Apr 23 2010 2:42pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Path of Daggers, Part 1

Hola, chicos y chicas! I have no idea if I spelled that right, but the sentiment is sincere, as is my welcoming you to a brand new section of the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry begins the eighth novel of the Wheel of Time Series, The Path of Daggers, in which we cover the Prologue. It is definitely a beginning!

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

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

And that… is the introduction. Except for the rest of the intro, of course, which is below the cut. Click it and see!

So, The Path of Daggers. Which, as some of you may recall, I am on record as considering my least favorite novel of the entire series. So to say I approach this portion of the Re-read with… probably to understate the case.

I reeeeally don’t know how this is going to go. My policy throughout this re-read has always been to be honest about my reactions. Which sounds like a “duh” statement, but you don’t know how many times I’ve been tempted to soft-pedal some of my harsher or more controversial thoughts regarding what I’m reading, because I know the kind of reaction it’s going to generate.

But then again, if I’m just going to toe the party line and nod and smile and be a yes-woman the whole time – well, that’s not only crappy ethically, but I also think it would have made for a pretty boring re-read. There can be no doubt whatsoever that I am a very big Wheel of Time fan, but I have never made any bones about the fact that for all its wonderful virtues, I also believe that it has many flaws. Intellectual integrity compels me to be as honest about the latter as the former, and I have a feeling that this is going to be a portion where we’re going to be reminded of that a lot.

…That being said, though, I’m not 100% positive that this will be the case, either. I’ve mentioned before my theory that more often than not, the WOT novel any given fan tends to like the least is the first one they had to wait for, and this is definitely the case with me. But the other result of that is, out of all the novels in the series (with the obvious exception of the most recent novel, TGS), TPOD is the only one I’ve actually almost never re-read in its entirety, at all.

As a result, a lot of what happens in TPOD is very vague to me. I remember certain very significant plot points, but most of the details are totally gone. Therefore this re-read will really be in a lot of ways much more like reading the novel for the first time than any other WOT book. And I’ve already been surprised more than once by how different my reactions were on this go-round than they were before.

So, in conclusion, we will see. I can’t promise that this whole section won’t be me complaining bitterly the whole time, but we can hope that I – and you – might be pleasantly surprised.

Let’s find out, shall we?

Prologue: Deceptive Appearances

What Happens
Ethienielle, Queen of Kandor, rides through the Black Hills with fifty retainers, her First Advisor, Lady Serailla, and her Swordbearer, Lord Baldhere, who since Ethenielle’s husband’s death twenty years ago has also commanded Kandor’s armies. Ethenielle considers how lucky they’ve been to get this far without anyone noticing, and asks Serailla if she made the right choice. Calmly, Serailla answers that all her other options were just as risky as this one.

“Whatever the truth, Majesty, the White Tower appears to be paralyzed as well as shattered. You could have sat watching the Blight while the world crumbled behind you. You could have if you were someone else.”

The simple need to act. Was that what had brought her here? Well, if the White Tower would not or could not do what had to be done, then someone must.

She asks Baldhere’s opinion, and he replies that he doesn’t like hiding who they are; what they do will get them either killed, in the history books, or both, so it might as well be known “what names to write.” A scout returns with the signal that they are nearing the meeting point, and Ethenielle sighs to see Baldhere order a watch; she thinks the times breed suspicion even between allies of long standing.

Too many rulers to the south had died or vanished in the last year for her to feel any comfort in wearing a crown. Too many lands had been smashed as thoroughly as an army of Trollocs could have achieved. Whoever he was, this al’Thor fellow had much to answer for. Much.

The meeting place is near an Age of Legends relic, a spire of “gleaming golden lace” that supposedly kills anyone who touches it, which is why they can be sure no one will see them here. In the clearing, Ethenielle meets with King Paitar Nachiman of Arafel, Paitar’s advisor Ishigari Terasian, King Easar Togita of Shienar, his councilor Kyril Shianri, his shatayan Alesune Chulin, and General Lord Agelmar Jagad. Ethenielle greets her fellow rulers (and relatives by marriage), and hopes they’ve come without detection; Easar snorts and comments that if they’ve been seen they may as well turn back now. Shianri makes a cutting remark to this, implying cowardice, but Alesune counters that “foolhardiness is not courage,” pointing out that what they do could end with their heads on pikes even if they succeed, and meanwhile they’re leaving the Blight all but unguarded. Terasian comments that he’s never seen the Blight so quiet as it has been, but Jagad answers that “the Shadow never sleeps.” Ethenielle interjects that what she’s left behind will guard the Blight “short of the Trolloc Wars coming again,” and asks if any of them can really contemplate turning back now. Queen Tenobia Kazadi of Saldaea chooses this moment to gallop up dramatically (accompanied by one of her uncles, Kalyan Ramsin) and declare that she will not turn back for any reason; her dear Uncle Davram was supposed to bring her Mazrim Taim’s head, and instead has somehow ended up working with him under “this al’Thor,” and she intends to show Bashere and al’Thor both who rules Saldaea. Ethenielle exchanges sardonic looks with her advisors, and thinks Tenobia is going to be a problem. Ethenielle muses for a bit on why Tenobia has never gotten married:

Tenobia’s requirements for a husband were on a level with everything else about her. He must be able to face and slay a dozen Myrddraal at once. While playing the harp and composing poetry. He must be able to confound scholars while riding a horse down a sheer cliff. Or perhaps up it. Of course he would have to defer to her—she was a queen, after all—except that sometimes Tenobia would expect him to ignore whatever she said and toss her over his shoulder. The girl wanted exactly that! And the Light help him if he chose to toss when she wanted deference, or to defer when she wanted the other. She never said any of this right out, but any woman with wits who had heard her talk about men could piece it together in short order. Tenobia would die a maiden. Which meant her uncle Davram would succeed, if she left him alive after this, or else Davram’s heir.

Then she realizes Easar and Paitar are discussing Aes Sedai, and asks what about them; her own Aes Sedai advisor (Nianh) and Easar’s Aisling had both disappeared after receiving news of the trouble in the Tower. Paitar’s, however, had not left, and he confesses to them that not only does he have Coladara with him, but she’d just happened to have had seven more sisters visiting with her, and they’ve come along too. Ethenielle is aghast, and then Tenobia blithely adds that she has five more with her; they had run into Tenobia as she was traveling – by accident, Tenobia believes – and insisted on coming along (and their leader, Illeisien, was insistent that their presence be secret). Ethenielle is sure the White Tower knows their every move, then. Paitar is fatalistic about this.

“Further south,” Easar added, “it may be well to have thirteen Aes Sedai with us.” That brought a silence while the implications hung in the air. No one wanted to voice them. This was far different from facing the Blight.

Tenobia laughs and suggests they have dinner at her camp that night, and adds to Ethenielle that Kalyan would be honored to sit next to her at the meal. Ethenielle looks at Tenobia’s uncle and is shocked to see him looking at her as a woman, not a queen. Tenobia smirks, and Ethenielle is outraged at the woman’s blatant manipulation for a moment, but then has to ruefully admit to herself that she was playing matchmaker for her relatives when even younger than Tenobia. She looks at Kalyan again, and is not unpleased by what she sees, but turns the subject back to doing what they came for; this meeting had only one purpose, a ceremony that has only been performed seven times in the Borderlands since the Breaking, that would commit them “beyond anything words could do.” The four rulers move close to each other, and each slashes his or her palm.

Four hands reached out and met, gripped, heart’s blood mingling, dripping to the ground, soaking into the stony dirt. “We are one, to the death,” Easar said, and they all spoke with him. “We are one, to the death.” By blood and soil, they were committed. Now they had to find Rand al’Thor. And do what needed to be done. Whatever the price.

Verin leaves a weak and shivering Turanna (White) in her tent to poke her head out, feeling rather tired herself. In the vast Aiel camp outside, she sees another of the Aes Sedai prisoners hauling rocks, with a Wise One shielding her and Maidens switching her whenever she falters. Verin wonders if it’s coincidence that she sees that one, as she had come across Coiren earlier that day and Sarene Nemdahl the day before. Perhaps the Wise Ones want her to know that this could be her fate too; Verin has been unable to determine how their hierarchy works, though she thinks there might be an advantage in noting that no one ever ordered Sorilea around. Sorilea had demanded to know that morning what would shame Aes Sedai most; Kiruna and the others had not understood, but Verin has prepared a list she intends to give Sorilea later.

Life was going to grow much more difficult for the women in black. And her own efforts would be aided no end, with luck.

She tells one of the two Aiel guards outside that she’s done with Turanna, and asks that they send Katerine Alruddin to her next; she wants to deal with the sisters with no Warders first. One leaves, but the other stays to watch her, seeming to wait for her to make a mistake, but Verin thinks to herself that it had been “seventy-one years” since she had last made a serious mistake. Verin spots Irgain, formerly Green before Rand stilled her, grinding flour, and ducks back inside feeling sick to her stomach. She worries that Irgain was also a subtle message, and also worries what will happen if Sorilea decides to break her, Verin, before dismissing it as a useless worry. She vaguely comforts a despondent Turanna until two Wise Ones (Daviena and Losaine) enter the tent and link to shield Turanna; Verin frowns, sure that the Wise Ones had not known how to make a circle only a few days ago. Turanna is hauled out, and as Verin waits, she thinks about the disturbing appearance of Cadsuane Melaidhrin, accounting her both dangerous and unpredictable. The Wise One Aeron enters the tent, and Verin scrambles up to curtsy deeply, even though Aeron cannot channel at all, dropping her notebook. Aeron grabs it and criticizes coldly that it only contains notes about plants and such; Verin answers meekly that she likes to write down what she sees.

One day she would have to write out the cipher she used in her notebooks—a lifetime’s worth of them filled cupboards and chests in her rooms above the White Tower library—one day, but she hoped not soon.

Verin reports that she hasn’t learned much from the prisoners yet, but is sure she will; Aeron stares at her, and Verin remembers that she had said Aes Sedai have no honor. Verin is not afraid of Aeron – she has faced much worse – but she does not want to waste this opportunity, and strives to appear meek and compliant. Two Maidens bring in a sister Verin recognizes as Beldeine Nyram, a very young Aes Sedai, and Verin asks diffidently why she was not brought Katerine. One of the Maidens spits that Katerine escaped the night before.

“You let her escape?” she burst out without thinking. Tiredness gave no excuse, but the words spilled from her tongue before she could stop them. “How could you be so foolish? She’s Red! And neither a coward nor weak in the Power! The Car’a’carn could be in danger! Why were we not told of this when it happened?”

The Maiden answers that it wasn’t discovered till this morning, and Katerine had killed four people, including a Wise One, to do it; Aeron shuts her up, and tells Verin that though her concern for the Car’a’carn does her honor (reluctantly), an apprentice does not speak that way to a Wise One. Verin apologizes profusely, and the Maidens give Beldeine over to her. Aeron warns her not to mention Katerine’s escape to the Car’a’carn, as he has enough on his mind as it is. Verin agrees quickly, thinking perhaps a note would do, and Aeron leaves. Verin offers Beldeine wash-water and Healing, but Beldeine only spits at her for “revealing Tower secrets” to a bunch of savage wilders. Verin tsks irritably.

Who should know better than an Aes Sedai that a sister had to wear many faces in the world? You could not always overawe people, or bludgeon them, either. Besides, far better to behave as a novice than be punished like one, especially when it earned you only pain and humiliation. Even Kiruna had to see the sense of that eventually.

She offers water to Beldeine, and Beldeine observes bitterly than Verin’s dress is very nice, and tells her that the Aiel burned all her possessions except her Great Serpent ring, which she supposes even they didn’t dare destroy. She goes on that she knows what they intend to do: break the prisoners so that they will swear to al’Thor the way Verin did. She asks how Verin could do such a thing, accounting it even worse than rebelling against the Tower. Verin wonders briefly if it would have been better if all the prisoners had been caught up in the same “ta’veren swirl” as she had at Dumai’s Wells, but then thinks of how Kiruna et al are still arguing over what exactly their oath means, and decides it’s better this way. She explains to Beldeine what it means to the Aiel that she and the others are da’tsang, and that the purpose of their treatment was to shame them; Verin says she doesn’t think they would let them swear to al’Thor even if they wanted to. Beldeine is shaken by this, but not enough, so Verin prattles on, imagining out loud different ways they could humiliate her, which unnerves Beldeine more, but she replies stoutly that they will be rescued, or – Verin finishes, or escape? She’s afraid there’s no chance of that; Beldeine is all alone, but she can at least let Verin Heal her. This time Beldeine allows it, and after Healing Verin begins weaving something else:

Spirit predominated by far, but there was Wind and Water, Fire and Earth, the last of some difficulty for her, and even the skeins of Spirit had to be divided again and again, placed with an intricacy to boggle a weaver of fine carpets.

Beldeine asks groggily what she’s doing, and Verin reassures her that it is nothing that would harm her, though to herself she thinks Beldeine “might die inside the year, or in ten” because of this, but the weave itself wouldn’t hurt her. She questions Beldeine as she lays the complicated weave, trying to ascertain if Rand’s confidence that he had secret allies in the Tower is true, but Beldeine knows nothing about it. Beldeine insists on the necessity of keeping Rand “safe” in the Tower, but admits that she thinks his treatment after capture was “wrong.” Verin thinks “disastrous” was the better word for it, considering what it did to Rand’s opinion of Aes Sedai, and shudders to think of the consequences of a ta’veren of his strength actually being inside the Tower. Meanwhile she concentrates on her weaving, and thinks to herself that nearly every wilder who came to the Tower had a “trick,” something she did unconsciously with the Power before learning she could channel, and almost invariably those tricks fell into one of two categories: a way to eavesdrop, or a way to make other people do what they wanted. The Tower didn’t care much about the first, but the second was far too close to Compulsion for comfort, and the very impulse to even think of doing it was usually wrung out of any novice long before she attained the shawl.

From bits and pieces and scraps of half-remembered weaves created by untrained girls for very limited purposes, Verin had reconstructed a thing forbidden by the Tower since its founding. In the beginning it had been simple curiosity on her part. Curiosity, she thought wryly, working at the weave on Beldeine, has made me climb into more than one pickling kettle. Usefulness came later.

She thinks it is interesting that Beldeine is one of those sisters who seems to think that Rand needs to be protected from the world, as well as the other way around. She finishes her weave and activates it, and gives Beldeine her orders, though she knows that the weave is imperfect, and if Beldeine could not come up with reasons inside herself to obey, it wouldn’t work. As Beldeine thrashes from the effects, Verin muses that it’s a pity the weave also requires trust from the subject to work, since that means it’s very difficult to make it work on a man, few of whom ever trust Aes Sedai. Beldeine comes out of it, and has forgotten the whole thing; Verin goes to tell her guards that she’s done, and adds that Beldeine knocked over the water pitcher, which she knows will be passed on to the Wise Ones, and hopefully help speed Beldeine’s decision. She sees Irgain again, and asks the guards to bring her next.

How would her life have gone if she had not been so curious, Verin wondered. For one thing, she would have married Eadwin and remained in Far Madding instead of going to the White Tower. She would be long dead, for another, and the children she had never had, and her grandchildren, too.

[…] The pain in her muscles tomorrow would be a small penance for Beldeine’s suffering over that spilled water, but that was not why she did it, or even her curiosity, really. She still had a task. Somehow, she had to keep young Rand alive until it was time for him to die.

The furnishings in the windowless, doorless room are grand, but Moridin doesn’t care. He occasionally strokes one of the two mindtraps strung around his neck as he contemplates the game board before him, of a game called sha’rah, of which the most important piece is called the Fisher.

Only nine people living even remembered the game. He had been a master of it. […] The first object was capture of the Fisher. Only then did the game truly begin.

Of all the pieces, only the Fisher’s capabilities vary depending on where it is on the board, and when experts play, the Fisher switches sides many times in a game. Moridin thinks that there are generally three ways to win the game; two involve strategy, but the third always degenerates into a bloody melee, with total annihilation of your opponent the only way to win.

He had tried that, once, in desperation, but the attempt had failed. Painfully.

He is enraged suddenly, and almost crushes both the Fisher piece and the two mindtraps before easing off.

The Fisher was always worked as a man, a bandage blinding his eyes and one hand pressed to his side, a few drops of blood dripping through his fingers. The reasons, like the source of the name, were lost in the mist of time. That troubled him sometimes, enraged him, what knowledge might be lost in the turnings of the Wheel, knowledge he needed, knowledge he had a right to. A right!

He calms himself and thinks there is no need for destruction yet. Maybe the Fisher figure did come from a faint historical remembrance of Rand al’Thor, but he thinks it doesn’t matter, and realizes he is laughing.

On the board, the Fisher stood waiting, but in the greater game, al’Thor moved already to his wishes. And soon, now... It was very hard to lose a game when you played both sides of the board. Moridin laughed so hard that tears rolled down his face, but he was not aware of them.

Well, it’s a start!

Actually, as WOT Prologues go this one is pretty inoffensive. Only three scenes, and one of them a first-time-ever Verin POV, so that’s really not too shabby. So far, so good.

All three of these scenes are of a specific type, really, the kind Jordan does with any POV characters he wants the reader to be in doubt about. I always think of this type of POV as the “oblique POV”: you’re getting the character’s point of view, but it’s not necessarily going to lead you in the direction you ought to be going, or tell you what you want to know about the character’s motivations, or sometimes even let you know the character’s identity.

I am little undecided, myself, whether (in hindsight) I regard this type of POV to be clever, or just manipulative. Some of both, I suppose. One line in particular that jumps out at me in Verin’s scene, for example, is her thought to herself after she sends for Katerine Alruddin, that she wants to deal with the sisters with no Warders first. We know now that Verin knew Katerine was Black Ajah even before the revelation that she murdered people to escape (which, granted, isn’t absolute proof that she is Black per se, since she used poison instead of the Power to kill her victims and thus technically violated no Oaths, but it certainly is a pretty strong argument that she is, you know, evil). And yet in Verin’s thoughts, we only get the information that Katerine doesn’t have a Warder.

Which, first of all, duh, she’s Red, but in retrospect it’s a little much to suppose that Verin wouldn’t have also thought to herself, Oh, and also, she’s Black Ajah. But of course, to have Verin think that “out loud” at this point, so to speak, would be giving too much away to the reader; so she just… doesn’t think about it. So from a certain point of view (heh), in an oblique POV we’re not really in the character’s head at all.

So, does that make it awesome authorial sneakiness, or cheating? Give me your thoughts!

Either way, though, I think we can all agree on the awesome sneakiness of Verin herself.

But first, the Borderlander Conference of Ominous Vagueness. Okay, quick: without looking, name everyone at that meeting!

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Sheesh.

So obviously, this was written to make it seem like the Borderlanders are planning something Not Fun for Rand, with the thirteen sisters they happen to have with them to add a little extra Uh-Oh. However, the fact that they didn’t start out with those thirteen sisters indicates that the worst case scenario we’re all thinking of is clearly not what they were thinking of – at least not originally.

(As a side note, I’m sorry, but the name “Illeisien” has got to be violating some law about vowel-to-consonant ratio. Srsly.)

So what are they planning? Well, obviously I don’t know for sure, but I think I always assumed that the Ominous Ominosity of this scene was total misdirection on Jordan’s part, and really they just wanted to go find Rand and swear loyalty to him, maybe after shaking their finger at him a bit first. Even all that business about ending up with their heads on pikes can fit this scenario, when you consider that (if I’m right) this is four ruling monarchs agreeing to hand over all their sovereign authority to a guy destined to go crazy. From a certain viewpoint that could be considered treason to their respective nations, after all.

Of course, later events… well, actually I don’t know what later events indicate. The stuff with Elayne was pretty much completely extraneous – both in general (ooh) and in the specific sense of what the Borderlanders’ ultimate intentions were. I know that Rand later has a sort-of confrontation with them in TGS (if you count standing outside Far Madding and yelling Come out, come out or I’ll blow your house down!, and then… not doing that as a confrontation), but I don’t think that really cleared anything up either, since Rand was pretty much completely Crazypants at that point, and I probably would have run and hidden from him too, no matter what I eventually intended to do. If there was more to that scene I don’t remember it; I’ve only read TGS one and a half times, after all.

Ethenielle: I like her. (Though there seems to be some confusion about her surnames.) She comes across as being very down to earth and common sensical, which is always going to earn you points with me. Her and her advisors being all “Oh Lord” when Tenobia shows up was pretty funny, too.

Tenobia herself was amusing in an obnoxiously endearing kind of way. I have to assume that Ethenielle’s musings on Tenobia’s impossible husband standards (which was also funny) was a kind of indirect commentary on Faile’s also-occasionally-psychotic standards for Perrin. Or maybe it’s meant as a Could-Be-Woise panacea: if you think Faile’s bad, check out her loony cousin! In either case, I find myself agreeing with Ethenielle’s conclusion that Saldaeans are collectively all nutcases. Adorable nutcases (mostly), but nutcases.

And, of course, we also get the obligatory foreshadowing of Faile-n-Perrin’s enRoyalling. And… well, yeah. There it is. Still annoyed that Bashere has to die, though.

Next up, Verin!

Well. THIS is certainly different to read, post-TGS, eh? It certainly makes a hell of a lot more sense, that’s for sure. So much sense, in fact, that I’m not sure what to say about it that isn’t just stating the obvious, other than to paraphrase what someone on the newsgroup once said (quite presciently, it turns out): that Verin is not Black, exactly – just very dark Brown.

“Dippy, good-natured ruthlessness” is not a character trait I can honestly say I’ve come across that often, and I enjoy it quite a lot in Verin. I had to laugh at Verin’s blithe statement about whipping up a handy list of good humiliations for Aes Sedai to give to Sorilea, just for example. Not to mention, of course, her use of a very Dark Side tool – namely, Compulsion – to ultimately further the cause of the Light. Which, in a way, sums up Verin’s entire life, we now know. Slightly creepy, yet totally awesome: that’s Verin.

As a side note, I’m assuming the “cipher” Verin thinks about here is the same one she gave to Egwene for her Black Ajah notes; at least I hope it is, because in a geeky way I think it would be a terrible shame if all the other things Verin studied over the years was lost.

One other interesting thing in this scene is Beldeine. I remember many fans were rather excited at her appearance, since we assumed that this was the same Beldeine who was Egwene’s Keeper in her Accepted test vision way back in TDR. It seems, though, as of TGS we were wrong, since to date Egwene’s never even laid eyes on Beldeine, and has named Silviana to be her Keeper instead. Of course, there’s nothing to say things can’t change later, but, well. I suppose it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things, but one could regard it as a missed opportunity for symmetry, or synergy, or something.

(Jem is outrageous!)


Last but not least, Moridin and his Fake Chess of Symbolic Portent. The Fisher piece that Jordan introduces here is one of the most symbolically fraught items introduced in WOT, and that’s saying quite a lot, all things considered. There’s not a lot I can say about the legends it refers to that hasn’t been said already, and better, by others, so I will let them.

