Jun 11 2010 2:58pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Path of Daggers, Part 14

Allo-allo, WOT readers! Welcome to another Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 23 of The Path of Daggers, because it turns out that Chapter 24 is STUPID LONG, and I just canna do it, Captain. I din’t have the power!

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

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

And that is the sum of what that is, so click on for the post!

Chapter 23: Fog of War, Storm of Battle

What Happens
Rand examines the ripped-apart corpses of the Seanchan while Lews Therin howls for Ilyena in his head. Weiramon opines that it was a great victory, but mutters that there was “small honor” in it; he and most of the other nobles had charged without orders at the end of the battle rather than let the Asha’man do all the work. Rand had taken no part, afraid to seize saidin again. Bashere approaches with the news that Aracome is dead of his wounds, along with fifty others; Rand thinks of Min’s viewing, and hopes she didn’t see how he died clearly. The rest of the army is mingling without resentment for once in the exhaustion after the battle. Flinn, Adley, Morr, and Hopwil are down among the wounded (Narishma, Rand, and Dashiva are no good at Healing); Rand thinks of how he’d had to force Gedwyn and Rochaid to help. Bashere says they will do better next time, and Weiramon seizes the opportunity to make a speech.

Ignoring him, Rand stares at the hundred or so prisoners (mostly Taraboners) and wonders what to do with them; Gedwyn had wanted to interrogate and then execute them, while Weiramon thought they should skip the interrogation part, since the prisoners were all commoners and therefore couldn’t know anything useful. They are interrupted by one of Bashere’s patrols, who bring in a bedraggled sul’dam. Rand demands to know if they hurt her, and the patrol leader says no, they found her like this.

“She claims we killed her Gille. A pet dog, or cat, or some such, the way she carries on. Her name’s Nerith. We got that much out of her.” The woman turned and snarled at him again.

Rand sighed. Not a pet dog. No! That name did not belong on the list! But he could hear the litany of names reciting itself in his head, and “Gille the damane” was there. Lews Therin moaned for his Ilyena. Her name also was on the list. Rand thought it had a right.

Rand explains what little he knows about sul’dam and damane, and to his surprise Anaiyella coldly offers to hang Nerith herself if Rand felt “constrained”. Rand growls a refusal, and tells Bashere that the soldier prisoners are to be turned loose once they’re ready to leave (reasoning that none of them would be able to get to the Seanchan to warn them faster than Rand’s forces can Travel), but Nerith and any other women they capture will be kept. Weiramon and Bashere are both startled, and Anaiyella contemptuous; Rand tells them he has enough Aes Sedai against him without sending the Seanchan back their sul’dam, which relieves Bashere. Rand debates to himself where to send them, and thinks of the sisters with Elayne (and Mat, he thinks) on their way to Caemlyn. He says he’ll hand her over to “some Aes Sedai I choose”, and Nerith promptly shrieks in horror and attempts to run. It takes four men to stop her and hold her down—sort of—and Bashere offers odds on whether she can take them.

A young Asha’man Soldier named Varil Nensen has meanwhile Traveled back from scouting, and reports to Rand that he found more Seanchan thirty miles west of them. Eyeing Nerith, who is busy biting the Saldaean trying to tie her up, he adds that he didn’t see any women with them. Bashere comments there will be enough to time to eat, first, and Rand snaps to make it quick.

Would every sul’dam he captured be as difficult? Very likely. Light, what if they took a damane? “I don’t want to spend all winter in these mountains.” Gille the damane. He could not erase a name once it went onto that list.

The dead are never silent, Lews Therin whispered. The dead never sleep.

Rand rode down toward the fires. He did not feel like eating.

From a mountain ridge, Furyk Karede of the Deathwatch Guard watches the twenty-three hundred soldiers (most either Taraboners or newly-conscripted Altarans and Amadicians), along with twelve sul’dam and two damane, move through the pass below. The ten officers of the force are with him on the ridge. Karede thinks of the story that one of his ancestors was a noble who served Luthair Paendrag himself, though he doesn’t know if it is true.

Karede was da’covale and proud of it, like every man of the Guard, the property of the Crystal Throne, body and soul. He fought where the Empress pointed, and would die the day she said die. To the Empress alone did the Guard answer, and where they appeared, they appeared as her hand, a visible reminder of her. No wonder that some among the Blood could become uneasy watching a detachment of Guardsmen pass. A far better life than mucking out a Lord’s stables or serving kaf to a Lady. But he cursed the luck that had sent him into these mountains to inspect the outposts.

A raken flies by unusually low, but leaves no message, and Karede thinks that it’s just as well, as the few messages he had gotten had only made matters murkier. It’s clear there is some kind of force in the mountains (Karede thinks they are Altarans), but their coordination and cohesion run contrary to the nature of the Altarans he’d encountered thus far. One of the officers, Nadoc, complains about marching blind when at least forty thousand Altarans are out there; another officer, Jadranka, snorts that no matter their numbers, they are scattered and lacking support, and their own forces are doubtless just here to “sweep up the remains.” He adds that he had told the scouts to press on until they found the Altarans.

“You did what?” Karede said softly.

Soft or not, his words jerked every eye toward him. Though Nadoc and a few of the others had to struggle to stop gaping at Jadranka. Scouts told to press ahead, scouts told what to look for. What had gone unseen for those orders?

Before anyone could open his mouth shouts rose from the men in the pass, screams and the shrieks of horses.

Karede sees the men in the pass getting mowed down by what he at first assumes are crossbow bolts, until the ground also starts erupting under the soldiers’ feet and lightning striking from above, and realizes the Altarans have Aes Sedai with them. Shaken, Nadoc asks what they’re going to do; Jadranka snarls back that they will rally and attack, but is cut off when Karede stabs him through the throat, and calmly counters that they will retreat. He sends a messenger to Suroth, though he suspects that she already knows what is transpiring.

On another ridge, Rand inspects the now-quiet valley below. Flinn, Dashiva, Ailil, and Anaiyella are with him, and Ailil comments that perhaps it is over now.

Rand found himself humming and stopped abruptly. That was Lews Therin’s habit, looking at a pretty woman, not his. Not his! Light, if he started taking on the fellow’s mannerisms, and when he was not there, at that…!

Thunder and fire boom from further down the valley, and Rand knows that only part of that had been from saidin. He is irritated to be relegated to the sidelines, and touches the bundle tied to his saddle, but rejects the idea. An Asha’man Soldier named Arlen Nalaam Travels back to Rand’s position with a sul’dam prisoner, and Rand tells him to take her to the carts before returning to the fighting. He then asks Nalaam why he’s going back to the same spot to make a new gateway.

Nalaam half turned back to him, hesitating briefly. “It seems easier, here, if I use a place I’ve already made a gateway, my Lord Dragon. SaidinSaidin feels… strange… to me here.” His prisoner turned to frown at him.

Rand notes that Flinn looks smug; he had been the first to mention the strangeness, though Rand isn’t sure how anyone is supposed to tell with the taint interfering. He hopes they’re not all coming down with his dizziness problem. He checks for himself, but cannot detect any difference in saidin. He thinks of the twenty-three sul’dam and two damane prisoners he now has; he hadn’t initially thought of the damane as prisoners, but the one he’d taken out of her collar had killed nine Defenders and an Asha’man Soldier before she could be shielded and re-collared. Overall there had been more casualties among his forces than he had expected, but he thinks that they are driving the Seanchan hard.

Renewed fighting breaks out down the valley, and Rand orders Flinn and Dashiva to join the fray; Flinn is worried about leaving Rand alone, but Rand thinks that between Ailil and Anaiyella’s lancers, Bashere’s pikes, and Weiramon’s forces hemming the ridge he’s fine. Flinn is doubtful, but goes with Dashiva (who almost trips over his own sword). Rand contemplates the situation a moment, then is suddenly fighting with saidin; he releases it before it can kill him, and realizes he is on the ground.

A knot of hot pain in his side told him those never-healing wounds had broken open. He tried to push himself up, and cried out. In stunned amazement he stared at the dark fletchings of an arrow stuck through his right arm. With a groan he collapsed. Something ran down his face. Something dripped in front of his eye. Blood.

Seanchan cavalry appear between the trees, coming in from the north where Weiramon’s forces were supposed to have been guarding. Rand tries to reach the Source but cannot, and Lews Therin whispers it is time to die. Then suddenly Ailil and Anaiyella’s lancers appear and smash into the Seanchan lines. The two noblewomen come to Rand and turn him over, staring at him. Anaiyella hisses at Ailil that if he dies Bashere will hang them both, if those “black-coated monsters” don’t get them first, and proposes they make a break for it.

“I think he can hear us,” Ailil broke in calmly. Her red-gloved hands moved at her waist. Sheathing a belt knife? Or drawing one? “If he dies here—” She cut off as sharply as the other woman had, and her head jerked around.

Bashere and Gregorin appear with their companies, and send them in to the fray. Bashere glares at the two women suspiciously, and then yells for Morr. Morr appears (Ailil and Anaiyella hastily clear off) and Heals Rand roughly, not being as good at it as Flinn. Lews Therin shrieks to kill him; Rand thanks Morr (who looks surprised), and stands up unsteadily. He stares at Ailil and Anaiyella and wonders whether they meant to kill him, but if so, why they had sent their soldiers to defend him. Weiramon shows up (looking impeccable) and sonorously apologizes for being out of position.

“I thought I saw Seanchan advancing in front of the ridge and went to meet them. I never suspected this other company. You can’t know how it would pain me if you were injured.”

“I think I know,” Rand said dryly, and Weiramon blinked. Seanchan advancing? Perhaps. Weiramon would always snatch at a chance for glory in the charge.

Bashere and Gregorin report that the Seanchan are in full retreat. Gedwyn shows up, frowns at Weiramon, and reports that there are three more columns of Seanchan within ten miles. Bashere glares at Gedwyn and puts in that all those columns are heading west back to Ebou Dar; Rand has won. Weiramon and Gedwyn both argue for a further push, and Ailil and Anaiyella agree; only Bashere and Gregorin are against it.

Take Ebou Dar, Rand thought. Why not? No one would expect that. A total surprise, for the Seanchan and everybody else.

“Times are, you seize the advantage and ride on,” Bashere growled. “Other times, you take your winnings and go home. I say it’s time to go home.”

I would not mind you in my head, Lews Therin said, sounding almost sane, if you were not so clearly mad.

Ebou Dar. Rand tightened his hand on the Dragon Scepter, and Lews Therin cackled.

Man, this blows.

I was initially having some trouble pinpointing exactly why this entire sequence is filling me with such foot-dragging, apathetic reluctance to recap it, or even read it. I mean, yes, Rand is being a dick, people aren’t trusting each other, things are gloomy, yadda, but it’s not like that’s never happened before in this series. And also, it’s not like I can claim this bit is boring; this is a frickin’ battle scene, one in which our hero was almost just assassinated. Shit Is Happening, so what’s my problem, exactly?

On reflection, though, I think that my issue here is that I know what’s going to happen, what the eventual outcome of all this hoopla is going to be, and I really really really don’t want to get to it. I’m dragging my feet on this part of TPOD for the same reason I always put off balancing my checkbook; it’s one thing to know generally that you have no money this month, but it’s another to have to see it in stark, accusing, black and white precision.

Yes, I’m aware this is ostrich-like behavior, thanks for pointing it out. I would stick out my tongue at you, but then I’d get sand in my mouth. So THERE.

And the thing is, I knew I didn’t want to get to the culmination of this storyline even when I didn’t yet know how it ended! Because, really. Let’s just say, any plan of action that ignores the advice of the ONE PERSON in your entourage who wouldn’t throw a party if you keeled over dead that second is going to end BADLY, and there is no way around it. Rand was screwed the second he went against Bashere’s counsel. The Laws of Narrative Karma demand it, dude, sorry. You’re hosed, and I do not wanna read all about it.

Sigh, grump.

Other than that (and Rand almost, you know, dying and all) this chapter was mainly about throwing even more suspicion on the various already-highly-suspect nobles in Rand’s STUPID STUPID entourage. At this point I’m not even sure whether it matters if any of them are traitors or not, if it ever did.

Although for the record I will say that I still don’t really think Weiramon is a Darkfriend even though those who think he is one have a very good case based on this chapter alone. My only basis for this, really, is that even in a story about an apocalyptic battle between good and evil, I tend to favor Hanlon’s Razor: never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. Sometimes an incompetent nincompoop is just an incompetent nincompoop.

This will come up again in the next chapter with the interaction between Weiramon and Gedwyn, but I’ll talk about that then. In the meantime I’ll settle for metaphorically beating them both senseless with a hardbound copy of the Geneva Conventions, and leave it at that. Tools.

As for Ailil and Anaiyella, who both have two of the more annoying names to type in WOT, I’m not sure why but I tend to think that they are sort of kind of on Rand’s side, and would not have killed him. I could be totally wishfully thinking on that score, though. I can’t remember what (if anything) becomes of them either, so I’ll just let it go at that for now and see.

