Jun 15 2010 2:12pm
The Wheel of Time Re-read: The Path of Daggers, Part 15

Thar she blows! A post like a snow-hill! It is Wheel of Time Re-read!

From Hell’s heart I stab at thee! And also cover Chapter 24 of The Path of Daggers, in which we find “all that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it”, and I’m sure you can make the proper paraphrasical substitutions, there.

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 now, for more fun than you can POSSIBLY STAND, click on!


Chapter 24: A Time for Iron

What Happens
A dozen leagues east of Ebou Dar, Captain-General Kennar Miraj sits in his command tent and worries over the reports of enemy movement, which seems to put their numbers at over ninety thousand, or twice the Hailene’s troops. The High Lady Suroth enters, accompanied by a da’covale with “honey-yellow hair in a multitude of thin braids” and her Voice of the Blood, Alwhin; Miraj is shocked to notice that, first, Alwhin is linked by a’dam to a short dark-haired damane, and second, that the damane is clothed as da’covale, both of which are very odd. He greets Suroth respectfully, but she ignores him to study the maps, which displease her. Miraj further notices that the honey-haired da’covale is scowling, and that there is an odd similarity between her face and the damane’s face; Alwhin notices and hisses at the da’covale to kneel, calling her “Liandrin.” Suroth then informs Miraj that contrary to what he thinks, there are no more than five or six thousand troops out there, with fifty or so of these Asha’man, and they are moving around by the rediscovered art of Traveling. Miraj wonders at her source for this information, but doesn’t ask; he is disgusted by the idea of men channeling, though he mentally makes an exception for the Dragon Reborn.

The Prophecies of the Dragon had been known in Seanchan even before Luthair Paendrag began the Consolidation. In corrupted form, it was said, much different from the pure version Luthair Paendrag brought. Miraj had seen several volumes of The Karaethon Cycle printed in these lands, and they were corrupted too—not one mentioned him serving the Crystal Throne!—but the Prophecies held men’s minds and hearts still. More than a few hoped the Return came soon, that these lands could be reclaimed before Tarmon Gai’don so the Dragon Reborn could win the Last Battle for the glory of the Empress, might she live forever. The Empress surely would want al’Thor sent to her, so she could see what sort of man served her. There would be no difficulty with al’Thor once he had knelt to her. Few easily shook off the awe they felt, kneeling before the Crystal Throne, with the thirst to obey drying their tongues. But it seemed obvious that bundling the fellow onto a ship would be easier if disposing of the Asha’man—they had to be disposed of, certainly—waited until al’Thor was well on his way across the Aryth Ocean to Seandar.

Miraj comes back to his immediate problems, and asks Suroth if she will release the sul’dam and damane to him, or if they are still sick; the damane flinches, and strangely so does Liandrin. Suroth smiles at her and moves to stroke her hair, and remarks that small failures bring small costs, while great failures bring “painfully great” costs. She tells Miraj he will have his damane, and orders him to “wipe [these Asha’man] from the face of the earth”. Miraj replies that he will obey.

Rand watches his army emerge from gateways very near Ebou Dar, and notes Lews Therin’s inconsistency in wanting to die, but also being fearful of dying after the attempt on Rand’s life the day before. Bashere joins him with a somewhat unpleasant smile at Ailil and Anaiyella, who have not left Rand’s side since the incident with the arrow; Rand’s still not sure whether they want him dead or not. Lews Therin chuckles about what women will kill you for, but Rand ignores him. The rest of the nobles show up, and Rand forestalls another speech from Weiramon to announce that there is a Seanchan force of fifty thousand about ten miles from their position, and there is no sign they have damane with them, but nevertheless no one is to deviate from their orders this time. The plan is to divide into five columns with the Asha’man divided up with each, and fall on the Seanchan from all sides at once.

No plan of battle survives first contact, Lews Therin said in Rand’s head. For a moment, he still seemed lucid. For a moment. Something is wrong, he growled suddenly. His voice began to gain intensity, and drift into wild disbelieving laughter. It can’t be wrong, but it is. Something strange, something wrong, skittering, jumping, twitching. His cackles turned to weeping. It can’t be! I must be mad! And he vanished before Rand could mute him. Burn him, there was nothing wrong with the plan, or Bashere would have been on it like a duck on a beetle.

Lews Therin was mad, no doubt of it. But so long as Rand al’Thor remained sane… A bitter joke on the world, if the Dragon Reborn went mad before the Last Battle even began. “Take your places,” he commanded with a wave of the Dragon Scepter. He had to fight down the urge to laugh at that joke.

They all split up according to Rand’s instructions, though none of them like it, grouping those who distrusted each other together, leaving him with Tihera, Marcolin, Masond, Ailil, Anaiyella, Flinn, and Dashiva. To his surprise, Dashiva comes up with a worried frown and weaves a ward against eavesdropping around them without asking (Lews Therin tries to take away saidin from Rand to kill him, but fails), and tells Rand tersely that there is something wrong with saidin here, and he doesn’t know what it is, but it “pulses,” and is difficult to control. Rand replies that he’s been channeling longer than Dashiva, and it’s just the taint he feels. Dashiva seems about to explode, but then icily retorts that he is well aware of how long Rand has channeled, but surely even he can feel it.

“Feel, man! I don’t like ‘strange’ applied to saidin, and I don’t want to die or… or be burned out because you’re blind! Look at my ward! Look at it!”

Rand stared. Dashiva pushing himself forward was peculiar enough, but Dashiva in a temper? And then he did look at the ward. Really look. The flows should have been as steady as the threads in tight-woven canvas. They vibrated. The ward stood solid as it should be, but the individual threads of the Power shimmered with faint movement.

Rand checks for himself, and finally notices what they’ve been talking about, and feels relief that it is not madness taking them all after all, not yet; Dashiva almost sneers at him for taking so long to see it. Rand replies that saidin may be more difficult here, but it still works, and tells Dashiva to get back in position; Dashiva obeys furiously, and Rand gives orders for his column to move out.

Madness waits for some, Lews Therin whispered. It creeps up on others.

Miraj rides with his forces, accompanied by Captain of the Air Abaldar Yulan and Lisaine Jarath, his senior der’sul’dam (and personal friend). They are flanked by twenty pairs of damane and sul’dam. His scouts return with a report:

“The enemy is less than five miles due east, my Lord Captain-General, marching in our direction. They are deployed in five columns spaced approximately one mile apart.”

Miraj gives redeployment orders to counter an attempted envelopment, and notes that Lisaine has started to sweat.