There was a bit of discussion in the comments, I saw, about whether Moridin’s musings here that the Fisher often changes hands in the course of the game means that his earlier statement to Rand that the Dragon has fallen to the Shadow before is correct, or if Rand’s later assertion in TGS that he knows he has never turned to the Dark Side in any incarnation is the truth.

Personally, I tend to think Rand is right, and Ishydin was lying. And though I also seem to recall someone coming up with a signing/interview quote from Jordan that proves me wrong, I have decided I don’t care, and am going with this notion unless and until it is definitively disproven in the text. Because Rand’s declaration just feels right, and nicely fits with my earlier also-possibly-already-disproven notion that the only way the Shadow can absolutely win is if the Dragon turns (as opposed to just dying).

Why? Because I like it, dammit. It is all symmetrical and nobly good-and-evil diametrical and stuff. And anyway, I have to be irrationally stubborn about SOME loony theory, don’t I? Well, here it is. Nyah!

And since childish petulance is the perfect note to end on, here’s where we stop! Have a fabulous weekend, guys and gals; those of you going to JordanCon have a grand time, and raise a glass on my behalf if you get a chance. See you next week!

1. earlgrey
A post! A post!!
Barry T
2. blindillusion
Happy Day. Happy Day.

A great Friday thus far and a new re-read post to boot. Awesome.

Though it is tPoD. =| Oh well. ONWARD!!!
John Mann
3. jcmnyu
And we march on to the lows of The Path of Daggers. Sigh.
Janet Hopkins
4. JanDSedai
Left the JordanCon live feed and stumbled on this! Lots of WOT going on!
Andrew Belmont
5. rosetintdworld
Yay, a post!

I have to say, I was presently surprised on my re-read of PoD (about a month before TGS came out.) Not that it was suddenly the best novel in the series (or even close,) and the whole "book chopped-in-half" feeling still bugs me, but the Gateway Unweaving scene was very exciting, and I really enjoyed every scene with Egwene. Of course, Rand still annoyed me to no end, but the book was overall better than I remembered, at least. I'm excited to hear what you think.

I love that Verin scene, too, and if the way her thoughts work is cheating, then so be it, because it's cool. (I'd add that she shouldn't be justifying lies to herself either--the heat, the harmfulness of the weave--if I wanted to be nitpicky.)

And speaking of nitpicking, this isn't Verin's first POV, as Leigh seems to imply. She gets the oh-so-brief-and-tantalizing section in TDR where she thinks about Corianin's notes, and a section in LOC exploring the fallout of Alanna's awful bonding. (I feel like a troll for even pointing this out.)
6. thepupxpert
Yay thanks for the post - now to go read it!
Jonah Feldman
7. relogical
Curiosity, she thought wryly, working at the weave on Beldeine, has made me climb into more than one pickling kettle.

Foreshadowing FTW.

I never realized, but T-Pod (fo' shizzle!) had about as little going on as in CoT. One inconclusive battle, an asssasination attempt, and that's it. I don't really remember why I liked it better. Oh well.

Thanks once again for the rereads, Leigh.
Andrew Belmont
8. rosetintdworld
Also--kudos on pointing out the "type" of POV used in this chapter, Leigh. I'd never thought of that before, and love discovering when Jordan makes little "themelet" chapters. The name of the Prologue being "Deceptive Appearances" probably should have tipped me off...
9. evinfuilt
If Verin was trying to get the Black Ajah members compelled first, wouldn't it make sense then that Turanna is also Black? I don't recall her specifically mentioned in TGS, but I believe she's still around Rand, and therefor if Black, a possible threat to Rand.
Lucas Vollmer
10. aspeo
Yay! As far as prologues go I tend to like this one. Especially with the Verin POV, since we've learned so much from TGS. I agree with Leigh that contextually her actions and thoughts make more sense to me now.

I think the borderland rulers getting together always worried me because I wondered what they wanted to do to Rand. As much as I wanted them to be coming to pledge loyalty to Rand, I always get the feeling they are wanting to stop him so they can get back to dealing with the other problems the world is facing. Especially with rumors and stories of forsaken being loose, the seanchan invading, and the white tower apparently falling apart.

When I read that part about Moridin and the game board, I wonder if he truly wants to have the world completely end. His comment about too much information being lost through the ages can be taken as he doesn't like all the info that's been lost since the AOL. It also could be thought of as he hates all the info that is lost over the course of all the turnings of the wheel, and subsequently has to be rediscovered again. I can't remember who said it, but in the comments to the last WOT post someone suggested that Moridin wanted the wheel to break and have time flow in a linear fashion. This would mesh with his comment in this prologue because it time didn't flow in a circular fashion, there is the possibility that knowledge from the past isn't just lost to the ages.
I know this isn't a perfect argument, but it does at least give the possibility that knowledge could be retained and built upon without fear that it is fated to be lost.

That's all I've got time for now, I can't wait to see what everyone says about the beginning to TPoD!
Don Barkauskas
11. bad_platypus
rosetintdworld @5:
(I'd add that she shouldn't be justifying lies to herself either--the heat, the harmfulness of the weave--if I wanted to be nitpicky.)
But if you're Black Ajah, it would be a good idea to (whenever possible) have an explanation for "It wasn't really a lie because I interpreted it like this..." So I can see a careful person (which Verin definitely is) being in the habit of self-justifying her lies so she's ready in case she's called on it. So, yes, she didn't need to, but I don't think it's completely unfair to have her do so.

As for Verin not thinking "...and Katerine is Black," aside from the obvious spoiling of surprise, it's possible that it was this incident that told Verin that Katerine was Black. I don't think it's likely, but it's conceivable.
Karen Fox
12. thepupxpert
This book is also one of the ones I least remember also. It'll be very interesting to see how everything comes together. Agree with all of the above, knowing what we know about Verin now, it makes so much more sense!
Maiane Bakroeva
13. Isilel
TPoD is the first book I had to wait for - though not long, IIRC, a few months or so. And I certainly like it less than the preceding 7 books. OTOH, I like CoT even less, so I don't fit this theory ;). Oh, and ACoS was already on the downward slide for me, and I didn't have to wait for it at all, so...

I remember really liking this prologue too, not suspecting that the payoffs for this intriguing stuff will begin to show up in book 12 at the earliest. Sigh.

Verin section was particularly enjoyable for me, as I always really liked her character and it has the right amount of mystery and menace as well. Oh, yes, I also hope very much that it occurs to somebody to go through her other notes!

Who should know better than an Aes Sedai that a sister had to wear many faces in the world? You could not always overawe people, or bludgeon them, either.

And that's what I have been saying about the relentless barrage of AS idiocy that we were subjected to from LoC onwards! Not believable, not for the majority of sisters, who do indeed operate outside the Tower. Given their many enemies, they should have darwinated out without some discretion and flexibility.

And soon, now... It was very hard to lose a game when you played both sides of the board.

That supports my conviction that Rand using TP was something carefully orchestrated by the Shadow. Ambiguous, of course, but hey!

the third always degenerates into a bloody melee, with total annihilation of your opponent the only way to win.

I used to think that that was about the Tear duel with Rand, but I am not so sure anymore. Could it be about the War of the Shadow? Or something else?
Brett Michie
14. bchurch
Thanks Leigh!

Love the Verin and Moridin POVs . . Verin has always been one of my favorite characters.

And lol at the Gem reference:)
Barry T
15. blindillusion
I used to think that that was about the Tear duel with Rand, but I am not so sure anymore. Could it be about the War of the Shadow? Or something else?

I always thought this referred to Ishamael's interaction with Rand throughout the first three books, particularly books two and three, and the progressive escalation of attempts to sway, and then kill, him.
Maiane Bakroeva
16. Isilel
Speaking of Katherine I thought that Verin thought something along the lines of "circumstances made everything plain". So, yes, IMHO she _didn't_ know for sure that Katherine was a BA. Her list wasn't 100% accurate and a work in progress, and this was the final confirmation for her, IMHO.
Also, while no OP was used in escape, it had to be an inside Aiel work and none but a DF would have done it.
17. Megaduck
"There was a bit of discussion in the comments, I saw, about whether Moridin’s musings here that the Fisher often changes hands in the course of the game means that his earlier statement to Rand that the Dragon has fallen to the Shadow before is correct, or if Rand’s later assertion in TGS that he knows he has never turned to the Dark Side in any incarnation is the truth."

I think of this in a few possible ways.

The first is that while Rand has never actually sworn loyalty to Shai'tan he has served the shadows goals on occasion. The light has not always been the hand that's moving him around. See the part of TGS where he's going all dark and evil and stuff.

The second way is that the DRAGON has fallen to the shadow, but Rand's Soul has not always been the Dragon. His soul had a predecessor, whom I think could have been Moradin.

So if Rand stood on the top of Dragonmount and destroyed the world (or accepted Lanfears offer) the next time the third age came around Mat or maybe Perrin would be the Dragon Reborn while Lewis Thern would have fiery eyes and be all pleased that he'd been partially trapped in the bore for 3,000 years.
Marcus W
18. toryx
So, does that make it awesome authorial sneakiness, or cheating?

I suspect that when one is a Black Ajah and especially when one is a double-agent in the BA such a one would be very careful of one's thoughts. If nothing else, Verin is careful. She'd have to be, to go so many decades without a major mistake. The discipline that is required to be so certain in every step...

Well it's certainly true that in the case of Verin here, the precision of her thoughts is a tool of the writer. On the other hand, I think that Verin very much would be that careful with what she's thinking, just because she was so cautious never to give anything away that could do harm to her. So if she knew that Katerine was black and yet wanted to conceal that knowledge at all cost, I think it's wise of her not to even give thought to that knowledge.

That's some serious discipline but I believe Verin would be worthy of it.

But first, the Borderlander Conference of Ominous Vagueness. Okay, quick: without looking, name everyone at that meeting!

Definitely couldn't do it. Frankly, this opening to the Prologue is one of the top most boring parts of the series for me. PoD is the first WoT book I ever read that I couldn't just breeze through without a moment's pause; it took me more than a day just to get through that one part of the prologue, I was that bored. I just didn't care about the borderlanders that much and meeting them all at once like that made it worse.
19. Lsana
On PoD in general:

Not my least favorite book at the time I read it, but looking back, I can't remember anything about it other than the fact that Mat isn't in it. I apparently didn't register anything on the way from ACOS to WH. Leads me to suspect that it would be near the bottom if I ever re-read it myself.

My least favorite is CoT, which was not the first one I had to wait for, but was the last one before what I knew was going to be a long wait, so maybe it works out to the same thing. Large numbers of boring chapters in PoD could be skimmed, knowing that there were 2 more books sitting by my bed. When I skimmed boring chapters in CoT, however, it was with the knowledge that every one that went by lessened the chance of something cool happening before the end.

About whether or not the Dragon has ever been turned:

First of all, I think you could argue that although Rand definitely considers himself on the side of the light here, he has in someways been dancing to Moridin's tune for a while: he's spreading chaos, tossing around Balefire like it's confetti, etc. So in some sense, Moridin is the one moving the Fisher piece, even though it isn't technically on his side.

Second, had Rand/LTT's soul always been the champion of the Light? Is it possible that in some earlier turn of the wheel, there was a different soul leading the forces of good (possibly even Elan Morin) who had to be replaced due to turning evil? In which case, both could be true: the Light's champion has been turned before, but RAND has never turned.
Sharon E.
20. Sulin
TPoD was the first WOT book I ever came across. I'll never forget seeing that cover (one of the best IMO) in the library on the new release shelf and being very intrigued by the story and length of the series. I ran over to the fantasy section and found EOTW and TGH, and the rest is history.

So despite it's flaws, TPoD will always have a special place in my heart. ::sniffle::

FWIW, I like to think that RJ's oblique POVs here were authorial sneakiness. He's giving tidbits of information, just enough for the reader to make some assumptions/conclusions, even if they're possibly wrong ones.
21. alreadymadwithtenobia
I don't know about you people, but Tenobia's standards for a husband somehow bring an Asha'man to mind. And now that the not quite Black Verin has been revealed it puts her reaction at Katerine's escape in a whole new perspective.
Elizabeth Coleman
22. elizabethcoleman
My thoughts on POV: I tend towards saying the obliqueness is cheating, but then, I really like deep points of view. He does the unreliable okay here, I guess. One way to get away with it is to have it sound like the character's actually narrating the story to the reader, in which case it makes sense that they wouldn't say anything.
23. Megaduck
I think PoD is probably my least favorite book in the series. The reason? This was the one where I started actively disliking Rand.

I know it's part of the character arc and all that but he's just an unpleasant person to read about right now. Perrin is mired in his Shaido subplot and Mat doesn't appear at all. There just isn't a section of this book I like.

Best part of TGS is the ending which promises we might be getting back to the older Rand who we know and love.
Noneo Yourbusiness
24. Longtimefan
Which Aes Sedai was Gem again? Were her earrings some sort of ter'angreal that wove illusion around the wearer?

I suppose the sparklely Pink Ajah is the music Ajah; possibly cosmetics. Mary Kay representatives or wandering bards would be quite the way to hide an information network. The Pink Ajah would outshine the Blue in intellegence gathering.
John Mann
25. jcmnyu
I probably fit the theory as the first book I had to wait for was TFOH and I was pretty down on that one. It's gotten better on rereads, but coming off of reading the first four essentially back to back, I remember thinking it was the worst one so far. I did however get that one signed by RJ and had a question RAFO'd by him in NYC. So that is a happy memory.

Of the books Leigh has covered so far I'd go tSR, LoC, tEotW, tDR, tGH, tFoH, and CoS as my order. And of all the books in the series, I'd have to say PoD would be ranked in the bottom two with WH. Ugh. We'll see if the reread changes my opinion.
Barry T
26. blindillusion
Leigh and Longtimefan.


Silly 80's cartoon refs FTW!!
Bret Scott
27. BlacksmithButNotEmo
The foreshadowing thought of Verin's that I completely missed the first time through:

"Somehow, she had to keep young Rand alive until it was time for him to die."

This is the whole Elza motivation, but I glossed over this sentence and never made the connection until this readthrough.
Eric Hughes
28. CireNaes
I expect the next few books will be more enjoyable for all of us now that we have read TGS. Like jcmnyu said, this may even change how some people order their favorite books in the series around. I have done rereads on all of my least favorite books in the series (this being one of them), but I always skimmed about half the chapters when I did them. Looking forward to your reread Leigh. Glad you're around to slog through this one for us.
29. Subbak
@11 : On the contrary, the fact that she needs to justify to herself is a proof that she is unsure. If she had been bound by the oaths, saying it would have been proof enough that she was not lying.
30. Ouroboros
RE: Borderlanders intentions.

There's the theory that Demandred is somehow involved and that this is the army he talks about in TGS. I have no problem with this, in the absence of any better candidates. The question is, do the rulers know about it. Also, there was talk in the earlier books about trouble in the borderlands. Did this have anything to do with them being here now?.

RE: the name “Illeisien” has got to be violating some law about vowel-to-consonant ratio. Srsly.)

Ever been to Wales?

RE: The stuff with Elayne was pretty much completely extraneous – both ...

Wait, what stuff with Elayne? Oh, that stuff. Oh, never mind, just end the sentence at extraneous

RE: (if you count standing outside Far Madding and yelling Come out, come out or I’ll blow your house down!, and then… not doing that as a confrontation),

ROTFLMAO. Someone get that Dragon a hood. “What mad staring eyes you have.”

I don't know what's worse, the borderlanders killing Rand, or Faiel getting the throne. Saldaeans!

RE: Verin

AFAIK, we don't know if Verin is doing the compulsion on the DO's orders, or because she thinks it will help Rand. It works either way since Egwene and the others are going to do a nut when they get there hands on Rand, unless someone proves that it was not he who did the compelling. I'm just hoping that Verin left a note in the book about how it was her fault. One creepy thing is the comment about Beldeine possibly dying from it.

RE: Katerine’s escape.

We don't have the specifics about how she did it. I'm concerned that it's more proof that Sorilea is a dark friend. The guards were poisoned, and we see her give Verin a vile of tasteless poison in WH.

RE: The dragon turning to the shadow.

From Terez's RJ quotes page
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.

Isilel @13 RE: "It was very hard to lose a game when you played both sides of the board"

I just took this to be about how he's got a finger in almost every pie now. He's controlling the Seanchan, Black Tower, White Tower, any other coloured tower, the rebel Ais Sedai, yada, yada, yada. It's going to be pretty hard for Rand to do anything without getting trouble from somewhere.

Also, the game is one in which the Fisher is being controlled by two other sides; he has no sides of his own. In other words, Moridin is manipulating everyone else, and through them, pushing Rand where he needs to go.

Personally, I wonder if the Fisher is just a Red Heron, sorry, Herring.

Lsana @19

I’m not sure about the Dragon not always being the champion. I can’t find any quotes that specifically say Rand did not go over. Still –
Rob Munnelly
31. RobMRobM
Quick thoughts
- Actually, I recently re-read TPOD and it's not bad at all (except for absence of Mat). The problem is too much Kin, Sea Folk and Faile-Berelain mishegas - otherwise, there are a lot of strong chapters in here. I really like the Egwene takeover plot in particular.
- Someone needs to do the Black Ajah analysis re the Borderlanders. Pretty sure that Aisling is black, and I believe some of the others as well. The "Trolloc Wars" reference made clear what was really going on - getting the Borderlander armies out of the way on a while, chaos-inducing frolic and detour while the north is opened to massive attack at TG. Deceptive indeed, and these guys would be so screwed if not for the Golden Crane (EDIT - and the new-found ability to use traveling to get them back home in a hurry, which may not have been known to be available when the DO plan was hatched).
- Deceptive, sneaky, brilliant Verin. Too bad she didn't tell Eg in TGS that she's the one responsible for compelling sisters rather than Rand.
- By the way, love that she used Eadwina as her fake name in Far Madding in WH.
- Still trying to figure out how Mori is playing both sides of board re Rand. What is the deceptive part of this discussion. Is the manipulation to get him to channel TP plot in the works already? Or is he talking about the Black Tower secret dreadlord scenario (or White Tower secret dreadlord scenario, as far as that goes)? Hmmn.

April Vrugtman
32. dwndrgn
Best cover of the series (not counting the spiffy new ebook covers). That's all I've got :-)
Tony Zbaraschuk
33. tonyz
One thing I liked about this one is that, indeed, it is a Prologue, not just another chapter about the main characters masquerading as one. It gives us some hints about what's going on, and some foreshadowing (not all of it yet achieved).

Path of Daggershas some really great scenes in it, and it's not the one I dislike most. (But then the first one I had to wait for was Fires of Heaven, which is still a very good book; even if the wait factor lessened it in my mind, it was not so much of a lessening as to make it fall below the later ones.)

Verin is never dippy, though she certainly appears like it from time to time. It's just another portion of the mask, and a believable one for a member of the Dark Brown Ajah. (I like that coinage. Shall we use it for all the Black Ajah members? It would help us keep things in mind.)
Ruthless I grant you, and good-natured, but even her dippiness is usually to the point, sooner or later. Oblique approach, not ditziness.
Ron Garrison
34. Man-0-Manetheran
Happy Friday Leigh and all! Oblique POV. Interesting. Put me down for “authorial sneakiness.” And what a great place for it, given the chapter title:
“Deceptive Appearances”
1. BCOV (Borderlander Conference of Ominous Vagueness)
2. Verin
3. The Fisher

re. the Dragon falling to the Shadow: How about this line? “On the board, the Fisher stood waiting, but in the greater game, al’Thor moved already to his wishes. And soon, now. . . . It was very hard to lose a game when you played both sides of the board.”

This brings up several thoughts to me: the crossing of the streams, the possible intent to get Rand hooked on the True Power, to get him hooked on balefire as weapon of choice, the Darkness that begins to spread everywhere the Dragon goes. It’s not that the Dragon has ever sworn fealty to the Shadow, but has done the DO’s dirty work while seemingly trying to do the opposite. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” sort of thing.
Steven Pattingale
35. Pattingale
"Still annoyed that Bashere has to die, though."

What if he's already dead, and his identity assumed by a forsaken?

@ 32 dwndrgn
It burns. It buuuurrrnns!!!
Jacy Clark
36. Amalisa
Yay! Postage! Thanks, Leigh! :) (And I had not thought about Jem/Synergy in twenty years... *lol*)

RE TPoD as a whole... I like the book. Especially, I've liked it on the re-reads because it fits so well with the big picture. And I think I've shared how I feel about the big picture.

This prologue was worthwhile because of Verin, certainly. I mean, the sheer volume of "hindsight" arising out of the big TGS reveal had me scurrying back to "Deceptive Appearances" searching for every shred of nuance! But I liked the picture of the Borderland rulers, too. I remember going back to this after "New Spring" (the novel) was published, and reading it again with more attention on Ethenielle, whose husband (Prince Consort Brys) and son (Diryk) were murdered by the Black Ajah in their free-for-all hunt for the Dragon Reborn. This was also the beginning of my (still) half-baked theory that Demandred is with the Borderland army. (For a while, I considered that he might be masquerading as King Easar. Then I decided that he might be the snarky Kyril Shianri. Mainly because he seemed unpleasant. And his name rhymes with Cyril. And "Cyril" has always had some slightly creepy, sneaky but comedic overtones for me. Apologies to anyone named Cyril... Feel free to make sport of my name. You won't be the first, I promise.) Then, RJ apparently said that Demandred has not appeared at this point in any kind of alter-ego. It doesn't mean that he isn't with the Borderland army, just that he can't be Easar or Kyril. Hence the (still) half-baked.

Also, the meeting takes place in the magical, mystical Black Hills. Where Cadsuane received her magical, mystical hair ornaments from a magical, mystical "toothless wilder" who, apparently, spanked her. The Black Hills, besides that scary AoL spire, also (according to Encyclopaedia WoT has had other interesting things associated with it. There's just a lot of subtle significance to that meeting of the rulers, imho.

Back to Verin and her inner monologue and the lack of BA mention re Katerine... As Isilel@16 said, the "circumstances made everything plain". Followed by:
A pity she had no way to make sure Katerine met with a fatal accident.

Granted, at that point, we (the readership in general) were still trying to winkle out whether or not Verin was Black or Brown or any combination thereof. But, in retrospect, that last sentence seems to nail down when Katerine made it to the list.
Jeff Weston
37. JWezy
Interesting side note - perhaps Verin not saying "Aha, Katerine is BA" is a clue in itself. My opinion is that Verin almost certainly already knew at this point.

Leigh: Fortunately, "srsly" itself helps to redress the vowel imbalance of Illeisien.

Cipher: Yes, that must the same cipher, because she hopes that it will not be soon, clearly looking ahead to the hour of her death.

