May 25 2010 2:21pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Path of Daggers, Part 10

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

Today’s entry covers Chapters 15 and 16 of The Path of Daggers, in which the Plots Put Molasses To Shame. Dun!

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

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

And that’s about it, as per the usual, so click on to read the post.

A note before we begin, which I regret has been made necessary, but, well. Please note that this is not directed at any one person, but at a general trend which I have at length decided I am done with.

A while back on the re-read I went back and edited a post in response to a request made by a commenter, who was offended by something I had said in that post. I now realize that this was a mistake, in more ways than one.

In the less important sense, it was a mistake because (as I should have realized) it immediately opened the floodgates for anyone who had a problem with anything I wrote to think they had the right to ask me to stop writing whatever it is that particular person didn’t like or disagreed with. In the more important sense, it was a mistake because on reflection, going back and editing my words in that manner is ethically shaky, and kind of like cheating; if I’m going to say something in a public venue, I should either stand by it, or not say it in the first place.

Ironically, the more important of these two issues is the one easiest to correct, and here I go: Henceforth, a blog post laid is a blog post played. I will no longer retroactively edit the content of any re-read post, except to correct typos and/or formatting errors. Bam, look at that, fixed.

As to the other, this is what I have to say, and this is the last time I’m going to say it:

I write the way I write. The way I write is not going to be to everyone’s taste. The things I write about are not going to be to everyone’s taste. If you have been reading the blog long enough to be reading this particular entry, then you are by now more than well aware of how I write, and objecting to the manner in which I write at this late stage strikes me as more than a little disingenuous, even if I did inadvertently open the door for it.

Well, I am closing that door now.

If you do not like the way I write, that is of course totally fine. I am not here to tell you what to like or what not to like. But in that case I respectfully suggest you stop reading this blog, because the way I write—which can be considered an expression of what I like and do not like—is not going to change.

Because just as I am sure that you do not appreciate people telling you what you should or should not like, I don’t appreciate it either. And frankly, I would lose all respect for myself if I were to kowtow to “suggestions” that I should tailor my methods of expressing my thoughts to anyone else’s standards other than my own. As both a writer and as a human being, I find the notion not just questionable but actually ethically bankrupt—and not to mention a fool’s errand anyway, since it is logistically completely impossible to adhere to everyone’s standards all at once even if I were that spineless.

In short, forget it. Not happening. Not to get all twee on you, but I have an obligation to be true to myself that far outweighs my obligation to cater to the tastes of others. Assuming I have any obligation to cater to the tastes of others, which, actually? I don’t.

Let me be perfectly clear: As a reader, you have every right—you have an open and warm invitation, in fact—to debate and discuss to your hearts’ content the merit of the views, observations, and opinions I put forth in this blog. That’s what it’s here for; that’s the point of me writing it. And I think I’m safe in saying that’s why so many people enjoy it, including me. So have at it, seriously. Nothing about that has changed.

At the same time, as a reader you also have every right to make your own decisions about whether you like or do not like the way in which I express those views, observations, or opinions—and, consequently, whether you then choose to read those views, observations, or opinions. As a reader, that is a choice which is completely and totally up to you, as well it should be.

What you absolutely, positively, and most decidedly do NOT have, as a reader, is the right to dictate or demand, politely or otherwise, either which opinions I get to express, or the way I get to express them.

No. Just—No.

As the writer, those are MY choices. Mine. And a year and a half in, I think those choices are pretty clear. If you do not like them, that is unquestionably your prerogative, but you have had by now more than ample opportunity to either make your peace with them, or decide that this blog is not for you. If you have not yet made that decision one way or the other, make it now, please.

I write the way I write. Accept it, or move on.

Full stop. This is me, this is my writing, what you see is what you get. And now that I have re-stated and/or clarified my stance on the topic in exhausting detail, I hope that you will have the courtesy to respect my right to express myself the way I choose on my own blog series, and lay the matter to rest in future.

In return, I will shut up about it too, and start this damn post already. Right? Right. Off we go!

Chapter 15: Stronger Than Written Law

What Happens
Egwene wakes from disturbing dreams, which are even more disturbing because she can’t remember them, despite being trained to remember all her dreams. She is relieved that she at least remembers the significant ones. Halima is arguing with Siuan over whether Siuan should wake her up, and Egwene sighs over Halima’s lack of deference to Aes Sedai and tells Halima to go back to bed. Egwene thinks Halima’s curiosity “innocent”, but still decides to talk with Siuan outside the tent.

Everyone knew now that Siuan had thrown in her lot with Egwene, after a fashion, as they thought, sullenly and grudgingly. A figure of some amusement and occasional pity, Siuan Sanche, reduced to attaching herself to the woman who held the title once hers, and that woman no more than a puppet once the Hall finished fighting over who would pull her cords. Siuan was human enough to harbor sparks of resentment, but so far they had managed to keep secret that her advice was far from grudging.

It is snowy and freezing outside. Egwene hopes Siuan doesn’t have another revelation like the Kin for her; Siuan apologizes, but points out that she has to pick and choose what are the most important things to tell Egwene about. Egwene, thinking of how Siuan is compressing twenty years’ worth of learning into months for her, concedes the point. Siuan tells her Gareth Bryne is waiting in her study, and proceeds to grouse about the abrupt way Bryne had sent her to get Egwene. Egwene stifles sudden hope, and they set off to the tent that serves as the Amrylin’s study, holding on to each other to keep from falling down on the ice. Egwene asks why Siuan was sleeping in Bryne’s tent, hoping that their peculiar situation was not leading Siuan to let him take advantage of her, but Siuan snorts and answers her chores ran too late to go back in this weather. Siuan then changes the subject and opines that Egwene shouldn’t let Halima sleep in her tent. Egwene replies that she is very glad Delana can spare her nights, as her massages are the only thing that make Egwene’s headaches go away.

Trudging arm-in-arm, they went on in silence, the cold fogging their breath and seeping through their flesh. The snow was a curse and a lesson. She could still hear Siuan going on about what she called the Law of Unintended Consequences, stronger than any written law. Whether or not what you do has the effect you want, it will have three at least you never expected, and one of those usually unpleasant.

Egwene remembers how the first rains had occasioned wild celebration, and then the rains had turned into howling storms, then blizzards, slowing the army’s pace to a miserable crawl, and thinks that the snow itself might be the least unpleasant consequence. Inside the tent, Egwene only channels a small light, fearful of discovery.

There had been Amyrlins who reigned in strength, Amyrlins who managed an even balance with the Hall, and Amyrlins who had had as little power as she, or less upon rare occasions, well-hidden in the secret histories of the White Tower. Several had frittered away power and influence, falling from strength to weakness, but in over three thousand years, precious few had managed to move in the other direction. Egwene very much wished she knew how Myriam Copan and the rest of that bare handful had managed. If anyone had ever thought to write that down, the pages were long lost.

Bryne reports that there is an army north of them, comprised of Andorans and some Murandians, and led by Lord Pelivar Coelan and Lady Arathelle Renshar, who head two of the strongest Houses in Andor. He says if both armies continue as they have been, they will meet head on in two or three days. Egwene keeps her face smooth, hiding her relief at the news, but Siuan gasps, then to make up for it, glares at Bryne and demands to know if has qualms about fighting Andorans. Bryne answers calmly that he will fight whomever the Mother wishes him to fight. Egwene asks what happens if they stop here, and Bryne answers that tomorrow the Andorans will reach an excellent place to defend, which Egwene’s army cannot reach first; he suggests that if Egwene means to fight, they should fall back to the ridge they crossed two days ago. Carefully, Egwene asks if the Andorans will talk if they are offered the chance. Bryne thinks that they almost certainly only want to keep a foreign army out of Andor; they will talk if they can, but fight if they have to, even against Aes Sedai. He adds that they’ve probably heard the rumors about the battle “out east somewhere”; Siuan snorts her derision that Aes Sedai would have been mixed up in that.

Strangely, Bryne smiled. He often did when Siuan showed her temper. Anywhere else, on anyone else, Egwene would have called the smile fond. “Better for us if they believe,” he told Siuan mildly. Her face darkened so, you might have thought he had sneered at her.

Why did a normally sensible woman let Bryne get under her skin? Whatever the reason, Egwene had no time for it tonight.

She makes Siuan reheat the wine (Siuan refuses to pour for Bryne), and tells Bryne that she wants to avoid a battle if she can, and for him to send to Pelivar and Arathelle to arrange a meeting. She also asks him to keep it a secret from the army and the Hall as long as possible, knowing she is asking him to take a big risk. He doesn’t even blink, and answers that too many men already know to keep it a secret forever, but he will do what he can.

As simple as that. The first step down a road that would see her on the Amyrlin Seat in Tar Valon, or else deliver her firmly into the grasp of the Hall, with nothing left to decide except whether it was Romanda or Lelaine who told her what to do. Somehow, such a pivotal moment should have been accompanied by fanfares of trumpets, or at the least, thunder in the sky. It was always that way in stories.

Egwene asks Bryne how long he thinks the men would need to rest before beginning a campaign against Tar Valon; Bryne frowns, pointing out that Elaida would know within an hour that they would have arrived, but answers 10 days at the least, a month if possible. Egwene casually dismisses this answer and sends him off, and Bryne leaves. She regrets having to manipulate him, even though she thinks he knows she was doing so, but she cannot trust him further without an open declaration. She mutters that if nothing else, she can free the Aes Sedai from the Three Oaths; horrified, Siuan tells her that doing so would destroy the Tower. Egwene doesn’t understand why, and points out that the Oaths could be a fatal hindrance against the Seanchan, ending with them all either dead or collared. She also reminds Siuan of the full advantage Siuan had taken of her ability to lie once stilled, and if she hadn’t, the rebels would still be sitting in Salidar now, and Elaida would be secure on the Amyrlin Seat.

“You know she’d mishandle everything about Rand. I would not be surprised if she had tried to kidnap him by now, except that she’s concerned with us. Well, maybe not kidnap, but she’d have done something.”

Troubled, Siuan concedes that she has lied to almost everyone, except Egwene and Bryne, but says that’s exactly why she thinks the Oaths are so important, and she will swear them again on the Oath Rod as soon as she can. Egwene asks why.

“The Oaths are what make us more than simply a group of women meddling in the affairs of the world. Or seven groups. Or fifty. The Oaths hold us together, a stated set of beliefs that bind us all, a single thread running through every sister, living or dead, back to the first to lay her hands on the Oath Rod. They are what make us Aes Sedai, not saidar. Any wilder can channel. Men may look at what we say from six sides, but when a sister says, ‘This is so,’ they know it’s true, and they trust. Because of the Oaths. Because of the Oaths, no queen fears that sisters will lay waste to her cities. The worst villain knows he’s safe in his life with a sister unless he tries to harm her. Oh, the Whitecloaks call them lies, and some people have strange ideas about what the Oaths entail, but there are very few places an Aes Sedai cannot go, and be listened to, because of the Oaths. The Three Oaths are what it is to be Aes Sedai, the heart of being Aes Sedai. Throw that on the rubbish heap, and we’ll be sand washing away in the tide.”

Egwene frowns, but asks, what about the Seanchan; Siuan says she doesn’t know, but the Tower has survived thousands of years and crises with the Oaths, and she is sure they’ll discover a way to survive the Seanchan. Egwene isn’t so sure, but thinks about it. Siuan suddenly comments that Egwene doesn’t need to be so cagey with Bryne, that he can be trusted, and it is “tying his stomach in knots” not to be in the know with Egwene’s plans. Egwene has a sudden flash of insight, and realizes Siuan is in love with Bryne. She is flabbergasted, but sternly admonishes Siuan that she will not breathe a word of anything to Bryne, which Siuan stiffly confirms. They head back to Egwene’s tent; on the way Egwene says that it would be better if Pelivar and Arathelle believed those rumors about the battle to the east, and instructs Siuan to wake Beonin, Anaiya, and Myrelle and have them ride for the Andoran army immediately. She also gives instructions for what Sheriam, Carlinya, Morvrin and Nisao are to say over breakfast, to “plant the right seeds”. Siuan starts to leave, then turns back.

“I know you want to be a second Gerra Kishar—or maybe Sereille Bagand. You have it in you to match either. But be careful you don’t turn out to be another Shein Chunla. Good night, Mother. Sleep well.”

Egwene thinks of how the first two were remembered as the greatest Amyrlins in Tower history, in total control of the Hall, while Shein Chunla had frittered her power away until she was secretly deposed and exiled; the secret histories imply that at some point she was smothered in her sleep. Egwene shivers, and heads back to her tent.

Yay, one of the cool political intrigue storylines!

Yeah, well. Sometimes I like the political intrigue bits, and sometimes I want them all to get sucked into a black hole and get out of my WAY, already. Sue me, I’m fickle. Fortunately for the moment, this is one of the former type. Even though I had no idea at this point what exactly Egwene’s figurative step off the Cliffs of Conspiracy was leading to, I was very agog to find out.

Egwene’s Dreams: I think these are all pretty much fulfilled by the end of TGS, particularly the one about Rand, since real or not, LTT has (by all evidence) gone bye-bye by the end of it. Although, there’s some wiggle room in there to my mind, based mostly on that other Dream Egwene had a while back about Rand being on a funeral bier but then his face breaking apart like paper. I’m not sure that counts, though, since the presumed faking of Rand’s death isn’t a “mask” in the psychological sense, so much as just a straight-up ruse. So, maybe?

(Also, no Mat. Mat is pale and not here. *is sad*)

It seems that Halima’s anti-Dream migraines took a while to totally kick in, since Egwene’s still having at least a few at this point. Those around in the fandom post-TPOD will remember the huge debate that raged around whether Halima’s massages (or as my old friend Mark Loy once put it, her habit of “kneading young girls”; heh, and ew) were simply blocking Eg’s Dreams, or putting Compulsion on her as well. You can read the major points for and against the idea here.

For my own part, while I thought it pretty strange that Halima wouldn’t use her access to Egwene to Compel her, I personally never bought any of the rationales used to try to prove that Egwene was acting in any way like she was not in control of her own faculties. Therefore, in my opinion all Halima was doing was giving her some righteously heinous head pain, however short-sighted of her I think that might be. Since the only result (so far) that has seemed to result from Egwene getting away from Halima is that she started Dreaming again, I feel fairly confident in that opinion. But hey, I’ve been wrong before.

Law of Unintended Consequences: This is another one of those truisms Jordan has come up with over the course of this series that rings so very true it’s not even funny. I also tend to suspect that this is a tiny bit of self-reflexive commentary as well. One of the things that always rather staggers me about writing something like WOT when I think about it is not necessarily how one would juggle multiple storylines, but how one would keep track of how all the myriad storylines affect each other. A prime example right in this chapter is Bryne’s vague mention of a battle “out east” which may or may not involve female channelers, which is of course a reference to the as-yet-unknown-to-this-storyline events of Dumai’s Wells. Seriously, just thinking about how much work it must take to keep track of who knows how much of what when gives me a migraine.

*tips hat to Team Jordan*

Amyrlin comparisons: This would be a project almost too geeky for words, but I would be laughingly thrilled if someone ever put together an authorized Secret Histories of the White Tower companion volume to WOT, in which we actually learn the full stories of Sereille Bagand and Shein Chunla and so on. Nothing crazy, but just a brief little précis of each one, perhaps in Wikipedia style. Am I the only one who thinks that would be a hella fun read?

Oaths: Oh, how this speech of Siuan’s conflicts me, let me count the ways.

On the one hand: okay, point taken. On the other, BUT IT CUTS YOUR LIFE IN HALF, WTFBBQBITCHPLZKTHXBYE.

Granted, Siuan doesn’t yet know that, but I seem to recall she sticks to her guns on this even after learning about it, and aaaaagh. Dude, I don’t know about anyone else, but if I’ve got an opportunity to live six hundred-plus years, I sure as bloody hell ain’t throwing half of them away so people maybe sort of don’t think I’m lying to them! I require a bigger return for my investment, y’all, is what I’m saying.

But on the gripping hand… there’s what happens in TGS, with Egwene and the Black Ajah Purge. Which would never have worked without the Oath Rod…

Bah. Bah, I say! I shall grump upon this. And then move on.

Chapter 16: Unexpected Absences

What Happens
The next morning, Egwene convenes a public meeting of the Hall to announce that the army is stopping for two or three days, for rest and repairs. There are no objections, since many of the sisters are eager for any chance to delay the approaching confrontation with Elaida, and Romanda and Lelaine and their hangers-on leave almost before Egwene is finished. Egwene feels lightheaded, as she is committed to her plan now. Sheriam walks with Egwene, and expresses mild surprise that Egwene allowed such a long stop, but accepts it with equanimity; Egwene reflects that of all the women she had blackmailed into swearing fealty to her, Sheriam had handled it with the most aplomb by far, and seems much happier now. As they walk through the bustling camp, Egwene notes Morvrin talking with Takima, which she thinks is a slightly odd choice (she would think Janya or Escaralde more likely), but puts it out of her mind. Sheriam heads off, and Egwene meets Siuan in her study to go over supplies; the upshot is that they are running out of everything, especially coin. Egwene groans at the various Sitters’ schemes to address their monetary difficulties, which include stopping the soldiers’ pay, demanding tribute from nearby nobles, and levying taxes on the villages they pass.

Crumpling the three addresses together in her fist, Egwene shook them at Siuan. She wished it were three Sitters’ throats she was gripping. “Do they all think everything has to go the way they wish, and never mind realities? Light, they’re the ones behaving like children!”

“The Tower has managed to make its wishes become realities often enough,” Siuan said complacently. “Remember, some would say you’re ignoring reality, too.”

Egwene sniffs, and asks if the Hall is always like this; Siuan nods, and tells Egwene to remind her to tell the story of the Year of the Four Amyrlins sometime, which was almost as bad as what’s going on now.

Of one thing, Egwene was certain. She would avoid Shein’s fate if she could, but she would not remain as she was, little better off than Cemaile Sorenthaine. Long before the end of her reign, the most important decision left to Cemaile’s discretion was what dress to wear. She was going to have to ask Siuan to tell her about the Year of the Four Amyrlins, and she did not look forward to it.

Growling, she asks Siuan what’s next.

Heading back from the woods and thinking idly of “tonight’s dreams”, Aran’gar sneers at the primitive trappings of the camp, and thinks she could have destroyed these “Aes Sedai” easily, were it not for the fact that she wouldn’t survive disobeying the Great Lord’s wishes for very long; she has no intention of throwing away her rare second chance. She enjoys the attention from some men she passes, and wonders if she had been such an “easily manipulated fool” before.

Getting through that swarm with a corpse unseen had been difficult, even for her, but she enjoyed the walk back.

Egwene and Siuan are still doing paperwork when Lelaine sweeps in with a resignedly meek Faolain in tow. She murmurs something sympathetic to Siuan, but then tells Egwene that they need to speak of the Sea Folk. Egwene is at first relieved that Lelaine obviously does not know about Bryne’s activities yet, but then worries that she has somehow learned about the “insane” bargain Elayne and Nynaeve had made. Egwene asks if Lelaine means the Sea Folk in Caemlyn or in Cairhien; before Lelaine can answer, Romanda busts in, followed by Theodrin. Romanda answers, Cairhien, of course, and continues that “that young man” has been talking with the Sea Folk, and she wants to know if Egwene knows about what.

Despite the title, Romanda hardly sounded as if she were addressing the Amyrlin Seat, but then, she never did. There was no doubt who “that young man” was. Every sister in the camp accepted that Rand was the Dragon Reborn, but anyone who heard them talk would have believed they were speaking of an unruly young lout who might come to dinner drunk and throw up on the table.

Lelaine tells Romanda that Egwene can hardly be expected to know what’s in the boy’s head, and she and Romanda proceed to have a fight over how to find out what the Sea Folk want, which ends in Romanda making a not-so-subtle threat to accuse Lelaine of collusion in the matter of Merilille (whom they believe is responsible for how the Bowl of the Winds was used). Egwene finally interjects that she will tell Elayne and Nynaeve to pass on their instructions regarding Merilille when next she meets them in Tel’aran’rhiod; she grinds her teeth to realize the two women had completely forgotten she was there. Chesa briefly interrupts to bring Egwene her lunch, mentioning in passing that Meri seems to have wandered off. Chesa leaves, and Lelaine goes to take her leave as well, with a suggestion to Egwene that she think on the matter that sounds more like an order.

“I will think hard,” Egwene told her. Which was not to say she would share her thoughts. She wished she had a glimmer of the answer. That the Atha’an Miere believed Rand was their prophesied Coramoor, she knew, though the Hall did not, but what he wanted from them, or them from him, she could not begin to imagine. According to Elayne, the Sea Folk with them had no clue. Or said not.

Romanda gives Egwene a similar suggestion/order regarding Merilille, and she and Lelaine glare each other out of the tent. Egwene and Siuan go back to work, interrupted again by Chesa (who remarks that Selame has gone missing too), and by Sheriam, who seems to want to hang out until Egwene dismisses her. They go over the news from Siuan’s eyes-and-ears, most of it bad; Egwene is relieved that at least they can dismiss the rumors of Aes Sedai serving Rand in Cairhien as nonsense, thanks to the Wise Ones’ reports.

A printer in Illian asserted that he had proof Rand had killed Mattin Stepaneos with his own hands and destroyed the body with the One Power, while a laborer on the docks there claimed she had seen the former King carried, bound and gagged and rolled in a rug, aboard a ship that had sailed in the night with the blessings of the captain of the Port Watch.

Egwene is exasperated at all the rumors of Shaido, opining that there just can’t be that many to cause this much havoc, when she notices Siuan staring into space. Upon inquiry, Siuan hesitates and then tells Egwene that she’s noticed an odd pattern about the Hall.

“It’s this. Aside from Romanda and Moria, the Sitters chosen in Salidar are… they’re too young.” Much had changed in Siuan, but speaking of other sisters’ ages clearly made her uncomfortable. “Escaralde is the oldest, and I’m sure she isn’t much past seventy. […] It isn’t often the Hall has held more than one Sitter under a hundred, and here we have nine!”

Siuan says that when a woman is raised too young, there is always a reason—including when Siuan herself was raised to Amyrlin, but in this case there were more than enough “suitable” sisters to choose from, and Siuan doesn’t buy five Ajahs all deadlocking on a candidate. Egwene doesn’t think there is any significance to this, but before she can say anything, a furious-looking Romanda enters and kicks Siuan out with one word, before weaving an eavesdropping ward around the tent. She calls Egwene a fool for thinking she could keep “this” a secret, and Bryne will be lucky if he doesn’t end up beheaded. Carefully, Egwene reminds Romanda that rudeness to the Amyrlin Seat is a crime.

“The Amyrlin Seat.” Romanda strode across the carpets to within arm’s reach of Egwene, and by her glare, the thought of reaching more crossed her mind. “You’re an infant! Your bottom still remembers the last switching it had as a novice! After this, you’ll be lucky if the Hall doesn’t put you in a corner with a few play pretties. If you want to avoid that, you will listen to me, and do as I tell you. Now, sit down!”

Egwene seethed inside, but she sat. It was too soon.

Romanda tells Egwene that this meeting with Pelivar and Arathelle will have to go forward now that it’s been arranged, but at the meeting Egwene is to name Romanda to be her spokesperson, and then be silent. Romanda is sure Lelaine will be along to demand the same thing, but reminds Egwene of the “trouble” Lelaine will soon be in with the Hall re: Merilille and Merana.

“So, if you have any hope of gaining the experience you’ll need to grow into that stole, it lies with me! Do you understand me?”

“I understand perfectly,” Egwene said, in what she hoped was a meek voice. If she let Romanda speak in her place, there would no longer be any doubts. The Hall and the whole world would know who held Egwene al’Vere by the scruff of her neck.

Satisifed, Romanda leaves, and Egwene throws an inkwell at the tent flap right as Lelaine comes in. Lelaine dodges the missile and admonishes Egwene for her temper before weaving her own ward. Unlike Romanda, she seems very pleased. She says Egwene must know her little secret is out, and fortunately for Bryne, Lelaine thinks he is too valuable to kill; she supposes Romanda has already been in here to tell Egwene to let Romanda speak for her, but Lelaine has been polling the other sisters, and they are very displeased with Egwene, but they are not happy with Romanda either. Lelaine will be the person Egwene names to speak for her, not Romanda. Lelaine informs Egwene that she should know by now that she isn’t actually in charge of anything.

“In another hundred years, you may grow into the stole, but for now, sit quietly, fold your hands, and let someone who knows what she is about see to pulling Elaida down.”

Lelaine leaves, and Egwene wonders for a second if she and Romanda are right, that she is too young to handle this. Siuan comes back in to tell her Bryne said the Hall knows about the meeting, and that it is set for tomorrow at a lake about five hours away. Egwene thinks to herself, no; if she led herself be led around now, she would always be led around. She had to grow now. Siuan asks how it went with Romanda and Lelaine.

“About as we expected.” Egwene smiled with a wonder that touched her voice, too. “Siuan, they couldn’t have handed me the Hall better if I had told them what to do.”

Sheriam enters her tent, and someone shields her and throws her onto her cot, where she is swiftly stripped and gagged. Her assailant strokes her hair and tells her she was supposed to keep this person informed about what “the girl” is up to.

It took a long time to convince her questioner that she had already told all she knew, that she would never hold back a word, not a whisper. When she was left alone at last, it was to lie curled up and whimpering from her welts, bitterly wishing that she had never in her life spoken to a single sister in the Hall.

I have to congratulate Jordan on this chapter, because I totally fell for the mislead here the first time. I remember I was actually getting really upset when Lelaine and Romanda were laying out their supposed smackdown, thinking that Egwene’s plan had all gone to shit, and then, ah-ha, gotcha, and I was like, damn.

(That may be the single least grammatical sentence I’ve ever written. Okay, probably not. But it’s up there.)

This is why I say my general lack of ability to see plot twists coming is a happy flaw. I say, in re: entertainment, getting a properly-delivered frisson beats feeling smugly smarter-than-the-writers any day. Go me!

Even with comfortable hindsight, though, I still wanted Egwene to jump up and deck Romanda, because wow with the snotty, woman. Not that Lelaine is any better, but Romanda annoys me more, for some reason. (I had to laugh that Egwene threw an inkwell after her; evidently she agrees with me.)

All that being said, while on a personal level I can’t stand them, I appreciate Romanda and Lelaine for what they are (which is, a classic example of Our Heroine turning a disadvantage into an advantage), and find them to be quite believable characters to boot. Every fictional government needs at least two bullheaded jackholes jockeying for position, that’s why we invited you!

Mattin Stepaneos: Okay, that is hilarious. I would never in a million years have noticed this passage before, but given where ex-King Mattin turns up in KOD, all I can say is HAH.

The Great Sitter Mystery: I know I have been outdated-FAQ-pointing like a mofo lately, but nevertheless do yourself a favor and gaze upon the magnificence that is the “Too-Young Sitters” page of the WOTFAQ, because even today I am somewhat in awe of it. Not least because it is one of the few articles of the FAQ (possibly the only article) that I had not one single thing to do with—a delightfully stress-relieving feat only made possible by the efforts of one Rich Boyé, who has my eternal gratitude even yet for taking that particular monster off my hands for three updates in a row. Seriously, dude, you the man.

And, outdated or not, I haven’t seen anything (that I recall) in either KOD or TGS that contradicts the article’s general conclusion, either, which is that the “too-young” sitters in Salidar and the “unusual” Sitters in the Tower were placeholders chosen in anticipation of an eventual reunification of the two Halls. As to what all the stuff is with the votes and the Ajah Head conspiracy and alla that, I’m starting to get Logic and Probability flashbacks, so I’mma leave that the hell alone for now, though I’ll have to come back to it in later chapters.

Sheriam: Again, totally different experience reading this knowing she’s Black. Although, that actually makes her contentment with being an Egwene lackey even more bizarre; surely that was not in The Plan? But, I guess the rationale might be that since her torturer wants info on Egwene, being a sworn and therefore theoretically more trusted member of the coterie is something Sheriam imagines might make her spying easier. Fortunately for us, she’s wrong.

Did we ever get 100% confirmation on who’s beating Sheriam? I’m assuming Halima, because that the only thing that really seems to make sense. This page is, as usual, very outdated, but it sums up the case for Sheriam’s torturer to be Halima quite well.

Of course, it’s all kind of a moot point now, I suppose. Though I still retain the right to grumble about the as yet appallingly unfired Chekhov’s Gun of the 13+13 Trick. So should have been Sheriam’s deal, you guys. Oh well.