Bertome Saighan rides behind Weiramon, and sneers at how the Tairen tolerates that “hot-eyed young monster” Gedwyn. Doressin, one of the other Cairheinin nobles and Bertome’s friend since childhood, comes up to whisper his opinion that the Lord Dragon means them to die, even though Doressin himself only listened to Colavaere; Bertome glances at the seven Asha’man riding with them, and replies that he thinks it unlikely the Asha’man would be there if al’Thor only meant to “feed them into a sausage grinder”. He rides up to speak with Weiramon, who is in conversation with Gedwyn.

Gedwyn was idly playing with his reins, his features cold with contempt. The Tairen was red-faced. “I don’t care who you are,” he was saying to the black-coated man in a low, hard voice, spittle flying, “I won’t take more risk without a command direct from the lips of—”

Then they see Bertome and glare at him, and Bertome realizes that Gedwyn wants to kill him on the spot. Weiramon switches to an oily smile, and (clumsily, to Bertome’s ear) tries to insinuate that the Lord Dragon has plans even more dire for him than he had for Bertome’s cousin Colavaere. Bertome is unimpressed by the attempt to manipulate him, but wonders what Weiramon wants. They are interrupted, though, as one of Bertome’s scouts gallops up to report that there are two thousand Taraboners almost on top of them, and with women with lightning on their dresses. Weiramon is about to dismiss this, but then the Taraboners appear through the trees. Weiramon laughs and tells Gedwyn to kill whoever he wants when he wants, but he, Weiramon, uses his own methods. Then he shouts and charges into the fray, and Bertome and the rest follow as the earth begins to erupt and lightning fall.

Varek kills an enemy soldier, and sees a division of newly-conscripted Altarans; he prepares to take command of them, but then a barrage of crossbow bolts mows them all down, and Varek shivers. He thinks this is even worse than Falme, remembering how half an hour earlier he had seen one man in a black coat rip a hundred Taraboners to shreds, literally. He goes to find Banner-General Chianmai, but finds that Chianmai is dead, burned to char with a dozen others; the leader of the survivors, a Taraboner, tells Varek that they were fighting against a group of Illianers, and their damane channeled lightnings, but then the lightning fell among them as well as the Illianers. The sul’dam is irate at the implied slight against “her Zakai,” but Varek soothes her and tells the Taraboner he is assuming command, and they are to disengage.

“Disengage!” the heavy-shouldered Taraboner barked. “It will take us days to disengage! The Illianers, they fight like badgers backed into a corner, the Cairhienin like ferrets in a box. The Tairens, they are not so hard as I have heard, but there are maybe a dozen of these Asha’man, yes? I do not even know where three-quarters of my men are, in this jolly-bag!”

Varek can guess what a “jolly-bag” is, but repeats his orders, and the men finally obey. He tells the sul’dam to settle the weeping Zakai down, as they will be depending on them in the south, and wonders why that makes the sul’dam go pale.

Bashere observes the clearing ahead of his division while the other nobles argue about whether to risk crossing it, and notes that Rochaid looks worried instead of superior. He pulls Rochaid aside and asks if he can count on them next time, referring to the increasing delays in the Asha’man response times.

“I know what I’m about, Bashere,” Rochaid snarled. “Aren’t we killing enough of them for you? As far as I can see, we’re about done!”

Bashere isn’t sure about that last, but certainly does agree that there’s been more than enough killing, on both sides. He decides to go around the clearing, and hopes Rochaid can keep the remaining five Asha’man with him from deserting.

Rand scowls at the rain, exhausted from the struggle of making saidin do what he wants all day. Adley bursts out that it was an accident, and Rand tells him to shut up and watch; Adley is with him instead of out with Morr, Narishma and Hopwil because he had managed to kill almost sixty of their own men with Fire. Flinn looks grim and Dashiva is sweating with concentration; Rand has ordered them not to seize the Power unless he permits it. Anaiyella asks if they are done yet, and at his furious look, adds that by the number of dead alone he will already be in the history books for today.

“I mean to drive the Seanchan into the sea!” Rand snapped. Light, he had to finish them now, when he had the chance! He could not fight the Seanchan and the Forsaken and the Light alone knew who or what else, all at the same time! “I did it before, and I will again!”

Do you have the Horn of Valere hidden in your pocket this time? Lews Therin asked slyly. Rand snarled at him silently.

Bashere comes up, dead tired, and reports flatly that he’s killed five hundred of the enemy, and it’s time for them to go; he’s sent orders to the other columns to rally. Rand answers that Bashere had no right to send those orders, and he means to destroy the rest of the Seanchan army. Bashere laughs and points where he just snuck past ten to fifteen thousand more of them, with maybe a hundred damane, and with more on the way. Rand touches the bundle under his saddle, jerks away, and tells Bashere, if that’s where they are, that’s where Rand will destroy them. Bashere moves closer and tells him in a low voice that he isn’t thinking straight; it was a good plan, but the Seanchan general is just as good, and a full-scale attack is what he’s waiting for; they can’t surprise him.

“Nobody stands nose-to-nose with the Dragon Reborn,” Rand growled. “The Forsaken could tell him that, whoever he is. Right, Flinn? Dashiva?” Flinn nodded uncertainly. Dashiva flinched. “You think I can’t surprise him, Bashere? Watch!” Pulling the long bundle loose, he stripped away the cloth covering, and Rand heard gasps as raindrops glistened on a sword seemingly made of crystal. The Sword That Is Not a Sword. “Let’s see if he’s surprised by Callandor in the hands of the Dragon Reborn, Bashere.”

Rand hesitates a moment, afraid, remembering what he had tried to do last time he’d used Callandor, but tells himself that he is the Dragon Reborn and can do anything, and seizes saidin through the sa’angreal. An unbelievable amount of saidin (and taint) flows through him, and he laughs.

“I am the storm,” he whispered—a shout in his ears, a roar—and he channeled.

He doesn’t quite know what he’s creating, but the skies boil and hundreds upon hundreds of lightning bolts rain down on the terrain before him. Then something knocks him down; Rand thinks it is a counterattack, and screams defiance against Shai’tan, calling down more lightning bolts, until he is knocked down a second time, and realizes it is Bashere on top of him.

“Stop it!” the Saldaean shouted. Blood fanned down his face from a split across his scalp. “You’re killing us, man! Stop!”

Rand looks, and sees the lightning coming down on his own troops; stunned, he lets saidin go, and Bashere lets him up warily. Standing shakily, Rand sees that Adley is dead, and listens to the screams coming from his forces, and wonders if he even hurt the Seanchan at all, or only his own men. Anaiyella faints at the sight of him, and Rand tells Bashere to set a guard while they wait for the others to return, then they will Travel to the supply line. Bashere nods and leaves.

I’ve lost, Rand thought dully. I’m the Dragon Reborn, but for the first time, I’ve lost.

Suddenly, Lews Therin raged up inside him, sly digs forgotten. I’ve never been defeated, he snarled. I am the Lord of the Morning! No one can defeat me!