Ouroboros@30: At this point, and probably since TGH, I think Verin is a total loose cannon, serving neither the WT nor the BA. Or perhaps it really starts when she helps to keep Mat alive and heal him, at the beginning of TDR - that surely put her in bad favor with the BA. In either case, I never had the impression that she was following any lead but her own for most of the series.
Jacy Clark
38. Amalisa
Yay! Postage! Thanks, Leigh! :) (And I had not thought about Jem/Synergy in twenty years... *lol*)

RE TPoD as a whole... I like the book. Especially, I've liked it on the re-reads because it fits so well with the big picture. And I think I've shared how I feel about the big picture.

This prologue was worthwhile because of Verin, certainly. I mean, the sheer volume of "hindsight" arising out of the big TGS reveal had me scurrying back to "Deceptive Appearances" searching for every shred of nuance! But I liked the picture of the Borderland rulers, too. I remember going back to this after "New Spring" (the novel) was published, and reading it again with more attention on Ethenielle, whose husband (Prince Consort Brys) and son (Diryk) were murdered by the Black Ajah in their free-for-all hunt for the Dragon Reborn. This was also the beginning of my (still) half-baked theory that Demandred is with the Borderland army. (For a while, I considered that he might be masquerading as King Easar. Then I decided that he might be the snarky Kyril Shianri. Mainly because he seemed unpleasant. And his name rhymes with Cyril. And "Cyril" has always had some slightly creepy, sneaky but comedic overtones for me. Apologies to anyone named Cyril... Feel free to make sport of my name. You won't be the first, I promise.) Then, RJ apparently said that Demandred has not appeared at this point. It doesn't mean that he isn't with the Borderland army, just that he can't be Easar or Kyril. Hence the (still) half-baked.

Also, the meeting takes place in the magical, mystical Black Hills. Where Cadsuane received her magical, mystical hair ornaments from a magical, mystical "toothless wilder" who, apparently, spanked her. The Black Hills, besides that scary AoL spire, also (according to Encyclopaedia WoT) has had other interesting things associated with it. There's just a lot of subtle significance to that meeting of the rulers, imho.

Back to Verin and her inner monologue and the lack of BA mention re Katerine... As Isilel@16 said, the "circumstances made everything plain". Followed by:
A pity she had no way to make sure Katerine met with a fatal accident.

Granted, at that point, we (the readership in general) were still trying to winkle out whether or not Verin was Black or Brown or any combination thereof. But, in retrospect, that last sentence seems to nail down when Katerine made it to the list.

Edit to get rid of random half parentheses, born (no doubt) out of ongoing anti-spam frustration.
39. Qtip the Sixth
Jem is my name no one else is the same . . . ah memories.

I remember reading this Prologue while in line at Barnes & Noble to buy the book. I was so excited by the Verin POV (and now, I am beating myself up so defending her so strongly) and intrigued by the Fisher King reference. However, the rest of the book disappointed and I have also never re-read it. This should be good!

Have fun, everyone in Atlanta! Some of us wish we could be there, too!
j p
40. sps49
I never thought nothing happened in PoD, just that it takes too many words. The Borderland Contingent does a lot of NOTHING for the next how many books? And does what, even then? Grr.

Poor Verin! Oh, the foreshadowing/ clues/ WoTever!

Rand/ Dragon as Fisher King may have been manipulated/ controlled, but not gone over. See the last thread; but if the DO doesn't need the Dragon to join, then what the hell does he need for Final Victory?

Wait book theory doesn't work for me; mine is WH, which is only 3rd or 4th least awesome.
Tricia Irish
41. Tektonica

From Terez RJ Quotes page....
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.

If this is true, does it mean that if you go over, you are on Team Dark from then on and there's a NEW champion for the Light? If that is so, it would explain why we have only heard of LTT's memories in Rand (not others), why the Heros of the Horn know him as LTT and why HE has never turned to the DO. It could also mean that Ishydin was the Light's champion waaaaay back in the annals of time.

More in a minute...
Sean Arthur
42. wsean
@23 "This was the one where I started actively disliking Rand." - Indeed. It was already becoming harder to like him in CoS, but this one was where the line was crossed. And that, along with the absence of Mat, make it really hard to like this book.

@27 "Somehow, she had to keep young Rand alive until it was time for him to die." - I wonder if Verin used this notion when she Compelled Elza? I'm assuming she Compelled Elza, anyway. Because Elza sure clung tightly to the idea, even in the face of having to kill DFs at the Cleansing.
43. peachy
I was never big on TPOD, though it had the best cover to date, and the campaign against the Seanchan was fascinating. It was WH that really frosted my cannolis. CoT I rather liked, though for some reason it took three attempts to get past the opening section - by the end, I had the feeling that things were actually moving towards a resolution again, a feeling that had been largely absent for the previous three volumes.
Joseph Armao
44. joeyesq
I'm wondering if Verin knew Elza was BA at this point.
Hugh Arai
45. HArai
First of all, I think you could argue that although Rand definitely considers himself on the side of the light here, he has in someways been dancing to Moridin's tune for a while: he's spreading chaos, tossing around Balefire like it's confetti, etc. So in some sense, Moridin is the one moving the Fisher piece, even though it isn't technically on his side

Not to pick on Lsana, but as a comment to those hanging closely on the use of balefire by Rand or anyone else: What is it about the use of balefire in the present that is so dangerous compared to balefire use in the past?

It was used far more indescriminately for a year in the War of Power. "Entire cities died in balefire that year, hundreds of thousands of threads burned from the pattern". That's Demandred's POV and he would know. Yet the Pattern survived, obviously. The Aes Sedai left a balefire firehose ter'angreal intact in their storeroom instead of destroying it. It was on hand to be stolen by the BA after all. Not bright if every use risks breaking the Wheel.

I am not in anyway claiming that something that burns the threads of the pattern is good and people should balefire six things before breakfast. I fully get why you should use something else if it will do the job. I'd just like to know why Rand's what... 20 threads? before Graendal cause so much anxiety when "hundreds of thousands" is survivable for the Pattern. Moghedien uses it going after Nynaeve. Do you think someone as careful as Moghedien would use balefire if every use was an immense risk to the Pattern?
Sharon E.
46. Sulin
Is it known who all Sneaky Verin has compelled? I hadn't even thought of the ramifications for Rand, when Egwene finds out about the Compulsion on the AS with him.

The only thing I really disliked about this book was the total lack of Matrim.

Why the hate on Rand? Yes his character takes a turn for the worse, but to me it's realistic. One has to hit rock bottom before you can climb back up.
Antoni Ivanov
47. tonka
@ 31.RobMRobM
Aisling is most certainly not Black Ajah. She is one of the Aes Sedai sent with Toveine to destroy the Black Tower. And Alviarin took care that no black went there, which in retrospect is foolish, she should have sent at least 1 black to spy but in truth she probably thought that the Asha'man are going to kill the Aes Sedai, not just capture them as they did.

Yes the AoL survived balefire but you see I imagine everytime you use balefire is like tossing a coin and hoping to flip on the right side because if it doesn't everything ends. So far we've been lucky but would the next time be the fatal one ? (or more apt metaphore like hitting on wall with a hammer and with every hit the wall becomes weaker, and you never know if the next hit would be the one to crumble the wall)

And Moridin wouldn't be thinking that he is playing on both sides if Rand was not singing on his tune. Obviously whatever Mori's doing it is working.
Ron Garrison
48. Man-0-Manetheran
I can't speak for anyone else, but what I've tried to say that using balefire as first weapon of choice is a very bad thing. Perhaps its use against the foresaken is justifiable. But don't forget just WHO dropped that little hint: Moridin the Betrayer. We will all have to RAFO to be sure, but I'm just saying I'm very skeptical of its worth.

Sulin@46: "hate on Rand" - I think you're being just a little fast and loose with the word. Nobody here hates him.
Elizabeth Gingles
49. Spera
Today I finished my audio relisten to PoD. The fact that it ended shocked me I coudln't recall anything happening in the book.
Tricia Irish
50. Tektonica
Thanks, Leigh....I look forward to a better experience with the next few books with you in charge of the/my reread.

As a whole, not my least favorite book, but, meh. I like the prologue though, especially after tGS!

I had suspected Verin from the moment she found Mat and Perrin and the Shienerans in the Great Hunt and said that Moraine sent her, and then, of course, she hadn't. That was a bold faced LIE. This little section here with Katerine and compulsion, etc. pretty much cemented Verin as BA for me, but with a heart of gold....Dark Brown. I agree with whomever above that said she pretty much marched to her own drummer. In the last thread, I mentioned that I hoped Egs gets to Verin's rooms in the WT with her "cipher" in ToM, to figure out all that she has left for her and us!

The first couple of times I read this about the Borderlanders and the BCOV (thanks Mano!) I was completely flummoxed by them. Now, it seems pretty obvious they were up to no good. Somebody(s) is a DF and is leading them out of the Border to leave it vulnerable, and has "gentle" intentions towards Rand, IMHO. The 13 Aes Sedai, while seemingly a random occurrence, is just tooooo coincidental.

I also think Demandred is driving that bus, Amalisa, and will be found with the Borderlanders in Far Madding. Their behavior is just too odd.

As for the Fisher...see my post@41.

What/who is Jem? I don't get the reference.
Tricia Irish
51. Tektonica
One more question....

I am disturbed by Verin's line about keeping young Rand safe until it was time for him to die. Is that because of the prophecy? Or because it is the DO's orders to all that are BA? I know Elza says that too....did Verin put that in her head? Is she just trying to get Rand to Shayol Ghul for the big confront?
Pritesh Patil
52. MatHornsounder
Verin was black at that time, so she would have wanted him to die
or maybe, she believed that it is necessary for him to die at Shayol gul
even he himself believesd the same
Hugh Arai
53. HArai
tonka@47: I guess my main point is that if it's as risky as you envision, then the coin flipped the right way hundreds of thousands of times. And not even Mat is that lucky.

M-o-M@48: True enough that the hint came from Moridin, but then it's been obvious that many of the Forsaken have been trying to use Rand to eliminate their competition. I also think it's a stretch to call balefire Rand's first weapon of choice. If it were, I don't think we'd have seen deathgates and arrows of fire and fire blossoms. He could just stick to needle-thin weaves of balefire. As he gains alternatives, he uses them. The strike on Graendal was shocking but carefully considered. Is it worth it? As you say we'll RAFO

Tektonica@51: We know Verin has deeply studied both light and dark prophecies. The common interpretations all seem to point at Rand dying in some fashion, as does Rand's answer from the 'finn.
I suspect _everybody_ is supposed to get Rand to the end game. Some just don't know it.
54. alreadymadwithcompulsion
Ouroboros @30
If the White Tower ever finds out the sisters were Compelled, they'll also likely find out that Saidar was used to Compel them. So Rand would be in the clear. Unless Eg really plans on adding him as a notch on her belt by insisting on command authority.
Eric Hughes
56. CireNaes

I think you're spot on in that it takes quite a bit to do serious damage to the Pattern. Here's the dealeo though. My theory is that Rand being a super ta'veren (has a ton of other threads spun around him and he is being used as a self-corrective anomaly and now I'm thinking about the Matrix and the Architect MTV spoof with Will Farrel) will make anything he does harder on the Pattern, especially when he starts burning threads that are doing quite a bit to effect the pattern too with such large amounts of the stuff. So what he has done with balefire has arguably been just as damaging to the Pattern as what a bunch of other people did back in the AoL.
Sharon E.
57. Sulin
M-o-M@48- Um yeah, I didn't mean literally that anyone hates Rand. Sorry for the poor choice of words. That's what comes from too little sleep and too much coffee/Diet Dr Pepper. o_O I was just wondering why people start to dislike him at this point in the story.

Unless Eg really plans on adding him as a notch on her belt by insisting on command authority.
Good luck with that, Eg!
Birkir Gunnarsson
58. Toxic_Peach
Anyone wondered about the possible return of Alaida, re Eg's vision during the testing. Now she may be serving "the Return" hafl naked, but there is no guarantee she can't be freed to cause further havoc, and Eg's vision might yet come true, in part or in full. I did find it very interesting when her, possibly, future keeper shows up in this prolog, though we have not seen her since.
The testing scenarios, while certainly not dreams, may be just as accurate, at least in Eg's case.
Nathan Martin
59. lerris
@50 - I don't know what is likely to happen in ToM, except that the events will be largely concurrent to, rather than subsequent to, the events of TGS. For example, the revelation of Queen Morgase's identity in Perrin's camp occurred offstage in TGS. So I don't imagine Egwene will be doing much, though as a quiet interlude, researching Verin's notes would certainly fit ( much as Mat's little adventure in the zombie apocalypse village formed a diversion )

@53 - tonka's coin analogy was perhaps simplistic. Think of it more as a set of loaded dice. Initially, the dice are loaded favorably, but with each use, the weight becomes less favorable and more inclined to disaster. If a moth were to randomly eat a single segment of thread in your favorite shirt, and were to do this repeatedly, the shirt will eventually fall apart. The odds of the shirt falling apart with each thread eaten would increase over time, but you might get lucky and lose only non-critical threads for awhile.

@52 - Verin was indeed black, but was very clever about finding ways around oaths that were forced upon her. She had to follow orders, and could not at the time betray the Dark One or the Black Ajah, but she was setting the stage to score a victory for the light. She might have killed Rand had she been ordered to do so, but i think it's a stretch ( in hindsight ) to say that she wanted Rand dead.
Ron Garrison
60. Man-0-Manetheran
No prob, Sulin. I have a real knee-jerk to that word. For me it describes an extreme emotion.

As for Rand, I think it's not that readers dislike Rand, but some of his actions going forward from this point. It's the creeping influence of the darkness that culminates in his nearly destroying the world at the end of TGS
stephanie keenan
61. adriel_moonstar
I had always thought of this as the first of the Books in Which Nothing Happens. So when I re-read it myself last month, I was pleasantly surprised.
Not ever going to be my favorite, but better than I remembered.

(I am currently stalled about five chapters into Winter's Heart, every time I come to "that plot line" I get sidetracked.)
Roger Powell
62. forkroot
I'm betting Verin had to purposely convince herself that getting Rand to the showdown was "serving the Black" so that she could avoid being constrained by the BA Oaths. Note that her motivations were still "light-minded", she's just playing internal mental games -- the same game she had play with "the hour of my death" so she could spill to Egwene.

We know for sure that Verin laid a compulsion weave on Elza. In TGS, Elza asks Semirhage to remove the compulsion (Shaidar Haran had told Elza about it.)
Charlie McMurchie
63. FromtheLangToun
I wonder how significant the contents Sneaky Verin's cupboards & chests of notebooks will be - if they are ever mentioned again - as we know she only gave Egwene 2 notebooks, her list of Black AS & the key to the cipher she used.
Michael Ikeda
64. mikeda

Verin's statement about being sent isn't necessarily a lie.

All it needs for it not to be a lie is for Verin to honestly interpret (rightly or wrongly) something Moraine said as suggesting Verin follow them, without Moraine explicitly saying so.

On another subject, it does occur to me that Lan could probably meet Tenobia's criteria. If he wasn't already completely in love with Nynaeve, that is.
65. Ouroboros
Tektonica @41

"Q: In this same Age, in a different Turning of the Wheel of Time, could it be possible that it wouldn't be Rand's soul that was spun out as the Dragon, but for a different, female soul to take on this role?
Jordan said "Yes ... it would have to be. Err, in the differences between the same Age in different turnings of the Wheel, are that... as for an analogy: imagine two tapestries hanging on a wall, and you look at them from the back of the room to the front of the store. And to look at them, they look identical to you. But as you get closer, you begin to see differences. And if you get close enough, they don't look anything at all alike. That is the difference between the Ages. Between the Age in one Turning and the Age in another. So it's quite possible that someone other than Rand could be the reborn soul of the Dragon Reborn.
Q: It would be the same soul, or it would be a different soul?
RJ: It would be the same soul. That is, that is the belief of the world that I've set up, that it's the same soul. It's a soul of someone bound to the Wheel, which is spun out for the purposes, for the Wheel's purposes really, to attempt to re-balance the Weaving of the Pattern. But the soul would always be male. Souls don't change gender, so ... the soul of the Dragon Reborn is always going to be male..."

So, the soul is the same, just born into different bodies with different names. This time it’s Rand, before that LTD, and before that, Kermit. (Not sure about that last one, RAFO).

There's also the scene at the end of TGS when Rand sees all his past and future lives. It's actually a weird moment.

"That was the answer. It all swept over him, lives lived, mistakes made, love changing everything. He saw the entire world in his mind's eye, lit by the
glow in his hand. He remembered lives, hundreds of them, thousands of them, stretching to infinity. He remembered love, and peace, and joy, and hope. ... And Rand opened his eyes for the first time in a very long while. He knew—somehow—that he would never again hear Lews Therin's voice in his head. For they were not two men, and never had been."

I wonder how much of the world he was really seeing. That is, to what extent he was seeing it. I'm taking that part about infinite lives to mean that he was seeing every journey which that soul undertook in the world. As for why Rand doesn't remember anything from lives before LTD, *shrug*. I suppose it comes down to the pattern making an exception in letting Rand remember some of LTD's experiences. After all, why did it decide to show him all his lives at this particular moment?

I only wish BWS hadn't included the line "love changing everything". It makes me think of that dreadful musical.

JWezy @37

O she's definitely moonlighting for the light in a major way, and has been for a long time. But if she received a direct order to compel the sisters, she may have had no choice to obey, or risk blowing her cover. Like I said, her actions could have served the DO well.

About her actions in TGH. There's no doubt that she was nudging Rand towards fulfilling the prophecies, but Ishy wanted Rand at Falme too, so she may have been serving two masters, as it were.

Don't misunderstand me. I think Verin is great, one of the best characters in fact. But she had to maintain her cover as a believable Black sister, which means that she would have to follow orders sometimes.

HArai @45

It’s a question of not knowing which threads are the important ones. They used it a lot in the War of the Power, far more than Rand has, thus far, but that's not to say that balefiring one person at the wrong moment won't be enough to cause more damage than balefiring five cities. It all comes back to cause and effect, and a few seconds of someone’s life might be all that it takes to blow the pattern to pieces.

Sulin @46

It's all the sisters that were captured at Dumai's Wells. About 30 I think. Except for Katerine.

Tektonica @51

This is just RJ messing with us. The prophecies say, or strongly imply, that he has to die and Verin definitely knows the prophecies. Whether she thinks that he might survive dying is another matter, but there's nothing evil in her thinking that he will have to die. The pattern decrees it.

"yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last Battle, and his blood shall give us the Light."

"Twice and twice shall he be marked, twice to live and twice to die."

"Twice dawns the day when his blood is shed. Once for mourning, once for birth. Red on black, the Dragon's blood stains the rock of Shayol Ghul."

alreadymadwithcompulsion @54

Oh, it's certainly something which they could figure out. But they'll have to actually look for it. Which of course means listening to, and believing Rand. That'll be fun to watch.
Sharon E.
66. Sulin
M-o-M @60- I see your point, for sure. I guess to me, whether Rand's actions are good or "evil," it's all part of the journey he has to take in order to be ready for TG. Do I wish he'd made some decisions differently? You bet! However, it's his path back to redemption/the Light that keeps me coming back for more (among other things).

For instance, I really hope we get a chapter where Rand patches things up with Tam.
Eric Hughes
67. CireNaes

I just don't see Lan waxing poetic anytime soon. If he did it would sound like Michael Ironside reading Where the Sidewalk Ends. Other than that, he's got the goods.
Bobby Stubbs
68. Valan
@ 67 Actually I'm not sure where but I'm pretty sure I remember Lan reciting poetry at one point, and people being thoroughly surprised (the Great Hunt?)

Most people who only read PoD once will be pleasantly surprised with this re-read. The BoW gets used, the Seanchan are back in force. Rand starts going really noticably mad and sick. The stalemate at Ebou Dar was really refreshing to me, something that made sense in the war going on, the Dragon can't just run over hundreds (thousands?) of damane. I'm especially looking forward to going through Callandor's use in the book for clues to the hints we got in tGS.

Also, upon a closer look, I think that That Damn Plotline has a lot going on for it that will matter for the Last Battle and more importantly - a Seanchan truce, though we won't get to that until WH I think. You just have to slog through all the emo.
Eric Hughes
69. CireNaes

I'll trust your memory, but the real question is whether this was more of a pleasant surprise or a horrific one.
Jennifer B
70. JennB
Verin chose Aes Sedai without warders first as a precaution. She doesn't know how the compulsion will affect the warder. It has nothing to do with ajah; red, black, or otherwise, so why would she think about it. When I think about my cats, I don't think about what color they are with every thought. Why would Verin think about Ajah when it is not relavent to her thoughts.

Borderlanders, who cares. They spent so long sitting, doing nothing, they pretty much bacame part of the scenery. I do think that we are supposed to see Tenobia and Faile as two peas in a pod though. Poor Perrin. Also... Bashere doesn't have to die. He could have other obligations, leaving the throne to Faile. (Not that I am saying he won't die.)

The Fisher, this scene confused the heck out of me when I first read it. Good thing we have this handy internet thing.

As far as the first book I had to wait for... The Shadow Rising is probably my favorite, so worth the wait. Guess I don't fit your pattern.
Hugh Arai
71. HArai
It’s a question of not knowing which threads are the important ones. They used it a lot in the War of the Power, far more than Rand has, thus far, but that's not to say that balefiring one person at the wrong moment won't be enough to cause more damage than balefiring five cities. It all comes back to cause and effect, and a few seconds of someone’s life might be all that it takes to blow the pattern to pieces.
That's only a reasonable risk if that someone did something critical to the entire Pattern in those seconds. Which is possible, but not likely.

From the WoT FAQ I see that RJ confirmed at a signing that people that are balefired can still have their souls reborn. It's the fact the DO can't go back in time that keeps him from resurrecting people. So it isn't a total removal of their soul/thread from future weaving back into the pattern. I add that to the fact that their entire threads aren't removed from the pattern, just the "burnt end". I conclude single thread balefire, especially using only enough power to burn back a few seconds is highly unlikely to destroy the pattern. The only person I can think of that seems to affect so much of the pattern that a few minutes of his life would really disrupt the Pattern is the very person people are worrying about: Rand.

CireNaes@69: He was reciting poetry giving the modern Borderlander point of view when Loial complained about how starkly Fal Dara was rebuilt after the original Ogier buildings were destroyed. Rand was shocked. Nyn was apparently impressed though :)
Richard Fife
72. R.Fife
Just have to say this right now: Guess where someone is ;)

Honestly, folks, it is being fun, and I'm getting some goodies (ie, stuff I can turn into multiple blog posts), so don't think of me as "That Drat Fife". think of me as "Our man in the field". Yeah...