…Just in case you were worried I could sink no lower, there you have it. Go me!

And I’m spent. Have a lovely rest of the week, everyone. See you Friday!

Tina Pierce
2. scissorrunner
in which the Plots Put Molasses To Shame.

sad, but true, thanks for helping us plod through.....
Ben Frey
3. BenPatient
Anyone else have a sudden urge to ask Leigh to change something in a blog entry, just to see what happens?


Roger Powell
4. forkroot
I write the way I write. The way I write is not going to be to everyone’s taste. The things I write about are not going to be to everyone’s taste.
I like a lot (most) of what you write. Occasionally I don't like something you write - then I stop and think why. Sometimes my brain gets more exercise deciding why I disagree with your approach or opinion.

I would not appreciate your postings as much if you always pandered to my tastes. So write on!
James Hogan
5. Sonofthunder
BenPatient@3...think I'll pass. ;)

And what did end up happening to Stepaneos anyway? Wasn't he kidnapped by Elaida or some such? Whenever his name comes up in the text, I always forget who he is. Yes, I should be ashamed of myself. *blushes fiercely*
6. earlgrey
Enjoyed your prolog.
j p
7. sps49
Jeez, Leigh, sounds like someone is giving you a headache. Maybe you would like a nice massage, yes?
8. BrianBelch

Thank you for closing that door. This is the problem with our society and pc. WE ARE FREE to choose what to read. You do not like it do not read that simple. It's like the smoking in bars issue. You know there will be smoke, so either put up with it or go to a non smokng bar. Even as a non smoker, I chose to vote with my money and not trample on property rights. We as Americans can do this. I would right mire, but cell phone typing is cumbersome, so again, offend away Leigh because some of is welcome different points of view if only to force us to look outside our boxes!

Thanks Leigh!
9. alreadymadwithnewpost
Thanks for the post. Now waiting for the fun to begin...
Andrew Belmont
10. rosetintdworld
Thanks, Leigh, and I really appreciate you taking the time to deliver a much-deserved smackdown. We love you, and hope you feel better:)

A few things:
1. This is, bar none, my favorite plotline in POD, and the climax is one of my favorites in the entire series. It is the only reason I disagree with you about POD being the worst book.

2. I am re-reading TGS right now, and coincidentally just re-read the scene where Sheriam confirms that Halima had been beating her. (Slightly off topic): Immediately thereafter, she is assaulted by a woman I assume is supposed to be Mesaana, but who Brandon describes rather shockingly inconsistently with how Jordan did. She lets Sheriam feel her strength in the Power, speaks with a "rasp" instead of "chimes," and appears as "jet-black shadows" instead of "moonlight and shadow." Could it be someone else? Did anyone have any theories I've missed on this? (Ok, back on topic.)

3. The Mattin Stepaneos thing was indeed hilarious. Along with Egwene's thoughts re: Elaida: "Okay, maybe even she's not crazy enough for kidnapping..." Heh.

4. The FAQ describes Halima's recognition of Egwene's Dreaming as "unusually smart for the Shadow," and while I can appreciate the Shadow recognizing the value (and thus threat) posed by one of the non-Rand Main 6, I've always been baffled that Halima chose not to do more damage here. Perhaps not coincidentally, despite her creepiness factor, Haliman'gar has always struck me as among the least effective Forsaken, after Aginor & Asmodean.

5. Jordan is indeed especially impressive for his ability to keep track of who knows what. This is especially evident in major paradigm shifts, like Dumai's Wells and the Cleansing.

And that's all for my totally scattered wall of text! Did I mention you rock, Leigh? And that I love this plotline?
Lannis .
11. Lannis
Hrm... I'm not sure who irritates me more, Romanda or Lelaine. Grr...

Sheriam: Hmm... someone correct me please if I'm missing it, but did we ever get a Sheriam POV that said why she became Black? I'm wondering if she ended up in a situation à la Verin, and decided to join instead of being killed, and subsequently became one of the least effective BA... hence the beating. (This of course is taking into account that just about the entire BA's useless unless your name is Alviarin.)

@ Leigh, re: editing... good on you! Please know that there's a group of us here who may at times disagree (with your statements or those of others), but also know how to respect others' opinions. Besides, aren't we all here to share opinions and gain insight? Cheers! And thanks for the post! :)

alreadymad @ 9: Off to the bunker, shall we?
j p
12. sps49
Even here, Siuan is not truthful wiht Egwene. The "worst villain" is at risk of his life from physical means from an Aes Sedai, but how many make the distinction?

And I believe LTT has been re-integrated, not gone bye-bye.

Why is Aran'gar so nervous about getting another chance? Isn't "immortality" a big Dark selling point?

And now Leigh has invented the LOL'Gar meme!


yr para 2- I assumed Mesaana was in a rush and didn't get her disguise set properly.
Mikey Bennett
13. EvilMonkey
When I found out that Sheriam was Black I got the impression that she was one of those reluctant participants who, unlike Verin, was kinda lazy. She was happiest when she didnt have any Black duties to attend to and there probably wouldn't be much difference in her character if she was actually for Team Light.

I know the Oath Rod has many detractions and many detractors, but I agree with Siuan about the continuity issue, uniting all Aes Sedai and giving them access to the govt's of the world. Which makes Egwene's solution, the retirement, really awesome in my opinion. They can even make a big ceremony out of it, a retirement party as it were.

Overall, Egwene's Armyrlin Plotline is a good one in my opinion because you can actually see her grow up and you actually see progress. The other Supergirls? Not so much.

Andrew Belmont
14. rosetintdworld
Lannis@11: The same POV I reference @10 shows Sheriam to be a loathsome, ambitious woman, who thinks that political influence, and the ability to punish those who have wronged you, are the best things in life. She whines about how unfair it is that she had to wield such power in a time when the Chosen were free, since it means that the power comes with strings attached.

Poor her. Not. No sympathy, a la Verin, from me.
15. Jelsel
Thanks Leigh,

and efe uwe to those complainers,
you got my support :D !!
Raul Gallegos
16. Master_Asmodean
First off, happy Geak Pride day to everyone here who is a geek or nerd. Great commentary Leigh. Since Eg didn't know about the events at Dumai’s Wells, I found it interesting that she would mention that Elaida may have tried to kidnap Rand. That's all I have for now.

I forgot to add, regarding Sheriam, BA or no, she was always one of my favorites. I agree with the idea that she may have been forced to become BA. So, now I'm really done.
Karen Jacobs
17. KJacobs
Just wanted to add my two cents with a big THANKS, Leigh! The way you express yourself is what makes this re-read so enjoyable. As you said, you are who you are, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who can say that that is exactly why I come here.
18. hargy
Just wanted to say that I fall into the "I love this re-read blog", and I find myself only getting upset with you when I have to wait past my lunch hours on Tuesdays and Fridays. 8)

Your stance on editing your posts to suit the readers is just and well..practical. What I found amusing is that you took 950 words to convey your stance. For some reason that reminds me of my wife..

All jokes aside, thanks for your time and effort. I do enjoy all of your commentary even if some of it is not to my own line of thinking.

Roger Powell
19. forkroot
Mattin Stepaneos ... I've posted before how curious it was that we didn't see any more of him considering how many chapters of TGS were set in the White Tower. Maybe he hid under a desk and peed his pants during the Seanchan assault?
j p
20. sps49
That reminds me- what are the Wise Ones telling Egwene? The DW aftermtath has happened, why are they misleading her?

Edit:- forkroot @19-

The erstwhile King of Illian is hidden in a dungeonof something, not out and about. He doesn't matter anymore, don't try starting another Thread in the Pattern!
Marcus W
21. toryx
Hoo boy. Lots to talk about today.

Firstly: Way to go, Leigh. Stick to your guns. Say what you want, how you want. You writing the way you do is why I keep reading all these months later. I know you don't need it but you've got my support.

Chapter 15:
I think Egwene's chapters are just about the only ones in this book I actually like. Largely it's because I dig the political drama. There are some bits that certainly slow things down but by and large it's muy interesting.

I also dig learning little bits of Tower history. Most of those bits add up to me liking the Tower even less but it's still fascinating. And though I don't like perpheral publishings to a mighty epic like this one, I'd totally want to get a book published with all the Tower's secrets. That'd be quite enjoyable to read.

Now I'm sure that the Oaths conversation is going to come back again and we're going to be fighting over their value, how smart Siuan is, how ludicrous it is that Egwene changed her mind, etc. All I'm going to say is that I completely disagree with Siuan and her little speech. I think she's completely deluded by the experience of being one of the most powerful people in the world. Sure people will listen to Aes Sedai, but not because they trust them. Ultimately, because they fear them and what their might will mean if arrayed against a nation. Tear historically has been scared to death of all things to deal with the Power and yet the Lords and Ladies will hope when AS say hop. And why? Because they're scared to death of them, three Oaths be damned.

This is, I'm firmly convinced, one of those areas where the character is flatout wrong. And why not? Siuan hasn't dealt with non-AS who matter for years. She's lived in a fantasy land as an AS, even with her brief stint as a severed former AS. She sees respect instead of fear simply because she doesn't know any better and because fear doesn't jive with her perception of the world.

I still think Halima did more than keep Egwene from dreaming but I'm not really sure what. I only hope that we'll find out in the fullness of time.

Chapter 16:

Grrr. Romanda and Lelaine. (ha! First time around I totally ruined their names and typed "Romaine and Lelanda.") They make me so angry. I don't even like Egwene all that much and I still hated them for being so, so...irritating! Granted, the first time I read this I was still fairly young. Now I kind of see where they're coming from, although they're totally wrong.

I do enjoy the business with Mattin Stepaneos more now that I know the full story. Pretty damned funny. I love how rumor can sometimes be so very right.

As for the Great Sitter Mystery...really, I never cared that much. I thought it was odd, figured there was some conniving going on and forgot all about it. I agree with the FAQ and think that makes sense but it's never been something I was interested in.

Sheriam: I'm so disappointed she turned out to be BA. I always kind of liked her and I'd hoped that she was being beaten by someone in the Hall who actually was a BA. I still think she might have been beaten by BA rather than Halima, but I could certainly be wrong. Either is pretty likely.
Stacy Berger
22. anIceFan
It is interesting, now that I have read TGS and found Egwene to be my favorite story line, her politicing here takes on a whole new tone. I remember at the time it was; ah crap, them again; now, I see her setting up everything she does later.
Captain Hammer
23. Randalator
re: no-editing policy

I didn't like that. You should edit it out. *ducks and runs for cover cackling madly*

sps49 @20

That reminds me- what are the Wise Ones telling Egwene? The DW aftermath has happened, why are they misleading her?

The kidnapping and all it entailed right up to Dumai's Wells has profoundly changed WO-AS dynamics. We're talking deconstruction of walking godesses of limitless power and mighty anger, here. There are only three AS left that are really respected by the WO (and one of them is "dead"). So right now they're trying to figure out how to deal with Egwene who is their friend and sort of an honorary WO but at the same time the leader of a generally despised faction.

Which means, until they've sorted out their feelings, they're in full protective mode and share nothing that might be potentially harmful to them...
24. iamnotspam
WELL damn, way to lay the smack down. I am in awe. Except I can't believe you let anybody talk you into correcting anything to begin with. Sometimes people sneak it up on you though and you find yourself doing something you normally wouldn't and then you are kicking yourself later.
Egwene uber Machaveili.
Siaun uber in denial.
Nothing makes for a better come down then those people who think they know better to have a great fall.
Cant wait for the take down of Romanda and Lelaine.
25. Ouroboros
A long time ago in a turning far, far in the future....



It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Forsaken Sammael has been destroyed, the remaining seals weaken and the Dark One's regent on Earth plays board games.

Evading the dreaded Black Tower Asha'man, a group of freedom fighters led by Egwene al'Vere has established a new camp site on the remote ice plains of Murandy.

The vile gangster Elaida the Hut, obsessed with finding young al'Thor, has dispatched thousands of remote pigeons into the far reaches of the Westlands….

Siuan: Wake up, Mother, the Andorans are coming. Oh, and I love Bryn.
Egwene: Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.
Romanda: We will meet these Andorans but you will do as I say. Don't tell Lelaine.
Lilaine: We will meet these Andorans but you will do as I say. Don't tell Romanda.
Egwene: So be it… Sisters.

To be continued...
Kate Collura
26. dreamwalker
Great post, Leigh! Thanks for sharing your well-deserved convictions about your writing.

These chapters certainly are interesting in a whole new way post-TGS.

rosetintdworld @ 10 I wonder if the discrepancy in Mesaana's description could be that she chooses "rasp" and "jet-black shadows" when she wants to scare the snot out of someone and "chimes" and "moonlight and shadow" when she wants to over-awe someone with her awesomeness? Just a thought.
28. Looking Glass
On Sheriam: I think some of her contentment is relief at being out of an authority position she’s not actually qualified for. Formerly, she was trying and failing to hang on to control of the camp and push a BA agenda against Lelaine and Romanda (and Egwene, though she didn’t know it). She wasn’t cut out for it. Now she just has to watch, obey, and report on Egwene. Of course, soon she’ll pay for failing miserably at that, too, but right now she apparently hasn’t yet realized there’s even an Egwene loop to be out of.

She may also be taking the fealty oath way better than the others who swore simply because she’s the only one not actually bound to obey it. To keep cover, she has to look like she’s obeying, but that’s much less restrictive than having your every action bound by oath.

Given that the Truth-Oath seems able to regulate future actions indefinitely, it’s a wonder even the most careful Aes Sedai don’t eventually tangle themselves in webs of “I’ll never do X” over the course of their extra-long careers. Even one slip every couple years would be a problem.

To me, it also seems out of line with the way the Oaths are portrayed otherwise, too: their fealty oaths should be treated as (potentially mistaken) predictions, rather than guarantees, of their future actions. That is, an Aes Sedai should only be able to swear “I will serve you” if they’re already genuinely fully committed to it at that moment, but should be able to change their mind later in new circumstances (just as they can swear something is true and then later learn it’s wrong). Ah, well. Guess it wasn’t meant to be.

SonofThunder@5: Yes, that’s exactly right; Egwene meets (and seriously impresses) him when she’s back in the tower.

rosetintdworld@10: It’s also possible Mesaana deliberately chooses to make her illusion form scarier and more intimidating than it was previously- either as a general result of Alviarin seeing her humiliated, or just because she’s really trying to scare the crap out of Sheriam in that scene. And remember, Mesaana is super pissed that not just has the rebel camp detachment of Team Evil botched their own job, but now their mess is leaking into her previously successful shatter-the-tower plans.

Also, I’d actually put Asmodean ahead of Heckle and Jeckle to date. Sure, Asmodean ended up not helping Team Evil at all, but at least we can see he gambled big and lost big. Had he gotten to Rhuidean even thirty seconds sooner, the series would’ve ended right there and Asmodean would have had all the cookies (at least until the world ended). And even after losing big at Rhuidean, he still did the best he could (for himself) with the crappy situation he was in. Aran’gar and Osan’gar skulk around for a super long time, and between them, I recall nothing more useful than Eg's headaches and one badly botched attempt on Rand’s life.

Lannis@11: IIRC, she just joined because she was promised power, and like many BA didn’t realize crunch time was on the horizon. Essentially, like joining the Evil Army Reserves without considering they might be called up for war.
Roger Powell
29. forkroot

The erstwhile King of Illian is hidden in a dungeonof something, not out and about. He doesn't matter anymore, don't try starting another Thread in the Pattern!
Sorry, RJ did it ... I'm innocent! You may recall that Egwene has a scene with him in KoD.

You are probably right about the fact that as Elaida's "guest" Mattin did not have the option of leaving. I don't think he was in a dungeon, but he was sort of under "house arrest".

Since TGS ends with Egwene taking over, we certainly don't see all the things she did right away. I am hoping that giving Stepaneos his freedom was one of them.

He would be grateful to her, and would presumably reserve his resentment for Elaida. He might even be willing to sign on to Rand's bandwagon if he understands that Rand rescued Illian from Sammael. He could be like Darlin or Dobraine. Rand has better things to do than administer Illian.
Brian Kaul
30. bkaul
Looking Glass@28:
Given that the Truth-Oath seems able to regulate future actions indefinitely, it’s a wonder even the most careful Aes Sedai don’t eventually tangle themselves in webs of “I’ll never do X” over the course of their extra-long careers. Even one slip every couple years would be a problem.

As I understand it, their intent plays a role there. Note that in order to say something that misleads and skirts the truth, they have to fully convince themselves of its word-for-word veracity. Likewise, when they swear an oath, as an oath, it would thus be binding since it was intended as such. If they make an offhand statement of that has the meaning of "I never intend to ..." or "I never expect to ..." that's different from one that means "I swear that I shall never ..." - if they say something that they know is an oath in that latter sense, they're bound by it. An oath is more than a mere prediction or statement of present preferences.
Holly Finnen-Stewart
31. Branwhin
Well, blast, my Taim joke didn't get through. It isn't *that* off-colour, honest! Here goes again.

(sigh) Go out of town for the weekend and what do you get? An absurd (but amusing! Well done twice now, Ouroboros!) number of posts to catch up on.

So, what do you call Mazrim Taim on a serious bender?


Pickled (red) herring.

And actually relating to these two chapters, I love the way RJ set us up to *royally* dislike both Romanda and Lelaine, and then show us that Romanda, while definitely crotchety and irritating, is nonetheless clever and capable of awesome (outing Delana and Halima). Very cool.
32. Lsana
Ah, the oaths...for a long time, I agreed with Suian here, that the oaths were the one thing that gave the Aes Sedai some small modicum of trust. It wasn't until my last re-read that I really changed my mind and came to the conclusion that they have to go as soon as possible. And it isn't because of the lifespan issue either; honestly, I have a hard time caring whether the AS live 300 or 500 years. They have to go because they are a big part of the reason that the AS are such manipulative bitches, the first oath in particular.

Everyone needs to lie. The AS are no exception. Whether it's about the little things ("No, sweetie, of course that dress doesn't make you look fat") or the big things ("No, Mr. Nazi Officer, of course there aren't any Jews in my basement"). The AS can't do it, though, unless they think they are telling the truth. Therefore, not only do they have to go for a technical half-truth that they know will be misinterpreted, but they have to convince themselves that it is just as true as if they had told the full truth. And once they convince themselves of that, the lying and manipulation comes naturally: after all, why feel guilty about telling someone that his friend "will be on his feet in a couple of hours" when it is just as true as admitting "he's badly hurt and will die in a few months.

The point where I lost most of my respect for Egwene was at Verin's death in TGS when she tells the novice, "I wish Verin hadn't gone to sleep in my bed." Not because she lied about Verin being dead, but because she was mentally patting herself on the back, as if what she did was somehow more virtuous than if she had said "Verin is asleep."

toryx @21 is right that people obey the AS out of fear, not respect. Suian, however, I think honestly believes that the oaths give them respect, and that's why they need to go.

@28 Looking Glass,

I think you're right about an AS swearing something not on the oath rod. The First Oath only means that they have to mean it at the time. It doesn't mean that they can't change their minds (see Seaine for an example).
Birgit F
33. birgit
Where do the Salidar AS get their money? After they learn to Travel, the individual sisters can probably visit their bankers and collect their stipends, but that doesn't explain where the money for paying servants and soldiers comes from. Does Eg rob Elaida's tax collectors?
Andrew Belmont
34. rosetintdworld
Birgit@33: They collect tribute from the Borderlands, who are traditional enough to adhere to old oaths to the WT. Discovering that Elaida is also collecting such tribute is how Lelaine figures out that Elaida has Traveling. One of the middle chapters of TGS (which I also read last night:))
35. Subbak
dreamwalker @26 : I agree with you re: Mesaana and Sheriam : Sheriam is really a punch-clock villain who doesn't really care for the DO, and by KOD perfectly aware that she screwed up badly. So the whole "you could - maybe - be just as awesom as I am" wouldn't work as well on her as the old brutal bad cop thing.

looking glass @28 : Hum, I don't remember any passage where it was explicitely said that the three Oaths bound you into following an oath of fealty or whatever. What's more, the fact that the ferrets were eventually released of their oath of obedience to Pevara et al. without abandonning the three oaths would tend to prove the contrary.

forkroot @29 : Steppaneos would never accept to be stewart of a king whose throne he used to hold... What's more, Rand already has the council of Nine for day-to-day matters.
j p
36. sps49
Ouroborous, you are the nonmusical Weird Al of the WoT.

forkroot @29-

I think Steppy would be disregarded if he tried ruling Illian, even as regent. The poor guy has gone beyond lame duck.

This is also a outlier on why the Oaths don't matter to non-Aes Sedai- they don't lie directly, direct qquestions are often avoided, but kidnapping a head of state can happen at any time. I wouldn't trust them either.
Holly Finnen-Stewart
37. Branwhin

I think that particularly since TGS (the end of it, at least!) Rand will realize should he meet Mattin Stepaneos that he can gain an ally by simply and immediately giving the crown back.

Something along the lines of 'this was given me in trust when I got rid of Sammael - it was not known that you lived.' I really hope that happens, actually. The king seems very perceptive.
Sharon E.
38. Sulin
@Leigh- thanks for another great post, and wow- what a smackdown! Like others, one reason I enjoy this blog so much is because of your colorful writing style. Keep it up! ;)

Ummm, not a whole lot to say since others beat me to it all. Again, I'm always amazed at how many little details RJ packed into these books; like the Steppaneos bit, Egwene thinking Elaida wouldn't go so far as kidnap Rand...etc etc.,

Sigh.... *sneaks to bunker, looking for cookies*

39. Subbak
Branwhin @37 : If he does that, he'd better learn from his mistakes with Elayne and not make it sound like he's doing him a favor or whatever. And given his respect for crowned heads and the like so far... that is unlikely.
Ron Garrison
40. Man-0-Manetheran
"the Plots Put Molasses To Shame"

Which is especially bad with the onset of cold weather.

Thanks Leigh! You rock!
Rikka Cordin
41. Rikka
This is why I say my general lack of ability to see plot twists coming is a happy flaw. I say, in re: entertainment, getting a properly-delivered frisson beats feeling smugly smarter-than-the-writers any day. Go me!

Absolutely! If a writer throws something at me that /I/ can predict... well damn. I'm usually pretty disappointed. *cough harrypotterandthedeathlyhallows cough*
Jay Dauro
42. J.Dauro

The ferrets would have forsworn all 4 oaths, and then resworn the 3 Oaths. Just as all the other AS do when they reswear in TGS.

And as I remember it is said that an Oath of Fealty sworn by an AS is binding due to the first Oath. This is probably after Dumai's Wells, and when Egwene forces the Salidar 6 to swear.
John Skotnik
43. ShooneSprings
Leigh - your posts are great, you don't need to change them.
44. Greyhawk

On edits--I agree that you should not worry about going back to edit your posts. But I have to say I found your response to the unidentified requestor(s) somewhat strident, harsh and out of proportion (at least to the extent that I am aware of the requests). This is a blog hosted on publisher's website--it does not surprise me that as a writer you might receive requests (and I mean requests--although you seem to perceive any request as a demand) to use less profanity or whatever. Not that you should agree to the requests (and not that you should ignore them--who knows it may be a good suggestion going forward), but really, its not like you are writing as Leigh Butler to make an independent point. This is a blog about a reread of a series hosted on the publisher's site. As such it is an extension of Tor and its purpose is to support and promote the WOT brand. If you want true independence set up your own site and have at it.

Ironically I happen to think your writing style is witty and at time hilarious, regardless of whether I agree with a particular position you may have. However, if some people are more sensitive to vulgarity (however banal), a few requests for changes for public consumption should be expected and IMHO not be perceived as so offensive. That you would compare requests for tonal changes to a compromise of your ethics is just too much.

This is a public forum--and whether you realize it or not, I would bet real money that Tor would shut this down if you went all pysco with profanity and vulgar discussion. I do not know what specific request you are referring to in your "slam down" but I do recall some discussions early on in the blog series that essentially asked for less profanity and as I recall you replied in a shorter but no less excessive manner.

Bottom line for me, I wouldn't change a thing, but I think you should have thicker skin on some of this stuff. It is part of "speaking" in a public forum.
Chin Bawambi
45. bawambi
Ok the Stepaneos paragraph is what I was referring to in my Egs criticism last entry. In the middle of a few awesome Egs chapters I see an Amrylin Seat who forgets that the Dragon is her one time friend which I hope will be resolved during ToM.
proof Rand had killed Mattin Stepanoes with his own hands and destroyed the body with the One Power ....The first was far more likely ... There were already too many black marks against Rand's name in the sisters' books.
This shows a woman who believes Rand is capable of Sevanna behavior not a friend.

Thomas Keith
46. insectoid
::blinks:: Where did that come from? Leigh, most of us (including myself) love the way you write—don't change! Thank you for putting that out there, though; I know some people need to hear it.

So begins my favorite plotline in the book—not sure exactly why, but I'm sure I can find a reason... Later.

Ouro @25: BAHAHAhahaha!! ::rolling on floor::

I'll get to my input on the chapters as soon as I stop laughing... ;D

Jeff Fullmer
47. jlfullmer
Nice Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle reference - gripping hand indeed!
48. Seamus1602
Hate, hate, HATE Siuan 'reasoning' re: the 3 Oaths

She could not be more wrong. AS try to work around the Oaths from the momentthey take them. People trust AS less, not more, for the 1st. Plus, that one does more than half the work of Compulsion wheneer they're not the most powerful person in the room (just ask those at DW). The 'no power-as-weapon' oath is just dumb, considering the blatant physicality of their methods of convincing others (and theatening them!).

In the end, Siuan is making the argument that the 3 Oaths take the place of governmental institutions, which is blatantly wrong. They don't do anything to ensure ongoing positive governing. They only give sanction to the lies and violent actions of the AS (just ask Alanna, or Elaida-remember that tGS attack on Egwene?). The 3 Oaths do not 'hold the AS together' as Siuan claims, they're just a 3000 year old crutch. Siuan just dead wrong in this case.
49. Subbak
bamabi @45 : Why did yoçu have to mention Sevanna. Now we can't go back to the nice denial of her existence with which these chapters let us get away!
Tess Laird
50. thewindrose
Always enjoy your posts Leigh! But really, you must have been concerned about coming up with something to write about -heh;) I have actually been enjoying these later books more with the re-read - truths honor and all.

Arggg, the three Oaths, please get rid of them!!! If I were a Randlander, I would listen to a Wise One, but would always look for the manipulation in what an Aes Sedai was about. And, yes I know that said Wise One could be sending me off on a fools errand, I still would respect her more.

Bryne. -Rocks. - Again. I wonder if Egwene realizes how lucky she is to have him as her General?

I have been wondering if all Halima did was the messing with dreams, because I really am not impressed with that. I know - Egwene could be missing some helpful dreams, but I don't know - just doesn't seem that dire??

Marcus W
51. toryx
I'm going to add an Addendum to my comments re: the oaths and Siuan's fallacious (imho) arguments.

I've noticed more people agreeing with me so far than not, but I wanted to comment directly to something Siuan said that bothers me a great deal:
Men may look at what we say from six sides, but when a sister says, ‘This is so,’ they know it’s true, and they trust. Because of the Oaths.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm more inclined to like and trust someone who tells the truth solely for the sake of honesty. Respect and trust is built, not bought, by action far more than word.

The actions the AS have demonstrated is that they must have "truth" forced upon themselves. Consequently, it's commonly accepted that one must examine what an Aes Sedai says very carefully to be sure that the truth you heard is the truth you were given.

In that case, their actions actually undo the very thing they're attempting to demonstrate. An AS cannot be trusted to tell the truth because she's honorable or respects the truth, but because she's forced to. Furthermore, that very Oath calls upon every Aes Sedai to become an in twisting words to their purpose; it actually leads them to becoming better liars, if only in ommission or word twisting. Lsana demonstrated that quite well @32.

The saddest thing of all is that everyone knows this except the Aes Sedai themselves. They've blinded themselves from the truth by forcing themselves to use the truth as a shield, and they're either so persuasive at it that they actually convinced Egwene or she's been manipulated by Halima to believe it. I prefer to think the latter, but wishes aren't Bela.
Lucas Vollmer
52. aspeo
Great post as usual Leigh!

First of all I would totally love a book about the secret history of the White Tower. It would be an awesome companion piece for this epic story.

Also, I've always thought that Halima was doing something other than just giving Egwene headaches, but I’ve really never noticed any sign of compulsion. Maybe I was just expecting too much from a forsaken…

I think that Romanda and Cadsuane have some similarities after reading this chapter. Maybe as AS get older they just start thinking everyone is an upstart whippersnapper that needs to be told what to do. At least that’s kind of the feeling I get from reading about these two every time they appear.