Rand sat in the rain, turning the Crown of Swords in his hands, looking at Callandor lying in the mud. He let Lews Therin rage.

Yulan weeps, not for Miraj’s death or the apology he would soon have to make to the Empress, but for that the Ever Victorious Army has now suffered a second devastating defeat on these shores. He gives the order to retreat.

Excuse me, I need to go get a cookie. And some hot chocolate. And three little birds, hang on.


Okay, I feel a little better now. Marginally.

And hey, I recapped it! It’s done! So that’s over, yay!

Oh. I still have to talk about it, though, don’t I. Curses, foiled again.

And you know, this is not to say that I don’t appreciate the importance of this whole episode. It’s been pointed out long before I got here that Rand kind of severely needed this wake-up call: No, you are NOT infallible or invincible, and yes, you CAN lose, and lose big, at that. Get A Grip, Dude.

I totally get it, I do. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy reading about it. As I may have mentioned.

This is the problem with the tendency to… well, I don’t know if you would consider it overidentifying, because I would think that getting the reader to feel such a sense of—contact embarrassment? Something like that—on behalf of a fictional character just means the author has done their job, characterization-wise. If this whole episode didn’t make me feel horrible I should probably stop reading altogether.

And, you know, emotional detachment is for androids. I’m here for the visceral entertainment, right? And that means I oughta shut up and take my gut-wrenching disappointments-by-proxy right along with the happy fun stuff, right? Right.


Though I can’t decide if the I Hope You’ve Learned Your Lesson, Young Man theme is a bit undermined by how anomalous the whole situation was. Meaning, I guess we simply have to infer that Rand using Callandor would still have gone as badly even if he didn’t have to contend with the post-Bowl of the Winds One Power Weirdness around Ebou Dar? Which is, after all, a complete once-off fluke occurrence which Rand cannot really be blamed for?

On the other hand, maybe it’s still part of the moral, here, since first Rand didn’t believe Flinn et al about the weirdness, and then, after Dashiva almost blew his cover to get him to acknowledge it (see what your Forsaken mole does for you, man? Sheesh. No gratitude!), Rand still doesn’t believe it applies to him. Because he’s the Dragon Reborn, thankyouverymuch! Bah.

So, humbleness yay, hubris nay, right? Rand’s learned his lesson, right? All smooth sailing from here, right?


Other notes:

Lews Therin: He’s like that guy on the subway, isn’t he, with his random little haiku-ish nuggets of nuttery. (Trust me, he is.) Except, of course, when he’s being both eerily right and kind of hilariously bitchy, like when he asks Rand if he’s got the Horn of Valere in his pocket. Heh.

I’m also still amused, in a grim way, by Rand hoping he won’t go crazy while simultaneously talking to a voice in his head, though at this point he and Lews Therin seem to be starting to trade off by turns on who gets to be the looney one. Joy.

Prophecy, Schmophecy: Kneeling to the Crystal Throne MY ASS. Won’t happen. It’d better not happen!

Well, it won’t happen literally, because Jordan is on record as saying the action would never go to Seandar in the series proper, so no ocean cruises for Rand, thank God. And I’m pretty sure it won’t happen metaphorically either, since the mainland version of the Karaethon Cycle says Rand will “bind the nine moons to serve him”, which kind of implies the exact opposite of what the obviously-bullshittier (because I SAID SO, that’s why) Seanchan version says, so that’s good.

Of course, there are those who bring up the annoying observation that one way Rand could “bind the nine moons to serve him” is, actually, to kneel to Tuon, or at least come to some kind of treaty with her, which I guess if you kind of pull it like taffy that could be interpreted as being partially subservient to her, or something. And can I just say that I am incredibly not a fan of this?

I can? Oh good. I am incredibly not a fan of this, you guys.

I am really most sincerely not on board with this whole détente-y Hey the Seanchan aren’t such bad chaps thing the last couple of books appear to be moving us toward. I say this because however badly the meeting between Tuon and Semi-Evil Rand went in TGS, it seems to me that even so, the inevitable result is going to be that at some point they’ll have to come to some kind of agreement, at least temporarily, to fight the Shadow together.

Which, yeah yeah, practicality, survival trumps ethics sometimes, enemy of my enemy is my frenemy, anemone, but nevertheless! I am not happy about this, no. Why?

One word: SLAVERY. Thank you, goodbye.

I could go on about this, but I should probably save it for when it’s slightly more relevant, so I’ll stop here. And fume. And then move on.

Liandrin: Hi, Liandrin! Though I am in principle opposed to the fact that you are a slave and kind of hope you escape for that reason, I am still glad to see you are in the meantime having absolutely zero fun. I think we find out later how she ended up in Suroth’s clutches, but even if we don’t, well, I don’t really care.

The Other Damane: Is Ryma Galfrey, now called Pura, captured at Falme; we’ll see her again in WH. Don’t get any ideas.

Suroth: The accuracy of her information about Rand definitely indicates that she was getting it from a Darkfriend mole in Rand’s forces, which makes perfect sense; the only question is which one. We know for sure that Gedwyn and Rochaid are evil, but I kind of wonder whether Suroth would deal with them voluntarily, or even if so how they got in touch with each other. Then again it wasn’t like she and Liandrin were a likely pair in TGH, and yet. So, okay.

Of course, it could also be Weiramon, whose half-overheard conversation with Gedwyn can certainly be very easily interpreted to indicate proof that he was in cahoots with Gedwyn and, ergo, a Darkfriend. Maybe they’re all one big happy evil conspiracy family!

Here’s the thing about this, though: being in cahoots with Gedwyn, and even passing intelligence to the Seanchan (assuming he did either of those things) does not, actually, constitute proof that Weiramon is affiliated with the Shadow. There’s a whole jolly-bag of characters in WOT who have schemed against Rand and yet were not technically of the Dark Side, and it’s perfectly possible that Weiramon could have been plotting with Gedwyn without having any idea of Gedwyn’s true allegiances.

And to my mind, that would be the more yummy dramatic irony anyway. The biggest irony of all, of course, would be if that conversation was actually Weiramon not plotting against Rand at all, and just telling Gedwyn to piss off and quit telling him how to fight a battle, young whippersnapper! Which is just as easily how his words could be interpreted as well.

But he could have been up to something with Gedwyn, true, and this is bolstered somewhat by it being Weiramon moving out of position in the previous chapter that allowed for the attempt on Rand’s life (plus Gedwyn’s frown at Weiramon later, when he returns and Rand is still alive). I guess I just much more easily buy him as being in it for himself and a dupe of the Shadow (via Gedwyn, or Suroth, or both) than that he himself is evil per se. For whatever reason I just don’t see him as evil with, ahem, malice aforethought; I think he’s “evil” only in the sense that truly breathtaking willful ignorance (and/or ambition) generates evil involuntarily.

