Apr 20 2010 1:32pm
The Wheel of Time Re-read: A Crown of Swords, Part 24

Hello, and welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers the last chapter of A Crown of Swords, Chapter 41, in which we have an ending. Not THE ending, but… well, y’all know how that goes.

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 before we move on, now that it’s about to go away let’s take our traditional last-post look at the cover art, of which I was rather blissfully unaware for many years after reading ACOS, since I originally bought the paperback version. I’ve heard that this has been derided as the “romance novel cover,” but I thought it was rather spiffy, myself—and, frankly, somewhat less embarrassing to read in public.

But as to the hardcover art: well, it’s not my least favorite WOT cover, but it is definitely my least favorite depiction of Rand. The pose makes very little sense to me, particularly the position of his arms; seriously, what is he doing here? No one stands like that, do they? And since when is Rand being played by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stunt double?

However, as usual the non-human parts of the picture are excellent; I thought the ruined architecture perfectly captured the creepiness of Shadar Logoth, and even though Mashadar doesn’t ever come up from the ground in this chapter, as it’s shown to be doing here, the color contrast between it and the rest of the city was very nicely done. If Roid Rage Rand (With Kung-Fu Grip!) hadn't been on the cover I would have loved it.

So that’s what that is. And now, let’s put this thing to bed, shall we?

Chapter 41: A Crown of Swords


What Happens
Rand slowly wakes from disturbing dreams to hear people arguing, apparently about him; he hears Cadsuane’s voice, and is frightened of it, and feels Alanna in his head, also frightened, and knows somehow that she is scared for him. He opens his eyes to find that Min is curled protectively around him, shouting that she won’t let “you” kill him. Cadsuane, Samitsu, and Corele are on one side of his bed, Amys, Bera and Kiruna are on the other, and both groups are staring not at each other but at Dashiva, Flinn, Narishma, and Jonan Adley, all of whom are holding saidin (Rand notes that Dashiva holds almost as much as he could have). Min beams to see he is awake, and Rand sits up carefully, and looks at Adley, who nods slightly. Rand asks how it’s possible that he’s alive; he explains about Fain’s dagger being from Shadar Logoth, which seems to clarify things for Cadsuane. She tells him he can thank Samitsu, Flinn, and Corele that he survived (Flinn grins, and Rand is surprised that the two Yellows nod to him). Cadsuane says they did things that she doesn’t think have been done since the Breaking, but that he needs rest and food if he wants to stay alive; he’s been without food for two days. Rand says he’s getting up; Min objects, Amys threatens to bring in Enaila and Somara, and Bera and Kiruna give him “you’re an idiot” looks.

“Boy,” Cadsuane said dryly, “I’ve already seen more of your hairless bottomcheeks than I wish to, but if you want to flaunt them in front of all six of us, perhaps someone will enjoy the show. If you fall on your face, though, I may just spank you before I put you back to bed.” By Samitsu’s face, and Corele’s, they would be happy to assist her.

Narishma and Adley are shocked, but Dashiva laughs and offers to clear the women out, preparing flows which Rand thinks would cause extreme pain. He quickly refuses, and thinks that the Maidens have cured him of modesty anyway, and gets out of bed. Kiruna flushes and turns her back, Cadsuane mutters imprecations, and Corele comments that at least it’s a nice bottom; blushing, Rand realizes he’s not as immodest as he thought, and dresses as quickly as he can. He tells the women that he wants to speak to the Asha’man alone; Min runs to him and refuses to leave, and Rand realizes he might need her to lean on, literally, and accepts this. Amys wants to know if he intends to leave his rooms, and Rand shows her his bare feet; she sniffs and leaves with Bera and Kiruna. Cadsuane glances at Adley and admonishes Rand not to do anything foolish, sounding as if she doesn’t much expect him to listen, and leaves with Corele and Samitsu. Rand then sends the men into the anteroom, and while he pulls on his boots, Min asks if this is really wise. He asks if she had a viewing.

“It’s Cadsuane. She is going to teach you something, you and the Asha’man. All the Asha’man, I mean. It’s something you have to learn, but I don’t know what it is, except that none of you will like learning it from her. You aren’t going to like it at all.”

Rand paused with a boot in hand, then stuffed his foot in. What could Cadsuane, or any Aes Sedai, teach the Asha’man? Women could not teach men, or men women; that was as hard a fact as the One Power itself. “We will see” was all he said.

He also thinks that Cadsuane makes him unsure of himself, and nervous. He asks about Merana’s bargain with the Sea Folk, and Min tells him she and Rafela are still on the ship, and keep asking when he can return; she thinks it’s not going well without him there. Rand can’t deal with that yet, and goes into the anteroom and asks for Adley’s report. The others are startled to learn he and Eben Hopwil had been with Weiramon and the Illian invasion force. Adley tells them Weiramon left the foot behind and went ahead with the cavalry, which is why they reached the hillforts days early; he also reports that they randomly ran into Shaido, but they weren’t a problem. Rand grinds his teeth at Weiramon’s idiotic contempt for infantry, and Adley goes on that he and Eben started blowing up the forts until a male channeler who must have been Sammael showed up. Rand is startled at first that Sammael showed up so quickly, but then laughs.

All that elaborate deception to convince Sammael he would be anywhere but with the invading army, to bring the man out of Illian, and all made unnecessary by a knife in Padan Fain’s hand. Two days. By this time, everybody who had eyes-and-ears in Cairhien—which certainly included the Forsaken—knew that the Dragon Reborn lay on the edge of death.

Dashiva doesn’t understand the point of all this; surely when Sammael feels a man channel with anything near Rand’s strength he’ll just flee back to his defenses in the city, where Rand won’t be able to surprise him. Adley interjects that they can at least save the army, which Sammael is currently decimating; Dashiva looks at him like he’s crazy, but Rand assures Adley that they will, for they are going to kill Sammael today (Dashiva looks startled). Rand expects Min to argue, but she just sighs and supposes he wants her to keep people from learning he’s gone as long as possible; she is not looking forward to Amys’s (or worse, Sorilea’s) reaction. She steps up close and, smiling cheerily, threatens to help Cadsuane thrash him if he lets anything happen to him. She walks out, and Rand notices Dashiva ogling her backside and licking his lips, and opens a gateway right next to the man, making him leap back. They go through to Bashere’s camp outside Caemlyn, surprising Dashiva again; Rand thinks that the Black Tower is close, but Fedwin Morr had been charged to watch for spies using saidin, so hopefully Taim would know nothing about this till it was over. The Saldaean soldiers are all watching him in anticipation.

Ducking under the rope, Rand strode directly to a tent no different from any other except for the banner on the staff in front, three simple red blossoms on a field of blue. The kingspenny did not die back even in Saldaean winters, and when fires blackened the forests, those red flowers were always the first to reappear. A blossom nothing could kill: the sign of House Bashere.

Inside, Bashere is ready to go, and so is Deira. Bashere comments he hadn’t expected this for days yet, and hopes the preparations he and Mat had come up with for “Taim’s leavings” are far enough along. Rand thinks whatever they’ve done will have to do, and tells Bashere “no wives today.” Deira looks about to explode, but Bashere agrees immediately, turns to her, and says “Wife,” while holding out his hand; Rand winces, but Deira only stares at him a moment before handing over her dagger, commenting that she and Bashere will discuss this later, “at length.”

One day when he had time, Rand decided, he was going to make Bashere explain how he did that. If there ever was time.

“At length,” Bashere agreed, grinning through his mustaches as he stuffed the dagger behind his own belt. Maybe the man was simply suicidal.

Outside, Fedwin Morr joins Rand and the other Asha’man while nine thousand Saldaean horse and fifteen thousand foot calling themselves the Legion of the Dragon (leftovers from Taim’s recruiting efforts) assemble on the field. The Asha’man are excited, and Deira and the other Saldaean wives angry, but Rand doesn’t care.

Today, the Light willing, no women would die because of him.

When everyone’s ready, Rand opens another gateway and runs through to the Square of Tammuz, in the center of Illian’s capital city. The inhabitants all stop and stare; Rand amplifies his voice and shouts “I am the Dragon Reborn!”, and he and the Asha’man toss Power-wrought fire and lightning up into the sky. The Illianers instantly panic and flee, and Rand and the Asha’man dart aside as Bashere’s cavalry comes barreling through the gateway, breaking into smaller units and spreading through the city. Meanwhile Rand weaves another small gateway and runs through, as do Dashiva et al, and ends up on top of one of the towers of the King’s Palace, the highest point in the city. He and the others start channeling undirected flows of saidin, sweeping them over the city in a spectacular lightshow.

Long ago he had decided that Sammael must have wards woven throughout the city, set to give an alarm should anyone channel saidin. Wards inverted so no one except Sammael himself could find them, wards that would tell Sammael exactly where that man was channeling so he could be destroyed on the instant. With luck, every one of those wards was being triggered now. Lews Therin had been sure Sammael would sense them wherever he was, even at a distance. That was why the wardings should be useless now; that sort had to be remade once triggered. Sammael would come. Never in his life had he relinquished anything he considered his, however shaky his claim, not without a fight. All that from Lews Therin. If he was real. He had to be. Those memories had too much detail. But could not a madman dream his fancies in detail, too?

Lews Therin! he called silently. The wind blowing across Illian answered.

He stops channeling and so do the others; Rand had told them that he would kill any man he sensed channeling in Illian after he himself stopped. He waits, wishing he could sit down, listening to sporadic fighting in the city below, and just as he begins to doubt, feels a man channel in the Great Hall of the Council opposite the Palace. Rand instantly weaves a gateway and jumps through into the Hall just as the tower he had been on explodes; rubble flies through the gateway opening and knocks Rand down, triggering agony in his side, but he ignores it, pretending the pain belongs to someone else. He collapses the gateway and scrambles away just as hundreds of “red filaments” come stabbing down from the ceiling; one pierces his heel, and he falls again. He rolls over and starts to weave balefire.

Someone else’s cheek stung from a remembered slap, and Cadsuane’s voice hissed and crackled in his head like the holes the red filaments had made. Never again, boy; you will never do that again. It seemed that he heard Lews Therin whimpering in distant fear of what he was about to loose, what had almost destroyed the world once.

He replicates the filaments instead and sends them back in the direction of where the attack had come from before limping out into the corridor. Sammael’s voice booms out that Illian belongs to him, and he won’t let either of them destroy it trying to kill each other, and asks if Rand has the courage to follow him again. Rand feels a gateway open and close above him.

The courage? Did he have the courage? “I’m the Dragon Reborn,” he muttered, “and I’m going to kill you.”

Rand gates up to where Sammael’s gate was, and almost sets his next one to come out exactly where Sammael had gone, before it occurs to him that there might be traps laid on the other side; instead he alters the destination slightly, which will put his gate anywhere from fifty to five hundred feet from Sammael’s. The gate opens to show that Sammael has gone to Shadar Logoth.

The last time he had gone there, he had added a name to that list of Maidens in his head; the first time, Padan Fain had followed and become more than a Darkfriend, worse than a Darkfriend. That Sammael had fled to Shadar Logoth seemed like coming full circle in more ways than one.

He limps through and instantly hurries away from his arrival point, and hears it blow up behind him. He feels the slash in his side pulsing in time with the evil permeating the city. He sees a figure dart across the way ahead of him, but Rand doubts Sammael would “scuttle” like that, and remembers he had heard screams earlier; he supposes Sammael had brought henchmen here as well, and tries to catch up to the figure to follow it, but it has disappeared. He sees Mashadar emerge further down the street, and considers leaving, as probably Sammael would not risk staying here once Mashadar was out either. Then he sees two Trollocs, obviously terrified but still hunting, and realizes Sammael must still be here, otherwise the Trollocs would have been busy running. Then a ragged figure leaps down and kills the Trollocs with a spear, and Rand sees it is an Aiel woman.

Rand was on his feet and running before he thought. “Liah!” he shouted. He had thought her dead, abandoned here by him, dead for him. Liah, of the Cosaida Chareen; that name blazed on the list in his head.

She whirled to confront him, spear ready in one hand, round bull-hide buckler in the other. The face he remembered as pretty despite scars on both cheeks was contorted with rage. “Mine!” she hissed threateningly through her teeth. “Mine! No one may come here! No one!”

He stopped in his tracks. That spear waited, eager to seek his ribs too. “Liah, you know me,” he said softly. “You know me. I’ll take you back to the Maidens, back to your spear-sisters.” He held out his hand.

Her rage melted into a twisted frown. She tilted her head to one side. “Rand al’Thor?” she said slowly. Her eyes widened, falling to the dead Trollocs, and a look of horror spread across her face. “Rand al’Thor,” she whispered, fumbling the black veil into place across her face with the hand that held her spear. “The Car’a’carn!” she wailed. And fled.

Rand chases her, but his body has taken too much abuse, and he keeps falling, and loses her. He turns a corner, runs into four Trollocs and a Fade, and kills them; an instant later lightning falls on the spot, knocking him down. Rand staggers away and into a ruined building, and the floor collapses underneath him; Rand grabs the edge of the hole and tries to haul himself out without using saidin, to avoid giving himself away to Sammael, but is too weakened.

A hand grabbed his right wrist. “You are a fool,” a man’s deep voice said. “Count yourself lucky I don’t care to see you die today.” The hand began drawing him up. “Are you going to help?” the voice demanded. “I don’t intend to carry you on my shoulders, or kill Sammael for you.”

Rand helps, and the man starts hauling him out of the hole, and Rand sees he is a big man a little older than he, with black hair. Rand demands to know who he is, and the man laughs and answers that he’s just “a wanderer” passing through. Halfway out, Rand suddenly sees a huge wave of Mashadar is about to come down on top of them.

Without a thought, his free hand rose, and balefire shot upward, a bar of liquid white fire slicing across the wave sinking toward them. Dimly he was aware of another bar of pale solid fire rising from the other man’s hand that was not clasping his, a bar slashing the opposite way from his. The two touched.

Head ringing like a struck gong, Rand convulsed, saidin and the Void shattering. Everything was doubled in his eyes, the balconies, the chunks of stone lying about the floor. There seemed to be a pair of the other man overlapping one another, each clutching his head between two hands. Blinking, Rand searched for Mashadar. The wave of shining mist was gone; a glow remained in the balconies above, but dimming, receding, as Rand’s eyes began to clear. Even mindless Mashadar fled balefire, it seemed.

Rand asks what just happened; the man snaps that he doesn’t know, and tells him to run. They do so just as Sammael’s lightnings come down again, and burst out into a street. Rand tries not to collapse, and asks the man if he has taught himself, and tells him he can go to the Black Tower; he adds that he doesn’t have to “live afraid of Aes Sedai”, and then doesn’t know why he said that. The man retorts that he has never been afraid of Aes Sedai, and adds that if Rand intends to try and kill Sammael, he’d better try thinking like him.

“You have shown you can. He always liked destroying a man in sight of one of that man’s triumphs, if he could. Lacking that, somewhere the man had marked as his would do.”

“The Waygate,” Rand said slowly. If he could be said to have marked anything in Shadar Logoth, it had to be the Waygate. “He’s waiting near the Waygate. And he has traps set.”

The man laughed wryly. “You can find the way, it seems. If you’re led by the hand. Try not to stumble. A great many plans will have to be relaid if you let yourself be killed now.” Turning, he started across the street for an alleyway just ahead of them.

Rand shouts after him, wanting to know what plans, but the man disappears around a corner; Rand hobbles after him, but the man is gone. Rand doesn’t understand how he could have made a gateway to vanish like that without Rand feeling the saidin used to weave it, then realizes he hadn’t felt saidin when the man had used balefire earlier, either.

Just thinking of that, of the two streams touching, made his vision double again. Just for an instant, he could see the man’s face again, sharp where everything else blurred. He shook his head until it cleared. “Who in the Light are you?” he whispered. And after a moment, “What in the Light are you?”

Rand decides to think about it later, and heads to the Waygate, not bothering to kill the Trollocs and Fades he sees wandering around; Sammael must have brought them through the Ways, and therefore they will die soon anyway from having passed through the trap Rand set there. He finds an intact tower near the square containing the Waygate, and climbs painfully to the top to get a bird’s-eye view of the square, and waits. Soon, a figure emerges from a palace edging the square, and Rand sees it is Sammael, waiting for him. He also sees that Sammael has not noticed Mashadar slowly cascading out of the windows above him, about to come down on top of him. Rand shakes his head and prepares to balefire Sammael anyway. Suddenly a woman screams, and Sammael and Rand both turn to see Liah in agony, with a tendril of Mashadar touching her leg.

“Liah,” he whispered. Unconsciously he reached out, as though he could stretch his arm across the intervening distance and pull her away. Nothing could save what Mashadar touched, though, no more than anything could have saved him had Fain’s dagger plunged into his heart. “Liah,” he whispered. And balefire leaped from his hand.

For less than a heartbeat, the shape of her still seemed to be there, all in stark blacks and snowy whites, and then she was gone, dead before her agony began.

Screaming, Rand swept the balefire down toward the square, the rubble collapsing on itself, swept down death out of time—and let saidin go before the bar of white touched the lake of Mashadar that now rolled across the square, billowing past the Waygate toward rivers of glowing gray that flowed out from another palace on the other side. Sammael had to be dead. He had to be. There had not been time for him to run, no time to weave a gateway, and if he had, Rand would have felt saidin being worked. Sammael was dead, killed by an evil almost as great as himself. Emotion raced across the outside of the Void; Rand wanted to laugh, or perhaps cry. He had come here to kill one of the Forsaken, but instead he had killed a woman he had abandoned here to her fate.

He stands on the tower top and watches Mashadar fill the square for a long time before Skimming back to Illian, flailing himself with Liah’s name the entire trip. Bashere and the Asha’man are waiting for him in the throne room of the King’s Palace, and Rand wearily sits down on the steps to the dais. Bashere looks at his tattered and battered figure, and presumes Sammael is dead; Rand confirms it, and Dashiva sighs in relief. Bashere tells him the city is his; the fighting stopped quickly once “the right people” found out whose forces were invading. He then gives the floor to Illian’s Council of Nine, the eight remaining members of which have been waiting at the far end of the throne room. They come forward, bowing copiously, and their spokesman, Lord Gregorin den Lushenos, apologizes for “Lord Brend”’s absence. Rand replies flatly that he won’t be back, and Gregorin swallows and agrees.

We do offer you…” A hand at his side waved vigorously at a shorter, beardless man, who stepped forward bearing a cushion draped with a length of green silk. “…we do offer you Illian.” The shorter man whipped the cloth away, revealing a heavy gold circlet, two inches wide, of laurel leaves. “The city do be yours, of course,” Gregorin went on anxiously. “We did put an end to all resistance. We do offer you the crown, and the throne, and all of Illian.”

Rand stares, thinking that no one had actually offered him a crown before, and asks if Mattin Stepaneos is so willing to give up his throne; Gregorin answers that Mattin disappeared two days ago, and they think Brend might have had something to do with it.

Strips of grimy coatsleeve and pieces of shirtsleeve dangled as Rand reached to pick up the Laurel Crown. The Dragon wound around his forearm glittered in the lamplight as brightly as the golden crown. He turned it in his hands. “You still haven’t said why. Because I conquered you?” He had conquered Tear, and Cairhien too, but some turned on him in both lands still.

Gregorin answers dryly that that do be part of it, but also because the grain Rand had ordered Tear to send to Illian is the only thing that kept them from starving. Rand had forgotten all about that order, and had had no idea the Tairens had kept doing it even after he’d started planning to invade Illian; he thinks maybe he’d earned some right to this crown. He pricks his finger on it, and realizes the laurel leaves almost hide that the crown is also made of swords.

Gingerly he set the circle of laurel leaves on his head. Half those swords pointed up, half down. No head would wear this crown casually or easily.

Gregorin bowed smoothly. “The Light illumine Rand al’Thor, King of Illian,” he intoned, and the seven other lords bowed with him, murmuring, “The Light illumine Rand al’Thor, King of Illian.”

Bashere contented himself with a bow of his head—he was uncle to a queen, after all—but Dashiva cried out, “All hail Rand al’Thor, King of the World!” Flinn and the other Asha’man took it up.

“All hail Rand al’Thor, King of the World!”

“All hail the King of the World!”

That had a good sound to it.

The story spreads as it usually does, truth and rumor and misunderstanding all mixed together, but one fact turns up again and again, that the Laurel Crown of Illian has a new name: The Crown of Swords. And for some reason people always add that the storm is coming.

Master of the lightnings, rider on the storm, wearer of a crown of swords, spinner-out of fate. Who thinks he turns the Wheel of Time, may learn the truth too late.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the chapter that ate Schenectady. Good Lord but this thing was huge.

I seem to vaguely recall that this ending was one of the reasons many people were less than thrilled with ACOS. While I don’t agree that it was a book-killing flaw (I’ll explain why in a minute), I certainly grant that it doesn’t quite match the awesomeness of the endings of some of the other books, both before and after it. And I think this is mainly because of the, in my opinion, inexplicable ambiguity of the outcome of the climactic battle.

I’m just really not sure why Jordan wrote the climax in such a… well, an almost anticlimactic way. I say “anticlimactic” because there’s such a bizarre lack of closure to the whole sequence—which would have been fine, except that apparently Jordan didn’t do it that way on purpose.

For one thing, it’s a bit of a strange choice that after this protracted one-on-one battle, Rand didn’t even get to deliver the coup de grace to his enemy. I’m all for playing against expectations/subverting tropes, but having Rand get distracted and end up not only not delivering the killing blow, but not even getting to see his opponent die is just… weird.

And this is not even to mention the fact that it’s completely unclear from the incident that Sammael actually died. Which, again, would have been fine if ambiguity was what the author was going for, but as I recall Jordan never even attempted to be coy about it; when asked at signings, his quote on the matter was “Sammael is toast.” Mashadar killed him, end of story. Which, okay, but if the matter was never intended to be in doubt, why write it in such a way that 95% of the fans immediately assumed the whole thing was a fake?

While Rand’s reasoning on how Sammael could not possibly have escaped Mashadar without Rand knowing about it is (apparently) sound, the fact that we never saw a body is eleven thousand different kinds of warning bells to any remotely trope-savvy sf reader to suspect that Something Is Fishy. And I have to assume Jordan knew that, so… why?

The weirdest part to me was that Sammael had just been engulfed by this evil fog that is supposed to put its victims in agonizing pain—yet apparently, he never makes a sound. No cry of horror, no scream of pain, nothing.

This is even more fishy-warning-bell to me when you consider that we will inevitably be forced to contrast Sammael’s silence upon being Mashadared with the very non-silent example of Liah just moments before. I mean, I guess you can rationalize that he just didn’t have time to make any noise, but again, why make the rationalization necessary? Seriously, all it would have taken was to let the man have one scream, and the whole thing would have lost about nine-tenths of its ambiguity.

And lastly, of course, is that Jordan had, by this point, strewn just a few too many red herrings in his readers’ path for him to expect that we wouldn’t immediately jump all over even a mere vestige of narrative doubt and concoct wild conspiracy theories with it. Not that this is the author’s, um. Fault? Responsibility? I’m not sure what word I’m looking for here—but it certainly should be something to be taken into account if your intention is not to create a red herring in the first place.

*shrug* I dunno. Possibly I’m wrong; possibly Jordan did want there to be an element of doubt in Sammael’s death, and then later just decided he didn’t want it to be in doubt any more. That’s his prerogative. I think there were better ways this could have been accomplished than telling people at signings, though.

HOWEVER, all that being said, there is still plenty of awesome in this chapter, particularly the very end, when we finally see the foreshadowing established all the way back in TEOTW come to fruition: Rand goes royal. Whoot!

I loved this scene—everything except the last line, which I’ll get to in a moment. But everything else, from Bashere’s dry casualness (heh) to the surprising and refreshing gratitude of the Illianers, was great. After having everyone hate on him for so long, it was just cool to have at least one group of people be like You are actually kind of awesome, here, rule us. I mean, not that the honeymoon is going to last that long, given where Rand’s character arc is going to be headed soon, but it was awfully nice to have in the short term, at least.

Which brings us to the last line, when Rand goes and kills the buzz by actually buying into Dashiva’s James Cameron bullshit. “That had a good sound to it,” Rand? Really? Weren’t you the same guy who a couple of books ago said, and I quote:

Who would rule a nation when he could have easier work, such as carrying water uphill in a sieve?

Where’d all that common sense go, huh? Huh? I am not down with this megalomaniacal crap, young man!

…And yet, I have a whole book of it coming up to deal with, don’t I. Le sigh.

But, somewhat in that vein, this scene also contains what is for me one of the most vivid pieces of imagery in all the series, which I’ll quote again here for convenience:

Strips of grimy coatsleeve and pieces of shirtsleeve dangled as Rand reached to pick up the Laurel Crown. The Dragon wound around his forearm glittered in the lamplight as brightly as the golden crown.

It’s a little difficult to explain why this image struck me so strongly, but I think it’s because it’s almost like a visual representation of Rand’s entire journey as a character: a young man picks up a crown—usually the ultimate symbol of triumph and strength—yet he is already marked, with a symbol that shines just as brightly as the crown, and the tattered coat tells the tale of what he had to go through—and what he had to destroy—to get there. A crown and rags: victory and ruin, conquest and defeat, power and fragility, all contained in one person. It’s about as concise an image of the destructor/savior archetype that Rand embodies as I recall coming across in the whole series.

And that’s pretty darn cool, you guys.

Also, the imagery of the Crown of Swords itself is a thoroughly awesome hodge-podge of legendary and historical references, smashing together as it does the laurel wreath of the Olympic Games (a symbol of victory, and itself a reference to the Greekness of Illian’s fictional culture) with the crown of thorns worn by Jesus at the Crucifixion, which symbolic link I trust needs no explication. (This also, by the way, brings Rand’s stigmata stand-ins up to four out of five; five out of five if you decide the filament stabbing through Rand’s heel counts for the feet.)

Uh, what else. Oh, Moridin, and his demonstration of why crossing the streams is Bad. Important safety tip, thanks, Nae’blis!

The consequences of this incident are clearer than they used to be, but the causes and ultimate effects are still murky. I’m fairly certain, for one, that this event is what causes all of Rand’s later dizziness issues when using the Power, but I don’t think we ever get confirmation of whether Moridin is having similar or parallel issues with the TP. It would seem logical to suppose so, though.