Sheriam being BA kinda came out of nowhere to me. When I was reading the series up to where she is revealed, I never really figured out that she was anything more than a regular sister. I also figured that it was another AS who was trying to use her to get info about what Egwene was doing. Looking back I guess that I could have seen something more sinister in what was going on, but I think that I subconsciously chose not to look for it.

The whole oath rod thing: I don’t like the oaths, but I can see good points to having them. However, I don’t think the retiring to the kin thing is a good idea. Overall I think that the AS would be better off without them, just look at the WO and the WF in their respective societies. They are respected by their people not because they don’t lie, but because they do good things for them. Their actions earn them the respect that they are given.

One more thing, I’ve pretty much always enjoyed the Egwene plot arc. I don’t usually like political stuff, but the way it was handled from the time she became Amyrlin to the reunion of the tower was always able to keep me interested; unlike other plots…(pretty much the whole perrin, faile, berelaine thing ::sighs:: )
Brian Roloff
53. Ronin-alTyr
Leigh, may I just take this moment to say, “HELL YEAH!” I for one have been enjoying your blog tremendously. All of it, whether I happen to agree with you at the moment or not. I especially enjoy how your personality seeps, rather flows into your work, it gives it such a genuine feel. I very much appreciate you sticking to your guns here. I am exceptionally disheartened with the way people are so quick to try to censor words, phrases, ideas, as opposed to discussing them, like grown-ups. Not that I am a fan of Noam Chomsky, but his words have never been more applicable then in today’s world. “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for those we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

Now, I can’t wait to read the rest of your post! Thank you for all of your Herculean efforts in this fantastic recap!
James Jones
54. jamesedjones
11 Lannis

We get a POV from Sheriam, or a statement from her, in TGS that indicated she joined the BA as a networking tool.
55. Subbak
re: the whole Oaths discussion, and the comparison with WO and WF, let us remeber that WO are bound by ji'e'toh, so the difference with AS is not that big. Of course, the whole Aiel society works that way, and in theory, they could decide not to follow it any more, but it is unlikely (far more than, say, an AS not bounded by the three Oaths...).

WF are basically in charge of bringing wind in the sails and eventually fireballing ennemy boats. No political weight here, they have superiors, and don't form a real society by themselves, so they do't need to make themselves trusted.

Of course AS could do basically the same : abandon Tar Valon and stop being a society to be small groups with no global leadership, and assist rulers throughout the land. But we don't want that, do we? That's why I believe the Oaths are overall a good thing.
Luke M
56. lmelior
For those as lost as I was, Leigh was busy moving house and there were some shenanigans called for her use of the word "retarded" back in ACOS Part 18. Her reasoning for editing the post was sound, but so is her reasoning here for not doing it again.

I also fully support Leigh's decision. Keeping up this level of thorough and witty commentary for a year and a half must be difficult enough (I couldn't even keep up with the commentary - if you go back you'll find I was a much more active participant in the beginning) without having to walk on eggshells all the time. This is the Internet, people, you can either grow a thick skin or run away from the scary words. Feel free to suggest alternate language for offensive words or request that the admins review content for violations of terms of use, but don't expect others to curtail their freedom of speech on account of some faceless, random commenter.
57. Ouroboros
So seriously.

Leigh: go for it, it's your blog after all. Don't like - don't read. Besides, you've never struck me as the kind to deliberately offend.

I think the Aes Sedai need another rule to go with the one about unintended consequences.

The most believible rumour is never the correct one and the least believible is usually correct.

It's also nice to see that Egwene has so much faith in Rand. "Of course he killed the king."

Whatever else Sheriam thought of the fool woman, Romanda had been the one to chase Halima— and Sheriam's punishments— out of the camp.

As for her compelling Egwene, it could be a very subtle compulsion, but for what purpose? I don't know,.

rosetintdworld @ 14: Agreed on Sheriam. She's content because she now has an easy life with a little power.

forkroot @ 19: was that the same bed that Beonin hid under?

From the Ikia catalog.

Forget Me Not Bed Frame with Matress.
with under bed storage for lesser characters.

dreamwalker @ 26: The last time we saw shiny Mesaana was before SH gave her a spanking. Maybe she's feeling a little less shiny now.

Lsana @ 32: They don't even need to convince themselves of the lie. All they need to do is compile enough true facts together to avoid speaking the truth that they are being asked to give.

"Is it raining outside?"
"I am waring a rain coat."

sps49 @ 36: Weird Al - I love that guy. Much abliged.

jamesedjones @ 54: I guess Aes Book wasn't good enough.
58. Looking Glass
Subbak@35: I think someone said it explicitly, but I don’t have the text in front of me to confirm. Even without that, though, the part where the rebels who swear to Rand are confused as to what exactly their ta’veren-inspired vow meant, but eventually conclude that they’re compelled to follow it fully anyway, and the part where Egwene thinks Beonin apparently breaking her fealty vow means she’s not bound by the Truth-Oath (and thus Black) both suggest this interpretation.

(That’s before Beonin explains she didn’t interpret her fealty vow quite the same way Egwene did, but IIRC they both agree that her vow would constrain her actions if she accepted Egs as Amyrlin.)

The ten moles could’ve been unsworn and resworn. Alternatively, they could just be operating on the principle that your fealty-holder has the inherent ability to release you from your vow. That ability is explicitly stated in some WoT fealty vows; it may be implicit in the others, though I don’t recall the exact wording of the mole vows.

Aside: To avoid confusion between oaths and Capital-O-Oaths, I’m gonna try and call the non-rod ones “vows” or “pledges” or something.
Barry T
59. blindillusion
~ Leigh – Well said. Why limit yourself to please a certain portion of the crowd? Bah at that, says I! Bah! If someone doesn’t like what someone else says, then that is on them, not the person who made said comment. This PC/Entitlement world we live in disgusts me.

~ Three Oaths – Epic Fail in every way imaginable.

~ Romanda and Lelaine – I used to dislike these two immensely. Now, Romanda is tolerable. Lelaine, umm, just what exactly is her purpose, except to be a foil to Romanda? I mean, seriously, the woman is completely pointless. Sure, she makes it possible for Faolain to have someone to tagalong after, so that Theodrin isn’t alone in that little Soul-Tearing-Oh-God-Help-Me-I’m-Going-To-Pull-My-Hair-Out-If-I-Have-To-Continue-To-Be-A-Footstool-To-This-Plot-Device, err, Situation/Nightmare/Farce(?). But other than that…? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

~ This Plot Line in General – Some of my favorite parts of Egwene’s storyline are coming up. The conversation with Talmanes is one upcoming MOA I’m looking forward to in this book.

~ And…I have nothing else for the moment.

edit: Oh, don't know if anyone mentioned it yet, but I believe Mr Sanderson said he'd mention Mattin Stepaneos in the upcoming book. He was in the Tower during the Seanchan attack. I'd imagine he took long strides to perfectly resemble the local furniture.
60. Hrothgordo

Your stance is fundamentally correct, in that you should not ever change the content of your posts retro-actively.

Like most I am torn by PC items. I prefer that people speak up if I am displaying ignorance or my position was not clear on something. Maybe something will be learned in the discussion, and if I do state something wrong I will try to correct for the future.

But I can’t deal with people who display mock outrage or just go into the absurd with comparisons. This would include any critic who uses comparisons to the Nazis/Holocaust some such nonsense.

That being said, as an artist you have to accept that critique and criticism that comes with the job. Just as others need to moderate their response to what you write than you will have to moderate your response to their input.

Don’t cave to demands though.

Unless of course they are from your editor. I mean a girl’s gotta eat..

Now back to this semi-pleasant brak from the “BLAH” of PoDL

Halima and Narishma were always such a disappointment in the novels.

My original thought was that Jordan had pulled a brilliant move and that Taim would turn out to be one of the “gars”, most likely Aginor. Basically, the theory was the DO needed a body to put them in and since he just had the BA freak Taim free, I will just stick one of them in Taim’s body.

This also doubled my enjoyment of watching the red herring moments of Taimendred as my intrepretation had been it was Aginor purposely acting like Demandred just to screw with Rand (and kind of test how much he remembered of the AoL).

Alas, instead of sneaky evil I get a villian who can apparently be thwarted by a bottle of Tylenol.

I actually thought Egwene was more impressive this portion then she was in many parts of tGS. Here she is taking command but also listening to the input of her subordinates. Her strength wasn’t as visible as surviving beatings and Seanchan attacks, but just seemed more believable then the 18 year old that suddenly cannot make an incorrect move or decision.

As to the 3 Oaths I abhor them with a red hot passion. Even beyond the signing away a portion of their lives away, I generally think almost all of Suian’s speech is garbage.

Three main reasons:

1. As others have said, people don’t trust AS they FEAR them.
2. The sense of sorority and continuity being described is a farce; especially as the Tower goes out of it’s way to blur it’s own history even to it’s members.
3. After a couple millennia of turning the truth into a pretzel no one believes them. Kind of the difference between following the letter but not the spirit of the law.

At the end of the day it is kept as yet another barrier of AS to the “common” folk. Another form of isolation and warning is brought by having that ageless face.
61. MasterAlThor
So the 3 Oaths....

Well they did without them in the AoL so at some point the AS get rid of them.

Hmmm wonder how that came about?

I view the AS as a group that doesn't want to lose their power. So the 3 Oaths are a necessary evil for them.

Tricia Irish
62. Tektonica
Leigh: Thank you. Don't ever change a thing you write. YOU are the reason I come here... your great, insightful, funny writing, your intelligent opinions, and the inspired discussions your blog inspires amongst an incredibly intelligent group of thinkers and fans. I detest the PC police and the patriarchal state. Meh.

MasterAsmodean@16: Aren't we all kind of geeky here? And don't we love it!
Happy Geek and Nerd day to you too!

Martin Stepaneos: LOL. Rolled up in a rug....and ended up in the White Tower! And what happened to him during/after the Seanchan assault? If he's still alive, what will he think about Rand being crowned Kind of Illian?

Kidnap plot: Even Elaida wouldn't be so daft as to try to kidnap Rand! Oh, yeah? And why hasn't Egwene been told about this by the Wise Ones? Did Rand tell them not to breathe a word about it? And they listened?

Halima: I think she's up to more than just headaches and keeping Egs from dreaming. Why would she/he be so lame with such incredible private access to Egwene? Maybe some mild compulsion? Maybe she was watching her dreams? I don't know...thoughts?

Ouroboros@25: LOL. You need to be a writer.

As for this whole plot line...I'm in your camp Leigh...molasses. Watching Egwene grow is semi-interesting....I just wish it was on TIVO and we could fast forward through the Romanda/Lelaine rants and the other slow parts.

The White Tower in general has become my least favorite area of interest in all the books....due in great part to many irritating characters....opinionated, overbearing, arrogant, myopic women. Well, that was certainly a huge generalization, but truly, most ARE!

Now I'm going to post, since it's so late and then go back to reading and catching up. Sorry if I've been redundant.
Matthew Smith
63. blocksmith
Been experiencing spam filter issues for some unknown reason, so have only read the post.
Lannis .
64. Lannis
rosetintdworld @ 14; & Looking Glass @ 28; jamesedjones @ 54 (and well, anybody I've forgotten): re: Sheriam's BA decision... Thanks! :)

Erm... a reread of tGS is definitely in order... :/
Tricia Irish
65. Tektonica
toryx@51, re: the Three Oaths: What you said! I totally agree. Down with the Three Oaths. They are worse than useless. The Aes Sedai are feared, not respected. Actions do speak louder than words.

Back to Leigh's intro for a minute. I stand by my earlier statement...and would like to add that I think Leigh always does her best to be polite and tries to be very sensitive and insightful. (While remaining hilarious!) This is a very polite blog, IMHO.
66. alreadymadwithmattin
sps49 @20
Mattin is not in prison or the dungeons. Elaida was treating him as a guest. A guest with round the clock supervision perhaps, but even Elaida gave him free rein to wander about and talk to whomever he wished. She probably figured any sister he spoke to would feed him propaganda. Except he decided to try talking to Egwene.

Ouroboros @25
Roger Powell
67. forkroot
Well they did without them in the AoL so at some point the AS get rid of them.
I don't think they ever had anything like the three oaths. We know from Forsaken POV's that what the Tower calls the oath rod was actually called a binding rod in the AoL and that it was only used on criminals.

Of course in the AoL, Aes Sedai (both male and female) were respected and trusted. Whether that was fully warranted is debatable. We know that in an interview, RJ stated that Mierin was susceptible to corruption by the DO. Hence we can assume that at least some AS in the AoL were not always pure of motive even before the creation of the Bore.
68. OwMasha
Dance in the street - er, office chair - the Arc of Awesome has arrived. My inner sixteen-year-old might be swooning, here, but I'll lock her up for now so I can pitch out a weak li'l theory, because - wow. So much harshing on the Three Oaths here!

And I have an idea about them (which I want to see picked apart by the commenters of greater expertise).

Okay, going by this page, post-breaking Aes Sedai only took the First Oath ... and in that context, I think, it really did make sense. Consider:

Other Breaking survivors: Hey, female Aes Sedai, how are we supposed to know that you won't all go crazy and destroy the world as the male AS did/are doing?

Surviving Aes Sedai: Well, uh, saidar isn't Tainted. That's only saidin.

Other survivors: Of course you'd say that. And we'll totally trust that you're not going to lose it and kill us all, because you say you won't. (Ignoring/attacking AS commences)

Aes Sedai: Hey, wait! Look, we found this Oath Rod that we used to use to keep criminals from recidivism. Remember that?

OS: ... mmmaybe. Some of us.

AS: Okay, we swear to speak no word that isn't true. Saidar isn't tainted. Okay?

OS: ... maybe. Enough not to kill you all in your sleep, anyway.

Yeah, things have changed massively in WoT World since then, but it might have been a pretty crucial part of bringing surviving channelers together at that point, and a tradition that's kept your people alive and safe can be pretty hard to let go of. It's always been hard for me to see Siuan's argument here as more than 'surprising determination to follow tradition over a cliff', but with this post's reminders that she knows a whole lot more about it than We The Readers do ... maybe she has a point after all.

(None of this means that the Tower shouldn't train its Novices and Accepted as an anti-Seanchan fighting force, of course.)
Sharon E.
69. Sulin
Ouroboros@25- Weird Al indeed- Love the IKEA reference! :D
70. sushisushi
I'm totally there on a History of the White Tower, too, no matter how concise.

Also, speaking of new books (or art, at least), have you all seen the updated cover for ToM? Looks like the nits were picked and we're off to the Tower of Ghenjei, after all.
Thomas Keith
71. insectoid
sushisushi @70: ::goes and looks:: OMG!! Moiraine! Squee! And Mat has his HAT! ;)

There is a brief history of the White Tower in the BBoBA, as well as a list of Amyrlins since the Hundred Years' War; however, the BBoBA isn't generally considered canon, so.

Theresa Gray
72. Terez27
The BWB is considered canon in the sense that it is supposedly like a history book written in the WoT world. It's not perfectly accurate, but neither are the characters' points of view, really. RJ makes it quite clear they are wrong about stuff all the time.

I enjoyed Leigh's little rant on this post. I am now very curious about what the complaint was.
Luke M
73. lmelior
@ 61 & 67:

Humanity loses the ability to channel at some point (likely at the end of AMOL), otherwise how would Tamyrlin be the first to discover how to channel?

@ Terez27 #72:
I enjoyed Leigh's little rant on this post. I am now very curious about what the complaint was.

See comment 56.
Theresa Gray
74. Terez27
Thanks. Yeah, they have to lose the ability to channel at some point, but there's too much plot development into the channelers for it to happen all at once, I think. I could be wrong, especially if the ability to sense the Power has anything to do with the ability to sense the True Power/Dark One (which I doubt), but I will be very surprised if the ability disappears altogether at the end of the series; I expect it will gradually disappear over time in the next Age.
John Massey
75. subwoofer
Tess Laird
76. thewindrose
OK, did Thom fish out Mat's pink pants from the bonfire, or do I need a better monitor;) Just kidding, wow that cover is an improvement!

So here is an interesting little tidbit from chapter 15 Stronger Than Written Law:(Bryne talking with Egwene)
"You know she is increasing the Tower Guard? To fifty thousand men, apparently."

How did he find this out?

(Edit for spelling, I apparently had approval on my mind when keying improvement)

Theresa Gray
77. Terez27
In context, it makes a little more sense: "Even leaving people in the pay of the Tower out of it," he said at last, slowly, "news of an army flies as fast as a falcon. Elaida will know to the day when we’ll arrive, and she won’t give us an hour. You know she’s increasing the Tower Guard? To fifty thousand men, apparently."

There's an implication that he learned in the usual way. But then, there is also the possibility that Siuan found this out in Tel'aran'rhiod by searching through Elaida's or Alviarin's stuff.
78. Freelancer
For the record, I accept full responsibility. It was my words which laid the foundation for Leigh's introductory tirade, though I do not know what other trigger(s) set it off at this time.

Following the occasion where a reader expressed displeasure with Leigh's choice of a word, she politely and sensitively submitted to revising her post to excise the offending adjective.

In the comments which followed, I made a point that if one manner of offense was worthy of "correction", then perhaps another was as well. I did not do so as a direct request for Leigh to revise anything, nor as a plea for her to alter a behavior I knew good and well she would hold onto like Asmodean's tuft of grass. I did so for exactly the reason she felt the need to so strongly express herself today, that the discomfort of one reader is not really an adequate reason to change what has been set forth, lest the practice degenerate into a never-ending downward spiral of accomodations. An expression of sympathetic sensitivity, perhaps even a mild apology, is one thing. Editing is another.

If someone were to look back, they would find no less than four occasions where I have specifically referred to this blog as Leigh's place, with which she can do as she pleases. I have consistently defended her right to say what's on her mind. That's an opinion which would be difficult to reconcile with any demand that she write so as to please my sensibilities.

Yes, I have let Leigh know that the coarser turns of phrase she occasionally employs don't sit well with me. I have NEVER demanded or suggested that she change her style to suit me. I made it through 21 years in the U.S. Navy hearing the common speech of sailors, nothing Leigh writes is going to be so nasty as that. But I do believe it's fair to let someone know what aspects of their style are uncomfortable to me, and that's as far as it has ever gone.

Leigh, for however much it may have applied to me (and I truly hope it did not, though I suspect it did), I wish to respond to this part of your statement:
In the less important sense, it was a mistake because (as I should have realized) it immediately opened the floodgates for anyone who had a problem with anything I wrote to think they had the right to ask me to stop writing whatever it is that particular person didn’t like or disagreed with.
To reiterate, I've never asked you to stop anything. I made a comment, in the form of a question, which pondered if you'd consider avoiding one form of offensive verbage as easily as another. No suggestion, request, or demand was included, and none implied.

I apologize for any discomfort which my choice of words, or my manner of expression has caused you. I also apologize for any part I may have had in this becoming a too-significant aspect of the re-read post today.
Alice Arneson
79. Wetlandernw
I'll get to "real" comments later tonight... Just had to add, for those who are baffled... Way back in the early days, someone did ask Leigh to consider restraining the vulgarity level. She considered (for a second maybe? :)) and said no, but it sparked a firestorm for a few days. Much later, someone asked her to refrain from using the word "retarded" - this was the one she graciously changed. (As a side note, while I would not have asked her to change it, I appreciated it. Her own comment was that she considered it synonymous with "stupid" which, while a common misconception, is both invalid and offensive to someone who has a loved one to whom the term can be clinically applied. Hence, I looked at it not as giving in to PCness, but as correcting the misuse of a word. JMO.) As Freelancer just said, he was not in favor of that move and wondered if she'd be considering other changes as well. It was a rhetorical question and definitely not intended as a request, but it was obviously taken that way by many including Leigh. (What was funny - in a squirmy sort of way - was that I was one who read it wrong the first time, and my response was way off base. In retrospect, well.... ::squirm squirm:: So I'll add my apology for fueling the fire.)

And for some strange reason, I keep typing "squirem" instead of "squirm." Wierd. I did it five times. In a row. Wierd. By now squirm doesn't even seem like a real word.
Richard Boye
80. sarcastro

Aww shucks, Leigh...

"And, outdated or not, I haven’t seen anything (that I recall) in either KOD or TGS that contradicts the article’s general conclusion, either, which is that the “too-young” sitters in Salidar and the “unusual” Sitters in the Tower were placeholders chosen in anticipation of an eventual reunification of the two Halls.

Well, thanks, but there are a few wrinkles here and there that I still cannot explain away (and a few issues which I did raise back in 2004 ;) )

I am being lazy, so I shall quote myself from elsewhere:

The Five Heads of the “Unaligned Ajahs” (Ferane , Suana , Adelorna , Jesse and Serancha ) sent one Sitter each into the rebellion, basically all deciding each send their youngest – these five became the Obstructionist Five (the “Ob5”) – Magla (Yellow), Saroiya (White), Varilin (Grey), Takima (Brown) and Faiselle (Green). They were supposed to suppress the rebellion's worst impulses, and make them more amenable to returning to the fold. A few things got in the way, of course – Elaida’s debacles, mostly, and Egwene’s nascent competence.

Then, they all selected place holders in Tar Valon who were either atypically young and would do as they were told (Rina for the Green holding Faiselle’s seat, Andaya for the Grey, holding Varrilin’s seat) or took seats in the Hall themselves (Suana for the Yellow, Ferane for the White, holding the seats for Magla and Saroiya respectively)


The oddity of the Brown Ajah is not addressed. As a point of reference, two of the Brown Sitters fled Tar Valon and ended up in the Salidar Hall – Takima (one of the Ob5) and Janya. Of the two new replacements in the Tower one was selected by Jesse and was noted as being too young, Juilaine, but the other, Shevan, is considered a worthy sister for the position. Are we to assume that one of the fleeing Brown Sitters did so of her own volition (Janya) and the other did so because she was told to (Takima)?

I should like that bit answered.

Further, this whole issue still sucks hard:

Bear in mind that all the Sitters not told of the vote to depose Siuan fled Tar Valon with one exception (Seaine). Which leads to some questions:

Firstly, what are the odds that all those Sitters who were dispatched would each happen to be the youngest in her triad :and: also not have been included in the vote? Astronomical, in my opinion. So that might mean that the Ajah Heads made a conscious decision to make some of their Sitters not participate... Or did they? We were told that they didn’t even know it was going on...

I suppose we are just supposed to suppose that Elaida and Alviarin got together, threw together a bare quorum of Sitters, which was heavily leavened with Black sisters (of the eleven in the vote, four of them were Black Ajah), and somehow coincidentally, the sisters in that quorum didn’t include the junior ones that would later be sent off as the Ob5.

Astronomical, says me.

But further, here's another point that sticks in my craw:

The fact that, by and large, the new Sitters chosen in Salidar (with the notable exception of Romanda) were all too young is not addressed. The conversation we see among the Coven of Ajah Heads doesn’t actually address how that came to be. It is highly coincidental that each of the Unaligned Ajahs would all settle on sisters too young for the Hall; it is much more likely to be by design. I know there is a throw-away line in Romanda’s POV that she was pushing for Dagdara, but Magla (the Ob5 Sitter) pushed for Salita, the ‘too-young’ scab Sitter.

From which, I reckon, we are to glean that all the scab Sitters chosen in Salidar were selected at the machinations of the Ob5. Fine, I guess, in theory but really tricky in practice.

I suppose that we are to glean from the Romanda/Magla conflict is that it was the Ob5 sisters (the fled Sitters) who internally pushed for the weird, 'Too Young' Sitters selected in Salidar. The view into Yellow internal strife indicates that Magla would probably have gotten her way without any interference if it wasn't for strong, senior Romanda exerting influence; Magla had to essentially bribe Romanda into allowing Salita (Too Young!) by standing back and letting Romanda become First Weaver. Now, from Magla's perspective, she must think she has played Romanda for a fool. "Sure, Romanda, if you give me what I want, I will let you be First Weaver," although Magla knows full well that the "real" First Weaver is Suana Dragand, ensconced in the White Tower.

But I digress.

I suppose we are to presume that similar stuff went on elsewhere in those Ajahs who don't have a figure of Romanda's authority to thwart the Ob5: Saroiya is evidently the highest ranking White in salidar, so she pushed for her young co-Sitters. Varillin is the highest Grey, Faiselle the highest Green (because Myrelle's adoption of the Captain-General role is considered a sham by Faiselle, who must adhere to Adelorna's authority), but once again, the oddness that is the Brown rears its head - Janya is a weird 'independent' so I guess she just didn't really care when Takima pushed for Escaralde?

But the real issue that still irks me is the timing of all this - I made a timeline regarding the Tower schism and its after effects that makes it really really implausible the idea that the Ajah Heads were masterfully running the show from behind the Amyrlin Seat.
Theresa Gray
81. Terez27
IIRC, there were almost exactly 100 days between Siuan's deposition and the time the Hall was formed in Salidar (or at least the time we learned of it). I always figured that was enough time, if barely. As to the issue of why Janya left...we know that she wasn't summoned to the vote. If she'd voted for Elaida, she'd have had no reason to flee, and the vote had to be unanimous, so clearly she wasn't summoned to Elaida's raising. I assume that Jesse simply didn't bother with Janya because she's a little bit loopy, beyond maybe generally advising her to try to help bring the rebels back. Perhaps Janya has simply gotten a bit senile since she was chosen to be a Sitter, and Jesse decided to replace her; perhaps Jesse only realized that it would be easier to pass off one too-young Sitter than two.
Tess Laird
82. thewindrose
Terez27 - I lean more towards Suian in T'a'R with the ring;)

I just really love how RJ puts these little tidbits in everywhere, tightening the story. One of the reasons I keep coming back.

83. AndrewB
thewindrose @50 & aspeo @ 52: re Halima's giving Egwene headaches.

I believe that giving Egwene headaches is all she could do. IIRC, there is a Halima POV where she laments that she does not have more skill in the World of Dreams. I think she mentions that she has to be next to Egwene to affect her. Halima's purpose may have been to prevent Egwene from accesing the World of Dreams.

toryx @51: "I've noticed more people agreeing with me so far than not, ..."

FYI. I am a staunch supporter of the 3 Oaths. But due to my swearing of the 6th Oath of the WoT Re-read, I am prohibited from providing any reasons why I support Aes Sedai swearing the 3 Oaths.

ouroboros @ 57: "Leigh: go for it, it's your blog after all. Don't like - don't read. Besides, you've never struck me as the kind to deliberately offend."

Unless somebody disparages Leigh's beloved Saints.

Count me in with those who love the political nature of Egwene's current chapters. I enjoy fantasy storylines with lots of political manuevering and/or battles. Egwene's Amyrlin Seat arc (from her notice of summons to the Salidar Hall in LoC until the end of TGS)is my favorite character arc to date in WoT. I especially like the next few chapters where Egwene is at her Machiavellian best.

The political manuevering is why I do not mind Elayne's Andor throne arc; although, I feel that RJ was too verbose in some chapters. A number of those scenes could have happended off-screen. That would have prevented some dragging of that plot.

Thanks for reading my musings.
84. TRiversson
Longtime lurker first time poster here.

I have seen and watched you guys for a long time. I have seen you all break down a marvelous story and get into some really off the wall stuff. Today's intro made me want to comment for the first time.

I find this thing kind of bassakward. Leigh says that she has the right to say whatever she wants, while the rest of us are asked to play nice? What kind of crap is that?

I don't know who asked her what, but as verbose as Leigh is douldn't she find another way to make her feelings known? So now is a free for all?

Not only that, some of you may have just slapped some of the very people you claim to respect in the face with your adamant defense of Leigh. Are you that fickle?

Do you really like the idea of having an overlord say to you...hey, I can say and express myself anyway I want, but you have to be respectful. I don't have to because it infringes on my right to be artistic.

Leigh you obviously offended someone with your speech. If they brought that problem to you don't you think that you owe it to them to speak to them about it, instead of putting it out there for everyone to see and browbeat them into not speaking out again?

Everyone keeps calling this your space, well actually it is Tor.com's space and you are doing this for their fans. I am sure the people at Tor.com don't want you to alienate some of their fanbase.

But you are right that they can opt to leave and are encourage to go elsewhere.

I just may do that.
85. MasterAlThor

You are asking for it. I feel bad for you.


I was speaking that as the wheel comes round again there are no 3 oaths.