But, you know, I ain’t married to the notion. If it turns out Weiramon is a card-carrying member of the Evil League of Evil, I’ll be happy to shrug and be all, Whatevs. Maybe others are right and he’s the Purloined Letter of Darkfriends, but until there’s a definitive answer one way or t’other, I’m gonna continue to call him High Lord WYSIWYG.

And, a tool. But you knew that.

And thus I give up this spear, and the drama’s done, and I can stop (a) recapping this storyline for a while, praise the Lawd, and (b) mangling Melville quotes. FOR NOW. Laters!

2. nalattam
Great work Leigh. Keep powering through.
3. Ogee
Wow, longtime WOT fan and re-read lurker. 1st post and 3rd in line! Yeah!!

Leigh - I look forward to your witty/sassy comments every week! Thanks for your efforts! :)
4. alreadymadwiththestorm
I am the storm!
5. parabola
Yay! I got into these re-reads late and, having caught up, it's painful waiting for new posts.

These are great, and you have definitely changed the way I view a few things in the series.

I think until TGS, this was the biggest downer of the series for me so far. And it didn't even involve Fain or Sevanna, et al! TGS at least had a payoff... I guess that payoff could apply to this, but that's stretching my patience and attention-span a bit too much.
6. parabola
Now I can't get Stallone's Judge Dredd voice out of my head: "I am the storm!"
Roger Powell
7. forkroot
One word: SLAVERY. Thank you, goodbye.
Yup. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: It might be the "dark side" coming out in me, but I really wish Rand had gotten better in TGS after balefiring the crap out of the Seanchan :-)

So yeah, Leigh, I have the same visceral reaction. And I reserve my right as a human being to exhibit plenty of cognitive dissonance as I definitely like and respect certain individual Seanchan, like Tylee Khirgan.
Mike McCaffrey
8. earlgrey
Re: Suroth's informant.
Since she is a DF, it is reasonable to guess that she is getting her information from Dashiva in his Forsaken personna. Rand isn't setting guards on his "own" men. Dashiva can get away whenever he needs to.
9. Subbak
forkroot@7: You mean after balefiring a whole city full of civilians? Uh...
Lynn McDonald
10. meal6225
Confession; The first time I read these books I did not have a clue about Dashiva. Now it is so obvious...

I feel Rand must have the Seanchen somehow with him to fight the last battle, and Egwene and the AS too. What a boiling alliance that will be..."Rand we can't work with them--they stole my Sisters and enslaved them! I have a huge hole in my tower! Hi Mat! You're married?
To who?????????"

Twitching has started for Nov. and TOM!
11. Sophomore Writer
Awesome work, thank you so much.

Personally, I love Lews Therin's tidbits. "Madness waits for some...it creeps up on others." It's lines like that that kept me reading.

And Path of Daggers is actually my favorite of the 7-8-9-10 slowdown (though that's like calling a favorite vegetable as a child). I like Rand losing. Like you said, it can't be that easy for us as readers. We have to emotionally get in there and say "I HATE this." We dreaded Rand going insane for so long as these books went on, and this was Jordan's vision of what "mad" was. He's got a man in his head, and he's suddenly overconfident. He's got power, and hasn't history told us that when the powerful try to use their power they overextend? Or inflict damage on themselves?

My friends and I have debated how annoying Rand got as we approached the Dragonmount moment of TGS. I think that, as the series is called "The Wheel of TIME," that him being so annoyingly cold for all these books is exactly the point. It makes the Rand we'll see in the end the true hero (I'm assuming). When the series is done, we'll see this Rand as another character in the perspective of the whole story. Maybe Jordan overdid it a teeny bit (okay...that's up for debate, I know), but it's going to create such an epic story when it's all said and done. A life's worth of character development.

I guess it's like when people were complaining that AMOL would be split into three books. I just thought, Are you kidding? More WOT!

This book reminds me of Empire Strikes Back. Guess it's the dark sense of loss, though I can't really back that up with anything in particular. And I like these epic battles a lot more than the 300 pages of three women bickering in FOH.

The Wheel of Time. So many reasons to complain, yet we worship it. Thank you for your posts! You're making want to disappear into the story all over again...
Maiane Bakroeva
12. Isilel
I have to disagree with Our Fearless Leader - I really like this chapter and IMHO it provides a far more interesting culmination to Rand's storyline in tPoD than the by-the-numbers snuffing of yet another bumbling FS (yawn) in ACOS.

For once, Rand's opponents are actually capable, etc. Seanchan POVs are also interesting. I guess that I don't mind when characters I love (and Rand is my second-favorite character in WoT) suffer, as long as it is interestingly written and important for the storyline. Of course, I am a GRRM fan, so that figures ;).

Anyway, it was very necessary for Rand to understand that the Pattern wouldn't always carry him to victory, DR or not. That it is dangerous for even a strong ta'veren to always rely on Pattern being on his side, rather than have an actually good plan, etc.
Personally, I suspect that it was LTT's downfall. He couldn't believe that his plan could be significantly flawed, and thus was deaf to all criticism.
Unfortunately, Rand didn't completely get it yet either, but I hope that TGS revelation would provide him with missing pieces.

Also, Weiramon is totally a DF:

“I won’t take more risk without a command direct from the lips of—”

What could he have been talking about here if he was unaffiliated, hm? Nothing plausible, that's what.

And yes, I also hated the "Seanchan aren't so bad" vibe of last books. Because yes, slavery, horrific secret police with license to torture and kill, brutal stratification, etc.
And the fact that their territories in Randland are currently better ordered isn't that much of an accomplishment, as the FS wanted them to win until very recently and weren't sabotaging them, like they were nearly all significant Randlandian nations, and they were also much less exposed to ta'veren-induced chaos that destroyed other nations.

I really hope that somebody figures out a way to use a'dam to force experienced sul'dam to channel. If they are sent back in numbers not just collared, but actually as channelers, the system will implode, IMHO.
A proof that Luthair's mother was a channeler, as is hinted in the World book, would be great too. Hope the AS put good wards on the old novice books and preserve them with all the other useless(?) stuff...
Heidi Byrd
14. sweetlilflower

Is it a MOA b/c you got the 13th post?
15. Sophomore Writer
@meal #10.

Couldn't agree more. After Dashiva was exposed later, I went back through and read all of his parts again. It was a revelation to see how many hints I missed. Like reading a new book almost.

And I am also shaking, waiting for TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT. Less time until its release than time since the release of TGS. ...tick...tick...tick...
16. Tarcanus
I was convinced that Weiramon was a DF since the first moment he was introduced and described as having silver filigree or some such nonsense on his boots - an eerily similar description to the DF's boots at the DF social in tGH.

I don't recall ever having any of the other characters' boots described in that kind of detail, which, to me, points out that RJ was drawing a connection for us, the readers.