And then there is the issue of the link between the two men (and the Very Very Bad places that seems to be leading). The whole “prohibition on killing Rand” thing initially made more sense to me since the revelation (or confirmation, really) we got in TGS of how Moridin and Rand are linked—especially since TGS made clear that what happens to one, happens at least to some degree to the other. We haven’t been told when exactly this link first formed, but the logical supposition is to assume that it started right here; we’ve also seen that this link has been growing stronger with time. Which would give Moridin a pretty strong incentive to keep Rand alive, right?

Of course, that also introduces a problem, in that the “don’t kill Rand” order has been in effect since long before this chapter, and in fact the whole reason Moridin even shows up here is to save Rand’s bacon. So if I’m right to assume the link started when Rand and Moridin crossed the streams here, that can’t be the reason behind the “don’t kill” order, or at least not the initial one. And also, we know by now that Moridin’s own personal survival is actually pretty low on his list of priorities.

The reason, then, is likely exactly what Moridin says here: that the Dark One has plans for Rand that, since they apparently don’t involve him dying, involve turning him to the Dark Side instead. In fact I seem to dimly recall Moridin (or was it Jordan, outside of the books?) saying that the Dragon turning to evil is the only way for the Shadow to actually really win; when the Dragon just dies, it’s only a stalemate, and then they have to do it all over again. However, I could just be hallucinating this; I’m kind of punchy right now.

I could also be wrong about the timing of the link, too; maybe the link was always there, somehow, from the moment Ishy was reincarnated, and this incident just made it worse, or screwed it up, or something. I’m not quite sure how this makes sense except in a very meta-karma-plotty-symmetry way, but I do recall that in our very first description of Moridin, one of the very first things the POV character (Moghedien) notes is his resemblance to Rand. COINCIDENCE?


So, in conclusion, dunno. Aren’t I helpful? Feel free to hug it out in the comments, though!

Couple more random notes:

Liah: Man, that sucks. I mean… yeah, no, that pretty much just sucks. I wonder what effect it would have had if Rand had been able to take a name off his list?

(Hopefully we’ll find out Real Soon Now! *jumps up and down*)

So, bye, Closest-thing-I-had-to-a-namesake-in-WOT! At least we know you were pretty badass to have survived in Shadar Logoth as long as you did!

Dashiva: Wow, could you be any more a Forsaken in disguise, man? If his puzzlement at wondering why Adley cared about Weiramon’s soldiers didn’t give it away, nothing would.

I have to wonder at his whole “King of the Woooooorld!” shoutage at the end, though. What was that, mockery? Or overplaying a role? You decide!

Bashere: That kingspenny sigil is wicked cool. That is all.

Cadsuane: okay, “hairless bottomcheeks” was pretty funny. Also, as usual, her acts that completely piss me off turn out to be the right thing to do, as Rand backs off from using balefire (well, once, anyway) because of her slap. Grumble.

Although, I don’t know if we’re supposed to regard Rand’s revelation that he is frightened of Cadsuane as a good thing or a bad thing. I think it’s a bad thing, of course, but then I would, because I don’t like Cadsuane, but in defense of my objectivity, people do stupid stupid things when they are scared. I’m just saying.

Hokay, there’s probably more in here I didn’t cover, but I am so very very done, so I will stop here.

And thus ends A Crown of Swords! Seven down, whoo!

So I guess I should pause here and ask myself: after recapping it, is it still my favorite book in the series?

Hm. Well, the by-necessity much slower pace of the re-read left me to conclude that ACOS is definitely more uneven as a whole than the novels that preceded it. And, as I said, the ending was not quite as snazzy as many of the other BAEs, either.

That being said, there is still no denying that ACOS contains my absolute favorite scene (thus far) of the entire series (Mat and Birgitte), and no few of my top favorites overall in addition (Elayne telling off Merilille, Nynaeve breaking her block, Mat fighting the gholam, Rand and Min getting it on, Rand’s coronation).

So, I think I’m actually going to hold off on a verdict, actually. Once this whole shebang is finished, I’ll look back on the series as a whole and see what I think. The answer might surprise us all.

But until then, I say Adieu, to you and you and you! Next up, The Path of Daggers! Dun! Laters!

Richard Fife
1. R.Fife
RE: Turning the Dragon for DO Victory.

It is possible that the DO needs the Dragon on his side (or in some way "on the black") as per these interesting thoughts on it from Theoryland including the chess-like game we see in the Intro of the next book:


But, as the article states, the "Dragon" has been turned to the shadow before, and all that happened was stalemate, not victory. My personal hypothesis that is more "hunch" than research is that the DO (or his champion) has to actually overcome the Dragon in the pivotal final battle, ie, Crushing Defeat. Perhaps all the past instances of the Dragon turning were more of what the world is kind of headed towards now that Cads is worried about, that is to say, if Angry-Bitter-Rand (tm) won TG, would it be any better than the DO winning?

Also, you have probably answered this somewhere else, but will I be seeing you at JordanCon this weekend? (yes I'm just rubbing in that I'm going to certain people)
Tina A
2. Tinaa
I would love to go to Jordancon, however large clouds of volcanic ash have destroyed any chance of that. To those that make it there, have fun!

Great post as always Leigh, you always manage to remind me of snippets I forgot...

(edit for spelling)
Brett Michie
3. bchurch
I don't have my copy of tEotW in front of me, but I seem to recall that when we witness trollocs being consumed by mashadar (or is it a fade and his horse?), that there isn't an audible scream, but one heard more in the mind. I know this contrasts with Liah as we see (hear) in this chapter, but perhaps that's due to the size of the small tendril that's touching her. Minor point, I know, but it could be why we didn't hear anything from Sammael.
4. KittyFood
Leigh, I think you've changed my mind on this book. I'd completely forgotten how many awesome scenes are in it.

Great job as always!
Nathan Martin
5. lerris
RJ said that Sammael is toast.

That doesn't mean we won't be seeing a Mashadar puppet in Sammael's form. A possible case of the reader knows something the Forsaken or other characters don't.
Dan Maus
6. UncleDan
The first time I read this book I didn't care for it. There seemed to be too many character arcs and not much getting accomplished. On later reads, however, it has become one of my favorites for many of the reasons you pointed out. What little seems to get accomplished are all significant points of plot advancement. Not to mention the plethora of CMOA. Thanks for the great work, Leigh, keep it up.
Noneo Yourbusiness
7. Longtimefan
re: the connection between Rand and Mordin.

Could it be that because they both landed a wounding blow in thier battle in the sky over Falme that the beginnings of a link may have been formed then? The battle was obviously more than just a person to person fight.
Steven Pattingale
8. Pattingale
Thanks for the Tuesday recappage! Mmmm good. I doubt the Rand-Mordi similarities are coincidence.
Lannis .
9. Lannis
Weiramon: GAH! Stupid is as stupid... yeah... :/

ACK! NO! Not the crossing of the streams!

While Rand’s reasoning on how Sammael could not possibly have escaped Mashadar without Rand knowing about it is (apparently) sound, the fact that we never saw a body is eleven thousand different kinds of warning bells to any remotely trope-savvy sf reader to suspect that Something Is Fishy.

While yes, the lack of body thing had me thinking there's something up, it was also the underlying fact that Rand thinks Sammael's dead that made me so sure Sammael wasn't. Back to that circular theme of undermining what characters think... there are no absolutes and dammit, if somebody in WoT thinks something's certain (ie: stilling isn't Healable), it sure as hell ain't... just sayin'...

Thanks Leigh! Have a great weekend! If it includes Jordancon, well, .

R.Fife @ 1: Hoping you'll be sharing your Jordancon adventures with us... don't forget to pack your shawl. ;)
James Jones
10. jamesedjones
I hate to ask this... but, will there be a delay in re-read posts like last year during JordanCon?
11. Lsana
I didn't like the conclusion of this book for one simple reason: Mat should have been there. We have an epic battle going on here, so why is WOT's best general under a wall rather than on the front lines? Not having him here is a little bit liking having a giant confrontation between the wolves and the darkhounds with Elyas leading the wolves and Perrin nowhere to be seen.

The ambiguity with Sammael's death was weird. It would have been easy to get rid of it: have Rand hear a scream, have him feel Sammy try to grab Saidin and fail. Or alternatively, do something with the ambiguity: either the standard of "Sammy is alive and escaped via the TP," or the Mad-Eye Moody theory of removing the ambiguity in some particularly shocking way. Perhaps have someone find...something during the Cleansing, or maybe have Fain taunt the other Forsaken about it.

As far as the book overall goes, it is definitely uneven, though honestly I feel like the last one that wasn't uneven was Dragon Reborn. In every one since then, there were chapters that I loved from the first sentence and chapters that made me think, "Not this again!" It is really just the distance between them that has increased. The chapters I disliked in Shadow Rising were more of the "Y'know, Elayne and Nynaeve among the Sea Folk just aren't as interesting as Rand and Mat in Rhuidean" variety. Now they are more like Leigh's lovely description: "Sevanna is annoying. And has a cube."
Roger Powell
12. forkroot
If there's one thing that bugs me during a re-read it is the realization that I was totally blind to Dashiva when Jordan had made it painfully obvious he was some sort of Forsaken in disguise. If I could miss something as obvious as that, what hope do I have to unravel plot threads with subtler cues? ::sighs::
13. Megaduck
"Of course, that also introduces a problem, in that the “don’t kill Rand” order has been in effect since long before this chapter, and in fact the whole reason Moridin even shows up here is to save Rand’s bacon."

Since I read TGS I've always assumed that the shadows ultimate plan was to get Rand to the top of Dragonmount, so filled with rage, despair, and hatred, that he destroys the world. That would have been the DO's victory and the breaking of the wheel for all time.

That's why at the end of LOC the DO is laughing so hard when Damadrad asks if he did well. He did. The plan was never to capture Rand. It was to stick him in the box and give him pain and despair. That's why Damadrad send Taim to rescue Rand at the end.

(Dumani Wells, not a Phyric Victory but a big honking win for the shadow.)
14. BenM
re Liah: How did she get stuck there? Couldn't she just find an exit to the city and leave? I've always wondered what happened to her. Apparently she got knocked unconscious or something. She didn't seem to have any old injuries or anything, from what little RJ told us in this book.

re Sammy: I think he just had so much mashadar crash down on him so fast that he never had a chance to scream before he was completely covered.

By the way, how strange that Liah survives Mashadar all this time, and just now it gets her. That's ta'veren for you, I guess.
Bonnie Andrews
15. misfortuona
Another book DUN. Thank you Leigh, you continue to be the first of many reasons that I find myself returning here daily, almost, to immerse in the wonder of RJ's world. The other reasons are the crowds of crazy and inciteful people who hang out here.

I only noticed one thing new this time through. Rand and Moridin were still holding hands when they used the balefire. It makes me wonder it that contact enhanced the apparent connection between them, or if the fact that they were in contact actually saved the pair of them from being destroyed by the crossing of the weaves, not that it couldn't have done both.

As for the anti-clamactic ending of this book, it didn't bother me as much as it might have. I always figured that this simply reflected one of the truths of war. Sometimes with long distance warfare we can't have the luxury, of having a body, or a smoking gun to wrap things up nice and tidy for us.

To everyone who is going to JordanCon,(luckysoandsosgettogoandIdon't) I hope you have a wonderful time, ask questions, take pictures, and take notes so that the rest of us can enjoy it vicariously and belatedly through you.


EDIT Appreciate the Sound of Music reference
16. Lsana
@14 BenM,

I wondered that too about Liah. My best guess is that the city had corrupted her to the point where she didn't want to leave.
Janet Hopkins
17. JanDSedai
So Rand gets out of his sickbed and takes Illian and destroys Sammael--the same day! How Awesome can you get!

As for missing the Dashiva clues; IIRC we were debating the Taimandred theory so hard, other stuff fell by the wayside. Yeah, I thought he was creepy, but just in passing.

And the Crossing of the Beams-- so important in retrospect, but just something that happens when you first see it. I like that RJ doesn't cluebat us to death saying "this is important- take notes".
Tony Zbaraschuk
18. tonyz
The thing that made me think Sammael was alive was Rand's certainty that he would have felt Sammy using saidin to get away, when (a) we know about the TP, and (b)Rand and we have just seen Moridin get away without Rand sensing saidin.

On the other hand, we certainly haven't seen Sammael any time since, so he probably is toast. But maybe we'll see him again (it took the Dark One six books to bring back the first pair of Forsaken killed, after all.)
19. alreadymadwithlastchapter
Agree on the cover, Leigh. My copy has the same cover as yours, and I definitely like it better than that one up top. (It's also falling apart, but I understand that's a common issue with these books.)
As for Sammael not screaming, we've already seen several examples of men holding Saidin being able to hold up against extreme amounts of pain. Rahvin, managed to hold on when he was on fire, Eben held on while he was dying. Perhaps Sammael is not that much different. Then again, considering sensations are supposed to be magnified, I don't see why they should be able to. Even with the Oneness.
Leigh Butler
20. leighdb
R. Fife @ 1:

Unfortunately, no, I will not be attending JordanCon this year.
Barry T
21. blindillusion
Hmm. RE: Rand's taking of the Crown...

Well, Leigh, while your re-cap of it does make it pretty awesome symbolically, I have to say this is one of the, if not the, main reasons I dislike aCoS. The first time I read about Rand taking the Crown I thought, “No. Please tell me he didn’t just do that.” And it’s a thought I continue to have. Rand is the Dragon Reborn and taking the crown of any country simply seems to make him less, not more.
Strips of grimy coatsleeve and pieces of shirtsleeve dangled as Rand reached to pick up the Laurel Crown. The Dragon wound around his forearm glittered in the lamplight as brightly as the golden crown.
It’s a little difficult to explain why this image struck me so strongly, but I think it’s because it’s almost like a visual representation of Rand’s entire journey as a character: a young man picks up a crown—usually the ultimate symbol of triumph and strength—yet he is already marked, with a symbol that shines just as brightly as the crown, and the tattered coat tells the tale of what he had to go through—and what he had to destroy—to get there. A crown and rags: victory and ruin, conquest and defeat, power and fragility, all contained in one person. It’s about as concise an image of the destructor/savior archetype that Rand embodies as I recall coming across in the whole series.
Very cool, Leigh. And the reason I keep coming back to read your words. But the part in bold there pretty much, AFAIC, establishes the bases for my argument that Rand taking a crown isn’t MOA.

And, of course, this chapter also gives us what was, for quite some time, THE WORST FREAKING THING TO HAPPEN TO OUR BOY!!! (This was dethroned by Rand’s channeling of the True Power, but if upon first reading that you didn’t think, “Oh, Shit. This is bad,” then…well…you weren’t paying attention.) And that it happens pretty much directly on the heels of Rand acquiring his second Never-To-Heal-Wound only makes it that much worse. I.e., this would be the point in the series where I started to wonder just how much more Mr Jordan could put on his hero before the man simply broke…and the only question…which way would he break?

We’ve somewhat been given the answer to this, and things appear to be on the up-and-up, but then again, while the saying is, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn,” and it appears that the dawn has finally shown up for Rand…one has to wonder…what if it was a false dawn…. (I’ve never physically thrown a book across a room before, but sheesh, if Rand has much more Next Level Wicked Punishment to go through, I might just be tempted to do so. I mean…the guy still has to DIE for Pete’s sake.)

And, le sigh. On a lighter note…there’s this for those who want a picture of the Streams Crossing:

edit: Opps. Put the end of the code behind the wrong crown....
Bill Reamy
22. BillinHI
Yay! An early-enough re-read post that I am not hopelessly behind in the commenting.

I also totally missed that Dashiva was a Forsaken in disguise, but obviously I am not alone.

On Sammael: Since he was _not_ killed by balefire, is it possible that the DO could reincarnate him at a later date? Like just before Tarmon Gai'don? I know RJ said he was toast, but did he ever rule out the possibility of rebodying?
Tina A
23. Tinaa
Oh Blind @21... This is bad...

Once again, my laptop is blasted with liquid. I'm choking on the floor with pepsi coming out of my nose, and the hubby once again thinks I need to be committed.

Thank you Blind. I needed a giggle today...

[i] edit to change basted to blasted, still chortling...
Roger Powell
24. forkroot
Rand stares, thinking that no one had actually offered him a crown before, and asks if Mattin Stepaneos is so willing to give up his throne; Gregorin answers that Mattin disappeared two days ago, and they think Brend might have had something to do with it.
Ironically Brend (Sammael) had nothing to do with it. We find out later Mattin Stepaneos was an involuntary "guest" of the White Tower.

His real disappearing act occurs in TGS when he is never mentioned despite a lot of action in Tar Valon. Perhaps BWS will pick up his thread in ToM. Egwene could send him to Rand who could do something similar to what he did with Darlin, i.e.. "take this crown, please! (and swear fealty until TG is done.)"
Marcus W
25. toryx
Overall, my feelings on aCoS is entirely influenced by the ending. It has a lot of my favorite scenes too, and I grinned and laughed with glee quite often on the first read. But the ending just crushed the joy out of me a little.

Little did I know, when I first read it years ago, that the joy would be gone for quite a while. In that sense, the ending fit the next two books really well.

Mainly, the ambivalence of Sammael's death was just so anti-climatic for me that I couldn't feel any satisfaction. It was like having a really good pie, enjoying every bite until the last one where something rotten resided.

I'm also really not a big fan of Moridin coming and saving Rand's bacon at the last moment. I understand the reasons, particularly given all that has come sense, but it's definitely a writer choice that I don't approve of.

Lannis @ 9:
While yes, the lack of body thing had me thinking there's something up, it was also the underlying fact that Rand thinks Sammael's dead that made me so sure Sammael wasn't.

That was precisely my position at the time the book was first published. The whole unreliability of the characters perspective is usually something that can be absolutely relied upon.

forkroot @ 12:

I totally missed Darshiva's obvious forsakenness too. On the other hand, when aCoS first came out, I didn't do a re-read of the previous books so I had a really hard time keeping all the Ashaman straight and didn't really know one from the other.

Megaduck @ 13:

The Shadow's plan being the Dragon Reborn's utter despair to the point of destroying everything makes a lot of sense to me. I'm not sure if I'm convinced it was that but I certainly think there's a real possibility.
April Vrugtman
26. dwndrgn
Just had to say that I nearly spewed water all over my computer screen when I read your "Roid Rage Rand (with Kung-Fu Grip)". Not only funny but terribly apt. That image of Rand is A)nothing like the character described, B)nothing like the ones on the covers that came before, C)is in an odd pose for any person period and D)contrasts too much with the scenery.

*snicker kungfugrip snicker*
27. Alfvaen
My son pointed out that the last line of the last chapter should be "There are neither beginnings nor endings in the Wheel of Time, but this is [i]an[i] ending."

I added that it should be followed by a 300-page epilogue showing what happened to all the minor characters.

I think the first time I saw that cover of ACoS was in the BBoBA, actually. Apparently I wasn't paying attention to the hardcovers at the time. (Winter's Heart as the first one I read in hardcover, from the library, and Crossroads of Twilight the first one I actually bought in HC.)
Matthew Smith
28. blocksmith

Once again, great re-read. Love the Ghostbusters reference. Cause it would be bad. And because of Patriots Day in Mass, it's like have a Monday re-read, which is cool, because, we don't get those anymore. That is not a complaint!


I do not like this ending. Let me count the reasons.

One...yes. I agree with you completely. The non-closure on Sammael, RJ statement aside, was ANTI-climactic.

Two...Rand's coronation. This whole time Rand's position has vacillitated between hating that rulers won't listen and expressing over and over how much he is not taking over countries as a ruler himself (Andor, Cairhien, Tear). So the whole thing seems out of character.

I suspect and believe that this was a foreshadowing what Rand starts to become in succeeding novels...but I still did not like it.

Being honest, closure on Liah...not expected. The Stranger being Moridin...did not connect those dots until Later, even with the statement that Rand did not detect Saidin. To be honest, I thought it was some other trans-migration thing of female channeler in a male body. Dashiva being forsaken...I hadn't made that full leap yet, but I was preparing to.

On the wild reverbation...

In retrospect, now knowing this is Moridin, I firmly believe that the connection was established when the like-weaves of balefire from two different sources (saidin vs. TP) "touched". Complete conjecture, I suspect that the connection was established in the Pattern due to the nature of balefire and that two identical weaves (of differing source) tried to exist in one place at the same time. Imagine two baseballs thrown at each other with the exact same force and trajectory, but instead of ricocheting off, they become one and occupy the only the same volume as one of the original two...not possible without a change in the relative density of the material. Anyway, just an idea.

Edit for grammar correction
Janet Hopkins
29. JanDSedai
re: Misfortuona @15
Whaddya mean, "inciteful"?! This blog has the nicest people of any WOT site! And we almost never incite trouble just for the sake of dissention...
Oh. you meant "insightful"...
Raul Gallegos
30. Master_Asmodean
RE Cadsuane. Personally she annoys me for the way she treats Rand, but I can sort of see where she's coming from. In many ways, she reminds me of how Bashere is not afraid of Rand. Of course Bashere at least treats Rand better in a lot of ways. RE Liah. She was always one of my favs even though she didn't have a lot of character development. It's too bad that she had to go the way she did. I would have liked seeing more interaction between her and Aviendha. RE favorite WoT book. It's difficult to decide which one is my personal fav. I'm undecided because they all have things which stand out for different reasons. TFoH, ACoS, and WH because Rand having his 3 women. TSR because of learning the Aiel history. And the list goes on. I guess if I had to stack the books with my least fav at the bottom, CoT and TPoD would be toward the bottom. I don't have a specific reason, but they just didn't do it much for me. However even those 2 have their good moments.
Roger Powell
31. forkroot
Sounds like Misfortuona "incited" you! :-)
Matthew Smith
32. blocksmith

Your post makes me take the events of TGS a step further...I will try to reduce spoiler info AMAP.

Assuming the connection between Moridin and Rand was established here, do you think this connection was intended by the DO. Subsequent novels state Moridins viewpoint that the connection was not something he was enjoying...I'll take the leap that it he did not believe it was intended. However, most agree that the events with Semi that forced Rand to take...unique...actions to extricate himself from the situation were intended.

But, most agree that the connection was necessary for this to occur. Perhaps even my conjecture above at 28 can be further explained that the change in relative density provided Rand with the required permission, in a way.
Andrew Belmont
33. rosetintdworld
Thanks, Leigh. Your "analysis" of the cover made me laugh maniacally, and your discussion of the imagery was great too.

As I said last time, Sammael's ending was one of the things I really didn't like about this book. And speaking of "how ambiguous can you possibly get?", I'm surprised no one has mentioned the as-yet-unresolved plot twist from KoD, where Moridin tells Aran'gar that Sammael is still alive ("or someone wants us to think he is..." Dun?), and then nobody ever mentions it again. Really can't see where that one is going.

I think Leigh mentioned this in her re-read on Book 4, but I love that the order to ship grain to Illian comes back here. A perfect example of how great Jordan is at wrapping little details back in, regardless of how his plots sometimes explode.

The passage Leigh quotes about Padan Fain making all of Rand's carefully laid plans moot: a perfect example of how PF's chaos subverts plot tropes in interesting and well thought-out ways, or a shoddy justification of a tacked-on ending? I really can't decide.

I realize I've been kind of negative about CoS recently, and feel the need to reiterate that I love the Bowl plotline, especially Swovan Night, First Cup, and Mashiara. It's just the Rand bits I find jarring.
34. Matttt
Personal Theory that no-one believes :-)

- Sammael is toast, he is now Mazrim Taim, the Forsaken previously known as Sammael. (He organized a body swap and has been using Mask of Mirrors to appear as Sammael over the past two books).

Sammael always hinted that he had a trick up his sleeve, this would be a doozy.
35. sizzlerspack33
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the chapter that ate Schenectady." Having grown up 10 minutes from Schenectady, I had a nice laugh at your opening commentary. This chapter is wholly god long!!!
Richard Chapling
36. Chappers
Imagine two baseballs

What, like the Banach-Tarski Paradox?

So Taim means "toast" in the OT... it all makes sense now...
Luke M
37. lmelior
Hey, those red filaments, are those the Arrows of Fire from KoD?

Well I must say that I enjoyed ACoS a great deal more with the re-read helping me along than I did on my own. I must admit I didn't look forward to each new post as much as I had in the past, but there were other factors involved in that I think.

Anyway, thank you very much, Leigh!
Marcus W
38. toryx
Re: Cadsuane.

Proponents of Cadsuane keep pointing out the following quote as proof that she's actually accomplishing something.

Someone else’s cheek stung from a remembered slap, and Cadsuane’s voice hissed and crackled in his head like the holes the red filaments had made. Never again, boy; you will never do that again. It seemed that he heard Lews Therin whimpering in distant fear of what he was about to loose, what had almost destroyed the world once.

In rebuttal, I'd like to point out how quickly he goes right back to using balefire in the following scenes. He doesn't give Cadsuane a thought just before crossing the streams, and he's all for using it to destroy Sammael before he uses it on Liah instead. Real effective lesson there.

Re: Rand accepting the crown.

That bothered me too and I even considered whether or not this is a sign of the connection between Rand and Moridin but when I examined ACoS more closely, I realized that almost all of Rand's scenes were examples of the progression in his rising arrogance. The most blatant moments are when he starts saying and shouting, "I am the Dragon Reborn!" Given all that, Rand's acceptance of the crown seems like a natural next step in his that progression.
Chin Bawambi
39. bawambi
I guess I'm in the extreme minority in that I liked the ending of this book. Sammael always struck me as a fool so being caught unawares by the Shadar Logoth fog seems perfect to me and I like the fact that crossing the streams/Rand putting on the crown is the beginning of dark Rand.

Just a note from previous discussions about Black Ajah - I would think that Alvarin (sp?) has earned the right to be called Chosen.
Brian Kaul
40. bkaul
That doesn't mean we won't be seeing a Mashadar puppet in Sammael's form. A possible case of the reader knows something the Forsaken or other characters don't.

I would think the giant pile of taint that Rand buried SL with at the Cleansing has eliminated any possibility of even a surviving puppet.
41. birgit
He always liked destroying a man in sight of one of that man’s triumphs, if he could. Lacking that, somewhere the man had marked as his would do.”
“The Waygate,” Rand said slowly. If he could be said to have marked anything in Shadar Logoth, it had to be the Waygate.
He could also see the trap he had woven around the Waygate, inverted so no eye but his could see it.

How does Sammy (or Moridin) know that Rand has anything to do with the Waygate?