Rand’s list: I’m finding it more difficult than I initially did to give him crap about this, mainly because of the revelation I had somewhere back in the last couple of books that his list of women is not so much about women, as it is about an arbitrary Moral Event Horizon he has assigned himself, which frankly makes it at least a tad easier to swallow. It’s kind of weirdly fascinating, though, that he’s mentally set it up so that he really doesn’t have any kind of control over how it works. I’m really interested to see what happens to his List in TOM, post-Lews Therin going away and (presumably) Moiraine reappearing. That’s going to be quite a thing, or at least I devoutly hope so.

Karede: One thing that’s going on a lot here that you should know is that we are getting a lot of the minutiae of Seanchan life and culture (in the military, at least) in these chapters, and also that I am leaving most of this world-building out of the recap. I don’t think this is a reflection on me, necessarily—this is supposed to be a condensation, after all—but it is a reminder that if you are not following this with the original text there is stuff you are missing. So, um, yeah.

I’m sure there’s more I could say about this chapter, but I really don’t have the emotional fortitude to summon it up, so I think I’ll stop here. Have a fantabulous weekend, my chickens, and I’ll see you next week!

Roger Powell
1. forkroot
I had forgotten about this scene with Karede. He's a little ruthless, but once again relentlessly competent (as you might expect a Captain of the Deathwatch Guards to be.)

In an earlier posting we mused if the Seanchan had Great Captains. Karede is probably not old enough to attain that rank yet, but I think he may be "Great Captain" material.

EDITING DISCLAIMER: Grabbed the first spot, then read the post, then edited and put my comment in. Just for the fun of getting the first post. Hence the comment at #2.
Jonathan Levy
2. Jonathan Levy
Just for once, I want to be the second one.
Rob Munnelly
3. RobMRobM
Chapter summary: Karede is cool; rest are tools.

Edit: I'll be the third one (for once).
Jonathan Levy
4. Beaker
"Yes, I’m aware this is ostrich-like behavior, thanks for pointing it out. I would stick out my tongue at you, but then I’d get sand in my mouth. So THERE."

I'm totally stealing this :)
Jonathan Levy
5. mrc1ark
Would the Seanchan need Great Captains? I know they had some battles on their side of the ocean but mostly putting down rebellions I thought. There wouldn't be the same need, or Darwinian process, for great captains to emerge I would think.
Lannis .
6. Lannis
Oh, Leigh, I giggle at every LTT quote you include, because post tGS, it's like a passive-aggressive I told you so! You make me laugh. ;)

Thanks for the post. Have a great weekend!

Oh, and a big thanks to Tordot for posting regularly mid-day... it's appreciated. :D

Edit: Adjusting the obnoxious number of exclamation marks. Please excuse...
Jonathan Levy
7. Auspicium
I always liked Karede.

Oh, and Ailil winds up entering a lesbian relationship with this black chick whose married.

I guess that's all I have to say about this chapter...
Chris Chaplain
8. chaplainchris1
Re: Gedwyn and Weiramon - Leigh said: I’ll settle for metaphorically beating them both senseless with a hardbound copy of the Geneva Conventions, and leave it at that. Tools.

*grins and giggles*

One of the best images I've ever had pop into my head. Thanks Leigh!

Edit for spelling.
Jonathan Levy
9. trentblase
So I'd really like to read TGS, but don't really want to until I can refresh my memory with what happened in the earlier books. On the other hand, I don't want to actually READ the other books (they disappeared into storage boxes during a few moves). Now that there are spoilers in this re-read, I'm looking for a substitute. I did some Googling and found a great many links to dead pages, and a few very brief summaries (e.g. Wikipedia), but nothing nearly as good as these posts. Is there anything even a little comparable out there? Should I just give up and read TGS without catching myself up?
Chris Chaplain
10. chaplainchris1
As for Ailil - she has the affair with Shalon the Windfinder, who as Sea Folk Windfinders go is kinda likeable. (And she might be our only POV from a Windfinder?)

And that no-longer-stilled Red, Sashalle, has talks with Ailil about declaring her the head of House Riatin, since Toram (tool, Darkfriend) is missing/presumed dead, and since Ailil is willing to swear fealty to Elayne while Toram was in rebellion.

All of this makes me think that Ailil, at least, would not have killed Rand...even though none of that has anything to do with this. But it makes me think Ailil's not completely evil.
Marcus W
11. toryx
Gah. Chaos. Rand going overboard with ambition and arrogance. Arrows striking him in arm, Weiramon being freaking annoying as usual, whether he's a Darkfriend or not.

Lots of crazy damane and Sul'dam. Just another PoD chapter. I seriously can't wait until this book is done.
Chris Chaplain
12. chaplainchris1
trentblase @ 9 - there is nothing even comparable to Leigh's genius re-reads. However, you might check out The Encyclopaedia of the Wheel of Time.

If you click on individual book titles, you'll get a chapter by chapter summary of the books. Each chapter summary is usually 2-3 paragraphs, and there's no commentary, beyond occasional footnotes. So it's not gonna be like Leigh's re-read, but they are very useful as quick reminders of what happened. It also summarizes who's POV the chapters are from, and it's a great site all the way around - with tons of links and summaries of individual characters, organizations, etc. Though lately I see more errors/misprints/etc.

By the way - if you are able to resist reading TGS as soon as it became available, you either have off-the-charts willpower like I can't believe, or you are a strange and unknown alien life-form. I'm just sayin'. :)
TW Grace
13. TWGrace
The chaos, the futility, the idiocy, no one knowing anything, and in the end there being no winner just survival for the lucky ones.

I always sort of liked these chapters of PoD, even with the ending being a jolly-bag...dunno why. To be honest, "liked" is probably not the right word, but I cant think of the right word. I dont enjoy them, but I dont hate them, and I cant/wont shy from reading them, and when I start, I cant put them down.
Jonathan Levy
14. Orideth
Ailil's already been covered; Anaiyella shows up later with Weiramon when Rand vists the Stone of Tear in KoD. She gets scolded for leaving Cairhien, then sent off with Darlin's army to Arad Doman. Nothing of any real consequence.
Janet Hopkins
15. JanDSedai
re: TGS@ trentblase

Go ahead and read TGS now. There is enough re-establishment of characters that you won't get too confused at to where they are. Then you will be able to appreciate the fullness of posts and the comments.

And yeah for Karede! He sort of got lost in the wealth of information in these chapters. Like I didn't identify Dashiva as forsaken-- he was just one more name of Asha'man acting weirdly.
James Jones
16. jamesedjones
9 trentblase

You should definitely read tGS, post haste! Don't worry about re-reading everything else. We've got another book that's 90% done right now. Re-read the series after tGS and you'll be in perfect time for ToM. Enjoy!

Edit: 'cause I posted in haste. (insert Beavis and Butthead laugh, here)
Thomas Keith
17. insectoid
Hi Leigh! Great post as usual...

...and I don't have much to say about it. For, oddly enough, similar reasons. However:
In the meantime I’ll settle for metaphorically beating them both senseless with a hardbound copy of the Geneva Conventions, and leave it at that. Tools.

::sticks head in sand::

JEJ @16: ::pokes head up:: Heh-heh, heh-heh, heh-heh! ;)

::sticks head back in sand::

James Hogan
18. Sonofthunder
Thanks for the post, Leigh!!

And I'm still enjoying these a very morbid, watching-the-Cat-5-storm-track-at-my-homecity kind of way. Also, Lews Therin is awesome.
Henry Loose
19. schrodinger
I’m really interested to see what happens to his List in TOM, post-Lews Therin going away and (presumably) Moiraine reappearing. That’s going to be quite a thing, or at least I devoutly hope so.

I think this is going to be one of the more memorable scenes in WoT. The end of tGS got me thinking; if Cadsuane can "teach" Rand laughter by simply finding his father and by accident nearly having him kill Tam, then why can't she "teach" him tears by finding Moiraine once Mat has her out of the Tower of Ghenji? It seems the most likely time that Rand will cry simply because someone he thought was dead because of him is alive. Tears of Joy.
Bonnie Andrews
20. misfortuona
Yay!! A new post, something else to take my mind off the rain.
Yay, Karede. I really like Karede, did from the begining and then there's the bit with the doll. That caps it for me.

Marcus W
21. toryx
trentblase @ 9:

In the event that you are still reading comments to this post despite all the TGS spoilers flailing around, I sympathize with you. I held out until January myself, waiting until I got through a re-read using audiobooks (the only way I can bring myself to get through some of the books again) and I had to avoid these re-reads like crazy to keep from getting the book ruined.

As others have stated, I'd encourage you just to read the Encyclopedia chapter summaries and then take on TGS. I don't like TGS nearly as much as most people here did, and I actually think it's a negative that you can do it so well without needing to have a fresh recall of all the events in the previous books but a lot of good stuff happens and it's definitely entertaining. Besides, some of the best bits are spoiled around here on a regular basis and it's better if you can experience them for the first time via reading the book.
Chris Chaplain
22. chaplainchris1
@18 Sonofthunder - agreed.

"I would not mind you in my head, Lews Therin said, sounding almost sane, if you were not so clearly mad."


It's funny in a post-TGS *whew* Rand didn't blow up the world kind of way.
James Jones
23. jamesedjones
Oh yeah! About the chapters...

I really liked them, the first time through. It just felt like progress. Rand was getting darker. LTT was getting stronger. Fights were happening. Enemies and allies were getting all mixed together.

Young and naive as I was, I was sure we were just a couple of books away from TG... *sigh*

I still like the results, mainly because of the effect on the Seanchan.
Maiane Bakroeva
24. Isilel
Gedwyn shows up, frowns at Weiramon

The second attempt to get Rand killed in as many days goes astray. Were these Seanchan led by a DF? And, yes, I am in the camp of a (rather effective, comparatively) DF Weiramoon.

BTW, how shizophrenic is the Shadow? Just a week or so ago the FS were strictly forbidden to kill Rand and teh Naeblis himself saved him from Sammael,which resulted in the latter's death. And now, some DF yahoos are trying to kill him on the same fellow's orders! Who would like to be a Dark minion again?

Convinient for Rand how nearly all the Seanchan troops he faces are local conscripts, since Seanchan also have female soldiers. Oops.

let the Asha’man do all the work

This makes me seriously wonder how much use could the conventional armies be in the military part of the TG and whether Rand assembling them was largely wasted time.

Also, I can't imagine how Demandered could think that Murandian or even Borderlander armies would provide a significant military force against all the Light-sworn channelers. Yea, I don't think that his "rule" is in either of these places.

Frankly, I liked these chapters. IMHO, Rand not ending with a clear victory for once was very refreshing (IMHO the (anti?)climactic FS-killing has grown very boring). And yea, he is hubristic. Why shouldn't he be? The Pattern was bending itself out of shape to help him succeed so far, so naturally he counts on that continuing. IMHO, a reminder that even a ta'veren can fail was very apropos.

The only thing that got on my nerves is that Rand has been without bodyguards for the millionth time and bad stuff happened because of it ditto. It is annoying when a protagonist never ever learns and endlessly almost dooms the world out of sheer thoughtlessness. No, it is not endearing. It is not "humble". It is incerdibly arrogant or incredibly dim, take your pick.
Jonathan Levy
25. alreadymadwithKarede
I liked Karede even then... Although being proud of being property was kinda offputting...

Sonofthunder, chaplainchris1
I absolutely loved that quote..
Scott Terrio
26. Renegade248
Hi all.

These chapters are not so bad just because they have battle scenes in them, which I kind of like. The rest though I can kind of do without. It is interesting to see how far Rand can go into depression and almost turn out to be as dark as some of the forsaken. And it is gonna get a lot worse in the next few books before his Dragonmount moment in TGS.

I do love LTT though, and this quote from LTT is one of the best.

I would not mind you in my head, Lews Therin said, sounding almost sane, if you were not so clearly mad.

Funny stuff. I burst out with a smile everytime I read that. :P
Henry Loose
27. schrodinger
I don't think Weiramon is a DF, at this juncture in the story, what would be the point? lets see how it would go:
Weiramon: hahahaha I am a Darkfriend
Rand: ::weaves fire:: (to maidens) fetch a broom.
I think Weiramon is going to get the great big charge he always wanted, and is going to maybe end up saving Rand. Why else keep him around if its just to see him end up as a pile of ash on the floor?
Mikey Bennett
28. EvilMonkey
Great post Leigh

Now on to the ummm...discussion.

@5 mrc1ark,

I think the Seanchan actually do need Great Captains, or at least at that level of competence. Those guys keep in fighting trim much better than their counterparts across the Aryth. This is because those rebellions that they are putting down are not little run of the mill things, they are massive. In one of the Seanchan POV's, I think the one that fights with Perrin reminices about a battle they put down involving at least 200 damane. That number is not negligible. These troops have been in war mode for about 1000 years as opposed to on the other side of the Aryth, where only the Borderlanders have that sort of fighting edge. For the vast majority of troops in Randland proper, their last major engagement was the Aiel War, 20 years past. There are most likely a few brilliant Seanchan up to Great Captain level, but their baseline is much higher than many of the generals they would have to face. Wieramon, just to give an example, would be eaten alive if he were to face a campaign in Seanchan. In fact, the only armies that have been able to hold their own so far have been Great Captain level. Ituralde, Bashere, Mat, and I guess you could consider Rand to be thanks to LTT memories. Out of those, only Mat's got away without an alarming amount of casulties. That indicates to me that most of the deadwood has been widdled away in Seanchan, Rand's armies still need a little bit of widdling.