Weiramon = DF.
John Mann
17. jcmnyu
The lecturing tone Dashiva used was my "clue bat to the head" moment. Everything clicked into place and I knew he was the mad scientist Forsaken, Aginor. I still want to know what was up with his mumbling all the damn time. In retrospect, it doesn't make much sense.

Although I know it has happened in history, I just can't wrap my brain around someone killing themselves because their commander/King/Empress told them to. And there is yet another reference to a large rebellion in Seanchan which happened in Miraj's lifetime. There have been lots of those. Things aren't so stable as we are lead to believe if you read between the lines. And I love the fact that both the Seanchan and Rand believe they lost the battle. Seems very realistic.

Also, where is the book cover for Winter's Heart? I have needs, Tor!
Heidi Byrd
18. sweetlilflower
Yeah, I remember when I first read these books many years ago and I started cringing everytime I had to read about Rand. When I re-read now, as an adult, it is still really... gut-wrenchingly awful to read his POVs and think about what he is going through, but now I at least know that some sort of shiningly happy moment is on the way.
On the subject of the likeable Seanchan, I think RJ's point is that even in a horrible society, there will always be honorable and nice people. I am pretty sure it is an exercise in how we should not generalize or be prejudiced.
I think RJ himself could come and hit me over the head with a clue-bat and I still wouldn't pick up on all the little things that get thrown into these books. I never picked up on Dashiva being a FS, never noticed how Verin lied, never really thought about who was a DF, and on and on. You'd never know that my degree is in Philosophy from how little I try to figure out these books. I like being surprised and I really don't like to be disappointed. If I thought of some cool loony theories, i would be upset when they didn't come true. So, I try not to guess the outcome of any SF/F.
And, WOW!!!! This post really turned into a Wall 'o Text.
Roger Powell
19. forkroot
forkroot@7: You mean after balefiring a whole city full of civilians? Uh...
Whoa! He never contemplated that! From his POV in TGS we see that he contemplated:

  1) Balefiring a palace full of civilians (and the Seanchan hierarchy). (Admittedly this is still pretty gruesome)

  2) Balefiring the Seanchan ships in the harbor

  3) Traveling around and balefiring various Seanchan supply depots and military outposts

If you accept the premise that TG is imminent (true), that the Seanchan will continue to attack and otherwise take away fighting resources from Team Light (true) and that there is no way to make peace with the Seanchan (debatable), then all but #1 would actually be completely justifiable.

Option #1 does get you into one of those difficult moral decisions (see: Hiroshima) where you are balancing innocent lives now vs innocent lives later.

Note that the "innocent" lives are the Ebou Dari servants in the palace. "Fortuona" and the rest of the Seanchan hierarchy's lives are justifiably forfeit. I'm not claiming that they are morally irredeemable, I'm claiming that their actions are seriously undermining the chance for the world to survive.

The problem with "Option 1" is that if you do it (balefire the palace) you'll never know if there might have been a way to avoid it. Rand's inner goodness prevented him from doing it, and (we hope) he will find out that that was right in the end.
Jennifer B
20. JennB
I hated this story arc on first read. I never care for the battle scenes on first read, including everyones beloved Dumai's Wells. Luckily I don't seem to find them so onerous on rereads. I don't know if it is because I know what is going to happen or it is just less confusing or maybe I have changed (after all its been how long since this book came out).

Weiramon is definately a darkfriend.

I agree that the Seanchan culture is horrible. I am not a fan of the many forms of slavery that they practice or the caste system.
While I have the greatest respect for a character like Egeanin, who can rise above her prejudice, Tuon is the epitomy of all that is bad about the Seanchan and has a lot of growing to do before I like her.

May 28, 7 lbs 13 oz, everything went great, but boy am I tired.
Dorothy Johnston
21. CloudMist
Whew! I'm glad those chapters are out of the way. I always skip them during my own re-reads (This time around, I'm in the latter part of TDR. Lot's of foreshadowing there re how the Perrin-Faile relationship will go.) I mean, we barely got over 100 posts for the previous chapter. But cheer up, Friday should give us two chapters of WT intrigue to chew over.
A Hood
22. Cyrrha
Another great post- I "waste" oodles of time at work b/c I am addicted to this thread and Leigh's comments. Co-workers always look at me strangely when I laugh out loud for no discernable reason.
I definitely have a love/hate relationship with this plot arc but understand the necessity of showing Rand like this...reminds me of the classic hero's journey. Things always get worse before getting better...can't wait till next post!
Sharon E.
23. Sulin
It might be the "dark side" coming out in me, but I really wish Rand had gotten better in TGS after balefiring the crap out of the Seanchan :-)
I have to admit I feel the same way every time I re-read that part in TGS. I just can't stand the Seanchan and their system of slavery. I sincerely hope it comes toppling down around them before the end.

-The Seanchan POVs are very interesting to read

-LTT's little comments are terrific

This is actually the part of tPoD that I don't skim over, as uncomfortable as it is to watch Rand fail.

@JennB- congratulations on your new tiny blessing! Take good care of yourself and get as much rest as is possible. :)

Kate O'Hanlon
24. KateOH
RE: Not getting on board with the notion that the Seanchan aren't such bad chaps

The thing is, yes they practice slavery and slavery is abhorrent but many cultures throughout history have practiced slavery and I think it's a bit ridiculous to suggest that the people were, to a man, bad guys. Da'covale and Damane are a fact of life in Seanchan and people don't really question a fact of life. You get up in the morning, you go to work, you get on with your life and you don't think about the terrible thing going on because it's the way things have always been, not to mention the secret police keeping a lid on social change. I'm not trying to let the Seanchan off the hook here (and certainly the Imperial Family and others who actively conspire to maintain the status quo and who are clearly involved in a massive cover up to conceal the truth about Sul'dams are a different matter entirely) I just don't think that one terrible aspect of the country makes them irredeemably bad.

It's part of RJ's talent as a writer I think that he can differentiate between evil people, evil actions and evil societies.
25. birgit
I really hope that somebody figures out a way to use a'dam to force experienced sul'dam to channel.

That should be easy. Simply put an a'dam on them and order them to channel.

The Seanchan slaves are more like Roman slaves than American slaves (at least those like the Deathwatch Guards, not necessarily the damane). Someone who is technically free (e. g. a medieval peasant) can in practice have less freedom than someone who is called property but has a respected post. I have more problems with the Listener Stasi.
Karen Jacobs
26. KJacobs
JennB@20 - How Wonderful! Congratulations, and glad to have you back! Are you comfortable sharing the name?
27. Sophomore Writer

Yep, "wasting" time at work this very moment. My WOT fire has rekindled.

And I can't figure out why such a large number do not like this battle scene, or the others in the series (as one posted). The plot builds to these moments! They are epic. Loved Dumai's Wells. Biggest goosebumps moment in the series is when the Wolves emerged from the grass. Never forget when I first read that.