I don't have my copy of tEotW in front of me, but I seem to recall that when we witness trollocs being consumed by mashadar (or is it a fade and his horse?), that there isn't an audible scream, but one heard more in the mind.

The thickening tentacles of fog swung uncertainly for a moment, then struck like vipers. At least two latched to each Trolloc, bathing them in gray light; muzzled heads went back to scream, but fog rolled over open mouths, and in, eating the howls. Four leg-thick tentacles whipped around the Fade, and the Halfman and its black horse twitched as if dancing, till the cowl fell back, baring that pale, eyeless face. The Fade shrieked.
There was no sound from that cry, any more than from the Trollocs, but something came through, a piercing whine just beyond hearing, like all the hornets of the world, digging into Rand's ears with all the fear that could exist. Cloud convulsed, as if he, too, heard, and ran harder than ever.

TEotW ch. 20
Matthew Smith
42. blocksmith

Never heard of it before, but interesting link. I was thinking more of the Law of Conservation of Matter...but with metaphysical implications. Or maybe the Law of Conservation of Energy...with same.
43. Freelancer
Hi Leigh,

Yeap, gotta concur on the ambiguity. This was the last "current" book out when I first discovered the series, and I read them all while at sea in about 6 weeks. So getting to "King of the world!", reacting as you did that Rand of all people should know better than to suck up the positive reviews, then having to wait for the next volume, none of that was wonderful. But enough of the story had been spread out before us by then that there's no way I was going to stop.

And, GhostBuster's reference slipped in there as well as Sound of Music.

RE: Cover art. Indeed, Rand is fit and muscular, but no way he's that buff. Especially at a theoretical 6'6", that much muscle mass would have him in the 275 pound range. Now let's see Darlin tote him up a hill.


Ishamael does tell Rand that Lews Therin had been turned in past incarnations, but later on Rand refutes it, says he now knows that he NEVER surrendered to the shadow. It isn't like Ishamael always told Rand the complete truth.


An epic battle? A dramatic entrance, a brief One Power shootout in Illian, then a sequqnce of craziness in Shadar Logoth. Bashere's men did almost nothing of significance except ride into the town looking sharp. Mat would have had no place in this fight.


Nah, you're too harsh on yourself. Dashiva was presented as unstable from Jump Street, so those "improper" responses could have easily been interpreted as a psychosis or incipient taint-madness, rather than evidence of his forsakenness. Yes, there were plenty of clues, but he'd been with the story for a fair bit before I considered that he was the very plant Rand had warned Taim about. (It was a tricky bit that he first see Dashiva just after Rand makes that statement)


As others have said, my supposition was always that the Shadar Logoth itself infected Liah with its paranoia/selfishness, which explained her very possessive attitude about the place.

[quote]The other reasons are the crowds of crazy and [b][u]inciteful[/u] people who hang out here.
Guilty! (I'm thinking you meant insightful, but this is SO much more true.)


Not where I can hunt down quotes today, but I'm pretty sure that RJ later amplified the "Sammael is toast" directive to include "He's not coming back", because of the plethora of questions about how and whether the DO would "rebody" him. Anyone got help on that one, or am I blowing smoke?
44. aspeo
Hello all! I've been lurking here for a long time, and haven't really ever had anything to add that wasn't already more succinctly discussed.
Seeing as its early on in this discussion I thought I would add a thought I had about Rand in this chapter.

What if Rand's seeming arrogance at the end of the chapter came from a kind of adrenaline high after launching a successive military operation against a supposed military genius in Sammael? He could barely stand at the opening of the chapter, but ended up killing a forsaken and being crowned a king by the end. I don't know about you all, but if I went through all of that, and then had the city leaders freely come up to me to offer control of the city after having to deal with all the backstabbing in the other cities; I would have been pretty relieved and more apt to bask in the thought too.
Also he didn't start the cheers, or encourage them. It was probably a whirlwind to Rand as much as anything.

Anyways that's my introductory WOT :P I hope they weren't too off-course!
45. Subbak
The scene in Shadar Logoth pissed me off greatly when I read it. I immediately called a friend who had already read the following books and said to him "please tell me that Sammael is alive, because he is way to cool to go in such an anticlimactic way". Also, Rand going all No One Could Survive That was fishy.

Another thing that pissed me in this scene is the Idiot Ball Rand is holding to very tight. Couldn't he just balefire the Mashadar tendril if he wanted Liah to live?
I guess the fact that she was deeply affected by SL hate plague makes it pointless in the end, but, hey, they could cure Mat, maybe it could have worked for Liah.
At least Rand never came to realizing it, otherwise he'd have gone more angsty about killing women again...
Richard Fife
46. R.Fife
@43 Freelancer
Crossroads of Twilight book tour 20 January 2003 - Dayton, OH

Q: (inaudible)
RJ: Yes, the Champion of the Light has gone over in the past. This is a game you have to win every time. Or rather, that you can only lose once--you can stay in if you get a draw. Think of a tournament with single elimination. If you lose once, that's it. In the past, when the Champion of the Light has gone over to the Shadow, the result has been a draw.

Rand had just gone through his Portal Stone trip in tGH, and he is more speaking that in all the possible current lives, he will not join the DO.
Barry T
47. blindillusion
Per Mr Jordan

– Sammael was a dead as of the end of aCoS. He felt the character was a “louse” and didn’t deserve a dramatic death a la Rahvin or Be’lal. He deserved a very vague death and was killed by something he didn’t pay attention to.

– Sammael is dead. He is dead. He is dead. He may be reborn, but then he will not remember he was Sammael. He cannot be reincarnated. He is dead.

– Mashadar killed Sammael. Sammael is toast.

~As for the Dragon persona falling to the Shadow and whether Ishamael was lying or telling the truth. Mr Jordan answered in two ways:

1st – Was Ishamael lying when he told Rand that the hero of the Light had turned to the Shadow in other lifetimes?

RJ – Now, he was not. Even those who lie sometimes tell the truth when it serves their purposes.

2nd – Ishamael mentions in prior Turnings of the Wheel that the soul of Lews Therin was raised up as the Shadow’s champion, and if that is the case, who was the champion of the Creator?

RJ – You believe Ishamael??? Sorry, man, c’mon!

edit: Opps, I forgot about that one R.Fife. It would appear he answered in 3 ways...or maybe more.... I had to look those up on my phone, which was rather annoying.
Roger Powell
48. forkroot
Good point about Rand's state of mind. Let me be the first to welcome you. Please post some more.

I think Rand balefired Liah because it was already too late (Mashadar had got her). The balefire set that event back in time enough to eliminate her suffering (also eliminating her.)

EDIT: Should have stated the implied assumption that you've have to balefire all of Mashadar (not just a tendril) to reverse what it might have caused recently.
Dan Maus
49. UncleDan
re: missing the Dashiva = Forsaken clues. On my last read thru I started to wonder if the reason Jordan laid so many false trails hinting that Taim was Domadrid was so people would miss the subtler hints at who the real forsaken was.
50. birgit
"I'd like to be a king," Rand was saying. "That's what I'd like to be." He flourished his arm and made an awkward bow, laughing to show that he was joking. A good thing, too. Egwene grimaced. A king!
"A king of sheep!" Mat hooted.

Ravens Prologue of From the Two Rivers

Robert Jordan chats about his 'Wheel of Time' series December 12, 2000

Question from Arsolos: It has been reported that you have confirmed that Sammael died at the end of Crown of Swords. Could you confirm that you have said this and elaborate on whether Rand was correct?

Robert Jordan: Mashadar killed Sammael. Sammael is toast!
Roger Powell
51. forkroot

Robert Jordan: Mashadar killed Sammael. Sammael is toast!

IMNSHO, death by Mashadar was what that toad deserved for scattering the Shaido and thus enabling the plot arc from hell.
James Jones
52. jamesedjones
48 forkroot
I think Rand balefired Liah because it was already too late (Mashadar had got her).
Or she looked like a spambot. :P
James Hogan
53. Sonofthunder
Just to go against the grain...I loved the ending here. Partly because I totally wasn't expecting Rand to just get up from his deathbed and go dominate a Forsaken and take over a country in two hours. And to be honest, I thought it was sort of cool that he got the crown...finally, he actually gets to take over a country relatively easily, with the crown actually handed to him! He IS the Dragon Reborn after all! I did think that Sammael was coming back though...but since I read these books for the first time less than two years ago, I was able to go straight from the end of this to PoD. Which saw Rand begin to fall apart...

All in all, this isn't my favorite book, but it does have some amazing moments in it, so it's definitely not my least favorite either. That award probably has to go to WH or CoT. In my mind, as ambiguous as the death of Sammael was, the "invasaion" and "conquering" of Illian was enough to satisfy my desire for an epic ending.

Thanks for getting us through another book, Leigh!! You're awesome!!!!
54. JekWindu
Great job on the recap as always. I can't wait to see your thoughts on TPoD and WH.

About the last line: You mentioned earlier that in light of TGS it's clear that Rand's issues with women were a defense mechanism to help keep him sane. Therein lies the answer to his shift in character from reluctant leader to Tall Napoleon. He was so hurt by the loss of Liah (a bright spot of hope ripped away in a rather brutal fashion by his own hand) In keeping with his defense mechanism, he threw himself wholeheartedly into his victory and the fact of his power.
diane heath
55. jadelollipop
Reading the comments about the crossing of the streams made me think of the song "Islands in the Stream" lol
Re: Liah I do think the taint of SL caused the "Mine Mine" response but did she regain a sense of her self when she recognized Rand? Crying out about the Caracarn and running way wailing. Shame for failing him? Fear?
Yeah Rand up from sickbed and got a lot done but Mat
MOA better. Am in book 3 now and read about the quarterstaff vs swords yesterday. :)
I know I missed Dashiva as Forsaken the first time through and I also wondered if Sammael would return.
Does the resonance between Rand's 2nd wound and SL protect him in a way? Not sure if that is right word. It did not seem to hinder him. Would Rand's wounds fighting each other be equivalent to Fain as a whole?
Lucas Vollmer
56. aspeo
I agree with sonofthunder about the battle of Illian. It was an amazing piece of strategy to blanket the city in weaves of saidin so all of the wards Sammael had set would all go off at once. It masterfully backed Sammael into a corner, and the only choice he had was to run. But his ancient hatred of LTT caused him to want to keep fighting to the end. Not only had this supposed "upstart sheepherder" out-maneuvered him, Sammael had lost his base of operations.

I think his natural aggression and anger caused him to try to make Rand follow him to a battleground where he(sammael) was less likely to get blown away by a random Asha'man. Unfortunately for him, Moridin and the DO had other plans for Rand and weren't going to let him die that day.

(I wonder what sammy would have thought about being double-crossed by his own team to save his mortal enemy??? Maybe rethought some of those supposed slights the light-side had given him) ;)

I do wish the final scene of Sammael's death had been written explicitly, so there wasn't all the ambiguity for all of us devoted readers.
Jennifer B
57. JennB
I like the ending. It actually makes alot more sense to me than the endings of several of the previous books. I like that the action isn't confusing. The ambiguity is just part of the story. I always figured RJ could have Sammael be dead or not and either way would not bother me.

I don't think I had any clue who Dashiva was until the reveal. That isn't a bad thing. It just makes the rereads more fun because then you get to pick out the little details RJ put in that went over your head the first time.

So Schenectady is a place? Glad you elaborated on that because I had no clue.

re Rand's "lesson" about using balefire:
Sorry but balefire is a good thing when taking out Forsaken. This is not a lesson he needs to learn.

forkroot@48 Subbak@45
Don't forget that balefire only reverses the actions of living creatures such as humans, darkhounds, etc. Balefiring Mashadar will not reverse what it has done. Liah would still have suffered a horrible death. Balefiring Liah makes it so she doesn't experience the pain before she dies.

The only WOT book that I do not like is CoT. I noticed in my last reread that it took me at least twice as long to get through that one as any of the others. It was a real slog. I also remember being very angry on my first read about how the first half of the book is wasted by repeating the end of WH over and over from different perspectives. The cliffhanger ending also drove me nuts.

edited to add:
Balefire needs a soul to work on otherwise it does not affect the pattern. We know that in WOT, humans have souls, wolves have souls and their twisted counterparts trollocs and darkhounds have souls. I do not know if RJ meant other creatures to have souls or not.
kevin smith
58. WoTaBoOk
Bawambi @39

I have always considered Alvarin's mark givin to her by SH as a mark of the chosen. IIRC this mark gives them awareness of DF.
Captain Hammer
59. Randalator
re: no kill order

That has never puzzled me at all. It's stated in the books and by RJ himself IIRC that prophecy just "sets the stage" in a manner of speaking. It's not a guaranteed win, Rand can still lose even if he fulfills every single prerequisite.

But for the whole Wheel breaking thing the DO needs the Dragon Reborn present. No Dragon, no broken Wheel. That's why he's not to be killed. The attempts to turn him to the Shadow are just to facilitate matters once he is where he's needed. It's easier to achieve your goals when the Light's champion fights on your side, after all.

Killing Rand is just a last resort if he's too close to actually winning. If he becomes too dangerous he must be killed and the DO will have to wait an age or more until the next chance comes around. Moridin and the DO know that and act accordingly.

It's just that the other Forsaken and minions don't know about that. They'd be pretty pissed to learn that they might not see the DO break free, that they are dispensable and that Ishy/Moridin is the only one following along through the ages in all his incarnations as the designated Nae'blis. That's why they're not told and why they don't understand the no kill order...
Tricia Irish
60. Tektonica
Thanks Leigh. Great reread, as usual. Loved that Schenectady was mentioned...my husband was born there...how very important....just sayin'...

And Roid Rage Rand....yeah...the people in all these old covers are out of proportion and strange. Did the artist read the books? What's with the sleeveless shirt/vest thingy? Nasty. Way too embarrassing to carry around, but that's an old rant of mine.

I too expected Sammy to reappear, but am glad he didn't. Another one down. It would've been very simple to have let Rand see him being consumed by Mashadar though, and very satisfying for us. :-(

Poor Liah....Rand did her a service, even though it went against all he held dear. It was definitely the humane thing to do. I don't think it put him over the edge there at the end.

The crowning didn't bother me either....It was the first country ever "offered" to him, and almost gratefully. And of course the crown of thorns reference was way obvious. I mean he is the King of Kings, really. My guess is he gives it back to Matin Stepaneos when/if he reappears. (Odd he wasn't mentioned in the Tower debacle of tGS.)

Did not cotton to Dashiva the first time through either....I thought something was up with him, but at this time, I was convinced that Taim = Demandred. And I certainly didn't think two FS would be battling for the BT territory. I've been shown the error of my ways however!

All in all, I liked this book better than I did in the past, due no doubt to your reread, Leigh and the "inciteful" (thanks Mis) debates here! This really enhances the experience. Now, I'm encouraged that I'll be able to stand the next couple of books and the Plot that Won't Die. More later....
Eric Hughes
61. CireNaes
Jadelollipop @55

Liah ran off because she had just killed unveiled in front of the Chief of chiefs. This would be a big no no culturally speaking and deeply shaming. It was this action that snapped her out of her Mashadar crazy from having spent too long in Shadar Logoth.
Unfortunately, it was also so shaming that she couldn't stand to let Rand see her again. At least, that's my take on it.
john massey
62. subwoofer
Ahhhh- fresh post! And sooo much to say:)

Loved this chapter, yes, it did not end on the high note and was not decisive but I got a good feel for it.

I suppose the nod to Ghost Busters was appropriate, but every time I read this I expect Captain Planet to fly out from the balefire "by your power's combined..." or Rand and Moridin to shout "Wonder Twin's powers- activate"... I dunno, maybe its just me.

Liah- Bloody shame that. I get that even by using balefire on the big cloudy thingy it would not totally kill it, and if it stays alive then Liah still bites it. Hard choice, but Rand took the shot. It also shows the level of honor ingrained into Aiel as a culture and as a person. They live ji'e'toh, it is who they are. So even Liah, messed up by the city that is Aridhol, sees the Car’a’carn she recalls who she is and that Rand is the only lost son of a Maiden to return. That whole bit with her was very powerful to me. And it really reinforced that there is no way a whole sept/society/clan would abandon ji'e'toh.

Aridhol- well, that city is just a tragedy for Rand. Knowing what we do, it makes sense when Rand turns the whole city into a parking lot. At this point in the series I was scratching my head wondering why Rand did not do that here. Look at it, the city buggers up Mat. It takes Fain to the next level of stalkerish Amway salesperson. Rand gets another festering wound from the stinkin' dagger, AND Liah. Napalm from on high- scorched earth policy comes to my mind.

Loved this book because Lan and Nynaeve finally come together as a couple. Lan can finally stop some of his hairy-chested drivel. But he is still bags of awesome.

Thank you Leigh for taking this on for us:)

As far as JordanCon, I'd rather not know. It's like finding the winning lotto ticket in your pocket after it expired. I am just better off sticking my head in the sand. There is no such thing as living vicariously in this scenario. Your brother goes on the mother of all vacations to Tahiti or something and all you get was a stinkin' t-shirt. Just doesn't cut it. Lalalalala...

john massey
63. subwoofer
Oh yeah, Bashere- the guy reeks of cool. I want to have a word with him on how he gets his very opinionated and spirited wife to give over without an argument. That would be like winning the lottery.

Thomas Keith
64. insectoid
Sorry I'm late to the party. (Have been up to my glasses in work emptying the house in prep for the imminent Big Interior Redecoration, i.e. reflooring and painting) Great post Leigh! Your "post that ate Schenectady" comment made me laugh out loud, even though I've never been there. ;)

Bashere: is Awesome.

Sammael: is Toast. Next!

Rand's crowning: I thought that was pretty cool. And the symbolism of Rand's dragons and the crown you pointed out is interesting.

Crossing the Streams: Ah yes, but there's a very slim chance one of them will survive! ;)

So, bye, Closest-thing-I-had-to-a-namesake-in-WOT!
How about Leane? Or is that not close enough?

JordanCon: Maybe next year, eh? (Maybe even I'll be able to make it!)

R.Sedai @1: ::grumblemutterwannagogrumble::

Heh... 0x40.

Swami Holanwanda
65. SwamiHolanwanda
Hi all, newbie to the re-read here.

Some quick and unconsequential questions for the more WOT-literate out there. While I will abide by the word of RJ and consider mr. Sammael toast, I am thinking that Rand is incorrect in thinking that "There had not been time for him to run, no time to weave a gateway, and if he had, Rand would have felt saidin being worked".

IIRC, at the end of WH we found out that weaves can be reversed, and that seem to be a standard-Forsaken weave. Could Rand/LLT be ignorant of such a weave, given his extensive AOL exposure to the Forsaken? Or could reversing be a new weave, discovered only in the Third Age? Thanks for enlightnening me.
j p
66. sps49
I thought this cover was one of the least bad, and that Lord of Choss was the "romance novel" one.

Wasn't a laurel crown worn by Roman Emperors?

Re: ambiguity- it threw me, too. Maybe if some truth looked like a red herring, then maybe we wold believe more misinformation. I dunno.

And why has the DO abandoned Sammael?

R. Fife @1, 46-

I am not sold on the notion that the Shadow has won/ turned the Dragon before. I put this under "Lies that Evil Doth Tell For Propaganda Purposes". Has the Authorial COnfirmation been mangled? it reads as contradictory to me ("has gone over", "you lose once, that's it".


I have no problem with Rand and the Crown. It is freely given; nobody (Sammy doesn't count) needed to die, and he is effectively Overking of much of Randland anyway.
67. SNuBoi
I still remember a really bad feeling in the pit of my stomach after reading "Who thinks he turns the wheel of time will learn the truth too late." Don't know why I felt the need to mention that but just did.
Sharon E.
68. Sulin
"Roid Rage Rand (with Kung-Fu Grip)" ROTFL!!! I spewed coffee all over the keyboard when I read that. You have such a way with words, Leigh.

And, of course, this chapter also gives us what was, for quite some time, THE WORST FREAKING THING TO HAPPEN TO OUR BOY!!!

What are you referring to there?

aspeo@44- My thoughts exactly on Rand's state of mind and welcome to the insanity.

I actually loved the ending of aCoS. As someone said, I thought it was uber-cool Rand's getting out of bed from being Mostly Dead, then snuffing out Sammy and swooping up Illian.

Have fun storming the castle!

Edit: correcting poor grammar from too much coffee.
Captain Hammer
69. Randalator
subwoofer @63

Oh yeah, Bashere- the guy reeks of cool. I want to have a word with him on how he gets his very opinionated and spirited wife to give over without an argument. That would be like winning the lottery.

Recalling what we've learned about Saldeans so far, I have a hunch but I'm afraid discussing it here would result in Leigh's untimely death by brain hemorrhage. So in the interest of everyone involved let's just assume that he's a cunning linguist.

SwamiHolanwanda @65

Reversing weaves is not new. However it is theorized that reversing a weave only makes the flows invisible (just like inverting makes the finished weave invisible) but doesn't mask the process of channeling itself. Other channelers can still feel the Power being used but not what it is used for.

To eliminate the detection of Power usage one would have to mask the ability altogether. However so far we haven't seen Forsaken masking their ability in combat unless they knew beforehand that they were entering a battle (as in WH for example). Sammael certainly hasn't masked his ability to channel OR reversed his weaves (Rand replicates Sammael's Disco Laser of Doom).

Reversing a weave seems to require creating a reversed weave as a whole and then sending it off as opposed to just reversing it on the fly. Like kids preparing snowballs instead of just shoveling snow directly into your face. That would make spontaneous improvising very hard.

Accordingly masking your abilty to channel most likely takes time and concentration that you don't have in the heat of a battle, so it's either mask from the start or don't mask at all.

In Sammael's case he's about to get a load misty unpleasantness dumped on his head. I don't think he would or could take the time to both mask his channeling ability and reverse his Gateway. He'd just take the quickest means to get the hell out of Dodge.

The only other option I see would be the True Power but Rand doesn't know about that. Also, once the Nae'blis is chosen, the use of the TP is for him exclusively (WH, ch. 13). Moridin gets revealed as Nae'blis to Moghedien by Cyndane in TPoD, ch. 12 but it could be argued that by the end of ACoS he already is Nae'blis (becoming Moghedien's Mia'cova in ch. 25 certainly points in that direction). So the TP might already be inaccessible for Sammael during the showdown.

But again, Rand doesn't know about the TP, so the last part is purely academic anyway...

sps49 @66

Has the Authorial COnfirmation been mangled? it reads as contradictory to me ("has gone over", "you lose once, that's it".

No, the Dragon turning over to the shadow isn't the same as losing. Losing means the DO breaks free, the Wheel is broken, the end of all creation. But even without the Dragon the forces of Light can still reach stalemate. Killing him before the predestined point in time where he would have to do whatever needs doing would be one way.

Interestingly, while there may have been countless times where one of the two sides was victorious (as in "AoL overdrive vs. Mordor 2.0"), on a cosmic scale there has never been anything else but a stalemate...
john mullen
70. johntheirishmongol
A couple of things and a wild ass theory.

One is that if Casuane is going to teach Rand and the Ashamen something, maybe it is how to link together for the final battle. It can't have happened yes cuz lately everything she touched has screwed up.

Secondly, I really found this chapter confusing, from Leah to the crossing of the streams to the death of Sammael.

Now for my wild theory...we have not seen Luc/Isam in quite a while but Moridin is supposed to look a lot like Rand. How about if Moridin has taken over Luc/Isam and so gets the fighting ability there plus the channeling ability of Moridin? Then he would be a quite a match for Rand in the finale
Adam Bodestyne
71. thanners
Whoo, managed to get to a re-read post (relatively) early for once. (c: Would've tried last time, but my sister got married on the weekend (yay). Anyway, on topic.

Somehow, despite having undoubtably read the words describing Bashere's sigil several times over in my own re-reads, somehow it just didn't stick in my head until I read it quoted just then. That's an awesome house sigil to have.

Also, another part:
he and the Asha'man toss Power-wrought fire and lightning up into the sky.

It had always made me wonder why it specifically mentioned that Dashiva had to be so different and instead of throwing fire like the others, he "made blue lightnings crackle in a jagged web above the square". It's probably not hugely important, but I'd been curious whether Dashiva did it just because he could ("pfft, fireballs. Look at what I can do"), or whether it was perhaps Dashiva's way of somehow communicating "hey, it's your buddy Osan'gar here, don't kill me please"
Alice Arneson
72. Wetlandernw
Cadsuane... I think she makes Rand nervous and frightened because she clearly knows more than he does about channeling men, including, in a way, himself. I'm also pretty sure he's wrong in thinking that she can't have anything important to teach the men, just because women can't teach men to channel. I think it's something she's learned from spending time with and studying all those channeling men for the last couple of centuries, and I strongly suspect it has nothing to do (directly) with channeling. I also think it's entirely possible that what she intends to teach them, and the thing Min sees them learning from her, may be two entirely different things. In other words, I think she has a plan, and the best one anyone could put together in the situation, but she's not the Creator; the Pattern will show, in the end, what it was they really needed to learn from her. And I'm extremely eager to find out.

On Liah...I found it very poignant that, when she met Rand and regained a little of herself back, it was lost because she remembered all of who she was. Rand was the Car'a'carn and he'd just seen her kill with a bare face. The fact that they were trollocs didn't matter as much as that she'd just broken an incontrovertible Aiel custom, and in front of the Chief of Chiefs. She fled, not because of what she'd become, but because she had just shamed herself beyond belief - in front of the one Aiel who wouldn't care (or notice!) that she hadn't veiled first. I almost cried for her.

I'd forgotten about that "A great many plans will have to be relaid if you let yourself be killed now" business. What plans, indeed. I've been of the opinion that Rand's access to the TP in TGS was accidental, possibly even unrecognized by Moridin and the DO, but now I'm wondering... That's okay. I'll RAFO. And after reading some of the comments, I'm wondering how much we'll ever find out about things like the link between Rand & Moridin, its origin, and all of its effects.

Oh, and I'd never thought about it before, but now, after reading TGS, I loved that last paragraph:
And for some reason, men and women who told the tales often found a need to add almost identical words. The storm is coming, they said, staring southward in worry. The storm is coming.

R.Fife @1 - You're going to JordanCon, and I can't even show up with a beaver and a taxi for you. Thhbbbbt. You will be forgiven on condition that you give us a blog at least as good as last year's. And get me a green Aes Sedai shawl.