@9 trentblase

I agree with the gallery, read TGS man. You'll thank us for it later.


P.S. Everytime I type about Captain levels I always think of the show Bleach. Yes I am a dork, I know.
Tom Burton
29. Conky
@9 trentblase

Heh, I too have been holding off on reading TGS, however I'm actually re-reading the whole series. I started around when TGS came out and am now a quarter of the way through CoT. It's been incredibly hard for me to not open up my copy of TGS, but I remain committed to my re-read and refuse to spoil it more than I already have. I read some of the comments to Leigh's posts even though I knew they contained spoilers.

I've gotten pretty good at closing the page as soon as it seems like someone is about to mention something from TGS, but a few things have already been spoiled for me. It's almost like part of my brain wants to read the spoilers even as my hand moves the mouse to close the tab. My eyes can't stop reading further on, so I just have to move the mouse and click as fast as I can. I think I kind of know what it's like to have Lews Therin in my head. That bastard wants to read the spoilers even though I try to stop him.
Chris Chaplain
30. chaplainchris1
Isilel @ 24 wrote this: "This makes me seriously wonder how much use could the conventional armies be in the military part of the TG and whether Rand assembling them was largely wasted time."

Yeah, me too. I was *really* struck by this in KOD when, what was it, 30-40 channelers annihilate 100,000 Trollocs with almost no casualties - and those all among the non-channeling troops who hid in the barn? (Sure, 1 of the channelers was Rand, with other Forsaken-class folks like Nynaeve, Logain, and Alivia, plus near-Supergirl Cadsuane, many of them with nifty angreals...but still!) Shadow better have something big planned, as the few surviving Black Ajah and Taim's Coterie seem insufficient to turn the tide.

Why do I think the DO *does* have something huge planned, and why does that make me want to hide under the bed?
Chris Chaplain
31. chaplainchris1
On other things:

Great Captains - I think Karede, Yulan, and Galgan *could* be on that level, but we don't know it yet. Karede deduced a lot of Mat's plans, after all, and he also got some things past Mat. But he *also* made a lot of wrong assumptions. Cultural differences could account for that, though, and it's not like Mat never makes wrong assumptions!

Speaking of captains, I always laugh at Ituralde's though in KOD that he plans for every imaginable eventuality and is ready for anything short of the Dragon Reborn suddenly appearing in front of him. Dun-dun-DUN! *dramatic chipmunk stare*

I suspect Weiramon of DFedness, per his upcoming conversation with Dark Ashaman. But I'm not convinced, and it's subtle - I didn't think it until the conversation suddenly jumped out at me the 3rd or 4th reread. Schrodinger @27 and others - the reason it would be narratively important is b/c it would imply that Weiramon's idiocy and obstructionism is a pose. If so, Weiramon may be *far* cleverer than we thought, and be possessed of iron nerve to have played his role so long and so well. Such a man could be very dangerous.

@28 - I am no longer able to read the word "widdle" without thinking it says "wibble."
Jonathan Levy
32. Gentleman Farmer
I'd like to add to the list of people who enjoyed the LTT quote... it's one that stays in my head throughout most of the series just about every time LTT appears.

In regards to the List, and Leigh's comment on the Moral Event Horizon,

I really liked Leigh's analysis on this. I've always been a big sympathizer of Rand, but Leigh's characterization helped in the analysis of how far beyond chivalry Rand's attitude is, and how he needs to hold to this to retain his humanity despite his attempts to be hard.

That being said, I think there is an additional element to Rand's List as well, that makes it even more justifiable that he has trouble killing women or seeing them die for him.

Rand did not initially appear to have any particular problem with women he killed, or women who died for him. There is no reflection or disappointment when Rand beheads the female darkfriend sharing his camp for the night in TDR. There is no compulsive inquiry on which women or servants died from the trolloc attack on the Stone, or even on the trip from the Aiel Waste into Cairhien.

Rand prefers to keep women out of battle if he can (for mostly chivalrous reasons presumably) but doesn't get overly obsessive about it. It requires assuming that the talk by Sulin in TFOH would have worked better if Moiraine hadn't died, but I think it's worth considering whether Moiraine's death is the only element contributing to the List issues.

Moiraine's death didn't merely result in Rand feeling grief that she died, or even that she knew she was going to die for him. It was instead because Rand couldn't kill Lanfear, and Rand worries that it's because he valued Lanfear's life above Moiraine (and even Egwene and Aviendha).

And because he couldn't kill Lanfear to save Moiraine, Rand has concluded (up until Semirhage at least) that he is incapable of killing women for any reason.

But was Rand's inability to kill such a great failing? Rand had travelled with Selene, and seemed to be falling for her a bit. His LTT memories recalled that he loved her (In response to Lanfear saying "You loved me Lews Therin", his response was not a denial, but the counter statement "And you loved power".)

Early in LoC, LTT acknowledges that Lanfear (or Mierin) had to be killed, but was glad he didn't have to be the one to kill her.

I think the issue Rand is having, which causes the List, is that he can't bring himself to accept the fact that he loves/loved Lanfear, and couldn't kill her. He needs another rationale so that Moiraine's death is not because Rand chose to value Lanfear over Moiraine (and everyone else).

And so he chooses to believe that he cannot kill, and grieves especially strongly for women. Which leads to his second problem, identified in the comments above, which is that he becomes unwilling to rely on his most loyal and protective bodyguards -- the maidens, Aviendha and Min.

For all the Moiraine support (and I came to like Moiraine from TDR onwards), I can't help but think an extra line or two in Rand's note about how she's trapped elsewhere waiting for Thom to save her (or even letting him read Thom's), might have reduced both the List problem and the unwillingness to have bodyguards.

It also makes me wonder whether Rand might have been happier being LTT and hanging out with Mierin if Moiraine let things go differently.
Roger Powell
33. forkroot
I imagine that Moiraine knew that telling Rand about her predicament in Finnland would result in a failed rescue attempt. Based on the note to Thom, see saw all sorts of "dead-end" future possibilities and crafted her notes to fit within the options that did not lead to outright failure.
34. MasterAlThor

My name is.....

I am going to bring this up once and then I am not talking about it anymore. I just have to point out something here. The is he or isn't he debate. DUN DUN DUN.

Rand found himself humming and stopped abruptly. That was Lews Therin’s habit, looking at a pretty woman, not his. Not his! Light, if he started taking on the fellow’s mannerisms, and when he was not there, at that…!

Now if you are having mental problems like our boy here, how do you manage to behave like another person you have never met? Oh, that's right split personalities.

Except that people with multiple personality disorder tend to have those personalities take completely over. Hmmm. Nope that cannot be the answer then.

Well then it is a coping mechanism to deal with the strees. Ok, but how do you assign a personality to it that is soooooo far from your own?

If it is a CM, then wouldn't you just assign it the things about yourself that you don't like? I do believe that is how it works.

So back to the quote. Rand is humming when he sees a pretty woman. That is not Rand's behavior that is LTT. If LTT is a construct, then how does Rand assign the behavior/personality to it?

Ok just had to get all that off my chest and I am done with it for now. Don't make me come back there!!!! I will turn this car around and we will go right back home!!!

j p
35. sps49
This is why I wonder still about Weiramon. LTT thinks he is stupid but reliable; his action here is NOT reliable. Man your post, dammit!

What is Karede thinking about Suroth here?
Rikka Cordin
36. Rikka
Welcome to Rand: version CRAZY.

I cannot stand this part of these books... I applaud you for pushing through, Leigh, but I'm skimping on my reading of your reread, despite all of your hard work and suffering, because it just makes me want to headdesk. *sigh*
37. MasterAlThor

Did you say Kenpachi???

Jonathan Levy
38. Lsana
@33 forkroot,

How do you square Moiraine seeing many alternate futures with her statement that beyond the docks she knows about only one small thing that doesn't concern Rand?
Sharon E.
39. Sulin
Thanks for slogging through this part of the series, Leigh. I for one enjoy these chapters a lot, but most on here already know I am a Rand-o-phile.

trentblase@9- Yes! check out the Encyclopedia, but read TGS already!

By the way - if you are able to resist reading TGS as soon as it became available, you either have off-the-charts willpower like I can't believe, or you are a strange and unknown alien life-form. I'm just sayin'. :)
ROTFL!!! bwahahaha

Hi MAT! ::waves:: Too bad Gabbly is still down, we could have a construct/real debate without annoying everyone here. :D

Jonathan Levy
40. alreadymadwithmoiraine
Lsana @38
Moiraine barely remembers all of what she experienced going through the Aiel rings. Most of it faded from her memory almost as soon as she got out.
craig thrift
41. gagecreedlives
"Yes, I’m aware this is ostrich-like behavior, thanks for pointing it out. I would stick out my tongue at you, but then I’d get sand in my mouth. So THERE"

Funniest thing Ive read in a while. And like Beaker@4 I am so gonna steal it
42. MasterAlThor
Hey Sulin,

So that is why I can't talk to you guys. Ah well when it comes back up we will talk then.

Bonnie Andrews
43. misfortuona
Well the rest of us have been getting by on Facebook. Hey I'm just saying. ;P

Valentin M
44. ValMar
Re: the Great Captains.
I always thought this title was informal. Due to reputation. All these men already have specific positions, titles and responsibilities.
Roger Powell
45. forkroot
We know that Moiraine saw and rejected many future paths involving Rand (including sleeping with him ..{yuck}) so it's quite possible that she saw him trying and failing to rescue her from Finnland.

From what we know of Rand and the guilt he feels over Moiraines "demise", it is hard to imagine that he wouldn't go charging off on a rescue mission even if a letter from her said not to.

Absolutely agree - "Great Captain" is an informal title. This is all idle speculation about who among the Seanchan would potentially be regarded as in that class.

Some years from now, Mat Cauthon will be in there of course - just as soon as knowledge of his deeds is sufficiently widespread.
Theresa Gray
46. Terez27
@Leigh - you don't think Weiramon is a Darkfriend? REALLY? lol...the mask does rather come off in the next chapter, I think. Never attributing to malice what can be attributed to stupidity is good advice for life, but bad when it can get you killed. tsk, tsk. Okay, so the reader's life is not in danger, but I think that Weiramon is probably the most obvious of the remaining unmasked Darkfriends.
Theresa Gray
47. Terez27
MAT@34 - As I've mentioned before, Rand is disassociating himself from Lews Therin's memories, which is precisely why the alternate personality is more or less fleshed out with those memories. Noticing random pretty women is something that Rand ostensibly doesn't have time for, so there is no real mystery about why he chooses to express that through the alternate personality, aside from the disassociation.
Jonathan Levy
48. Subbak
Terez27@46: Hum the thing is, if Weiramon is a DF, he's an inefficient one. He's acting so stupid that neither Rand nor anyone with brains would trust him with a butter knife.

Therefore, to explain Weiramon's behavior, we have:
A\He's a stupid DF
B\He's a very stupid non-DF

Ockham's razor says Weiramon is therefore likely to be non-dark.
Henry Loose
49. schrodinger
I don't think Weiramon is stupid as he seems. I think he just gets a bad rap because he is so ingrained with lordly behavior (e.g. lets finish them with "one good charge" and "they're only peasants"). He is smart enough to have survived this long, as well, he knows when to shut up around the most dangerous person alive. He'll prove his worth in the end.
(am I the only one besides LTT who actually kind of likes Weiramon?)
John Massey
50. subwoofer
Wasn't going to comment for a few books as these are a real grind- as witnessed by Leigh. Maybe we could all agree to rip out the back half of this book and part of the next and start from scratch.

Meh, am working out of town anyways.

Only reason I am around is to share. Out of the blue, of all the folks in the galaxy that could drop me a line, I get this one:

Thanks so much for writing me. I apologize that this response is so late in coming. I've been very backed up on email and getting back to people has taken a lot longer than I planned.

And thank you for your well-wishes, both for me and my family.

I'm glad you enjoyed my Mistborn trilogy and hope you enjoyed THE GATHERING STORM as well. I've worked very long to give the right feel to my novels, and it does my heart good to hear from those who have noticed what I'm doing.

TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT is shaping up really well. If you haven't heard, it is scheduled to be released Oct. 26th.



p.s. In addition to TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT, I do have some of my own work being released this year, most notably THE WAY OF KINGS. It will be released August 31.

That guy is top notch in my book. Brandon is up to his nipples in book, got the new one out and takes a moment to talk to the little folk. A very decent man indeed.