Richard Boye
86. sarcastro
I know this is a moderated discussion so I will be... tactful.

"I find this thing kind of bassakward. Leigh says that she has the right to say whatever she wants, while the rest of us are asked to play nice? What kind of crap is that?"

That's a marvelously creative misinterpretation of what Leigh said, so much so that one would suspect that it was purposefully done. Do you know what a straw man argument is?

This one suspects you do.
87. MasterAlThor

for those of us who don't, please expain this straw man arguement you speak of.

Richard Boye
88. sarcastro

"IIRC, there were almost exactly 100 days between Siuan's deposition and the time the Hall was formed in Salidar (or at least the time we learned of it). I always figured that was enough time, if barely."

That's pretty much true... but there was also a question of when the rump session of the Hall and/or Elaida's junta in Tar Valon decided that the rebels weren't coming back.

I suppose it might have been along the lines of the Ajah Heads lurking above in shadow and deciding that Elaida's coup presented an opportunity to place themselves in control over a politically weak Amyrlin, so they went to the Sitters who were not told of the Siuan-Removal-Vote ("SRV") and picked the youngest of them to go find the rebels and... what? bring them home? Stifle the rebellion?

Here's another issue - we have the Ob5. They are not included in the SRV. Were they just lurking around in the Tower until the Ajah Heads said "hey, you five gals - there is a rebellion fomenting. Go find them and join them and stifle them!" We had been previously led to believe the rebel Aes Sedai sort of all left in one great flood. Did the Ajah heads seize on that, and take the Ob5 and make them leave "on time?"

Then when they sent the rebels off, they filled the seats of the Ob5 in Tar Valon ... but what did they want to do with the rebel Sitters who fled because they weren't brought in on the SRV? Did they just expect them to come home and resume their places?
Eugenie Delaney
89. EmpressMaude
"Straw Man: a straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position."


"The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position for the purposes of attacking it or rebutting it."
Captain Hammer
90. Randalator
TRiversson @84

You would make a perfect 3rd age Aes Sedai what with all the word-twisty-ness you're displaying there...
Roger Powell
91. forkroot
I was speaking that as the wheel comes round again there are no 3 oaths.
True, and as discussed above, there should come a time where there is no knowledge of channeling.

For that matter, the DO's prison will have to be completely sealed as well - UNLESS the previous Second Age was the first instance of someone actually boring through to the DO's prison.

From what we know of RJ's Cosmoslogy, history repeats itself (with variations); however there is always the possibility that the DO could win and (essentially) end the game.

The very fact that there is a chance that the DO could win means that there is at least one variation of history that sets up the appropriate conditions. Thus it is possible that the DO's prison had never been breached before.

The counter-argument is that from the little we know of the AoL, the DO did not seem to be able to touch the world until the Bore was drilled. Since we do know that the Light's champion has battled the Dark before, it seems likely that the Bore needs to be re-drilled every Second Age.

P.S. A quick shout out to Empress Maude - welcome back!
Theresa Gray
92. Terez27
sarcastro@86 - This one suspects a regular poster in disguise...though I don't suspect freelancer (not his writing style, for starters), or anyone in particular for that matter. After all, what's it to anyone if someone who never posts decides not to come back? And it's rather weird to say you're leaving as if it's a threat when Leigh just very clearly said we can do just that and she won't cry over it. She's providing a service to us free of charge. If we don't want it, then no one is going to force us to take it. Simple as that.

@88 - I assume that the Heads assumed that there was a power schism to take advantage of, so their instructions to the 5 would have been along the lines of setting up a Hall in the first place to solidify the schism a bit, or they wouldn't have been given instructions on the too-young Sitters. This just so happened to coincide with Siuan's plans to make the rebellion more official. I also assume that they probably foresaw that the two factions would eventually be reunited in a way similar to how it was done. Furthermore, I assume that since they were a bit rushed that they didn't have time to come up with a very good plan. I think they probably suspected that the non-SRV Sitters would have to contend for their places in the Hall upon the rebels' inevitable return.

Also, I assume that the non-SRV Sitters all went to their Ajah Heads to be advised on what to do. It's the sort of thing a regular sister might not have done, but Sitters, being power-holders, might take the pecking order a bit more seriously than most. I can see Janya wandering off without instruction just because she's that way, but then it becomes a bit too neat that there was one Sitter from each non-Blue/Red Ajah that happened to consult her Ajah Head on the subject (because they all happened to be non-SRV of course).
Noneo Yourbusiness
93. Longtimefan
Some thoughts on Halima.

"she could have destroyed these “Aes Sedai” easily, were it not for the fact that she wouldn’t survive disobeying the Great Lord’s wishes for very long."

So this indicates that the Dark One has set goals and limitations on what Aran'gar can do in the rebel camp.

Interfering with Egwene's dreams, sure: killing Egwene, not so much.

But there are other people that Aran'gar can manage as well. Sheriam, as part of the Black Ajah, was in on the tower division plan. She also was in charge of the rebels until Lelaine and Romanda show up. Because of how the Aes Sedai hierarchy works Sheriam had to defer publicly once these "retired" Aes Sedai found Salidar. Had they not the Black Ajah plan to have the rebels just sit in Salidar and dither until Messena sent more commands would have worked.

There were 70 some odd Black Ajah in the rebel camp out of 300ish. It is unlikely that they were aware of each other but I would suspect that the Black Council would have sent a few effective hearts so communication and coordination would not be so limited that Messena would have to contact all of them with specific directions. (When the rebels left she was the only one who knew how to travel and/or how to contact her agents in dreams)

The big misfire on the Black Ajah's part was picking Egwene to be Amyriln. Sure she was young, indeed she is the most powerful Sadair wielder they had at hand. Somehow they forgot that she was raised in the same village as the Dragon Reborn.

Maybe that is a good thing for the Light side Aes Sedai but I would think that it would be a mark against someone if you had your proper dark thinking cap on.

Now they have the other problem, Siuan is "advising" the girl Amyriln. This lights a fire under the rebels to do something. Granted it is marching to Tar Valon under a banner of war which seems all pro dark except the plan was to divide them and then break apart the two sides into tiny, fractious groups that would be unable to stand against a unified dark army.

Maybe. That is just how I see the plan because of Messena's efforts in the tower and then extrapolating that onto what would happen to a bunch of sisters sitting around with almost a third of them Black who probably have standing orders to sow discord once the irritability of boredom sets in.

An army and declaration of war unifies the rebels and with them on the move there is very little Messena can do to keep her Black Ajah informed about what she wants them to do. Plus they have Mogheiden which the Dark Lord eventually figures out. Talk about not being omniscient.


uh, where is Mogheiden.


ok, I'll go do tha... hey what is this curtain over here?


So Mogheiden is not the Forsaken you can leave with the rebels to get them back on track and everyone else has something to do except for the Gars.

The World According to Osan'Gar'p gets sent to the Black tower to stand around and watch things fall apart around him. Cake job really. Rand will not get involved and Taim may not have been "go team EVIL" when he started but I am in the camp that believes he is rocking the University of Shayol Ghul team colors for a reason. That reason being he is EEEEVIL.

Aran'gar'field hates Mondays and organized Aes Sedai but loves Lasagna and low cut dresses. Egwene is her personal Nermal and Suian is her Odie.

The Dark Lord wants the army hindered but probably not stopped since war is division. A stalled army is just as effective at causing the people gathered together to become dissatisfied and start to break apart.

Halima is the Forsaken in charge of taking a hand in breaking the unity built by raising Egwene to Amyrlin and marching toward Tar Valon.

Delanna is a Sitter and under Halima's thumb upon her arrival. It would not be unreasonable to think that Halima knows who most if not all of the Black Ajah are in the rebel camp. In Chapter 16 and with later knowledge it is evident that Sheriam is also known to Halima'gar. Are the others? I cannot say. There is not enough in story evidence to conclude one way or the other. I suspect so.

Now there is a restriction to not "destroy" the Aes Sedai. So I suspect that sowing division is job one similar to the events in the Tower.

Maid killing on the other hand. Totally fine. So many benefits such as removing a chain of information to Lelaine and Romanda, keeping Chesa busy so she does not have time to watch Halima's every move and it gets some of the killing frustration out of her system.

At a later date there is also the Saidin killing of two sisters which does increase the tension and suspicion in the camp but has one big flaw, the two sisters were connected somehow. (Hooray Romanda for figuring that out on the late side)

So Halima is there to guide the Black Ajah directly, give Egwene headaches that are supposed to interfere with her decision making and allow the dream altering massages and get things back on track with Team Dark's plan which I suspect is to break all the Aes Sedai apart into small groups if not unsupported individuals. This has two big benefits.

One: Less strength in opposing the vast armies of the Dark. Disorganized and unlinked individuals will not stand well against an large force (see the Seanchan raid on the Tower)

Two: The more Aes Sedai who feel despair or anger the more likely that they will see the "Uncle Shai'tan Wants You" posters and find the nearest recruiting office to sign up for power and immortality.

These are my ramblings on what Aran'gar was allowed to do and what the plan behind it may have been. Not really hanging out of her dress being ineffective as much as trying to play a subtle game which was probably not Balthemel's strong suit. Gambling and womanizing sure but those require finesse more than subtlety.

When I started writing this the comments had only gone up to 78.
94. Freelancer

Please understand the full context of the events in question before you make broad-based assertions from an apparently uninformed position. Leigh is not restricting anybody else's ability to speak their mind. She is stating for the record, and as clearly as humanly possible, that she is under no obligation to accomodate the wishes of others in regards to how she conducts this re-read. Nobody owns a right to not be offended.

Leigh has no Toh to me!

Stephen Colbert is the ultimate straw-man. His character purports to be a political conservative, and is an incoherent dunderhead. The real question is what it says about those who don't see past the schtick, and accept the caricature as real.
Richard Boye
95. sarcastro

"I can see Janya wandering off without instruction just because she's that way, but then it becomes a bit too neat that there was one Sitter from each non-Blue/Red Ajah that happened to consult her Ajah Head on the subject (because they all happened to be non-SRV of course). "

well said regarding Janya, and also you did a nice, quick and concise summary of why I think that it is a bit of a stretch because it was, as you say, "too neat.'

Having said all of that, it was a great time picking at all the clues and piecing it all together.
Theresa Gray
96. Terez27
@general commentary on Blacks in Salidar - I realized not long after TGS came out that Dagdara is a perfect candidate to have been the one to Heal Cyndane, as per the theory that she was stilled and then (imperfectly) Healed by a woman. We'd always wondered about that, since Moghedien was never confirmed to have seen it done, nor did she appear to be in contact with any Blacks in Salidar. Dagdara could have done it, or she could have taught it to Semirhage.
97. MasterAlThor
Thanks Empress Maude


Other Alias
98. ghostcrab311
Gotta say, Leigh, I love your writing, and even if I didn't, I would respect and admire your willingness to stick by what you write. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination, as it were.

Loving these recaps. This book and the next are fuzzy as I skipped scores of pages at a time - I shall value your insightful commentary and summary all the more now! :D
99. HeWhoComesWithTheNoon
I say this about EditGate:

If, Leigh, you edited your post because the commenter pointed out to you that you used an objectionable word, which you used in a colloquial way, with no ill intent, and when it was pointed out to you, you wished you hadn't done it, then there's no shame in changing it. You have no commitment to a stream-of-consciousness style writing, unless it's self imposed.

If, OTOH, you still don't think there's anything wrong with what you said, and you only changed it grudgingly to appease someone, then you're right to stick to your guns, and screw those who disagree with you.

People tell me I shouldn't say moron, because it's a clinical evaluation for a specific intelligence level and disrespectful to those at that level. I've also been told not to use the word "gyp," as in to shortchange or cheat someone, because it turns out it's a racial slur against the Romani peoples. I choose to ignore the first suggestion and respect the second, and I don't feel like I'm compromising myself.
Tricia Irish
100. Tektonica

Good theories, all and funny. Thanks.

hey....I snagged 100....a first for me!
Theresa Gray
101. Terez27
@sarcastro again - I agree. I never did any work on it personally; my friend Callandor essentially updated the FAQ presentation after Knife of Dreams, and he did a thorough job of it. It did lead to me predicting that Egwene would be raised/accepted as Amyrlin by 11 Tower Sitters, with no rebel assistance. That was one of the few things I got right about the reunification, but we had too much familiarity with the Sitters in the Tower for it to not go somewhere having to do with the reunification. The Black Ajah hunters + too-young Sitters (under Head control) + 2 Sitting Heads = enough to raise an Amyrlin. I had no idea what to think about what the Heads were planning (and I think it's amusing that we still don't, really), but Egwene's being officially made Amyrlin was the only obvious goal.
102. MaerlynsRose
I'll just say, I LOVE your style, Leigh...there's nothing wrong with having a bit of good-natured, totally realistic fun with your blog. And you obviously inspire great discussion, so bravo I say!

Ah, the Oaths discussion. I'll admit, I was completely flabbergasted when I first found out that people believed Egwene had been Compelled partly because of her reversal on the Oath stance. I always agreed with Siuan, partly because this speech had a THEMATIC MOMENT quality to it, and partly because you have to think about what it would really mean to have someone that could smash you flat by waving their hands around walking about in public. RJ asks the question about what to do with Super-powered people in society, a question that the X-Men movies also discussed a little. The kind of fear that toryx mentioned is absolutely a factor in AS views throughout the world, but that kind of fear would treble and, IMHO, be more likely to drive a person to eliminate such a threat without some kind of well-known limit on essentially limitless power (as happened in X-Men). The Oaths beat the hell out of the system the Seanchan came up with, anyway, which is a different example of how to combat the same problem, with the same motivating factors (ie, fear that AS can do pretty much whatever they want.)

And on the life-cutting thing...I was never very clear. Would removing the Oaths restore your natural aging ability, with slowing and everything? I always kind of got the impression that it was like a timebomb that just killed you when your time was up, so with that gone, you just...go on living, right? Maybe?
103. MaerlynsRose
Also, just had a thought about the Wise Ones and Sea Folk channelers. Their arrangment works because those are closed cultures, with unique and strict orders that answer only to themselves and everyone understands and obeys the rules. It's no accident that both the Sea Folk and Aiel are extremely cagey around other people, and prior to the series chronology, almost mythic. The sheer variety of folk that a Westland Aes Sedai has to encounter mean more opinions, varying culture views and the whole host of free society goodies. So...yeah.
Alice Arneson
104. Wetlandernw
On the general subject of plot theorizing...
This is why I say my general lack of ability to see plot twists coming is a happy flaw. I say, in re: entertainment, getting a properly-delivered frisson beats feeling smugly smarter-than-the-writers any day. Go me!
I rather agree with this, as I've said before. I'd much rather have all the fun of reading the skilled writing, the building tensions, moments of relief, questions hanging, even questions I've never thought, and then the thrill of revelation... That's the joy of reading. If it's predictable enough that I know what's coming, a book must be redeemed by incredible word-smithing and amazing story-telling. That's not to say that I can't enjoy a reread, even knowing what's coming, if the story-telling is good enough, but the first time through I don't want to know before I get there.

toryx @21 - Thanks, now I'll think of Romanda and Lelaine (Romaine and Lelanda) as "lettuce and lala" whenever I read their names together.

I actually disagree with you about the Oaths, but I don't have the wherewithal to debate the subject tonight. I thought Siuan's speech, if considered without prejudice, was quite telling from a Randlander perspective. From our position outside the fishbowl, the Oaths have their serious drawbacks, but if considered from the worldview of Third-Age Randland it's actually quite true. IMHO. Maybe I'll have the brainpower to go into it properly tomorrow.

Was going to make some commentary on the Sitter Mystery, but can't wrap my head around either the point I wanted to make or the research needed to back it up. *sigh* Tomorrow...

"you're only a day away..."
Thomas Keith
105. insectoid
::waves at Sarcastro::

@84: ::winces:: It really pains me to see people say things like that. MAT @97 said it best—can't we all just get along?

EmpressMaude @89: Thanks! Didn't know it had a name.

LTF @93: Straw Man -> Scarecrow -> Wizard of Oz! LOL!! Seriously, nice analogies!

Ian Horn
106. IanGH
I haven't been able to read all the comments recently so I don't know what caused the ruckus. But I can tell you what offends me: sentence fragments. Be a dear and go back and fix those, will ya?
107. mattyh
leigh, thanks for not selling out. that is all.
109. alreadymadwiththeschism
sarcastro @80
Siuan was considered a poster girl for a too young Amyrlin. Someone for whom most of the older Sitters were passed over. I don't know how Elaida determined that the older Sitters would stand for her but the younger ones would not. You'd have to dig deeper into Aes Sedai politicking to figure that out, and that's a lot like digging through hay with a lot of mud and crap thrown in. You'll always get dirty. What we do know is that Elaida and Alviarin picked out a selection of Sitters whom she was sure would stand for her. Enough to reach a quorum. In the bloodshed that followed, the Sitters whom Elaida had called and could potentially question the procedure she used to gain the Seat and still support Siuan fled. Elaida had shown she would stoop to murder for that Seat. Who's to say what she would have done to Siuan's supporters after blood had already been spilled.
There were 21 sitters all in all, 3 from each of 7 Ajahs. Elaida convinced 11 of them, with herself as the 12th, which is the number required by quorum rules to support Siuan's removal. That leaves 9 Sitters to potentially support Siuan, 3 of whom were Blue. Of the remaining 6, Seaine stayed, the other five became your Ob5.
Now obviously, the Ajah Heads' manipulations weren't as masterful as they wanted it to be. But a general set of instructions would have sufficed. Delay the rebellion. Take steps so that a future reconciliation could take place with a minimum of ruffled feathers.

Terez27 @96
The problem with Cyndane being stilled then healed is that other examples of this end up with the woman less than half of her original strength. Lanfear must have been extremely powerful if even at less than half strength she is still the strongest Saidar channeler around.
110. Jonathan Levy
Hi Leigh!

I found your introduction to be potentially offensive to some people, please delete paragraphs 6-21 ASAP. Thanks!!!

(This nose-tweak was a public service for Sonofthunder@5 and BenPatient@3 :)

More seriously, your writing is a pleasure to read. I still giggle whenever I think of Elayne & co not realizing that the bowl of the winds was actually a piano. So to speak. (giggle)
Theresa Gray
111. Terez27
alreadymadwiththeschism@108 - First off, I'm not really a believer in the theory. I'm not a disbeliever either, though; it's the only thing close to a logical explanation that we have from the books, besides the Dark One doing something or other (the 'Finns don't seem to have the power to change someone's power level, as per Brandon). I have always felt pretty much the same as you about it - that her reduction in strength wasn't quite enough to fit - but I became less of a disbeliever in the theory after the TGS book tour.

Brandon made a comment to a group of fans that Cyndane was 'really, really weak'. We were all confused, because we knew she was still the strongest female Forsaken as per Graendal, so we pestered the hell out of Brandon until he clarified the issue.

Direct quote from Brandon, via Twitter and Facebook 18 November 2009

Okay, time to post about Cyndane for you Theorylanders. I have been discussing with Maria all day. She and I have different opinions on some things in the notes, but she has convinced me that she is right. I believed that there were some issues with her Power level—the Dark One playing tricks to keep everyone guessing—but Maria convinced me her Power really is what it seems. So you can disregard my comment about her being really, really weak and stick with the word I used earlier—"weakened." This is what you get for asking about things that we are still picking apart the notes regarding. ;) You know I love you, Theorylanders. (Even if I sometimes feel like I'm surrounded by a pack of wolves when talking to you.)

If she was stilled and then Healed by a woman, that might explain why Brandon thought she was 'really, really weak'. It may be that Semirhage was able to improve the method somewhat, or some other explanation.
Birgit F
112. birgit
Somehow they forgot that she was raised in the same village as the Dragon Reborn.

They didn't forget, it was part of the reason she was chosen. They thought that it would help them control Rand.
diane heath
113. jadelollipop
Reading COS....I am catching up to the re-reads :)
but this quote about Asunawa (at the death of Niall) made me think of the 3 Oaths discussion.
"Asunawa had a love of truth,a strange love;he could tie it into knots,or hang it up and flay it while it screamed,but so far as Valda knew, he never actually lied."
It sounds like a definition of the first Oath to me. At least the way it is practiced in Randland.
a a-p
114. lostinshadow
Wow guys, amazing how much a person can miss out on with you people in just a week!

first off, belated congrats to JDauro for his engagement, best wishes to you both.

and JennB, hope all has gone (or is going) well in welcoming the new member of your family.

Leigh, your blog reminded me of why I had loved WoT 20 years ago and encouraged me to revisit this old friend so I for one thank you for all the time you spend on this craziness. Sounds to me though like you could use some time off so hop on a plane and come join me here in the Mediterranean where the sun is shining and the water is absolutely beautiful.

I realize the 3 oaths debate has been done to death and will probably be regurgitated for years to come but for what it's worth I agree with toryx@51.

Perhaps it's a bit naive of me but seems to be that a person without integrity can easily manipulate the oaths into getting what they want virtually every time and well, if a person had integrity, they wouldn't really need the oaths.

The bit about the life shortening aspect to me is irrelevant, or actually considering how I tend to dislike most AS, for me that could be an argument for taking the oath. Considering how full of themselves they get in a 200 years, how much worse would it be if they lived even longer. So with that in mind I might be happy with them swearing oaths (and not getting to unswear them to "retire" that's just being greedy, wanting to have your cake and eating it too)

As an aside are we sure that unswearing the oaths would give them back the long life span? maybe the effect of swearing 3 or more oaths on an oath rod is irreversable even if the oaths themselves can be unsworn?

ok enough rambling for now, need to actually catch up on work too.
a a-p
115. lostinshadow
oh yeah and OwMasha@68, if I understand correctly, you are suggesting that the three oaths may have evolved as a way for AS to alleviate the concerns of the general citizenry that they too were not insane like the male channelers and then evolved into entrenched tradition?

I am not sure this really works because since I'm not sure that the 3 oaths would actually stop a truly crazy person from causing damage. My reasoning is that we see over and over again that if the AS believes something to be true or believe herself to be in danger she can lie or counterattack even if objectively speaking this is not actually the case.

We don't know quite how the male chanellers' craziness manifested itself but if it was in the form of paranoia of perceiving threats that weren't there and the like, they still could have caused damaged even if they had been bound by the oaths.

So I'm not sure the AS could prove trustworthiness as opposed to crazy male chanellers just by taking the 3 oaths.

On the other hand it's not clear that your average Randlander would know enough about how the oaths work to make this distinction and so might still be convinced.

not sure any of that made sense, I am now definitely going back to the highly convoluted legal opinion I'm supposed to be translating.
Mikey Bennett
116. EvilMonkey
Going up against the heavyweights of Terez and Toryx among others, all will be well all will be well all things will be well.

Let me defend the 3 oaths simply by saying that even though the oaths are not perfect they still keep the agency trying to keep the world from bursting at the seams for the last 3000 years together. Sure the WO and WF are not constrained by the oaths and are trusted members of their society. The key words are THEIR SOCIETY. Those other two groups have the advantage in that everyone they deal with have the same group of values, the same society, were indoctrinated with the same rules. Aes Sedai, on the other hand, are drawn from all over the world and are forged together under one mission statement that is literally binding. Just look at the distasteful problems that arise between Perrin and Faile because they grew up with two different value systems. Multiply that by 1000. Add that to the fact that these women have a power most common people will never understand. Also note that the business they are in often pushes them into politics. The mistrust is always going to be there no matter what they do. Another thing to consider, a Tairen Aes Sedai gets put on assignment to Illian, a country her people have been on the brink of war with for centuries. Another reason for mistrust. The oaths were made because of the nature of their buisness (opposite from Pinky and the Brain's since they're trying to save the world) coupled with the mystical awe of the power that defies understanding by any except the initiated causes a natural reaction of fear and mistrust. So what if the oath against lying makes one have to listen closely to what the AS is saying. Listening carefully to people is a good practice anyway. So what if people fear the AS? People fear what they do not understand anyway. At least with the oath against killing all but Shadowspawn means that they won't kill you unless you threaten them or you're a Trolloc trying to strike up a convo. And the weapon thing? If they really wanted to rule they would build an army (they make plenty enough money to raise one or two of em), fit em all with cuellandor or just power strengthened equipment and overrun all who oppose them. Without the oaths, whats to stop a heavy handed meglomaniac like Elaida from raining fire and blood upon all of Randland? The Hall? I don't think so. Its the oaths, their mission statement. I stand by the idea that the oaths are necessary, both as the way to let them do business and as a check upon themselves as an organization. Without the oaths the Aes Sedai become just another country, one free to make war on its neighbors. If I recall correctly that made Seanchan a charnel house until someone thought to leash them.

I'll end on this note. I know I will never change some of you guys' minds but who cares? It's still barrels of fun, right? NE wayz Aes Sedai faces some of the same problems of a volunteer army. You take people from all walks of life with many different value systems and try to forge them into an effective fighting force. How do you do it? You disassociate them with their place of origin, teach them discipline, instill within them an espirit de corp and you give them a mission statement. After a certain training threshold has been reached, generally after a rite of passage, you include them in something bigger than themselves and give them a purpose within that framework. And it all starts with an oath.

Theresa Gray
117. Terez27
On the Oaths...I haven't read any debates on the subject here, but I think the scene in Crossroads where Bryne and Egwene are hanging out on the bank of the Erinin, and the soldiers on the boats are terrified of them, thinking them an Aes Sedai and her Warder...I think that scene exemplified exactly why the Oaths are utterly useless. I think Siuan's arguments were rooted in a strong sense of tradition more than anything else. Egwene's acceptance came from a determination to see herself as Amyrlin of the united Tower more than anything else. The bit in the last chapter of Crossroads with Romanda makes that much clear. Egwene simply realized that she couldn't change everything in a day. That level of 'trust' isn't worth the shortened lifespans; even the nobility who are well aware that Aes Sedai cannot lie...even they don't trust what Aes Sedai say half the time, because it's rarely quite directly-worded.
Wesley Parish
118. Aladdin_Sane
Leigh, we've just had a drought break in New Zealand, with heavy and persistent rain for most of this week, and snow expected on the Banks Peninsular and the Port Hills in Canterbury. Did you send it down, by blogging on a similar drought breaking in WoT? (Just kidding! :)

No, facetiously - keep blogging away.
a a-p
119. lostinshadow
Far be it for me to claim to be even remotely in the league of any of the regular posters here but since I nevertheless have an opinion I feel I must share. (mainly this legal opinion I'm working on is driving me crazy and I welcome all opportunities for procastination - and there is no ale or food left in the bunker so what's a gal to do?)

While this is obviously open to interpretation, the way I've read the AS as a whole is that barring various individual efforts they haven't been doing much to keep the world together for the past 3000 years. Seems to me, whatever they may have started out as doing what they have been most recently doing is consolidating power for the sake of power, assuming they are right just because they are AS, making no real effort to improve the lots of anyone in Randland other than themselves, happily congradulating themselves on being channellers and making no effort at innovation whatsoever.

Your point about WO and WF being within a more homogeneous and closed society and hence more able to claim loyalty is well made and I agree with it.

Also, as you said the differences in the backgrounds of the various AS could rightly cause huge problems so some kind of disassociation from past and process of merging into one entity (members of the WT) is definitely necessary - you are spot on about that as well.

So I agree that some kind of identity building through training, rites of passage, etc is certainly necessary but I'm not convinced the taking of oaths on an oath rod is THE mission statement. They could still have a mission statement to fight the DO et all (and to do other good deeds with their power such as heal people, maybe help farmers through bad weather, transport food to needy etc) without taking these oaths that do not seem to serve their intended purpose, which is to make people trust AS as a whole.

Regarding some of your other points.

Still - not convinced that listening closely in order to figure out what the lie is, is theame thing as listening closely to people because one should try to understand what others say. Seems to me that when you focus only on figuring out how the speaker is twisting the truth you are more than likely to miss out on what they may be trying to tell you.

Also while I agree with the determination that people fear what they don't understand, I'm not sure that any person with political power should then simply dismiss that. Even Machiavelli said (admittedly political theory in very dusty memory banks) that while fear can be used to rule, commanding loyalty is more effective.

I think the logic behind that is that if enough people are afraid long enough they will find a way to get you no matter what while loyalty once earned can be milked for a very long time.
Tricia Irish
120. Tektonica
lostinshadow@114 & 115:

Welcome back from your hiatus. I hope Leigh takes you up on your invitation...you are in one of my favorite places! Go Leigh! (But keep blogging!) Oh, can we all come?