Well, okay, you don't have to get me the shawl. I know you worked hard to earn your yellow one last year. Just give us a really really good detail-filled post, okay?

forkroot @12 - I'm so with you. Yup, that's me... My only hope is that with everything I've learned here, and the end of the series coming, and this discussion continuing, at least I won't have to reread the last books 10 times each before I get a fairly good percentage of the subtleties half-sorted... or at least recognized... :)

misfortuona @15 - Only almost daily? Slacker! :P I used to think I was insightful, but I find lately that inciteful seems to be more applicable. Here, anyway. Glad you enjoy it. ;)

forkroot @51 - IMNSHO, death by Mashadar was what that toad deserved for scattering the Shaido and thus enabling the plot arc from hell. Very good point!! Scumbag.

JennB @57 - If it's any consolation, RJ was known to say that the only thing he'd change if he could rewrite the whole thing was the structure of CoT.

Bawmbi @39 and WoTaBoOk @58 - RJ said specifically that Alviarin's mark is not the same as that of the Chosen. It's more like the tattoo in a dog's ear to mark ownership - any Shadowspawn would recognize her as belonging to the DO and therefore not kill her, but they wouldn't obey her like they would a Chosen.

Aaand that's enough out of me for tonight. Probably more than enough, but hey. Am morgen...
David Platt
73. The Not So Dark One
Bawambbi@39 and Wotabook@58;

Not Sure Alviarin can be called a chosen - I'm pretty sure someone somewhere mentions that you have to go to Shayol Ghul and swear before The Dark One himself.

Didnt know as per Wetlandernw in 72 that Jordan had commented on it but if so then thats even clearer.

What things had Alviarin done that made here seem a chosen? So far i think she's managed to make a mess of quite a lot of things.

Oh and I agree that this cover - as with most of them - was awful.

I was liking the new e-covers until the last one - whilst I can see its decent art and that they have layered it digitally etc. It just reminds me of these cheesy badly drawn covers.

Edit: Chessy to Cheesy

The cover to Eye of The World put me off reading it for years until a friend who's opinion i respected assured me it was a good read - thank you Daniel Redican.
Rob Munnelly
74. RobMRobM
Almost all has been said but a couple of random observations and questions come to mind.

I never realized that Mori and Rand were holding hands when the two streams crossed. So not just Ghostbuster-style crossing of streams but actually completion of a circuit. Almost surprised in retrospect that Rand and Mori's hair didn't stand on end from this Randland equivalent of a Van de Graaf generator.

And, yeah, I didn't like this ending - not that it was ambiguous - I actually liked that - but that Rand clearly fell into a prearranged trap and survived only through multiple occurrences of luck rather than the skill he should have at this point in the book. Boo.

Also, how did Mori know to come there anyway? Can he track Sammy as if he carried a homing beacon? or was he following Rand closely enough to track his travelling? Did he overhear the orders to the trollocs and fades? I can't figure out how he knew to be there. Any ideas?

Also, is this the first case where it is disclosed you can travel without knowing the ground by only going short distances? (For that matter, how did Rand know the ground well enough at that camp in order to open the gateway to begin with?)

Leigh, thanks for pointing out that Liah's death may well have been caused by her freaking out at having the Caracarn see her kill trollocs without being veiled. Never noticed that before. The shame, the shame....

Very curious about the implications of the final quote from the Prophecies of the Dragon - again hinting that Rand doesn't understand that he's not directing the Wheel but is being directed. What actually does this mean, really? What is Moridin's end game? Note, FYI, reference to "spinner-out of fate" - didn't we learn in KoD that spinning is the AOL term for weaving the power?

And, no, I had no idea that Dashiva was a Forsaken when I read this the first time. Just quirky and possibly going mad.

Tricia Irish
75. Tektonica
Hey RobM: What's a Van Allen Generator? There the Van de Graff Generator...although, I don't know what that is....and there's the Van Allen Radiation Belts.....discovered by James Van Allen, a great man and teacher!
Just Curious....
Barry T
77. blindillusion

Princess Bride, twice in one post, FTW.

And hmm, I'm curious. What does one have to do to earn a shaw?
Tess Laird
78. thewindrose
Rfife won his in a drawing for helping out at the last Jordancon. They were going to exchange it for a different prize - rfife being a man and all;), but he convinced Harriet(I believe) that he Heals computers - so he got the Yellow shawl. (I believe he also said later that he was looking for his own Nynaeve to give it to!) At least that is what I recall.

Lucas Vollmer
79. aspeo
Randalator@69- Disco Laser of Doom! Lol that’s awesome!

Johntheirishmongol@70- I think Moridin is plenty powerful enough being a very strong channeler, and having the ability to use the TP is bad enough since it can’t be detected like normal channeling I think. He doesn’t need to have slayer’s abilities added in. That would make him scary hard to defeat, and I’m thinking it’s gonna be hard enough as it is.

RobMRobM@74- Also, how did Mori know to come there anyway? Can he track Sammy as if he carried a homing beacon? or was he following Rand closely enough to track his travelling? Did he overhear the orders to the trollocs and fades? I can't figure out how he knew to be there. Any ideas? -- The DO told him maybe??? Otherwise I’m not sure lol
Richard Fife
80. R.Fife
@77 and 78

Close. I took the shawl-prize as matter of being secure in my masuclinity, and at breakfast that followed Harriet asked me why I was wearing a shawl and I explained my computer Healing, which she liked. This year I'm going to actually get the flame put on it.

And yes, I am still looking for my own Nyneave (or perhaps Samitsu). until then, I'll be Asha'man Richard Sedai of Yellow Ajah.

And yes, I will be putting up a post shortly after the Con recapping and sharing any news I hear.
Barry T
81. blindillusion
Hmm...wonder if it's to late to offer to help at JCon...?

For a day at least. I'll be there early on Saturday....

edit:...perhaps to one-up R.Fife (because I'm evil like that) I'll post up to the minute updates on my Facebook page. Mwahhahahahahahhha. =)
Tricia Irish
82. Tektonica
Have fun at Jordancon all who are going.....I'm looking forward to a full report and pix from all!

It would be so cool if we could all manage to get there either next year or the year of MoL and do a little reread party of our own. I'd so love to meet you all.
Matthew Smith
83. blocksmith

I postulated earlier that, perhaps, Dashiva tipped Moridin off that Rand was going after Sammael and that Sammael had fled Illian, probably trying to lure Rand into a trap. Moridin then, apparently successfully, deduces the likely destination as Shadar Logoth.

My question is, why SL? Rand has had much greater victories/places he has claimed as "his" than the Waygate in SL. What about Rhuidean? The Stone? Tanchico? Caemlyn? Cairhein?
Barry T
84. blindillusion
Sammael probably wanted open ground in which it would be easy to get a good number of Fades and Trollocs into without notice.

He was considered a military genius.
Rob Munnelly
85. RobMRobM
Maybe Mori put a TP finding spell on Rand, similar to Moiraine's coins and the thing Elayne gave to the thief/spy in KoD (or CoT?). Keep in mind Mori didn't just get to SL but also to the room Rand was in inside of SL. Maybe this is how Mori is so confident he can move pieces to affect Rand?
Sharon E.
86. Sulin
wetlander@72- re the TP- I originally thought that Rand's touching of the TP was accidental, but now on my second read-through of TGS, I'm beginning to think it was all part of The Plan.

Oh and I also got the shivers after reading the last paragraph ....The storm is coming, they said, staring southward in worry. The storm is coming.
::shiver:: X infinity+2

@blindillusion- Inconceivable!
Matthew Smith
87. blocksmith

Assuming you are correct...then why not the former home of Nomeshta? Close to the Blight, Site of a Forsaken Death, almost the start of WWLXVIII.

If Sammael scouted SL, surely he was aware of the potential danger of Mashadar. Maybe that was the intended trap, but it's pretty unpredictable. Not something I would expect a military mastermind to rely on or at least to be able to plan around.

The tracking device is as plausible an explanation as anything, but smacks a little of being a forced device.
James Jones
88. jamesedjones
Re: How Moridin found Rand

One of the chosen/forsaken mentions in a POV that Ishamael didn't understand how difficult it was for anyone else to find ta'veren. So, it seems he can track Rand fairly easily.
Andrew Belmont
89. rosetintdworld
Jamesdjones@88 It's from the Forsaken Tea Party in KoD Ch3. Graendal is irritated that Ishamael always expects them to find Rand.

I think Rand also thinks to himself, via LTT's memories, that Ishamael and Lanfear both had a fairly rare talent for tracking ta'veren, similar to what Siuan and Logain can do, but more powerful. This explains why they were the first Forsaken to repeatedly come into contact with Rand, Mat, and Perrin. I'll try and find the quote later.
Steven Pattingale
90. Pattingale
Maybe there's a traitor in their midst? Not sure if anyone could be close enough to the action to pass along that info. Ravens are spies for the Dark One but they have to report back. Right?

Or maybe it's more than a finding spell, maybe even pre crossing of streams The Betrayer of Hope had a way to see what Rand was up to? Nah... the Dark One wouldn't need Fain as his hound then would he.

Speaking of betrayal I've long thought that someone close to Rand would betray team light before/at the Last Battle. Back in the day I used to think it would be Nyn but lately I've been changing my tune to Perrin (I know he used to be my fave, who'da thunk it?). Perrin gets all emo about his widdle falcon, so I can see him switching to the dark side if they guaranteed her safety.

@89 I don't remember that... but I forget too much these days. :(
91. Freelancer
And get me a green Aes Sedai shawl.

Hmm, I guess you did answer Green on that survey, but I've always taken you for a Blue. I'd sooner identify you with Moiraine, Siuan or Anaiya, than with Alanna, Myrelle, Kiruna or CADSUANE! That, aside from the fact that you are driven by thoughtful consideration, not gut emotion.
92. Looking Glass
rosetintdworld@33: Pseudo-Sammael, who or whatever he is, is presumably the one behind the massive trolloc attacks in the later books. So he's not mentioned again, but his presence is felt.

birgit@41: Rand’s expedition to the waygate there isn’t particularly secret- not only did he take a pretty big retinue, but it’s easily inferred from his putting defenses around every waygate he can find.

aspeo@56: Actually, I think you’re giving Sammael far too little credit here. Rand did come up with a solid plan to blindside Sammael and completely eliminate Sammy’s home-field advantage. Good idea, but Sammael saw it coming, and had a backup home field already prepared. Huge advantage. He was beating the crap out of Rand before Moridin intervened, which I can’t blame Sammael for not anticipating.

How’d Sammael know Rand’s plan? He knew because Carridin told him about seeing Mat in Ebou Dar. Mat was supposed to be with the huge army; when it turned out he was elsewhere, Sammael figured out what was going on.

JennB@57: Didn’t balefire immediately retcon Nynaeve’s boat from “afloat” to “already underwater” in Ebou Dar?

Randalator@69: Rand probably does know about the TP here; both Asmodean and Lews Therin certainly knew.

JohntheIrishMongol@70: no, Luc/Isam keeps showing up in later books. He's annoyed about not being allowed to snuff Rand in Far Madding, for ex.

blocksmith@83: He probably picked Shadar Logoth because it was a huge playground that he could ward and bring shadowspawn into without anyone noticing. Then he picked the Waygate to hang out by, because Rand had claimed that. Moridin probably followed either the ta’veren pull or the shadowspawn.

Freelancer@91: You're forgetting that Elayne's green, and Egwene, while polychromatic, is sort of Green-leaning. None of the SGs went Blue.
Barry T
93. blindillusion
Why SL?, Part the Deuce

Well, as Mr Jordan stated, Sammael was killed my something he didn't pay attention to, i.e. either something he didn't realize was there or something that he felt was beneath his notice.

Perhaps he scouted SL during the day, when Mashadar was not present.

Why not Nomeshta's grave? Perhaps it was protected in some way. It is considered to be a place the Shadow cannot touch, is it not? Perhaps Sammael wouldn't have been able to bring Shadowspawn there.

Also, that's where the Pattern (Mr Jordan) needed the conflict to happen so that Rand could start to put together how to end the Taint.
Tess Laird
94. thewindrose
Freelancer - Wetlandernw is ummm very empathetic towards Cads. But what is interesting is when we did that survey, she had not begun her introspection of Cadsuane and changed her mindset on her. And we mostly have seen pretty ineffectual Greens until Cads(love her or hate her, she does get things done, or at least puts herself out there in the world.)
I too, would have chosen Blue for Wetlandernw:)


ps - I will get to this last chapter one of these days - instead of off tangent thoughts:)
Matthew Smith
95. blocksmith

If Sammael either did not know about or felt Mashadar was beneath his notice, then Military Genius, not so much.

I agree it was a needed plot device, but for different reasons. The connection with Moridin required 1)physical contact 2) a situation requiring channeling of the same weave, and 3) channeling that same weave at the same time with the streams crossing.

I think Rand's idea to cleanse Saidin came about more from his wound and understanding the nature of the evil that made SL than from him beating Sammael there.
Bonnie Andrews
96. misfortuona
Happy humpday everyone.

@various I say inciteful, you say insightful. Hmmm, either works and sometimes (OFTEN) in the same person. ;D
Either way I love the fun.

Mis-wishing I could go to JCon.
97. jchris
I'd just like to point out that it was exactly 15 months to the day from post #1 on EotW to this last post on ACoS.
That is a hell of a long time to be doing this, and with 6 more published books to recap and two more as-yet-unpublished books following that, we'll be here for a while longer.

Congrats to Leigh for making it this far, and good luck on the rest of a 2+ year re-read. You're doing an awesome job.
Barry T
98. blindillusion
Oh, I never said he was a military genius. I said he was considered to be one.

I don't think much of any of the Forsaken, with the exception of Moridin...but then, I think he's gone a little beyond being a mere Forsaken.
Bonnie Andrews
99. misfortuona
Well I'm curious, just what do you see Moridin as being now?

Bonnie Andrews
100. misfortuona
And 100 FTW. Just cause, well why not.

Ron Garrison
101. Man-0-Manetheran
What plans, indeed. I've been of the opinion that Rand's access to the TP in TGS was accidental, possibly even unrecognized by Moridin and the DO, but now I'm wondering...
That’s a thought running around in my mind. Sort of like getting someone hooked on crack. “Here, have a little TP. You’ll love it.”

And re. Green shawl: Yes, you don’t shy from a battle, but you crusade like a Blue (yeah, Cads!) and you gather knowledge like a Brown. I hereby Stand for you to wear the Seven-Striped Shawl.

blindillusion@77: “And hmm, I'm curious. What does one have to do to earn a shaw?” Did you mean “shawl” or “pshaw”? One you get by being raised to a sister and the other you get by annoying a sister (one in particular).

And on aCoS in general: I remember putting this book down with a "WTF?" Was Sammael dead? What the heck happened in SL? I never figured Dashiva for a Forsaken - even though I found him mighty strange.
Barry T
102. blindillusion
Well, aside from being Nae'blis...

And probably knowing the DO's true Endgame...

I don't know...anti-Rand.... ?


Hmm. M-o-M... Tsk.
103. Divil The Bother
Not sure if this has been said but 2 points:

Whether or not Rand is reluctant to use balefire as a result of Cadsuane's behaviour is a red herring. The fact is that not using balefire against the foresaken means the DO can reincarnate them so if Cadsuane prevents him from using it then it's a major setback for team light. Even if Cadsuane's methods are achieving the result she wants (which they aren't) it would still be the wrong result! An arrogant, ignorant, waste of space know nothing know it all is Cadsuane...

Also a Forsaken getting killed by Madashar (sp)? A bit iffy don't you think? Lived hundreds if not thousands of years, purposely brought Rand to Shadar Logoth and then gets done in by the devil mist himself? Please! It's all wrong as an ending if that is indeed what happened to our Forsaken friend.
Lucas Vollmer
104. aspeo
Divil the bother

Maybe it was another clue for Rand towards the cleansing. A man-made den of evil killing off an evil component of the shadow.
Marcus W
105. toryx
jchris @ 97 states:
Congrats to Leigh for making it this far, and good luck on the rest of a 2+ year re-read. You're doing an awesome job.

Hear hear! Well done indeed.
106. BenM
Looking Glass@92: Good point about balefire. It did put a hole in the boat retroactively.

Re ajahs: I'm a guy, of course, but if I could have an ajah, it would be hard to decide. I can see green or blue, but as much as I read, maybe brown.

re Sammael: he may be a louse as a human being, but he certainly did serve chaos well by sending the Shaido all over, much as we may hate the Plot That Wouldn't Die. I don't see why the DO wouldn't resurrect him, unless Mashadar made it impossible.
Bonnie Andrews
108. misfortuona
ROFLMAO and I sprayed water, damn.

So does this explain what's been happening to the stockpile in the bunker? I've been blaming Suffa or maybe Zero.

Mis-apologizing to the spider hunter
109. birgit
Also, how did Mori know to come there anyway? Can he track Sammy as if he carried a homing beacon?

Moridin listened to Sammy and Sevanna with a third callbox. Maybe Sammy's walkie talkie has GPS and Moridin can track him because he is still carrying it around.
James Jones
110. jamesedjones
108 misfortuona
So does this explain what's been happening to the stockpile in the bunker?
Could be. You know how those govt groups go with the lowest possible bidder.
Tess Laird
111. thewindrose
jamesedjones - you sold out for cookies???

Barry T
112. blindillusion
Zero would never pilfer cookies...

But Zero would sneak into the hot tub when no one is looking…

Just saying….
James Jones
113. jamesedjones

Well... they were snickerdoodles.

Which, yeah, that does look suspicious. Hmmm...
Vincent Lane
114. Aegnor
I don't think that the Dragon has ever chosen the dark side. Just because the side that controls the Fisher changes, doesn't mean the Dragon changes sides. For example, in TGS for much of the book, Rand was controlled by the DO.

I guess I just don't buy that the Dragon has ever gone fully over to the dark side, as I believe that would end up with the breaking of the Wheel in the end. Perhaps he had gone over to the dark side, and then changes his mind before the end or something?

The no-kill order I think makes perfect sense. He wants the Dragon to fight on his side during the Last Battle, so he can break the Wheel (which is his ultimate goal). I don't think he can fully do that without the Dragon.

The kill order changed in WH, because the DO realized what Rand's plan was with cleansing Saidin, and was afraid that it might just work. The taint was too big a weapon to lose, and so he didn't want to risk losing it. But once Saidin was cleansed, it was back to the no-kill order.

It will be interesting to see if the kill-order is back in effect, now that Rand has got his groove back at the end of TGS, and the likelihood of him turning plummeted. Would the DO realize that? What would Moridin's reaction be, considering the connection between him and Rand? Is there a chance of Moridin turning?
Antoni Ivanov
115. tonka
Oh come on, Rand is ta'veren, it was said that Lanfear and Ishamael aka Moridin can track ta'veren with ease, Rand has never been able to hide from Moridin/Ishy. That's how Mori found him
Bonnie Andrews
116. misfortuona
What with the taint being replaced by the draw of the TP, I don't know that we can quite say that Rand's chances of being turned have plummeted.

Also with the connection between Rand and Moridin it seems that there is a good chance that if either of them is killed, it just might do in the other. Not a big deal, I guess, for the DO, but it might make his Naeblis think twice before pulling certain strings.

Mis-thinks we may need to change the password for the bunker, and Suffa you really need to clean the hot tub filter now.
Maiane Bakroeva
117. Isilel
I've been busy and missed the last few discussions, but I must weigh in here, even if belatedly.

This ending is the main reason why I found ACOS so enormously disappointing. It was also the point where I just couldn't take the Forsaken seriously as threats anymore, however much I tried to rationalize their actions.

I mean, Sammael is supposed to be one of the great generals from the War of Shadow? Right? Right?!!!

Presumably, he'd have to know how to hold territory against Travelling channelers.

Presumably, he'd also know such self-evident fact (already reinforced many times during the series itself) that an army without a channeling corps is helpless against an army with.

And everybody and their dog knew after the battle of Cahirien that Rand was employing channeling, his own and that of others to support his military effort.

Sammael as an AoL general was bound to have tons of experience of working with other channelers and keeping them obedient. No general that didn't could have lasted a day. Certainly more than Moggy and Bel'al did.

And what did he do?!! Not only didn't he manage to assemble DF channelers to be his artillery support (which should have been the logical priority for an AoL general), not only did he witlessly and for no gain that I can perceive give away an Oath Rod that would have been very helpful in that respect, but he also didn't manage to set proper wards against invasion in the city he held!

I mean, did we ever see Rand's wards go up in flames just because somebody was channeling in the vicinity? No. No ward until this point or later behaved that way, including the ones in SH. That's just silly.

Oh, and after all the meticuloius preparations of SH as the killing ground and of his "viewing platform", Sammy forgets to ward against Mashadar? Something that Moiraine had no trouble with? Please. How much more cretinistic could one get?

The only reason it was even a contest was because Rand was similarly idiotic.

I mean, he used the exact same tactic against Sammael as he did against Rahvin (but in Rahvin's defense, he didn't know that Rand could Travel - Sammy did) and expected it to be a surprise.

He had all those channelers in his service, but didn't use them to help him kill Sammy, selfishly preferring to risk himself (and the world) in mano-y-mano instead.


And killing another FS has gotten seriously stale by this point and not a satisfying climax at all.

So, given that Sammy behaves contrary to everything that we have heard about him previously, contrary to what a general with 2 neurons to run together should have done, is it any wonder that we tried to salvage this incredibly lackluster ending by suspecting a subtrefuge?
And guess what? It would have done the series tons of good if it had been one, rather than an extreme case of villain idiocy so that a bullet point could be tacked off.
Killing Sammy for good in such an asinine fashion certainly didn't make the series more succint either.
J Lip
118. Cadsuwallop
Maybe the Dragon has never willingly gone over to the Dark. Perhaps this is where the oft-mentioned-yet-never-utilized 13x13 comes from. Keep the Dragon alive then force him onto a black square type of strategy.

The death of the Dragon resulting in a stalemate would also explain with Mori is so keen on keeping him alive.

RobM@76 - was that a Whoopie Goldberg in Jumpin Jack Flash reference or do I just spend too much time watching bad 80's movies?
Maiane Bakroeva
119. Isilel
Oh and a couple of other things:

Women could not teach men, or men women; that was as hard a fact as the One Power itself.

When will we finally get rid of this old canard? As people can weave the opposite half of OP in a mixed circle, the can and indeed must be able to teach folks of the opposite gender too.
Which only magnifies Sammy's idiocy, of course - if he had done the obvious, logical thing and gathered some BAs and other DF and/or 13x13d channelers in more than a year (or was it 2?) that he had been holding Illian, he could have made them very effective indeed.
And the best thing is, with propaganda being that Rand was a False Dragon, nobody would have batted an eye at "the AS" fighting him.

Another observation that I wanted to make is - how comes that Elayne is constantly berated for her rashness, but not Rand? Here, he was almost finished by the prior episode of irresponsible risk-taking and he is at it again. While the whole world's survival depends on his. How very nice.
Maiane Bakroeva
120. Isilel
Oh and a couple of other things:

Women could not teach men, or men women; that was as hard a fact as the One Power itself.

When will we finally get rid of this old canard? As people can weave the opposite half of OP in a mixed circle, they can and indeed must be able to teach folks of the opposite gender too.
Which only magnifies Sammy's idiocy, of course - if he had done the obvious, logical thing and gathered some BAs and other DF and/or 13x13d channelers in more than a year (or was it 2?) that he had been holding Illian, he could have made them very effective indeed.
And the best thing is, with propaganda being that Rand was a False Dragon, nobody would have batted an eye at "the AS" fighting him.

Another observation that I wanted to make is - how comes that Elayne is constantly berated for her rashness, but not Rand? Here, he was almost finished by the prior episode of irresponsible risk-taking and he is at it again. While the whole world's survival depends on his. How very nice.
Rob Munnelly
121. RobMRobM
@118 - the latter. You need to go outside more, LOL.
Rob Munnelly
122. RobMRobM
lsiel - Welcome back. Missed your always interesting perspectives. R
James Jones
123. jamesedjones
122 RobMRobM

I think you're doing it subconsciously. I've got Welcome Back Kotter stuck in my head, now.
Karen Fox
124. thepupxpert
I wanted to bring this up as I am in my 5th complete re-read of the series and the second since I started participating in the re-reads here (I’m just starting TSR), and I don’t seem to have any answers so I’m putting this to the bunker.

All through the first 3 books I was constantly impressed by how much Moiraine knows about the dark side, she can sense Trollocs and Fades, she knows about balefire, she acts like she knows the Forsaken personally, and although she isn’t rated at the top of the tower as having the most channeling ability, she and that little angreal seem to be able to channel as much power as anyone in the series.

Has it ever been explained how Moiraine got to be such an expert at the dark arts? I know she’s been out in the field for 20 years and her mission to find the DR has kept her super-focused, but IMO aren’t we kept in the dark about her knowledge of all things dark? I haven’t come across anything that explains her uber-prowess.

Any thoughts?
Don Barkauskas
125. bad_platypus
Isilel @119/120 (double post):
As people can weave the opposite half of OP in a mixed circle, they can and indeed must be able to teach folks of the opposite gender too.
While I agree with you that it's true that people should theoretically be able to teach channeling to people of the opposite gender, in practice I think the statement is probably valid. The main way weaves are taught appears to be showing the weave to the student and having them copy it. If neither the teacher nor the student can see each other's weaves, then this method is right out the window. Even though it's clear (from Semirhage's POV in tGS) that you can learn the other gender's method of weaving, that still doesn't let you show someone of the opposite gender how to do it.

In theory you could describe the weave, but for any but the simplest weaves this would be nearly impossible. (Just try describing a Beethoven symphony in words so that an orchestra can play it---possible, yes, but not easy.) And if the weave doesn't have a visible effect, then there would be no way of knowing whether it was done correctly. (With the symphony example, imagine you're deaf so you can't tell whether the orchestra is playing it correctly once you've described it.)

The only way I see it happening is if you're in a link and actually wielding the other half of the One Power; in which case there's a channeler of the correct gender available, which makes the whole exercise rather silly. :-)
Sam Mickel
126. Samadai

Although it is just speculation. I assume that Moiraine, being one of only a couple of light sided Aes Sedai, who knew the Dragon was reborn had about 20 years to do research on the Dragon, the Forsaken and all the phrophecies.
Besides the Black Ajah she was one of the few who had an interest in knowing anything that was going on outside the tower. I'm sure she she's been to every major library and talked with as many peoplas as she could to learn everything possible.