Oh, and often, as I er... might be viewing the local scenery and my wife catches me, I do experience disassociation too. It is a survival instinct.
Tess Laird
51. thewindrose
Why, yes schrodinger, there is a good probabilty that you and LTT are the only ones, besides Weiramon himself that likes Weiramon:)

I so yelled ay Rand for not listening to Bashere!! What the H#%$$%$%^%&*!! The only person there who has a clue and is a Rand supporter.

Theresa Gray
52. Terez27
Subbak - your logic is faulty, I'm afraid. For one thing, Weiramon doesn't really need to be trusted all that far to keep his power; he'll be fine so long as he doesn't get himself executed. He is a High Lord of Tear, and so long as Rand continues to more or less leave him alone, then he is just as dangerous as ever. For another, his stupidity doesn't act to make him inefficient at all. It just serves as his cover. For instance, the attack in this chapter that nearly ended in Rand's death. Nothing inefficient about it at all, for a Darkfriend, but Weiramon played dumb so that Rand would not suspect him. It worked.

Even Rand has noticed that Weiramon isn't completely stupid. I'm not going to try to argue that the man is highly intelligent - he is stupid enough to have gone over to the Shadow, after all - but I think there is enough evidence, especially considering the bit in the next chapter, that he's not as oafish as he pretends.
Tricia Irish
53. Tektonica
Leigh, thanks so much for this slog. It's a toughy. Hard to watch our "boy" being so dark and dumb.

Weiramon....dark AND stupid, at least as his cover. (kind of like Verin's "distracted" cover.)

Karade: One of the few really awesome Seanchan. The whole society is twisted and he's proud to be "owned", but he's still got integrity in spades.

I wish I had my books with me, because there were a few really subtle things that happened in this chapter. I'll be home soon and will read through's hard enough just keeping up with the posts on vacation!.

And Sub....::waves::....So happy to hear from you. Hope you have printed out and framed your letter. Awesome. We miss you...come back! We're still fun, even if the book is a zzzzzz. We go sideways in good ways....come baaaacccckkkkk.....
Ron Garrison
54. Man-0-Manetheran
Hello bunkermates! ::Tek!::

OK, re. the Rand/LTT "relationship" - I thought it a big clue-by-four when Rand adds Ilenya's name to it in this chapter, since it was LTT who killed her.
Linda Taglieri
55. Linda
@46 and @52 Terez: I agree with you completely regarding Weiramon.

There was a High Lord of Tear wearing silver-worked boots at Ishamael's Darkfriend social in TGH and there are a limited number of High Lords and of them, Weiramon is the only one to wear such boots. (It is remarked more than once that Weiramon’s sigil is very similar to Lanfear’s – not a suggestion that he is her, but that he is also allied to the Shadow.) Weiramon may have been undermining the effectiveness of Rand's attacks from the inside. His conversation with Darkfriend Asha’man Gedwyn in the next chapter shows that he is sometimes not so stupid at all.

He is a list of what he has been up to (copied from the Probably Darkfriends section of my Who is a Darkfriend? article:

- Went to Cairhien with reinforcements from Tear. Rushed forward with his forces to relieve the Shaido’s siege of Cairhien.
- Believed he could disperse the Shaido with his forces alone, yet Weiramon is old enough to have fought in the Aiel War. In fact, in New Spring, The Hook, a Tairen noble with silver worked boots gave Lan orders to position his forces as an anvil against which Tairen forces were supposed to crush Aiel. This did not happen and if the Aiel – in much larger numbers than the Tairen said - had not withdrawn after Laman was killed, Lan’s forces would have been wiped out.
- Made light of his news to Rand that forces were attacking the Tairen coast and the Plains of Maredo (The Fires of Heaven, The Craft of Kin Tovere).
- Was sent back to Tear to deal with the ‘pirates’ and ‘bandits’ by Rand, who wanted to get rid of him.
- Was ordered to march toward Illian to begin the attack on Sammael (A Crown of Swords, Pitfalls and Tripwires).
- Wanted to rush forward and attack Sammael’s forces.
- Arrived early at Sammael’s hillforts with his cavalry and Aiel because he left the foot soldiers behind.
- Wanted to stop Hopwill and Adley carrying out Rand’s orders to destroy the palisades of Sammael’s forts but did not dare.
- Repeatedly sent charges against the forts even though they were ‘cut to rags’.
- Wanted Rand’s Illianers to attack the remnants of Sammael’s Illianer army. Told Rand it was only as small force yet it was not (The Path of Daggers, Floating Like Snow).
- Was afraid to be left out of Rand’s forces as though he had orders to carry out (The Path of Daggers, Gathering Darkness).
- Tried to undermine Rand’s trust in the Cairhienin and Illianers officers by hinting that they plot against Rand.
- Tried to discourage Rand from using foot soldiers (which would reduce his forces).
- Participated in the battle against the Seanchan in Altara. Led a charge in the first skirmish and yet was clean afterwards. Seanchan Tarboners remark that the Tairens were not fighting as hard as would be expected from their reputation whereas the Illianers and Cairhienin were.
- Let through Seanchan from an area he was supposedly defending tightly (The Path of Daggers, Fog of War, Storm of Battle) and they attacked Rand directly.
- With Gedwyn, persuaded Rand to press on to Ebou Dar against Bashere’s advice.
- Was overheard by Bertome Saighan saying to Gedwyn (a Darkfriend Asha’man):
"I don't care who you are, I won't take more risk without a command direct from the lips of -"

- The Path of Daggers, A Time for Iron
He stopped when he saw Bertome listening and then said to Gedwyn that he used the methods he used “and that’s that” and charged at Taraboners.
- Was brought to Cairhien by Rand with other nobles Rand didn’t trust to be watched (The Path of Daggers, The Bargain).
- Was seen conversing with Bertome Saighan as they walked the Palace (Crossroads of Twilight, Prologue).
- Left Cairhien without Rand’s permission and sailed downriver to Tear. Told Rand he went to Darlin’s aid but divided his forces and sent the majority to attack the rebels while he landed at the Stone. Negotiations with the rebels were ruined. Tried to persuade Darlin to strip the Stone of Defenders to fight the rebels. Darlin refused, knowing his forces would still be outnumbered (Knife of Dreams, Within the Stone).
- Persuaded Rand that Weiramon should go to Arad Doman with Darlin’s forces (Knife of Dreams, Within the Stone).

On the surface Weiramon appears to be the most foolish of the High Lords. He has consistently given Rand very poor military advice and tried to swell his head with flattery. His troops fought less hard against the Seanchan than expected as the Taraboner officer in the Seanchan forces remarked.

Weiramon may have been undermining the effectiveness of Rand's attacks from the inside. His conversation with Gedwyn showed that he is sometimes not so stupid at all. When he saw that he was overheard, he looked murderous and then acted stupidly again. Gedwyn (a Darkfriend Asha’man) apparently tried to pull rank on Weiramon but was ignored. Weiramon was unimpressed by a very high up (dark) Asha’man, which implies that Weiramon was under orders from somebody higher up than Gedwyn, somebody even more impressive - one of the Forsaken, for instance.

It is a good tactic for the Shadow to order high-up Darkfriends to undermine the Light’s military forces from the inside. One would have to expect it. The Shadow certainly practised such sabotage in the Age of Legends. Weiramon’s actions - for instance, against the Seanchan - show he is a likely saboteur. He is not only making stupid military suggestions to Rand in the hope that Rand takes them and Rand's forces are decimated, he also deploys his forces less effectively than usual. He also tried to ruin the negotiations with the rebel High Lords. These are the risks that Weiramon is running.

Weiramon’s moron persona is an act - he was trying to encourage Rand to screw up. People readily accept stupidity as such without asking further questions and dismiss the person from their thoughts. There are signs that Rand has become suspicious of Weiramon's stupid suggestions and actions. That's why he was going to refuse to allow Weiramon to go to Arad Doman in Knife of Dreams.
Jonathan Levy
56. Lurking Canadian
@24 Isilel: I still haven't figured out what use Mat expects gunpowder to be against enemies who can summon lightning from a clear sky and throw fireballs. I suppose he's hoping to keep his ammo dump where the damane can't see it, otherwise all he's going to have to show for it is a lot of teamsters in very small pieces.
Barry T
57. blindillusion
So, where were the birds in this chapter?

Other than that, Furyk Karede is badass. Looking forward to seeing him fight side-by-side with Mat...It's bound to happen....


Meh. Wanted to at least make top 60.
Barry T
58. blindillusion

He wears an oiled beard and his hair is streaked gray. He is not short for a Tairen, a head shorter than Rand. His hair is combed in a vain attempt to hide its thinness. He has a long nose. He is not short, and he stands as straight as a sword. There is something of a strutting rooster about him.
Ron Garrison
59. Man-0-Manetheran
Blind! OMG!! Option that dude for the part of Wearymon a.s.a.p. Perfect! No one would suspect him of being a DF. Hilarious.
Tess Laird
60. thewindrose
That is a good one blind @58:)

Way to go Linda! That is some very good fact finding in my book - and evidently in a lot of your books as well!

Some things I noticed from this chapter that made me smile.
Torean had a whole circle of laughing Cairhienin lordlings around him, though they might have been less amused by his jokes than by the way he swayed and rubbed at his potato nose.

This reminded me of when Thom was playing at Lord Barthanes Damodreds party and Rand had a short talk with him to get away from the ladies - (Breane Taborwin being one of them!). The Cairhienin keep him late and laugh at all the wrong parts of 'common' stories he is telling.
The dead are never silent, Lews Therin whispered. The dead never sleep.
Rand rode down toward the fires. He did not feel like eating.

(The dead must not like eating either.)
We hear of Alivia for the first time I believe:
The first damane, three days before, he had not thought of as a prisoner. A slender woman with pale yellow hair and big blue eyes, she was a Seanchan captive to be freed.

61. Freelancer
A few hit-and-run things.

Weiramon is owned by the shadow. Stupid? Not quite. Never remotely like brilliant, but if you had the chance to kill the competition by failing to watch his flank properly, then go right ahead and "think you saw" a patrol in a different direction and leave your AOR. Oops? Nah...

You see, MasterAlThor, any argument for LTT being real becomes an argument for him being unreal in the hands of a construct'er. Yes, a behavioral attribute which Rand never considered employing in his life before comes out. It's LTT's behavior. But that doesn't prove he's real in the mind of the construct'er. No, the LTT memories are just bleeding through, and Rand can subconsciously remember behaving that way. Since it's a behavior he wouldn't allow himself to do, he let's the construct do it. Yeah. I know, it makes virtually no sense to me either. But they insist on playing ring-around-the-rosie...


Yep, he's all that. Aside from being a brilliant storyteller, he's just this guy, see. Now you just have to make the time to come to a reading appearance. I know this, I'm already trying to sort things out so I can go to the JordanCon which happens after the final volume comes out. That...

will be a time.
Thomas Keith
62. insectoid
Sub @50: LOL!! That's so cool. The Sideways-O-Meter needs some good humor! ::waves at Tek::

Linda @55: Nice dissection... good job Linda!

Blind @58: BAHAHAhahaha!! That's perfect!

Sydo Zandstra
63. Fiddler
chaplainchris1 @30

Yeah, me too. I was *really* struck by this in KOD when, what was it, 30-40 channelers annihilate 100,000 Trollocs with almost no casualties - and those all among the non-channeling troops who hid in the barn? (Sure, 1 of the channelers was Rand, with other Forsaken-class folks like Nynaeve, Logain, and Alivia, plus near-Supergirl Cadsuane, many of them with nifty angreals...but still!) Shadow better have something big planned, as the few surviving Black Ajah and Taim's Coterie seem insufficient to turn the tide.

There is only a limited amount of magic a channeler can throw at opponents in battle. He or She will be getting more tired the longer the battle lasts. So 50K Trollocs can still kill a single Aes Sedai or Asha'man. And Team Dark seems to have plenty of Trollocs and Myrddraal to spare. Team Dark also has enough Channelers of their own, apart from the remaining Forsaken.

To counter that for as much as possible, Team Light needs to have as many regular armies as they can muster, to keep Trollocs and Myrddraal away from their own channelers.

I like how Steven Erikson put this in his Malazan books. Common soldiers and mages know they have need of each other in battle, and have formalized it with the phrase 'Always an even trade', meaning 'you cover our back, we cover yours'.

Lurking Canadian@56:

I still haven't figured out what use Mat expects gunpowder to be against enemies who can summon lightning from a clear sky and throw fireballs. I suppose he's hoping to keep his ammo dump where the damane can't see it, otherwise all he's going to have to show for it is a lot of teamsters in very small pieces.

See above point. And, the enemy has no understanding of the principles of gunpowder and cannons. So even if they see a stack of gunpowder, they won't recognize it as dangerous and will not waste energy on it. And I don't think a bunch of channelers will see the cannonballs coming in. Those who survive would probably automatically think the attack was done with the other half of the power. Mostly.

