusion
Ah, Free, but I doubt I'd be accosted should I happen to find myself at that street corner on the 2nd Friday of every month.

**See, there I was, in Arizona...the first time I'd ever actually found myself in front of some street corner “preachers”, i.e. two college kids from ASU... who approached me and my friends to “preach” the Word. I tried to engage them in a discussion. One of them didn't want a discussion...he wanted every one to acknowledge his interpretation as Truth.... I disagreed, he started yelling (that I was going to Hell...phsst), I walked away shaking my head, the guy pushed me from I found myself in a dilemma...which I solved by taking the guy's Bible and...well...thumping him with it. But was either that or my board...I think he liked it my way.

Oh, I handed the guy's Bible to his friend, who thanked me...and I think she was grinning.**
Jennifer B
195. JennB
I have no problem with people telling about their Easter and their excitement for the day. I just didn't feel comfortable with the few posts telling us to go to church and such.
I have every respect for the people here and their beliefs. I just felt like thanking longtimfan for expressing himself since I hadn't and his comment broke the ice.

I agree that Elaida is a horrible person which is why I don't feel sorry for her when Alviarin gets the upper hand in this chapter. I just remember Egwene's captivity as a damane. It was absolutely awful.

Elaida deserves to be tried for her crimes, stilled and possibly executed. I don't remember any sort of prison system in the WT, but if there was, I would have no problem with her being forced to do labor as part of a prison work crew. I suppose being made damane is not much different in practice from what I would consider acceptable forms of punishment. I still hope that all the damane and da'covale are freed by the end of the series.
Alice Arneson
196. Wetlandernw
Shimrod @139 - Were you in Bremerton in 2001? We were in Federal Way for that quake, and I thought the house was going to roll itself right over!

adriel_moonstar @180 - Pages of her screaming "This is not happening -BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!" really would not have improved the flow of the narrative for me. LOL!! So very, very true. :)

Man-o-Manetheran @192 - Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes. They got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses, and what's with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?

Odd note on Easter birthdays... My son was born on Easter Sunday, 2001. His birthday will not be on Easter again until 2063. Hmph.

And.... just a few musings on the parallelism between the White Tower and the Christian Church. As we all know, RJ drew from history, mythology, legend and theology to shape his world. While there are many parallels (both individual and organizational) between WoT and RL, I don't recall any that are "perfect analogies" - i.e., where something in the WoT is based directly and solely on something from RL.

With that in mind, I wanted to point out that, as has been noted, events in the White Tower have many intentional similarities to events in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. On the other hand, we've also noted that there is no organized religion in Randland. At the bottom of things, there is really very little similarity in the purposes of the White Tower and the Christian Church (Roman or otherwise). In fact, at the root, the only real similarity comes from the name "Aes Sedai," meaning "Servant(s) of All" and the command to Christ's followers to care for those in need. The Aes Sedai (at least in the Third Age) have no such command to follow, and those who have access to the One Power have nothing but voluntary or societal restrictions on its use. The Church's primary mandate is clearly stated in the sole source of its authority, the Bible: to go and make disciples of all nations. Within that mandate, all the requirements of the two great commandments (love God, and love your neighbor as yourself) demand that Christians serve others by whatever means are at hand: food, water, clothing, medical care, emotional support... The White Tower has no particular mission to the world, or at least not that we've been told.

Still, it's interesting to note that we, as a group, have a tendency to think of the responsibilities of the WT in terms of what the Church ought to be doing. Oddly enough, our opinion even seems to take the form of what the Bible says the Church ought to do rather than what it appears to be doing in our lifetime. The WT "ought" to be using its resources to provide teaching, healing, balanced mediation and salvific leadership (re: TG in particular and the DO in general). Instead, its members have become so focused on their personal power and political maneuvering that they've forgotten their responsibility as Servants. The only thing you really see happening (during the events of the series, anyway) is the mediation, occasional leadership (which is mostly perceived as meddling) and the occasional use of Healing (mostly during the Aiel War or incidentally as an AS happens to be out in the world and someone nearby is injured).

So here's my question for you all: what is your basis for thinking that the WT has the above responsibilities? Or does it?