And maybe if we are lucky we will see the prequel about her and Lan looking for Rand.
Karen Fox
127. thepupxpert
Samadi @ 126 - that makes sense, since every other AS at the time was interested in furthering their own agendas and the BA didn't exist as far as the tower was concerned. This time around I tried reading the series as if I hadn't read New Spring, and it seems to me that she couldn't gain the type of knowledge that she had about the DO without at least going somewhat down the dark path (i.e. Verin), but it's pretty clear we're all in agreement that Moiraine is against evil. She's kind of like Galad in that whatever is evil, she is against it, no matter who she hurts. I just haven't seen a whole lot of discussion on this, it's assumed that Mo is not a questionable character. Does anyone think that Mo pulled a Verin and got rid of her 3 oaths?
Fake Name
128. ThePendragon
Weird, I had always assumed that was Sammael on the hardcover, not Rand. I guess I'm alone in this.
Karen Fox
129. thepupxpert
me @ 127 - and also, you would think that 20 years of digging in libraries and asking questions would have gotten the attention of at least one BA member... Elaida figured it out, need I say more?
130. Lsana
@72 wetlanderw, 86 Sulin,

Interesting. I always assumed that Rand's encounter with the TP was the entire reason for the "sad bracelets" plot even though Semi didn't realize it. Now that I think about it, I do see some evidence for the "accident" theory, but it never even crossed my mind at the time.

@103 Divil The Bother,

I'm pretty sure that Balefiring the Forsaken is NOT a good idea or a win for Team Light. Yes, it's the only way to keep the DO from re-incarnating them, but I don't think it's worth it. I think the DO would much rather have Rand tossing around Balefire than he would having the Forsaken around. I might even go so far as to suggest that that is the reason the DO keeps bringing this particular group of whiny incompetents back from the dead; I really doubt it is because he was afraid his plan wouldn't work without the brilliant aid of Aginor/Os'anger/Dashiva.

If nothing else, consider how quick Moridin was to give up the "secret" of how to permanently destroy the Forsaken. It isn't like it slipped out, either. Moridin practically dragged the conversation to that point, and seemed to be checking to see if Rand had noticed the giant clue-by-four he had just been whacked with.

So while I'm no fan of Cads, I think in this one instance she's 100% right, though I don't know if she understands why.

@120 Isilel,

You're right, and as one of those who almost constantly criticizes Elayne, I'll agree with you here. Rand was being an idiot. The difference, I think, comes from the fact that whether because of the Pattern or because he gets outside help, Rand's idiocies at least initially seem to have beneficial effects. Elayne's tend to get other people killed. Objectively speaking, though, Rand here is as bad as Elayne at her worst.
Marcus W
131. toryx
Isilel @ 119 & bad_platypus @ 125:

The other thing to keep in mind about the differences between the two sides of the Power is that it's more than just the weaves that are different. In Traveling, women create a likeness between two places in the pattern and use that to step from one area to another. Men actually create an opening in the pattern.

They can't even use the same types of weaves; what works with saidin doesn't work with saidar, and vice versa, sometimes to detrimental effects (women would burn themselves badly if they extinguished fire the way men do, for example).

It's as though they're not just using different weaves; they're using a different sort physics as well. That just doesn't seem to stand up to translation.

That being said, I think there are a lot of areas outside of using the power that women and men could teach other that would be very useful. Unfortunately, they seem to approach each other as being far more different than just the matter of their reproductive systems and are usually reluctant to try learning anything from each other.
Charlie McMurchie
132. FromtheLangToun
Sorry if this has already been covered, have all the male channellers Cadsuane has dealt with - up to Rand - been gentled?
Sharon E.
134. Sulin
@Lsana (130) After my second read-through of TGS, I don't think it was coincidence that Rand came into contact with the TP. I think that was the DO's idea all along. You also have an interesting theory on Rand's use of balefire serving the DO's purposes.
Maiane Bakroeva
135. Isilel
Bad_platypus @125:

Even though it's clear (from Semirhage's POV in tGS) that you can learn the other gender's method of weaving, that still doesn't let you show someone of the opposite gender how to do it.

Well, there must have been some method to do it or leading mixed circles would have been impossible, no? Both Sammy and Semi demonstrate expertise in weaving the opposite half of OP in a link. So did Rand at the Cleansing, where IMHO he was channeling LTT's expertise.
It is not like using the opposite half of OP could come intuitively, or at least I very much hope not, because it would fly in the face of everything worldbuilding-wise.

Both Semi and Sammy could teach the folks of opposite gender by simple demonstration too, if they were leading mixed circles.

Which is why Sammy's death was such a slap in the face - he really had all the tools to fortify his territory in truth, instead of this half-assedness.
And if he had been simply linked with a woman in SH, it would have all but guaranteed him a victory too.

Re: Rand's rashness bringing positive results, I don't agree that results are always more positive than Elayne's.
Whereas the risk is just immeasurably greater and for the entire world populace, no less.
James Jones
136. jamesedjones
135 Isilel
And if he had been simply linked with a woman in SH, it would have all but guaranteed him a victory too.
Where is SH?
Jennifer B
137. JennB
Looking Glass@92
Hmm... You're right about the boat. So much for burning threads from the pattern and those threads being souls. Guess balefire can burn anything back in time.
Roger Powell
138. forkroot
JennB@137, LookingGlass@92
It's complicated. Moggy's balefire destroyed the front 1/2 of the boat. If that had been it, then I don't think the boat would have been thrown back in time (and underwater), instead it would have just started to sink in place.

The complication is that Moggy's balefire also wiped out the poor Redarms that were rowing the boat. It was their erasure that caused the boat to revert to an earlier position (erasing some of the rowing work).

I guess rather than reverting to a 1/2-boat at the earlier position (just starting to sink), the logic of balefire (if you want to call anything so paradoxical "logical") apparently calls for the now 1/2 boat to be reverted in time, whereupon not being seaworthy it would already be sunken.

My mind is now twisted into a pretzel.
Thomas Keith
139. insectoid
Playing catch up on 70 comments...

Sulin @68:
Have fun storming the castle!
::chuckles at PB ref::

WetNW @72: Re: Green shawl... I still owe my mom one of those. (As for myself, I think I'm more of a Blue; though, like Richard, I am good at Healing computers.)

RobM² @76: LOL!!

R.Sedai @80: ::grumblemutterstilljealousgrumble::

Tek @82: Agreed!! I'd enjoy meeting you guys/gals too. 2012 sounds about right; although, next year, there will be more things to speculate on! Hmm.

M-0-M @101: Hmm, is this an official vote for Wetlandernw as Amyrlin? Count me in.

JEJ @107: ::gasp:: You went over for cookies?

JEJ @136: I think Isilel meant SL = Shadar Logoth. Makes sense in context.

Fork @138: Arrrggghhh... that makes my brain hurt! ;)

140. Lsana
@134 Sulin,

I just found it interesting that we apparently hit the theories in opposite order. In my initial read, I thought it was "obvious" that the DO had to give Rand permission to channel the TP, so it must have been part of the plan. It wasn't until I read this thread that it even occurred to me that Rand might have been able to channel the TP without explicit permission due to his connection with Moridin. I still think the "plan" theory is right; it's just that it never occurred to me there was an alternative.

@135 Isilel,

Rand's taking greater risks, no question, but his tend to have more immediate good results and fewer obvious bad results. Elayne's have many obvious bad results and more negligible good ones. Here, Rand was risking the fate of the world on the assumption he'd be able to hold it together despite being almost dead. But he was able to hold it together, Sammael went down, he got Illian. Whereas with, for example, Elayne's impulsive decision to go with Liandrin, we get the obvious evils of a break between Andor and the Tower, Elaida being put in position for her coup, an opening for Rahvin to get in position to take control of Morgase. The good results of that action are hard to quantify: was Elayne really so helpful at Falme that there would have been disaster without her?

I'm not saying that Rand doesn't deserve as much criticism as Elayne does if not more. Just pointing out why, emotionally, most readers are inclined to cut him more slack than her. His stupidity tends to end in triumph while hers ends in disaster.
Hugh Arai
141. HArai
Lsana@130: Regarding Cadsuane and Balefire - a broken watch is right twice a day but tells you what time it is 24/7. It would be nice if Cadsuane could explain why she feels she can decree it to be absolutely prohibited regardless of circumstances.


The sort of rashness you're talking about appears in Rand's case to stem from two causes:

1) It would take a ta'veren to do what he wants to do and he doesn't always have Mat or Perrin available.

He was trying this with the rebels when he ran into Fain and a bubble of evil, but he runs into Fain and bubbles of evil regardless of how safe or rash he tries to be. And keep in mind it did work. Settling the rebels and eventually Tear is worth a duel with practice swords even if his opponent did like to cheat. Mat,Rand and Perrin are correct: being ta'veren has to work for them sometimes.

2) It takes the Dragon Reborn to do what he wants to do.

Rand went after Rahvin and Sammael (and Be'lal and Asmodean and Ishamael for that matter) because he doesn't know anyone he can trust that is capable of facing a Forsaken. He's discovered he can, if just barely. Nynaeve can just barely, but of course no one could possibly tell Rand that right? So if he can't allow the Forsaken to continue to turn nations against him, what do you suggest he do?

He can't tell male channelers apart from a distance so hunting together with Asha'man is not a great idea, totally leaving aside the fact none of them are too tightly wrapped and Rand has trouble containing himself around other channelers.

He needs a woman to start any sort of circle and they've pretty much all demonstrated in his mind that would be a bad idea. It's not like there isn't a reason Rand feels it has to be Nynaeve for the cleansing of saidin. So what?

In the cases where I've seen Elayne criticized for risk taking, it doesn't have to be her and thus shouldn't be her. The times he does rash things that he could avoid, he has people like Bashere tell him off or he gets the snot beaten out of him by the Maidens. _And he agrees he deserves it_. Elayne doesn't seem to see she did anything wrong, which is kind of scary.
Jennifer B
142. JennB
Thanks for pointing that out. I forgot about the poor Redarms that got burnt from the pattern. That means that I wasn't completely making things up when I stated that balefire has to hit a creature with a soul to change the past.
Ron Garrison
143. Man-0-Manetheran
Lsana@130, re. balefire
Very good summation, and I too suspect the “Betrayer of Hope” of just "accidentally" giving over the info of how to keep Forsaken from being recycled.

I fear that Rand, like the rest of us, is being suckered into seeing balefire as justifiable. Yet the prohibitions on balefire have been extreme-to-the-max (NOT just by Cads, but by the Tower as well - ever since The Breaking). Not only does it kill and destroy, it also burns out entire sections of The Pattern.

Rand has been, I think, much too quick to use this WMD. An example was when he used it on the “fog” a few chapters back. Cads and the two sisters were quite capable of using their lesser weapons in holding it back. If you read that bit again, its pretty clear that it was a panic reaction. While it’s easy for us to sit back and cheer, “Go Dragon!” I think we might have some surprises coming.

Think about it. If the DO can get Rand to indiscriminately use balefire - especially True Power balefire, then Rand can easily become the destroyer of the Pattern. What exactly was The Breaking? Mountains and oceans shifted. The Pattern was scrambled. The world became unrecognizable. I think it's pretty likely balefire was a major part of that occurrence.
144. alreadymadwithtraining
Isilel @135
Rand's weaving of Saidar at the Cleansing didn't actually go as planned. He wanted it as simple as he could envision it, a tube of Saidar connecting from Saidin to Shadar Logoth, but apparently his weave came out with whorls instead of straight lines. A funnel shaped like a flower is how I imagined it.
So, most likely not LTT's experience. I'd think LTT's experience would at least give him greater control. Either that or the weave was unique enought that it was the first time it had been tried. It also points to Saidar behaving differently from what men expect given their experience with saidin. Just as toryx mentioned, Saidar and saidin follow different principles as well. So it's not so much trying to learn how the weave is crafted as trying to understand it the way one of the opposite sex would. Which in current Randland is... impossible. An AOL channeler however, with decades if not centuries to devote to training with the One Power, would have the time to learn. But even if he were to gather the cadre to teach, I don't see Black Ajah devoting the brainpower to understand it. For that matter, I don't see one of the Forsaken putting effort into increasing the knowledge of a modern channeler. Not when such knowledge can be used against them.

forkroot @138
I think it just reverted the boat backwards. But now cut in half, so it started sinking. Nynaeve not being a fan of travelling over water probably did not notice until the half she was in was well under water.

insectoid @139
Hey I don't blame jej. I'd go over for chocolate chip ice cream. And yeah.. SH-SHadar logoth.
Jennifer B
145. JennB
This is not too important regarding your arguement, but Moraine is awesome and credit should be given where it is due.

Rand didn't go after Be'lal. He fell into Be'lal's trap without ever knowing he was there. Luckily Moraine took Be'lal out with balefire before he could kill Rand.
146. Dreamwolf

It's mentioned someplace that one of the lost talents is "reading the pattern" and that it can be used to track Ta'veren. Presumably that is how some of the forsaken can deduce the wherabout of Rand, Mat and Perin.

On the other hand, in TeotW Ishy is using Tel an riod to track them and in a Egwene POV it's hinted that it's possible to find anyones dream. Maybe its also possible to track their body from their dream even though the dreamwalkers of the present doesn't know how.
Hugh Arai
147. HArai
JennB@145: You're correct Rand didn't know it was Be'lal, since he was still mistaking Forsaken sendings (especially by Ishamael) for the DO. But he intentionally went to have the confrontation at the Stone. He did have (and lose) a full on sword fight with Be'lal though since Be'lal was trying to make him take Callandor. So Rand knew he was there. Full credit to Moiraine for _beating_ Be'lal though.
Jennifer B
148. JennB
While Balefire=Bad, it is useful for taking out Forsaken permanently. A small directed stream could send the Forsaken's soul back just a few minutes. This would put the soul out of the DO's reach and do very little damage to the pattern. I do think that Moridin was attempting to get Rand to use it more though. It works too becaues balefiring an entire fortress full of people is falling right into the DO's plans and probably did major damage to the pattern.

I thought that Rand's access to the TP was accidental due to the link with Moridin and still do. I do not think that the DO orchestrated the link. He has no control of Mashadar and the balefire streams crossing was pure accident. I am not even sure if the DO knew about the link. The DO is not all knowing and I do not think that Moridin would have told him about all his squishy new feelings.

It is very likely that the DO knows about the link now that Rand has touched the big bad and will try to take full advantage of it in the next book.
john massey
149. subwoofer
@Fork- I'm following you, it is not the boat that went bye-bye with the big gap, but the rowers went up in smoke, therefor any of the actions or labor they did, like rowing- goes up in smoke too. Hence the gappy thingy. It was like the rowers did not row the last 50 feet on the back ass end of the boat.

@Is- good to see you, I see AMWhetookcandyfromababy stole my thunder but- Saidin vs Saidar. Fight vs surrender. Lanfear could not teach Rand, she got Asmo. I think it has been proven that no matter how hard you try, you cannot piss in another person's cornflakes using jello.

I'm just sayin'.

And Yay for Mis @ 100- Good times!

@Randalator- burn buddy burn.

Roger Powell
150. forkroot
I think it has been proven that no matter how hard you try, you cannot piss in another person's cornflakes using jello.
My mind has now been twisted into more of a pretzel.
Barry T
151. blindillusion
Somewhere in the world, Bill Cosby just twitched....
Alice Arneson
152. Wetlandernw
RobMRobM @74 - Can't answer most of your questions, but the one about "how did Rand know the ground well enough at that camp in order to open the gateway to begin with?" is pretty clear. Rand has been using that roped-off area at the Saldaean camp for a Traveling-ground for quite a while now.

Also, re: the "end quote" - it may not be about Rand; arrogant as he becomes in this chapter, I don't read Rand as thinking he's turning the Wheel. More applicable to Moridin, or even the DO, I would say.

Freelancer @91 - In truth, Blue or Gray would probably be more appropriate for me personally. I said green because I was just thinking the other day that if I could be a Storm Leader (or whatever they call them, if they have them) for the TofM tour, it would be really fun to go as Cadsuane - just to give Brandon the shivers. ;) Come to think of it, I don't remember how I answered the survey. I'd probably make a lousy Green.

Man-o-Manetheran @101 - Did you mean “shawl” or “pshaw”? One you get by being raised to a sister and the other you get by annoying a sister (one in particular). ROFLOL!!! Oh, good one. My sides hurt. And, ummm, are we inventing a new Ajah? 'cause I really don't think I'm up for Amyrlin, if that's what you're thinking, and if I got suckered into it, I'd probably go for a narrow-ish stole... ;) Thanks.

Aegnor @114 - I'm not sure what it really looks like to break the Wheel (i.e. what the mechanism would be) but I'm pretty sure the DO doesn't want it broken until he's free of his prison (hence the FS don't use balefire super-freely), and I'm pretty sure the Dragon has to be part of the process somehow. So, yeah, I think I'm mostly just agreeing that the DO can't break the Wheel without the Dragon.

Isilel @117 - You're back!! We've been wondering what happened to you. Hi!

thepupxpert @124 - Re: Moiraine and the dark arts... IIRC, we've never been explicitly told, but we know she went to Vandene & Adeleas for info after Fal Dara. My supposition is that in addition to her search for the DR, she spent those 20 years searching for other info and skills that might help her guide him. (Given that the Forsaken would be loosed, she would have studied up on them, and it's indicated (though not proven) that somewhere after the Eye but before the Stone, possibly on that same trip to V & A, she learned the weave for balefire.) I assume that she had developed relationships especially with AS who were working outside the Tower, particularly Browns who would have fairly extensive research materials and notes at hand. The only ones we specifically know she went to are Vandene and Adeleas, but a) she may have visited them many times and b) there may be others she also visited while seeking info. Just my guesses. Which are pretty close to other folks' guesses, but what the heck. ;P

Lsana @130 - The difference, I think, comes from the fact that whether because of the Pattern or because he gets outside help, Rand's idiocies at least initially seem to have beneficial effects. Elayne's tend to get other people killed. Maybe the reason is that Rand is ta'veren (and the DR) while Elayne is just a girl who has a certain amount of political power and the One Power, but no extra-special assistance from the Wheel. Elayne's risks sometimes go right and sometimes go wrong, but nothing earth-shattering has happened either way as a result. (Well, she was pretty necessary to the BotW thing in several ways, and that was rather needful for the general welfare.) Rand's risks always seem to come out right, but if one of them went as seriously wrong, relatively speaking, as the worst of Elayne's, the consequences would be far more severe.

FromtheLangToun @132 - ...have all the male channellers Cadsuane has dealt with - up to Rand - been gentled? As blindillusion mentions, Taim wasn't. Other than that, yes, unless they died first. It's at least hinted that she helped many of them live and remain sane longer than anyone else (probably because she's the only one who tried to help them), but until the Cleansing, no channeling man could escape the taint on saidin, so they had to be gentled before they went BOOM.

JennB @148 - Yeah, I'm with you. Although I also agree with Man-o-Manetheran that Rand is using his WMD way, way, WAY too freely. A very judicious use, as you say, can be good for getting rid of the pesky FS, but it should NOT be the weapon of first resort, even for a bubble-of-evil fog.
Sharon E.
153. Sulin
@Lsana(140) It is interesting how we each read things differently, isn't it? When I first read TGS, it had been quite a while since I'd picked up a WOT book, so on my first read-thru, there was a lot that I didn't remember.
Sharon E.
154. Sulin
@M-o-M (143)
...While it’s easy for us to sit back and cheer, “Go Dragon!” I think we might have some surprises coming.Think about it. If the DO can get Rand to indiscriminately use balefire - especially True Power balefire, then Rand can easily become the destroyer of the Pattern.

I fear you're right, and it worries me what the consequences will be for his overuse of this WMD. :shivers:
James Jones
155. jamesedjones
152 Wetlandernw
Rand's risks always seem to come out right, but if one of them went as seriously wrong, relatively speaking, as the worst of Elayne's, the consequences would be far more severe.
Are you talking about Rand getting Elayne pregnant? That might have been Elayne's plan, but Rand was - not - thinkin'! :P

And balefire is just cool. Seriously, I'd use it in rush-hour traffic. Rand's been downright stingy with such a sweet power.
Vincent Lane
156. Aegnor

"What with the taint being replaced by the draw of the TP, I don't know that we can quite say that Rand's chances of being turned have plummeted."

Perhaps, but I'm not certain that is going to be an issue anymore. Rand was particularly vulnerable to its temptation before his come-to-Jesus moment on Dragonmount, but I'm not so certain he is anymore. I think the episode on dragonmount was the tipping point that the DO had been pushing him to. With the outcome of that episode, I'd say the danger of him turning, or breaking, has passed. I'm interested to see what the fireflies in the black hole vision of Min's looks like now.
Roger Powell
157. forkroot
And balefire is just cool. Seriously, I'd use it in rush-hour traffic. Rand's been downright stingy with such a sweet power.
Further proof that jamesedjones is merely the screen name of the DO's avatar in real life.
Thomas Keith
158. insectoid
Fork @150 & Blind @151: LOL!!

Fork @157: ::falls on floor laughing::

159. Looking Glass
Lsana@140: Liandrin says something about having made "arrangements for to be taken care of" when they showed up for the Falme trip. Staying in the tower: bad. And it's possible having three strong channelers instead ofthe expected two along helped Elayne and Nynaeve avoid capture.

I think you're generally right, though: both Rand and Elayne run off on boneheaded missions without enough backup, but Rand's more likely to be able to power through it or win through unforseeable coincidence. Including surprise allies, which have saved him against something like half the forsaken he's fought. (Well, Sammael, Be'lal, and Rahvin, at the least.)


BALEFIRE RETCON, @various: It's very clear about the boat: the rowers pre-dying changes the position of the boat, then "Because that slice from the boat's center had gone at the same time the boatmen really died, the river had had minutes to rush in" (ACoS, The First Cup), so it insta-sinks too.

I haven't been able to find super-conclusive evidence either way that the retcon is dependent on retconning people simultaneously. That thread metaphor comes from Moiraine, though: "when anything is destroyed with balefire, it ceases to exist before the moment of its destruction, like a thread that burned away from where the flame touched it" (TFoH, Gateways). Seems more likely she means "anything at all" than "animate things, but not inanimate things unless they're fried at the same time as the animate things".

That said, balefire does treat people and other living(ish) beings a little differently- people sort of disappear entire when hit, while things get cut. And amorphous evil fogs disappear by the section, or something? So it's not totally impossible that the retcon effect is somehow wierdly soul-dependant. I think it's unlikely, though.
Roger Powell
160. forkroot
Yes, things get cut. And, more importantly, there's no time erasure. So when Jeaine Caide balefired a column in the museum (in Tanchico), the roof then began to collapse. If there had been any sort of temporal reversal, the roof would already be down.
161. Ouroboros
Wow. Big catch-up to do.

RE: Ghostbusters

I love that film and my mind went straight there the first time I read this chapter. It's just a pity that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man didn't come along and stomp on Sammael; that would have been a good ending. Not sure how you work it into a prophecy though.

"Let the Lord of the Morning sing to the land, that giant mushrooms and marshmallows will grow."

Longtimefan @7

If the link had been formed in Falme, I think Rand might have felt something when he roasted Ishy in TDR. My money's on the BF beams touching.

forkroot @12 RE: missing Dashiva.

I wouldn't worry about it. I think a lot of us didn't figure out who the Dashboard really was. I started reading these just before KoD came out and I was too busy worrying about finding out what happened next. It flew right over my head.

Megaduck @13

Any relation to Howard the Duck?

We know that the DO can't step out of time, which I take to mean that he can't see the future, so I think the plan is pretty vague at this point. Just get him to go Darf Herder and rip the pattern to shreds. Obviously, the box incident works out well for the DO. That's why the books called Lord of Chaos, because the DO is on good form and it was his plan that worked.

misfortuona @15

I think the holding hands is probably what made it worse. We don't know if balefiring someone who is touching someone else removes them both, but it's possible. If it's true, then Rand may well have been trying to balefire himself. I.E. his balefire is trying to remove Moridin's, which means that it is probably trying to remove Moridin himself, since that's where it came from, and he's holding hands with Rand. And to make matters worse, the whole things happening in reverse for Moridin. Obviously, you can't kill yourself before you kill yourself. "A most ingenious paradox". The resolution may have been that they both died and didn't die. The other thing to notice is the double-vision. It's almost as though they are seeing each other through each others eyes.

JanDSedai @17

Well, Rand's stamina is impressive. Not sure about the tactics. I'm going to follow my enemy into a place that he's had a chance to prepare as a great big trap. If Moridin hadn't turned up, he'd be Rand Al Squish by now.

blindillusion @21

I don't actually have a problem with him taking the crown, after all it is prophesied. The problem is with the last line of the internal monologue.

“All hail the King of the World!” That had a good sound to it.

He can take the crown if he likes, but humbly, or reluctantly. Not like a power mad loon.

“It’s always darkest just before the dawn,” Maybe that should be "It's always darkest before he who comes with the dawn"?

dwndrgn @26
RE: I added that it should be followed by a 300-page epilogue showing what happened to all the minor characters.

It is. It's called the abridged edition of path of daggers.

blocksmith @32

If them forcing Rand to use the TP was deliberate, then I think it's just team Shaidar being flexible and coming up with a new plan based around the new connection. In any case, I don't think it was. Moridin was shocked when Rand touched the TP. Of course, it may be that the DO hadn't let him in on this part of the plan.

forkroot @51
RE: IMNSHO, death by Mashadar was what that toad deserved for scattering the Shaido and thus enabling the plot arc from hell.

Damn straight. Can we kill him twice?

JennB @57 RE: Sorry but balefire is a good thing when taking out Forsaken. This is not a lesson he needs to learn.

Don't agree. BF is very dangerous stuff. I was trying to work out how it could work, given that BF is paradoxical, and the only thing that I can come up with is that the weave itself somehow contains the paradox so that all hell doesn't break loose. This may be why it goes so badly wrong when Moridin's and Rand's streams touch. The two weaves are trying to contain the same paradox, which only helps to forge the link.

In any case, think on this. Rand is facing a forsaken and doesn't see the guy with a knife standing behind him. The forsaken throws a fireball at Rand, who ducks, and the ball kills the knifeman. Rand then balefires the forsaken, who is removed before the fireball was thrown, so the knifeman doesn't die, and knifes Rand in the back. Oops!