I'm going to go get some more of those little pieces of paper they are handing out that say who killed Asmodean.
Bobby Stubbs
73. Valan
@ CireNaes

Matter of opinion I suppose, Nynaeve would think pleasantly of it, as to everyone else... *shrug*

Also forgot to mention that the Fisher King scene is my favorite part of this book. I just find all of the symbolism layered in sha'rah game MoA. I put my vote in for the e-book cover with this scene.
Roger Powell
74. forkroot
There are those of us who (jealously) hope that you trip over your (yellow) shawl.
Nah... Have a great time. Wish I was there too.
Ron Garrison
75. Man-0-Manetheran
By the way, has everyone visited the Tor front page and entered the giveaway of posters made from the new eBook covers?
Jacy Clark
76. Amalisa
M-o-M, I think everyone and their uncle has gone there! *lol* Over 300 posts in, like, 5 hours. It's almost like TGS release day!
Sharon E.
77. Sulin
I really hope they offer them up for sale. I'd really love to have a poster of the Dumai's Wells battle. :D
Ron Garrison
78. Man-0-Manetheran
Wow. I was number 6, and that wasn't long at all! I guess when we told them we liked those covers, they listened.

Fife! Have you seen them?
Other Alias
79. ghostcrab311
Well, for what it's worth, I had to wait for every single book, having started the series when it first arrived, and I can say that PoD is my least favorite book in the series. It was when the shark-jumping was completed, and when I pretty much quit reading or caring about the series.
(At least until Leigh started her reread - now I care again! Yay!)
80. J.Dauro
Yes, the Fifester is running around in Yellow, Filking for us all, and portraying our favorite Gleeman, as well as Fain. Hoping to meet other folks here tomorrow.
John Massey
81. subwoofer
@Leigh- you're such a Misfit- heh- yeah, I know, it sucks, but it's all I got. Half here, half watching the Draft. To be honest, I'd love to be in NY right now.

@Fife- it's all about location, location, location. You get hurracaines, but you also get JC. meh.

The Borderlanders. I love this, as I consider myself one too. I mean these are the guys that stand a post and provide the blanket of safety all the Andorans and everyone else sleep under. Yay for Sheinar too. King Easar, what a warrior king should be. Agelmar Jagad- Bags of Awesome. We see him first back when, but knowing now that he is one of the Five- well-> represent!
Agelmar Jagad could have been a larger version of Easar, a simple, plainly barbed man of steel and stone with more weapons hung about him than Baldhere carried, sudden death waiting to be unleashed...
Why bar none, I have always choose these guys over "if I could pick an Ajah" game. Some folks pick green, some pick Asha'man, some pick Warder, me, if I was to be plunged in, I'd be a Borderlander fighting under Jagad-
"Do not let the Horn seize you, Rand," Agelmar said. "It can take hold of a man -- I know how it can -- and that is not the way. A man must seek duty, not glory. What will happen, will happen. If the Horn of Valere is meant to be sounded for the Light, then it will be."
The Shadow never sleeps

So as you can see I loved this prologue. I love the warriors without all the flash and luck and fancy powers. These guys are me.

Poopy about Bashere. Perrin better step up and learn.

Verin- well, the weave she was doing threw me, but much of this did speak to how ingrained ji'e'toh is to Aiel. And I love the POV. Mat and Rand etc are always talking about Aes Sedai serenity and being unreadable, and here comes Verin talking about how expressionless Aiel are as a people. I still can't wrap my mind around how such large lumbering oafs could keep up with a horse. Arnold never ran.

Hints of saa and bonkerish, never got why he bothered appearing to Rand in the last book, don't get him now. RJ wrote his part wonky. Demandred is more playing Moridin's part than Moridin is.

John Massey
82. subwoofer
Oh yeah, AMW... Tenobia + Logain?

84. Freelancer
Vague POVs indeed.

Unlike Leigh, I don't think the Borderlanders were "hunting" for Rand in order to swear to him. They could have sent collective messengers to accomplish that, and it wouldn't have taken 200k of their armsmen on a 6 book march. No, from Ethenielle's own POV, they have decided to do what the White Tower either couldn't or wouldn't do, and it's something they understand might demand a huge amount of military might. That doesn't sound like bowing down.

Like Leigh, I believe that the Dragon has never once turned to the shadow. And for the same reasons. Rand is portrayed as never giving an inch on his ideals of, for lack of a less mischaracterized term, chivalry. He just won't budge on that (except when he's infected with pure concentrated evil), and this is a trait which is a foundational part of his soul, consistent throughout his incarnations. He knows right from wrong, and nothing can make him stand for the wrong, even if he loses. That's why he's a better man than Demandred, Sammael, Be'lal or Asmodean, bedrock principles. Believing in this doesn't demand childish petulance, but that's always a viable fallback position if you don't want to bring chivalry to the equation. And someday I'll stop antagonizing the hostess about her feminism. Just not today.

Ok, had to do a few minute's research before I realized that Synergy was what brought up the Jem reference. ::shrug::

IshmBa'alMor ~ Is a psycho. With a weird chess board. Actually, the scope and sheer volume of mythologies represented by this is phenomenal. How to pack so many different sets of symbolism into one plot concept? Jordan's legend-fu is very powerful.


If Turanna is Black, and known to Verin to be black, then it stands to reason that one or more of Verin's "commands" is to protect, or at least not harm, the Dragon Reborn. Prior to this scene, we see Verin with no emotion stronger than mild vexation, but she is downright enraged at Katerine's escape. Why? Because she did not get the opportunity to Compel a sister known to her to be Black as well as Red. We can see that the only importance of that would be Compelling an order to keep Rand safe.


You are so regularly expressing your disappointment with this or that plot element, characterization, etc. Well, I will be immensely disappointed if it turns out that Rand's use of the True Power was an orchestrated event. It would just be the most convoluted Xanatos Roulette (Look it up on TV Tropes, I, like subwoofer, am in the link doghouse with Tor for unknown causes) ever written, and Jordan isn't quite that pretzel-esque with his crafted causalities.


"Ten years! You pitiful fool! This war has not lasted ten years, but since the beginning of time. You and I have fought a thousand battles with the turning of the Wheel, a thousand times a thousand, and we will fight until time dies and the Shadow is triumphant!" He finished in a shout, with a raised fist, and it was Lews Therin's turn to pull back, breath catching at the glow in the Betrayer's eyes.

Ishamael is quite distinct in the reference to "You and I". There is no way that this epic story about good vs evil would include at its foundation that the souls of the two sides are interchangeable. Good is good, evil is evil, and never the twain shall meet. The soul of Rand al'Thor is that of the Dragon, whom the dark one, during his discussion with Demandred, calls "MY ANCIENT ENEMY". Rand's soul has always been on the same side. Moridin, who knows more than anyone else about facts which cross multiple turnings of the Wheel, has also always been on the same side.


See above.


Ahh, someone else commented about the cover art. Well, since we'd just ripped the ACoS cover last week, I was thinking about it when this post hit, and I'm pretty sure this is Sweet's least strange cover in the series. The representation of Rand is valid, the idea of the scene is consistent to the story. And the Crown of Swords seems to be depicted in accordance with its description.


I understand that this seems Elza-like, but there's a distinction to be made. Elza is motivated to keep Rand safe until he can be defeated by the dark one at Tar'mon Gai'don. Verin is motivated to keep Rand alive until it is time for him to die. They aren't the same. Verin accepts that prophecy calls for his death as part of the events which lead to victory for the Light. She isn't expecting the Light to be defeated, and she knows that their only hope is for Rand to be there.


There is no way that Verin is acting on the dark one's orders in the Aiel camp at this point of the story. Otherwise she wouldn't even be mildly annoyed at Katerine's escape. Also, what Sorilea gives Verin is a sleeping agent, which can be fatal with not-so-tiny doses. I'm thinking iocaine myself, but whatever. It is not intended by Sorilea at that time as poison, and that is no evidence that she's of the shadow.


I'm in this camp with you. The Dragon has inadvertently served the shadow's ends at times, but never intentionally. We get a taste of that realization in TGS by others of Team Light, and its significance is diminished all too easily.


No doubt that Verin is a free agent. Well, not so free, and more of a triple-agent... oh never mind. She serves the Light, though she made the mistake (I'd guess 71 years ago at this point) of getting cornered into joining Team Shadow or die. Her goal is still victory of the Light. But it seems that Aes Sedai can only work effectively toward that goal when free from the Tower. Moiraine, Cadsuane, Verin, all clearly the most effective Sisters for Rand's side, all regularly considered loose canons by the Tower.


Yes, Elza's Compulsion which Shaidar Haran informed her of, and ordered her to have Semirhage remove, was Verin's. One of the questions Brandon did not RAFO for me.


Ahh, thanks for that quote. Confirmation of what I said above. Same soul is the Dragon across all of time. This also adds weight to Rand's rebuttal of Ishamael, where he says he now knows that he has NEVER served the dark one, not in any lifetime.


A Michael Ironside reference here? Well played!


"The rose petal floats on the water," Lan recitely softly. "The kingfisher flashes above the pond. Life and beauty swirl in the midst of death."
"Yes," Agelmar said, "Yes. That one has always symolized the whole of it to me, too." The two men bowed their heads to one another.
Poetry, out of Lan? The man was like an onion; every time Rand thought he knew something about the Warder, he discovered another layer underneath.

~ The Eye of the World, Fal Dara

No mention of Nynaeve's reaction to Lan's recitation.


Oh, we don't think of you as "That Drat Fife". It's That Rat Fife. j/k Good work today, by the way, it was nice to watch a little snippet of the events.


Shark-jumping? I intensely beg to differ. I would accuse Herbert, Feist, Brooks, and Salvatore of shark-jumping long before Jordan. And for the record, of those I only really accuse Herbert, because, just EGADS.


Can't happen. Tenobia + Logain would interfere with Perrin and the Broken Crown prophecy. Logain's glory lies elsewhere.
Greg Bloom
85. MuleHeadedLummox
Generally, I feel that the biggest flaw in TPoD is the overall narrative structure of the plot lines. The only plot that reaches a major climax is the Bowl of Winds, which happens near the beginning of the book. While other plots advance, and there are several minor climaxes, because the only major climax is at the beginning instead of the end of the novel, the end feels underwhelming. Furthermore, after using the Bowl, the characters involved in that plot move on to another, more annoying one that is also not resolved in this book. This all leads to this book not standing alone as well as many of the other books in the series.

The narrative structure of CoT, the other book that many people dislike, is even weaker, with no major climaxes at all. Instead, we are left with minor plot advances and a big cliffhanger instead of a storyline coming to an end.

That being said, TPoD has a lot of good things going for it. I especially enjoy the Egwene scenes, as this is the book where she begins to become the true Amyrlin. And Perrin won't start to be really annoying and emo until the next book. He'll just be somewhat annoying, if I recall correctly.
j p
86. sps49
That Drat Fife @72-

Asmodean wha...?

subwoofer @81-

Ingtar gets mad when people question the manner in which he provides it, and doesn't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!
Birgit F
87. birgit
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.
If this is true, does it mean that if you go over, you are on Team Dark from then on and there's a NEW champion for the Light?

It's not about who is the champion. If the Light loses, the DO breaks the Wheel and there is no chance for a rematch.
In his fight with Ishy in TGH Rand says that he knows (from the Portal Stone visions) that he lived a thousand lives in which he didn't serve the DO. He doesn't say that he never served the Shadow. (I could only quote it in German because TGH is the only book I don't have in English).

The Aes Sedai left a balefire firehose ter'angreal intact in their storeroom instead of destroying it. It was on hand to be stolen by the BA after all. Not bright if every use risks breaking the Wheel.

Ter'angreal are probably difficult do destroy. Maybe the AOL AS could have destroyed it, but they lost it in the war and when the AS of this age found it, they were collecting all OP items regardless of whether they knew what they did. Like Verin who didn't destroy Corianin's notes because she doesn't want to destroy any knowledge modern AS probably wouldn't destroy any OP items no matter how dangerous they are.
a a-p
88. lostinshadow
While I wasn't much impressed with TPoD the first time round, upon subsequent rereads, it wasn't as bad as I remembered.

Still would have liked some tighter editing for this, WH and CoT to read for a smoother, maybe more satisfying story though.

Nothing of note to contribute, being slammed by work all week long and brain not really functioning so will revert back to lurking now.
Thomas Keith
89. insectoid
Have read the post but haven't had a chance to really read all the comments yet.

So, for my 500th comment on I entered into a drawing. D'oH! Actually, this one will be the 500th that's WoT-related. ;)

Um, yes. The post.

TPoD as a whole: For some reason I always got stuck about halfway through TPoD on both my re-reads. Lessee, what's in the middle... oh. Rand, of course. ;) I think I enjoy the Eg and El storylines the best.

Borderlanders: Haven't done much since except talk to Elayne. And get shnubbed by Rand al'Moridin.

Verin: Our Verin is very, very sneaky. I knew something was going on with her here before TGS— "Why would she want to know Compulsion??" —and now with hindsight, it all makes a lot more sense. But is still Very, Very Sneaky.

Moridin & The Fisher King: I pretty much had to look this up on the FAQ—it didn't make a lot of sense at the time.

Of the comments I did stop to read:

R.Fife @72: ::stillgrumblingjealousgrumble:: Seriously, though, have a good time (you too, Blind and J.Dauro), and give us the scoop when ya get back! :)

Free @84: LOL at Rat Fife. ;)

Maiane Bakroeva
90. Isilel

Speaking of balefire, IMHO the danger of it depends on an Age. Things seem to be very much in flux in Randland, which didn't seem to be the case to this degree during The War of the Shadow.
Belief and Order bring strength - IMHO it means that due to Ishy's ongoing successful efforts to smash civilization and keep population low (after all, lives are threads, the more lives the denser the weave) during the Third Age, the Pattern is inherently much, much weaker than in AoL and can stand much less balefire.
And yes, IMHO ta'veren of Rand's power using balefire is much more damaging than a random dude doing so. Being backed by powerful sa'angreal doesn't help either.

BTW, Ishy/Moridin doesn't need to use balefire specifically to damage the Pattern - his use of TP is already doing so. I strongly suspect that that's why he uses TP exclusively - so that every small action of his would contribute to the destruction of the the Pattern.

BTW, is it here that Verin thinks how somebody complimented her smile only to try to kill her immediately afterward and "her smile was the last thing he ever saw"? Yea, a deliciously creepy/mysterious character, our Verin. She will be missed.
Also, one of the regrettably few channelers who managed to be very effective without being super-strong.
91. dozburger1
Amalisa @ 30 - the Demandred Being With The BorderLand Army of Vague Intentions Theory is not that loony - Graendel gives us a pretty good argument for it in TGS. Two curious points:

1. The Borderland Rulers decided their intentiions without a meeting (I think) - in fact they used their secret codes and letters to decide. A very easy thing for Demandred to manipulate, wouldn't you think? Get hold of one of these communiques, modify them appropriately to lead the Rulers down the path of haring after Rand aaaaannd...

2. The Blight goes quiet. Demandred manipulates the Borderland Rulers into chasing after Rand. The Blight's quiet, so why not? Chaos will ensue. Who benefits from chaos? Sneaky, very sneaky...
92. Freelancer

So now I'll see Jack Nicholson with a topknot when I think of Ingtar. But did he order the Code Red?!?

He eats breakfast 300 yards from 4,000 Trollocs who are trained to kill him, so don't think for one second that you can go up there, flash some saidin, and make him nervous.
John Massey
93. subwoofer
@SPS- Ingtar? Thought he bit it? I heard me say Agelmar...

@Longtime- well yeah, in the movie. But IRL it is more like something out of The Naked Gun where the guys running can't keep up with the camera and they have a bunch of takes so it seems that they have not run out of breath.

Tricia Irish
94. Tektonica
Free, et al:

Agree the Borderlanders are looking for Rand to capture/gentle him, NOT swear allegiance. They've got 13 Aes Sedai, and I don't believe that was an accident, and state that they will do what the Tower is not willing or able to do, ie: capture or gentle him. I agree with Amalisa and others that Demandred could be orchestrating this debacle. Capturing Rand and leaving the Borderland vulnerable at the same time = brilliant FS scheme.

re: my post@50:

I think Verin's statement to Mat and Perrin in The Great Hunt, that "Moraine sent her", while it may have been an interpretation/delusion on her part, enough that she could say it anyway, I still believe it was a lie. We know it was a lie. That's what tipped the scales for me as to Verin as BA.

Ouroboros@65: Thanks for clearing up Rand has never turned debate. I feel better already! I didn't think Rand had ever turned. I thought maybe Ishy had been the Light's champion at some point and went Dark, and Rand's soul had then been tapped to be the Lights' champion. Obviously not.

Free: I agree, Rand has integrity in spades. He serves the DO inadvertently at times, but never gives in and goes Dark.

On a similar note....I know Rand got the vision on Dragonmount at the end of tGS of all his thousands of past lives, but I think the reason he really only remembers LTT on a regular basis is that having all those incarnations rattling around in his head all the time would truly make him whacko. TMI. Perhaps, each incarnation is a distillation of important info/lessons gathered to date.

Fife & JDauro: Enjoy JCon! Can't wait to see pix and hear a full report...hints and allegations...anecdotes and secrets.

Everyone: Check out the live video feed on Portalstones today at 11:30...Brandon speaks.
John Massey
95. subwoofer
I dunno- I do remember whatsherbucket's comment that 13 AS will be handy, but I do not feel that it was the intention to have 13 from the start- it was coincidence. I do however feel that the BLs did march south to confront the Dragon. If the guy was a putz then fire and brimstone, if the guy turned out to be an actually leader... then ask him to lead- from the front- get his butt to the Gap where he is really needed to fight the Shadow. If they really wanted to capture the Dragon, they would have brought everything to throw at Rand. Including the kitchen sink... and maybe the odd outhouse.

Maybe Rand compliments Tenobia on her beaver...

Tricia Irish
96. Tektonica
Ah are so funny.

I think the 13 AS being with the BLers looks like "an accident", but if Demandred or some other DF/ FS is leading the Borderlander parade, it could be a happy "pre-arranged" accident. And trying to draw him into Far Madding with the Hurin "lure" was pretty cagey too. Just thinking out loud....
Sharon E.
97. Sulin
@Freelancer(84)- Yep, I think this is Sweet's best work on the covers. Other than the out-of-proportion figures, what I dislike most about his covers is the overly bright color palette. I think the PoD cover worked for me because he chose a more somber color tone for the painting. This is a weighty series, and (especially later books), IMO needed a more muted, somber palette.
Tricia Irish
98. Tektonica
Just watched the live video from Jordancon on the future of the franchise...

Role playing video games, which I must admit I did not pay a lot of attention to.

The movie of EotW is alive and seems to be in development at Universal. They are talking about the script with Red ?, who owns the rights (bad audio) and Jason and Melissa and the Universal wonks. Sounds very positive.

Outrigger novels.....There were to be two more with Tam's adventures just before finding Rand and one with Moraine and Lan just before they arrive in the Two Rivers in the nick of time. Then the later novels, I assume the ones that have been mentioned about Mat and Tuon in Seanchan.

Wilson was there and stated that Harriet is really enjoying doing these last books. He thinks it's keeping Jim close for her. If, after the series is complete and the Encyclopedia is done, she is still enjoying herself, these novels may happen. It is totally up to her. There are extensive notes on them and if they are done, Brandon will be the one doing them, to keep the voice consistent. Wilson got very emotional speaking about Jim :-(. He seems like a great guy.

BTW: will have videos of other various breakout sessions on their site....but no more live streaming vid.

Edit: Oops....had Taim instead of bad! Thanks Free!
John Massey
99. subwoofer
sucks that JordanCon is going on at the same time as the Draft. Tryin' to juggle two feeds here. On the bright side of life, I can always play catch up later. Yeah, portalstones is driving me nuts. Not the best of plans... I could be wearing armor when somebody throws lightening around...

Heidi Byrd
100. sweetlilflower
Agelmar has met Rand, would he really be behind a plan to capture and gentle him?

And I got the 100th post!
Jacy Clark
101. Amalisa

Red ? is probably Red Eagle Entertainment.

I hate it that I missed the live feed. I'll be sure to watch it when they upload the video later.

RE the Borderlanders and the AS with them...

The kicker is going to be who among the 13 with the Borderlanders is actually BA. Tenobia's advisor, Memara, looks Black by association; she was recommended to the post by Alviarin. However, Tenobia gave her the slip and, as far as we know, she's not going to be part of this.

Which leads me to a sort of off topic question. Any thoughts about whether or not Merlille is BA? One, obviously, who escaped Verin's notice. I don't remember any POV from her where she calls on the Light or some such. If she is, she may know exactly how many Sisters are with the Borderlander army, and neglected to tell Elayne for obvious reasons. I mean, ten AS are bad enough but thirteen is a disaster waiting to happen.


Yes, Portalstones isn't very helpful so far. The link takes you to DM which takes you back to PS. Argh!
Bill Reamy
102. BillinHI
re: Too many vowels... It's my personal belief that in the real world, we need to give some people and their languages more vowels. Look at all the former Yugoslavian countries: not _nearly_ enough vowels. OTH, here in Hawaii (and other Polynesian languages), there are plenty of vowels and most everybody is much happier and easy-going than in those countries without enough vowels.
Ron Garrison
103. Man-0-Manetheran
dozburger1@91: BLAVI! LOL. To expand a bit on your points (as I see others have now done), I believe it a very coherent theory that Demandred is assembling an army in the blight. By controlling that army, he can stay out of the Borderlands for the time being and allow it to go "quiet." At the same time he doctors (maybe even originates) the communications between the Borderland leaders and convinces them they need to take "action" in the south. And, of course, he has the wherewithal to send 13 BA to "accidently" meet up with them and ride along.

Verin: We were discussing in the other thread about how she might have learned so many names of the Black Ajah despite their "heart" security. I think the answer is right here. Compulsion. Compel this sister to reveal her "heart and one other" and forget that she had been compelled. Repeat, rinse, repeat.

Tek@98: "Wilson was there and stated that Harriet is really enjoying doing these last books. He thinks it's keeping Jim close for her." Now, that is a warm fuzzy. How great for her.
104. Freelancer

I'm gonna try this one without referring to my books. I'm fairly sure it wasn't Taim who found Rand, and who'd want a whole outrigger novel about that scuzz? I'd be much happier if it were about Tam. (Which, by cosmic forum law, guarantees I'll have some faux pas in an upcoming comment)

I was able to watch some of the Portalstones feed which included Wilson yesterday, and greatly enjoyed him talking about going fishing with Jim and his own son. He looks almost as I always imagined Tam, actually. He's certainly possessed of a very powerful, yet unassuming personality.

Imagine you've lost your spouse of twenty-plus years. The work they did involved you deeply, and it was the defining passion of their life and yours for all of that time. Now you get to continue that work, supported by literally millions, including a fan who is at once exceptionally competent to the task, and unwilling to usurp any of the original glory, ensuring that you and your departed loved one remain as much the center of focus as possible. I imagine that is a glimpse of what it is like for Harriet these days.
Janet Hopkins
106. JanDSedai
Not at JordanCon
I briefly thought about running away from home and attending--it's only 6 hrs from here. But I'm doing an anime con next week w/ my daughter & her friends, and can't really justify the time & money...