The Three Oaths: I've always been anti-oath, as the AS seem to abuse and manipulate them with regularity. I think I understand their intention....to quell the public's fear of the AS's great power.

However, Fear is mostly what the AS engender in the people of Randland, regardless of said Oaths. Why? Because actions DO speak louder than words and the AS have remained in their Ivory Tower for millennia, isolated from most people's every day lives. They are somewhat mythical and certainly not understood.

This has been stated by myself and others before, so I won't belabor it, but if the various Ajahs were out in the world healing, teaching, helping society according to their various abilities and interests, it would go a LONG way to creating trust and respect (and good will) for their powerful abilities.

They can make rules of membership, codes of ethics and punishments (perhaps involving the "binding rod") for violations.....police their own, so to speak. But Integrity is the key. Nurture good values and live by them IN society, not isolated and out of touch.

Edit: lostinshadow@119 said the same thing simultaneously...::waves::....thanks!
a a-p
121. lostinshadow
good morning Tek!

of course, all are welcome at any time, grab the family and drop by whenever you want

and since all Starbucks, Gloria Jeans and Nero coffe houses and most hotel lobbies here have free wireless (as does the outdoor pool at my gym) there's still plenty of opportunity to keep blogging.

Edit: Tek and I seem to be having similar frustrations regarding AS lack of productive involvement in greater Randland society. ::waves Tek over to come to this side of the Atlantic::
John Massey
122. subwoofer

@Leigh- let 'er rip. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

@All- folks are starting to take themselves wayyyyyyyyy too seriously here. Lighten up. This is a blog about a fantasy series. We are not curing cancer here.

I am dropping off the grid for a bit as this book and possibly the next one are driving me nuts. I have bigger fish to fry these days, and, as I have related to M A T, it is better to be silent and let folks think you are a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt- @84- interesting what you said, just need to rethink how it came across.

Bela did not do it.

123. MasterAlThor

Take it easy man. We'll be here when you get back.

How do you know that Bela didn't?

124. Freelancer

Two things, and I apologize in advance for what I'm sure will sound thin-skinned and petty.

1) I'd like to know why you chose to specify me as one whom you didn't suspect of being TRiversson@84. Was there an initial presumption on your part that I would, for any reason, take such a shot at Leigh? When I feel the need to express my judgement or belief on a subject, it will be direct and undisguised, you can be sure, as all of the regulars will no doubt testify, to their occasional frustration. Just like Leigh, I feel no obligation to write so as to accomodate the expectations or sensitivities of others, and if I choose to flame someone I won't hide my identity to do so. However, when I flame someone I will also most assuredly have my ducks in a row regarding my argument, unlike the misinformed blast @84. When I composed my own response to that comment I hadn't noticed yours @92.

2) I have posted from a disguise before, but it was part of an April Fool's Day joke, and not a cowardly attack on our gracious hostess or another commentor. I ran with the thing for quite a few days and numerous comments under a pseudonym (LongTimeLurker), without a hint of suspicion from any regular commentor. In fact, as part of the gag my disguise took a shot at Freelancer, and more than one regular defended Freelancer to LongTimeLurker. All that to say that I'm aware of my normal writing style, and can alter it quite thoroughly if the need arises (though I admit it was very hard to compose sentences with bad grammar and no punctuation).


Don't be gone long. Without your particular brand of tact, even more of us will take ourselves too seriously. For the record, I don't find the comments @84 interesting in the least, and I'd still like to know who or what exactly broke the proverbial camel's back to impel Leigh's introductory rant on the subject.
James Jones
125. jamesedjones
124 Freelancer

Unless it's April 1st. :D

Edit: I know you noted it, but I just love the fact that you were the first to not just use the idea, but to reveal it.

The speed at which everyone cottoned on to the joke indicates a high likelyhood of earlier attempts. I'd thought about it before, but I like credit for the stuff I post (serious or not). And your revelation added a bit for anyone who hadn't considered it.
Theresa Gray
126. Terez27
freelancer@124 - Since you had already posted saying it was you that had contacted Leigh, I didn't want you to think I was underhandedly suggesting that you would have done it, so I made sure everyone knew I wasn't suggesting it. Or at least, I thought I did. And as I said, the writing style was only a starter. ;)

Edit: I see upon re-reading your comment that that's not exactly what you said; it was just the impression I had gotten from reading your first couple of paragraphs and skimming the rest. But I figured since you were claiming responsibility for the tirade that you had been the one to contact her. ;)
127. Looking Glass
TRiversson@84: A few points. First, Tor.com did give her control of this space, precisely to express her opinions. If they have a problem with her style, they’re quite capable of bringing it up with her themselves. Otherwise, it is her space.

Second, Leigh’s not saying “you have no right to say you’re offended by what I’ve written”. You can still post your objections. She’s simply saying “I’m not going to go back and retroactively alter the content of my postings because I inadvertently offended someone”. And she’s right to say that. Especially since altering one’s posts is a really fraught issue for a blogger, because the post is also the de facto historical record. If she changes her mind about something, or said something that she later realized wasn’t appropriate, she can certainly say so, in the comments or another post or an addendum to the first post. What she should not, and has said she will not, do is go back and change the original content of the post- doing that is not saying “I’m sorry I said that”, but rather “I never said that”.

And no, this isn’t some double standard. A commenter might possibly get banninated if a comment goes too far beyond the pale, but we don’t generally see “hey, Bob@12, you need to delete line three of your comment because you accidentally offended me”. Leigh gets exactly that, and shouldn’t feel obligated to give in to it.
128. Looking Glass
Longtimefan@93: yeah, the rebel BA Team really drops the ball. Super double especially by picking Egwene. I thought that part of Mesaana and Sheriam’s conversation was pretty funny: “Impeach her and pick a new one.” “B-b-but you said pick her.” “We want a real girl, not someone more grown-up than the several-century-olds around her.”

Terez27@96: It’s a reasonable idea, though presumably every yellow (and yellow-black) in the camp wanted to learn that weave, like, yesterday. It is, after all, the most important advance in healing in the past several thousand years.

Alternatively, Cyndane could simply be facing the something related to the wierd power-block we’ve seen Shadar Haran impose on others temporarily. Or it could be from burning out the door ter'angreal. Or possibly even from resurrection, either intentionally or not on the Dark One’s part (wouldn’t be the first WoT process that affects genders differently).

Aside: one wonders what would happen if an adult were resurrected into a child’s body. If it’s even possible. Would they be able to channel immediately, or would they have to wait until their body caught up to the ability?

alreadymadwiththeschism@109: I’m not sure Elaida did actually stoop to murder in taking the Seat, at least not as she (and tower law) might define it. She might have, but might not: the only people I can recall her having killed then are Siuan and Leane’s warders, and it seems possible that tower law would count those as executions (if we assume the stilling was legal). Even if they don’t share any actual culpability for their Sisters’ actions, the law likely recognizes that they’ll fight to the death to protect their sister regardless.

Though I doubt that, even before getting Fain'd, she'd have hesitated to kill any non-tower person she thought was a threat to the tower.
Mitchell Swan
129. mcswan

I need this on a t-shirt, stat!
Theresa Gray
130. Terez27
Looking Glass @ 128 - Every Yellow wanted to learn it, but Dagdara and Larissa are the only rebel Yellow-Blacks we know of; both of them learned the weave, but Dagdara actually witnessed Siuan's and Leane's Healing, and also, she is one of the most skilled Healers, and one of the most influential Yellows; she was Romanda's choice for the third Yellow Sitter.
131. Lsana
@128 Looking Glass,

Whether or not Elaida stooped to murder...

1) The novice Sahra. I assume that Alviarin was the one who did the actual killing there, but it seems likely Elaida knew about, at least after the fact.

2) Min's comment to Suian that there were no Blue sisters left alive in the Tower. That implies, though admittedly doesn't state outright, that any Blues who weren't quick enough to flee were...well, that would almost have to be on Elaida's head.
Theresa Gray
132. Terez27
One of the Blue Sitters was killed in the mix, and was replaced with Moira in Salidar. But I think the sisters who died were killed in the attempt to free Siuan and Leane, so that's not technically murder.

I always got the impression that the Sahra business was more or less conducted without Elaida's knowledge, at least so far as the killing goes; it might have been covered up in some way. I could be wrong, but at the very least, we can't know for sure that she was aware, and it seems most likely that she wasn't made aware until after the fact if at all.
a a-p
133. lostinshadow
since everyone seems very grumpy today...
on a completely unrelated matter (so feel free to ignore)

my mother in law sent me the below joke:

For all of us who are married, were married, wish you were married, or wish you weren't married, this is something to smile about the next time you see a bottle of wine: (you may replace wife-husband if you like)

Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road.
As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked theNavajo woman if she would like a ride. With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car. Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally.

"What in bag?" asked the old woman.

Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, "It's a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband."

The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said: "Good trade"

y'all think she realizes she just sent me a joke saying that it would be a good trade for me if I traded in her son for a bottle of wine?
Kate Collura
134. dreamwalker
Guess I'll take a stab at the Oaths debate, although I'm sure I'm not saying anything that hasn't been brought up at some point.

EvilMonkey @ 116
I think you bring up an interesting point about how the White Tower differs from other channelers' societies. I was thinking about that too from a slightly different perspective. One of the arguments against the Oaths is that other groups of channelers are more respected and trusted and they don't have to take Oaths. But those groups (WO and WF) are not generally known to channel outside of their society and do not use their position as channelers to influence others outside of their society. Aes Sedai are the only group known to the world at large as channelers.

Tektonica @ 120
You point out that AS mostly remain in the tower and don't get involved with using their abilities for the good of society, remaining mysterious and building up fear. Which is definitely true, but on the flip side, compared to other groups of channelers, AS do meddle in the events of the world. When they are interacting with non-channelers they are generally operating under the attitude of because I'm AS I obviously know better than you and expect to be obeyed.

Anyway, point is, it seems to me that the Oaths are portrayed as a negative consequence of the state of how AS are viewed by the world. AS actions definitely contribute to this. I don't see how the Oaths could have been done away with during the period of time we have seen in WOT. We've seen how they were instumental in the Black Ajah purge, and although they don't seem to gain AS a lot of trust in the world, they may be far worse off without them as long as they don't work to establish trust in the world through their actions. Would like to see that happen some day, but it is hard to imagine that happening in short order.

Whoo, wall o'text!

Also, Ouroboros @ 57 Ha! Now I'm picturing Mesaana's disguise as reflective of her mental state kind of like Graendal's streith gown.
Theresa Gray
135. Terez27
lostinshadow@133 - Maybe she was offering to trade his father for a bottle of wine?
James Hogan
136. Sonofthunder
lostinshadow@133, thanks for that!! I'm not married yet, but I'll remember that for future use. Good break-up of the Oaths discussion(of which I say will occur approximately 17 more times before the end of the re-read).
a a-p
137. lostinshadow

while I don't want to put words in Tek's mouth (?fingers?) I think what she may have meant was not that the AS did not meddle in society but that they would improve their image in the public's eye if they meddled a bit less in politics and a bit more in things such as healing, etc. that would have a more direct impact on the common Randlander.

This way the AS would seem less like remote puppeteers commanding kings and lords and more like a society truly dedicated to helping all lands fight not just the shadow but all sorts of difficulties life can throw at a person.

In other words AS don't need 3 oaths, they need better PR - less politicking and more hands on charity would really engender some good press :D

Edit: sorry sonofthunder, there I go starting it up again.
Kurt Lorey
138. Shimrod

I've been extra busy lately, but have still been faithfully following your re-read postings.

But, today I have to comment.


U B My HERO today.

Glad you will continue to be yourself.
a a-p
139. lostinshadow

I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case, but I still maintain that she didn't realize that by sending that joke to me she is also impliedly sanctioning me trading her son for some wine.

Law of unintended consequences strikes again! aha! I tied it back to Leigh's comments... sort of...
Mikey Bennett
140. EvilMonkey
I appreciate the feedback on my Wall O' Text. Very insightful arguments against the Oaths. Lost, I can definetely agree with you that the AS need a better PR campaign but I still do not believe they can do away with the Oaths altogether. They are feared of course but also respected. Look at Bashere's comment to Rand about the AS, saying that he needs them because they sort of legitimize his reign. This is mainly because despite their faults, both individually and as a group, not to mention their aloofness from the world, they are the only organization to survive the breaking. Kingdoms have risen and fallen, languages have lived and died, and through it all stands the White Tower. A reason can be forwarded as to their aloofness is that they want to be seen as above the squabbles inherent in day to day life as they prepare the world for the last battle, sort of like Belgarath in David Eddings' Belgariad Series. Without the Oaths there is no way such an organization could have survived the Trolloc Wars, Hawkwing's reign or the 100 years war. Without them, anyone wanna wager on anyone in Randland remembering that a Last Battle is going to happen?

I maintain that without the oaths there are no Aes Sedai, just a group of channelers that may or may not work for their country of origin, may or may not seek to carve out a country of their own (AS are no strangers to ambition), and may or may not cause people to view those who channel as more dangerous than they are already seen. And for those who believe the AS should be doing something other than playing politics, what would you rather a bunch of multi-generational firestarters to do? Humanitarian efforts are all to the good and I agree they should be doing more of that. But when diplomacy fails and I am playing for Team Light, boy I would like to have one of those firestarters on my team with me. I say, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Oaths are a good idea, the WT just needs to change its strategy. Egwene I believe will go a long way toward bringing the trust and respectablility meter for all AS up.

a a-p
141. lostinshadow

I'm actually not too bothered by aloofness alone, I can see the need to AS being viewed as an objective group above day-to-day petty squabbles.

I am however not sure how the oaths contributed to AS helping fight the shadow and preserve knowledge that Last Battle would eventually come.

I understand that you are saying that oaths are the ultimate unionizing (? is that a word, sorry migrane making it a bit difficult to think) the AS into a cohesive group with a mission, but I guess I don't really understand why you see the oaths as doing this.

To me it seems that the training, etc that these women go through and the rituals and tests attached to it is enough to create this Global Center for Channelling independant of and outside of any political system of the day. Not sure the oaths are really necessary.

regarding what they should be doing instead of politicking, they should set up healing centers throughout the land, perhaps the equivalent of elementary-college level schools where they can educate the populace to read/write/think/become aware of the greater world including battle to be fought (plus people educated by you will be less afraid of you), recruit more actively to make sure wilders don't die because AS are too lazy (schools would help with this), do research into legends, travel and see what other people have prophesized and how it might apply, practice combative magics (ie help out at the Blight)...

seems to me all these would be more effective that advising passing rulers who are afraid of them and more likely than not trying to avoid them as much as possible.

Note that many readers have complained how the Greens don't seem to know much about battles, the yellows tend to keep saying that's impossible, and it's really unclear what purpose whites serve. if browns share their learning, we don't see it and the reds are ANNOYING! they could have spent their time working together with yellow and maybe brown to see if the insanity could be slowed, reversed, etc. instead of just killing people.

granted some of what I listed may have fallen by the wayside or become distorted due to Black Ajah influence but seems to me that there has long since been a sense of apathy around the WT and the AS who have turned into self satisfied gits (I believe that is a suitably non-gender specific mild insult but if not apologies to those offended, it is not intentional) basking in their own imagined glory and often use the 3 oaths as justifcation for this.

I agree that hopefully Eggs will shake them out of their complacency and lead them in a more productive direction.

ok, I'm clearly feeling way too verbose today.
Noneo Yourbusiness
142. Longtimefan
About the 3 Oaths and all the Oathmeal that has been made of it.

It is important for individuals from separate cultures, values and personal experiences to have a common ground if they are asked to become part of something greater than the individual. Partially that is why such organizations have a breaking down and rebuilding as part of the admissions program.

For Aes Sedai they are broken down as Novices and then rebuilt with the responsiblities of Accepted.

After years of this (for some it is a 20 year process) they are tested to gain the shawl and even then not everyone passes that test.

The Oath Rod does give every Sister a unified set of behaviors but not really a mission statement. The Ajahs provide the mission statement the Oath Rod governs behavior in following not only the path broadly laid down by the color of one's shawl but also in any personal agenda or goals.

The Oath Rod does not halve the life of a sister should she only swear one Oath.

I think this is important information given in a throw away comment from one of the Femsaken. (at work, no books, sorry)

If the White Tower could gain all of the information available to the reader they may find a compromise in chosing one Oath which would become a true Mission Statement for all Aes Sedai and still allow them to live the full term of life a channeler may live.

Something like "I will die before I will serve the Dark One" would be nice.

Or "I will follow all of the rules, reglations and subordenate clauses, addendums and revisions to the White Tower Codex and Standard Operating Manual from now until the hour of my death under the light with liberty and justice for all."

Well I am just saying...

The Oath Rod is a unifier but it does not have to be a life denier.
James Hogan
143. Sonofthunder
Longtimefan@142, why did I not realize that a single Oath doesn't shorten lifespan?? Clearly, I am a terrible WoT reader. In that case, I highly approve of your modified Oath, although I might take out the "hour of my death" verbage. Wouldn't want any Verinisque shenanigans, now would we?

I still think the AS need a change in philosophy in how they approach the world. If they stopped strutting(er, gliding) around the world like they owned it, that would do a far sight more good than an Oath. And if they stopped thinking they had the right to control kings and queens. A change in AS attitude(which Egwene may be providing with some of her trademark kicks up the rear) along with one simple Oath to prevent darkfriends/evildoers would make for a very awesome White Tower. Might even approach the stature of the Servants of old!
144. BenM
Looking Glass @28:

I agree about Asmodean. I've always thought he got kind of a bad rap. He is what he is. He can't help that his strength in the power is low for a FS. And he's a musician for crying out loud. He's not a general or swordsman, or a scientist like Aginor, or super-powerful like Lanfear or Ishy. He also can't help the circumstances Lanny left him in. He did the best he could considering the circumstances he was forced to deal with, being under Lanfear's and Rand's thumbs, and all that.
Tess Laird
145. thewindrose
Aside from the technology are today's Randlanders that much different from the AoL'ers? I see Binder and penal code instead of Oath Rod and integrity. Fully agree with idea's like Tektonica's that these Aes Sedai need to get out of the Ivory Tower and work among the people. What you do not know, you tend to fear. But if you have these ladies and soon men working out in the masses you get familiarity and not contempt, but appreciation and honor.

So, yes keep the Binders, but use them for what they were created for: punishment for OP criminals.
One can always use the rod as a test for dark friend channelers, and then release ones who are not.

Noneo Yourbusiness
146. Longtimefan
@143 SonofThunder

The one v three point is something I had not considered until recently.

In the early books Semirhage reflects on how being bound like a criminal for following her bliss (by harming others) would shorten her lifespan.

I have just done a power re-read of the last few books and I could swear that Somesaken(probably Messena)mentioned that one oath would not have much of an affect but three oaths are why there is an "ageless" look and the significantly shorter lifespan.

Maybe it was just the ageless look thing. I really need to stop reading so fast.

Maiane Bakroeva
147. Isilel
Late to the party, but nevertheless:

I remember that this storyline seemed bloated the first time around - but of course then I have been expecting since LoC that the Tower schism would be resolved in the next book ;)... and every delay chafed.
Anyway, now it, along with Rand's storyline and the BA-hunters one is one of the saving graces of books until TGS for me.
The plan that starts to unfold here is certainly a genuinely clever and enjoyable bit of politicking (unlike Elayne's succession, IMHO).

The AS still seem a bit too silly to be believable - among other things they know about Rand and they know about the male FS, so I'd have expected them to go on constant Red Alert against male channelers. And as KoD revealed they do have some tools to detect those, however imperfect, so it is plot-holish that Halim'angar has such a free run of the camp.

And also, since H'gar does have it - why doesn't she just eavesdrop on Egwene more? Even when she gets kicked out of the tent, Egs and Siuan don't always ward their conversations and there are AoL ways to penetrate the wards undetetcted, too.
I always thought, however, that H'gar did more than block dreams/cause headaches, that through proximity to Egwene she was able to actually access her Dreams and manipulate T'AR to the greater degree than her own very limited abilities allowed.
Also, she may be Compelling Egwene, but not everybody is equally good at it either, so perhaps she just sucks at it?

Re: AS being aloof, I always attributed it to the Hawkwing fiasco, since it seemed that the AS were much more involved in world affairs before that. What's more, those who had close ties in the outside would have been much more vulnerable to his purge. Thus it was likely seen as a liability from then on. IMHO, YMMV. Kudos to Ishy, if so.

Speaking of the Oaths, I always thought that esprit du corps was instilled by training and tests rather than the Oaths.
We see that Light-side AS refrain from problematic behaviors which are _not_ prohibited by the Oaths - such as theft, pursuit of wealth, corruption, nepotism, etc.
We also see that even really annoying sisters like the trio that Mat is stuck with, offer medical assistance to the people who have abused them very badly and generally risk themselves to protect innocents, etc.
And, as had been mentioned in the exploding gateway chapter, the AS were the only ones not to panic when supposed Shadowspawn appeared.
I'd say that the Tower is doing something right and the Oaths are completely tangential to it.

The fact is that while the Oaths may or may not have been slightly beneficial in the past, re-entrance of the male channelers and revealing of the 3 female channeling organizations that don't use them have removed whatever positives there were.
There is no male binder and those other women will object to binding as well - and the WT no longer has the power to force them into compliance or low profile.
OTOH, average person has no way to distinguish who misuses the OP - whoever it would be, the AS would still get blamed. I.e. they'll be seriously weakening themselves for absolutely nothing.
I was very disappointed with Egwene's flip-flopping on the issue and I hope that she comes to her senses yet.

P.S. H'gar murders the maids, except for the one supplied by Sheriam. I'll say yet again - Chesa is totally a DF!
148. BenM

A different way of looking at things re: the AS, the Tower.

It's not entirely true that people don't trust or respect AS. The borderlanders do. Maybe the southlanders are just spoiled from not having to deal with the blight all the time.

Even then, things aren't always so... one-sided... monolithic.... something like that, as people make them out to be. Not all southlanders have the same attitude towards AS and the Tower, and not all AS are the same. There are good and bad AS, nice and nasty, arrogant and not-so-arrogant, wise and foolish, more and less honest, more and less competent, etc. And southlanders have greater or lesser degrees of fear, dislike, respect, liking, hatred, etc. for them.
Mikey Bennett
149. EvilMonkey
I think that the reason people are turned off by the Oaths is because the current crop of AS make use of them so poorly. But does anyone realize that the last great worldwide conflict happened over 1000 years ago? I say the reason why AS look so ineffectual now is because they are out of practice. The aloofness of the Tower has marginalized the Browns, Yellows, and Whites. Stubburn, pigheaded rulers have limited the effectiveness of the Greys. Except for isolated incidents the Greens aren't getting the practice they need to battle Shadowspawn and improve on their weaves, and haven't for 2000 years. Hell, even the Reds were running out of people to gentle before the pattern started demanding a Dragon Reborn. Now with the arrival of the Asha'man they cannot practice their craft anymore. Add that to a series of strong Amrylins being pulled down by BA plots and there is no guiding hand to keep their noses to the grindstone. In essence, they all let their skills get rusty with disuse and misuse. Now the AS that are awesome are the exception instead of the rule. In fact you can use 2 hands to count the awesome AS over the last 1000 years and not even use all your fingers. And the worst part of it is that 2 of em play for Team Shadow. Moraine, Caddy Sue (arguably), the SuperGirls, sooper sneeky Verin and Alvarin. Verin was a double agent but she was still considered Team Shadow. If you wanna go back in history you can probably add Serille Bagrand and one who fortold Rand's birth, sent Luc to the Blight and Tigrane to the Aiel. Taking all that into consideration, does that make the Oaths bad? I say no. I say they can and should keep the Oaths but have a rededication of purpose placed upon them. That's why I have great hopes for Egwene. She has already began to make changes by abolishing the age limit, thus bringing sorely needed new blood and the wisdom of women who have lived full lives without the Power. She wants to include every group of channellers and incorporate them into the WT hierchy. I can see these other channelling groups as a sort of masters degree program. The hard cases and the potential Dreamwalkers can study with the Aiel for a while, those gifted with weather can take some time to study with the WF, healers can move in with the Kin for a while, the ones with a hard-on for destruction can visit the Seanchan once Rand and Fort settle them down and stop the leashing. They might even get some girls to work coed with the Asha'man if Logain gets on with smoking Taim. You could even send Browns and Whites to some of the schools Rand set up as technical advisors. All this could be accomplished without throwing away a very useful tool in the Oaths.

Look at it like this; If you think the rulers are afraid of AS now, it's a drop in the pond compared to how they would feel if AS no longer had the Oaths. The very reason the Seanchan have channelers leashed is because those AS on the other side of the Aryth didn't get the memo. They were free to toss fireballs at anyone they liked, gather up armies of men with Power-worked armor, and make it so that no normal person could conceivably trust them for danger of having their head exploded on a whim. The strongest man is like child in swaddling in the hands of the weakest AS. Those Oaths give them access to the ruling circles and power brokers of the world. And as far as the humanitarian efforts that they should be engaged in, what if the ruler of this or that backwater country does not want that to happen? The AS would not be able to set these stations up (even if they had a mind to) short of force. Doing it by force invalidates whatever they were trying to accomplish. I think most AS have fallen too in love with schemes and plots (inventors of Daes' Damar anyone??) and that needs to stop. A strong Amyrlin and a rededicated and mobilized WT would go a long way toward fixing that. I just think throwing away the Oaths is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

150. Freelancer

I see. No, I never would have bothered Leigh with a request to edit anything she said. I would, however, bring to her attention a concept which, if she chose to ponder and then act upon, would surely improve my comfort in reading her posts. I hope you would agree that there is a very large difference between the two. I have no expectation of being accomodated.

And now (trumpet fanfare) a few words related to the actual story!


No, I believe you are correct. Any "binding" done using the rod will impact someone's life. The more oaths, the more significant the reduction in lifespan. I do not recall any forsaken directly addressing the effects of the Binder in regards to appearance. That was made clear by Brandon in answering questions, that it takes three oaths before the "ageless" look is induced. Even then, it isn't an instantaneous change to appearance; we have several instances of "young" sisters who haven't yet gained the ageless look, in spite of having taken the oaths.

This brings up a question which I've not previously encountered. Everyone's favorite butch gai'shain, Galina, has been freed of the three Tower oaths, which were replaced by a trinity of oaths to the shadow. This ensures that the ageless look is retained, so that Black sisters are not so easily found out. Now that she is bound by a fourth oath, in service to Sevanna and Therava, how much shorter will her life be, and how much more will her appearance be affected?
Maiane Bakroeva
151. Isilel
Evilmonkey @149:

The very reason the Seanchan have channelers leashed is because those AS on the other side of the Aryth didn't get the memo.

Rather, it was because those channelers didn't have an organization to police them. Notice, that wilders and WT rejects didn't cause many problems in Randland despite not being bound - because the WT came down very hard on those who did. And there are a lot of criminal activities not prohibited by the Oaths that the Light-side AS could have engaged in - but they don't.

With channeling men and other organizations of channeling women openly around, binding of AS is useless and harmful, IMHO.
Noneo Yourbusiness
152. Longtimefan
@150 Freelancer

More oaths = more agelessness. Maybe she will look like a porcelain doll whose face it would be a shame to ruffle.

Or a Myrddraall except with eyes.

Edit: porcelin to porcelain (oops)
Lucas Vollmer
153. aspeo
I saw a theory that tried to explain how it is possible for Cyndane to be weaker than Lanfear was. I unfortunately don’t remember where I saw it, but I can give you the general idea of it.

Basically it said that Lanfear had visited the Finns in the AoL, and had asked to become the strongest female channeler in the world. To grant her request they gave her an angreal that she always wore on her person. It could have been the silver belt she always seemed to wear. When she went through the doorway while she was channeling, she was killed and subsequently grabbed to be reincarnated by the DO. This would also be when she would have lost her angreal back to the Finn. When this happened she was back at her original pre-angreal level, which is still extremely strong, but not incredibly stronger than any other woman.

I don’t know if there is much evidence for this theory, but I do like the idea and I thought I would pass it along.

Re: the 3 Oaths

To begin much of what I’m saying agrees with lostinshadow@141 but I thought I would go ahead and put my own ideas into the mix.