I suppose you could use balefire in carefully controlled executions, so that the forsaken doesn't have a chance to interact with anything immediately before being killed, but I definitely wouldn't go throwing it around in uncontrolled situations in which it could undo something important.

RE: balefire only working on living things.

Balefire permanently damages structures in T'A'R that would otherwise have repaired themselves. Also, Mashadar is, after a fashion, alive. Well, it was until Rand dumped an Elaida's Ego sized pile of taint on it. Also, it cuts huge strips out of anything it touches. It's harder to judge the past actions of a wall, but I think it still works.

Randalator 59: Yep!

subwoofer @62

In a similar vain, I keep expecting Perrin to come out and say "it's clobberin' time". Or maybe just "Perrin Smash".

subwoofer @63

And... there's the horseback dance routine.

johntheirishmongol @70

The Ashamen and Ais Sedai linked in WH.

Wetlandernw @72

I think there are quite a lot of unanswered questions where Cadsuane is concerned. She knows something about breaking the seals, and she's often got her head in a book. Everyone seems to think of Min as the philosopher, but Cadsuane seems to know a thing or two as well. There's also that small army of Ais Sedai she's been gathering. As for the lesson - well, it seems as though have the prophecies are fulfilled by people trying to do something completely different. There is this one Cadsuane quote.

"She reminded herself that he wanted her to teach him something, though he did not seem to know what. No matter. She had a list to choose from, and she had only begun on it." (CoT Ch.23)

RE: "staring southward in worry"

How much of this is about the Seanchan?

RobMRobM @74

RE: is this the first case where it is disclosed you can travel without knowing the ground by only going short distances?

I think so. I never understood how Rand got to Rahvin in TFoH. He didn't even know exactly where he was. Maybe it's just another one of those Ta'veren things. I suppose a gateway might be able to do something similar to the need in T'A'R but it's never discussed if it can.

Tektonica @75

Never heard of a Van Allen generator. Van Allen worked on rockets and sorted out the radiation belts in the atmosphere. Van De Graaff worked on electrical generators and transformers. The Van de Graaff Generator generates an electrostatic charge. I think it's suggested that one of the egg-heads at Rand's academy made one.

Looking Glass 92 RE: the boat.

Indeed it does.

jamesedjones @107 RE: the BA has cookies.

I think the Blue has cakes. If the Brown has chocolate (and admits men), I'll be with them! Unless the White has wine.

misfortuona 116 RE: it seems that there is a good chance that if either of them is killed, it just might do in the other.

I'm with you. Even if it does sound like Harry Potter.

Isilel @119 RE: Rand's irresponsible risk-taking.

We haven't even started on the Mr. Invincible stuff in the next book.

thepupxpert @124

Accepting the SGs and Cadsuane, Moirain is one of the most powerful in the tower. I think you said it yourself, she is super-focused. Also, it's been very strongly hinted at that Cadsuane has a lot of knowledge too. And let's not forget Verin. I'd suggest that she knows more about the prophecies and related topics than anyone else.

bad_platypus @125 RE: The only way I see it happening is if you're in a link and actually wielding the other half of the One Power; in which case there's a channeler of the correct gender available, which makes the whole exercise rather silly. :-)

There were situations in the AoL in which one person had to weave both halves of the power, so it's probably useful for men to learn to weave Saidar through a circle and vice versa. After all, Rand was weaving Saidar in the cleansing.

Isilel @135

Rand's debarkle with the Seanchan got half his army killed. And then there's his not so rash moments, like refusing to take the threat of Taim and the Black Tower seriously.

jamesedjones @136

SH = Shadar Hampton. A charming country town in the Mid-Westlands. Many nobles have holiday homes there. I hear their talking about starting up a Wheel of Time Share scheme.

forkroot @138

Agreed, the balefire affected both the rowers and the boat. The boat was back up the river because the action of the rowers never happened. Also, the middle of the boat had been removed as well, so there was time for the water to flood the boat.

Also agree that balefire is paradoxical. If you kill someone at 12:00 with balefire, then they die at (lets say) 11:59. Because their dead at 12:00, you can't kill them, so they don't get hit with the balefire and are therefore alive again at 12:00, so you can hit them with balefire and . . .

As I said earlier, I think the weave must contain the paradox in some way. But there are limits. Balefiring palaces and cities definitely stretches it.

Man-0-Manetheran @143

RE: the prohibitions on balefire. Moirain thinks that she might be stilled for just knowing the weave and even the baddies in the war of the power agreed not to use it.

I didn't cheer when he used it in the fog. It was completely unnecessary and it blew his cover. He deserved the slap.

Good point about the breaking. As I said earlier, balefire = bad. The only possible defense is in using it against forsaken and only under very controlled conditions. Moirain gets away with it but that's because she knows exactly what she's doing and respects how dangerous the stuff is. Also, it was after Moirain saw Rand using balefire that she decided to change her tactics.

HArai 147 RE: Rand in the stone.

I don't think Rand knew for certain that any of the forsaken were going to try and stop him. Also, he did terribly in the sword fight. Moirain definitely saved his bacon.

Looking Glass @159

I suppose it's partly to do with the size of the object and the amount of power used. It must take a lot of power (unaided) to remove an entire boat and so a strip gets taken away instead. This is even more so for a wall. We don't see how wide the beam was that Rand used on the palace; all we know is that he used a lot of it. It may be that it was wide enough to cover the entire palace, or that it was only wide enough to cover a few feet, but so powerful that it took the whole thing anyway.

forkroot @160

We don't know how powerful that beam was. It may have only taken a second away. Also, we don't know how long it would take the remaining structure to become unstable enough to collapse.

Uhr, too much writing. Going to bed now.
162. Freelancer
Looking Glass@92

Regarding balefire's impact on Nynaeve's boat. That event actually proves the point of balefire only reversing life-impacted events. The half of the balefire-split boat that didn't contain the boatmen stayed where it was, the half they were on returned to where it had been when at the point to which their lives had been burned back. The boat wasn't "instantly" underwater, but sank very quickly because it was retroactively separated, and therefore already filling with water by the time Nynaeve sensed that something was wrong.


Oh, I'm very aware of Wetlandernw's defense of Cadsuane against the haters. As I've told her, I actually lean a bit more in favor of Cadsuane than even she does. But I still wouldn't place Wetlandernw in the same ajah with Cadsuane on that basis. Her demeanor to me has always seemed more like the Blue, other than their semi-sneaky manipulations. I'm going to see how many times I can say Cadsuane in my comments for awhile, just so the Cadsuane-haters can remember how to spell it.


Yep, I'm wearing it.

M-o-M@101 (heh, both are palindromic)

That's not a "pshaw", that's a "Phaw!", or a "Phaugh!".


That doesn't explain Moridin knowing to be in Shadar Logoth during the fight with Rand. Even his APG-666 Raytheon Ta'veren Radar can't work that fast or that accurate. He told the other forsaken that the boys were easy to find because they were ta'veren, but that's more like following Hanzel and Gretel's uneaten cookie crumbs (get back, JEJ!) than instant GPS.


Well, I read your entire comment. Maybe I'm under Compulsion! Anyway, one nit to pick. (Several actually, but I'm trying to cut down...) There is a significant difference between a trap and a ward. Rand sets a repeating trap at the waygate of Shadar Logoth, so that any shadowspawn which passes will be slain. Wards, on the other hand, behave differently. Sammael's wards were passive alarms to the sensing of a male channeler. And remember, Sammael is one of those who never did believe Rand was Lews Therin's reincarnation, so he underestimated him in spite of warnings by the others. Foolish? Yes. Unimaginable? No.


Consider this. Moiraine is one of two non-black Aes Sedai alive with proof of their existence at the end of New Spring. As you said, she and Lan have 20 years to spend hunting for the Dragon Reborn. It wouldn't require an excessive portion of that time to devote to research about those whom you know are going to be opposing you. She knows that the forsaken will be released, she has a clearer picture than most about what a few of the prophecies mean (and several seriously bad WAGs on many others). It is her one objective to find Rand and protect him until he can lead the Light at the Last Battle. She is plenty smart enough to realize that the best way to accomplish that is to know her enemy as thoroughly as she can. So, I'm not too skeptical about her knowledge.

Or, what Samadai said @126...


I'm glad you felt that way, didn't want to start an argument over your choice of ajah. I know I'd be Blue, with White/Brown accents.


Oh, you didn't realize that Mashadar IS Stay-Puft's moonlight job.

And sorry, I forgot to mention Cadsuane for awhile. A good question raised before about Moiraine, but suitable here as well, is how do current-age Aes Sedai know balefire on sight, if it hadn't been used in over a thousand years? Myself, I understand Cadsuane slapping Rand for using balefire for two reasons. One, he just cracked out of school in a HUGE way. Two, whether Cadsuane shows it or not, his knowledge of balefire probably scares her quite a bit. Well, I guess that's enough.
Ron Garrison
163. Man-0-Manetheran
Ouroboros@161: “Also, it was after Moirain saw Rand using balefire that she decided to change her tactics.” I had forgotten that connection. Thanks.

Freelancer to thewindrose @ 162: ROFLMAO! And right, “Phaw”, but Pshaw made a better joke...
Alice Arneson
164. Wetlandernw
Ouroboros @161 - FWIW, I assumed the "staring southward in worry" had to do with the location of Illian, since that's what these particular stories are about. Of course, the Seanchan are (currently) to the south as well, or a significant part of their forces are, but the story-tellers wouldn't be too likely to know that. Yet.

@many - Ouroboros reminded me... You can only have one person wielding the flows in a circle, but some significant weaves must require the use of both halves. (Why include both genders, otherwise?) So whoever is leading the circle would need to be able to weave both, somehow. So I'm betting that in the AOL, at least the stronger channelers would know how. For whatever reason, RJ didn't really tell us much about it at the Cleansing, which (IIRC) is the only event we've seen so far where mixed circles were used. Maybe it made his mind feel like a pretzel too. I'm on that team.

I didn't cheer when he used in the fog. It was completely unnecessary and it blew his cover. He deserved the slap. Thank you for saying that!! I figured I'd make everyone mad all over again if I said it, but I've been thinking it for the last week or so. ;) And, if I may say so, it not only blew his cover, but in doing so it just wasted all of Cadsuane's efforts to help him maintain that cover, and we all know how she feels about people wasting her time or effort!

And doesn't anyone besides me think it would be hilarious to meet Brandon dressed as Cadsuane? If I got the chance, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Might have to grey my hair a bit more and grow it out for a couple of months to be able to do a decent bun, but I'm sure if I look hard I can find a bunch of little golden ornaments to dangle on chains from it. I can make the dress and the shawl... Oh, what a hoot that would be. Then I could give him what-for about threatening reciprocity for her treatment of Semirhage. :>
165. Freelancer

Why would Brandon dress as Cadsuane? Myself, I'd find it disturbing to meet him if he was dressed that way.

Ohhhhh, you meant meet him while dressed as Cadsuane...I see.

Grammatical ambiguity FTW.
Thomas Keith
166. insectoid
Free @165: LOL!! Also, misplaced modifiers FTW! ;)

Roger Powell
167. forkroot
FWIW, I too read Wetlandernw's comment the wrong way (until later context made it clear.) Unfortunately, the mental image is not easy to erase ....
174. Freelancer
"I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. What he was doing in my pajamas I'll never know."
~ Groucho Marx
Captain Hammer
175. Randalator
subwoofer @149

burn buddy burn.

Oh, I'm on FIRE, baby! Because it's my twenty-tenth birthday. Woohoo!
176. Megaduck
Ouroboros @ 161

While the DO is 'outside time' I think this is a strong argument that he DOES know the future. Not only can he probably read the pattern but he's done this all before.

The details might change, or he might have forgotten them, but he's gone through all seven ages before as the wheel spins.

He's probably tried several different plots before slowly modifying them as the previous ones didn't work.
Rob Munnelly
177. RobMRobM
@175. Happy B'day (and Happy Earth Day too as a bonus). Rob
Barry T
178. blindillusion
Rand ~ 175. Happy B-Day

Happy B-Day to Tek.

And Happy Un-B-Day to all the rest of us.
john massey
179. subwoofer
Well then- birthdays abound- Yay for Tek and Randalator:)

Ahem, not much else to contribute to the thread other than to point out that Free misspelled Cranky-Pants name at least twice in post 162- turn that "d" upside down and add and subtract a few letters;) From reading your posts I am getting more and more sympathetic about her. I mean, going through menopause for 220-some odd years is bound to give anyone a short fuse...

Marcus W
182. toryx
Happy birthdays, Tektonica and Randalator. Hope you both have a good one.
Richard Fife
183. R.Fife
Wetlander @164
Actually, there is typically one very well done Cads cosplay at D*Con/JCon. I'll get a picture this year (perhaps even with Brandon) and get it up for ya. (Yes April, I know you are lurking around, and I am talking about you.)
184. Divil The Bother
Okaaayyy... Balefire's not a good thing to use against the Foresaken? In that case what's the point of taking on any of the Foresaken? Are all these confrontations yet more unnecessary plotlines in this neverending series?

To kill a Foresaken you must use balefire otherwise it's pointless - end of story. Yes I'm sure the DO wants everyone balefiring willy nilly but that's not the issue. Cadsuane is adamant that it not be used ever - in that case you're wasting your time going after the Foresaken.

In summary: You have to use it to kill FS, therefore Cads, your are wrong. And if you manage to succeed in your reckless attempts to convince the Light's saviour that he shouldn't ever use it then we might as well all pack up now coz this story's got only one ending and no bunker is going to be safe.
185. Looking Glass
forkroot@160: Which is a good point, but damaged buildings don’t always collapse immediately.

Freelancer@162: No, the book specifically states that both halves of the boat moved*. (I was using insta-sank as a shorthand for “retconned to already being full of and mostly under water”). Of course, that doesn’t prove the “only if you hit a soul” interpretation is wrong, since she did hit people with that blast. As I said, I just haven’t found conclusive evidence either way. I tend to go with the retcon-everything answer just because it's simpler.

*For reference, full paragraph: “Because she had jerked, the balefire she meant to slice through cabin and passenger instead had sliced diagonally through the middle of the boat, where the oarsmen had stood, and the bodyguards. Because the rowers had been burned out of the pattern before the balefire struck, the two halves of the craft were now a good hundred paces back up the river. Then again, perhaps it was not a complete disaster. Because that slice from the boat’s center had gone at the same time the boatmen really died, the river had had minutes to rush in. The two parts of the boat sank out of sight in a great froth of bubbles even as her eyes shifted to them, carrying their passenger to the depths.” (ACoS, ch30)


On a tangent, it seems like beam width is tied to beam strength. Can anyone recall an instance where the balefire retcon time obviously didn't correlate with the beam width? Narrow beams that retconned far back, or huge beams that didn't go far back at all?


Divil@184: I agree using balefire vs. forsaken is generally a useful tool (though the Graendal thing was decidedly excessive). That said, Team Light may not need it now, just due to time constraints. Given how long it took for the first forsaken down to return, the Dark One might simply not have time to arrange the resurrection of anyone killed now.

Or the inclination, for that matter. He's not big on failure, particularly repeated failure. I rather doubt Osan'gar is coming back now he's managed to get himself killed a second time.
186. MasterAlThor
*grumbling looking through mail*


Invites to Tek and Randalators B Day parties!!!

That's the best mail I've recieved this week!!!

Happy Birthday Tek and Rand. And many mooooorrrrrrreeeeeeee.

Tina Pierce
187. scissorrunner
Tektonica - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
Randalator - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

whew -lots to read today.
JenB - "Moridin's squishy new feelings" ROLF squishy is such a good word!!

Wetlandernw - nah - you'd probably make a better green than some of the greens who exist already! You already have a quick wit & aren't afraid to use it!!

Ouroboros - (who ya gonna call??) now THAT is going to run through my head all day

Aginor = Osan'gar got that
Aginor/Osan'gar = Dashiva ?? totally missed it. Thought Dashiva was just another already-mad-sadin-user.

I absolutely LOVE all the comments posted here. I've read the series 6-7 times through, but the comments here have made me think far more than I did before. OK - sometimes it makes my brain hurt, but its all good!! Thanks all!!
Valentin M
188. ValMar
I'll like to add my best wishes to the current and recent birthday boys and girl.

Also, how much damage can balefire do if used 1/2 dozen times more to remove the remaining Forsaken? A not too small bar of it removes just a few seconds of the pattern. The only problem is if this leads to more general use of balefire.
Marcus W
189. toryx
Divil @ 184:

I'm not sure that killing the Forsaken repeatedly is really as useless as it first appears. There's no way to measure how much time and energy is consumned by the Dark One when he brings someone back to life but I'd think that it must take some degree of effort.

On top of that, how often is the DO going to be bringing someone back if he or she keeps getting themselves killed? The DO isn't exactly known for his patience and understanding.

There's very little evidence to suggest it, but if bringing someone back to life took time and energy for the DO to do, forcing him to turn his gaze elsewhere for a time, that alone would be worth killing the Forsaken. Particularly since it seems to take time for those brought back to life to get their game back on.

Personally, I think stilling/ severing the Forsaken and dropping them in a deep, dank but well-lit cellar under guard in a stedding would be the way to go.
190. Lsana
@184 Divil The Bother,

Going after the Forsaken is not completely a waste of time. Even if Sammael, for example, was brought back at the start of Towers of Midnight, he'd have lost a lot of ground. He no longer has Illian or any other safe haven, and building a new one would be difficult with Rand and the Seanchan running most things.

In the grand scheme of things, however, you aren't going to win this war by killing all of the Dark One's minions: even without his resurrection power, there are just too many of them. The Forsaken aren't even particularly competent minions; they are just the most famous. Aginor/Osan'gar wasn't all that much more effective than the random Dark Asha'man. If Ag/Os wants to continue his bumbling through another 5 or 6 lifetimes, I'm not sure that it makes all that much difference to Team Light. Whereas large amounts of Balefire and the pattern unraveling around their ears definitely matters.

Maybe a small amount of Balefire targeted only the Forsaken and only for a fraction of a second back in time is little enough that there won't be a problem (though I'm not sure). But I don't think it helps that much, and I would much rather have Rand learn the "never use Balefire ever" lesson than his current "Balefire: your one-stop shop for all your OP needs" theory.

It might help if Cads explained to Rand why he needed to break the Balefire addiction, but I'm not sure. Moiraine did give an explanation of why Balefire was A Very Bad Thing, and Rand pretty much ignored her. Frankly, Cads's slap seemed to have much more of an impression.
James Jones
191. jamesedjones
Re: Balefire

In all seriousness, using balfire to kill forsaken is a good thing, no matter how you look at it. Demandred was given orders to unleash more of it from the DO. If the DO's servants are expected - and even instructed - to use it, then killing them with it is actually a net negative move.
Tricia Irish
192. Tektonica
SH = Shadar Hampton. A charming country town in the Mid-Westlands. Many nobles have holiday homes there. I hear their talking about starting up a Wheel of Time Share scheme. LOL....Wheel of Time Share....LOL

I googled Van de Graff....hadn't heard of him. James Van Allen taught Astronomy 101 at my University (U. of Iowa), where there was a waiting list for his class... One of the best classes I ever had, and he was a nice man. Of course he did much more interesting things on the side ;-), like finding those Belts. Thanks for the clarification.

Wet@164: Would love to see you as Cadsuane! LOL. You can always buy one of those "pin-on" buns at one of the "pretend hair" kiosks in the mall. Let me know when this will happen, I'd love to be there. Maybe you could wear the Amyrlin stole too and really scare Brandon.

I have Zero to contribute to the discussion of the past two days....you guys & gals have said if all, and well. But I will say,

Thank you for the Birthday wishes! I intend to have a relaxing and frivolous day! And Happy B-day to Randalator too! Birthday buddies!

Thanks for the party in the Bunker invite! I'll be there with some blush Champagne and carrot cake....anyone?
Sharon E.
193. Sulin
Happy Birthday, Tek and Rand! Drink lots of oosquai!

Ouroboros (@161)
Moridin was shocked when Rand touched the TP. Of course, it may be that the DO hadn't let him in on this part of the plan

Where does it say Mori is shocked? I don't remember reading that anywhere....not that that means anything, some days I do good to remember my name!

Sub @179
I mean, going through menopause for 220-some odd years is bound to give anyone a short fuse...
ROTFL- Oh the horror! ::shudders::

Short-term memory loss FTW!
Sam Mickel
194. Samadai
Happy Birthday to Tektonika and Randalator
Jennifer B
198. JennB
Divil @184
As far as we know, it is the only thing that kills darkhounds as well.

Happy Birthday!
Tektonica and Randalator.
Matthew Smith
199. blocksmith
Happy Birthday, Tek and Randalator. Enjoy many more, but stay young at heart.

Ourobouros @161

Quite the Wall O' Text, but nicely done.

If you are so inclined, check out the TGS open threads (may be all three). There is much discussion there about the sequence and nature of events that lead to Rand using that alternative power source and the implications. Free and I went back and forth on that. The consensus was that it was a Bad Thing, but planned/intended? consensus=RAFO.

And 199...FTW!
Matthew Smith
201. blocksmith

Too Funny...and would that also explain Lanfear?

Was Hadnan Kadere simply a victim of a random hot flash?
Bonnie Andrews
202. misfortuona
Wow, talk about stepping up to the great wall of Randland today. Everyone's fingers must be ‘smokin’.
Anyway first things first.
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birrrrthday Tek and Rand, Happy Birthday to you.

Bring on the champagne, oosquai, rum, carrot cake, brownies, and whatever, cause there's gonna be a good time in the bunker tonight.
What do you mean the rum is gone? Suffa, why is the rum gone?

I'm pretty sure that's the longest post I've ever seen without large quotes to pad it out. Also it was chock full of interesting and humorous things. I like.

When am I going to learn to put down any hot items and swallow before reading your post.

Mis- just taking the opportunity to sing.
Bonnie Andrews
205. misfortuona
Oh no, I forgot.

Mis-loving the green mother.
Barry T
206. blindillusion
Sure is taking Suffa a long time to restock the Rum. I burned it months ago...

...Guess we'll have to get Narg to give her that talking to again....
Maiane Bakroeva
207. Isilel
Lsana @140:

But he was able to hold it together, Sammael went down

Only because the Dark side was interested in his survival. Despite singular incompetence, completely unbelievable in an AoL general, Sammael had Rand whipped. That's how bad Rand's plan was.

Oh, and Elayne's actions also lead to positive outcomes - on much smaller scale. Going to Falme saved her from whatever the BA had in mind for her (as Liandrin let slip), going to Tear ditto, even her abduction helped her to finally beat the other claimants decisively.

And being ta'veren alone is not an excuse for Rand's recklessness. Even ta'veren can fail or be turned - as Arthur Hawkwing was.

HArai @141:

Rand went after Rahvin and Sammael (and Be'lal and Asmodean and Ishamael for that matter) because he doesn't know anyone he can trust that is capable of facing a Forsaken.

Of these I grant you Asmodean and Rahvin. Ishamael came after Rand, rather then vice versa, so it was fight or die.

All others were selfish recklessness on Rand's part.
If he can't trust Asha'man to fight a Forsaken, perhaps he shouldn't have created them, hm? And he has been utterly in Cadsuane's power after his stint with Fain's knife, so not trusting her and hers to fight a Forsaken was just willfull stupidity.
No, it has never been true that it was optimal for Rand to fight FS by himself and by this point it should not have been his job to fight them at all. It is just self-indulgence and inability to delegate.

AMW @144:

But even if he were to gather the cadre to teach, I don't see Black Ajah devoting the brainpower to understand it.

The AS have learned the AoL weaves via the SGs very quickly. So, wrong.

For that matter, I don't see one of the Forsaken putting effort into increasing the knowledge of a modern channeler. Not when such knowledge can be used against them.

I know that it has been used to halfway justify Rand's continued successes against the FS, but... it makes zero sense.
All the FS _had_ to work with other channelers in AoL and thus have skills to keep them in line.

Having other channelers in their service would have made a lot of things much easier - and moreover once it became clear that Rand had channelers working for him (as early as Tear or as late as battle of Cahirien), it should have been crystal clear to the FS that they needed channeling underlings of their own to compete. Even more so after Rand started to assemble Asha'man, because they were taught Travelling right away.

Sammael, in particular, was a general - he had to have a channeling corps skilled in battle to be successful against forces of Light. His failure to assemble the same in Randland is mind-bogglingly idiotic. I mean, he even had the Oath Rod - the perfect tool to quash anybody getting too uppity - and he gave it away! Argh!!! Idiocy, it burns!

Freelancer @162:

Sammael's wards were passive alarms to the sensing of a male channeler.

And he didn't make them deadly traps during all the time he has been fortifying Illian against invasion, because? Also, passive alarms that can be triggered from afar are useless.

And remember, Sammael is one of those who never did believe Rand was Lews Therin's reincarnation, so he underestimated him in spite of warnings by the others.

Rand's record spoke for itself, Sammael knew that he was a massive ta'veren and he also knew that Rand had tons of other channelers working for him. So, irrelevant.

As an aside, all those guys who envied LTT and thought that they should have been better? Ironically, without the unfair advantage of ta'verenness they well may have been...
Maiane Bakroeva
208. Isilel
Oh, and happy Birthdays!

Re: saidin versus saidar, the hard truth is that skilled AoL channelers could expertly weave both in a circle. And thus they could teach those of opposite gender when linked.

I feel that RJ actually dropped the ball on this a little, because at the cleansing we don't just see Rand weaving saidar without killing himself (which could be attributed to LTT and/or extreme ta'verenness), but also the AS weaving saidin. And that's really something that should have required some hard learning/training, rather than the usual "intuitive leap" shortcuts that RJ liked to employ where channeling was concerned.
j p
209. sps49
Bummer, sharing a birthday with Lenin (first Earth Day was on Lenin's 100th birthday, hmmm).

But happy birthdays to all!

And yes, the Forsaken need to let go of the Idiot Ball.
210. Freelancer
Champagne wishes and caviar dreams for the Birthday folk!

Actually, champagne isn't right for birthdays, the only proper beverage for celebrating one's natal anniversary is a Cherry-Lemon Frosted OJ. You'll just have to trust me, it's heaven in a glass.
Matthew Smith
211. blocksmith

I think you make a strong point about Sammael and the other Forsaken and can only add this.

The Forsaken (and the forces serving the DO) used Dreadlords up to and after the Breaking to combat the Male and Female Aes Sedai that they fought. Teams of channelers, not just Forsaken, necessary to fight the organized AS.