I think the borderlanders are not conciously planning to capture Rand, just to "control" him. How they think they're gonna do that probably hasn't been thought out. But the 13 AS reek of a secondary plot; you'll notice 7 AS went to Arafel, and 5 more went to Saldea. (not contiguious countries)

I had the thought that the ones in Saldea might have been from the disaster with Taim, but whether they are Light sisters routed by the Black, or Black sisters themselves, we don't have enough information to even speculate.

As to why 7 AS would go to Arafel, I can't even hazard a guess. It is the closest to Tar Valon, so apparently someone there got wind of the plot, and decided to join in. Since Elaida doesn't own to it, it is probably the BA.
107. alreadymadwithmadrulers
subwoofer @82
Hahah.. sounds good. If Tenobia can stand being third in a harem, that is, and if Logain can stand adding a third woman wonkier than the other two combined. Maybe one of his cadre? Or maybe even Lord Algarin.

Freelancer @84
Who says Perrin is gonna take the Broken crown? We only know there is a prophecy that associates him with it. Which, as far as I'm concerned, could already have come true given his current.. connection... to the Saldaean royal family.

Isilel @90
Agreed, Verin was very effective without having to resort to super-strong channeling. Though she's no lightweight, either. AFAIK, she was actually one of the few Aes Sedai strong enough to use the Choedan Kal. And she enumerated the extremely short list of other sisters who can.

Tektonica @94
I shudder to think exactly what the Borderland rulers have in mind. On the one hand they do think whatever it is requires a significant amount of military resources, and they did try to trick Rand into not so neutral territory, almost a provocation. On the other hand, doing what the White Tower should have done a long time ago, sounds awfully ambiguous. They could simply want to deal and parley with him directly, instead of sidestepping him as the White Tower has done.

subwoofer @95
A sizable army isn't exactly something to ignore, either.

sweetlilflower @100
Agelmar might. If his first impression of Rand was really that bad. I understand he wasn't particularly impressed.
Noneo Yourbusiness
108. Longtimefan
@ Tektonica 50 about Verin and the "lie".

While the point is moot now that it is known that Verin is very dark brown there was a hint that Verin could have believed that Moiraine sent her was in The Great Hunt, Chapter 7: Blood Calls Blood.

I bring this up because a) I remember stating it once years ago in a “Did Verin Lie” argument and b) I seem to be the only person who read it this way. The quotes I am using are from a newer paperback copy and I wonder if anyone has the old 1993 paperback as I thought the original quote from Moiraine was similar to “Then we must find him” . Creating a stronger implication.

After healing Mat for the moment Moiraine, Suian and Verin are in the Amyrlin’s Chambers at Fal Dara.

Moiraine says only Mat can retrieve the dagger as the Healing they just performed shielded and buffered him from the taint as much as anyone can be.

Suian agrees by saying “If the Lurks think he (Fain) is important...then so must we.”

Moiraine finishes by saying,“He must be found...but it is likely he will be found with the Horn.”

As Moiraine, Suian and Verin are the only people in the room the use of “we” by Suian could be taken to include Verin. Followed by “He must be found” by Moiraine this could lead someone in the room to believe that they are part of the group the must find Fain.

After this Verin is dismissed but stalls by pulling out her notebook about the prophecy left behind in the cells and manipulates Moiraine and Suain into confirming that one of the three boys can channel and is probably the Dragon Reborn and starts to reveal how she noticed clues 20 years ago..... Fade out to Perrin.

While it is true that Verin is able to lie and it is true that Moiraine did not send her directly there is an implication that she is included in the pursuit of Fain because of this chapter where she is present when “He must be found” is said by Moiraine.

I also mention it because Verin is awesome and was probably holding as close to the oath against saying and untrue word as best she could. An argument could be made that the precarious nature of being a triple agent in her case would have kept her from lying to anyone because of the danger of being caught in the lie from either side. Similar to Egwene being able to lie but working to speak as though she had already taken the oath.
109. alreadymadwithverinsoaths
Longtimefan @108
Agreed. Despite her Black Oaths, Verin made a conscious effort to hold to the original Oaths of the Aes Sedai. it could be something said at that private meeting that could be construed as a justification for the necessity of finding them. She did not have to outright lie about being sent to them.
Tricia Irish
110. Tektonica
I love Verin! Don't get me wrong about that...she is as light as you can get, really. I just thought she lied and I guess I still do, as Moraine later states that she didn't send her. I'll find that a bit later...gotta run.
111. Freelancer
His gaze ran over the young men from Emond's Field, settling on Rand, brushing the red-wrapped sword at his waist. "A strange guard you take with you, Aes Sedai. Only one fighting man." He glanced at Perrin, and a the axe hanging from his belt. "Perhaps two. But both barely more than lands. Let me send men with you. A hundred lances more or less will make no difference in the Gap, but you will need more than one Warder and three youths. And two women will not help, unless they are Aiel in diguise. The Blight is worse than usual this year. It--stirs."
"If you must enter the Blight, and with only a few, there is no man better to take you there, nor to bring you safely out again. He is the best of the Warders, and that means the best of the best. You might as well leave these boys here, to gain a little seasoning, and put your entire trust in Lan. The Blight is no place for untried boys."
"What did he say?" Rand demanded. Mat rose, and Perrin, too.
"Country oaf," Agelmar muttered, then raised his voice to a normal tone. "Did you learn anything, Aes Sedai, or is he simply a madman?"

Lord Agelmar was a long way from impressed by any of our three ta'veren, and other than Perrin, they gave him good reason to be underwhelmed with their lack of tact and decorum.

While looking for those passages, I also read something that reminded me of an earlier comment, which I cannot now find. Someone said that when Fain had encountered Machin Shin in the Ways, it both liked and feared him. Here is the relevant passage:
"Then Fain was the one you sensed following us," Egwene said. Lan nodded. "How did he escape the . . . the Black Wind?" Her voice shook; she stopped to swallow. "It was right behind us at the Waygate."
"He escaped, and he did not," Moiraine said. "The Black Wind caught him -- and he claimed to understand the voices. Some greeted him as like to them; others feared him. No sooner did the Wind envelop Fain than it fled."
"The Light preserve us." Loial's whisper rumbled like a giant bumblebee.
This statement says that some of the voices within Machin Shin greeted Fain "as like to them", meaning as familiar souls, not necessarily with fondness. What is more important of the passage is that many of the voices within Machin Shin feared Fain. How could they have anything left to fear? It is meant as a measure of how dangerous a creature Fain is, and that Machin Shin itself fled from him rather than consuming him.


Indeed, one of the significant points about Verin in that "did she lie" business was that by The Path of Daggers, we have learned a great deal about how careful she is. 71 years without a serious mistake is some sort of careful. She wouldn't have been suddenly careless in answering a direct question, not in front of Ingtar, Loiral, Hurin, a group of Shienaran soldiers and our ta'veren trio.
Sharon E.
112. Sulin
@Freelancer(111)- I hope we get to see another meeting of Agelmar and Rand. I wonder if Agelmar will revise his opinion of Rand.
John Massey
113. subwoofer
So... Verin and lying. I know that most AS are bound by the Three Oaths, and yet they still manage to say things that are not entirely the truth. And sometimes the truth is less than diplomatic. This begs the question- is lying bad/evil? I suppose it depends on circumstances and what is being lied about. One of the problems that I have with the Three Oaths is that "To speak no word that is not true " bit is a blanket statement and as witnessed by a recent movie-sometimes blanket statements are a bit extreme. The truth hurts sometimes and as I look at it, the Grey Ajah, skilled in diplomacy must be really skilled at twisting words in order to be effective at what they do and not break the first oath.

@AMW- yay for harems:)

- and Rand has a sizable army of his own plus male channelers, plus AS that have sworn to him, plus Aiel, plus Wise Ones. Borderlanders would need half the Tower to make it a fair fight.

114. Ian B Manc
hmmm. I see no problem with vowel to consanant ratio.

115. chaplainchris
Borderlander Conference of Ominous Vagueness. Heh heh heh. Leigh Funny Naming Conventions FTW!

I actually think that TPOD is my least favorite novel, after (of course) Crossroads of Twilight, and TPOD is the first I had to wait for. Well, I only had to wait for aCoS for a month, which was enough time to be anxious and excited, but not overwrought. And I like ACoS (but then, I like the Kin and the new appearances of non-Aes Sedai whose strength levels get compared to all sorts of people and drawing up geeky comparative strength level charts).

And I like those parts of TPOD, too. The whole use of the Bowl of the Winds, new data on angreal and terangreal, the Seanchan attack, the gateway unweaving...all of that is very cool. And I don't miss Mat, or at least I didn't originally. Actually, Mat was my least favorite character until the re-read, which has convinced me that Mat is both hilarious and MOA.

No, what I didn't like about this book was that while I had been steadfastly trying to believe that Rand wasn't made of crazycakes and was still likable and worthy of trust, this book shows that he is...well, otherwise. And it's worse from here! Duh, duh, duh! (Except that I like Rand in Winter's Heart.)

Anyway...I'd forgotten that this Prologue is actually really cool and intriguing. The only problem is that the Borderlanders have been mysterious for so long that I now really, really don't care what's up with them.

Re: Verin, I agree that this incident is what made her certain Katerine was Black Ajah. Also, Verin's careful justifications of her actions isn't unprecedented - I was struck in my last re-read of The Great Hunt how carefully honest Liandrin is when convincing the Supergirls to leave Tar Valon with her. She never once lies. It seems to me that all the BA would be this careful...since being caught in a lie is the surest way to get revealed as a Darkfriend.

Moridin...dunno. Cool scene, but I'm also beginning to tire of how mysterious he is and how unclear his motives. Good thing we're in the home stretch with just two books to go!
Rod Murgatroyd
116. freddagg
Verin reveals much here after our knowledge of her actions in TgS. She has been working as a triple-agent for sure. Has she been setting up other AS to help the Light at TG? Using her compulsion weave to set up the conditions and actions.

"She finishes her weave and activates it, and gives Beldeine her orders,...the weave also requires trust from the subject to work."

Beldeine is all alone, but she can at least let Verin Heal her, is parhaps proof that she is not BA and trusts Verin.
Elza was apparently compelled by Verin for some reason and looked on in horror as Semirhage forced Rand to kill Min, how many more has she touched this way?
Surely more of Verin's "ausomness" will be reveiled in the next 2 books as her instructions are implimented. Perhaps the letters in her script, seen when she gave one to Matt, might be the activation for these AS sleepers.
What would her commands have been I wonder.

Get in behind...
117. chaplainchris
Freelancer @ 111, re: Agelmar

- all those quotes are from the Eye of the World. Agelmar's opinion is considerably different, as best I can recall, in the Great Hunt. By that point everybody thinks Rand is a prince, remember, and Agelmar (at Moiraine's prompting) put Rand in the chain of command for the pursuers of the horn.

None of which would keep anybody from going after Rand if they thought he was a false Dragon. But I mostly agree with Leigh that the Borderlanders most likely are after Rand to swear fealty to him. I expect they also want to frogmarch him to the Blight, as well, though. Like Lan, they probably believe Rand is wasting time when he should be on the Border or already marching on Shayol Ghul.


- No, Verin is not one of those who can use the Choedan Kal. She lists the living Aes Sedai who can - Moiraine, Elaida, then-Amyrlin Siuan, and "perhaps one or two more". There are two - Lelaine, and Romanda, who had been in retirement for 20 years at that point and who might not have still been alive, accounting for the uncertainty Verin has. And of course nobody knew Cadsuane was still around, so Cadsuane doesn't get mentioned.

Verin also says that there are three girls still in training who could use the Choedan Kal - obviously, Nynaeve, Egwene, Elayne.

We now know lots of others with sufficient strength - Alivia, Sharina, Talaan, Rainyn, Metarra, Zarya/Garenia, Aviendha, Viendre, Tamela, Bodewhin, Nicola, Cadsuane, probably some of the other Two Rivers novices, etc. Of course that doesn't include the Forsaken or the Shaido Wise Ones like Someryn or Therava (and boy if that *last* one isn't a terrifying thought!).

But none of these are Aes Sedai - they're in training, or Wise Ones, or Windfinders.

Anyway, at the beginning of the series Moiraine, Siuan, Elaida, Lelaine, and Romanda are all tied for the top rank of Aes Sedai. The next rank, which includes Sheriam, Kiruna, Bera, and Kwamesa, is not powerful enough apparently to use the Choedan Kal.

Verin herself is on par with Merana and Alanna - strong enough to Travel unaided, so not at all weak by Aes Sedai standards. But well below the top two tiers.
Maggie M
118. Eswana
Now that we know The Rest of the Story, I am going to giggle and smile and awww every time we get a Verin POV from here on out. So. Damn. Awesome. Sigh.

The Borderlanders set up is one on which we're still waiting for payoff. Hopefully soon, eh, since Perrin is apparently more prominent in ToM than tGS, or so claims Brandon?

I'll be sad when Bashere kicks it. I like that guy. Probably because he's not 1) crazy 2) out to get Rand 3) a bootlicker. Also, he and his wife are fairly adorable.

And....... as for the rest of tPOD, what I'm dreading is the beginning of the "omg we're stuck with the Kin and don't know what to do with them" from Elayne and Nynaeve and "ah! I was captured! And shall remain so for 3 books" from Faile and Company. *facepalm*
Heidi Byrd
119. sweetlilflower
All of the borderlanders respect Lan, and they know that Lan is on Rand's side...ergo I doubt they have destructive ideas concerning him. What if the whole meeting has something to do with the Seanchan? Isn't there a later chapter in this book where they meet with the "Little Wolf" and task him to get rid of the Seanchan?

Verin rocks. Period. I can't wait to find out what her last communications are.

On the whole "Fisher" thing...I clicked on the link Leigh provided and I am a little confused. The link posited that Rand would need his Hallows in order to recover from beggar mode. I thought the beggar prophecy was fulfilled when he was wandering the streets of Ebou Dari and then he has his MOMENT OF CLARITY atop Dragonmount. Is there perhaps more to come with the sacred objects in finally overcoming the shadow's influence? The link suggested that the spear could be Mat's or Rand's...perhaps Mat is needed to finally break the last hold of the shadow?
John Massey
120. subwoofer
Okay- well this POV makes me think- we see Verin early on in the first few books. Does she tell a lie then? Maybe this is the big frickin' clue we were supposed to puzzle out? If Verin lied, then what other AS lied, etc... Any takers?

Edit- or is there a moment where Moiraine lies? Proving she has been released from her oaths. Proving?...

Thomas Keith
121. insectoid
Sub @120: What? Moiraine lie?? Inconceivable! ;)

Julian Augustus
122. Alisonwonderland
... they have decided to do what the White Tower either couldn't or wouldn't do, and it's something they understand might demand a huge amount of military might. That doesn't sound like bowing down.

I agree with Leigh on this one. These are the borderland monarchs, who confront the shadow every day, and who know the Karaethon Cycle intimately. It makes no sense that they would come look for the Dragon, the prophesied champion of the light, who MUST be present at the last battle to confront the shadow if the light has any chance of winning, with any motive other than to help him along by offering their services. What other possibility can there be, logically?

And they have brought an army so the Dragon can use it to quash any resistance from recalcitrant southern rulers who are more inclined to follow their own self-interest and play politics than follow the wishes of the Dragon. No other explanation makes sense in the context of the story. Jordan was trying to disguise this so obvious motivation by going all mysterious on us, but I think we can easily dismiss whatever red herrings he put in to lead us astray.
Alice Arneson
123. Wetlandernw
Late to the party, but I'll throw in my few coppers-worth anyway.

Comments on the Prologue:

So what exactly is it that the Borderlanders thought "needed to be done?" I'm reading this very differently now, after TGS. I notice that many folks have their ideas, but it's still just speculation. Maybe we'll find out in November or so.

Verin. Ah, Verin. Now we know what her "last serious mistake" was, seventy-one years ago. As many have noted, this reads a bit differently now, after reading TGS. (Side note; I've never quite been able to get hold of the concept that even the idea of being stilled makes every AS nauseous; I can't imagine anything quite like that. So I have to assume that it was a narrator's means of explaining to the readers that it was too nightmarishly awful for them to even contemplate, and we have to take it on faith. It makes Nynaeve's (and Flinn's) "miracle" truly meaningful to the characters, and hopefully to the readers, instead of being a "just another ooh-ahh from the supergirl" eye-roller. (Nested parentheses FTW!)) Love the notebook... Also love Verin's flexibility, and her ability to subsume her pride in a greater purpose. I think that's what's wrong with too many of the AS - they think their pride = the reputation of the White Tower, and the reputation of the WT is worth more than anything else.

Moridin. Gives me the creeps.

Comments on the comments:

evinfuilt@9 - I think Verin gave the true reason for the ones she dealt with first - she wanted to get the ones without Warders, because Warders would be likely to notice if their AS were behaving oddly, like... umm... ::under Compulsion:: Compel the ones with the least risk of giving you away first, and then when others seem to follow their lead, it won't be so obvious.

HArai@45 - The Aes Sedai left a balefire firehose ter'angreal intact in their storeroom instead of destroying it Does your back pocket contain a lot of easy ways to destroy ter'angreal safely? Or would you order some random group of sisters to take it somewhere and sacrifice themselves to try destroying it? Not entirely reliable, since it might just as easily destroy them, and then it would be somewhere outside the Tower with no guard at all. I'd also like to point out that the next sentence in Demandred's POV, immediately following the one you quoted, says "If balefire was unleashed once more, there might be no world to rule." So he obviously thinks it's a terrible idea, too. Enough to try a little manipulation on the DO (!!!) to avoid having to use balefire.

tonka @47 - I think the hammer analogy probably works better than the coin toss; any use could either weaken it further or be one blow too many.

MatHornsounder @52 - Are you trying to say that Verin was true Black here, and turned Light later? No way, no how. She only "went Black" to save her skin, and from the beginning she used it as an opportunity to serve the Light. Her Warder Tomas had indeed been a DF who wanted out, and she provided him with that opportunity, but she was never a DF. Just a brown mole in the BA.

FromtheLangToun@63 - There was much more in Verin's Book than the list of the BA. That was a small section near the end; it just happens to be the only thing in the book that Egwene has dealt with yet. Presumably Verin distilled the most important things she'd learned about the DO/FS/DFs and put it all in the one book for Egwene. However, I too hope that Egwene makes good use of The Book (the whole thing!), and also goes back to Verin's quarters to see what else she didn't have room for in the one book. Assuming Verin left anything to be found...

Alisonwonderland @122 - Easily dismiss??? Did you just say easily dismiss something RJ threw in that might be a red herring? If there's one thing I've learned in reading these books, it's that you can't ever "easily dismiss" something! But that's okay... you can dismiss it if you want... ::on your head be it...::
124. Freelancer
Ethenielle sighed faintly when Serailla nodded approval at the command. Allies of long standing, yet the times bred suspicion like flies on a midden. What they were about stirred the heap and set the flies swirling. Too many rulers to the south had died or vanished in the last year for her to feel any comfort in wearing a crown. Too many lands had been smashed as thoroughly as an army of Trollocs could hvae achieved. Whoever he was, this al'Thor fellow had much to answer for.
These are not the words of a ruler planning to kneel to another.
"Foolhardiness is not courage, Lord Shianri. We leave the Blight all but unguarded, and if we fail, maybe even if we succeed, some of us could find our heads on spikes. Perhaps all of us will. The White Tower may well see to it if this al'Thor does not."
This is Alesune Chulin, advisor to King Easar speaking, not one of the rulers themselves. If the seconds have this impression of Rand, and are willing to say so in company of the Borderland rulers, it means that their lieges share the sentiment. I find it impossible to connect these expressions with anyone planning to submit to their subject.
"I will not turn back," she went on fiercely, "whatever the rest of you do. I sent my dear Uncle Davram to bring me the head of the false Dragon Mazrim Taim, and now he and Taim both follow this al'Thor, if I can believe half what I hear. I have close to fifty thousand men behind me, and whatever you decide, I will not turn back until my uncle and al'Thor learn exactly who rules Saldaea."
Ok, she is Saldaean, with all the hairbrained fierceness that implies, but Tenobia clearly isn't planning to offer alliegance to Rand.


The "Little Wolf" is Rodel Ituralde of Arad Doman. He is busy trying to clear the Seanchan from his homeland, until Rand shows up and sends him to deal with the Blightborder, which has been left nearly unattended by those who belong there. The first we ever see of Ituralde onscreen is in the prologue of Crossroads of Twilight. The Borderlanders have never met with him during the timeframe of the story.
Antoni Ivanov
125. tonka
I have no clue what the borderlands are up to. I never thought they intend to kneel to Rand but neither do I believe that they want to kill him. So where does that leave them ? I don't know. I decided not to speculate about this and just see how it turns out.

Everyone assumes that Bashere would die before the end of the books to clear the path for Perrin and Faile. But he may just give up the throne for them, or die after 30 years and then Faile and Perrin will inherit. Who's to say that we will not have ala Harry Potter "19 years later" ending ?

And Bashere, Logain and Dobraine, Min think/views that they are important for Rand. And if some of them betrays him it would be a huge blow for him. So I suspect that at least one of them would betray Rand somehow.
mark Proctor
126. mark-p
The Path of Daggers was the first book I had to wait for as well. The book shop put it out a few days before the official release because it arrived early. But I found it very disappointing, it was too short (with out advancing the plot as much as I wanted) and it didn't say what happened to Mat after the wall fell on him.
But on rereading it wasn't that bad its a long way from being the worst in the series (Winter's heart for me), but I think it needs to be read as continuous part of the series.
diane heath
127. jadelollipop
My computer was down all of Friday and when I tried to post here yesterday it went down before I finished. sigh
I re read the series last year and have a better feeling for the middle books than I did on the first time I read them. I have to admit skimming/skipping sections though. I could get to long drawn out on my reactions to Perrin's Falcon and Hawk. P/F were a favorite until Rand sent them after Masema. Maybe RJ like Rand had nothing for him to do??
Love the Verin POV post TgS. Agree it makes more sense.
I hope Rand apologizes to Tam and to Hurin when he sees them again. But since the Borderlanders are acting all ominous and mysterious I can wait. Didn't Rand tell Hurin to tell the Borderlanders to get back to their lands and defend the Blight.?
Jay Dauro
128. J.Dauro
Well things here at JC are certainly interesting. Brandon has said that we would see more in ToM of the folks who appeared little or not at all in TGS. Also in the program, there is an ad for TOM with an obscured cover showing three men drawing a triangle on the side of a smooth steel tower. It is covered with a black band saying "Cover Not Final" but It is Daryl Sweet artwork.

We did get to hear a bit of "The Way of Kings" and they did auction off one of the 35 preread copies. ( the auction proceeds go to the Mayo Clinic. )

Got to meet Blindillusion yesterday. Came over with his family, but had to go back home last night.