Weiramon is the most obvious Darkfriend that hasn't officially been uncovered yet. Sometimes what looks like a DF, talks like a DF and feels like a DF is just a DF (remember Sheriam and Verin? ;-) )... (I was going to post the Tairen High Lord thing at the DFS, but Linda already did that :) )
Maiane Bakroeva
64. Isilel
Fiddler @63:

they have need of each other in battle, and have formalized it with the phrase 'Always an even trade', meaning 'you cover our back, we cover yours'.

Yes, but I have seen little sign of it, even with Seanchan who _do_ have channeleres of their own. Also, unless the Shadow finally does something impressive and pulls out great numbers of channelers from somewhere, the Light channelers will outnumber them more than 10:1. There aren't enough Trollocs around to make up for such disparity!

And, the enemy has no understanding of the principles of gunpowder and cannons.

After a couple of defeats, they will. And once they start hitting the cannons with OP, the explosive nature of powder will become self-evident. IMHO, Mat will need channelers to protect his cannons and powder supplies. Oh, and the FS certainly have knowledge of technological weapons, even if not gunpowder specifically.
Valentin M
65. ValMar
I concur- the Seanchan can very quickly adapt against gunpowder weaponry. They even lack the shock value handicap- they are used to being blown up much more efficiently than the early artillery can manage.
Mind you this may all be academic. I expect the "dragons" to be used vs trollocs mainly.

As for channelers vs conventional forces. There is the example of the farm in Tear. But there are many other occasions. E.g. Moiraine The Awesome (with only 2% sarcasm) struggling vs few hundred trollocs and couple of myrdraal.
Also the Seanchan heavily using damane and still needing large numbers of very efficient troops vs non-channel opponents. And not being ever-victorious.

In summary, Rand is special. He can destroy the world, if trying really hard. He and few others can wipe out 100 000 trollocs set up on a plate for him to slaughter. But this is no indication on how things work usually.
Tricia Irish
66. Tektonica
Blind@58: Hysterical!! Cyrano? Who is that guy? What movie?


... Rand had a short talk with him to get away from the ladies - (Breane Taborwin being one of them!).

Is that THE Breane at Lord Barthanes party?...the one that ends up traveling with Morgase? Never caught that before. I knew she was supposed to be some vague "Cairheinian Nobel". Good get! Thanks for that. I love it when RJ ties these minor characters up!

Free@61: Exactly!!

No, the LTT memories are just bleeding through, and Rand can subconsciously remember behaving that way. Since it's a behavior he wouldn't allow himself to do, he let's the construct do it.

::waves at Insectoid::
Noneo Yourbusiness
67. Longtimefan
@ 66 It is John Neville from "the Adventures of Baron Munchausen".

Very much a must see movie.

I will agree with the Wieramon is a darkfriend group.
also with the Wieramon is annoying group because, man, give it a break with the flowery speechafiying and "oops, I did it again" mistake making.
James Jones
68. jamesedjones
64 Isilel
And once they start hitting the cannons with OP, the explosive nature of powder will become self-evident. IMHO, Mat will need channelers to protect his cannons and powder supplies.
Agreed. You're correct, but not with all of the truth. Check out tFoH for channeling limits. We can assume that Rand is the limit for men, and from various POV's we know that saidar can be used some distance further (let's identify this as perhaps 20-30%).

Mat, with Aludra's help, has listed the distance for dragons at 2 miles. With proper terrain, and maybe some cover, most channelers would not be able to respond to the threat. Even with sufficient power, the opponent would need some fast calculations, and a talent with geometry to counterattack.

Aside from a few Forsaken, only the Seanchan, with their ability to scout quickly from the sky, would be prepared to respond before being routed.
Tricia Irish
69. Tektonica
Thank you longtimefan....I thought I'd seen that guy before! A long time a galaxy far far...oops...wrong movie....

JEJ, etc . I agree, the Light side will need Mat and his dragons, as this war is going to be fought on many fronts and a conventional army will be effective in certain theaters, while not so much in others.....against trollocs and shadowspawn, yes. And....he'll probably need some OP protection too.

Does Randland have geometry?
lin mei
70. twicemarked
You will be surprised how advanced geometry needs to be to operate an ocean going vessle. When you can not see land, you must navigate using the stars, based on geometry. Seanchan and Sea folks would be well versed in geometry.
James Jones
71. jamesedjones
70 twicemarked

You need geometry for masonry, too. I'm not saying they don't have it. I'm saying a military leader or OP user would need to do some pretty intense calculations in their head to survive.

Edit: Shoulda said 'speedy' instead of 'intense'.
Theresa Gray
72. Terez27
Linda@55 - The fandom is lucky to have you to break everything down for us. ;)

I remember one of my noobish posts at Theoryland - it was on the test version of vbulletin, which Tam deleted, or I'd link it for you - was my theory that Weiramon was a Darkfriend. I'd been around Theoryland long enough to know that my beloved Taimandred was not only an unoriginal idea but in fact untrue, and I did some searches on the forums and couldn't find anything on Weiramon being a Darkfriend (probably due to my noobishness), so I thought I had uncovered some great as-yet-unseen mystery of WoT (which is of course still my goal even today). I remember the first response was Emma, making fun of me because everybody knows that Weiramon is a Darkfriend. :( I was proud of that post, though; I even put together some quotes for evidence, though most of it was simply from the progression of events in TPOD, and the little clues that RJ dropped to go along with the Bertome conversation.
Linda Taglieri
73. Linda
Thanks all.

@72 Terez: I don't know whether to wince or laugh. It's horrible being a noob. You either have a different outlook and get hit with a tide of rejection you have to resist, or you are way behind where everyone else is and have to endure a patronising attitude while you catch up to them.

It's hard to imagine you as a noob. But we all were once.

At wotmania I didn't have catchup problems but I did have to swim against the tide at first.
Rob Munnelly
74. RobMRobM
I'm firmly in the Weimaron as brilliant DF camp, as supported by Linda's post and others. But what I can't figure out is why LTT says he likes him and what that is intended to mean to a close reader. In some ways, it's the biggest WTF comment in the entire WoT series. Does it imply that we're wrong, and he really is just a brave idiot that LTT would like? Some dissasociative personality trick that if LTT likes him, Rand must be on to him as a DF? A sign he has enough personality traits akin to LTT that he must subtling be realizing that Weimaron is actually from the AoL (i.e., he is Demandred in disguise)? All my hypotheses are unlikely. So...what is it? Help. Rob
Linda Taglieri
75. Linda
I agree it was strange Rob. Normally LT is right and Rand is wrong. Rand always talked about how Elza was pleasant, not like the other Aes Sedai. Are we being shown that LT gets it wrong too? Perhaps when one is right the other is wrong, as you say, Rob.
Theresa Gray
76. Terez27
Rob@74 & Linda@75 - I think that there is an appearance of Lews Therin being right often because he expresses little things that Rand notices on a subconscious level, things he tries to ignore on a conscious level, or things he misinterprets in spite of evidence. I think Brandon did a good job with this for the most part - though I might be biased, since the book made me feel like he had been reading my Lews Therin arguments - but I wonder if this bit was in the notes, and if so, how it was worded. There is a bit of an indication in the paragraph before that Rand probably felt an urge to laugh:

TITLE - The Gathering Storm
CHAPTER: 42 - Before the Stone of Tear

Lines of Defenders of the Stone stood before the wall, swords held before them, breastplates and ridged helmets shined near to glowing. Their puffy sleeves were striped with black and gold, and above them waved the banner of Tear, a half-red, half-gold field marked with three silver crescents. Rand could see that the square inside the wall was bursting with soldiers, many in the colors of the Defenders, but many wearing no uniform beyond a strap of red and gold tied around their arms. Those would be the new recruits, the men Rand had ordered Darlin to gather.

It was a display to produce awe. Or perhaps to stroke a man's pride. Rand stopped Tai'daishar before Darlin. Unfortunately, the rooster Weiramon accompanied the King, sitting his horse just behind Darlin. Weiramon was so lacking in wits that Rand would barely have trusted him to work a field unsupervised, let alone command a squad of troops. True, the short man was brave, but that was likely only because he was too slow of thought to consider most dangers. As always, Weiramon looked even more the fool for attempting to style himself as anything other than a buffoon; his beard was waxed, his hair was carefully arranged to hide just how much he was balding and his clothing was rich—a coat and breeches cut as if to be a field uniform, but no man would wear such fine cloth into battle. No man but Weiramon.

I like him, Lews Therin thought.

Rand started. You don't like anyone!

He's honest
, Lews Therin replied, then laughed. More than I am, for certain! A man doesn't choose to be an idiot, but he does choose to be loyal. We could do much worse than have this man as a follower.

Rand kept his tongue. Arguing with the madman was pointless. Lews Therin made decisions without reason. At least he wasn't humming about a pretty woman again. That could be distracting.

But Rand doesn't laugh these days.

It could also be that Weiramon, Tairen that he is, puts a great deal of stock in the public ass-kissing, and Rand in his deranged state of mind (from the link with Moridin and the earlier usage of the True Power) is beginning to enjoy that just a little too much.

Also, a bit of a reinforcement to what I said to M-A-T earlier, at the end of that quote. It really does make sense, unless you're being stubborn. ;)
Heidi Byrd
77. sweetlilflower
So...since we obviously all have so much to say about this chapter, I thought I would break the pace and talk about Mesanna and how she was not found by the Oath Rod. I went to the link on "Who's a darkfriend" from the 13th Dep, and one of the first quotes is from Lanfear saying how she does not consider herself a darkfriend. If Egwene only asked the sisters to confirm that each is not a darkfriend, and Mesanna also does not see herself as a mere "darkfriend", then she could easily be any of the sisters in the tower. I know its off topic for this chapter, sort of, but what do you think?
Theresa Gray
78. Terez27
sweetlilflower@77 - yes, this is the general assumption in the fandom, and the main reason why 'how did Mesaana get around the Oaths' question is not much discussed. Granted, it has been discussed because everyone had an idea or three after the book was released, but most people seem to agree that Mesaana does not consider herself to be a Darkfriend, and certainly not Black Ajah (RJ used both wordings, with the Black Ajah hunters among the Sitters). She would have had to find some way to release herself from the Oaths later; it's doubtful she would have subjected herself to that willingly without hope of undoing it later. Someone even asked Brandon about this at a signing, and I transcribed the video:

The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Vroman's Bookstore, LA 17 November 2009 - Robert Moreau reporting

Q: Do the Forsaken consider themselves Darkfriends?
A: Oooh, you are tricky! I know what you’re doing. I would say that, in general, yes they do consider themselves Darkfriends, though there are ways somebody would be able to get around that. I would say, yes, that that is not the sort of mental gymnastics that…it is very easy to convince yourself that you are not a Darkfriend.

I think the question made him a little nervous. ;)
Theresa Gray
80. Terez27
Linda@73 - Meant to address this post earlier, but I got distracted by the later one.

If it is hard for anyone to imagine me as a noob, then just go read the old Yuku WoT boards around late 2005. I joined Theoryland in October 2004 but I was a shy noob, and mostly a lurker, reading everything that I could find on subjects that interested me in particular. I joined the message board in June 2005 around the time I lost my job due to someone having lied about me to a corporate investigator (which was six weeks of stress until I got my job back), and I was hooked by the time Hurricane Katrina hit in late August (which I rode out at ground zero in Gulfport). I did my first post-Theoryland re-read while there was no power or internet, and it was a pretty radical experience. Every re-read is great, but that one was memorable, not because of the hurricane, but because of the new perspective after tapping into the hive mind a bit. I had to drive 60 miles north to find an intact brick-n-mortar bookstore for KOD in October because my Amazon pre-order wasn't going to be there till the day after release, which was not acceptable (and it's why I don't get books online usually). I even drove up there twice because I was hoping that the chaos of the coast would extend somewhat inland and maybe I could get it a day early, but alas, I'm not that lucky.

The next year or so was hell on earth at my job (ever seen society collapse completely? I have...though the crime could have been a lot worse), and hence my WoT addiction was born to help me cope. Also, Tam raised me to Elder right after the hurricane so that made me feel special. ;) DragonCon 2005 happened in the meantime (that inspired the raisings - you know how Tam gets about cons), and from what I hear, most Theorylanders at the con had no idea who I was (because I hung out in WoT discussion and for the most part, they didn't), but they knew that I might be dead.

By 2006, I had declared myself a Quotemistress and challenged the local gurus to stump me. It was good fun. Callandor managed to stump me on a couple of obscure details, but he was the only one (and he had the best WoT fact-memory that I have ever seen; Theorylanders would argue with him all day long, but none of them would dispute that).
Linda Taglieri
81. Linda
What a time you had!

Yeah, Tam sure loves Cons.

I must say I'm surprised that I signed up at a WOT site over 2 years before you did.
Valentin M
82. ValMar
I also vote for Weiramon being a DF. Thanks for the summaries that attempt to prove it.

Things have gone really slow, especially yesterday. Everyone watching the World Cup? Good point for the US last night.
Maybe for the next 4 weeks Leigh could take a break ;-)
Rob Munnelly
83. RobMRobM
@76. Terez - thanks for the relevant quotes (and for your interesting backstory - you guru you).