The only real justification for their current non-use (training and grand employment) of Dreadlords so far is hubris. In the face of all the anecdotal evidence (deaths of Aginor, Balthamael, Ishamael the first, Bel'al, Rahvin, Lanfear, Asmodean) to this point, they still see Rand and the other AS as, maybe not inferior but at the least poorly organized. And, to a point, they are right. Dumai's Wells was the first Massive Channeling Conflict in this age and it was Wise Ones vs. Aes Sedai vs. Asha'man. Not even against Shadowspawn. They were fighting each other instead of unifying against the DO.

That said, to me, it is likely a combination of this hubris and also some concern that one of the poorly trained channelers (in the eyes of the Forsaken) that call themselves AS (either BA or otherwise)could use such training against them. We know, based on Liandrin's actions, attempting to "better" their position by at least controlling a Forsaken is not something they won't try.
Barry T
212. blindillusion
No, it has never been true that it was optimal for Rand to fight FS by himself and by this point it should not have been his job to fight them at all. It is just self-indulgence and inability to delegate.

I'd argue it's an inability to send anyone to fight in his stead. This would be a man who's not fond of people dying for him.

As an aside, all those guys who envied LTT and thought that they should have been better? Ironically, without the unfair advantage of ta'verenness they well may have been...

So, the "gift" given by the Pattern to keep existence...existing...in an unfair advantage?
Ron Garrison
213. Man-0-Manetheran
Wetlandernw@164 re. your thanks to Ouroboros: "I figured I'd make everyone mad all over again if I said it, but I've been thinking it for the last week or so." Which is precisely why I didn't thank Ouroboros myself. You have more guts than me girl! Maybe you are a Green after all.

And YES!!! I would totally love to see you at a book signing dressed as Cadsuane! It would be hilarious, especially if you stayed in character and called him "boy."

And Happy Birthday to Tek and Randalator! Suffa!!! Bring the damn cake already! And how many times do we have to tell you to bring the rum?
j p
214. sps49
We are talking about TP!Rand again?

My personal consensus is unchanged- I still think it is an excellent plan of the DO to get him addicted; recall the TP influence on Rand was screwing up everything in tGS. We will soon see if he is jonesing for more in ToM.

Wetlandernw @152

Breaking the Wheel would release the DO. The current Forsaken (except Moridin) do not want to ruin the Pattern with balefire because they want to rule and live forever. They aren't looking ahead well.

Shai'tan does ask Demandred if he will use balfire in his service.

For circles, mixing genders is necessary to include more channelers.

Freelancer @162

Raytheon radar, huh? Am I outed?

Divil @184


Looking @185

Osan'gar did go out swinging both times, though, so I can see him reappearing.
Thomas Keith
215. insectoid
Looks like the Spamalot has been eating posts again...

Randalator and Tek: Happy birthday!!

Free @174: BAHAHAhahaha!! I've seen a few of those films, and they always make me laugh out loud ;)

Mis-Cap'n @202: LOL!! I think Blind used it all for a signal fire...

Bonnie Andrews
216. misfortuona
Nope can't blame Blind this time. That was months ago. Somebody, maybe the same somebody who took the snickerdoodles, has been stealing the rum.

Amalissa where are you, the bunker is under attack.
Okay, maybe I'm over reacting a little bit, but it is Thursday.

Mis-waiting for Friday.
Richard Fife
217. R.Fife
@216 My bunker is under attack? Phaw. It's heartstone. But, if you are really worried, you can always come visit me in the new bunker ;)

Less than 12 hours till I leave for JCon.
Thomas Keith
218. insectoid
Mis-waiting @216: Snickerdoodles? Wait a minute... Maybe jamesedjones ran off with the rum, too?

R.Fife @217: I know... maybe you ran off with the rum so you could take it to JC! ;)

Richard Fife
219. R.Fife
There is a song we sing at JCon:

We'll have ourselves a bucket of Rum
And then we'll have ourselves some fun
and then we'll have another one!
Then dance with Jak o' the Shadows!

(this comes from DragonCon, where they were honestly serving up buckets of rum)
Alice Arneson
220. Wetlandernw
Freelancer, insectiod, forkroot @165-174 - My apologies for the ambiguity. My thoughts were clear; my punctuation and grammar, not so much. It was getting late. Also, watching The Avengers is not particularly conducive to simultaneous word-smithing. Shall I keep digging?

And what's with the jump from 167 to 174?

Divil the Bother @184 - Well, that's quite the leap of logic. Hope you didn't strain anything.

scissorrunner @187 - Why, thank you! :) And re: the comments here have made me think far more than I did before. I'm with you there. I've reread the entire series every time a new book comes out, and there's just so much in them that I hadn't even bothered to sort out. All the discussion here has made me aware of connections and implications I had missed, and other ways of looking at things, and.... Yeah, it's great to be here.

toryx @189 - Personally, I think stilling/ severing the Forsaken and dropping them in a deep, dank but well-lit cellar under guard in a stedding would be the way to go. I like it! Separate cellars, so they can't kill each other off?

Lsana @190 - Well said!

Tektonica @192 - Maybe you could wear the Amyrlin stole too and really scare Brandon. LOL!! That's priceless! I might just have to do it!

And happy birthday!!

Man-o-Manetheran @213 - LOL! ...especially if you stayed in character and called him "boy.". Oh, yes!! I'll have to remember that, if I get the chance.

sps49 @214 - I'm getting to this, but will make it a separate post. One of my favorite areas of speculation.
Hugh Arai
221. HArai
If he can't trust Asha'man to fight a Forsaken, perhaps he shouldn't have created them, hm?
First of all, male channelers existed already. He decided to use them against the inevitable Dreadlords you've been getting worked up over, instead of flat out wasting all other male channelers. It's not like he decided to be reborn with a second personality that hates other channelers, so I'd say he's doing as well as he can.
Obviously he's making a big mistake leaving Taim in charge, but I suspect if you instinctively distrust everyone who can channel, it makes it harder to pick out the guy who really is going to betray you.

As far as using Asha'man against the Forsaken, Rand knows very well he's been beating the Forsaken by raw strength,instinct taken from LTT and ta'veren luck. He can't teach any of those. Basic "burn them", "make em blow up" attacks work fine on others with a similar lack of training, but the Forsaken can't even get those to work on Rand let alone the other way around. Don't forget the only channelers Rand has fought a Forsaken "with" either used Balefire or got helplessly ragdolled. Rand doesn't like sending people out to die pointlessly, so he doesn't. I guess that's what you're calling selfish. I can only imagine what people would be saying if he taught the Asha'man balefire, which despite obvious drawbacks, would have made them effective against the Forsaken.

And he has been utterly in Cadsuane's power after his stint with Fain's knife, so not trusting her and hers to fight a Forsaken was just willfull stupidity.
It's hardly that simple. I can think of at least 3 times he was utterly in Lanfear's power. Not trusting her and hers was just willful stupidity right? Hell, a Forsaken helped get him healed in the very "stint" you mention.

Of course it's not optimal for Rand to go after the Forsaken himself. Propose an alternate solution Rand had available, that Rand would find likely to work. Or that had been demonstrated to be effective at the time he went after Sammael. What does Rand know of where he can say "I know X can do it so I can play safe and stay here"?
222. Freelancer

Actually, since the bunker is invulnerable, the exclamation should have been "Pshaw".

diane heath
223. jadelollipop
As previously stated I am re-reading TDR. The SGs just met the Aiel. Avienda mentioned balefire to them which they did not recognize yet when they fought off the Myrddraals Nynaeve was angry enough that she used it on one of them. She did not know what it was but Egwene recognized it. Are we to believe they are getting flashes of past life memories ala Rand?
Karen Jacobs
224. KJacobs
Nothing of WOT relevance to add, other than Happy Birthday to Tektonica & Randalator!
225. CraigVal
The way I figure it, and why I figure the DO confused Verin so much, is the DO doesn't want to Win-Win. Because if he does then all the trollocs eat all of the humans and then the trollocs starve to death. Meanwhile all of the Forsaken knock themselves off. Result the DO is left with an empty sack. A true win for the DO is to have just enough freedom that he can continue to screw with the humans to his heart's content; but not enough so that his awsomeness wrecks everything.
Sharon E.
226. Sulin
Anyone who's going to JC this weekend:

1)I'm Green with envy!

2) are you planning on sitting in on the Red Eagle Entertainment panel? I'm curious to hear news of the planned game/movie.
Tricia Irish
227. Tektonica

I think the stated goal of the DO is to Break the Wheel. Stop Time. End it all. Complete destruction. Bye Bye. Poof. Fini. Doesn't sound like there will be anything left for him to do with that scenario, but that is what he says he wants. ??

Thank you everyone for all your well wishes! It was an incredibly beautiful day here in SoFla. Has Suffa replaced the lost Rum yet?
Alice Arneson
228. Wetlandernw
sps49 @214 - We don't really know what the effect of breaking the Wheel would be, other than ending the cyclical nature of time. Denizens of Randland assume it would be the end of the world and the end of time itself. We've been told that the Creator and the Dark One are the only things outside of time. One could assume that breaking the Wheel would release the Dark One, but it might not. My recent speculation has been that, if he is imprisoned outside of time, the DO would not want the Wheel broken (time ended and all living creatures dead) until he's out of that prison, or there'd be no one to help him from the outside. (The Creator sure isn't likely to help, anyway, since He put him in there in the first place, and he obviously can't get out by himself or he'd have done so long since.)

Of course, it's also possible that breaking the Wheel would merely end the cycle of Ages, and send the world on a straight timeline instead of a circular one. Or it could have some entirely different effect; it's one of those things that, at present, is all speculation. If it's important to the schemes at hand, we'll probably find out in AMoL; if not, we may never know.

My primary reason for assuming the DO doesn't want to just destroy the Pattern and the Wheel ASAP is that, if that were his goal, it would only take one strong channeler to do the job. Have Moridin go out there and use TP-balefire on Tear, then quickly Travel to Illian, do the same; on to Ebou Dar, Caemlyn, Cairhien, Sheandar, Shara... He could hop-skip all over the globe, Traveling anywhere, balefiring large numbers of people wherever he could find them, and the Pattern could be in tatters within a couple of hours. Given how easy it would be, I have to assume that there's some reason that even the DO doesn't want that to happen. Or at least not yet. (Hence the speculation on the relationships of the Wheel, time and the DO.) And he didn't really command Demandred to go balefiring things; he just asked "WOULD YOU UNLEASH THE BALEFIRE IN MY SERVICE?" I think it was testing Demandred's obedience, given that the context contained several rhetorical questions and that we don't know what follow-on instructions he received.

However... I just noticed this, in that same passage, which may change my earlier point, after I think about it for a while.

Demandred hesitated. A bead of sweat slid half an inch on his cheek; it seemed to take an hour. For a year during the War of Power, both sides had used balefire. Until they learned the consequences. Without agreement, or truce - there had never been a truce any more than there had been quarter - each side simply stopped. Entire cities died in balefire that year, hundreds of thousands of threads burned from the Pattern; reality itself almost unraveled, world and universe evaporating like mist. If balefire was unleashed once more, there might be no world to rule.

Another point pricked him. The Great Lord already knew how Rahvin had died. And seemed to know more of Asmodean than he. "As you command, Great Lord, so shall I obey." His muscles might be jerking, but his voice was rock steady. His knees began to blister from the hot stone, yet the flesh might as well have been someone else's.


"Great Lord, the Dragon can be destroyed." A dead man could not wield balefire again, and perhaps then the Great Lord would see no need for it. "He is ignorant and weak, scattering his attentions in a dozen directions. Rahvin was a vain fool. I --"


Demandred's tongue froze. Nae'blis. The one who would stand only a step below the Great Lord, commanding all others. "I wish only to serve you, Great Lord, however I may." Nae'blis.


Demandred screamed as the voice crashed home. Tears of joy rolled down his face.

Unmoving, the Myrddraal watched him.
So... all that to say that there's a whole lot we don't know, but some we do. The FS are, generally, extremely reluctant to use balefire, particularly in large doses. Demandred is even reluctant enough to try manipulating the DO to avoid having to do so; of course, he (like everyone except Ishamael) is still in the mode of expecting worldly power as his reward, so he'd rather not destroy everything he hoped to rule.

We also know that the DO himself thinks that he can't step outside of time. Does this mean that legend is wrong when it says "the Dark One is imprisoned outside of time"? Or is the DO unaware that his prison is outside time? Or is the only way out of the prison through time? Or is time somehow an element of the prison? Or... ideas, anyone? Might as well propound looney theories - all we have so far is "character perspectives" which have occasionally been known to be in error.
Rob Munnelly
229. RobMRobM
@215. "It is a very silly place." ("We're the knights of the Round Table; our songs are for-mid-able" (make second line rhyme with first line, please).

Tek - belated happy b'day. Saw the Randalator messages but not yours until later.

Note that Blog of the Fallen (SF review blog) has started his reread of the WoT books. Just posted TDR today. He's not a fan but seems to be appreciating them a bit more so far. Interesting seeing the series from the view of an infidel. (He's also blogging a re-read of the Dune books too. Re some of his comments, infidel indeed.)

Generally - agree that while Cads may have a point that balefire should be used sparingly, she has not justified a blanket prohibition. Need it for Darkhounds - unless she can come up with a better idea. And, while she might not know it, need to kill Forsaken without reincarnation (which is very worthwhile, otherwise they become surprise power weapons with new faces). So Balefire slap in Darlin's tent was ok (as Rand blew his cover and caused problems along with using the prohited weave), blanket ban not so much.

Barry T
230. blindillusion
I recall reading on the 13thD (I believe) that one possible reason Moridin wants the DO to win is to move time from a circular pattern to a linear pattern, i.e. that's the DO's Master Plan Theory.

So, why?

Well, picture the DO truly has granted immortality to Moridin already. And the way to bring about the the linear pattern is to destroy Rand, the Dragon, the Creator's champion...

That would explain why Moridin wants the DO to win. Imagine an immortal Moridin with no worries of his Enemy coming back to kick his a...err...defeat him every few thousand years...

Probably could have worded that better...but I”m in a hurry....
Alice Arneson
231. Wetlandernw
Rob et al... I'm prepared to RAFO; no concessions until then! ;)

R.Fife - if you're still on... I'd love to see a picture of someone doing Cadsuane! Thanks!
232. alreadymadwithweaving
Isilel @207
The AS have learned the AoL weaves via the SGs very quickly.
You are referring to weaves that had always been meant to be woven by women using Saidar. Learning how to weave(or spin) Saidin would involve learning to understand how it behaves the way a man would understand it. That is beyond any modern day Aes Sedai.

As for the Aes Sedai using Saidin at the Cleansing, they did not actually form weaves with it. They just used the potential strength in the male channelers(and sa'angreal) to boost their own Saidar weaves. Only Rand actually split them off to form a Saidar weave and a Saidin weave. And the Saidar weave did not behave as he intended it to.

And he didn't make them deadly traps during all the time he has been fortifying Illian against invasion, because?
Rand explained the nature of traps to Moiraine. He could not make it choose. It would attack anyone unless disarmed first. And intricate enough traps will take a long time to disarm. As much an advantage as a liability in a running battle such as men typically engage in.
Also Sammael vs. random average joe Asha'man had been done in the runup to Rand's main assault. Even in twos and threes the Asha'man were still no match for him.

Happy birthday, Tek and Randalator. Bring out the oosquai.

Wetlandernw @228
The Dark One is imprisoned outside of time. Or so Moiraine explained, and she could still be wrong. More likely, the Dark One is imprisoned outside of the Wheel, which for its inhabitants is for all intents and purposes, time itself. The Dark One is imprisoned, but in order to touch the Pattern he must be close to the Wheel and the tools he uses must be bound within it. This is why he was helpless when Bel'al and Rahvin were balefired. Burned as they were out of the Pattern, they were beyond his reach. Since he could not snatch their souls up and return them to the Pattern much as he did with Aginor and Balthamel. And err... pretzels?
233. EvilMonkey
I gotta say I like the ending and thought it was a typical Randlike ending. You gotta admit, the boy moves fast. You think he's sitting around not doing anything then BAM! I just took Andor and bagged another Forsaken. BAM! Half an hour from my deathbed I bagged Illian and maybe bumped off another forsaken. BAM! Fresh outta jail I take an afternoon and CLENSE THE MALE HALF OF THE FLIPPIN SOURCE. Hell, I'll even break the Aiel nation almost by accident, enslave a Forsaken and make him teach me the power, and grab the most powerful sa'angreal for men ever made while hiding the most powerful one for women from a homocidal, demented, evil meglomaniac ex-girlfriend all while being too tired to channel a strand of the power.

Rand's Awesomeness? Undeniable.

Hugh Arai
234. HArai
Wetlandernw@231: Same here, on the opposite viewpoint of course. Although, I'd be happy to be wrong, just because Rand suffers enough as it is and it would be nice for one of the people he endures to have a good reason :)
Ron Garrison
235. Man-0-Manetheran
From tEotW, page 161 (HC): The Dark One was "bound by the Creator until the end of time." (emphasis mine)

From piecing together little snippets, RJ has told us "The Dark One is bound in Shayol Ghul" "by the Creator at the moment of Creation" "until the end of time." - or as it is stated in the Glossary, "Imprisoned by the Creator at the moment of Creation in a prison at Shayol Ghul."

Looking at RJ's cosmos, I see the two entities as the Creator and the Destroyer. I like those yin/yang relationships, and given all the symbols, etc. in WoT, RJ liked them too. So, the Creator creates and the Destroyer attempts to destroy that creation. It's a dynamic tension. They are almost equals, excepting for the fact that The Creator by default had to have created The Destroyer.

And that's the way I see it...
john massey
236. subwoofer
I'd love to see a picture of someone doing Cadsuane

Ahhhhh! The horror- the mental image! Must bleach mind! Run away!

As for somebody protraying Cranky-pants, there is a lady blogger here, I have seen her profile, and she has the bun and the hair net thingy down. Profile seems to of vanished though...

237. Ouroboros
Tektonica & Randalator
Many happy returns.

More Ghostbusters.

"He slimed me!" Rand said, holding his side, as Fane ran away.

Wetlandernw @164
RE: Rumours to the south

You're right. We were talking about so many books at once I thought the line came from somewhere else. Rand is the storm.

RE: it not only blew his cover, but in doing so it just wasted all of Cadsuane's efforts to help him maintain that cover, and we all know how she feels about people wasting her time or effort!


Also, Rand hasn't exactly done a good job of impressing her so far. He broke a teapot. For the love of the light, a teapot! He really needs to stop thinking with those "hairless bottom cheeks". Maybe one day I'll give you my Anti-anti-Cadsuane rant. Perhaps in the middle of CoT when things get... well.

Megaduck @176

"TOR Questions of the Week, December 2003 to April 2004
Week 3 Question: There are many theories that attempt to create a connection of time duration to the transmigration of the dead Forsaken. Are there time
and/or power constraints on the Dark One's ability to transmigrate souls?

Robert Jordan Answers: There are definitely time constraints on the Dark One's power to transmigrate a soul. The soul doesn't have to be secured immediately - that is, the Dark One doesn't have to be ready to snatch the soul at the instant of death - but the longer that passes after the death, the less chance that the Dark One will be able to secure the soul. Someone who has been killed with balefire in actuality died before the apparent time of his or her death, and thus the window of opportunity for the Dark One to secure that soul for transmigration is gone before the Dark One can know that the soul must be secured unless the amount of balefire used is very small. Remember that the more balefire is used, the further back the target's thread is burned out of the pattern."

If the DO could see into the future then he would be able to see that someone was going to be balefired and be waiting to catch the soul at the moment it was burned from the pattern. RJ specifically says that he can't save them because he doesn't know. Ergo, he can't see into the future.

That's not saying that they could have planned to get Rand hooked once they realised that the connection was there.

Divil The Bother @184

The whole point of causality is that you don't know how important an action might be. Balefiring a forsaken may seem like a good idea until you accidentally undo an action which prevented something terrible from happening.

Looking Glass @185

Found this on Terez's quotes page.

Claire: (comment regarding the thread on Dragonmount where some are arguing that by balefiring Graendal's palace, the compulsion disappeared since there'dnever had been a palace in the first place, and others are arguing that it doesn't work that way, objects don't have threads).
Brandon: Everything has a thread, not just souls. Even a stone in a wall has a thread in the Pattern.

Lsana @190

There's also the fact that if he runs out of forsaken, he can just start promoting the Black Ajah and Black Tower rank and file to the front desks.

"Balefire: your one-stop shop for all your OP needs"

Like it.


Sulin 193

You got me. I was sure that when Rand saw Moridin's face, there was some mention of Moridin being shocked. But I've just checked it and I was clearly hallucinating. Shenanigans!

There is this from KoD

"The face of the man from Shaadar Logoth floated in his head for a moment. He looked furious. And near to sicking up. Without any doubt he was aware of Rand in that moment, and Rand of him."

This does show that Moridin is finding the connection irksome to. One interesting point is that Rand sometimes sees the face without warning. I wonder if they only see each other when they embrace there respective powers.

Freelancer 210

I'd go for a White Russian or 10 myself.

blocksmith @211

I'm not convinced that Team Shaidar made a mistake in holding back the channelers. At this point, only the Ais Sedai in the Tower know how many BA there are, and Rand refuses to listen to Logain's warnings about the Black Tower. What happens if they all turn up linked. I'm thinking that a few people on Team Light are going to be in for a very nasty shock.

Wetlandernw @228

More stuff for Terez's quotes page.

Question Part 1: In the Wheel of Time there is focus on events occurring again and again throughout history. Is it just history which is circular, or is
it time itself which is in a loop?
Jordan: If you think of history being in a loop, then time must be in a loop. The Greeks were the first, as far as we know, to think of time being linearwhich allows for change. Almost every other culture prior to them had believed in circular time. If time is a wheel there is no possibility of change. Whatever I change now, whatever injustices I correct, the wheel will inevitably return, the inequities will return, there is no possibility for change, therefore there is not impetus to change. So time and history are in a loop in this world, a large enough loop . . . that it is really quite immense.
Question Part 2: So, the sun will never go nova, will never die?
Jordan: In this universe, no.

Whether this means that the wheel cannot be broken is anyone's guess. I do find the bit about the Sun never going nova interesting, because that suggests that something must happen to restore the Sun to a "younger" state.

I can't remember if the bits about the Dark One remaking things say that he will remake the "world" or the "pattern". The wheel spins the pattern, so does breaking the wheel simply mean that the DO can then take over and control the weaving himself?

RJ also RAFOed a question about why the Creator doesn't interfere.

I'm prepared to RAFO this, but the quotes from RJ do give food for thought.
Tess Laird
238. thewindrose
Tektonica and Randalator -Happy Birthday and may your special day be nonstressful as well!!!

Tek we need to meet up sometime:)

Alice Arneson
239. Wetlandernw
Ouroboros @237 - An Anti-anti-Cadsuane rant? Whoo-hoo!!! The flames, they are a-coming! :) Personally, I'd love to read it, but be warned: there are folks on here who can only bring themselves to refer to Cadsuane as She Who Must Not Be Named (SWMNBN), so their reaction might be a little less... welcoming.

You know, I realize it would probably spoil lots of stuff, and really I'm willing to RAFO, but I would dearly love a peek at Maria's files on Cadsuane. I think (believe? hope?) she's going to be vindicated by what she's learned and what the Asha'man need to learn from her, and will prove to be all the awesome you could want from a Legendary Green Aes Sedai™. But there's this niggling thing... BWS has the files, presumably has read them, and he still dislikes her, as far as I can tell from his answers to tour questions. Well, I guess I don't have much choice, so I'll RAFO. If I'm wrong, then I'll apologize to everyone whose time I've wasted with my long defenses, but if I'm right, I'm gonna CROW and be absolutely unbearable. :P
Ron Garrison
240. Man-0-Manetheran
More on the Dark One...
...from our “girl on the inside”, Verin:
”In all of these world, whatever their other variations, a few things are constant. One is that the Dark One is imprisoned in all of them.”
In spirt of herself, Egwene stepped closer to peer at the lines Verin had drawn. “in all of them? How can that be? Are you saying there is a Father of Lies for each world?” The thought of so many Dark Ones mad her shiver.
“No child. There is one Creator, who exists everywhere at once for all of these worlds. In the same way, there is only one Dark One, wo also exists in all of these worlds at once. If he is freed from the prison the Creator made in one world, he is freed on all. So long as he is kept prisoner in one, he remains imprisoned on all.”
“That does not seem to make sense,” Egwene protested.
“Paradox, child. The Dark One is the embodiment of paradox and chaos, the destroyer of reason and logic, the breaker of balance, the unmaker of order.”
“Forgive me, Verin Sedai, but if this” -Egwene indicated the lines drawn in the dust - “has nothing to do with being a Dreamer, why are you telling me about it?”
Verin stared at her as if she were deliberately bein dense. “Nothing? Of course it has something to do with it, child. The point is that there is a third constant besides the Creator and the Dark One. There is a world that lies within each of these others, inside all of them at the same time. Or perhaps surrounding them. Writers in the Age of Legends called it Tel’aran’rhiod, “the Unseen World.” Perhaps “the World of Dreams” is a better translation.
{big snip}
Verin sat looking at the door for a time after it closed behind Egwene. ... Pulling the red box to her, she opened the lid all the way and frowned at what nearly filled the space...Corianin Nedeal’s notes, everything she had leaned in fifty years of studying that peculiar ter’angreal. ...

IMHO, this is The Big Freakin' Clue.
Thomas Keith
241. insectoid
RobM @229: It's a silly place alright! ;)

Sub @236: Oh for shame! 8-O

Wind @238: BAHAHAhahaha!! ::rolling on floor laughing::

Now there's 7-Up on my screen... ;)

M-0-M @240: That's a good idea, even it's not from books 4-6. Maybe Egwene will go poking through Verin's rooms next book looking for stuff?