Looking forward to the last day.
Michael Ikeda
129. mikeda

While Verin's statement may or may not have been a lie in some sense, I'm fairly convinced that it wasn't a lie in the sense of the Oath.
Tricia Irish
130. Tektonica
Mikeda@129: What oath? Verin isn't bound by the Three Oaths anymore....we didn't know that then, but we do in hindsight. She is however, very careful about how she states things, so as not to appear Black, and be sussed out.

She may have been able to mentally twist something Moraine or Siuan said in Fal Dara so she could plead her case, her interpretation of their words, if confronted, to appear she was "following their wishes", and thus appear non-Black. But Moraine's statement later, in The Great Hunt, I believe, a flat out, "I didn't send her", is proof enough for me, that Verin acted on her own.

As we all know, in tGS we get the low down on Verin and it alters our interpretation of all her actions to that point. She is a true "Mole for the Light" in the BA....what an incredible sacrifice!! Thank goodness she is a good and selfless of the very few in this whole story. She is acting for the good of all mankind, not her own ego, or the WT. I hope her book reveals much about the machinations of the Tower, the BA in it, the DO and his motives and How To Beat Him!! oooh, good stuff...please be in ToM!!

FWIW: I'm with you, Free, on the Borderlanders. They are not happy with Rand and the chaos in the South, and fear for their vaunted Crowns. I also think, now, that Demandred could be leading their parade, deluding them and planning destruction for Rand and the Borderlands itself. And why have they been so ignored for many many books? What is the mystery here?
Tricia Irish
131. Tektonica
Interesting theory called "Seed singing the pattern shut" on It touches on several things we have discussed here.
Michael Ikeda
132. mikeda

The point is, a "lie" is only evidence that Verin is BA if it violates the Oaths. It is not unheard of for an ordinary non-BA Aes Sedai to word-twist.

As far as whether Verin really did act on her own, that's unclear.

(An occupational hazard of being an Aes Sedai, especially a sort-of-BA who is really trying to bring down the BA is that one is going to be looking for hidden meanings in everything another Aes Sedai says.)

Sequence of events:

1) Moraine says something that Verin interprets as "sending her" after the boys but doesn't actually use those words.

2) Verin tells Perrin et al that Moraine "sent her".

3) Moraine later says "I didn't send Verin". Now this could mean that Verin misinterpreted what Moraine said. It could also mean that Verin correctly interpreted Moraine, but Moraine wanted to maintain deniability.
Antoni Ivanov
133. tonka
@130 Tektonica
the DO and his motives and How To Beat Him!! oooh, good stuff...please be in ToM!!

Hm she doesn't have any clue about TDO motives and goals and what The Hell He is planning and doing(or at least that's what she told Egwene in TGS).As we don't. Obviously He is not playing by the rules the Forsaken or Rand (or even we) know.

It could also mean that Verin correctly interpreted Moraine, but Moraine wanted to maintain deniability.

Except that Moiraine cannot lie! So this is not likely.
Michael Ikeda
134. mikeda

It wouldn't be lying. Just a bit of word-twisting. Under the quoted scenario, Moraine says something that Verin correctly interprets as Moraine wanting Verin to follow the "boys" but Moraine doesn't say this directly.

Which means that Verin could reasonably say that Moraine sent her, while still allowing Moraine to say that she didn't send Verin.
John Massey
135. subwoofer
I dunno- we know now that Verin is Lieee McLier now so I am going through the efforts now of hunting up my aged books and taking apart the text- anything to keep me from yard work. Ahem. But I have a feeling that there was some word play between the two- Moiriane and V that leads me to believe that upon re-examination, all is not as it seems.

On the face of it, think of the trickle down... if Moiraine has been released, does Lan know about it? If Lan knows, then all bets are off as far as the War with the Shadow. Not that they are bad necessarily but more so that they will stop at nothing on the crusade to find the Dragon Reborn.

OTOH as Verin tribe name is Bags of Lies then it leads me to believe that maybe at some point ol' V said something and Moiraine sussed it out and said "shenanigans" to V. Or maybe Moiraine had suspicions and kept it to herself and maybe Lan and used her knowledge to manipulate V. My mind is starting to boggle so I will leave it at that...

Ron Garrison
136. Man-0-Manetheran
Borderlander thoughts:

To swear fealty to the Dragon would only require a messenger, unless they were uncertain as to whether he was a false Dragon or not. Perhaps then they would decide to only trust their own eyes. I don't think so.

Taking a big army: Well, what king or queen is going off on a great journey without adequate protection? It does not seem unreasonable that they would take a hefty guard, but 50 thousand??? Nope. More than a bodyguard.

13 Aes Sedai? Red herring? Just a coincidence? Demandred plot? Certainly it is in the DO’s best interest to sow suspicion and doubt about Rand.

Why is the Blight so quiet? That, I’m pretty sure, is Demandred’s doing. It certainly allows the leaders to run off with a clear conscience.
Rob Munnelly
137. RobMRobM
My apologies to all for my statement that Aisling Noon what BA back early in the thread. I was thinking of the Malkieri AS who invented the weave to identify saidin (Nacelle?) - who is defintely black - as opposed to Aisling, who is a Tinker and ended up being bonded during Toveine's expedition.

I still think we need to consider BA or Dark Friend involvement in the whole Borderlander enterprise. Clearly intended to denude the border prior to Trolloc attacks. I was always of the view that the principal purpose was to rid the world of Taim and channeling men other than Rand himself. That explains the comments about the White Tower failing to do its job. At the time they left, there was no way to know the extent that Rand (and Taim) would succeed in gathering a huge group of Asha'man who would be able to annihilate the Borderlander's army. They probably figured that large a group would be needed to make sure they got them all.

Sharon E.
138. Sulin
Tek @131- I just read that seed-singing theory. Wow, that's some really fascinating ideas! I definitely think the writer is on the right track. It's been stated over and over again through the books that TG isn't going to happen as Rand thinks it will.

Now I must go re-charge my brain. o_O
139. alreadymadwithverinslie
Mikeda @132
Moraine later says "I didn't send Verin". Now this could mean that Verin misinterpreted what Moraine said. It could also mean that Verin correctly interpreted Moraine, but Moraine wanted to maintain deniability.

Or Verin deliberately misinterpreted and twisted Moiraine's words to justify her own involvement, while Moiraine herself does not remember ever approving it.
Tricia Irish
140. Tektonica
alreadymad@139: I"m with you, FWIW.

Sulin@138: Glad you read's pretty compelling...see #131.
Vincent Lane
141. Aegnor
I never had much of a problem with PoD. My least favorite book is definitely Crossroads of Twilight. All one has to do to see why, is look at the summary for the book on Wikipedia. For nearly every character it is soandso continues doing suchandsuch. The only thing of consequence that happens is at the very end when Egwene gets captured.

Btw, KoD is the first book I had to wait for.
Jacy Clark
142. Amalisa
I think it's interesting that Verin gets a "pass" on the lie because, well, we like her. She is awesome. She did more in seventy years to undermine the Shadow than has been done, very possibly, since the Sealing of the Bore. She rules. Yea, verily...

But she lied. And she lied because she could. Period. What it seems we are trying to do now is work out some way that others might justify Verin's lie for her.

Siuan is on record with struggling with observing the "no lies" restriction in her unencumbered (by the Oath Rod) state. Likewise, Egwene and Nynaeve. Given what Verin has to accomplish, and who she was having deal with, lying was going to be one of her most useful tools. No, she couldn't go around lying willy-nilly. She did have a cover to maintain. But, in the end, if she judged the need great enough, she'd whip out the lie and give a small sigh of relief that she could.

So as it pertains to this particular circumstance: we know that Moiraine and Lan left the "Tar Valon or Bust" group, followed immediately (per Anaiya) by Liandrin, and then Verin. We know, from Rand's interview with Moiraine, Siuan and Verin, that he was being given his "freedom", so it would take some great need to appear to be curtailing that freedom. Could Liandrin be that great need? Had Liandrin made it to Verin's list of BA at that point? We don't know. But if she had, or if Verin even suspected that Liandrin was evil, she might also consider the possibility that Rand would be Liandrin's target. After all, Liandrin had taken a very unhealthy interest in the boys while in Fal Dara. Is that reason enough, with Moiraine off somewhere else (after all, Moiraine would have no way of knowing what Verin knows, right?), for Verin to put herself in a position to assist/protect Rand? I think it could be.

Now, assuming all of the above is possible, if we want to carry it to the point that Verin's statement "Moiraine Sedai sent me" is an extrapolation of what Moiraine would have wanted Verin to do, if Moiraine had been in possession of everything Verin knew, then, okay, whatever. Again, I don't think it matters a Tinker's damn to Verin.

(Edit because I shouldn't type directly into the comment box when I haven't slept in more than 20 hours.)
Jay Dauro
143. J.Dauro
Well, back from JordanCon. Had a great time, and really enjoyed listening to all of the discussion. We got to listen to Brandon reading a Chapter and an Interlude from The Way of Kings. And at the Charity Auction, Tor sent one of the 35 pre-read copies to be auctioned off (Brandon did sign it. I believe it went for $822. Plus R. Fife managed to score big in the Auction. Hopefully he will post a picture.)


Met a few of the Tor.commers. Blindillusion was there with his family. R Fife was everywhere, from interviewing folks to performing in the WOT interpretive dance. And I got to meet and spend time with Linda, from the 13th Depository. (Her first trip to the States.) She was wonderful to talk to, and really knows her stuff.

One panel she appeared on was a number of the webmasters from WOT sites, including Jason from Dragonmount, Matt from Theoryland, Linda, Melissa from, and Bob Kluttz from the Encyclopedia WOT (BTW, Bob's middle name is Quillin, at least sort of.) A bunch of truly passionate folks. And Leigh, we really missed you.

Many other panels, discussing everything from Moiraine. Nuff said, to Looney Theories.

The costumes were amazing. Many hours of work. We had a Trolloc (his costume included internal ice packs to help prevent heatstroke, and an 8 foot tall Nym, as well as Aes Sedai, Ash'amon, and others.

Brandon did say we could look forward to seeing much more in ToM of the folks who appeared little or not at all in TGS, so I assume we see Mat, Perrin, Elayne, and others. Plus there was a "Not Final" cover for ToM that appears to show entering the Tower of Ghenjei. He did say that he was working hard on it, but not expecting to complete before August.

And we got to see the painting of the Dumai's Wells battle from the LoC eBook. Plus a copy of the artwork from the cover of the Charleston City Paper, showing RJ passing the banner to BWS. The link is about halfway down the article. Which you should read.

I am already planning to go back next year. But we need more Tor.commers.
Tricia Irish
144. Tektonica

Thanks so much for the report and the pictures! Loved Asmodean's killer, and a Tinker at that! Thought the trolloc looked like foghorn leghorn, all he needed was a bun and hair danglies to become SWMNBN. LOL.

Sounds like a great time was had by all. Any news leaks? Secret info?

Next year we should all try to make it and have our own reread con in some hospitality room, er, bunker. The more the merrier. Start saving our pennies now and put it on the April calendar.

Thanks so much!
Alice Arneson
145. Wetlandernw
J.Dauro - thanks a million!! The next best thing to being there is to have friends there to tell us about it. LOVED the pictures! Tinker baby indeed. :)

Not sure there's any chance I can make it next year, but you never know... Sure would be fun!
Sandy Brewer
146. ShaggyBella
Thanks for the JCon updates. It would be fun to go sometime.
A there any other "Cons" that are named after a specific person?
I can't think of any.
Thomas Keith
147. insectoid
J.Dauro @143: Great pictures Jay!! Glad to see the Fifester wore his shawl; that picture of him as Fain is hilarious ;)

I would love to go next year. But I still need to get my mom a shawl...

John Massey
148. subwoofer
@JD-looks like you had a fun time. Hope you kicked Fife in the shins one time just for posterity;) I have come to the harsh realization that JCon is held opposite the Draft so there is a conflict of interest for me. And of all the places in the galaxy, why flippin' Atlanta? Not that I hold a grudge with that city, but we have NY, Vegas, the Caribbean... could we possibly get creative with the location?

Cool Beans that you met Linda- she is an awesome lady for the amount of work that she has undertaken. Love that you met Melissa too. I am a big fan of Tar Valon. I can't remember what I had for breakfast half the time. I could not fathom retaining the minutia that these gurus have committed to memory for the thousands of WoT pages and details.

FWIW my least favorite book is going to be the last one. On the one hand we get closure, OTOH it wraps up a part of my life that has gone on for twenty years. I am not sure if I want this particular adventure in my life to come to a close. For me it is kinda like the Belgariad. Wonderful adventure with everyone going to the ends of the earth, big battles, wizards, beasties, and kinda a dragon. But when it ended it left a hole in my life.

Thankfully the Malloreon came along, but that only held me for a few years. The problem I have with rereads is that even though I have a horrible memory, I will still know how it ends. I can't watch a certain Star Trek movie because I have the Khitomer Massacre etched into my subconscious for all time. Same goes for this, I am not sure if I am ready to have the suspense end and then know, till the end of days, how it wraps up.

Sharon E.
149. Sulin
JDauro- Thanks so much for posting your experiences and the pictures. I loved all the costumes. My daughter, myself and a friend of mine are making plans to attend next year. We're already working on some Aiel costumes. :) RE the LoC painting, was there anything said about prints being made of it? Man, I'd give my youngest child (heck all of 'em) to have a full-size print of that! ;-)

FWIW my least favorite book is going to be the last one. On the one hand we get closure, OTOH it wraps up a part of my life that has gone on for twenty years.
I feel exactly the same way! sigh...
150. Ouroboros
alreadymadwithcompulsion @54 RE: If the White Tower ever finds out the sisters were compelled, they'll also likely find out that Saidar was used to compel them. So Rand would be in the clear.

Convincing them to look could be a problem. And Verin thinks that it will be difficult to detect; Nynaeve might be able to do it though.

"Soon, only the most careful Delving would tell that anything had been done, and not even that would identify the weave. Verin had tested that carefully, and if she did say so herself, none surpassed her at Delving."

Freelancer @84 RE: There is no way that Verin is acting on the dark one's orders in the Aiel camp at this point of the story. Otherwise she wouldn't even be mildly annoyed at Katerine's escape.

I don't see why her being angry at Katerine's escape, and afraid of what she might do, has to conflict with her carrying out orders at the same time. If she was given a direct order to do something, she may have had to follow it or risk breaking cover, which would have ended her plans then and there. There's nothing to say that she didn't tweak the orders in Rand's favour though.

The compelling has definitely damaged Rand's cause, if only by denting his "tower cred". Egwene doesn't dismiss the rumours and uses them to manipulate the rebels. There's one negative affect right there. FWIW, I think she probably was just acting off her own back here, but I can't ignore the possibility that there might have been some dark plot as well.

I don't think that this whole business of why Verin was doing what she was doing is as simple as some people want it to be. That's one of the reasons why I like the character so much. I have no doubt that she was doing everything she could for the Light, but she was sworn to serve the shadow and we have no knowledge of what orders she may have been given. This means that we have to look at a lot of Verin's actions as though she has been told to do one thing, but is carefully manipulating events so that she can achieve her real goal of bringing down the shadow whilst still appearing to tow the line. Remember that Verin doesn't think redemption for some of her acts will be easy to achieve.

TGH has been mentioned, and this is a good example, since Ishy definitely has plans for Rand that involve Falme. The question is, was Verin just trying to help Rand, keep him safe, and make sure he fulfilled the prophecy? Or was she also following orders from Ishy to make sure that Rand turned up for the appointment that he'd booked.

It's a pity that we don't see more of Verin as she was in this book. I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, Verin does a very good job of manipulating Rand; probably better than anyone else.
Birgit F
151. birgit
New posting statistics are on the last ACoS thread.
Antoni Ivanov
152. tonka
@150 Ouroboros

The compelling has definitely damaged Rand's cause, if only by denting his "tower cred".Egwene...

I think you are wrong. Egwene was already convinced that Rand must have compelled them even before Verin's compelled sister began swearing to Rand. That might have confirm it up for Egwene but not that much.
Richard Fife
153. R.Fife
FYI to all: My re-cap is coming, probably Tuesday, and there will be a lot of cool stuff beyond (J.Dauro already has outed that I interviewed Brandon, but I got a ton more stuff too). All will be revealed sometime tomorrow when recap post goes up (still have to write it, ya know).

And Leigh, you were indeed much missed. Several people had been asking where you were.
Tricia Irish
154. Tektonica
Looking forward to your post Mr. Fife. I must say, you wear your shawl well!
Looks like good times....
Valentin M
155. ValMar
I am also looking forward to Fife's and others' reports. Thanks in advance for taking the time to report for those unfortunate not to go.
Maybe a European one would be a good idea?

As for tPoD, hmmm. I read books 1-7 straight through, and waited for a month for 8. I remember, after the incredible 1-6, aCoS was a bit of a downer, and PoD maybe even more so.
My biggest problem with books 8,9, and 10 is the unnecessary padding, IMHO. I.e. the amount of text devoted to detailed descriptions of dresses, furniture, corridors, vases, etc. This added to the feeling of the stalling of the pace of these books. And their word counts are lower.
When the pace picks up again, in books 11 and 12, it feels rather jarring to me, after books 8-10. For some of the type of events in KoD, if they were in CoT there would've been 1-2 chapters devoted to them. In KoD they would've happened off screen- like Mat leaving the circus and much of his subsequent adventures.
Marcus W
156. toryx
Catching up on a few comments from over the weekend:

Regarding Verin's Glib Tongue:

I always believed that she'd lied outright rather than simply twisted the truth. I didn't think that made her Black Ajah, however. I just assumed she found a way to break free of the Oaths somehow.

All these books later, however, and I find that the lie is too easily caught out. It doesn't sound like crafty, cautious, creative Verin. So I assume that A: Verin wanted to get caught in a lie so that Rand and others would be less inclined to automatically believe AS always tell the truth or B: RJ slipped a little. It did happen awful early in the series, after all.

Regarding the Borderlanders:

I don't think they're traveling all the way across the world to offer fealty to Rand either. Freelancer has made some excellent points that I generally agree with. Also, I am one of those who believes that some potent people on the Dark Side are with the army manipulating things behind the scenes. It may be Demandred or it may be BA. I don't know, but I think they've been lead badly astray and will have time to regret that later.

I do believe that it was a very good thing that Rand didn't go down to meet with them in TGS. I think that would have been bad.

Edit to Add:

Birgit @ 151:
Thanks for the posting statistics. I'm glad to see that I'm still in the top ten for both categories, even though I may be slipping a little. Tektonica, you're catching up quick!
Roger Powell
157. forkroot
The first we ever see of Ituralde onscreen is in the prologue of Crossroads of Twilight. The Borderlanders have never met with him during the timeframe of the story.
Actually, Ituralde is on screen briefly in LoC when he meets with Graendal at her palace. He is such a minor character at that point, it's easy to overlook his first appearance.
158. Der_Wikinger
Everybody here seems intent on defending Verin's "Dark Brown Ajah" colors as 'awesome'.It's said that she did the best she could given her dog's dinner of choices she faced at the time, i.e be killed or join the BA. And this far, I'm with you ( mostly ). She did the best she could out of SELF PRESERVATION. But to take it further, and give her props for being awesome or admiring her, or giving her unqualified praise is too much...

I remember one of the best wot discussions between 2 of the commenters here which is relevant to the point I'm making. Unfortunately, I don't have their names on hand, but essentially their criticisms and different opinions boiled down to " when i'm reading fantasy/fiction/books i can't disengage my feelings / ethics or stop applying them to the story / characters". While the other commenter contented that "How does it make any sense to get angry or upset with either story or characters when it is PRECICELY this reaction that the author was probably aiming at to get from the reader ( of course, it may often be that the reaction the author is trying to arouse in the reader may be quite different from the actual reaction of a particular reader. This is a discussion for another time, but I will say this for now, whether the author wished for that reaction or not, fiction is created to illicit SOME reaction, so the point becomes ALMOST moot.)

Now back to our dear Verin. Most people here seem to agree with Leigh about how cool Verin's sneakiness is. I, on the other hand, say that on the service of the BA, Verin probably did some VERYN disturbing things, including murder & torture. Or does everybody here believe that the worst activity those belonging to the BA engage in is sh*ing rainbow skittles ? Can I have a show of hands please ? ....'K , didn't think so either.

So is Verin a hero ? No. Is she someone who is worthy of unqualified praise ? No. Is she someone who should be admired / emulated ? No. Did she do some good while doing bad things ? Yes. In the end, how you answer this question hinges on how you feel about the "the ends justify the means" dilemma, and how readily / quickly you can extrapolate what you're reading to your own personal experience or life in general. The problem that I see with some commenters is this ----> They say things like "lighten up, it's just a book, people !" WHILE AT THE SAME TIME cry foul when other people post comments alluding that certain times it's ok for men to spank women as a befitting punishment...just to give you an example ^__^v. So, it's either a book and anything goes, or we take it as a reflection of what REAL circumstance in the real world can be , and what our REAL reactions should be in that light.
159. Ouroboros
Freelancer @84 RE: what Sorilea gives Verin is a sleeping agent, which can be fatal with not-so-tiny doses. I'm thinking iocaine myself, but whatever. It is not intended by Sorilea at that time as poison, and that is no evidence that she's of the shadow.

I forgot to answer this earlier.

It's proof that she knows of a tasteless poison. We know that a gai'shain was sent with drinks for the guards and then had his throat slit. So, the culprit is someone who could obtain a fast acting and probably tasteless, poison, and who would not seem out of place ordering a gai'shain to take refreshments to the guards. Unless the gai'shain was himself a Darkfriend, in which case, how did he get the poison and who slit his throat? Either way, we're looking for someone with knowledge of poisons.

There are also other things to ask about Sorilea.

1. How does she know the weave for travelling? There are no Ais Sedai who can travel whom she could have picked it up from. The only other candidates that we know of are female forsaken.

2. Why did she give that weave to Cadsuane? It allows her to get close to someone who is definitely a threat to the shadows plans.

3. Who told SH about the box with the domination band? There are only two people that we know of who saw it, one of them, Sorilea.

4. Why was Sorilea so keen to fight the Ais Sedai in LoC.

Even Sorilea’s cackle was leathery. “Do not fear the Aes Sedai, treekiller.” Suddenly, shockingly, a tiny flame danced in the air before her. She could channel! She let the flame vanish as they began planning, but it remained in Perrin’s thoughts. Small, flickering weakly, somehow it had seemed a declaration of war stronger than trumpets, war to the knife.

The obvious answer is that the Ais Sedai had angered her so much that she was prepared to throw custom down the pit, though it's a pretty big custom. The other answer is that she was doing every she could to make sure that the Aiel and Ais Sedai got into a fight, wrecking any chance of an alliance between Rand's forces and the Ais Sedai.