The quotes highlight precisely why this LTT statement is so bizarre. Not only does he say he likes Weimaron, he says he likes him because of his honesty and loyalty (even acknowledging he may be a fool).

So...either we are completely out to sea with the evidence suggesting Weimaron is a major DF (by definition, not honest and not loyal) or LTT has no judgment whatsoever. (On top of it, even if Weimaron is not a DF, he is really fricking annoying - insulting people left and right and picking fights whereever and whenever he can. How can LTT say he likes him?)

So, I am back to square one. Does LTT have no judgment or taste in this instance at all, even though he's been pretty darned perceptive through all the books, and this is just a one off piece of stupidity? Is this supposed to mean something - like Terez's suggestion, a sign that Rand is so corrupted he subconsciously likes butt kissing? Or such as that Rand is sufficiently integrated to have all the smart thoughts and is delegating to LTT all the dumb ones? Or is the connection to Moridin beginning to warp Rand's brain or is Moridin actually controlling some of his thoughts ("he is a nice guy and not a DF, he is a nice guy and not a DF, he is a nice guy and not a DF..."). Or what? Is Rand so starved for what he sees are loyal followers that he is subconciously elevating loyalty to a cardinal virtue, even if from who (at best) is an idiot?

I remain confused.

Kurt Lorey
84. Shimrod
I think that this chapter's campaign sums up RJ's take on some of the American experience in Vietnam.
Jonathan Levy
85. AndrewB
Shimrod @ 84,

I agree. It is interesting to think that if the Vietnam War was fought differently, then some of the battle scenes would have been written differently. Specifically, I am thinking of the scene where Mat takes control of the units that will eventually make up the Band.

Thanks for reading my musings.

p.s. Sorry for the terse post. I have some vague further ideas on this subject, but am not able to adequately express them in coherent words. I think in this instance, brevity is far superior a rambling wall of text that does not facilitate further discussions.
Jay Dauro
86. J.Dauro
OK. It's been more than a month. And the Winter's Heart ebook is due on June 22nd, I believe. So, Irene, can we see a cover? Please?
Maiane Bakroeva
87. Isilel
Jamesjones @68:

With proper terrain, and maybe some cover, most channelers would not be able to respond to the threat.

Not sure what you mean. Even though Mat's cannons will have a highly implausible (for the very first attempt) range, unless a channeler is hit by the first salvo, they can protect themselves with the weaves of air or Travelling. Cannon is also hardly a sniper weapon, so it is unlikely that they could prevent an alert channeler from getting into range and blowing them up.

Not sure what you mean about geometry either. Finding the location of cannon? Well, smoke will give it away, no?

Now, personally I'd find battles specifically staged without OP opponents, so that non-channelers can shine, extremely cheesy. I really hope to see plausible mixed tactics - conventional weaponry, OP, new technologies versus the same and AoL gengineering (jumara et al), etc.

And the first thing the Randlandians should do, ought to be to require channelers with the armiesto wear the same clothing and equipment as soldiers, so that they can't be picked out from the distance. The stupidity of channelers wearing distinctive "shoot me now" attire never ceases to boggle my mind ;). Of course, given the finery LTT wore to the Sealing in tEoTW prologue, there is little chance of them doing something so sensible...
Lynn McDonald
88. meal6225
Oh happy day! My husband has finally finished All the books. I can now freely speak of Rand's missing hand, Black Verin, married Mat, etc. He read the first 8 than quit promising to finish them "someday".This still astounds me--when he reached the chapter where Eg's realizes Verin can lie he just closed the book and said "so Verin is black? Interesting. Goodnight" and off to bed he went. "What?" I said "you can just close the book at this point? I reached that chapter and was up till 3am because I couldn't put it down."


Mat and his dragons--would love to see a good lob close the Gap so Lan and his forces can escape, and trapping shadowspawn.

Dark channlers will be numerous when the black sisters and Taim's fellows come out of the closet.
Antoni Ivanov
89. tonka
It's kinda naive to think that Ishamael who was free for 20 years before the events in these books take place wouldn't have worked on recruiting channelers into his 'army', especially male ones. There are about 10 000 Female channelers around the world. The Aes Sedai has gentled only like a dozen (males) the last 20 years, and even if the Sea Folk or Aiel might kill some of them, who's to say they've found all, and if the female channelers are that much the male should be close to that number too.
Tricia Irish
90. Tektonica

Thanks for sharing that bit of your history. It makes me feel a bit better about being pretty much a noob here. I perused some of the other sites when I first discovered WOT on the internet a few years ago, but clearly, I could do some more research......

......Yet it's much more fun to have facts checked and theories illuminated by you guys....Terez & Linda and our home grown gurus. Doing the reread here with Leigh and everyone is so much more fun! Thanks again, all.

And please, no slow down for The World Cup, please, please, please....Let's get through this books ASAP!
Theresa Gray
91. Terez27

I must say I'm surprised that I signed up at a WOT site over 2 years before you did.

I am not. Your depth of knowledge has a reach that speaks of you having been at it a lot longer than I have (I have good book knowledge, but I have a tendency to be weak on peripheral details that aren't directly theory-related, as I am sure you have noticed before). You might have only found the fandom a couple years before me (you joined Wotmania around the time Callandor joined Theoryland), but I didn't start reading the series until Winter's Heart was already released (though not yet in paperback), which was around the time you found the fandom. I wish I had found WoT when it was first released, even though I was 11. I was reading King and Rice then.

I didn't realize until years later that I joined at the tag end of the Great Exodus of the fandom, which I think really began in 1998 with the release of TPOD, which was unforgivably lacking Mat and rainbows (and, incidentally, this was the time of the birth of the 'new' WoT websites following the internet boom of 96-98) and the Exodus continued to worsen until KOD was released in 2005, at which point there was a revival of sorts. Then of course RJ's sickness and death put another damper on the fandom, and then Brandon and Team Jordan revived it again. :) Leigh has done her part as well, here (she was of course one of those that disappeared during the Great Exodus).

I have spent a great deal of time accidentally researching the history of the online fandom via the interview database. Marie found the rasfwrj archives recently, so I got to read a lot of the signing reports where they were originally posted, and in context. I'm working on changing all of the links (they are mostly linked to a place where they were all collected together and snipped from the threads in which they were posted - convenient when that was used as a resource, but unnecessary with the interview database).

Tektonica@90 - I guess that was the point of me telling the story. Everyone is a noob once, and these things are relative (some gurus like Leigh were long gone from the fandom by the time I found it in the first place). Adding to what Linda said earlier, I think that for noobs and old-timers both, how argumentative you are allowed to be is directly proportional to your book knowledge, and your logic skill (the latter of which is of course more abstract). Ignorance is never offensive unless it's offensive, if that makes any sense. :) It was very frustrating to me as a noob to encounter old-timers at Theoryland whose book knowledge was far weaker than mine, who seemed to think their opinions should hold more weight because they had been there longer. On the other hand, now I get frustrated with noobs who are overly argumentative. I like noobs for the most part, especially when they have some sense and are more likely to ask questions than to make assertions, but it's really frustrating when they go on the offensive and have no book knowledge to back any of it up, only opinions. I might patiently correct mistaken assumption after mistaken assumption, but the argumentative types will simply find another angle to argue, without stopping to consider implications of the fact that their opinion was based on faulty assumptions in the first place. :D

Rob@83 - Like I said, yes it's bizarre, but the oddity has an explanation. Not only must Rand's deranged state of mind be considered, but also the change in who holds the pen. Of course, if you are a real'er, then no explanation is needed, because Lews Therin is insane and therefore doesn't have to make sense at all. ;) I don't believe that Moridin understands the link well enough to actually control Rand's thoughts, but his frame of mind has been seeping through for a long time now. Take this quote for instance:

TITLE - Crossroads of Twilight
CHAPTER: 24 - A Strengthening Storm

Irritably, Rand pushed his sleeves down and dropped into a chair. What he had done made no matter to Logain. The man knew saidin was clean, but he could not believe Rand or any man had actually done the cleansing. Did he think the Creator had decided to stretch out a merciful hand after three thousand years of suffer­ing? The Creator had made the world and then left humankind to make of it what they would, a heaven or the Pit of Doom by their choosing. The Creator had made many worlds, watched each flower or die, and gone on to make endless worlds beyond. A gardener did not weep for each blossom that fell.

For an instant, he thought those must have been Lews Therin’s reflections. He had never gone on that way about the Creator or anything else that he recalled. But he could feel Lews Therin nod­ding in approval, a man listening to someone else. Still, it was not the kind of thing he would have considered before Lews Therin. How much space remained between them?

Even after Moridin mentioned the link in the dream, Rand still doesn't really acknowledge it, and doesn't seem to understand that his very thoughts are influenced by his ancient enemy. He doesn't even acknowledge the effects of his using the True Power. On Dragonmount, he sees all of his problems as being his own, and those internal problems were solved, but he's yet to face the problem of Moridin at all, really. He's acknowledged that the man sometimes appears in his head, and seems to be aware of him, and that it feels like he could reach out and touch the man, but that's it.
Chris Chaplain
92. chaplainchris1
Re: Mat's use of gunpowder against channelers - remember that one of Rand's first inventors (Tovere) was inventing better and better telescopes and looking glasses. I expect Mat will, at times at least, be able to pound Seanchan forces without anybody knowing he's 5 miles away doing it. That was my expectation pre-TGS, anyway. The Seanchan acquistion of Traveling may change that...though it now occurs to me that, since damane can't link, their Traveling will be limited only to groups with particularly strong damane. Though we don't really know the strength of damane relative to Aes Sedai, and the Seanchan did produce Alivia....
James Jones
93. jamesedjones
87 Isilel

If RJ says a cannon can shoot 2 miles, then, trust me, that's what you'll be dealing with when they finally appear in the books. Let's not forget Mat's luck. 'kay?

As for the cannons in the books, smoke's a lot harder to see when it's raining, a fact Ituralde used to great advantage when fighting the Seanchan. Plus, it doesn't matter if you can see the smoke. Judging distance isn't an automatic ability for anyone. Here's a little link that I googled *snicker* for anyone who spends more time inside, judging the distance of the keyboard in front of them, than outside watching the birds or the fields before them. The author recommends practice to learn how to judge 20-30 yards. Judging unknown distances can be very difficult, especially when you start to deal with miles and humidity. Just ask any of our friends in Australia how difficult it is to judge the distance to Ayers Rock in the clear air of Australia. It always appears so much closer than it is.

Then let's return to the books, and throw another curve ball at the situation ('cause I'd love to see that guy take it right above the ear. Yeah, yeah, the show's a guilty pleasure. Whadda ya goin do about it?). These cannon balls, or dragons, won't be solid, metal projectiles. They will be filled with explosive powder, and Mat won't be running around with 5 or six of them. He knows how to fight dirty, and he's willing to invest all of his money to supply The Band with them. No matter how clear the weather might be, when your position starts exploding in 20-30 places at once, you may be trying to figure out where your enemies are, but only if you are one of the fortunate few who can still see straight.

Now, say you are able to spot your enemy (no guarantee with rugged terrain). And let's suppose you're just lucky enough to guess the right distance. You still have to be able to strike at that distance. So, how many dreadlords do you think trust each other to allow one of them to control the link, in order to reach that distance? I can only think of Cyndane and Moghedien because of Moridin, myself.

The other option is to travel within striking distance. I'll admit, it's possible. But it's really more the sort of thing that the good guys do, trying to get a closer shot to save your comrades. Not sure the next dreadlord wouldn't be traveling away from the smoking enemy. And this is the type of individual who would shield themself with Air, and let the rest of the force retreat as they could.

I've got to say, GREAT point about LTT's finery. That is something that slipped by me on every single re-read. Brilliant catch. Maybe that should be one of our group questions for the next signing that BwS does. What was LTT thinking?!

Edit: corrected a 'they' that should have been a 'the'.
94. Freelancer

If you are referring to what Lews Therin is described as wearing when his family is destroyed, that is weeks after the Strike at Shayol Ghul.

Oh, and the math for both navigation (whether of the celestial or dead-reckoning variety) and weapons firing solutions is trigonometry.
James Jones
95. jamesedjones
94 Freelancer

Thanks for the trigonometry correction. I learned trig in Geometry. They've always been mixed together in my head.
Linda Taglieri
96. Linda
@ various: Re Military uniforms: Camouflage has only been adopted 'recently' in military history. Before the 20th Century uniforms were mostly all red and blue with gold decoration - to impress the civilians and the girls, flaunt rank and inspire new recruits.

This infantry uniform of the redcoats always makes me laugh because of the big white 'aim here' x on their chests.

@91 Terez: It's true I have been reading WOT a long time - almost 20 years. But I also had the advantage of reading it when fully adult.

By the time I found the internet in 2002 I already had a large compilation of chapter notes and notes on saidar strength, character and place names parallels, games, theology and mythology references. I'd made these just for my own interest.