One of my biggest complaints actually is that we never got to see how Mat got that Aiel's head on a pike. He got drawn into the battle for a hundred or two hundred pages (4 books, really), and then fast forward, he wins! Sorry RJ, but why did you skip that sequence????
28. Lurking Canadian
kind of implies the exact opposite of what the obviously-bullshittier (because I SAID SO, that’s why) Seanchan version says

I think it's obviously bullshittier because Jordan says, actually. The "true" version of the prophecy the guy's thinking about is the one Luthair Paendrag brought. All the others, that is to say the one originally in Seanchan AND the ones current in Randland are allegedly "corrupted". To me that's a fairly broad hint that the "True" version is imperial propaganda, written by Seanchan horrified to learn that the Dragon will bind the throne to serve him.

And, oh yes, we get to add the Crystal Throne, ie: "magical Compulsion machine" to the list of Seanchan delights. I agree with forkroot. The Palace is a military target. The Seanchan army is a military target. Take off and nuke the site from orbit, as far as I'm concerned. The only part of Rand's plan that I disagreed with was the "rain of fire" he was planning for the city of Ebou Dar. That, I'll grant, is a bit over the top.

I don't so much mind Tylee and Egeanin being likeable, but the attempt to make Tuon "cute" in the last two books really sticks in my craw. Aw, doesn't it just warm your heart to see Mat falling in love with such a tiny, cute hypocritical, slave-owning torturer?
29. lost in my own mind
I completely agree about the Seanchen, we are supposed to believe that they are not really that bad now? I seriously cannot stand them and their hypocrisy. I hope that they get a serious dose of what coming to them at some point.
Brandon Wood
30. brad21088
Perhaps a loony theory, but here it goes: I believe Ishamael heavily influenced Hawking, right? So is it possible that the Karaethon cycle is tainted by one of the Foresaken? As a way to ensure that the Seanchan and the Randlanders don't work together? I dunno; just a thought! Because I really don't want Rand to have to bow down to Fortuona because I also hate the Seanchan.
Lannis .
31. Lannis
JennB @ 20: ACK! Congratulations! Yay! K folks, where'd we put that play pen that was in the bunker?

Not a big fan of this chapter. I just keep getting more sad for Rand. Poor schmuck.

Thanks for slogging through for us, Leigh. It's appreciated. Catch you Friday. :)
James Hogan
32. Sonofthunder
JennB, congrats!!!!

And I remember the first time I read this chpater. RJ is such a master writer, I felt like I was in Rand's head the entire time - while subconsciously horrified at how stupid Rand was becoming and how precipitately close to the cliffs of insanity he was approaching, at the same time I was rooting for him to wipe the Seanchan from the face of the earth(well, at least on this side of the Aryth) and got really excited when he pulled out Callandor. Finally, he would finish it! And so the moment he got knocked on his back for the final time rocked me as well...Rand was no longer that shephard boy. Rand al'Thor, Dragon Reborn, Lord of the Morning, Defender of the Light, was not almighty. Rand could be beaten. And the emotions of the Seanchan general at the end...sealed the deal for me. Such an epic and heartbreaking ride. I empathized with Rand too deeply and paid the price.
Maiane Bakroeva
33. Isilel


Birgit @25:

The Seanchan slaves are more like Roman slaves than American slaves

The vast majority of Roman slaves had it as bad as American slaves or worse. Why, do you think, did Rome need to regularly start wars to replenish the slave pool? Because they were treated so badly, that they didn't reproduce on replacement levels.
Yes, unlike in American slavery, upward mobility was possible, even truly feeric careers. But it was only possible for tiny minority of highly skilled/beautiful/lucky individuals. For most, life of a slave was nasty, brutish and short.

We had a good look only at very priviliged Seanchan slaves. There have been mentions of it being pretty horrific for the enslaved Seafolk who later escaped from Ebu Dar, though. What with chain scars an all.

Re: making sul'dam channel - well, if those with Elayne are any indication, for most you'd have to not only put a'dam on their necks, but also torture them within the inch of their lives.
I hope that a way would be found for a channeler to "open" the experienced sul'dam to OP.

Oh, and I have forgotten to mention - a major MoA for Bashere in this chapter. He is one of the very few people ready and able to constructively stand up to Rand.
Too bad that I suspect him of being a DF and I am also convinced that he is going to buy it in ToM...
Lannis .
34. Lannis
Oh, and I need to add Bashere is again MOA for what he does for Rand. The whole darkness viewing makes me edgy, but he's got Rand's back (for now...).
Kurt Lorey
35. Shimrod
@25 birgit.

Have to disagree here. Roman slaves could purchase their own freedom (or be granted freedom) and were allowed the opportunity to make money to do so.

Seanchan "property" is property forever (them and any descendants). Much more like the Atlantic trade slavery of Africans in the New World.
36. Sophomore Writer
Excuse my ignorance, but what the hell is MOA?

And why suspect Bashere?
James Hogan
37. Sonofthunder
MoA = Made of Awesome

Which Bashere is.

Why people suspect him of being a DF, I don't know...*waits for people with more knowledge than I*
Tricia Irish
38. Tektonica
First...JennB@20: Congratulations!!! big baby!...boy or girl? Glad all is well, get some sleep and enjoy! Post a picture on your page! Welcome back. Have a cookie or three.

Leigh: Great post. It's hard to read about Mr. Awesome going so off the rails, but I guess he did need it. Sigh. More to come.....

Weiramon=DF+ Stupid + Tool. He's actually the funniest of the DF's we've run across, IMO. He's always so fancy pants arrogant and full of himself and obvious in his lordly snottiness, it just makes me giggle.

The Seanchan culture is pretty repulsive to any red blooded freedom loving American....or any other freedom loving person. And yes, while that is a general swipe with a tar brush, there are, of course, good individuals. It's the society.

I just can't figure out what the resolution is going to be, re: Tuon/Mat/Rand. I can't believe Mat will put up with any of the Slavery/caste system stuff for a nano second. Nor can I see Rand tolerating it, even in the interest of unity for TG. It's just not in their Two Rivers' nature. Perhaps Tuon is going to have to channel herself to realize that not all channelers are rabid dogs. After all she is a sul'dam, and thus can learn.

I found Miraj's musings on the DR serving the Crystal throne interesting, mainly for the actual Throne references:

Few easily shook off the awe they felt, kneeling before the Crystal Throne, with the thirst to obey drying their tongues.

Which I interpreted (for the first time) as it being a ter'angreal or something that compells obedience, without necessarily using the OP. Am I just slow? Thoughts anyone?