I grant that this is all circumstantial, but there's enough of it to at least be suspicious.

tonka @152 RE: Egwene was already convinced that Rand must have compelled them even before Verin's compelled sister began swearing to Rand.

The first time we get any hint of Egwene actually believing the rumours of sisters serving Rand is in WH, by which time Verin's subjects had started to swear. She certainly doesn't believe it in this book. In fact, all of them have sworn by the time we learn that Egwene is concerned.
Don Barkauskas
160. bad_platypus
Ouroboros @159:
As we learn in the Prologue to WH, Egwene has been teaching the Wise Ones how to Travel in appreciation of their Dreamwalker training, so that's the source of Sorilea's knowledge.
Tess Laird
161. thewindrose
I think while most of us would have loved more Verin pov's, it would have been very hard to keep what she was in the dark for 11! books. So, like subwoofer and others, I love reading these passages again in our new found knowledge.

Verin was behind the attack on Demira, and I would imagine this was an order from higher up to cripple the negotiations with Salidar and Rand. The question here is, was she given free reign on how to do this? Demira was within 'calculated' inches of death. If she had died, would Verin have been able to sweep in and manipulate the Saladar sisters as easily as she did? Or did Verin spare Demira her life - meaning that the orders were to kill Demira, and Verin didn't want to kill a light-side sister, and made sure the attack was not fatal. Would she have been able to have manipulated the sisters with Demira dead?

I think the orders were to kill. I think Verin could have gone in after Demira's death and still have manipulated the sisters the way that was demanded.

J.Dauro - Thanks for all the pictures and updates! What a fun time! I am planning on going next year, maybe if I get Noah hooked on the books it will be easier....

Barry T
162. blindillusion
I’d like to start by saying I had a great time at J-Con, even if I only spent a few hours there. But I was with my family, and for the first time ever, a group of people who enjoy the Wheel of Time as much as I do. Needless to say, the MOA-ness was beyond measure:

I’ll begin the recap by saying the hotel where the event was held was, well, wonderful. My wife enjoyed it immensely, especially as she didn’t participate in the events and spent much of her time people gazing and looking at the flowers/waterfalls/”ponds” etc. Oh, and yet again I reconfirm my stance that whoever came up with the base design for parking garages needs to be dragged out of hell so I can ask “Why?” before soundly punching him in the face.

And on to the event: I got there with about 30 minutes to spare in BWS’s signing, which turned out to be fine as there were not many people in line. I brought two books, The Gathering Storm and The Hero of Ages. They got signed, of course, which was awesome (Finally, I have a signed book). And while I was standing in line I met Scissorrunner and J.Dauro. (I didn’t get to spend much time speaking with them as when I wasn’t in a discussion, I was with my family. Eh, them’s the ropes, I suppose. It was great meeting you though.)

While my books were being signed I did take the opportunity to ask a question (and I only asked one as time was running down on the signing and there were people behind me):
Me: Is there any way for someone to be removed completely from the Pattern?
BWS: (Sorry I cannot put out his precise words, but here is the gist) – Jordan started by having balefire do this, but he later debunked this theory by saying someone killed by balefire can be reborn at some point. We currently know of nothing/no method that will completely remove someone from the Pattern.
- I thanked him and turned to walk away at this point, so that he could continue with the signing. But he called me back and commented that: The wolves in the Wolf Dream. We know that in the Wolf Dream something can be completely removed from the Pattern. (Again, not his exact words, but this pretty close. Perhaps J.D can back me up here. He was there.

Sorry it’s not exactly great, but I kept looking out the doorway to see if my family was looking for me. Now, as for why that question? Well, as some of you may know, my pet theory is that in order for this to be the true Last Battle with the DO, Moridin has to be completely removed from the Pattern. So, I thought of about the only way I could ask about that without giving away my real purpose, hence the way I put the question. And I thought the first part of his answer very interesting. Nothing/no method of removing someone completely from the Pattern…currently. =) But when he called me back and answered about the Wolf Dream (T’A’R), well, I felt I’d asked a pretty good question that’ll give some fuel for the fire of those looking for T’A’R to play a big role in TG.

Sure, it doesn’t help or hurt my theory, but I thought if I’d actually thrown Moridin’s name out there it would have been RAFO’d…though I would of gotten a nice red RAFO card….

After that, the next even I attended was the end of “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”, a discussion on tGS. Really only heard two bits of information:

1- Even if she had been Amyrlin during a time when the possible End Time was not on its way, Elaida would not have been good in the position. Also, simply the fact that the Forsaken played a role in putting her there should say tons about her potential for the job.

2- P. Fain’s power has morphed through time, going one way and then another (SL to DO and back), which is why Moiraine was able to sense him at the end of tEotW, but no Aes Sedai were able to sense him during his time in Tar Valon. He gained much of his power battling the Fade throughout tGH. PF is also now a powerhouse in the series.

Sure, this is information we all know, and it’s not canon as it’s not in the books, but it was cool hearing people in the know say it.

The only other discussion I attended was “Moiraine, nuff said”. Much of the discussion, that I got to hear at least, dealt with how cool Moiraine is and how she treats others with respect, which is why they treat her that way.

But there is one element of the discussion I’d like to kick up here on TOR, though perhaps in the Open Thread. One of the attendees put forth the comment that Moiraine is a “Damsel in Distress” and that this makes Moiraine less cool/cheapens her character.

I actually raised my hand to make the comment of how can she be a damsel in distress as she’s stuck in the Tower with no way out, which as some pointed out, does make her such =). But my comment was more of a, “How does that take away from her coolness?” Yes, she’s waiting to be rescued, but still….

Right after that, though, I had to go because my son was getting upset. Also, I met R.Fife while waiting for that discussion to start. And I recorded this discussion on my phone, so if anyone would really like me to try to hear it and write a real re-cap…I’ll try to find the time.

Other than that, I attended BWS’s reading. It started with a Q&A with Harriet. And, as J.D has already stated, BWS then read from The Way of Kings.

Oh, yeah, Pictures are there.

And I was 13 on word count? Awesome.
163. Ouroboros
bad_platypus @160

You have a point. I think seeing Sorilea use the weave before finding out where she learnt it from made me suspicious. I don't think I made the connection to Egwene teaching them because it was just slipped into another one of those Andoren succession scenes. Now all I need to do is lay the other suspicions to rest. Hmm.
164. Gentleman Farmer
Isliel @90 and why Balefire is so bad

I really like your insight into Fel's comment "Belief and Order bring Strength". I think that explains a great deal, not only about why the Pattern wasn't ripped in the AoL, but also the thinning of reality now.

I had been finding all the references to the thinning of reality and bubbles of evil in the pattern to be a bit facile, and not that justifiable. It was only Moiraine's interpretation, but after all, in the AoL there were no seals at all on the DO's prison, and it's not clear that things were as bad as they are in present time.

My thought had been that it was the increased use of balefire which was causing the weakening of the Pattern -- the dead walking, the disappearing towns, the infinite loop towns etc.

That type of circumstance could have scared the Forsaken as well as the light in the War of Power, if neither knew when a "bubble of evil" might rear up an kill someone or getting trapped in a bizarre loop. Bubbles of evil, to my mind, sounded similar in description to vacuoles in the pattern, both described as bubbles.

Again, it seems likely that a weaker pattern (missing threads) leads to more bubbles. And a bubble of evil is clearly a place where normal rules of reality don't apply, and could be created where there is a balefire-made vacancy to be filled in the pattern.

All of which is to say that while I liked the rationale of Balefire as a cause for the weakening of reality, Isliel's interpretation of the "Belief and Order" comment give it more of a rational basis within the novels, and support the continuing theme that this world is a fading one, gradually becoming as tenuous and remote from reality as the grolm world from TGH.
Tricia Irish
165. Tektonica

You are indeed right...she is acting from self-preservation, while trying to redeem herself. Who wouldn't? We know she is a very curious person and obviously something she did 71 years ago got her "caught out" by the BA or DF or the DO. So her choices were: A. stay true to the Light and die. or B. Go over to the Dark Side and try to subvert, learn as much as she could, and help the Light.

Given her "dogs dinner" of decisions, I think she made a good choice. Perfect, no. But it did put her in a very unique inside position. I think my admiration for her comes from sticking to her Light side principles as much as possible and passing on useful knowledge to Egwene, and hopefully others in the letters we may see in the next two books.

I'm sure she did a few heinous things, but probably tried to be as "ineffectual" and "ditsy, useless" as possible, so she wouldn't be called upon too much. That may indeed be why she affected that behavior. It kept her under the radar on both Dark and Light sides. As Wind@161 pointed out, she was both behind the attack on Demira and also helped save her. So she followed orders, but they didn't quite work out for the DO as planned. It gave her a power position with the Salidar AS too. Yeah, she was a pretty sneaky manipulator. I know another gray haired AS that could take some lessons from her......

I don't think I "worship" her, but it is fun to reread her character with the knowledge of tGS in mind.

Blind@162: Thank you for the good inside poop. Sounds like a good time. I'm particularly interested in your TAR info!! We seem to be on the same page there....much to contemplate. You must be taking "sneaky" lessons from Verin. Good pix too!
Sharon E.
166. Sulin
Blind@162- Thanks for posting your JC experiences and the pictures. I'm looking forward to hearing the T'A'R info.

Re DF Sorilea- that is a creepy thought. Wow.

PS- in other news, after 12 years of listening to me obsess about WOT, my SO has finally caved and is reading EOTW! :D
Sam Mickel
167. Samadai
Blind, and J.Dauro,

Thanks for the pics and updates. Glad you guys had a good time.

edit for: Sulin, congratulations on another convert.
Roger Powell
168. forkroot
She did the best she could out of SELF PRESERVATION. But to take it further, and give her props for being awesome or admiring her, or giving her unqualified praise is too much...
Sorry, I don't buy your argument. Granted she made the choice to become BA rather than be killed 70 years ago, but it seems that she did that with the full intention of serving the Light. If she had felt that her death back then would have served the Light, I expect she would not have "converted".

As evidence, we have her actions in TGS when she does cause her own death so she can serve the Light in a most effective fashion. Hardly an act of self-preservation.

As a light-side mole for 70 years, she undoubtedly needed to participate in some black-side deeds in order to avoid blowing her cover. She certainly hints at this during her conversation with Egwene. I suspect we won't know the whole story, and how successful she was at minimizing the evil until the encyclopedia.

In real life, I do not believe that "the end justifies the means" -- but WoT is not real life. In RJ's world the difference between good and evil is a lot clearer and there is no illusion about the Dark One or what will happen if he wins. Given those conditions, I don't see how Verin's actions can be criticized; instead I think praise is in order, especially as she makes that final sacrifice for the Light.
Sandy Brewer
169. ShaggyBella
Since Verin is a DF, is there any evidence that Alanna is? I think not because she has not been seen with others besides Verin. Was she compelled by Verin though? Verin would have had a lot of opportunity and motivation. Maybe that was why Rand was make him more suspicious of Aes Sedai and also to strengthen him and give him the other warder traits. And also for the control and leash, even though it did not work.
Thomas Keith
170. insectoid
Well, I've been up to my glasses in work again—the work on half the house is starting today. So apologies if I seem a little like a zombie...

::am wincing at all the Verin-bashing:: Speaking of which, doesn't Samadai still owe us a Verin Portal Stones POV? :)

Birgit @151: Thanks Birgit! Glad to see I'm still in the top 20.

Blind @162: Great report! Glad you had a good time. Can't see the pics though (don't have a Facebook account).

Barry T
171. blindillusion
One interesting thing I thought of while driving home for lunch today:

If wolves dying in the Wolf Dream completely takes their souls from the Pattern, and the Wolf Dream/T'A'R are the same place (which is believable based on the evidence we have), then what happened to poor Rahvin, who died in T'A'R in the flesh?

But then, lots of people died/have been killed in T'A'R...what happened to their Souls? Are they now removed from the Pattern?
Karen Jacobs
172. KJacobs
JDauro & Blindillusion - thanks for all the pics - what a memorable time you must have had!
Matthew Smith
173. blocksmith
Finally caught up with the comments so here goes..

I liked the prologue, even with the borderlander army bit. Gave us some insight, anyway. Rest of TPOD, not so much, but maybe the full re-read will change my mind.

Ourobouros@30 and more

I support Amys as being a DF aiel because of Egwene's initial observation that she resembled an Aes Sedai (my words based on the description of approaching ageless face) which implied, perhaps, that she had taken oaths on a binder. I went into this in detail on the Open Thread during my review of TSR trying to discover the "big clue".


Problem is, the bottom is like 5 novels away. sigh.


Thanks for standing on that wall, we want you there and need you protect us from drooling, rabid beavers.


Love the "our Verin". Truly most of the commenters (exception below) have embraced her. Should we put a plaque in the bunker?

Der Wikinger@158

No problem that you don't like Verin...but your view seems a touch black and white. Do you feel this way about undercover narcotics agents that have to "sample" the goods to maintain their cover while putting together a case against drug dealers? I'm not saying it's a good thing, just that, it happens. And in that case, it does help the greater good.

Verin may have done some bad things...worse in fact than "sampling the goods" (say using compulsion)...but ultimately she turned over the "Knock" (not sure if that is the right spelling) list of BA to Egwene and assembled this information at great risk to herself. Sorry, but that's not just self-preservation.


Nice info and thanks for passing everything along.
Marcus W
174. toryx
blind @ 171:If wolves dying in the Wolf Dream completely takes their souls from the Pattern, and the Wolf Dream/T'A'R are the same place (which is believable based on the evidence we have), then what happened to poor Rahvin, who died in T'A'R in the flesh?

For that matter, there are some wacky theories that Asmodean was taken to T'A'R and killed there, explaining RJ's comment about the "where" and the DO's inability to bring him back. If dying in T'A'R actually does remove your soul from the pattern, that'd certainly explain that aspect of the theory.

That's really an interesting thought.
175. Freelancer

Work a day as an undercover agent of any stripe, whether law enforcement, military or international, before judging Verin so harshly. Someone who remains undetected by the enemy while doing what things they can to advance the cause of Right is a hero. Someone who is forced into a double-agent position, whose forced alliegance remains undetected by the side they truly serve, while keeping their true service undetected by their secret enemies with whom they are forced to play the ally, this is an awesome hero. Someone who has done so for 70 years is, well, Verin.

I am one who commonly eschews arguments based upon moral relativism. I never believe that it's ok to do wrong in order to promote right. That said, it is absolutely impossible to avoid entirely, given the situation described above. Anyone who has ever played that game will agree. I still do not view it as a case of moral relativism, though it certainly can be called justification by degree, accepting that you may be forced to commit an act you abhor to avoid the loss of position from which you can accomplish greater good within the enemy's camp.

Finally, while Verin herself admitted that she had committed deeds which would demand a very special redemption, we are shown not a hint of them, so cannot more than speculate about your murder and torture.


The last I recall regarding who directed the attacck on Demira was a RAFO I got firsthand. If there is a concrete answer from Brandon I've missed it. Barring that, any following speculation on motives or decisions related to same with respect to Verin is moot.
Jay Dauro
176. J.Dauro
Blindillusion 171

Interesting thought. Possibly you have to be there "in the flesh", or at least no longer in the real world, for the death to remove you from the pattern forever.
Rob Munnelly
177. RobMRobM
Four hours without a post. I never knew JordanCon would be so exhausting to us all....LOL

Misc points.
- congrats to all who got to JordanCon. While blind is a handsome guy, I noticed Mr. Dauro didn't include a pic of himself. (I'm not a member of FB so couldn't check out Blind's pics.) Also, which one in the picture was Linda of 13th D - there were several women in the shot.
- I'd be willing to kick in $10 if someone can get a video of Mr. Fife's interpretive dance and set it to Rickroll music. Others interested?
- Verin is a force for the Light. Can't convince me otherwise.
- I doubt Verin is responsible for Demira - there were other BA in the city with better access to dark resources.
- If Sorilea or Amys are DFs, I'm going to be seriously upset. Evidence hasn't swayed me yet - but I also don't have other suspects for an Aiel wise woman DF.
- Thanks to Birgit but I can't believe I score so highly on both sets of statistics. While I can justify doing this for fun and sanity purposes, please don't tell my co-workers or family or serious questions will be asked....

Sharon E.
178. Sulin
@blocksmith- That's true, but hopefully Rand will be on his way back to the Light in ToM (I hope!).

Regarding Verin- no deep thoughts here that haven't been said other than I think she's awesome. I will miss reading about her.
John Massey
179. subwoofer
I got $50 for the next person that kicks Fifster in the knee cap. Pick one. Seems like he got out of JC unscathed. What- is he Lan? Alls I want is for him to limp for a few days. Is that so much to ask?

But I'll put $10 in the kitty for the dance sequence. Interspersed with comparisons of Fife and ol' Rickster. They could be twins;)

What Verin bashing?! She is who she is. All I have read is the possibilities that may arise from knowing she is released from the Oaths. Here's a thought, she's a gooder playing at being a baddie, so what misinformation has she or could she have passed on to the rest of the BA? I mean the BA secret handshake and oath is just to the DO, there is nothing in it about being honest and forthright with the rest of the douche bags. Douche them all I say. Heck, it would be great for practical jokes..." the DO says everyone has to shave off their eyebrows"..." the DO says in order to prove your loyalty, you must all be spanked"... "the DO says in order to prove your loyalty, you must all eat poo"...ahhh, the choices are endless.

And yes, Verin is bags of awesome. Reminds me of a movie I saw...

Blind, I am not a facer either so your pics are on lock down for me. Do whatever JD did- which was brilliant and considerate for us plotting the mighty face's overthrow.

Alice Arneson
180. Wetlandernw
Sulin @178 - Hopefully, we're not really done reading about Verin; there's still a lot of her book that Egwene hasn't told us about yet. For that matter, there's still her trip to Caemlyn with Mat, which we may hear about in TofM, and whatever else she may have set in motion between the time she met Mat and when she had her conversation with Egwene. I hold on to hope that we may yet receive more. :)
Tricia Irish
181. Tektonica

Don't worry, Verin isn't going away. She'll be around just like Lady Di at the supermarket checkout stand....They just won't die!!

Her letters to many and Egs discoveries in her notebook will be informing the plot for the last two books, IMHO.
182. Norry
The worst book in the series is CoT. You can read the Prologue and the last chapter and *not miss anything*. The only borderline item is Egs figuring out how to make Cuendellar, but it's not like you can't guess from the events in the last chapter and it's not like it's a big reveal in the book.
Sharon E.
183. Sulin
@Wetlander and Tek- I hope we get to see more of her, even if indirectly. I will miss seeing her in action though. Egwene better go investigate Verin's quarters in the Tower to see what else she's stashed there. I'm very curious to know what she was up to with Mat, and who else she may have delivered letters to.

She'll be around just like Lady Di at the supermarket checkout stand.
Jacy Clark
184. Amalisa
Verin behind the attack on Demira? Wow...really? I've always figured that it was either Fain (with the help of his nasty, dirty, slovenly, shifty-eyed White Cloaks) or it was Taim. Possibly even Galina - this was, after all, before Rand's kidnapping, when having Salidar AS close at hand could prove very inconvenient. Whatever the reason, all of them wanted to isolate Rand from any who could possibly be "friendly" AS. (Personally, I'm really leaning toward Fain and the yucky White Cloaks because the one who stabbed Demira warned her and the rest of the "witches" to stay away from the Dragon Reborn.)

So, was Verin really manipulating what the Salidar embassy decided after Demira was attacked? I've re-read the passage in question. She enters the room after Demira had already begun to explain how she thought the Salidar AS should respond to her attack. Verin agrees with her, cuts Merana off from commenting, and gives Demira a "particularly penetrating" look, then agrees with her some more. The most decisive thing Verin says is that Rand must be taught to "respect Aes Sedai or there will be no working with him" - something that every other Aes Sedai ever has also thought about our hero, right? Obviously, she wouldn't be using Compulsion since the other AS would see her embrace saidar. Coercing Demira and the rest through sheer force of will, then? To what end - especially, now that we know the truth about Verin.

Maybe she was intensely interested in how this event would impact her work. Remember...
"Every woman in the Brown," Verin said, "seeks to produce something lasting. Research or study that will be meaningful. If we are distracted, it is because we look forward, toward those who will come. And the information, the knowledge we gather... we leave it for them. That tome is the... work. My work. The work of my life.
(emphasis mine)

As for crimes Verin may have committed to maintain her cover... She flat out states that she has done things that would require a very special kind of redemption. Whatever those things were, she was willing to pay the price. We know that she killed someone:
"Verin put on a warm smile. A fellow had once told her that her smile made him think of his dear mother. She hoped he had not been lying about that, at least. He had tried to slide a dagger between her ribs a little later, and her smile had been the last thing he ever saw."
Now, who this unfortunate fellow may have been, we don't know. We know that he was a liar but that's all. We don't know how her first Warder, Balinor, died. Could she have killed her own Warder - knowing how she would suffer from his death - if it meant protecting her life's work? Maybe. But that's pure speculation on my part - one of those things I'd love to know but very likely never will. Ah, well...

@ JDauro and blindillusion... Thank you for your reports on JordanCon. The pictures were awesome! I told myself last year that I would go this year; however, the job situation put an end to that. Time, I had plenty. Money, not so much. Maybe next year, Light willing!

@RobMRobM... I'm with you regarding Amys or Sorilea as DFs. That would make me most unhappy. I'm still not sure about Bair, though.

@Tektonica... "Lady Di at the checkout stand"... That was funny! :D
Noneo Yourbusiness
185. Longtimefan
I am also a bit lost on how it is known that Verin was the one behind the stabbing. I thought since they were in Cameyln that it may have been Marillin Gemphalin since there is the mention of the stray cats in Dimira's POV as she wanders down the alleyways before she gets stabbed.

"There were far more dogs and cats in the runs than she remembered". Chapter 46 Beyond the Gate.

I will admit I have only read The Gathering Storm once. I know, I know, it is terrible but I have had some things to do. If Verin is shown to be the one who had Demira stabbed I would like to know where I missed it. I will admit, I have missed a few things. :)
Jay Dauro
186. J.Dauro

Mr. Dauro? How do you know my father?

I'm usually called Jay. Except maybe by my father, and I won't publish that.

Well, I didn't take any pictures of me at the Con, but here's one at a slightly different location.
Rob Munnelly
187. RobMRobM
Very nice, Jay. Nice to see you getting around.

189. Freelancer

Ditto on pretty much everything there, especially that last item. ::stare::

On Verin, I think everyone agrees that she's trying to serve the Light. But if I have it right, some think that any "evil" deeds she has done to maintain her bona-fides with the Black are inexcusable.

A Fife-roll? That might go viral.

I know that facial expressions are evidence of nothing, but I remember Brandon when asked if Verin had anything to do with the attack on Demira, before he said RAFO. Let's say it isn't off the table. ::shrug::
Roger Powell
190. forkroot
I would think one argument for Verin having some involvement in the attack is the fact that Demira survived. If we presume that Team Black is trying to make trouble for Rand, and that Verin is in on the planning (concealing her true allegiance of course), then perhaps she influenced a plan that would otherwise have Demira killed (e.g. with a note.)