I think that the AS could do without the 3 oaths if they integrated into society more. Right now they have themselves set apart from everyone, and have built a wall of mystery and intrigue around themselves. I think they would be better off if they were trained in the Tower, and then they joined an ajah when they “graduated” to the top level. It would be kind of like a reinstatement of the AoL system where channelers worked in society and were not a separate part of it. One example of this would be women in the yellow ajah being doctors in towns and cities. Imagine if every town had an AS healer to take care of the sick and injured. I think the general health level would greatly increase very quickly. Another possibility would be Tower trained women acting as architects and engineers to help build new structures. They would have as good or better education than almost anyone else through the Tower, and then could serve an apprenticeship to gain real world knowledge. Also, with their channeling ability they could lift heavy materials and bond them together much more strongly.

The main idea of this would be that women (or men, actually, now that I think about it) who are able/can learn to channel would go to the Tower to be taught. They not only would learn how to wield the One Power, they would receive one of the best possible academic educations also.

I also think that since the general populace might be a little wary of policing or prosecuting a channeler because of their extrahuman capabilites. This could be solved by a system of judges, and such, set up by the Tower who could administer decisions on channeling based problems.

I’m pretty sure this system is probably heavily based on the little details I have learned about the AoL, but that is why their society seems to have worked so well. You have a group that is a part of the society, but is taught, policed, and administered by their own peers. Some people will say that without the oaths the AS will become corrupted by power, but that is a possibility in any society. If the guidelines are well set up, and the system is actively being watched over then there is the possibility that it can succeed too.

Having said all of that I could see a benefit to them taking one oath, since it would not effect them much. It would quell many peoples fears and doubts about them, but I still adamantly believe that they must integrate themselves into the general society. Otherwise people will not be able to get comfortable with them, or come to trust them.

::shakes fist:: Darn you people making me see both sides of the argument! lol
Karen Jacobs
154. KJacobs
BenM@144 made me remember an odd little thought that I've had bouncing around in my head for a while - yes, plenty of room for bouncing - sometimes there's even an echo! :), so here goes...

Looney Theory regarding Cyndane's power level ... Does anyone think that maybe her power is reduced in a manner similar to what she did to Asmodean? It may explain why her strength in the power is less than it was previously, but not to the extent it would be if she had been stilled/healed with Saidar. I don't have my books handy, but she used the OP on him to 'cap' the amount of power he was able to access. Whether or not that cap was temporary (as she claimed) or permanent (as I've seen suggested on other threads here), isn't it possible that someone - likely Ishydin - has given her a taste of her own medicine, so to speak? Obviously she is still useful to the DO, so she couldn't be capped to the extent that Asmodean was, but being forced to become 'less' than she was in more than just her appearance could have been part of her punishment.

What do you think? Have I completely lost it? Has this one already been done to death and I've just missed it?
Roger Powell
155. forkroot
Hmmm - If one oath affects your lifespan much less than three oaths, couldn't the 3 AS oaths be compressed into one, e.g. "I solemnly vow to tell the truth and to make no weapon and to not use the power as weapon except etc...." ?
Roger Powell
156. forkroot
Thinking about the oath rod some more.... What if someone were to pick up the oath rod and swear: "I solemnly swear that any other oath I take on this rod shall mean the opposite of what I say out loud" ?

Hello Mesaana?
157. chaplainchris
Very little time yesterday or today, so I'll just say this much:

1) Go Leigh, go Leigh, go!

2) On the 3 Oaths: I don't understand the carping about shortened lifespans; do we have any reason to believe Egwene's plan of removing the oaths and retiring AS into the Kin won't work? Since women who are stilled (having the oaths removed) become younger, I'd say that removing the oaths does restore lifespan. (And in the AOL might have encouraged criminals to mend their ways in hopes of having the binding removed?)

(And I wish I could dispute Brandon's take that it takes 3 oaths to achieve aglessness, as it makes no sense. Apparently the binding of criminals in the AOL was *supposed* to mark their faces - sort of a scarlet letter - so how does it make sense if they were bound against committing their brand of crime again? )

I'm convinced by Siuan here, that it holds this group from various nations and cultures together, and it does give them the freedom to move around. Aes Sedai are respected by some and feared by others and suspect by all - but the 3 oaths make it more manageable. The Whitecloaks hate them and will try to take out sisters if they can - I suggest that such behavior wouldn't be restricted to Whitecloaks if foreign governments worried about AS unleashing havoc on those who disagree with them. They worry about being manipulated, but not overthrown. (Ironic considering, say, Mattin Steppaneos.)

In any case, while the Oaths have holes, they do provide some self-correction, and if they can be safely removed at retirement, I see no harm and potential good.
Hilde Sørensen
158. edlihs
If anyone want the official about the Oath Rod:
Budapest Q&A - April 2003

Q: Is it true that the Three Oaths is why Aes Sedai I thought it might be because, when you try to avoid the Three Oaths, you get a lot of dangerous situation ...
RJ: No . . . now you have to be careful with this, because this is a kind of spoiler for people that haven’t read far enough, but the Oath Rod is what was in the Age of Legends called a binder. It was used on criminals. If you committed a violent act, or some sort of criminal act, with a binder, someone who could channel could be constrained from ever doing that again, and the result of having three of the Oaths, is the ageless appearance. One would not produce agelessness, but even one would shorten life, and three of them put a cap on Aes Sedai’s lives, on how long they could live.

Wotmania Interview 2004

W: What happens to objects left in Tel'aran'rhiod? Could an Aes Sedai free herself from the Three Oaths in Tel'aran'rhiod by creating an Oath Rod?
RJ: The only way for an object to enter Tel’aran’rhiod would be for it to be carried there by someone who entered physically rather than through a dream state. If left there, it would remain until it was retrieved by someone else who entered physically. And, yes, an Aes Sedai could free herself of the Three Oaths with an Oath Rod created in Tel’aran’rhiod, but remember that relatively few sisters actually have access to the World of Dreams, and for those who do want to remove the Three Oaths – sisters joining the Black Ajah – there is the Oath Rod in the White Tower to serve that purpose.
Tricia Irish
159. Tektonica
lostinshadow@137: Thank you. You interpreted what I said absolutely perfectly.

longtimefan@142: I agree. One good oath is all that's needed. Promise to follow the credo or rules or ethics set forth by the organization. It is the training and indoctrination that creates the Aes Sedai. When you've completed all the necessary training, have passed all the tests, both physical and ethical, have a ceremony and take the one oath to be an official Aes Sedai.....or not....take one oath to not hurt others with the OP and go back to your country, Aiel, Sea Folk, Kin, whatever. If these oaths are violated, then use the Binding Rod to punish and constrain.

It would be an honor to be AS, whether you were out working amongst the population as a healer or educator or within various Randland governments as advisors and mediators. Respect would be earned and involvement appreciated. Fear would lessen and eventually disappear.


As for the Seanchan using the leash instead of the 3 oaths to control those "wild channelers" who could throw fireballs around.....they taught them to throw fireballs around, and nothing else. That is not something that any old channeler would necessarily be able to do or would even think to do. Not a good system either.

Aspeo@153: Agreed. :-)

I truly hope Egwene comes up with something good for the reorganization of the Tower. She'll have to deal with the Asha'man too, of course! Oh boy...another can of worms.....
Maiane Bakroeva
160. Isilel

What good do you think would it do for AS to be bound when male channelers and several groups of female channelers wouldn't be? Those others, and let's not forget the Seanchan too, would still be free to create havoc with OP, for which the AS would be blamed, but the AS would be unable to stop them /extremely disadvantaged in containing them. I see no upsides there. There need to be unified laws and rules for all channelers - either everybody must be bound (and they don't have a male binder) or nobody, IMHO.

Re: distrust of AS, in great part it comes from the mysteriousness and ineffability, preference for appearing faithless and cruel rather than admitting failure, etc.
Mikael Pajunen
161. BByte
On Path of Daggers:

At first I was surprised about how many people dislike PoD. Perhaps the first-book-you-had-to-wait-for effect has something to do with people besides Leigh as well. I "caught up" some time before Winter's Heart, but only had to really wait for CoT (and onwards). You can probably guess my least favorite book.

On my most recent re-read I would certainly rate PoD next to CoT from the bottom. There really isn't that much happening. The saving grace for me is this plot line with its political maneuvering and general Egwene / Siuan awesomeness. Not sure if I was an Egwene fan before this book (could have been as early as TEotW / TGH I guess), but I certainly was after.

On the Tower Divided plot line:

As we approach the turning point, it once again amazes me how well I can ignore the implausibility of it all. The usual Aes Sedai obliviousness is strong here. Even as the Hall and the rest start to realize what's happening -- too late of course -- no one on the shadow side seems to really have a clue until the very end. Still, I'm more likely to laugh at the certain scenes with glee than shake my head in frustration.

On the Oathmeal:

Almost every argument seems to have been made, with good points on both sides. I had some questions about the actual effects of the oaths and removing them, but it seems they've all been answered while I was writing this post. :)
Barry T
162. blindillusion
Taking one Oath shortens life. Taking three Oaths puts a cap on the lifespan.

So, would removing the Oaths remove the cap?

Would an Aes Sedai of Cadsuane’s age survive the process of removing the Oaths?

For that matter, would Cadsuane pull a Siuan if she removed the Oaths?

And hmm, if Elaida had won through it all and enacted the 4th Oath, would Cadsuane of died as a result of taking it?

For that matter, would Elaida of survived demanding Cadsuane take a 4th Oath...?
Don Barkauskas
163. bad_platypus
chaplainchris @157:
Since women who are stilled (having the oaths removed) become younger, I'd say that removing the oaths does restore lifespan. (And in the AOL might have encouraged criminals to mend their ways in hopes of having the binding removed?)
This is the argument I've always favored; in case they mended their ways (or, for that matter, were later discovered to have been wrongfully convicted), the Oaths coud be removed without long-term consequences.
Apparently the binding of criminals in the AOL was *supposed* to mark their faces - sort of a scarlet letter - so how does it make sense if they were bound against committing their brand of crime again?
It could be their version of a "3 strikes" law: for the first and second offenses, it's sufficient to prevent them from doing it again, but after that they get the "scarlet letter" of Agelessness.

And for those people who don't accept RJ quotes (provided @158 by edlihs, so I don't have to) as definitive answers for the books, it's also actually in the books that more than one Oath is needed for Agelessness:
Plainly she had not reasoned it out; there was no reason she should. Few people in their time had ever committed one violent crime, let alone more.

(LoC, Ch. 6, Sammael POV)
Graendel's POV following makes it clear that this is referring to the fact that the Aes Sedai have the Ageless look. And later in that same chapter, of course,
...and with that binding be able to see the end of life approach...

(Semirhage POV)
Strong evidence within the books that one Oath shortens life but more than one is required for Agelessness; I'm certainly willing to take RJ's word that 3 is the magic number. :-)
164. Branwhin
162 Blind: For that matter, would Elaida of survived demanding Cadsuane take a 4th Oath...?

Oh, my, that would have been interesting.

I think I can see something just as humiliating coming for 'poor' Suffa, though... The Dragon Reborn getting severely angry at seeing damane again (perhaps even Suffa herself) and demanding her release. A man who can channel, one who has been severely abused at her order, demanding her freedom.

Anyhow, on a much sillier note, a survey!

What are your favourite Three Oaths in the series?

Mine (in no particular order) are:

Blood and bloody flaming ashes!
Sheep swallop and bloody buttered onions!
Fish guts!

Have at it.

(though on a parenthetical note I really like the wording of the Oath of Fealty, and reply, that Alliandre and Perrin use)
Noneo Yourbusiness
165. Longtimefan
If even one Oath sets a limit on a persons lifespan would not the intervening years they have lived bound to the Oath have some weight on the alleged reinstatement of the previous length of life the unbinding may have?

Suian was severed from Saidar which affected her not only in removing the Oaths but also removing access to the source. She was also very young and fairly powerful for an Aes Sedai. The current Suian has less Saidarability so for her there is less life left even whithout the oaths resworn.

This is some complex math of diminishing returns that I am not adept with so if someone is a math head maybe they could figure out an formula to find how much life someone would lose bound by the oaths mitigated by years lived bound then released.

I do not think that Cadsuane having lived most of her 300 years (just speculation but she is strong in the power) would suddenly gain an extra 300 years if the Oaths were removed tomorrow. (Story wise)

She has already lived maybe 30 years before being bound to the Oath Rod so that puts in 15 years of normal slowing (maybe, I do not know the Cadsuane in the tower timeline)and around 200 of bound slowing.

Her body has already used those decades in the half life format.

If she was unbound I do not see how physically she would regain the ability to live another 300 or so years.

Maybe 50 or even 100 but not the full measure that was given up when bound to the Oath Rod at 30 or 40 or whenever a sister is raised to the shawl.

Think of poor Daigian of the White. She was the weakest and spent the most time as an Accepted and a Novice. How long would she have lived as a bound sister instead of unbound with the Kin? Well she died during Semirhage's escape so we will not know. Had she been with the Kin she probably would have been killed in Camelyn when Careane started offing the wilders.

Diagian was never going to catch a break.

Retiring and being unbound may extend the older Aes Sedai lives but I do not think it would reset to the original potential lifespan.
Daniel Goss
166. Beren
re: My theory on the Oaths, Rods and Aging.

I guess I've never understood the questions about binding/unbinding elderly Aes Sedai. I've always thought of it like this.

For the purpose of this, I am assuming that the average Randlander can live to 100 barring disease, etc. Why? Because round numbers are easy. We've also heard tell of old-time Aes Sedai (among other non-bound channelers) living to about 900, so that's the number I'm going to use for unbound channeler lifespan. Aes Sedai seem to live to a maximum of 300, so that's what I'm using for bound channeler lifespan. Therefore . . .

I've always assumed that the Oath Rod simply caused channelers to age faster (like, by a factor of 3 or something) thus changing a 900-year lifespan to 300.

Therefore, binding a 600-year-old channeler with the Oath Rod wouldn't cause them to drop over dead, it would merely take their remaining 300 years of life and drop it to 100.

Likewise, taking a 200-year-old Aes Sedai and unbinding her would then allow her to live another 300 years.

Similarly, I would assume that taking a 300-year-old Aes Sedai (towards the end of her lifespan) and unbinding her will not add to her life significantly.

And so on and so forth. Yes, this is really simplified mathematically, but I think you see what I mean.
-Beren, the math simpleton.
Kate Collura
167. dreamwalker
KJacobs @ 154

I don't think there is anything in the text to disprove your theory, however, there are some recent quotes from Brandon Sanderson addressing this issue.

I don't have the exact quotes, but they were in response to questions he received at signings, etc. He said after checking with Maria and Team Jordan that Cyndane's strength is exactly as it appears to be. It is not being enhanced or diminished in some way such as what you suggest.

*going off to look for quotes*
Kate Collura
168. dreamwalker
RE: Brandon's quotes about Cyndane.

That didn't take too long. This isn't the entire quote but it addresses the issue KJacobs brought up. Sorry, I don't know how to insert a quote the proper way.

Brandon: ...when it comes to this certain character that you are talking about, there is a whole thing where Maria and I exchanged a bunch of emails about this. She had managed to pull some things out of the notes that I had not seen, which is interesting, because I was going off of something else. I did not think that Cyndane should be nearly as powerful as she was put in the books as being, so I had been under the belief that the Dark One was pulling shenanigans…

Matt: ...like a little, in essence, let’s say what the Forsaken Lanfear did to Asmodean, you thought maybe the Dark One was doing some similar…shielding…

Brandon: …or the other way around…here is a little extra power you can draw upon while I am pleased with you, I can take this away…

Matt: ...that is a question…let’s jump to that question, there have been some theories that talk about Lanfear…

Brandon: ...let’s back up and say I was wrong. I was interpreting the notes a certain way. Maria was able to pull something out that I had not seen that made it clear that I had misinterpreted and that that is not the case, Cyndane is not under any shenanigans. What you see is what you get.

Matt: Cyndane and her alter ego have never been under any shenanigans?

Brandon: I’m not going to say never been under any shenanigans, but when you see her creating a gateway she is legitimately powerful enough to do it, which I did not believe that she was. Does that make sense? This is all digging into my read of the notes versus and Maria’s read of the notes and Maria was right. She was able to provide information to me that I had not seen which is nice because it was stuff that was very pertinent for what I am working on right now. It would have come out eventually when I would have sent her the scenes I’m working on, but it came out earlier, which is nice. Once I found out what was going on it all made perfect sense.

Matt: So, we will understand then in the next book or so why there is a decrease in power but not a significant decrease?

Brandon: Yes.
Bobby Stubbs
169. Valan
Just wanted to say thanks for sticking to your guns and write how you write. I've been falling off from reading/participating in the comments for a little a while going on a few side trips away from Wheel of Time - the most recent and best being Steven Erikson's The Malazan Book of the Fallen, which is about as close to being as badass as the Wheel of Time as I've come by. It's highly recommended and thanks to those who recommended it way back in the day on this blog.

But yeah I still read your opinions every friggin week (and have for over a year) so rock on.
Alice Arneson
170. Wetlandernw
EvilMonkey @116 - Good analogy with the "volunteer army" thing. I keep hoping to weigh in on the Oath business, but you're doing a fine job. At this point I'd just like to add that originally, the Oaths were more self-government than PR, so the fact that "people don't trust AS" doesn't really prove that the Oaths are useless. They're just not 100% useful in terms of getting Joe Randlander to be comfortable with an AS walking into the room. It's only when we assume that the sole purpose is to make other people trust that we can claim "uselessness" of the Oaths. Certainly there are some things that need to change in the White Tower and its future interaction with the world at large, but just dumping the Three Oaths would be far worse than useless, IMHO. Maybe I'll get around to defending that later tonight. Or not... I have work to do tonight, too.

chaplainchris @157 - "Apparently the binding of criminals in the AOL was *supposed* to mark their faces - sort of a scarlet letter " Huh? Please tell me where this came from, because I'm pretty sure I never heard that idea before.

Tektonica @159 - "As for the Seanchan using the leash instead of the 3 oaths to control those "wild channelers" who could throw fireballs around.....they taught them to throw fireballs around, and nothing else. " That is (mostly) true NOW; when the leash was invented the "Aes Sedai" were pretty much exactly what EvilMonkey said. They controlled and fought and used the OP in pretty much any way they wanted. Gave Hawkwing's son fits until one of them invented the leash and started leashing all the others and forcing more and more of them to fight for Luthair instead of their own interests. It worked so well that eventually they managed to collar or kill every single one; from then on they developed the system of damane and sul'dam that we know and love so well. Where they teach fireball-throwing, but only at the command of whoever owns you. However, if you have no affinity for fireball-throwing, or if you have other Talents that are of value, you might not do much with the fireball thing. Had Egwene not been freed in Falme, she'd probably still never have thrown a fireball - she was much too valuable for finding ores to be risked in battles.

Isilel @160 - do we have any canonical assurance that the two binders we know about are gender-specific?

blindillusion @162 - I think your last question is the most telling... Can you imagine a confrontation between Cadsuane (just being herself) and Elaida (demanding that she swear utter obedience)? Hmmmm. I'm thinking Elaida would be learning something about that difference between "strong" and "hard" - and that being broken up into little bitty pieces and put back together by Cadsuane is not a barrel of laughs.

Longtimefan @165 - "The current Suian has less Saidarability so for her there is less life left even whithout the oaths resworn." This is patently untrue; strength in the Power does not necessarily equate to slowing or expected lifespan. And... "Retiring and being unbound may extend the older Aes Sedai lives but I do not think it would reset to the original potential lifespan." This is, however, not something we've been given enough to actually know. Your logic is okay, but since it's RJ's "magic system" the rules were his to define no matter what the readers think is logical. He did say that when an older woman is taught to channel, she will become more youthful in appearance as a part of her extended lifespan, so who knows what would happen when a long-term AS was released from the Oaths. At this point, the only definitive answers lie with Team Jordan.
Barry T
171. blindillusion
Well, if the Aes Sedai did expel the Oaths, they would no longer have such a strong tell. Should they need to pass truly unnoticed, they could simply hide their rings. Hey, look at that, no more fear. Participation in the world without that hindrance, should the need arise.

Noneo Yourbusiness
172. Longtimefan
@ Wetlandernw 170

I guess I am confused about the strength in Saidar and how that affects the extension of a channeler's life.

I know that all who can channel will live longer than those who cannot.

It is true that Sorilea has very little strength and is the oldest of the wise ones. How long she has lived is not defined that I know of.

Morgase has much less strength and has slowed ever so slightly but not at the same level of life lengthening as a regular channeler.

I thought there was a mention somewhere about how the strongest channelers tended to live the longest but maybe I am just seeing a pattern that is not stated in the books.

I completely agree that "magic systems" have a way of changing rules of biology. :)

When an older woman (over 23? The White Tower was odd about novices before Egwene) starts to channel she becomes more youthful as part of the slowing process. Sharina is 67. That is less than a third of the general bound channeler lifespan (if Cadsuane is the oldest at 295ish (wot wiki)) but both Reanne and Alivia lived past 400.

I know that Cadsuane and Alivia are considered very strong in the power but I do not know if Reanne was also. I cannot find a levels of power FAQ but I know one existed.

Sharina is beginning to look younger but how far back can "magic" turn the clock?

It is true that the Definitive answers lie with Team Jordan but you know how they are about dropping a few hints and then letting people wrestle those crumbs into whole loaves of crazy theory bread!

@ 80 Sarcastro,

Wow that is some wall o text.

I think one of the influences on having too many young Sitters was Siuan Sanche or as she was known when she showed up "that Sanche woman".

I think that the Salidar Six were perfectly happy running the rebels. Sheriam was Black and taking no flack sitting out the conflict while having power, a perfect combination for her as we later find out.

The Sitters sent to help the rebels come back to the tower were willing to wait until the bad blood had cooled and they could start nudging the rebels to reconcile.

The sisters in Salidar may not have formed a Hall if not for Siuan stomping into town chewing gum and kicking ass.

When the rebels decided to create a second Hall the Sitters from the Tower may have known of the plan to use too young place holders and decided to do the same thing with the added difficulty of not being able to control who would join the rebel alliance.
173. Freelancer

We do know that Sammael (I know, reliable source, pfft) tells Sevanna that the binder he gives her cannot be used on a male channeler, only female. I can't imagine that there would be any value in him lying about that point. Also, if that rod could control a male channeler, would Sammael give it to anybody at all?
174. Freelancer

I just realized why I recognized what you wrote. Did you actually suggest a similarity between Galina and Moiraine?

Wickedness! Sacrilege! The horror!

Take it back!
Barry T
175. blindillusion

That would be a reference to Erian.

edit: Or are you saying Moiraine shares a similarity with a Fade?
Noneo Yourbusiness
176. Longtimefan
@ 174 Freelancer

Erian. Blindillusion got there first.

Here is the passage from Lord of Chaos.

"But by chance both the dead Warders belonged to Erian. Most of the sisters would feel she had the right. And Galina herself wanted the doll-like Illianer Green to rid herself of her rage as soon as possible. Much better to travel the rest of the way able to admire that porcelain face unruffled."

I would never compare Moiraine with a Black sister. Sacrilege indeed!
Theresa Gray
177. Terez27
aspeo@153 - You are speaking of the Lanfear Was Enhanced theory (or Lanfear Was Artificial, in this case). It's an old favorite at Theoryland. There are a few problems I have with the theory:

1. There is no reason to assume that Lanfear ever went to 'Finnland before. That's not to say it isn't possible, but it does seem to be a rather random thing to assume.

2. Rand remembers her from when they were 'young and just learning what they could do with the Power'. She would have had to have been very young indeed when she had herself enhanced or whatever, or people would remember.

3. Part of the reason for assuming that her Power level was enhanced (as per the theory) was that Lanfear thought it was impossible for a woman to be as strong as she had been before the 'Finns held her. People thought that was strange - how could she be so sure? - but this is not really an indicator of anything since the Aes Sedai speculate that Sharina will become as strong as it is possible for a woman to be. The upper limit for women seems to be common knowledge.

That being said, it was rumored that Lanfear was stronger than all of the male Forsaken except perhaps Ishamael, which theoretically should be impossible for a woman (since Ishamael is about at the male max, along with Rand).
Chin Bawambi
178. bawambi

Was interested in starting Erickson just from random B&N browsing - is the series done though?

Jacy Clark
179. Amalisa
Ah, another re-read post... *happy smile*

Leigh's smackdown... I have never sensed anything from Leigh that smacks of mean-spiritedness or ill intent. So let's just lay this particular controversy to rest and move on.

Moving on...

I will admit that, on my first read through this book, I got bogged down in the Salidar political stuff. Mainly because of Romanda and Lelaine. Such tiresome old biddies! It seemed so much like Egwene-and-Siuan-against-the-World, and that just made me tired. Plus, I'm not a very political person so the machinations, at that time, seemed like muck shrouded in murk hidden by blech. It was one of those places in the big picture that was a little blurry on the first (or so) read. It wasn't until later - Egwene's capture, actually - that I was able to appreciate it all. With the big picture in mind, every time I now read these two chapters (and the two that follow), I have a big grin on my face. By the end of the "The Law", I am ready to cheer!

As for the bits and pieces: 1) Halima's "concern" for Egwene - arguing with Siuan that she shouldn't be awakened because the "poor woman's head pains her all day and she gets little rest at night". It reminds me of Mazrim Taim's reaction to Rand's almost losing it in LoC, "The Black Tower". Of course, Halima's agenda is pretty obvious - delay and frustrate the good guys at every turn and by any means. (I'm going to ignore the "kneading little girls" thing.) I still don't know what agenda Taim had at that point of the story (LoC, "The Black Tower"). But this isn't the time to get into my "was Taim turned by the 13+13 trick" idea...

2) The Three Oaths. In the beginning, I was in agreement with Egwene (at this point) that the 3O were a hindrance rather than a help, not to mention cutting someone's life expectancy in half. But when I read Siuan's defense of the Oaths, she completely swayed me to her side, and I haven't gone back. Even with the reduced life span. It was pointed out somewhere upstream that the Three Oaths weren't used during the AoL. Of course not. The population of the world at that time had a complete understanding and acceptance of the use of the One Power. As RJ said in the interview I posted a couple of blogs back, everything operated via the One Power. People counted on it, depended on it - whether they were Aes Sedai or not. After the War of Power, however, when weapons made with the One Power had been used, and after the Breaking, when the One Power itself had been wielded with terrible results, it was necessary to reassure the survivors that such a thing would not happen again.

There seems to be some confusion in the canon as to exactly when the Oath Rod was first used. Sheriam tells Nynaeve (TGH, "The Testing") that it wasn't until between the Trolloc Wars (which took the continent almost back to its post-Breaking state) and the War of the Hundred Years (after Hawkwing's death). The BBoBA says that the Oath prohibiting the use of the One Power to create weapons came after the War of Power. Maybe both are true; maybe the Oath alone was considered enough because an Aes Sedai said it back during the time between the WoP and the Breaking. Maybe, in the aftermath of the Trolloc Wars and during the time of the political intrigue surrounding Arthur Hawkwing, something stronger was required and the Oath Rod was used.

Ouroborous@25 - You are not well. I like that in a person. *lol*

LookingGlass@28 - I think you're right re Mesaana.

Subbak@55 - I agree. The Wise Ones are bound by ji'e'toh which is ingrained in them. (Besides, until Aviendha goes to Rhuidean again, we won't know if some sort of ter'angreal plays a role in her elevation to Wise One.)

OwMasha@68 - While I love a wiki as much as the next person, you do have to take what they have with a grain of salt. For example, the one you cited has the Breaking coming before the War of the Shadow. Now, it's possible that they meant the Trolloc Wars or the War of the Hundred Years, but on its face, it's wrong.

sarcastro@80 - Love your WoT. In your last paragraph, I believe the operative word was "masterfully". Whatever their intentions, the Ajah Heads had pretty much made a mess of things. :D

longtimefan@93 - Agree with pretty much everything you said re Halima. Also chuckled frequently.

Tektonica@100 - Congrats!!