When I was an admin at Wotmania and looked after, well nearly everything WOT there at one stage (FAQ, board and theory post), I used to sigh at the phrase "I don't have my books with me but..."

Straight after Rand linked with Moridin and defeated Sammael he showed the first sign of his aggrandisement upon being crowned King of Illian:

"All hail Rand al'Thor, King of the World!"
"All hail the King of the World!"
That had a good sound to it.

The bond to Moridin had an immediate effect. Alarm bells should have gone off there for readers. I know that comment of Rand's always stood out for me. It's not the sort of thing Rand thought before Shadar Logoth. So one part of him liking the sort of fauning Weiramon does is not new. It started ath the end of ACOS.
Rob Munnelly
97. RobMRobM
Jay@86. Dragonmount says the ebook cover is coming "early next week." Mr. Denzel says he saw an early version and that it is awesome. Rob
Eric Hughes
98. CireNaes
In reference to who placed Callandor brought up in the last post; I always thought it was Ishamael in conjunction with some rounded up female channelers. Who better knows LTT's soul (attuning the ward), various prophecies (making adjustments and/or forcing them along), and the best way to set up situations that will make the Dragon do what the DO wants him to than his counterpart? By placing the sword, Ishamael is using his standard MO to upset the Fisher King. He now has a way of arranging another meeting place after a series of psychological torments he has organized for Rand in an effort to break him and then expose him to enough power to unmake the Pattern. After a recognition of a refusal to serve, Ishamael tries a different 'head on' approach to kill the current Dragon and start the process over before Rand can take advantage to Callandor thereby avoiding its use for positive purposes (mainly killing him). Plus it fits the later scenario of Rand getting collared and being forced to strangle Min placing him in a frazzled mental state and much more willing to damage the Pattern (So far I'm rejecting the idea that use of the TP was the whole reason behind that set up). This theory might work and it might not, but regardless, I'm going to bed soon, which always cheers me up a bit.

I've also been thinking about what the scene between Egwene and Rand will look like. Knowing her anger and all that. Could it simply be she gets ticked when she sees him in his current beat up state? He now needs lasik and Dean Kamen to give him a hand. All this on top of his previous injuries. It would make me angry if I saw the one person who has another shot at saving the world not taking decent care of himself.
usa info
99. usainfo
Tantalizingly "almost good" huh? I used to be an avid reader. Now, I don't seem to have the patien..." on
Theresa Gray
100. Terez27
freelancer@94 - if there is indeed some evidence that 'Dragonmount' was 'weeks' after the Strike, then I would be very much interested in seeing it.

Linda@96 - I wondered when I read the 'king of the world' bit if it was a Titanic reference, right on the heels of the Ghostbusters one with the stream-crossing. But ACOS was released in 1996, and Titanic not until 1997.
Jonathan Levy
101. alreadymadwithLTT
terez27 @76
The passage does make Weiramon out to be the butt of some silent joke between Lews Therin and Rand. One that only Lews Therin bothers to show amusement at. I didn't see anything sinister in LTT's endorsement of Weiramon. More of an acknowledgement that Weiramon was playing out the part he was given to a T. Or that LTT was being sarcastic.

Tektonica @90
Worry not. Americans don't care much about the World Cup. I'd worry more about the Playoffs.

Terez27 @91
He had never gone on that way about the Creator or anything else that he recalled. But he could feel Lews Therin nod­ding in approval, a man listening to someone else.
I always figured this as Rand gaining more and more access to LTT's reasoning without realizing it.

Linda @96
The military of the Age of Legends did know the value of camouflage. They were using fancloth uniforms for their soldiers long before Warders used the material for their cloaks. Why was LTT wearing finery? Who knows? What exactly was he wearing anyway? He wasn't exactly a frontline soldier for most of the war. He was a general.
Maiane Bakroeva
102. Isilel
Freelancer @94:

LTT went bonkers at the moment of the Sealing. I don't see him keeping it together sufficiently to change clothes before he went on his murder spree, LOL.

Linda @96:

Camouflage has only been adopted 'recently' in military history.

This is true, however in the eras where firepower accuracy was low and formations etc. were tactically important, there was quite a bit of value in seeing where everybody was at a glance. Also, intimidation aspect, of course. That colorful uniforms outstayed their welcome doesn't mean that they were completely stupid to begin with.

I don't even suggest that Randlandian soldiers as a whole should use camouflage, but in a setting where channelers can strike with pinpoint accuracy from a distance, it is a very bad idea for important officers/channelers to be recognizable from afar. They should wear whatever other soldiers are wearing.

Speaking of camouflage - I thought that it was stupid when Mat's soldiers started to paint over their breastplates in the name of camouflage. That's what tabards should have been for. Metal armor had be scoured regularly to prevent rust, after all.

CireNaes @98:

Knowing her anger and all that.

I know that a lot of readers would prefer Egwene's anger to be completely unreasonable, but IMHO there will be a good justification for it.

(Trots out a loony theory):

IMHO, Rand's little display on the Dragonmount will be the signal for Taim to reveal his allegiance.
And the first thing that he is going to do will be taking families of non-DF Ashaman hostage and blackmailing the men into committing (random?) acts of channeling violence, so that it _looks_ like they are all going insane, after all, and ideally some strategical targets are destroyed in the process, too. As well as the men themselves. Caemlyn will be one of the targets, of course, and will be banged up quite a bit.
Jur Grady and his wife will provide the familiar human faces to the tragedy. He and Flinn are the last from the original batch of recruits, IIRC, and I feel that Jur being the only married Ashaman that got a bit of exposure, as well as his wife's accusing stare at Rand back then, were focused on for a reason.
It will take combined efforts of Logain, AS and Elayne and her Kin to contain all this and it will cause a lot of damage.
And Egwene will be understandably furious. IMHO, YMMV.
Linda Taglieri
103. Linda
@102: I wasn't talking about Lews Therin's attire as a military uniform. He was at home - who knows what the clothes he had on signified?

I was speaking of the Third Age military uniforms especially those of Mat's forces, which people remarked would make them stand out for channellers.
Jay Dauro
104. J.Dauro
RobM^2 @97

Thanks, I was really starting to **twitch** there.
John Massey
105. subwoofer

This is an excellent example of what you speak...

Tricia Irish
106. Tektonica
Leave it to Sub.....thank you!

Liked your picture too, Linda@96.

Isilel@102: Maybe you should be writing fanfic....some good ideas there.
Jonathan Levy
107. alreadymadwitharrogance
Linda @96
I don't know... Moridin isn't exactly big on megalomania. Occasionally arrogant maybe. But the poster boy for arrogant was always LTT. For all we know he was probably just on an adrenalin high.
Valentin M
108. ValMar
Re: Uniforms and channelers...

Overly colourful uniforms were used only for a couple of centuries in Europe (late 17th to early 20th) mainly due to battlefield smoke and Line Infantry tactics. There is nothing really comparable in Randland. Well, hypothetically speaking, if Mat were to face an Andoran army, the more compact red-white the regiment the more worthy of a pasting from the artillery it would be.

In the past it made sense for the Seanchan to have the suldam/damane highly visible. The moral effect on their side and their enemies would have been significant. With channelers on both sides it will be an advantage to surprise the enemy and avoid being easily targeted. I am surprised that damane/suldams are not disguised occasionally.

As for channelers vs artillery debate- however advanced Mat's dragons are, channelers have decisive advantage tactically in terms of flexibility, aim, responsiveness, mobility, rate of fire, diversity of options, self-defence...

Still, of course it would be better to face someone like the Seanchan with Dragons then without. Especially for the first few battles, with you well aware of the damane (and their use) and the enemy oblivious of the Dragons and their uses and properties.
IMHO there won't be more than one major battle (at Caemlyn maybe), if that, to make any of my ramblings relevant.
Jay Dauro
109. J.Dauro
And for our "Light" forces to face the Seanchen, we really need a large circle (preferably with a male or two) who can shield the damane. Since they cannot link beyond the sul'dam they should be vulnerable to this, (similar to the BA at Caemlyn trying to abduct Elayne) while the Dragons do the offensive work. This should make the AS happier, with no thought of violating the second Oath.

But hopefully before this the Light can get together, so it just goes against the bad(der) guys.
Chin Bawambi
110. bawambi
I like the discussion of channeler vs non-channeler tactics, however, i think it will be a moot point. Since Mat has the last few thousand years of military strategy in his head I would be very suprised if he doesn't start using the dragons as well as a randland version of a mortar in conjuction with travelers to devastate the dark forces. Think Dumai Wells times Seminary Ridge.
Marcus W
111. toryx
The dragons are primarily going to be an equalizer. Sure they're going to be limited against channelers, whether we're talking Damane or Aes Sedai but this will be the first time in 3000 years that the ordinary Joe non-channeler will have a ranged weapon that can come even close to matching the kind of power previously being tossed around by those who can use the One Power.

It'll cause a major shift in the balance, particularly with the Aes Sedai. Before now no one had a chance to breach the walls of the Tower. With the dragons, however, that's going to be changing.
Valentin M
112. ValMar
That's what I think too, Toryx. Just when directly compared/matched channelers would have the edge. That was the overall point of my ramblings @108.

Mind you, whilst gunpowder in battle is a novelty in Randland, so is Channeling.

It will be interesting to see a mach-up. Maybe that's what will cause the Seanchan to think again about negotiations.
Thomas Keith
113. insectoid
Looks like Tor is trying to re-organize things. So, I suppose now would be a good time to...


EDIT: [i]1 * 13 = ::snicker::

Sandy Brewer
114. ShaggyBella
Mats bundled fireworks did a good job breaching the Stone of Tear. Gave him something to think about, anyhow.
Jay Dauro
115. J.Dauro
From Brandon's website
If you didn't catch the WAY OF KINGS preview last week, head over to to read the first three chapters. This is not the last preview they'll be hosting, but it will have to tide you over for a few weeks. We're also working out final details of the book tour and how to order numbered copies. Stay tuned.
Maybe a Prologue? Please!
116. Freelancer

I'm sure he's referring only to Way of Kings when he says it's not the last preview. I've seen FB comments that WoK would have more than one segment presented here before release date.

That said, yes please, ToM Prologue!
Jay Dauro
117. J.Dauro
You can't blame a guy for trying, can you? ;^)
Thomas Keith
118. insectoid
A ToM Prologue would be awesome!! ;)

You feel that, Free? A bit unstable down there near the border!

Jonathan Levy
119. Jonathan Levy

Regarding Mat's cannons. (Wall-o-text warning.)

From a historical perspective, the idea that you can go from inventing the idea of a cannon to fielding an effective artillery force in less than a year is quite fantastic. In our history it took more than a hundred years for artillery to be effective in a siege (against walls), and hundreds more to be effective in the field. For example, Machiavelli writing in the early 1500s explains at length why artillery is useless in battles - more than 50 years after it was good enough to knock down the walls of Constantinople (1453). And at Constantinople the cannon was so large that it had to be cast within firing range of the walls, because it couldn't be moved. Medieval cannon has a firing rate sometimes as slow as 1 shot per DAY. Explosive shells were not used until the 19th century.

We're so used to having these weapons around that we forget about the skill and precision needed to create them, and the dreadful consequences of a mistake. The ineffectiveness of early artillery was due to several causes.

Difficulty of construction:

1) The diameter of the cannon ball has to be smaller than the inner diameter of the barrel, or it will get stuck in the barrel, and the pressure buildup will cause the barrel to explode. The interior of the barrel has to be very smooth. The diameter of the barrel has to be the same throughout all its length. If you're going to be firing 100 cannon-balls, this has to be true for every single one of them. And oh yes, the diameter of your barrel will increase non-uniformly as the metal heats up.

In practice, it was impossible to do this until the modern era, so barrel diameters were always made larger than the cannonball size. This meant a lot of the gases from the gunpowder would escape around the cannonball while being fired, reducing the cannon's range and accuracy.

2)Slow rate of fire for muzzle-loading cannon. Early cannon (until the late 19th century) were all muzzle-loading. This means the gunpowder and the ball are put into the cannon from the same hole from which they emerge when the cannon is fired. After the shot is fired, the barrel has to be cleaned of soot and reloaded. A long-range cannon has a long, very heavy barrel, which makes cleaning it difficult and slow. This explains the slow rate of fire for early cannon.

Modern cannon have a breech, meaning the base of the cannon can be opened up, and the 'ball' and gunpowder are loaded from there. Of course, the breech has to be closed perfectly, so no gases will escape under pressure when the cannon is fired, and must be robust enough so it won't burst open under that pressure.

3) Poor metallurgical technique. A cannon barrel has to withstand expansive forces. Any flaw, and the cannon will burst. How thick does it need to be? How pure is the metal? Which metal to use? Bronze or Brass? What about Iron? What happens if the metal heats up? In our world, these techniques were refined over hundreds of years. Aludra's bellfounders have to get it right the first time. And they've never had to create something which will explode in their faces if they make a mistake.