Of course if that argument stands up, it also would point away from Fain and his crowd being involved since Verin would certainly not be working with them (in fact at that point, I believe Team Dark was just as anxious to take out Fain as Team Light.)

I'd take Galina off the suspects list - she was with the Tower AS in Cairhien and the attack on Demira happened in Camelyn.
Tina Pierce
191. scissorrunner
I've got a lot of reading to catch up on with all these posts, but thought I'd throw my 2 cents in about JordanCon.


I was only there on Saturday. I got my copy of The Gathering Storm signed by both Harriet McDougal and Brandon Sanderson. They were both amazingly gracious. didn't have a great question for them (blast the wasted opportunity!!) (don’t let me do that again!) but got a picture with them both.

The posters for the e-book covers were soooooooo nice. Did not win the bid for one (sigh), but now that they are in poster format you KNOW they’ll be up for sale. The question is WHEN??? We were able to see the original painting of the Dumai’s Wells battle. The detail is something you simply cannot see on itty-bitty computer screens. The thing was about 6 feet long!!

I went to a discussion about costumes. Society of Creative Anachronism was represented by some of their finest! The costumes were amazing and we were given tips & pointers on design, construction, & materials.(gotta go get "thread heaven" right away!!!) Got to see a small loom used to weave threads for a belt or trim about an inch wide. (now I want one of those too!!!)

Brandon had a session discussing writing techniques. No, I am not aspiring to be a writer, but it was fun to listen to (I did walk in late). Didn’t think to take notes, but I remember one point that stood out. A character, whoever it is, does not walk into a scene without a backstory. They have a history full of things that dictate what & (more importantly) how they react to the situations they find themselves in. Without knowing the backstory of a character the author writes him flat. (I know I’m putting this badly, as I said, I’m not a writer). The background of a character does not need to be spelled out in the first page (info-dump), but it’ll be apparent in the story. In about 10 minutes we had created a place (set, screen, whatever). 4 characters with some crazy backstories. Just needing some intrepid soul to set the characters in motion.
The scene – an outdoor marketplace
Characters – a youngish woman (no age was mentioned, but the details felt youngish to me) she is a magician & jester who hates her job and needs to keep it secret form her boyfriend the assassin. She is forced into it to repay a debt. (details murky here)
A fruit vendor. He’s a eunuch, and is the friendly guy everyone talks to. He often throws samples of his wares to passersby. He does this to watch how they catch. He is really a spy for a neighboring kingdom searching for the four fingered man
The princess (we didn’t get into detailing her very much)
Arrrggggg – can’t remember the 4th guy except that it was a guy. The jester’s assassin boyfriend? Not sure – just don’t remember (sorry)

Just the details figured out with a bunch of us throwing ideas out gave a feeling of an outdoor market with secrets & subterfuge, friends & enemies. And not one word was spoken nor one action taken by any of the characters.

Later Brandon did some readings from The Way of Kings. Can NOT wait to get my hands on a copy. August 17 is just too far away after that teaser!!!

Q & A with Harriet – I actually did think enough to take notes here.

Q – will the other 2 prequels that RJ had plans for be written & published?
A – We’re finishing the WoT

Q – Can you learn a weave of the One Power from text only?
A – I can be vague when I want to, this is one of those times

Q – Will the Travels of Jain Farstrider be published?
A – No, we’re writing “Killers of the Black Veils” (just joking)

Q – Name one thing that can be done with the TP and not the OP?
A – Harriet answers “nothing”, and then she asks Alan who replies “you can get those cool spotted eyeballs”

Q – other editing jobs you’ve done?
A – Father Andrew Greely (sp?) books (she listed others here too, but I couldn’t keep up with the names & gave up – sorry)

Q – Do you feel that a movie would do justice to The Eye of the World?
A – (Harriet) I think they can … it would be very interesting to see … it would be a huge task, but I predict success … it would be tricky … I hope its wonderful …
(Alan) the average movie script is about 125 pages long. (EotW is over 800) We would need a screenwriter who is as good an author as RJ was to pick out the character & soul of the book & put it on canvas. It will work (no real details on who or when)

Q – did you & RJ have conversation about the books say around the dinner table?
A – sometimes. Right after EotW was published he talked about the maidens of the spear, their family relationships & babies. That’s how far ahead he was thinking

Q – What were the circumstances around the creation of the mind-traps? Who in the Age of Legends came up with them?
A – don’t know

Q – what book was the easiest to edit? Which was the hardest?
A – Brandon said his was probably the hardest, but Harriet said no, it wasn’t. She then went on to talk about how wonderful Brandon was and how he worked so hard to be true to what RJ had wanted for these characters/books/plots. She never really said which book was easiest or hardest.

Q – Was Verin at the Darkfriend Social?
A – (laughs) it was Bela

Q – when you first read about the One Power, how did you feel?
A – Just as you all did “ooooohh!!”

Then costume contest/parade. Trolloc, Fade, Nym, tinkers, Lanfear, Nyneave, Min, Rand, Mat, Ash’aman, Aiel Maiden, just to name a few. I did post a few pictures on my profile, but my camera decided to go wonky on me & most of them are horrible blurs.

Didn’t stay longer than that. My near-sister collected me & it was off for family time. But hey, I wasn’t complaining to not stay longer. I DID get to go. I got to meet Blindillusion & his family (adorable kids BTW), but missed JDauro & RFife. Sadly didn’t have pictures of them in my head & as I am the shyest person on the planet I didn’t start walking up to people asking them if they were one or the other……. Maybe next year I’ll have a better idea of who I’m looking for.

It was well worth the insanity of flying on standby from NY to GA. I even got a great serpent ring to send off to my almost daughter in WY (Hi Stephanie!)
j p
192. sps49
Do the Black Ajah reswear o the Tar Valon Oath Rod, or is there another one? Any Black Ajah wiht second thoughts should know they can unswear if they can just get their hands on the Rod, no?

Atlanta is the easiest place in the USA to fly to, plus it isn't far from Jordan Central. Hopefully the economy will pick up by next year and many of us will be able to attend.
Thomas Keith
193. insectoid
Scissor @191: Great report Scissor!

sps49 @192: Agreed... Next year, the Light willing!
Re: BA... wouldn't their oath to "never betray the Great Lord" cover un-swearing the oaths? Though, Talene was able to.

I don't want to alarm anyone, but the WoT Open Thread is looking very deserted...

David Platt
194. The Not So Dark One
Ive always believed it was Taim behind the stabbing - due to the fact he was told specifically not to harm the Aes Sedai in Caemlyn - and best if they stay away all together (Hope I remember that right) Seemed like a tricky way to bring Rand and the AS into conflict - Let the Lord of Chaos Rule - And my second favourite would have been the Carhienen delegation - knowing how the other AS would react and that it would bring Rand back to them.

I dont remember seeing anything that suggested Verin - but Ive been wrong about her before...
Marcus W
195. toryx
I'm one of those who suspects it was Verin who initiated the attacks on Demira. There's certainly no proof one way or another but she's too crafty to think that approaching Rand the way they did would have the desired effect. And she really did kind of take lead to a degree.

I think Verin knew that Rand had to be driven out of Camelyn and did what it took to do so.

Maybe it's something we'll eventually RAFO the answer to.
Tricia Irish
196. Tektonica
Not sure if it was Verin in Camelyn...or the Whitecloaks or Taim...but it is interesting to re-evaluate many things in light of the Verin reveal. It sure did give her an opportunity to steer the SAS. Sneaky Verin....

Scissor@192: Great report. Nice of you to think of passing on info to us by taking ANY sounds like it was really interesting, especially the writing forum. Would've loved to have seen all the crazy costumes. Isn't this blog fun, where you can be outgoing and shy at the same time! Thank you!
John Massey
200. subwoofer
Shucks, it is a slow news day and I've been good... mostly.

I will flesh stuff out later, or not, as a new post is immanent, but while I am here :::*Fireworks*:: Yay for 2 hunny!

Lannis .
201. Lannis
Dammit, I was totally going to steal that 200, but it took too long to sign in. ;)
John Massey
202. subwoofer
Hah! Sucka! gotta get up pretty early to pull one over on this ol' dog. Hi Lannis:)

Lannis .
203. Lannis
Aw, Sub, you make me laugh!

Lurking for a new post... :D
Barry T
204. blindillusion
Don't know if this will work for the non-Facebookers, but the small text at the bottom of the screen said it would:

So, Pictures? for all...maybe....
Tina Pierce
205. scissorrunner
yup - no FB account & I was able to see all the pix
James Jones
206. jamesedjones
204 blindillusion

Great Pics! Thanks for sharing your adventure with everyone.
Tricia Irish
207. Tektonica
Hey Scissorrunner....just had time to view your great pix too....was that Adelas and Vandene? Twins! Nynaeve was a gimme and I still think that trolloc looks
like Foghorn Leghorn....just needs a bun and some dangley things to be SWMNBN.
Lannis .
208. Lannis
Blind and Scissorrunner: Thanks for the pics! So wish I could have been there... :/

Group chant: "I guess there's always next year..."
Tina Pierce
209. scissorrunner
not sure who they were, couldn't hear them when they were talking to Brandon, Harriet & crew and had to leave too soon after I snapped that to go find them. :( they looked great. the backs of their hooded cloaks had the entire Ancient AS symbol, but in white & yellow and white & gray to match their costumes
couldn't be Vandene & Adelas, they were brown & green - right?
edit cuz all my "&" signs were confusing
210. Der_Wikinger
All of our dear usual suspects were gathered at Shayol Ghul. It was time for Tarmnon Gai'don.The Dragon, his main squeeze...errr...his 3 squeezes, the Vegas Man, the Werewolf Emo King. As they approached they caught sight of The Bouncer at the DO's Joint, and suffered their first shock ! Everybody exclaimed "You ??!! No !!!"
The Bouncer stood up slowly, took time to dust off her tight black leather mini mini skirt from the ever present black dust off which had collected across the Ages & Turns of The Wheel from Light Team Members when they grounded their teeth in frustration (Black Dust ?? Well, what can you expect ? Most Lite Team Members had developed cavities from sweeting their teas & wines with so many spices).
Catalyn Haevin sighed...and she almost popped out of the quasi dress she was almost wearing. Everybody stared, except for Mat, who knew how to look at a neckline discreetly.
Sharon E.
211. Sulin
@scissorrunner- Thanks for sharing your adventure with us, and the pictures were great. :) Nyneave and the Asha'man were awesome-looking.

Can't wait for next year!
212. Der_Wikinger
Elayne spoke first. "i thought u wer on ma side !!!! Omg, omg, omg >_ that much lil' missy !
Catalyn responded with " Well, well, well, if it aint' the 14AA41 Bunch of Goodie Kleenex. Rofl.
'Sides, who da u xpect ? Shadar Haran ? He's 'n da loo right now; silly, got wasted wit some white powder he found in Mierin's crib last nite. Came home talking all weird, the psycho. Anywaz, Team Dark has the kewlest outfits, better hours for a night owl like maself, better dental, and btw, guys u r gonna need an xceellent plan is all i'm sayin', and u can be late on ur RSSP deposits, as long as u have purchased non-variable federal bonds at fixed rates b4 da Deadline. Hah, "da Deadline !!! Get it ?? Da DEAD LINE, omg, sometimes i kill maself, but 's alright, 'coz the DO can bring me back ^_-"

Perrin leaned towards Rand and whispered in his ear "Don't you hate kids nowdays and their internet speech mannerisms ?" Rand just nodded, and said "LMFAO, but FYI, i can teach u 2nite. :-). . 4COL." Rand turned away to speak with The Bouncer and didn't see Perrin's stunned expression.

"Enough ! I'm The Dragon Reborn !!! I'm here to battle the Dark One 121 ..errr, I mean One to One !!! So don't try to stop us, or I'll Bayle_Fir u to yesterday's birds !!!"
Mat asked " Huh ?"
"Something I heard once,,,or was it something Lews Therin heard once ? Whatever"
"Oh my , aren't u all snippy uppity 2day. But it's alright boys & gals. The Douche Overlord is awaiting...hihihihi,,i just used an a-word.I can almost pass like i finished hi skul already, huh ?"
Elayne said, "Light, i hate her. I can't stand her ! She's just so ditzy, space cadet-sy and overproud !!"
Everybody averted their eyes, and tried to look elsewhere.
But their eyes were brought back to the massive, humongous Gates of Shayol Ghul started swinging open...
"COME MY ANCIENT ENEMY", a voice said, if a voice could be said to
In another part of Shayol Ghul, Shadar Haran was running like the wind," no", he thought, " I mustn't say 'wind' again; thankfully i rid myself of that just now. Wonder what that freaky powder in Mieri's pad was...Anyway, gotta catch up. Can't expect that snot-faced girl get all the glory. The way the DO has been promoting her ever since she got here, you would think He meant her to be Nae'blis or something. I must win back the favour of the DO. Can't afford to look bad again."...He was running like a bat out of hell ,,,or into hell in this case....with loo paper trailing behind him.
Hugh Arai
213. HArai
Der_Wikinger@210,212: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?
Julian Augustus
214. Alisonwonderland
Wetlander@123 & Freelancer@124:
Alisonwonderland @122 - Easily dismiss??? Did you just say easily dismiss something RJ threw in that might be a red herring? If there's one thing I've learned in reading these books, it's that you can't ever "easily dismiss" something! But that's okay... you can dismiss it if you want... ::on your head be it...::

Like I said, it is completely illogical for the Borderland monarchs to seek out Rand in order to do him harm. In fact, it is impossibly illogical in the context of the WoT universe. The only way it makes sense is if all four are darkfriends, and that to me calls for an even greater leap of fancy. No, logically, the only possible motive for the borderlanders to come all the way down south to seek out the Dragon, leaving their lands relatively unprotected is to ensure that the Dragon is protected and lives to fight at Tarmon Gaidon.

Most probably, they want to assure themselves that Rand is, indeed, the Dragon Reborn, and perhaps to try and win from him some re-arranging of priorities (for example, leave the idiot southerners alone and come up to the borderlands where you are truly needed). But the ultimate objective in coming to seek him out CANNOT be to gentle him or in any way cause him harm. They MUST be bringing him an army to quash any resistance against him by the short-sighted southerners. No other interpretation makes sense (except, of course, that they are all darkfriends). I still say the thoughts quoted by Freelancer are red herrings and should be seen through rather easily.

If someone can come up with a logical reason why the borderland monarchs would leave the blight unprotected and come down south with an army just so they can capture the prophesied saviour and gentle or kill him, I'll revise my opinion, but merely quoting the very ambiguous thoughts of the monarchs (red herrings, I call them) is not persuasive enough to me.
Rich Bennett
215. Neuralnet
thanks for the reread leigh and thanks for going back to two a week.

one of the better WoT covers IMHO

not one of the better books though... I know a lot of people who quit the series after the last book then this one :(

I dont have time for a full reread so I love coming here each week to read the summary. This is one of the better prologues, but man I am glad TGS sheds some light on WTF is going on here... especially with Verin
Matthew Smith
216. blocksmith

thanks for the pictures...worked great.


Thanks for the recap and Q&A...wish there were more direct answers...but some things never change.


Speechless...I mean wordless...and not in good way.
a a-p
217. lostinshadow

I share your inability to believe that the Borderlanders, who have for years been the first line of defense against the Shadow, would plan to cause harm to Rand. I also agree that like you said above the mutual respect they have towards Lan and vice versa makes it hard for me to see how they could en masse be planning something horrible.

At the same time, their own fright at what they are planning does make me wonder as to what is going on with them. So it seems to me it can't be something as simple as finding Rand, reassuring themselves that he's the Dragon Reborn and possibly swearing fealty.

Maybe they plan on dragging him off whether he wants it or not, or 'forcing' him to do something specific that they think is necessary?

I do think that while it would be inconsistent with all that we know of Randland for all of the Borderlanders to purposefully, maliciously plan something bad for Rand, I do think that the Shadow, the Forsaken can be devious and maybe starting with calming the Blight have somehow tricked the Borderlanders into adopting a plan that actually serves the Shadow.

Or at least will enrage Rand so that he obliterates them and that would certainly be bad. for everyone.

So I'm not sure if that's very logical but I think that they are being tricked into betraying the Dragon Reborn by one or more of the Forsaken.
Roger Powell
218. forkroot
Q – Name one thing that can be done with the TP and not the OP?
A – Harriet answers “nothing”, and then she asks Alan who replies “you can get those cool spotted eyeballs”
This looks like a mistake. In TGS we found out that the TP can destroy cuendillar when Rand destroyed the Sad Bracelets. The OP cannot destroy cuendillar.
219. BenM
MOM @ 103:

Verin most likely couldn't compel them to reveal other BA. Their BA oaths would probably prevent them from doing so, even under compulsion.

Speaking of which, we got one of the oaths in TGS. Did we ever find out the other two? I'd guess the second one would be "Obey your orders without question."

I can't think what the third one would be. It might even be a more specific version of their first oath: not to reveal the names of any living members of the BA, and/or their current plans.
Sharon E.
220. Sulin
DerWikinger@210&212- Ummmm.....okay. What's the point of all that?

So I'm not sure if that's very logical but I think that they are being tricked into betraying the Dragon Reborn by one or more of the Forsaken.

I agree and I wouldn't want to be anywhere near them if/when Rand's fury is unleashed!
Hugh Arai
221. HArai
Alisonwonderland@214: I know! They decided to follow Elaida's latest book, Seven Habits of Highly Defective 8-balls? Seriously though, I have to agree that the Borderlander monarchs would never _intend_ to harm Rand _before_ the Last Battle. Not even Tenobia. After? Who knows.

As for the opinion Rand left with Agelmar - I suspect the important one was at Tarwin's Gap. Where he routed an entire Trolloc army and rescued the valiant but outmatched military of Shienar.
Roger Powell
222. forkroot
Some excellent points.
Verin most likely couldn't compel them to reveal other BA. Their BA oaths would probably prevent them from doing so, even under compulsion.
Wasn't there a scene where one of the Salidar moles was placed in great distress with conflicting oaths? I think she had been forced to swear (on the oath rod) to obey, then was told to speak what she thought was a lie. I wonder if compulsion vs. a binding oath would produce similar distress?
Speaking of which, we got one of the oaths in TGS. Did we ever find out the other two? I'd guess the second one would be "Obey your orders without question."
I agree. I've theorized that Verin knew such an order was coming which forced her hand on the timing with Egwene; otherwise it would have been sensible to wait until Egwene secured her position in the tower.
Tina Pierce
223. scissorrunner
forkroot @ 218.
you're right about cuendillar being destroyed. I quoted Harriet & Alan with their answers
Rob Munnelly
224. RobMRobM
210/212 - I really liked them, in a strange sort of way. Very funny. Rob
Thomas Keith
225. insectoid
Yes, I know there's a new post, but...

Blind @204: Great pics!! And I'll believe Oct. 26 when I see the press release! (Likewise with Jan. 2011 for NS graphic novel, ::grumblemumbledelayfishgrumble::) ;)

Der_Wikinger @210/212: Umm... what?

Janet Hopkins
226. JanDSedai
Der_Wikinger @ 210/212
I guess you're just whiling the time away until the next post? Is there more?
I guess some people get antsy in different ways...
John Massey
227. subwoofer
-210&212 Heh- reminds me of Wordsmithing with Leon Freon- can't find a clip of him- does a schtick where the word of the day is _ for instance, "winner"- My wife is out, lemme know winna car comes in the drive way- I can't see from this position...

Anyways how about this Leon...

228. Shard
What if the Dragon has fallen to the Shadow, but RAND has never fallen to the Shadow?
Richard Fife
229. R.Fife
forkroot @ 218 Conversely, they might slipped (is that blasphemy) and thereby actually admitted that the OP can destroy heartstone, but the weave to do so is unknown.

Question, what if the OP can destroy heartstone made by the TP?
Barry T
230. blindillusion
Hmm, R.Fife...I suppose you'd have to hire some guards for you Bunker.
Tricia Irish
231. Tektonica
Der_Wikinger@210, 212:

LOL. Cyber speak. Teen speak. Grocery store cashier least here in Florida. Interesting to see it in print, as I can never pick it up in RL speech, when I encounter it.
Do I detect a note of sarcasm?
A. P.
232. chewynewyork
Hello, Leigh!!! Lemme just lay it all out there right now, are pretty much a celebrity in my book, and your posts have made me feel like ten times the fan I was!! Seriously. This series is the -ish. You do it loads of justice!! Ok, enuff o that! Lol. (Best Oliver Twist imitation voice) 'My measly contribution, ma'am.'

RE Verin: Reading this over again makes me really look at things veeery different, post-TGS. Despite how she is like the nun with a heart amidst a abbey full of KILLER POWER-USING NUNS, I like her. She marched to her own drum, in the end; bit the bullet while tryin to do some good-doin. Perhaps I am a leeetle biased, but perhaps she didn't truly know about Katerine being Black at this time. Suspicious, perhaps. Ready to find out for definite (she never really let out what those instructions were), also a perhaps. But hey! Its a theory!

RE Borderlanders: What the heezy are those uppity-ups thinkin?!?!? 'Anything short of the Trolloc Wars?!?!' Sistah, you better get yo shit in order, cuz A LOT worse than the Trolloc Wars are comin...just FYI, y'know. They sure have a weird way of negotiating up in the North. The raining fire down on 'em sounds like a helluva plan....

RE Tenobia: ..... *hand raised*..... check, please.

Till next time. Keep up the great work, Missus-to-the-Issus Butler.
Theresa Gray
233. Terez27
@blindillusion - Your quote has been added to the database (several different categories), with added footnote. Thanks for the report! Also, I would love it if you guys would email me reports in the future...I almost missed this one! :( But thanks to Linda I did not.
April Moore
234. aprildmoore
@ 10, aspeo and @17, Megaduck

I loved these ideas about Moridin and the cycle of the Wheel -- bravo! I am just now getting back to all the re-reads and their comments (having been at JordanCon last weekend - lucky me!), so perhaps they have already been argued out or refuted by subsequent posters. Nonetheless, I thought these were great thoughts! Thanks for sharing them.
April Moore
235. aprildmoore
For what it's worth, I agree with some of the early posters that the Champion of the Light has not always been the Dragon. From the quotes posted, R.J. was careful to say the Champion of the Light - if the Champion of the Light goes over, game over. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the Dragon has never gone over to Team Dark.

I prefer to think that Rand himself has never gone over, but it seems from some of the other quotes that Jordan may have been confirming that Rand was not always the Dragon, either....

Does anyone know of any quotes where R.J. confirmed or denied that Champion of the Light always = The Dragon?

Without evidence to the contrary, I tend to think this is yet another example of how well Jordan could make us dance on his strings.

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