J Lip
197. Cadsuwallop
M O M @192
I remember hearing about that (the dam changing the earth's axis.) Something to do with the weight of all that water piling up instead of distributing naturally throughout the river. Given my seismological fears, I likely stuck my fingers in my ears and began a loud chorus of "la la la I'm not listening to this!"
Ron Garrison
198. Man-0-Manetheran
Wet: "What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?"

Well, seeing a predator before the predator sees them is just about their only defense mechanism.
Tina Pierce
199. scissorrunner
what's with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?

so they can tear up my veggie garden, why else??
Matthew Smith
200. blocksmith

Having taken some seismic design courses you are correct with regards to low magnitude seismic activity. NYC sees many very low intensity seismic events with barely a notice.

Problem is, the northeast hasn't seen a magnitude 7+ event in a Very Long Time. The closest was an 7+ off of Cape Anne in the mid 1700's that severely damaged the waterfront of Boston, collapsing buildings, etc. And only about 60% of New York is situated/founded over geologic conditions that help distribute seismic forces. The rest is not quite as well situated.

And just as an aside, the USGS puts out a very helpful map to estimate seismic forces that is used by municipalities for building code. Most significant projects opt for site specific seismic analysis however, due to inaccuracies and the generalization of geologic conditions inherent in the map.


Well done...there is nothing better than a balanced response.

Relative to freedom of speech/religious expression...

Preach/screech all you want, I either pay attention or not. Just don't protest at a fallen hero's funeral. That, shall I say, does not sit well with me. Makes my hand itch for one of Blind's books in the shape of something more destructive.
201. Andrew5105
WoT Fans! We have a problem, as of today, at 10:30 A.M. there is a poll going on to see who would win (fanbase style) Rand Al'Thor, or Jaime Lannister from a Song of Fire and Ice. As of right now, the poll is close (about 50-50) we need more people to vote so that our boy Rand wins against this nobody. (Jaime doesn't have any special abilities. All he has is some shining golden armor, a sword he can't use, and a nice face.) So please! Help with this. I thank you in advance.
Kurt Lorey
202. Shimrod
@196 wetlandernw:

Yes, I was. I was at home instead of the office and my PC monitor starting bouncing around on the CPU. I had experienced minor earthquakes before and wasn't real worried until I started feeling like I was on a boat on the ocean. That was creepy.

While the entire event must not have lasted too long, it sure had begun to feel like it wasn't going to stop. Good thing it was 20+ miles down (and closer to Olympia), cause it ended up being classed as an 8.1, IIRC.

I also remember that the elevated highway (I-5?) thru Seattle had to be closed a few days later because some of the piers were actually damaged, but hadn't showed any cracks the day of the earthquake. The return of traffic had finished what the earthquake had started.

Soon after somebody (at UW?) did a study attempting to project the consequences of a shallower earthquake of the same size. One like that would draw the water back out of Puget Sound nearly to the Pacific. Then, when it came back, goodbye Tacoma and a good portion of the rest of the coastal areas, including three major Naval bases and downtown Seattle. Nice.
Marcus W
203. toryx
Wetlandernw @ 196: So here's my question for you all: what is your basis for thinking that the WT has the above responsibilities? Or does it?

It's often stated that religion is the source of human morality and that without religious institutions (and perhaps the promise of salvation against the threat of eternal damnation), there would not be any desire for people to help others.

I disagree. I've always felt that one of the few things that separate conscious beings from beasts is the awareness that others suffer and in that case it's one's responsibility to offer help when one can. Or to quote comic wisdom, "With great power comes great responsibility." Any power, in my view, grants responsibility.

Elayne's view of the role of nobility is along those same lines: it is the responsibility of nobles who have wealth and education to help those without.

Aes Sedai have more wealth, knowledge, and outright power than anyone. Their responsibility, therefore, is greater than anyone else's as well. To have and not give to those who have not when you can is just wrong. Particularly when so much of what they have to offer could do so much to raise others to where they can help people as well.

It's not something that I think they'd need attribute to the Creator or some other great moral authority. It's just what it means to be human. You see someone who needs help and you help them. Plain as that.

Sadly, the Aes Sedai (just as most people fictional or no) aren't quite so willing to raise themselves above beasts.