This was also where I first started wondering about Bashere. I really like him, but there is a diffidence, a remove, a" j'ne sais quoi" about him that I just can't quite put my finger on.....the incident where Taim is introduced, and he throws a knife at Rand, and here, Rand's comment to the effect that if the Plan wasn't good, Bashere would tell him, (I guess he does try to tell him.) The scene in the palace in Caemlyn when Rand sneeks into the palace at night to talk to Bashere and his wife there and Rhurarc.....there's distance...maybe it's just Saldean culture, but I don't trust him 100%. And I want to. But I don't. He's too smart. Anyone else have reservations about him?

Anyway...thanks again Leigh....you make me laugh even in the icky parts.

Edit: It seems some others are picking up on Bashere and chanelling Sul'dam.
I should read all the posts first, eh?
Tina Pierce
39. scissorrunner
:) CONGRATS!! glad to hear all is well
just put fresh sheets on the crib in the bunker - Suffa scrubbed it down too- so everything is ready!!!

tough chapter -
terrific reread (as usual)
HMM Weiramon = Demandred could it be? Took his place sometime in the last couple of books. Nah problably not.
41. MikeDeepo
In case anyone really wants to get into it, a logical argument as to why the "bind the Nine Moons to serve him" is the accurate one.

Fact: there are two versions of the prophecy, that say essentially opposite things.
Fact: "Bind the Nine Moons" became "kneel before the Crystal Throne", rather than a word shifted here or there or a misplaced "not."
Conclusion: the change was deliberate.

Fact: When the prophecies were spoken, we were 2000 years from the Nine Moons existing.
Conclusion: Whoever had the prophecy in the first place would have no biases.

Assumption: Before the existence of the Nine Moons (i.e., Hawkwing's invasion of Seanchan) the two versions would have been close to identical.
Fact: Post-Hawkwing's invasion, no one in Randland proper knew what the Nine Moons were.
Fact: In Seanchan, the rulers ABSOLUTELY KNEW what the Nine Moons were, and would not have liked the notion of kneeling to anybody.
Conclusion: The Seanchan changed it.

P.S. Nice job working the phrase "jolly bag" into the recap, Leigh.
Lannis .
43. Lannis
Flagged as spam?! GAH! Trying again...

Sophomore Writer @ 36: MOA = Made Of Awesome :)

And Min had a viewing of darkness around Bashere, which--as most of her viewings--is questionable in meaning. Though the likelihood of him being a DF isn't high--though I think it's safe to say we've all been fooled before...

BASHERE: "And there's something... dark... in the images I saw around Lord Davram. If he turns against you, or dies..." [COT: 24, A Strengthening Storm, 547] as per the WOTFAQ...

Thomas Keith
44. insectoid
Great post, Leigh! Still, it'd be nice if Tor.com behaved...

Seanchan: Blargh. Except for Liandrin—heh.

Dashiva seems about to explode...
I bet! Explode and show Rand just how long he's been channeling...

Weiramon, Gedwyn and Rochaid: Are a bunch of bad apples. I get the feeling that Weiramon isn't as big an idiot as he lets on. Or, the half-heard conversation with Gedwyn could just be a giant red herring. Hm.

Do you have the Horn of Valere hidden in your pocket this time? Lews Therin asked slyly. Rand snarled at him silently.

“Nobody stands nose-to-nose with the Dragon Reborn,” Rand growled. “The Forsaken could tell him that, whoever he is. Right, Flinn? Dashiva?” Flinn nodded uncertainly. Dashiva flinched.

“You think I can’t surprise him, Bashere? Watch!” (...) “Let’s see if he’s surprised by Callandor in the hands of the Dragon Reborn, Bashere.”
At reading this I probably thought something like, "Uh-oh. Not good." After all, with saidin acting weird, anything can go wrong... and did!

@New commenters: Welcome to the bunker, we've got fun and games. Cookies are over at the bunker (will have cake on Friday).

JennB @20: Glad to hear it!! We expect pictures. :)

Lannis @31: It's over in the corner. ;)

EDIT: By the way, Tor.com has gone insane. The links on the Re-read Index that jump to the different books instead take you to back to the main Tor page.

Karen Jacobs
45. KJacobs
Anyone else notice anything wierd with Tor today? All the avatars have disappeared on my screen....
Roger Powell
46. forkroot
Congratulations! Your own MOA, bringing another life into this world to cherish. Like most Moms (including mine), you have plenty of MOAs coming over the course of the 20 years.

The only part of Rand's plan that I disagreed with was the "rain of fire" he was planning for the city of Ebou Dar. That, I'll grant, is a bit over the top .
And that, I'll grant, is a horrendous pun!

Good points. I especially agree about the difficulty of interpreting some of Min's viewings. For example, remember the one about Sheriam: "Rays of silver and blue flashed about her fiery hair, and a soft golden light". That sounded good, but had a rather unpleasant reality (for Sheriam.)
Barry T
47. blindillusion
Congrats JennB!

Newborns, MOA.

SLF – But of course the MOA was for snagging 13. =) But then I read the post. It too is MOA-ness.

- Regarding Weiramon…I didn’t realize when I posted that picture last Thread that the discussion had turned to Weiramon being nominated for Best Actor. For S&Gs, I’ve always been firmly in the Weiramon is a Dark Friend category, especially after reading New Spring.

- - Rand needs a Hug. Poor guy. Sigh.

- - - I’ve never been a very big fan of Liandrin’s “Here’s Your Reward…Mwahahaha” situation. I always hoped she’d somehow regain the ability to reach the Source. Why? I’ve always felt it should be Moiraine who takes her out.
Jim Crumley
48. crumley
(Pardon my off topic-ness.)

Does anyone else use the print button above? Is anyone else annoyed by the new format of the printable version of this page? Does anyone know how to revert back to the old one?

What's the point of a printable format if it still forces a particular column width? It makes that format useless to me.

(Momentarily on-topic.)

Thanks again for the re-read, Leigh.
Roger Powell
49. forkroot
For S&Gs, I’ve always been firmly in the Weiramon is a Dark Friend category, especially after reading New Spring.
:: scratches head ::
I don't get it - I don't remember Weiramon in New Spring. Is it just that after Ryne (that one surprised me) you are seeing dark friends around every corner?
50. tearl

I am really most sincerely not on board with this whole détente-y Hey the Seanchan aren’t such bad chaps thing the last couple of books....the inevitable result is going to be that at some point they’ll have to come to some kind of agreement, at least temporarily, to fight the Shadow together.

I'm reminded about a remark Churchill made to Parliament after Hitler invaded USSR (and some MPs objected to having Stalin as an ally.)

"If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons."
Tom Burton
51. Conky
Thanks for the new post, Leigh. I've got a couple of comments concerning this chapter. First, let's just get this out of the way - Weiramon is totally a DF. I never thought so when I first read this series, but I've been doing my own reread about 2 books ahead of Leigh, and I totally saw it this time through.