Difficulty in logistics:
Cannon are heavy. Cannon balls are heavy. Huge amounts of gunpowder are heavy. These need to be hauled by horses and wagons, and move very very slowly. Mud will cause them to grind to a halt. Horses need huge amounts of fodder to sustain them. This has to be carried by other wagons and horses, which also need fodder. This makes moving large amounts of artillery very difficult in pre-industrial societies.

Difficulty in training:
You cannot take a country bumpkin, put him next to a cannon, and get an effective artillery unit. You have to train him to load it, how to aim it, how to clean it, how to move it, how to not kill himself and everyone near him with it. Troops have to drill and train. You have to teach them how to estimate range, how to hit their targets, how to calibrate their cannon (because each one is slightly different). All this takes a lot of time. Mat doesn't have any.

Of course, some of these difficulties (Esp. transportation) can be overcome with the One Power. Aes Sedai cannot help with most of them, because of the 3 oaths, and in any case few women have an affinity for metal. If the Ashaman get involved, it might be possible. Otherwise, it's just not realistic, even in a fantasy novel setting.

I always found it strange that RJ, who seemed to have researched the smallest topics all the way (e.g. Perrin's blacksmithing in TDR, Mat's horse-examining in KoD) treated the creation of cannon as a simple problem. Perhaps the temptation to include them in his story was too great.
Maiane Bakroeva
120. Isilel
Jonatahan Levy @133:

treated the creation of cannon as a simple problem.

Indeed. Or that of "steam wagons". A couple of months after the inventor first made them move, they were running heavily loaded 100 miles a day on unpaved roads! When iRL it took closer to century and half to get there. Also, petrol, which Randlandians don't have. IMHO, it was very jarring and unnecessary.

Re: cannons, maybe Aludra's higher (than that of iRL folks who first designed cannon) experience with explosives and aiming as well as intuitive leap that cannons have to be cast from bronze could plausibly shave away some development time.
Also, channelers could really expedite the testing. They could detect flaws in the cast, etc. and maybe, after a bit of experience could even tell if a given design would hold without a risky test. I do hope that RJ did or BwS does get channelers heavily involved, to make the whole thing a bit more palatable.

Muzzle-loading shouldn't be that much of a problem - from Aubrey and Maturin series, trained crews could fire, I think 3 salvos in 5 minutes? Or something along those lines. And it didn't actually take that long to train them, either. RN ships in the 19th century rarely carried enough powder and shot for live-fire exercises anyway (good captains had to buy them out of their own pocket), and yet they did quite decently.

Even with all those advantages, creating cannon from scratch should have taken years if not decades, though, not weeks/months.
I am a bit afraid that they are going to create firearms as a small side-project, too, judging by Mat's questions to Aludra in TGS... That would suck.
Linda Taglieri
122. Linda
Ack! Lost everything in a false accusation of spam. Will split it in two.

@120 They have not invented petrol, but methane from anaerobic decomposition of animal waste.

The Band's crossbow crank re-arms the weapons far faster than they 'should'. They are almost as rapid as the best modern mechanical devices. And Mat wants to shave 4 seconds off the 8 seconds the crank takes. Even the usage of seconds in timing is anachronistic. Who had the watch?

I've written an article on the inventions of Rand's Academies.
Linda Taglieri
123. Linda
Ok other half...

Regarding what metal to cast the cannon from: we have not heard of cast iron in the WOT world. Wrought iron yes, but not cast.

So they either make another rapid break-through - Elayne's library ter'angreal? - or they stick with copper alloys.

Accepting that the field and hand cannon were being invented rapidly, I wrote an article on Mat, Fireworks and Bellfounders.
Abdel Masdoua
124. TheDarkOne
Just something I wanted to throw out there, even though it's not really related to this chapter, but it kinda struck me and I wanted to get your thoughts:

Check this out: Aes Sedai as Time Lords!

The parallel kinda screams at me since I've been re-reading while watching classic Doctor Who.
The Time Lords, "dusty senators peaceful to the point of indolence" who live in their Citadel cut of from the rest of the galaxy, so set in their ways that their customs became laws and that some of their history and technology has turned to myth.

I know it's not exactly the same since the Time Lords have a policy of non-interference while Aes Sedai meddle in the affairs of thrones everywhere, but Time Lords do interfere when there is a crisis, and there is no denying that Randland clearly is in a crisis while its last crisis is not that far away (in Aes Sedai-lifespan basis).

(Also, the oaths are a major difference.)

More to say on this, but first I'd like some of you to tell me if you think I've gone wonko!
James Jones
125. jamesedjones
120 Isilel
A couple of months after the inventor first made them move, they were running heavily loaded 100 miles a day on unpaved roads!
I could not agree more. Especially when all it would take would be one oddball channeler with an unnatural interest in the process, to make it a little more believable. An AM, who used to be a blacksmith or mason; or an AS, who is heavily gifted in art and math, could have offered a much better solution to the speed of the process than just getting Rand's pattern in a twist.
Jonathan Levy
126. Jonathan Levy
@Linda Always a pleasure to read 13th depository, even if it's for a second or third time.


The steam wagons are an excellent example. "Jarring and unnecessary" is the perfect description.

I agree that if channelers help with the construction, it will make things more palatable. Otherwise... ugh.

Keep in mind that in the 19th century the Royal Navy was building on a 300-year tradition of fine seamanship and gunnery. Compare them with the French, who at Trafalgar built a fleet up from scratch, with good ship designs (often better than the English), good cannons, but no experience.
Alice Arneson
127. Wetlandernw
Jonathan Levy @119 From a historical perspective, the idea that you can go from inventing the idea of a cannon to fielding an effective artillery force in less than a year is quite fantastic.

Did you ever notice the genre name? It's called fantasy for a reason - it doesn't have to follow all the rules of real life, much less real-life historical precedent. "Fantastic" by definition is "based on fantasy; not real."
Alice Arneson
128. Wetlandernw
Hey - Freelancer, babokathy, insectoid - are you all okay? How bad was it in San Diego?
Tina Pierce
129. scissorrunner
TheDarkOne @124
Aes Sedai parallels Time Lords
not too crazy an idea.
Which AS would you place w/the Doctor as the renegade of the bunch? one of the super-girls? Cads? Moiraine? Siuan? hmmmmm tough call.
any ideas?
Don Barkauskas
130. bad_platypus
Wetlandernw@128: Not too bad---in my (3rd-floor) apartment nothing even fell off the shelves. Definitely felt it, though.
Alice Arneson
131. Wetlandernw
bad_platypus - didn't realize you were in SD too! Glad to hear it wasn't too bad there. Thanks for the update!!
Jonathan Levy
132. Rand Al'Todd
Read Weber's Armagedon Reef series for discussions of the problems going from 15th or 16th Century Navy to 18th/19th.

Still wonder about having Egwene zap a cannon to Cuendillar? But that would require someone on Side Light talking and sharing info.
Chin Bawambi
133. bawambi

Of course Mat making the dark forces cannon fodder (couldn't resist) does require him to actually have an in-depth convo with someone on the light side (Elayne?/Avi?/Rand?) ....
Birgit F
134. birgit
Still wonder about having Egwene zap a cannon to Cuendillar?

She has now taken the 3 Oaths and cannot make weapons. Mat could ask his sister who is good at making cuendillar, she is still a novice.
Wild Winds
135. MistressOfShips
@Linda Water clock? Or a mechanical clock from the al'Vere house? ;o)

Idrien is most commonly thought of as the best candidate for improving the speed of the crossbows, used by the Band of Red Hand. However, Idrien is in Cairhien and she probably is busy as the headmistress of Rand's Academy in Cairhien.

Jaem though wanted to be an apprenticed to an Armorer in Caemlyn (KoD,Ch.35). Elayne should remember him, as the son of Melfane Dawlish her mid-wife. Jaem is another good candidate for improving Mat's crossbows and he is already in Caemlyn unlike Idrien.

@bawambi Mat has known about Cuendillar since at least tEotW, Ch.52 when Lan showed him a dagger made of best steel Tear can create breaking on a fragment of Cuendillar, and Moiraine speaking of Cuendillar magical properties.

I guess Mat Cauthon could combine Dragon Eggs and Streamwagons into creating a WoT version of a tank? Might be more than helpful as horses require grass to eat, and stream tanks do not eat grass.

Not much grass growing now anywhere on the land, I imagine--because of the Dragon Reborn ill health caused by the twins evils leaking out of the ward of saidin created by Damer Flinn, placed just above Rand's hip on one side. Talmanes & Mat each know how scarce grass & food is for their cavalry, soldiers now (tGS). Stream wagons would be an excellent substitute for mules & horses for the Band.

@Rand Al'Todd Only a few channelers have been specifically mentioned who can create Cuendillar,so far in the story--Egwene al'Vere, Leane, Bodewhin Cauthon, Nicola, Althyn Conly, Ashmanaille, Janya Frende, Salita Toranes among others. That is out the eight surviving Sisters, two Accepted, and nearly two dozen Novices known of by Egwene (CoT,Ch.17)

I'd suspect some of the more talented Kin could create Cuendillar cannons in Caemlyn if necessary? Or even Kirstian Chalwin, Zarya Alkaese who are now Aes Sedai novices? Egwene would not need to do that task herself.

Elayne surely wants to learn how to make Cuendillar too. (tFoH,Ch.33) Wonder if a linked circle using a sa'angreal was necessary to create an object the huge size of Whitebridge?

There should be more than 150 Kin in Caemlyn now, after Nynaeve, Reanne, Vandene sent in individuals to retrieve the remaining Kin members in Seanchan held lands, all the way back in Winter's Heart Prologue. There are after all 1783 total Kin members. (aCoS,Ch.31)

Why is Caemlyn a good place to make Cuendillar cannons? Because almost all the necessary supplies are there already (Channelers, Metals, Foundries, Aludra's Plans), minus the only the knowledge of how to make Cuendillar.
Linda Taglieri
136. Linda
@126 JonathanLevy I don't think the invention of the steamwagon is unnecessary. I think it's being invented in a hurry for a reason and that reason is to move the field artillery. As you pointed out yourself, horse-drawn vehicles aren't that rapid and require lots of supply trains.

@135 The problem with making cannon out of cuendillar is that they must be made out of iron first. And we haven't seen or heard of iron being cast yet. So that is another technological leap, as I said in an earlier post.
Jonathan Levy
137. alreadymadwithcannons
Linda @136
Well, if you're gonna go as far as to make a cuendillar cannon, you could simply shape the cannon with the One Power right from the start.
138. Freelancer
None of that is necessary. Aludra knows her work. Bronze cannon will be perfectly strong enough, and those steamwagons Linda referenced will handle the long distance transport. A brace of mules can be used for forward positioning.
Theresa Gray
139. Terez27
With the Guild of Illuminators, RJ has created something that did not exist in the world in which our artillery was born. Like Freelancer said, Aludra knows what she is about, and it's not too terribly difficult to believe that she will pull off something that took centuries to perfect in the real world. Sometimes, technology plods along at a snail's pace, but sometimes, brilliant minds with the right knowledge will come along, and then technology advances by leaps and bounds. It's also to her benefit that she has the Band to work with. By virtue of their genius leader, they're not the ordinary bunch of soldiers.
Jonathan Levy
140. Jonathan Levy
If the steam wagons are used to pull the cannons, it will be an even worse howler than the cannons themselves. Try driving cross-country in a regular car, and then imagine doing it with a Ford Model T with a half-ton cannon being dragged behind you. This is not the same as attaching a bed to your pickup truck and driving on the highway.

Self-propelled artillery needs a tracked vehicle, not a wheeled one. It needs a decent suspension system, or it won't go anywhere. It needs a good gear-box, or it won't be able to drive properly. Tanks and similar vehicles break down all the time, and need regular maintenance by their crews, which means they must be trained mechanics, and have a huge set of spare parts, which means standardized parts made in a factory.

The cuendillar idea is much better. If you're going to make a cuendillar cannon, a very thin sheet of wrought iron is all you need. Wrap it around a standard mold into a cylinder, close the bottom, convert to cuendillar, and you've got your cannon. If it's thin enough, it'll only weigh a few pounds, and half your transport problems are solved. All your cannon will be the same size, if you use the same mold (or have identical ones).
Theresa Gray
141. Terez27
Another point is that the first use of the cannons will most likely be in Caemlyn, where transport won't be required, and even after, with gateways it won't be necessary to haul them very long distances at all.
Hilde Sørensen
142. edlihs
Indeed. Or that of "steam wagons". A couple of months after the inventor first made them move, they were running heavily loaded 100 miles a day on unpaved roads! When iRL it took closer to century and half to get there. Also, petrol, which Randlandians don't have. IMHO, it was very jarring and unnecessary.

What about coal?
diane heath
143. jadelollipop
Randland being another world/age than this one I have no problem with the inventions of steam engine,gliders,hot air balloons (all mentioned at Rand's academy in Carhien) nor the invention of cannon.
One thing you learn from watching Star Trek is that each planet invents things at their own pace and sometimes differently than here :)

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