Uh-oh. My cynical side is showing!
204. Andrew5105
I forgot to post the link:
Joseph Blaidd
205. SteelBlaidd
Rand is trailing by 12 votes, and the writers of the match description obviously don't understand how a Male chaneler puts out a fire.
Mikey Bennett
206. EvilMonkey
Earthquakes are bad. We shouldn't have earthquakes m'kay?

The protests at soldiers funerals really burns my ass too, and would even if I wasn't a soldier myself. The people who go too far in proclaiming their beliefs just remind me of David Chapelle's segment, "When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong". You wanna shout your faith out from the Mountaintop, fine. But going too far with it has the tendency to blow up in ya face.

Wet @196 I kind of disagree with you that the purpose of the RCC and WT are not similar. The WT purpose is 2-fold, to prevent another Breaking and prepare the world for the last battle. The RCC's purpose is to spread the gospel to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ as well as marshalling forces against the devil. Not a perfect match I know but I think its a lil closer than you imply.
I would probably say that their methodology is different, probably due to differing circumstances in the world. The tower can afford to be insular and distant because to most of the world they are the only game in town. Not only that, many people can be affiliated with the tower but only a relative handful can channel. Even the groups that have channellers of their own ( Aiel, Sea Folk,Kin) recognize the primacy of the tower.The Church on the other hand was never the only game in town. It had to compete for followers from its inception. It wasn't even legitimized until a Roman Emperor picked it up a couple hundred years later. It always had to offer more in order to spread from a provicial village religion in the Fertile Cresant to the world religion powerhouse in which it is today. Aes Sedai was a brand name for 2 entire Ages so at the Tower's inception it already had worldwide coverage. Not so on the church front. Finally, the Tower's nature is exclusive because relatively few people can channel. But anyone can be a priest if that is what they aspire to be. It is a group that welcomes followers and teachers. Look at it like this. If one were to gather everyone in the entire world who could channel you could probably get half a city's population. By contrast, if one were to gather just the functionaries of the Catholic Church one could probably fill half a country in population.

Alice Arneson
207. Wetlandernw
Man-o-Manetheran @198, scissorrunner @199 - The question (go to about 0:35) is not original with me. I was riffing off of forkroot's (???) reference a ways back.

EvilMonkey @206 - I was going to write a big ol' wall, but now that the new post is up I'll wait. :)

Thanks to all who responded with so much thought!!
Marcus W
208. toryx
EvilMonkey @ 206: But anyone can be a priest if that is what they aspire to be.

Now that's not true. In fact, this is a point that's a lot more similar to the Tower. In RC, only men can be priests. Women are locked out of the priesthoood. And no, becoming a nun doesn't count.
Tricia Irish
209. Tektonica
Wet@196: Sorry I was out today when you posited your very interesting question....

I've always felt that the ability to touch the OP was not only unique, but was an almost divine or at least a magical ability. So few have the ability and such amazing things can be accomplished with it. So many could be helped in various ways. As someone above quoted Peter Parker's uncle, "With great power comes great responsibility."

We had a discussion awhile back about how all the Ajahs could be out in the world helping in various ways and I still think it would've not only helped the world, perhaps keeping the Light stronger in Randland, but would certainly have helped their image as well. People would know them and their good works and they would not be feared, but respected instead.

Browns could set up libraries and educational systems...which we have heard nothing about btw....Whites could be philosphers/or scientists....Blues could mediate with governments and advise....Yellows could heal and start hospitals.....Greens could advise armies (maybe)....what the Reds would do, I have no idea! I'm missing one...??

Anyway, I don't think morality need be based on religious teaching. We are all here on this planet together and have a vested interest in seeing each other healthy, happy and successful, as well as keeping our planet healthy!
Compassion and empathy are all that's required.
210. yasiru89
The 'forgiven' struck me more than the 1992 on Galileo, since this makes the acknowledgement more grudging compromise than it is acceptance of fallibility.
Elaida's waking and Alviarin's calm response had my ribs aching there.
211. Dorianin
"refraining from the examination of equine generosity" sic ...I bow my head....I had not actually thought of the metaphor between the white tower and the vatican before...I was raised Anglican, so the similarity was not so obvious...but the distinct seperation between claimed values and operation in practice was what eventually led me(and a long, interesting road it was....) to my current role of militant atheism, as espoused by the esteemed Dr. Dawkins.

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