Wetlandernw@104 -
From our position outside the fishbowl, the Oaths have their serious drawbacks, but if considered from the worldview of Third-Age Randland it's actually quite true.
As readers, do we observe or are we immersed? I've always tended toward immersion which is why, I suppose, I don't find myself outraged all that often by what the good guy characters do. When you lose yourself so profoundly in a book, you find yourself rationalizing, I guess. At least, I do... AND being completely caught up in a story (specifically this story) means seeing things as others in the story see them. So, as a village woman in, say, Andor, I like my Aes Sedai safely bound by the Three Oaths, thank you very much. As an Aes Sedai, I like knowing that I can walk into any throne room, adjust my shawl, wave my Great Serpent ring, fold my arms under my breasts, sniff and say "This is so, now deal with it!", and the king or queen in residence will grumble and do exactly that because of the Three Oaths... :D

EvilMonkey@116 -
You disassociate them with their place of origin, teach them discipline, instill within them an espirit de corp and you give them a mission statement. After a certain training threshold has been reached, generally after a rite of passage, you include them in something bigger than themselves and give them a purpose within that framework. And it all starts with an oath.
Or three... *agrees wholeheartedly*

subwoofer@122 - We take ourselves too seriously? Seriously? *looks around to be sure no one is pointing* Seriously, whatever the bigger fish, do take care and come back soon. Because we need you to deflate egos, lighten the mood and generally make things interesting in the Bunker. We'll leave the light on for ya... :)

lostinshadow@133 - Oh, my stars and garters! That is too funny!! Will have to borrow that one, if you don't mind!

And that's all the reading/commenting I can manage for one night. Will have start earlier tomorrow...
Alice Arneson
180. Wetlandernw
Longtimefan @172 - In RJ's blog, he states: "Regarding Sharina, and other women who learn to channel at age, she will indeed grow younger in appearance. No, she will not achieve an Aes Sedai face without the Oath Rod, but where she has previously looked, say, sixty, she will look perhaps thirty-five, with accompanying changes in hair color. Think of it as analogous to slowing, which older women also do." For what it's worth...
Jacy Clark
181. Amalisa
Ah, another re-read post... *happy smile*

Leigh's smackdown... I have never sensed anything from Leigh that smacks of mean-spiritedness or ill intent. So let's just lay this particular controversy to rest and move on.

Moving on...

I will admit that, on my first read through this book, I got bogged down in the Salidar political stuff. Mainly because of Romanda and Lelaine. Such tiresome old biddies! It seemed so much like Egwene-and-Siuan-against-the-World, and that just made me tired. Plus, I'm not a very political person so the machinations, at that time, seemed like muck shrouded in murk hidden by blech. It was one of those places in the big picture that was a little blurry on the first (or so) read. It wasn't until later - Egwene's capture, actually - that I was able to appreciate it all. With the big picture in mind, every time I now read these two chapters (and the two that follow), I have a big grin on my face. By the end of the "The Law", I am ready to cheer!

As for the bits and pieces: Halima's "concern" for Egwene - arguing with Siuan that she shouldn't be awakened because the "poor woman's head pains her all day and she gets little rest at night". It reminds me of Mazrim Taim's reaction to Rand's almost losing it in LoC, "The Black Tower". Of course, Halima's agenda is pretty obvious - delay and frustrate the good guys at every turn and by any means. (I'm going to ignore the "kneading little girls" thing.) I still don't know what agenda Taim had at that point of the story (LoC, "The Black Tower"). But this isn't the time to get into my "was Taim turned by the 13+13 trick" idea...

The Three Oaths. In the beginning, I was in agreement with Egwene (at this point) that the 3O were a hindrance rather than a help, not to mention cutting someone's life expectancy in half. But when I read Siuan's defense of the Oaths, she completely swayed me to her side, and I haven't gone back. Even with the reduced life span. It was pointed out somewhere upstream that the Three Oaths weren't used during the AoL. Of course not. The population of the world at that time had a complete understanding and acceptance of the use of the One Power. As RJ said in the interview I posted a couple of blogs back, everything operated via the One Power. People counted on it, depended on it - whether they were Aes Sedai or not. After the War of Power, however, when weapons made with the One Power had been used, and after the Breaking, when the One Power itself had been wielded with terrible results, it was necessary to reassure the survivors that such a thing would not happen again.

There seems to be some confusion in the canon as to exactly when the Oath Rod was first used. Sheriam tells Nynaeve (TGH, "The Testing") that it wasn't until between the Trolloc Wars (which reduced the continent to a state almost equal to that of the post-Breaking) and the War of the Hundred Years (after Hawkwing's death). The BBoBA says that the Oath prohibiting the use of the One Power to create weapons came after the War of Power. Maybe both are true; maybe the Oath alone was considered enough because an Aes Sedai said it back during the time between the WoP and the Breaking. Maybe, in the aftermath of the Trolloc Wars and during the time of the political intrigue surrounding Arthur Hawkwing, something stronger was required and the Oath Rod was used.

Ouroborous@25 - You are not well. I like that in a person. *lol*

LookingGlass@28 - I think you're right re Mesaana.

Subbak@55 - I agree. The Wise Ones are bound by ji'e'toh which is ingrained in them. (Besides, until Aviendha goes to Rhuidean again, we won't know if some sort of ter'angreal plays a role in her elevation to Wise One.)

OwMasha@68 - While I love a wiki as much as the next person, you do have to take what they have with a grain of salt. For example, the one you cited has the Breaking coming before the War of the Shadow. Now, it's possible that they meant the Trolloc Wars or the War of the Hundred Years, but on its face, it's wrong.

sarcastro@80 - Love your WoT. In your last paragraph, I believe the operative word was "masterfully". Whatever their intentions, the Ajah Heads had pretty much made a mess of things. :D

longtimefan@93 - Agree with pretty much everything you said re Halima. Also chuckled frequently.

Tektonica@100 - Congrats!!

Wetlandernw@104 -
From our position outside the fishbowl, the Oaths have their serious drawbacks, but if considered from the worldview of Third-Age Randland it's actually quite true.
As readers, do we observe or are we immersed? I've always tended toward immersion which is why, I suppose, I don't find myself outraged all that often by what the good guy characters do. When you lose yourself so profoundly in a book, you find yourself rationalizing, I guess. At least, I do... AND being completely caught up in a story (specifically this story) means seeing things as others in the story see them. So, as a village woman in, say, Andor, I like my Aes Sedai safely bound by the Three Oaths, thank you very much. As an Aes Sedai, I like knowing that I can walk into any throne room, adjust my shawl, wave my Great Serpent ring, fold my arms under my breasts, sniff and say "This is so, now deal with it!", and the king or queen in residence will grumble and do exactly that because of the Three Oaths... :D

EvilMonkey@116 -
You disassociate them with their place of origin, teach them discipline, instill within them an espirit de corp and you give them a mission statement. After a certain training threshold has been reached, generally after a rite of passage, you include them in something bigger than themselves and give them a purpose within that framework. And it all starts with an oath.
Or three... *agrees wholeheartedly*

subwoofer@122 - We take ourselves too seriously? Seriously? *looks around to be sure no one is pointing* Seriously, whatever the bigger fish, do take care and come back soon. Because we need you to deflate egos, lighten the mood and generally make things interesting in the Bunker. We'll leave the light on for ya... :)

lostinshadow@133 - Oh, my stars and garters! That is too funny!! Will have to borrow that one, if you don't mind!

And that's all the reading/commenting I can manage for one night. Will have to start earlier tomorrow...

*wonders why in hell linking from tor.com could even remotely be considered spam*
Alice Arneson
182. Wetlandernw
By the way, if you haven't seen it yet, here's a nice interview with BWS.

Amalisa @181 - Very good point about observation vs. immersion. I think that's part of the reason I, too, have less problem with the Oaths than many. And with many of the characters/organizations. Including the WT; I don't experience the same level of frustration with things that, to us, are "obviously stupid" - mostly because from an immersion standpoint, they aren't either obvious or stupid.
Noneo Yourbusiness
183. Longtimefan
@ 180 Wetlander

It is totally worth. Totally.

It sets a dialing back range.

Sure it is only for one person and it is only an estimate and it has nothing to do with being bound or unbound from the Oaths.

Crazy theories have been built on less!

(stick tidbit into crazy theory quilt with crazy glue)
a a-p
184. lostinshadow
Valan@169 - you're probably aware of this but just in case you aren't, a reread of Erikson's tMBotF is supposed to start on tor.com sometime around june. The Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Introductory Post

Amalisa@181 of course I don't mind, enjoy.
a a-p
185. lostinshadow
Valan@169: in case you didn't know, a reread of Erikson's tMBotF is supposed to start on tor.com (I tried to link the introductory post but I was flagged as spam - seriously, it's their own site! ::wave, wink and a nudge at the moderators::) so here's the open address: http://www.tor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=blog&id=58927

and Amalisa@181, of course I don't mind, please enjoy :D

Edit: yippeee my post was approved by the moderators! *does happy dance*
187. Freelancer
Longtimefan@152/176, blindillusion@175

New Spring, Chapter 12
"I am Cetalia Delarme," the sister said in a strong Taraboner accent, eyeing her up and down. "By your description, the pretty little porcelain doll, you are Moiraine."

Moiraine stiffened. A . . . pretty . . . little . . . porcelain . . . doll? It was all she could do to keep her face smooth, to keep her hands from clutching her shawl in fists.
. . .
Hungry or not, she went in search of Moiraine rather than dinner, to let her know she would be searching by herself. The sight of Moiraine always made her smile. Cetalia had been wrong in one particular. She was not a pretty little porcelain doll. She was a beautiful little porcelain doll.

Longtimefan's comment @152 used the phrase "porcelin doll" (sic), which more closely resembles the description of Moiraine in New Spring than Erian in Lord of Chaos. Zallumsain.
188. Freelancer

I appreciate any innocuous words used in fiction, which preclude the application of contemporary profanities. I wouldn't have read as many as three volumes of the story. That said, there's only one which stands at the top:
"Now, that killed the goat."
Barry T
189. blindillusion
Mother's milk in a cup.

Daughter of the sands.
Karen Jacobs
190. KJacobs
Dreamwalker @ 167 & 168:
Thanks for the quote!
Maiane Bakroeva
191. Isilel

IMHO the white color of the Oath Rod(s) strongly suggests that they are intended for saidar channelers only. Also, Sammael's insanity in giving the other rod to Sevanna would be further heightened if it could be used on male channelers. Not impossible, perhaps, but I'd cling to my illusions re: capability of the FS for as long as I can ;).

And I'll risk boring you folks, but:

While it is true that WFs and WOs were restrained by their cultures until now, it shouldn't be underestimated how much fear/awe of the AS had influenced those cultures.
It is pretty clear that in both cases those retsraints are gone now. Ji'e'toh is well and good, but will it survive the TG? And if not, what would stop the Aiel from using the OP aggressively?

The Sea Folk have been peaceful so far, but what with the death of the Amayar and loss of respect and fear of the WT, what stops them from turning into some sort of vikings?

The male channelers are of course worst of all, because they don't even have a long restraining tradition to abandon and their training encourages them to be as aggressive as possible and to dream of power and glory.

And then, there are the Seanchan too.

I see no benefit in the Oaths, unless all channelers are required to take them and the Oath Rods (and the male one has yet to be found!) are guarded like certain coffer with the big red button. But even then there'd be a possibility for T'AR-savvy to free themselves (as per RJ).

Not only do the Oaths harm those who take them, make them less capable of countering various threats, etc., but they offer false security to everybody else. Witness the BA. But for the Oaths, their existance would have been known long since.

The only good use I see for the binders is for testimony during trials. This way you'd know that channeling witnesses swearing to say the truth, only the truth, etc. couldn't help but do exactly that.

Speaking of Seanchan - IIRC the situation there wasn't much different from that in Randland during the War of the Hundred Years. Lots of warlords and -ladies, who for being non-channelers weren't less destructive in the end.

And BTW, IMHO there is a lot of evidence suggesting that Seanchan used to be a Shadow-held territory during the War of the Power, so it is no wonder that their channelers behaved like they did.
I bet that if Ishy didn't engineer the rift between the WT and Arthur Hawkwing and Luthair had a compliment of AS with his armies, then the Seanchan channelers could have been handily dealt with without the leashing.
In fact, even non-channelers _can_ overcome channelers in sufficient numbers, it is just the matter of knowing how - which the Seanchan didn't.
Rob Munnelly
192. RobMRobM
Been off on a business trip, so missed all the excitement. Two quick points:

1) I enjoy the Egwene plotline very much. I voted in favor of Egwene out on the ice for the POD cover because of it.

2) Re Leigh's intro, my opinion remains the same as when we had the original kerfluffle. W-o-t warning.

I supported the request of someone (can't remember who) for Leigh not to use the word "retarded" to mean "stupid." As a person who cares about language and as a parent of a special needs child, I find the word in the context used inappropriate and, perhaps even more to the point, inapt. The english language has better adjectives to make the point. Having said my peace, I left it up to the author (Leigh) to decide what to do. If she wanted to edit, that was fine by me. If she wanted not to edit and would think twice about future uses, that was fine by me too. If she wanted not to edit and disagreed with my assessment and kept using it, that also is fine, albeit it likely would be a factor that would lessen my enjoyment of such posts that used the term.

The central point - it is up to the author to decide what to do when there is feedback given through a post and then up to the reader to decide what to do if said feedback is not accepted. Speech is a good thing. Telling an author what they must do is obnoxious. Badgering repeatedly on the same point that the author has not accepted is obnoxious. Raising an issue and asking the author to consider whether, on the merits, a change would be appropriate, at this point or henceforth, should be ok for any or all on this re-read. I supported the retarded point and then let the issue rest. Free asked Leigh something (which I'll not specify at this point) and Leigh responded negatively, that it would affect her personal style too much. Having said his peace and having heard back from Leigh, Free let the issue rest (appropriately).

Summing up, if Leigh says something that I believe needs to be commented on or corrected, I reserve rights to tell her and others reading the post. She can do with it as she will.

Lucas Vollmer
193. aspeo
Thank you for finding that theory. I had no idea where I had seen it before. I think the reason I thought it was so plausible was because of Lanfear seeming so absolutely sure that no woman could be stronger than herself. I may have been giving that quote too much weight, but for me it does give a plausible reason for why Cyndane is now weaker than Lanfear.

The point you brought up about Rand remembering when they were young and learning about the power does bring up some problems. There would have to be a lot of conjecture about how she got to the Finn, and what she got from them for the theory to work. If it’s not too much trouble could you tell me where that scene with Rand is in the books. I would like to go back and look at it now that you brought it up.

After doing a little digging at the 13th Depository in the Saidar Strength Ranking article I found this quote from BS that made the possibility of Lanfear being artificially helped seem more plausible.
Matt: …so Lanfear, the theory goes, that maybe she was accentuated from a beauty and/or Power perspective by going to the 'Finnland previously.
Brandon: Okay.
Matt: Would the 'Finns have the ability to accentuate someone’s beauty and/or quantity or access to the One Power through their own capabilities and talents?
Brandon: Yes, but it might involve third party ter’angreal, angreal, this sort of thing.
Matt: So, they don’t have power to affect the soul’s capability of increasing its total channelling?
Brandon: Certainly not permanently; as far I understand, that is outside the realm of their ability.
Matt: From a beauty perspective can they affect the outer body of some individual?
Brandon: I would say that, yes they can, but they may have to be using some type of ter’angreal or…
Matt: …some item of Power?
Brandon: Some item of Power, something like that…of which they have great stores…

- The Gathering Storm, book tour

Also in that article is a discussion about how Lanfear may have been able to have a angreal without it being actively noticed.
Cyndane was correct; Alivia did have an angreal as well as the ter’angreal Cyndane deduced Alivia had. She was certain no woman could be stronger than Lanfear because, as was discussed above, Lanfear’s strength was perhaps ‘boosted’ by an item of the power, an angreal, that Lanfear too had (and no longer does as Cyndane).

This explains why Lanfear had a reputation for keeping the true extent of her strength hidden:
Some said she had really been the most powerful of the Forsaken, next to Ishamael, the Betrayer of Hope, but had kept her powers hidden.
- The Great Hunt, Blood Calls Blood
ie she appeared weaker than the amount of the Power she drew. (There is a way to hide your strength using a weave.)

This supports Sanderson’s hint that the Eelfinn gave her an item of the Power, such as a very weak angreal, which she always kept by her and used very frequently so it seemed like she was hiding her strength. The difference between the strength women sensed Lanfear had when she wasn’t channelling (Cyndane’s strength) and the amount of saidar they felt Lanfear channel (through her weak angreal) was put down to Lanfear hiding her strength rather than her being so vain as to need to pretend she was even stronger than her already great strength.

The angreal was not so strong that her strength was obviously augmented. It was an amount small enough that her total strength appeared natural and gave her the reputation of keeping the extent of her powers secret.

Interestingly, since women’s greater dexterity makes them equally effective at channelling as men, if Lanfear was using an angreal all the time, she was indeed superior to Rand (or any man) without an angreal as she told him:
“Whatever you can do, Lews Therin, I can do. And better.”
- The Shadow Rising, The Stone Stands

Now that I am reading it again, I think this 13th Depository article is where I first found out about this theory. For me it is pretty convincing, but YMMV.
194. iamnotspam
Ok this is totally off subject but as I have the cover of "The Shadow Rising" by Sam Weber on my background I finally realized who the painting puts me in mind of and that is Nicholas Brendon who played "Xander Harris" on Buffy. He really should be considered for Matt. He has the sardonic humour down pat and looks just like the painting with a little hair work. What I am not sure of is if he can still pull off the younger man. Last I saw him was on "Criminal Minds" where he plays an older guy. But I can just picture him being ganged up on by Tylin or telling Elayne that he is going to keep a promise. Just my two cents thrown in at the wrong time / place.
Don Barkauskas
195. bad_platypus
Wetlandernw @170:
chaplainchris @157 - "Apparently the binding of criminals in the AOL was *supposed* to mark their faces - sort of a scarlet letter " Huh? Please tell me where this came from, because I'm pretty sure I never heard that idea before.
I don't know the origin of the idea, but it's mentioned tangentially in the WoT FAQ (http://steelypips.org/wotfaq/2_nondark/2.3_one-power/2.3.03_oath-rod.html, last paragraph). An interesting question that's raised there is whether the life-shortenng and Agelessness-causing effects are deliberate features or genuine side effects of the binders. I could see it going either way. If they were originally designed as methods of punishment, then they make sense as features. If they were designed for some other purpose and the side effects were discovered later, they might have then only been used in sentencing criminals.

I personally lean towards the "deliberate features" side, but I doubt we'll ever find out definitively (except, possibly, in the Encyclopedia).
Noneo Yourbusiness
196. Longtimefan
@187 Freelancer

The New Spring Passage is apt. I had forgotten that it could also be applied to any "porcelain" dolling up of a character.

I had hoped the "ruffle" comment would be a second clue to link back to the scene between Galina and Eiran.

Then Galina switches from the doll face look-uponer to the doll face haver.

But now that I have done the explaining dance, my comment, she is undone. sigh.

Also, thanks aspeo @ 193. Now I can rummage through the 13th depository for the Saidar Strength Ranking article.

My completly unfounded Theory is coming out of left field to a comment board near you soon.
a a-p
197. lostinshadow
I can see him getting the "abused by women" bit right since that's was a fundamental bit of his character in Buffy but he's way too old for the part now and plus I'm not sure he could pull off the moments of awesome required for Mat.

Personally I would like to see Jason Dohring (Logan from Veronica Mars) play Mat, I think he balances vulnerable and kick ass really well. or to go even younger the guy who plays Liam in the(embarassed to admit this but) new 90210 might work as well. HEY us girls should get some eye candy too!

on an even more unrelated note: it's still raining at the French Open ::grumble grumble::

*slinks off to empty bunker to sulk at stupid TV and downpour in Paris*
Tess Laird
198. thewindrose
aspeo - I really like that theory about Lanfear as well. She is totally the type to wish for best looking, most powerful woman in the world.

On a funny/ maybe slightly frightening side note:
I was looking for my tEotW the other day because I wanted to review the beginning part with LTT. I finally found my book in my son's backpack. His third grade class had a readathon on Friday and he decided he wanted to start reading WoT! He says he really likes it - yikes!!! I don't think he will understand a lot of whats going on, but that's what rereads are for;) He said maybe he could start coming on here with me, but I told him that there is a 2 time reread minimum to get on here(so we should be safe for awhile). This has irritated my husband to no end!

Sharon E.
199. Sulin
Completely off topic, but: During the LOST finale, did anyone else notice the Wheel among the other religious symbols in the stained-glass window in the church, at the end of the finale? Coincidence?

Lucas Vollmer
200. aspeo
Here is the link to the article in case you need it. Personally it's one of my favorite articles to read.

Saidar Strength Ranking
Lannis .
201. Lannis
thewindrose @ 198: That boy deserves a cookie--maybe a whole bunker-full! ;)

::picks through the bunker kitchen, waves at lostinshadow on the couch:: Hmm... I think this place needs restocking.

EDIT: And I canna be 200? :'(
Daniel Goss
202. Beren
*slinks off to empty bunker to sulk at stupid TV and downpour in Paris*

And how addicted am I that I read this and wondered what you had against Tar Valon, and what that had to do with the French Open.
-Beren of the One Track Mind
a a-p
203. lostinshadow

that's ok, the other day I actually made my husband pull over to a side street and hide when I realized that the black van before us had the license plate 34 BA 13 - he was very annoyed. (needless to say, I have not yet converted him to WoT readership)

::waves back at Lanis:: definitely need to restock, I believe some long island ice teas are in order with the weekend coming up (and I think you are 200 since 200 itself has disappeared)

Sulin@199 yes! and one of my friends who is really into Asian mysticism says that the whole "live an alternate life before moving on" thing is actually an offshoot branch of some kind of Hindu mysticism so not surprising really!
Bonnie Andrews
204. misfortuona
I was chuckling over your post when I had an epiphany.
My son is 14 and currently reading KoD and loving the series. He also really wants to get on here, and I've refused to allow it until he's at least finished TGS.
I suggested several times in the last couple of years that he might like to read WOT, but he kept saying that there were just too many books.
I just realized that he finally picked up tEotW just after I discovered the re-read last fall.
I think my recommendation wasn't good enough. He needed to realize that all of you were out there as well.
Not sure whether to be hurt or amused.

Mis-choosing to be amused
Bill Reamy
205. BillinHI
Slightly Looney Theory re binders: Is it possible that who it can be used on depends on who is doing the channeling at the binder? IOW, if it is a woman chanelling, it only works on a woman?

Even so, it would not be real smart of Sammael to give the Shaido a binder that could possibly be used by an Asha'man on a (male) Forsaken.
206. chaplainchris
@ 170 Wetlander and @ 195 bad_platypus:

Re: the Ageless look and whether it's a design feature of the oath rod or a side-effect. I don't remember if I'd read the FAQ citation or not - I'm sure I must have, but don't know if the idea came from there or I simply assumed it. Since the Oath Rod was designed to restrain criminals, and since the use of it created the Ageless look, I've always assumed it was intentional - criminals, once bound, would gradually gain a distincitive look that let people know they were criminals.

But I'd also assumed that swearing 10 oaths was no different than swearing 1 or 20. In light of the info from bad_platypus and others, that's obviously incorrect. And since it takes 3 oaths to create agelessness, I now an inclined to believe that the Ageless look is a side-effect after all.

Which I find to be less cool, but oh well. :) It does explain something I'd wondered at - which is, if Agelessness were intended to result, why would there be such a delay (a year or more) before 'the Ageless Look' became apparent? I just sort of handwaved that question away previously as "the best they could do"; but "side effect" makes more sense.

I still maintain that Egwene's plan of releasing folks from the Oath Rod will work just fine and restore the original life span.

Of course, I think that purely for narrative reasons. If it were real life, I would not want to be one of the Aes Sedai who had to test that notion. I suppose it wouldn't be too bad if you convince near-retirement AS like Romanda and Cadsuane to retire with the Oaths removed you can see what happens to their life span. But since it'd be a few hundred years before you really knew if it had worked, well...could be a problem!
Barry T
207. blindillusion
So, there’s a back and forth message chat (or something like that) happening on FB with some of the Re-Read Regulars. Through it a question has come to mind:

When do you guys think TOR might begin the Tease Campaign and start giving us sections of the book?

208. MasterAlThor
Servey says.

Blood and bloody ashes.


Flamin blah blah blah.

And whenever Birgitte manages to swear.

Good times, good times

209. chaplainchris
@ 168 Dreamwalker

interesting stuff from Brandon/Cyndane. I'm particularly interested that at one point he didn't think Cyndane legitimately powerful enough to weave a gateway, since women as far down the power scale as Alanna and Verin can (could, in the latter case; *sniff* bye Sneaky Verin!) make gateways.

For Cynfear not to be able to do so would be a HUGE power drop.

From these comments, though, we can guess a few things as likely: 1) Brandon won't say there's *never* been shenanigans with the DO interfering with Cynfear's power levels. He will say that with Cyndane, there aren't shenanigans, and what we see is what we get. This implies that at one point there were shenanigans involving her power levels, but that they involved her power levels as Lanfear, not as Cyndane.

2) Interestingly, all the speculation (pre-TGS) anyway that I ever read about Cyndane and Lanfear - and all the speculation I, personally, engaged in - tried to determine why Cyndane was weaker than Lanfear. Had she been stilled and Healed, had she been affected by a Finn wish, etc. But Brandon here turned it around - the shenanigans weren't necessarily about making Cyndane weaker than Lanfear. Instead, we should have asked why Lanfear was stronger than Cyndane.

IOW, the DO had boosted Cynfear's natural strength to unprecedented levels (for women, at least).

This is weird - I'd previously have disputed that this was something the DO *could* do, and if he could, wonder what the restrictions are and if any other Forsaken (Ishamael? Is that how Ishydin equals Rand's strength?) had been so boosted.

But the DO *can* give super-powers - Fain was given his Rand-tracking-sense, for example.

3) If these points are true, then the reason Lanfear is weaker as Cyndane is simply that the DO withdrew his gift of extra strength.

This fits Brandon's comment: here is a little extra power you can draw upon while I am pleased with you, I can take this away...

Lanfear was among the top levels among the Forsaken - the DO was pleased with her, one guesses. Note that she chose her own name, Lanfear - daughter of the Night. Daughter of the Shadow? I don't mean in any metaphysical sense, just that he was pleased with her. She helped drill the Bore! (Not suggesting she knew beforehand, just that this would make the DO inclined to favor her, if anybody.) After her huge mistakes and the DO having to reincarnate her, he's perhaps displeased, and withdraws his gift of power.

4) We know in fact that he is displeased, having taken away the name *she* chose in her pride and renamed her "Last Chance." Now, instead of going her own way, she's held by a Mind Trap to obey Ishydin completely. Obviously the DO is displeased, and withdrawing a gift of strength that he initially gave fits this perfectly.

5) One other thing that fits - Cyndane's thought that it was *impossible* for Alivia to be stronger than she had been as Lanfear. I figured that was just arrogance originally; but if the DO had previously topped up her strength, it may be that he had in fact made her as strong as a woman could possibly be, and that it was therefore *literally* impossible for another woman to be stronger unless she had an angreal.

So. It all hangs together, and I'm convinced. Mierin was always strong in the Power - even stronger than Graendal "which relatively few women were" - and becoming Lanfear she was favored by the DO with even more strength. (LTT/Rand in the Stone said she always craved power.) Once she loses this favor and is reincarnated as Cyndane, she's back to her natural strength - still very strong, but not at the very top any longer.

All of which gives me a good feeling. If Cynfear's lower strength level is not a result of being stilled/severed, then odds are good that Moiraine's not stilled either! OMG Moiraine *squee*

Oh, and *twitch.*
Maiane Bakroeva
210. Isilel
If Cynfear's lower strength level is not a result of being stilled/severed, then odds are good that Moiraine's not stilled either! OMG Moiraine *squee*

Oh, yes, 200% with you there! I hope that Moiraine gets a chance to actually do something awesome in ToM, beyond being passively rescued. She is my favorite character and I have waited so long for her return! A lot of my impatience with books 7-11 probably has to do with frustration of waiting for expedition to the Finns.
Birgit F
211. birgit
The Kalachakra is common in Buddhist art, e. g. on the Potala:

How do the Amayar treat their channelers?
Kate Collura
212. dreamwalker
KJacobs @ 190 You're welcome!

chaplainchris @ 209

I found those quotes to be very interesting too, and it definitely made me consider the Lanfear/Cyndane power situation differently. Before I wasn't really aware of the theory that Lanfear had been artificially enhanced somehow prior to being held in Finnland. But after reading about it a little more I am liking that idea more. I too dismissed Lanfear's comment about how no woman could be stronger as arrogance. But it probably is perilous to dismiss any seemingly small point in WOT.

However, I am also very curious as to why Brandon thought Cyndane was very weak. There must be a reason for his misinterpretation. Which makes it seem likely that there is something else going on in addition to the possibility that Lanfear just lost her extra "edge" when becoming Cyndane.
Lucas Vollmer
213. aspeo
I tried to link you directly to the Saidar Strength Ranking article from the 13th Depository at post 200, but it got flagged as spam :(
I don't know if it will ever show up, so here is the non-linkified version :)


Edit: It showed up now lol
214. Freelancer

So, when you suggested WoT, your son blew it off. When he discovered that other folks, who don't try to tell him what to do all the time, were into it, this attracted him.