Sandy Brewer
242. ShaggyBella
75 posts since last night?

good job. Now to read & see what's going on.
Ron Garrison
243. Man-0-Manetheran
That's true, insectoid, but I'm not sure how genuine BWS was being with giving us a range of three books in the first place. Anyway, it's certainly a BIG clue, and I'd be mighty surprised if we don't learn what was in Corianin Nedeal’s notes. If fact there is a lot more to come from Verin, I'm sure.
Sharon E.
244. Sulin
Evilmonkey@233- ...and that is why I love the Dragon Reborn! :Soakin' up the awesomeness that is Rand:

Ouroboros @237
One interesting point is that Rand sometimes sees the face without warning. I wonder if they only see each other when they embrace there respective powers.
Hmmm, good observation! I hadn't thought of that before. Gah! more to RAFO
j p
245. sps49
Wetlandernw @228-

Right, I forgot to speak in ALL CAPS.

My reading of your post is that I don't disagree with you. I do think that it is only "said"; i.e. legend, that the DO is "outside of time". What do Randlanders know? Or is it just a failure of vocabulary?

I do probably conflate the Wheel of Time with the Arch of Time, whick must be broken for Lord Foul to be free. I think. But I am sure that reality itself must be unraveled for the Dark One to be free, and i that instance there will be nobody, not Narg, Moridin, Alviarin, or Fain, around to experience more than the start of the event.

Because what other outcome could Shai'tan be after? Plain old world domination? Bleh.

I also think (echoed by MoM below) that the DO may be a deliberate creation, but the Creator has also embedded safeguards to prevent Shai'tan (ooh, brief rumble in the Hayward fault) from ever winning. The DO may or may not realize this. And I have no basis for this at all.

blindillusion @230-

I like a lot of the content on the 13thD, but some of the conclusions draw too much from outside the WoT.
Alice Arneson
246. Wetlandernw
sps49 - Well, I'll say this much for all caps - it's slightly easier to type. :) Unless, of course, you forget and shift, then you've got really funny-looking stuff.

Yeah, I think it's fun to speculate, but at this stage we just don't have enough info. As you say, just because something is legend doesn't mean its true. And I agree re: 13thD - RJ took only the elements he chose from any given outside source, so making significant conclusions based on the outside sources can get you in trouble. Or at least it can get you about 145 degrees off true... So we can make our guesses, educated or otherwise, but we'll still have to RAFO what twists RJ chose to throw in.
john massey
249. subwoofer
@Insectoid, yeah ,yeah, I know, everyone shoots the messenger. You can't stop the signal. If I'm typing it, at least a few others went there. Heck, I live there...

Somebody portraying http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_phocagallery&view=user&id=20352 Cranky-Pants.

Getting so a man can't post a decent link these days...

john massey
250. subwoofer
@Insectoid, yeah ,yeah, I know, everyone shoots the messenger. You can't stop the signal. If I'm typing it, at least a few others went there. Heck, I live there...

john massey
251. subwoofer

john massey
252. subwoofer
K- this flipping ##@%*&&!!!! site won't let me post a link. There is a certain April Moore, on Tor here, she is a blogger and she dresses up as Cranky-Pants. Dunno why, but she pulls it off pretty durn good. I'll let you guys go and discover as I am in the dog house with TOR...

EDIT- I bookmarked one of her posts so click on it and there are Caddy pics in the profile...

253. Megaduck
Ouroboros @ 237

"If the DO could see into the future..."

There is a big difference between being able to see the future and being able to know the future.

I'm currently replaying Starcraft. I know everything that is going to happen. Kerrigan is going to be betrayed and rise as the Queen of Blades, Raynor is going to leave Mensk, and Tassadar is going to sacrifice himself to kill the overmind.

What I do not know is what happens to every little marine, templar, and hydrolisk that I produce.

The battles change but the overall plot remains the same.

I think that the DO is in a similar situation that I am with Starcraft. He might not know the details but he has a pretty good idea what the plot is and all the major events.

(Howard the Duck is the grey sheep of the family.)
Barry T
254. blindillusion
Well...that was a bit of speculation at 230...

Makes a tad bit of sense...

And I'm still of the opinion that the ending is going to throw everyone for a twist. I can imagine somewhere among all the theories and thoughts, some of us may have touched upon the ending, but I doubt anyone has completely guessed what it will be. That's what makes it exciting…

I mean, my pet theory is still that Moridin has to be completely removed from the Pattern, with no chance of rebirth, ever, for this to truly be the Last Battle…

Is that the way it’ll end? Dun know. Can’t wait to find out though. But I’ll be here RAFOing until the end…and beyond should any of you happen to stick around the Threads....
Tess Laird
255. thewindrose
Mr subwoofer - good find!

Man-o-Manetheran - I think T'a'R will be integral for the last battle, but every website has had massive discussion on this. We discussed it in detail when it occurred (Verin and the notes). So I don't think it's what BwS was aiming at(if he isn't just pulling our collective leg).

Freelancer @162 - Is it how I shorten Cadsuane to Cads that you don't like? I am pretty sure I usually spell it right when I use her whole name. And I am pretty sure I have never said I hate her, so maybe you were not referring to me? Just curious:)

And now I go off to pout...I do so wish I were at the con:(

Tricia Irish
256. Tektonica
Ouroboros@237: Thank you for your "Many Happy Returns" message. I just found out yesterday what that means....all you gurus probably already know, but for my fellow ignoramuses (ignorami?) The Return referred to in that phrase is the Solar Return, when the planets that were in alignment when you were born are back in the same position.
*Trivia of the day.


Thank you for your inspirational poem. I shall strive to live by those wise words and hold them in my heart always. ;-) And yes, we do need to meet up sometime...hilarity ensues!

Mano@240: FWIW, I'm with you on TAR being the big Fat Clue. Verin explains it all....and I'll bet she suggests to Egs in Her Little Black Book that she left her, that she go to her (Verin's) room and look in the little red box for Corriane Nedeals notes and other stuff....Remember that Book had her notes from hundreds of years of research on various things as well as 70 or so on the BA. There's bound to be a lot of important info in there!

For all you Football fans.....Celeb sighting....Peyton and Eli Manning and their wives had dinner at the table next to us last night, when we were out for my Bday dinner. Peyton is really Big. (No, we did not bother them in any way.)
Rob Munnelly
257. RobMRobM
Did you tell Peyton "Cut That Meat!!" (obscure reference to old, pretty funny, commercial he did).
Tricia Irish
258. Tektonica

LOL. No, but I did cheer when he successfully ordered wine!
Barry T
259. blindillusion
Peyton is cool, though I've never met him. Haven't really liked Eli since that party we were both attending.

Interesting night, that.
Tricia Irish
260. Tektonica
OK Blind, I'll bite....tell us about the party......a super bowl party?
Sam Mickel
261. Samadai
Has anyone seen the partial cover for Towers of Midnight yet? It is Mat,Thom, and Noal, with one of them drawing a symbol on the side of a tower.

edit for. I am not making this up
Sharon E.
263. Sulin
@Samadai- Awesome find! I wonder what's up with the pink pants though.
Barry T
264. blindillusion
Hmm. Sam, that kinda makes that conversation we had yesterday, the one that make you sick just to think about, a bit more plausible, huh?

Oh, and Tek. Nope. Not a Super Bowl Party. This was years ago. He went to Ole Miss. I went to Mississippi State.

edit: For pink pants. Well, if that is the working cover, and since it's being done by Sweet...is it really any surprise?
Chin Bawambi
265. bawambi
How about a looney theory as to the BFC - going with most of the fan base has missed it so I'm saying that it can't be TAR...
Has anyone proposed a theory lately about the Portal Stone world where the DO apparently won - don't have books in front of me so a guru ref would help - how can that world exist if everywhere the DO has to be imprisoned therefore Verin's and most other gurus (Randland not RL) theory about DO free in all worlds or DO imprisoned in all worlds is FALSE. If this is true how would it change our RL interpretation of events in Randland to date?
Tess Laird
266. thewindrose
Thank Samadai - I checked it out. I am so impatient to get my hands on that book!!!

Below is some stuff that isn't critical for the book being covered, so please skip if you don't want to waste time on it:)

I have a funny story for you all about what my kids and I did last night. I was checking out some items on the web, and Noah saw the new ebook covers for tCoS. So I decided to see what my kids thought of each cover that has been done so far. BTW - Noah is 9 and Noelle is 7, and Noah really likes scifi/fantasy. So other than TSR and a tie for LoC Noah went with the Sweet covers! He thought they showed more interesting scenes where there would be battles and other cool stuff going on. He said the new covers looked like pretty paintings, but he thought the story wouldn't be something he would want to read. Noelle really liked the new TSR, tFoH and aCoS, but otherwise was with Noah.

Sharon E.
267. Sulin
@blind- yeah I know, I know. I was trying to be optimistic about the cover and not start railing on Sweet, but you're right. Let the railing commence!

@thewindrose- My little kids (11,8,3) are the same way re the covers. They all love the Sweet ones, where my teen loathes them as I do.

Anyhoot, I can't wait to get my hands on ToM, pink pants or no. :)
Rob Munnelly
268. RobMRobM
Mat in pink pants - leftovers from his gifts from Tylin no doubt.
Tricia Irish
269. Tektonica
blind@264: Interstate rivalry, yup, that'd do for dislike.....

Ah, the covers.....so bad. Wind...I can see why a 9 and 7 year old would like them. They are cartoons. More odd body shapes and pink pants. I vote more sophisticated ebook covers, please. Argh.
Tomas Gerst
271. IamnotSpam
Finally it has happened I am able to post and it not be condidered spam. four months of repling that only comes back to tell me that somebody in administration will review my reply and what I dont know.

Free at last Free at last.

Unfourtunatly I am out of time to say anything that is more interesting then that. Catch yall later.

Bonnie Andrews
272. misfortuona
Welcome to the world of Grey madness. We have a little of everything here, except rum. But I'm bringing in a case to celabrate JCon. Those of us who aren't there will need it to drown our sorrows.

Love the name by the way.

273. Ouroboros
Megaduck @253 RE: There is a big difference between being able to see the future and being able to know the future.

Is there? They sound pretty much the same to me. If you mean, "there is a big difference between knowing what the broad strokes of the pattern will be, and the smaller variations which can be overlooked when viewing it from a distance" then yes, the DO may be aware of these “super threads”, if we can call them that.

But what constitutes a super thread. There's nothing to say that the prophecies are "echoes" from a different turning, so we don't know how much of what Rand is doing has been done before. Callandor, the Tower, Shadar Logoth, even the need for 3 Ta'veren instead of just one may all be specific to this turning alone. Also, RJ's comments, and the Guide, say that the difference between the first turning and the current turning get greater with each turn.

There may be some things that we can assume will always happen, but only in a vague sense. The DO will be partially freed, he will be weakly imprisoned, he will be freed again, and he will finally be imprisoned fully. It's also probably safe to assume that the Dragon will play some role in that, but since he is sometimes turned to the shadow the "minor threads" seem to vary quite dramatically. Is Rand and Moridin being connected a super thread or a minor thread?

blindillusion @254

I still can't make my mind up on whether this will be the last turning with the DO in it. The fact that we get hit over the head with the same message about ages past and ages to come could be taken either way. They could do what's necessary to stop the DO and then have to go round the whole thing again, or they could manage to break the loop and live happily ever after in a linear pattern. RJ's comments about the wheel turning for ever could just be taken as him talking about what happens if one side doesn't win, which is what's happened every time so far. Has anyone ever asked RJ or BWS outright whether the Light could ever win and break the cycle? I can't find any quotes on that one.

Tektonica @256 RE: Many happy returns.

It's one of those phrases that gets thrown around all the time in the UK. I have no idea how many people know where it came from.

bawambi @265

RJ said that the portal stones take you to “mirror worlds” and not “alternative worlds”. He specifically says that they are different, reflections of the real world, and not actual variations. That’s why they’re so insubstantial. I’m guessing that the DO winning in one of those doesn’t count, because they aren’t truly real.
Sam Mickel
274. Samadai

The darkone did not win in that world. I think that Loial speculated that the trollocs won the Trolloc wars and took over the world
Maiane Bakroeva
275. Isilel
Blocksmith @211:

some concern that one of the poorly trained channelers (in the eyes of the Forsaken) that call themselves AS (either BA or otherwise)could use such training against them.

Utterly implausible, IMHO. The FS had to work with other Shadow-sworn AoL channelers during the War of the Power and were clearly able to keep them in line and pointed at the Forces of Light. With 3rd age channelers, it should have been even easier and more convenient, as the FS themselves could control what they taught. For Forsaken who really wanted to _hold_ territories, subordinate channelers should have been a must.

And the beauty of it is - as long as Rand was being decried as a False Dragon, FS could have female channelers in their service without raising any suspicion. Because that's what everybody would expect AS to do - oppose a False Dragon.

Blindillusion @212:

This would be a man who's not fond of people dying for him.

So, instead of a few willing warriors he'd risk the whole world at the drop of a hat, just because if he failed, he'd not be around to feel bad, right? After Us, the Flood? Yes, self-indulgent indeed.
It is also incredibly self-centered, arrogant and annoying of Rand to think that people are dying for _him_. They are dying to save their loved ones/innocents from the end of the world.

HArai @221:

Rand knows very well he's been beating the Forsaken by raw strength,instinct taken from LTT and ta'veren luck.

Not to mention somebody saving his bacon at the last moment in many cases.
But that's not to say that it couldn't be done with some intelligent teamwork instead.
In fact, if Rand didn't believe that it could be, then he never should have created Asha'man, just offered his protection to a couple of male sparkers that already existed.
A team of Asha'man and AS under Cadsuane's command could have taken out Sammy without unnecessarily endangering the world, as Rand's escapade did.

AMW @232:

They just used the potential strength in the male channelers(and sa'angreal) to boost their own Saidar weaves.

Huh? It doesn't work this way. Callandor is the saidin only sa'angreal. The AS used it to boost the amount of saidin and used saidin weaves. Yes, I am not happy about it either - it should have been something that is difficult to learn for everybody except Rand (due to LTT), as it ought to have been really counter-intuitive for the opposite-gender channelers. But them's the breaks.

But that has no bearing on what I have been talking about - namely that Sammael, linked with any female channeler, should have been well equipped to train a BA channeling corps. And the same was true for all the FS. They all could have taught weaves to opposite gender via mixed links, if they chose.

Rand explained the nature of traps to Moiraine. He could not make it choose.

He used a trap/ward that could choose on Asmodean later. It would attack any male channeler except for Rand himself, IIRC.
So, Rand either lied to Moiraine or he didn't remember how to at the time, but did later. Not that he had any reason to allow a female channeler to take Callandor either, so why would he even try for a distinction in his wards of it?

In any case, it would make vastly more sense for Sammael to seed the city of Illian and particularly the palace itself with traps against any male channelers other than himself, than to place lame passive wards that failed even at pinpointing location of a male channeler, because they could be easily blown from a distance.
276. Silvertip
Ouroborous @273 RE:
RJ said that the portal stones take you to “mirror worlds” and not “alternative worlds”. He specifically says that they are different, reflections of the real world, and not actual variations. That’s why they’re so insubstantial. I’m guessing that the DO winning in one of those doesn’t count, because they aren’t truly real.

OK, but I don't see how that fits with the sketch Verin drew for Egwene, which IIRC drew parallel lines representing the alternative worlds without marking one out as privileged or "real". (I don't have the book in front of me, could be wrong). Is Verin's cosmology just a bit off? I had been thinking of the portal stone worlds as more or less an Everettian construct with the added (and kind of cool, albeit unjustified by the equations) twist that low-probability scenarios appear insubstantial from within themselves. What you say here seems to question that. Hmm ...

Matthew Smith
277. blocksmith

Too funny...love that post.


thewindrose@255 stole my thunder...but yes, T'A'R's role in the final battle has been discussed quite a bit. Not saying it isn't the clue, just that BWS must have missed alot of comments to think people weren't talking about it.


No...totally plausible. There is the scene following a Sammael/Graendal visit to Sevanna where Graendal warns Sammael about teaching some of the Wise Ones, one in particular (Thereva) that had impressive strength in the OP. Also, why wouldn't the FS teach weaves like travelling and compulsion to the BA early on? It would make performing some of their assignments easier. But nothing like that happens until Alviarin is shown travelling by Messana.

Clearly, in the AOL, Dreadlords were taught and kept in line...no disagreement there.
Marcus W
278. toryx
bawambi @ 265 & Silvertip @ 276:

I think Samadai @ 274 got the right of it. Loial's guess (based on the Trolloc statue) was that the Trollocs won the wars. That doesn't mean that the Dark One managed to escape his prison. It's actually one of the reasons that I think humanity has some major role to play in breaking the DO free. He needs them or he'll never be able to fully escape.

That's my wacky theory, anyway.
Barry T
279. blindillusion
…Not really worth it, so...onward….

~ Ouroboros
- I don’t believe there will ever by a Time when the DO no longer exists in Creation. It’s in it for the long haul. But Elan/Ishamael/Moridin is It’s champion in the World. I tend to think that if that persona could be completely removed from the Pattern, then the DO would no longer have a champion, i.e. no one to raise a flag proclaiming the Shadow. Should that come to pass, there would be no more Battles with the DO, though war would, of course, continue:

"The lion sword, the dedicated spear, she who sees beyond. Three on the boat, and he who is dead yet lives. The great battle done, but the world not done with battle. The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance the servants. The future teeters on the edge of a blade." -Nicola Treehill

And though that Foretelling comes from a questionable source (at least according to the Aes Sedai as they do not like to think that a Novice could possibly have any power), one thing that stands to plausibly confirm it would be the fact that Gaidal Cain has been Reborn into the World. Anyone who thinks that man would not be born into a Time of great strife needs to do a serious re-read of the series.

As Cain will most likely not be old enough to fight in the Last Battle...it's pretty obvious that even after it is fought...things are going to be pretty bad for a time.
280. Ouroboros
Silvertip @276

This is from Terez's database of quotes at theoryland.

Tamyrlin: This is in reference to a previous question I asked you about Parallel Worlds and Mirror Worlds, today I believe, and you mentioned they are different. And the question I had about Portal Stones was, do Portal Stones lead to Parallel Worlds, Mirror Worlds, or both?
Jordan: They lead to Mirror Worlds, the Portal Stones can take you to Mirror Worlds, not to Parallels, which are separate.

This came from the same page.

Brandon: Ok, see answering that actually gets us a 'begging the question' because . . . let’s step back: the question that people should be asking is does the Dark One exist in all of these parallels . . .
Matt: Okay, so yeah this is the question I’ll ask, you make a good point. Are there worlds and dimensions that exist outside of the Pattern?
Brandon: Ok, see that’s the question you should be asking. I mean, you should be asking it, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to answer it. But that’s at the core of the question. I’m going to discuss it without giving you the answer. I like to do this because I think it frames the question without giving you too much information that I have that I don’t think is appropriate to share right now. Extrapolations of this question get us to: is there one Dragon for all different Parallels or are they all different Dragons? Traveling through the Portal Stone seems to indicate that there are many different lives Rand could have led. The same thing happens with several of the ter’angreal that people go through. The question then is, are those all separate universes? Do we have a multiverse sort of concept? Or are they possibilities? And do these worlds all exist, or could exist...what is the difference? In some of those Rand failed. So, is Rand the Dragon in all of them, or is Rand not the Dragon in some of them? What happens in the ones where Rand failed? Are they real worlds? Are those different worlds where there is a different Dark One who then takes over and destroys that world? Or maybe not, maybe he makes it as he wishes. Or are those just possibilities, reflections of this world that don’t really exist except when we touch them? Those are all very good questions. Robert Jordan said that Tel'aran'rhiod is a reflection of all different worlds, which implies other worlds continue to exist. The World of the 'Finns is something different…

Verin tells Egwene that the worlds reached through the Stones are parallels, but RJ's quote says otherwise. I suppose you could say that RJ's and Verin's definition of parallel is different. If I were going to try and shoehorn them together I'd say that the parallel worlds are worlds which are possible, or perhaps plausible, where as the mirror worlds are ones in which immutable laws are fluid and probability has no part to play. It's almost like having a rational and an imaginary system existing in consort.

If you want a really weird analysis, try this. The worlds reached by the portal stones don't exist until you try to reach them. I.E. it is the act of trying to observe that reality that gives it substance, whereas the parallels always exist, and the barriers between them are far stronger, which is why they are harder to reach. T'A'R, on the other hand, is a world in which we know that laws are what you make them. In essence, it is the ultimate in uncertain realities, and therefore very easy to reach.

How's that for a pretzel?

blindillusion @279

I’m not sure either way. The Do’s champion being kicked out and man kind continuing through the turnings on their own is a possibility. I was just floating a breaking of the wheel for the light as one of those “what ifs”

Anyway, the next post is up.
281. brittanypaigex
Why haven't more serious consequences of using balefire been told in the story? Rand uses balefire more than all the Aes Sedai and Forsaken put together in the past 2,000 years (or so they portray it). In the beginning novels, they make balefire seem sinful and a BIG no-no. (See previous comments about Demandred hesitating to use balefire, and the Moiraine's statement about the fact that she might be stilled if other Aes Sedai found out she had used balefire.) Rand destroyed several Forsaken and a whole castle and many innocent people fwith it. Obviously there is some dispute about whether or not his balefire was very concentrated and powerful. From the readings, I haven't read a single negative thing that has happened in the WoT world because of Rand's use of balefire. In fact, it always seems to work out in Rand's favor (i.e. when Aviendha and Mat return from the dead in the fight with Rahvin). I feel like I'm missing something. There has to be some negative consequence to using balefire. My only theory as to why Jordan has avoided mentioning it so far, is that he wants it to be a surprise, or a twist, for the last battle. Maybe because Rand used balefire on a peticular Forsaken, one of Rand's best assets is now completely different... or... well, I'm not entirely sure. I just feel like there has to be SOMETHING coming up that will be a big "WOAH I DIDNT SEE THAT COMING!" when it concerns balefire. Who can predict how history would change if someone used balefire wiped out a Forsaken and it pulled that thread of life further out of the pattern than originally thought. The Forsaken have been around for thousands of years, and caused a lot of damage and change. Just one of them dead with a very strong balefire... and who knows how much history could potentially be changed. Any theories on the subject?
Heidi Byrd
282. sweetlilflower
I think that balefire could have caused the thinning of reality, ie: dead people are walking around, there are cities of zombies, and other such oddities.
Charlie McMurchie
283. FromtheLangToun
blindillusion@133 & Wetlandernw@152. I'd discounted Taim since he escaped/was sprung. If all male channellers Cadsuane has dealt with have been stilled or died (been killed?) & Rand knows some if not all of this, it would lead him to be wary of Cadsuane at best.
Alice Arneson
284. Wetlandernw
FromtheLangToun @283 - Why? Every male channeler for the last 3000 years has been gentled, except for those who escaped the notice of the AS until they went mad and either destroyed themselves or died of "a wasting sickness which causes the sufferer to rot alive - a sickness caused , as is the madness, by the Dark One's taint on saidin". It's not like anyone has been able to cure a man of the effects of the taint. The difference between Cadsuane and all other AS is that she didn't immediately send men off to be gentled - or like some Reds, illegally gentle them on the spot. Instead, she helped them live longer and more safely. It's hardly her fault they eventually succumbed to the taint.
Charlie McMurchie
285. FromtheLangToun
Wetlandernw@284. You're correct in everything you say. I was approaching this from the angle that Rand's trust of AS goes way down in LOC. I doubt Cadsuane has told him everything about her dealings with male channellers - it would be out of character for her to do so - & her main approach to him mostly seems to be to push him & push him & then push him somemore. We know that Rand knows the fate of male channellers but does he know anything of Cadsuane's methods with them & how effective they've been? Her approach is counter-intuitive, Rand's finding it harder to control his temper, amongst other things, & she provokes him. The starting point in Leigh's post is that Rand hears Cadsuane's voice & "is frightened of it".What does he know & what does he suspect? If it wasn't for Min's viewing I think Rand would have exiled Cadsuane long before he did. Of course, I'm speculating in much of this as I was earlier & could be completely wrong but there's a lot of fun to be had in speculation.
286. birgit
posting statistics up to the end of ACoS (not including TGS)

- different spellings of usernames are counted separately
- punctuation is counted as words

top 50 posters by number of comments
username;comments;words;average words per comment
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2: Wetlandernw;864;174887;202.0
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11: blindillusion;400;69047;172.0
12: Randalator;384;71358;185.0
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14: Samadai;369;23619;64.0
15: forkroot;346;48479;140.0
16: Lannis;344;51738;150.0
17: MasterAlThor;336;39073;116.0
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27: Shimrod;251;27658;110.0
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29: J.Dauro;234;29358;125.0
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32: Wolfmage;200;71926;359.0
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50: Aegnor;115;10513;91.0

top 50 posters by number of words
username;words;comments;average words per comment
1: Freelancer;187757;788;238.0
2: subwoofer;176630;1179;149.0
3: Wetlandernw;174887;864;202.0
4: RobMRobM;101166;837;120.0
5: alreadymad... (all);101013;824;122.0
6: Isilel;97244;286;340.0
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8: R.Fife;81685;598;136.0
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21: Man-0-Manetheran;36090;377;95.0
22: misfortuona;34412;302;113.0
23: birgit;34358;199;172.0
24: gagecreedlives;33834;284;119.0
25: tonka;32376;239;135.0
26: alreadymadwhensaidinwascleansed;31831;186;171.0
27: HArai;31569;263;120.0
28: drewlovs;30465;128;238.0
29: insectoid;29613;306;96.0
30: J.Dauro;29358;234;125.0
31: odigity;29216;191;152.0
32: Shimrod;27658;251;110.0
33: sinfulcashew;26563;268;99.0
34: UncrownedKing;25998;304;85.0
35: Amalisa;25784;115;224.0
36: Rebecca Starr;24745;101;245.0
37: PeteP;24236;121;200.0
38: aiel1219;23678;146;162.0
39: Samadai;23619;369;64.0
40: Siuanfan;22225;105;211.0
41: Eswana;19621;102;192.0
42: darxbane;19381;124;156.0
43: kab1;19379;120;161.0
44: Alisonwonderland;19256;91;211.0
45: CalaLily;19221;135;142.0
46: sps49;18945;223;84.0
47: sarcastro;17697;68;260.0
48: lmelior;17696;130;136.0
49: blocksmith;16876;107;157.0
50: bchurch;16546;157;105.0

There were 2625 different usernames; 1557 appeared only once (including many alreadymad...).
287. VandalThor
The Storm Is Coming
288. Divil The Bother
Just going through another reread before tackling the final book.
I'm struck again at how samael's demise lacks credibility.
it is entirely unbelievable that a forsaken could deliberately lure rand to shader logoth and then get caught out by madashar himself.
It's just absurd.

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