Yep, he's 14 all right.
Alice Arneson
216. Wetlandernw
iamnotspam @194 - I think Brendon is getting too old to play Mat, but I love the image. I think that as he was a year or two into Buffy, he'd have been just about perfect. Actually, for a single movie made in the very near future, he could still do it, but it would get harder with each subsequent movie given that movies take a year or two to make, and each one could only represent a few months at most.

bad_platypus @195 - Re: the ageless look. Okay... I don't even remember it from the WoTFAQ, which is pretty sad. Maybe it was just something I didn't find interesting enough, or sufficiently well-supported, to remember? Anyway, there's no textual evidence that it was intentional, and I do recall reading that "few committed even one violent crime, much less two or three" so I can't see that it would be an intentional part of the design. Given the way it works - that it feels like something tightening on your skin, all over, presumably a weave of some sort - it seems logical that if you tighten it up repeatedly there would eventually be an outward effect. This doesn't prove intent, either way, of course. I guess we have to each make our own assumptions. (First time for everything, eh?) So mine is that it's an unintended effect, but it doesn't really matter.

Longtimefan @196 - Don't feel too bad. I didn't comment, but I did catch - and enjoy - the word game the first time around. Had to go look up the name though; couldn't remember "Erian." And discovered there's a misprint in my book: she's supposed to be an "Illianer Green" but my book says "Gleaner Green" - do you suppose that was spell-check unchecked?

thewindrose @198 - That's hilarious!! Go team WoT! :) Yeah, in third grade you can reasonably hope he won't catch everything... Oh, too funny.

dreamwalker @212 - "However, I am also very curious as to why Brandon thought Cyndane was very weak." From reading his comments, I got the strong impression it was from something he was reading in RJs notes; i.e., something none of us have or will ever see. He and Maria were reading the same notes differently, in part because Maria had in mind another part of the notes that Brandon either hadn't seen yet or had forgotten about.
Kate Collura
217. dreamwalker
Wetlandernw @ 216

Thanks, I read that too. You're right, we probably will never know what is in the notes, but he did say we'll find out why Cyndane is weaker than Lanfear but not by much.

Is it October yet?
James Hogan
218. Sonofthunder
blindillusion@207, I was also thinking that just recently!! We're getting so close(is it sad that I think 5 months is close?) that I think it's high time we got some sweet sneak previews. Or Prologue. *is much too optimistic*

Anyways, I was thinking the other day that I need to start my WoT reread, but I'm soon traveling to Scotland for a six-month work rotation. And I probably won't be able to take my books with me! So I'm planning on just doing a KoD/tGS reread in my last month in the States. BUT, this means I'll pick up the European version of ToM! Do we know if the European release date is later than the US one?
Theresa Gray
219. Terez27

Thank you for finding that theory. I had no idea where I had seen it before. I think the reason I thought it was so plausible was because of Lanfear seeming so absolutely sure that no woman could be stronger than herself. I may have been giving that quote too much weight, but for me it does give a plausible reason for why Cyndane is now weaker than Lanfear.

I addressed this in my previous post, but since you seem to have missed it, I will post the quote from the books:

TITLE: Crossroads of Twilight
CHAPTER: 17 - Secrets

Glaring, Tiana pursed her lips stubbornly, emphasizing her dimple again. You could almost forget she had worn the shawl for over thirty years and think her a novice herself. "As long as I am Mistress of Novices, the decision on whether to send a girl away is mine," she said heatedly, "and I do not intend to lose a girl of Nicola's potential." Nicola would be very strong in the Power, one day. "Or Sharina's," she added with a grimace, hands smoothing her skirts in irritation. Sharina's potential was nothing short of remarkable, far beyond anyone in living memory except for Nynaeve, and ahead of Nynaeve as well. Some thought she might become as strong as it was possible to be, though that was only speculation. "If Nicola has been bothering you, Mother, I will see to her."

If Third-Agers have some idea of the upper limit of female channeling strength, then it's no surprise that Lanfear, from the Age of Legends when channelers knew much more about the Power, knows that she is as strong as it is possible to be. Also, I believe that the 'speculation' from the Third Age Aes Sedai refers to the matter of being able to judge how strong a woman will be, rather than any sort of ambiguity about the upper limit:

scifi.com chat 1 January 2000

Linda: We see a lot of characters making estimates about how strong such and such a channeler is or will be, but when we're talking about so far unfulfilled potential, how accurately can it be judged? Especially if the channeler making the judgment doesn't know how much training the channeler being judged previously has had?

RJ: One of the themes of the book is that no one knows everything there is to know. Another is that just because you believe something to be true, doesn't mean that it is true. Someone can judge a current strength. This is a difference between men and women. A woman that can channel can very accurate judgment of another woman's strength whether she is channeling or not if she is standing close enough. Among Aes Sedai at least, knowledge of potential strength, especially if it is thought to be a great strength, becomes very widespread. Among men the circumstances are different. A man who can channel cannot judge the strength of another unless the other is channeling the One Power of holding the One Power, and even then all he can judge is how much of the One Power the other man is holding. He can't say how much he can hold. There are great differences between men and women in the One Power.

I also mentioned in my previous post that it was rumored that Lanfear was the strongest of all the Forsaken except perhaps Ishamael (this was mentioned in the BWB), but RJ essentially confirmed that wasn't true on the KOD book tour:

Knife of Dreams book tour 11 October 2005 - Syraelle reporting

Re: bulk "strength" in the power
RJ reiterated that men were stronger than women by a couple of levels, including Lanfear ; but then he also reminded us that that did not take into account the dexterity factor.

She says 'reiterated' because he had discussed this previously on his blog, in more detail:

RJ's blog 4 October 2005 "ONE MORE TIME"

Regarding the percentage of women who could test for the shawl, it would be 62.5% of the bellcurve. I’ll leave the maths to you for an idle moment. The question doesn’t really apply to men, since the Black Tower accepts anyone who can learn to channel, but if the White Tower limits were applied, it would be roughly 65.4% of the bellcurve. Although, considering the effectiveness question, they should probably set it at the same 62.5%. Again, the maths are all yours. Regarding the levels of male strength, while the weakest man and the weakest woman would be roughly equivalent, you might say that there are several levels of male strength on top of the female levels. Remember to integrate this with what I’ve said elsewhere about effectiveness, though.

Also, for future reference, the best place to find all the plot-related interview quotes is here. Linda does have a number of interviews on 13th Depository - I link back to her as a source for the Wotmania interview and the Questions of the Week - but even she uses my database to find quotes for her articles, and she reads through it for study, because it is organized by category. I'm doing some more work on cross-referencing this summer (while also trying to do my first re-read in 3 years).
220. mummymel
I am in full agreement with your opening note. Part of the beauty of reading someone else's viewpoint is exactly that, it's someone else's viewpoint.

Keep up the great (and necessary) work.
Matthew Smith
222. blocksmith
Oh moderator...please help.

All of my last few posts have been flagged as spam and I cannot determine why. No links, no bad language...what gives?
Lucas Vollmer
223. aspeo
Thank you for those quotes from RJ about Lanfear being a couple levels lower than the top men. I wasn't meaning to imply that she was actually stronger than them, they just happened to be part of the quotes I was using in general. I bolded a couple parts to show they were from the actual books, and wanted them to stand apart. I didn't mean to call attention to them for any specific reason. My main point in using the quotes from Linda's Saidar Strength article was to support the idea that Lanfear had been gifted by the Finns, and it was taken away when she died and came back as Cyndane.

I will also respectfully disagree that the AS of the third age know what the upper limit of channeling strength is. It has been shown that the AS do not know as much as they believe they do, especially when it comes to channeling. What they think of as the upper limit of saidar strength may not be what they actual upper limit is. I do agree that someone from the AoL may have known more accurately what the upper limit was, so I am inclined to believe Lanfear more than the third age AS in this matter.

Lastly, thank you for the link to your Theoryland page. I agree that it will be extremely useful, and I've got it bookmarked for my future use.
kevin smith
224. WoTaBoOk
Aspeo @ 153

I like your idea that the silver belt Lanfear always wore was the greal that made her the most powerful female channeler. If that does turn out to be the case here's to hoping Mori comes out of the ToG with a shiny new belt!!!
Theresa Gray
225. Terez27
@aspeo - The quote was meant to show, as I said, that if the Third-Agers have a clue about the upper limit, then it's almost certain that the Forsaken would know about it. I believe that RJ specifically put that quote in there to show us that there was nothing special about Lanfear's assurance, because that question came up after Winter's Heart was released. RJ put the bit about Sharina in Crossroads; I think this is one of those situations where the fans made a mystery out of something that was never intended to be a mystery.
226. alreadymadwithpowerlevel
I don't think the Third Agers know anything at all about the limits of channeling strength. Up until the advent of the Girls, the strongest in living memory had been Cadsuane. They're groping blindly when they make estimates on channeling strength at Forsaken class.
Theresa Gray
227. Terez27
Yes, but there is apparently an upper limit that can be sensed, regardless of how strong recent channelers have been, or they wouldn't have speculated about Sharina becoming as strong as it's possible for a woman to be. There would be no need to make that assumption at all.
Karen Fox
228. thepupxpert
thewindrose @ 198 - Third Grade??? Wow kudos to him! My boy is in 5th grade and struggling through the first Harry Potter book. He'd rather see the movies!
229. Kreeble
The Aes Sedai are only able to speculate in that vein because they have the the Super Girls to judge against. They seem to have no real idea as to what the actual limit might be. All they know is that Egwene/Elayne are two of the strongest channellers in the last 1000 years, Nynaeve stronger than the two of them, and that Sharina will eventually be stronger than Nynaeve. Its natural for them to speculate that Sharina might perhaps reach the max, but it is by no means founded in any actual proof other than 'we haven't seen anything stronger'
230. Ouroboros
Favourite curses:
Goat-kissing Trollocs!
Filthy pig-kisser!
Gawyn Trakand
Windows Vista-- wait, that can't be right.

I would have taken "that killed the goat" but someone got there first.

I'd say something about Ye Olde Trusty Othes but it looks like there's not much more to be said. FWIW having one oath - "one oath only pleasch" - which points to a constitution would seem to be the best way forward if they insist on having one. I say ditch them all and get out there in the real world and earn a little trust but it would take time, so the one oath pony would probably be necessary as a stop gap.

I had a thought about Mesaana and the rod - hmm, sounds like a fairytale doesn't it. She's obviously pretty good at the illusion trick. I wonder if it's possible to make someone think that your channeling a weave when your not. I.E. she embraces the source and makes it look like she's channeling into the rod, but it's really just an illusion. That way she can say what she likes and nothing will happen. I suppose it boils down to how they really perceive the threads. It's always described in a visual way but it might be a "sixth sense" thing which is impossible to mimic.

About the upper limit: I can't see how anyone can say for certain what the maximum possible strength for a channeler would be. Yes, you could say that based on previous stats no one has been stronger than 13 on the Tamyrlin-Rashnovsky scale- or whatever they use- but there is always room for someone to come along with "blip" written on their forehead. I suppose that in the AoL they may have had some way to calculate the maximum amount of power that a human body could withstand unaided but it sounds a bit woolly to me; rather like saying "this is the maximum amount of weight any human would ever be able to lift."

I’ll save my thoughts on Egwene the Oath Flip-flopper until I’ve had some sleep.

Tektonica @ 62:Be a writer? Ah, if I only had the time .

Amalisa @ 179: "You are not well. I like that in a person. *lol*"

I try to spend as much time out of my mind as possible - it's a much more interesting place!

I'll be bringing tea to the party tomorrow. I'll pack Gunpowder, Darjeeling, Lapsang, and Jasmine. Any other requests? Yes, I take my tea drinking even more seriously than my ale drinking.
Bonnie Andrews
231. misfortuona
Maybe the computer sees your name as a command. Er that's all I can come up with.

You sir are a riot. A name that I never skip no matter what because I always end up smiling if not clutching my sides in agony as I laugh like a fool.

Tea I like most herbals, but mostly prefer green and chai. Not in the same cup please.

Mis-thinking tea is much safer than tequilla
Theresa Gray
232. Terez27
Kreeble@229 - just the fact that the Aes Sedai know that they haven't had that one strong in 1000 years should tell you something.
Alice Arneson
233. Wetlandernw
Oroboros @230 - Lapsang for me please. Unless I'm in the mood for Assam. Or Cassis. Or Puer. Top four for me. No jasmine - it gives me a headache. :)
234. Stromgard
Haven't read all comments, but yes, the "young and strange" sitters in Salidar and in WT are (were) placeholders for a unification of the Tower, Adelorna and her co-conspirators confirm it in TGS.

Too bad their plan was "yay let's promote a weak and controllable amyrlin... hmmm.... this one is a viscious, megalomaniac madwoman that is extremely strong in the power, let's pick her, woohoo"

It went wrong? No, really??

a a-p
235. lostinshadow
ooohhh I love a good Darjeeling. I'm happy to add some jasmine tea I bought in China (huge difference from what you can buy elsewhere).

though ultimately I prefer a well brewed Turkish black tea of course!

just no tea bags please - of any flavor!
Tricia Irish
236. Tektonica
Anyone familiar with A.F. Jones Tea? It's a blend of Pure Ceylon from, well, Ceylon. Best tea I've ever had. (Jasmine too, please.)

Don't we need some scones and clotted cream to go with? I"ll bring those...and strawberries. High tea! Pretty sophisticated for the Bunker.
Rob Munnelly
237. RobMRobM
Definitely quieted down here a bit. *whew*

Re the oath survey, I'm with Free and Ouro - "That killed the goat." Classic Mat (and classic Joline).

On a separate, personal note, I've not been posting much because I had my business trip, been busy at work, and have been spending a chunk of time working through Galbadon's Outlander series - which might even top WoT for raw length.


a a-p
238. lostinshadow
hmmm scones... definitely! clotted cream and strawberries - I'll bring some mountain strawberries, 'tis the season for them here (which means no genetic modification -yey!)

RobM@237, how are you enjoying Galbandon? I started reading it some years ago but stopped after the 5th or 6th (most likely 5th, it was a while back)book, I just couldn't bring myself to like the characters.

survey: I like flaming dice myself since I have many oppurtunities to use it when losing at backgammon
Chin Bawambi
239. bawambi
I've got Russian Caravan, Assam and Ceylon in my desk. I've always been partial to a good English Breakfast or Earl Grey of any strength. Love Black Teas from India or China but the strong blends of the two are really my favorites. I'll send some to the bunker - I'll just have to order more from Annie she'll appreciate it.

Tess Laird
240. thewindrose
lostinshadow - (I know I don't know you), but I am picturing you saying "Flaming dice! Bloody flaming dice!"

I love Earl Grey and Golden Assam is very good as well. My parents brought me some tea back from China once, and I was amazed at how pretty it can be. They brought back tea buds that expand when seeping in the water - very cool. This isn't the brand, but gives you an idea of how it looks.

thepupxpert - Yes, I am amazed with my son as well. I can't wait until he is old enough to go and discuss books with me at a bar;) Might have to take him over the pond as we have some silly laws here. Not trying to start a debate about drinking age, just making a comment:)

Rob Munnelly
241. RobMRobM
Galbadon is definitely a page turner. I like them but have to suspend plausibility a fair amount of the time on the large variety of issues faced by the main characters and ways they get out of them mostly in one piece. I also am finding myself a bit aggravated at how the female protagonist keeps jumping to conclusions on the motives of her love without talking to him - almost WoT like in failure to communicate although at least communication eventually happens. Just finished the third book so still early in series. Stay tuned.

Note that I started by reading all of the Lord John books and novellas which I liked very much (even more than the core Outlander stories). John is a great character -- very witty, lots of heart and surprisingly strong given his big personal issues (i.e., he's a closeted gay male Army officer at a time when getting caught means disgrace at best and hanging at worst).
242. Kreeble
Terez @ 232: All it for sure tells us is that they can remember back a few generations in terms of strength. The Aes Sedai have pointed out before that they seem to be culling the ability to channel out of mankind, and that those with the ability are weaker than they were 1000 years ago. A millennium to the common eye is a lot longer than it is to AS / ogier.
diane heath
243. jadelollipop
Still catching up on the re-read. In COS Swovan Night at the moment.
Re: teas I prefer English Breakfast and Earl Grey. My husband is the one who prefers herbal teas.

Isn't this Friday? A new post due later today?
Lucas Vollmer
244. aspeo
I agree. Just because no one has been as strong or stronger than Cadsuane in a thousand years (until the super girls) doesn't mean the AS have a good idea of what the maximum channeling level is.

I would speculate that if a top level for channeling was known in the AoL, it was lost during the breaking and upheaval after the War of the Shadow and the men going insane from the taint.
Tina Pierce
246. scissorrunner
224. WoTaBoOk
re:Moiraine & a new belt
maybe that's where they got the costume ides for the ebook cover.....

a tea survey???
peppermint is my favorite with raspberry sangria (Tevana retired it -blast!) as a close second
Matthew Smith
248. blocksmith
Wow...finally a post made it through. Interesting. Anyone besides Mis@231 have a clue as to why this happens?

I had some things to contribute, but as this thread is nearing its active end, I will winnow it down.

First, I accepted Leigh's modification to her word choice as an example that she is a thoughtful, concerned writer that realized she had a chance to modify her writing to reduce/mitigate any unintentional discomfort to her readers without changing the purpose and/or meaning of her post. While I agree that we read what she writes (and leave or stay as we decide) and that she can write what she wishes, I think her initial change of wording (and any others she may choose to do through self-editing) demonstrate her open-mindedness more so than even what she is writing about. Keep up the good work.

And my favorite curse is definitely Bloody Buttered Onions...love that.
Matthew Smith
249. blocksmith
Wow...finally a post made it through. Interesting. Anyone besides Mis@231 have a clue as to why this happens?

I had some things to contribute, but as this thread is nearing its active end, I will winnow it down.

I accepted Leigh's modification to her word choice as an example that she is a thoughtful, concerned writer that realized she had a chance to modify her writing to reduce/mitigate any unintentional discomfort to her readers without changing the purpose and/or meaning of her post. While I agree that we read what she writes (and leave or stay as we decide) and that she can write what she wishes, I think her initial change of wording (and any others she may choose to do through self-editing) demonstrate her open-mindedness more so than even what she is writing about. Keep up the good work.

And my favorite curse is definitely Bloody Buttered Onions...love that.
Chin Bawambi
250. bawambi
Just a quick comment about this blog and this website in general. Tor.com and Leigh's blog in particular seem to be an oasis within the internet of rational discourse where adults of all ages, backgrounds, political and religious viewpoints can actually agree to disagree without resulting in flame wars and other childish behavior. I only wish that the rest of our respective societies could act in such an honorable way.

251. Freelancer
Since everyone is in twich mode waiting for the Friday post...

Brandon on his FB page:
Whew. Chapter done. Very tired. It was a scene you’ve been waiting a long time to read. No, not that one. And not that one either.

How's that for twitch-worthiness?

We know he's not going to tell, so why not just wildly speculate to which scene this refers. Not Moiraine's rescue, that's got to be one that it isn't. Same with the Rand/Mat/Perrin reunion. So, possibilities of what we've been waiting for...

~ The "reveal" of Morgase
~ Galad meets Berelain
~ Lan reaches Tarwin's Gap
~ Rand, Egwene, and Perrin meet in T'a'R
~ Min solves the riddle of Herid Fel's words
~ Tuon channels, then abolishes leashing
~ Nynaeve spanks Cadsuane
252. Ouroboros
misfortuona @ 231: "You sir are a riot" - well, inciteful, certainly - but that's an old joke.

As it happens, gunpowder tea is a green tea. It gets its name because the leaves are rolled into tiny pellits that make it look like gunpowder. The flavour has tones of tabacco which certainly make it unique.

Wetlandernw @ 233: Cassis - Did you harvest that black currant bush yourself? And where was it growing? I love Pu Erh. In fact, I just love tea. White, green, black, it doesn't really matter. Although I don't generally like fruit teas, except for Turkish apple tea.

Stromgard @ 234: No guessing where you stand on Egwene then. On her face, wearing cleats, grinding it into a bloody pulp. :)

lostinshadow @ 235: Tea bags... INCONCEIVABLE! There are some specialist shops that import the real stuff. It's more expensive but definitely worth it.
253. Splaaat

Thanks for pointing that out - I never see the Facebook stuff, so I appreciate it.


- Rand/Taim faceoff?
- Logain does something at all?
- Graendal takes credit for killing Asmodean?

Thanks again!
Tricia Irish
254. Tektonica
Wind@240: ::waves::

I'm a big Earl Grey fan too. Yum.

I'm jealous that you have your son involved in WOT!! Very cool. My son is primarily an audio learner, so I'll have to try him on the audio books someday...when he isn't studying for college finals. I did get him hooked on Harry Potter when he was young, now he's into Vonnegut and I think he liked Dune. We'll see.....

Ouroboros: ....inciteful....lol...
My mother loved Gunpowder green...veddy English.

Free@251: LOL. I vote for your last suggestion: Nynaeve spanks Cadsuane. A scene many of us would pay extra money to see.
Rob Munnelly
255. RobMRobM
Egwene-Rand face off
Egwene bonding Gawyn
Tam showing blademaster skills
Galad-Morgase meeting
The Borderlanders finally telling all what they are up to.
Perrin fighting Slayer

.... and number one answer:

Gawyn going to Camelyn and doing something stupid
256. Jonathan Levy

Uh - maybe this is a dumb question, but if Lanfear had gone through the gate to the foxes in the AOL, then how could she have gone there again when Moiraine pushed her through? Wouldn't she have just fallen through to the other side, and Moiraine would have gone all by her lonesome self into Eelfinnland? Like what happened to Mat when he tried to reach the snakes a second time in the Stone of Tear.
Bonnie Andrews
257. misfortuona
I am so loving those flowering teas. This would be perfect for me since I inevitably brew a pot, pour one cup, forget I'm drinking it, and end up throwing the whole thing out.
This at least would look beautiful on my counter.

Mis-off to microwave the morning tea

[i]Edit ***Twitch***
Rob Munnelly
258. RobMRobM
Idle musings re Woof's priority list for ToM (since he is not here to defend himself)

The reveal of Berelain
Galad gets backrub from Berelain
Lan sees gap in Berelain's dress
Rand, Eg and Perrin use T'AR to watch Berelain at bed time
Min solves riddle of Berelain
Berelain leashed
Nyneave spanks Berelain

Sharon E.
259. Sulin
RE tea: How about some good old fashioned iced tea? I am a Texan, after all. ;-)

*ducks and blocks the incoming teapots with buckler*
Tricia Irish
260. Tektonica
Iced tea is Great! Hey, I'm in Florida...it's bloody HOT down here.

But it has to be brewed...NO instant...blech. And no southern "sweet" for me, Sulin!
Sharon E.
261. Sulin
I agree Tek, insta-tea is eeeeeevil. Hmmmm I like my iced tea sweet, but not syrupy sweet. I like to still taste the underlying flavors.

BTW stick a couple of Tazo "Passion" tea bags in your iced tea brew for a refreshing (and aphrodisiacal) twist! ;)
Tricia Irish
262. Tektonica
Thanks for the passion tea tip...I'll try it! We can always use an "aphrodisiastical" twist...or something!

We're twitching here!!!
263. Ouroboros
Freelancer @ 251: Just a few thoughts.

"Rand, you apologise right now for all the bull-goose stupid things you've done. you're a wool-head. Ah . . . why are you staring at me like that. Stop staring at me like that. I don't like it. Rand? Are you . . . ah-"

--- or maybe ---

"I killed Asmodean"
"No! I killed Asmodean."
"No! I killed Asmodean."
"By the light, you can't all of killed him. Well?"

Roll now. (1 or 4) turn to page 205, (2 or 5) turn to page 8472, (3 or 6) wait for book 14.

--- or maybe ---

"This is dangerous Young Bull."
"But I have to learn."
"You are not meant to learn. You think too much. Go kill something."

--- or maybe ---

"Tom, I'm confused."
"Mat, you're always confused."
"No really. Today we're walking down the road but yesterday we were in Caemlin, Rand just went mad because he tried to kill Tam who is still captaining people in Ghealdan, one of Perrin's maids just admitted to being a Queen even though she's still a prisoner of the Shaido, and Elayne just gave birth even though her water will break tomorrow."
"The wheel weaves as the wheel wills."
"Where in the flaming sheeps swalloped, butter onioned, goat kissing, Dark Ones blistered backside did you come from. We're supposed to rescue you tomorrow."
"Aes Sedai know many things."
Tricia Irish
264. Tektonica
Free: Brilliant....worth waiting here with my tea, twitching....LOL

oops....I meant Ouroboros! It t'wasn't you Free, sorry.
Karen Jacobs
265. KJacobs
Ouroboros@several - LOL - thanks for the giggles on this quiet Friday!

I'll add some green tea to the pot - I found a place on-line that has liquid concentrated green tea; can be a little expensive, but it has a great taste and it is the only tea that my husband will actually drink.

Although with all this talk of tea & biscuts, Sub may not recognize the bunker when he rejoins us!
Birgit F
266. birgit
Uh - maybe this is a dumb question, but if Lanfear had gone through the gate to the foxes in the AOL, then how could she have gone there again when Moiraine pushed her through?

She could have gone into the Tower of Ghenjei. Or maybe there were more doorways in the AOL.
Lucas Vollmer
267. aspeo
Jonathon Levy@256
Like birgit said @266 maybe she hadn’t gone through that doorway before, and that way she was able to pass through. Another thought I have is that since she was channeling when she went through that could have made a difference and allowed her to pass into the Finn world. One last way that I can think of is that since she and Moiraine were touching together, she went through because Moiraine did.

Out of these I personally think the most likely reason is that if Lanfear had visited the Finns previously, then she had done so by another doorway. This would allow her to pass through the doorway at the docks with Moiraine.
Joseph Blaidd
268. SteelBlaidd
I'm an herbal tea fan.
One of my favorites is Rooibos(red) with vanilla bean, with cream and sweetend with molasses, goes very well with chocolate cake.

This is one of my favorite sections and I'm with the Oaths nesesary for AS continuity group.
Janet Hopkins
269. JanDSedai
Just when I have time to post, the thread is over.*pout*

But I didn't really have anything to add to the discussion, and two high school graduations and my daughter's best friend moving (we helped) have kept me to busy to post. But I did read everything!
Jacy Clark
270. Amalisa
Sulin, for you... homemade sweet tea...

Tek, while I do love sweet tea, I limit myself to one or two glasses a year - usually at my friend Debbie's house. She uses an ancient 2 gallon pitcher to steep the tea - so old, the inside is permanently stained from the hundreds of gallons of tea it has served over the years. She also uses about 8 cups of sugar. I swear, you could pour it over biscuits!

Otherwise, I drink mine unsweetened, with lime slices. (Although, I do insist on Luzianne!)
Janet Hopkins
271. JanDSedai
Yes, Luzianne is good. But any store-brand is better than Lipton! I will not serve my family and friends any flavor of Lipton tea. It has a "soapy" after-taste.

As for hot tea, I've grown partial to oolong tea. The complexities of the flavor are best tasted hot; serving cold will muddy the taste.
272. David DeLaney
The series will be ten books; the tenth is already
out in the UK, but not in the US yet. Start with the first one (or with the second - you can actually do that and then go back, it's a very mosaic-novel series), and by the time you're done with #9, The Chained God ought to be available here.

Scott Kelson
274. scott-swampy
Dear Leigh,
Why do I fell like I should have started with different pleasantries? I just wanted to thank you for the blog, and beyond that for having the courage to stand up for yourself and more importantly for your opinions. As a reader I don’t always agree with your opinions for various reasons but that is kind of the point, isn’t it? If you didn’t apply your opinions to the rereads, or simply applied the common opinion to each of them, we all may as well just read the books ourselves…

It also boggles my mind that people seem to enjoy debating the issues so much in this forum yet don’t seem to acknowledge that the debate stems from opinion that you express. And I don’t mean that they don’t say thank you, but actions speaking and all that.

So again my sincerest thank for remaining true, because this whole experience would have been that much less enjoyable had you caved. :):):)

And sorry to bring this up again.
Karen Fox
275. thepupxpert
Have there really been no postings since May 31st? Where did everybody go?

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