And speaking of my own reread, I don't get why everyone hates PoD so much. It's not fantastic, but I was able to fly through this book pretty quick and the battle scenes are quite good. I'm currently reading CoT, my most hated of all the WoT books, and I'm really dragging right now. I finished WH about a month ago, and I'm still only 6 chapters in CoT right now. It's just so bad with all of it's nothing happening that happens throughout the book.

I might be wrong, but I do believe I have my most hated chapter coming up pretty soon when the super girls have a bath together and cause the plot to come to a screeching halt. I just have to trudge through this damn book, because I recall enjoying KoD, and then I finally get to read TGS for the first time. I already know way to many spoilers for my liking, so I need to finish it so I can finally read everyone's comments without fear.
52. peachy
@40 - So far as we've seen, the Forsaken method is to either create a new persona (the "mysterious noble from the sticks freshly arrived in the capital" is a favourite), or to take over the identity of an individual who is sufficiently obscure that the impersonation doesn't have to be perfect. (Even with Compulsion available to cover up the mistakes.) I mean, you can't just create an Aes Sedai out of thin air, right?

Replacing someone as prominent as Weiramon would be a new departure, and I think it's simpler to assume that he's a DF or a massive tool, or both. Which is quite sufficient for the bad guys...
Poojitha Sitaram
53. sitarap
Starting off, I'm not sure how I feel about this chapter. Yes, Rand was so full of ego that he made me want to throw things at him. And by the time the chapter ended, I wished Rand was real, instead of a book character, just so I could tell him, 'See, you fool-brained Lummox, this is what happens when act in this annoying manner' and I wanted to stick my tongue out at him. but that also meant that this chapter is one of Jordan's finest, since it brought out such a reaction among so many readers.

To all the people who think Bashere is a darkfriend - I sincerely hope you are wrong. He is one of the very few people who are a)really really competent b)like and respect Rand AND c)is not a woman, so doesn't treat Rand like an incompetent child. It is for the same three reasons that I'm quite sure that he is on the side of the Light. We'd know for sure if we ever get a POV from him. We haven't yet, have we?

I don't think Weiramon is a DF either. Something about him screams out RED HERRING to me. Thoughts?

As for the Seanchan, I did start off hating them, and I still hate the concept of the a'dam, but I've come to accept them as a different culture, and (minus the sul'dam and damane) a competent one. That doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to reading about the expression on Tuon's face when she finds out that the sul'dam (and she herself) can channel. * rubbing hands together with a wicked grin on my face *
54. Lurking Canadian
@53 sitarap: looking forward to reading about the expression on Tuon's face when she finds out that the sul'dam (and she herself) can channel

She already knows she can channel. The situation was explained to her during her travels with Mat. It did not affect her views on the nature of damane one iota.
Barry T
55. blindillusion
Fork – The arrogant Tairen Lord who talks to Lan in Chapter 1, The Hook. Granted, it’s pure speculation that the man is Weiramon, but, eh…if the silver-worked boots fit.
Chris Chaplain
56. chaplainchris1
Leigh - love the Moby Dick refs and you sending us this re-read from Hell's heart! Thanks for your great posts!

Re: the Seanchan and the forthcoming truce we all expect. Given the recently discussed Darkfriend/Nazi parallels (well...Black Tower/Nazi, but it's Taim's fault), I can't help thinking about the east/west (Soviet/US/Britain et. al.) alliance against Nazi Germany.

Which is to say, one may have to hold their nose and ally with the Seanchan to prevent the end of Time, but that's just a temporary thing. The land will still be divided by the Return, and the future will teeter on the edge of a blade - per Nicola. So a) I fully expect that the Seanchan will be here to stay, post Tarmon Gaidon, and b) we won't get to see them receive their comeuppance. Unless it does finally become open knowledge in Seanchan that sul'dam can learn to channel. Tuon seems to have shrugged of the implications of this discovery, but perhaps the masses or the Blood will not be so sanguine.

Tuon's argument to Mat, that she might be capable of harm (learning to channel) but, by her free will, chooses to avoid it (by not learning to) is one that she could eventually learn to apply to marathdamane - who can unleash havoc but generally choose not to. No signs of her budging yet, though. New thought - one wonders if the Seanchan might accept the Three Oaths as an alternative to a'dam? Bound not to use the One Power as a weapon, does much of what Seanchan fear about unleashed channelers go away...?

57. Iamnotspam
Naw hes not Weiramon, I just had a momentary brain anyerism. I am much better now and went back to threoy land to reread up on ol' Demandred. So if he had been Weiramon he would have recognized the party he fought later when Rand went on a cleaning spree.
58. alreadymadwithtuon
blindillusion @55
Nope.. Tuon didn't care. She even got sanctimonious saying she CHOSE not to learn.
Poojitha Sitaram
59. sitarap
@54 Lurking Canadian - Gosh, I must have overlooked that.. I'll go back and look for that bit. Now I'm disappointed. And I'd started liking Tuon too! (Just for Mat's sake, mind you)
Chris Chaplain
60. chaplainchris1
I forgot to say, with my Seanchan/Soviet comparison - that the difference is that the Seanchan seem able to produce the peace and prosperity for most that the Soviets...um...no.
Sébastien Chaillous
61. Demiandre
For Suroth being aware of Rand's army's position means effectively thar someone in Rand's army has been giving crucial information to the Seanchan. Who? You rightly said it could be one of the numerous darkfriends gathered in both armies. But it couls cery well be something implied by the Alliance between Mesaana, Demiandre and Suroth, which only says that they shall not turn on each other before all remaining Chosen are defeated already. If Demiandre is playing with his proxies in the affairs of the Black tower (remember the comment in the Ansalin Garden about it beeing Dashiva and Demandred role to watch Rand, he could have said to Semi the position of Rand's army because of the strength of Traveling that could be painful to Semi's plans and so beeing seen as breaking the Alliance. Rochaid, Kisman, Torval and the fourth one (just as Melchior, Balthazar and the Third-Whose-Name-We-Always-Forget) have been ordered by Taim AND Demiandre to kill Rand, and so could have been the spies, and Weiramon could only be one unsufferable man with too little spirit and too much bravery for someone who survived this long...
Barry T
62. blindillusion
Is confused.

Tuon is cool, but I haven't talked about her much recently....

....Also, looks like someone zigged when they should have zagged. Poor layout. 'Tis awkward seeing you so askew.
lin mei
63. twicemarked
Before people go any further, and start to call Tuon "cute hypocritical, slave-owning torturer", what would you call George Washington, who wants freedom for himself, but owns slaves? Is he not hypocritical and slave-owning? What about other Founding Farthers who own slaves?

In the Independence War, should we have rooted for the British who were fighting the slave owning American society?

Slavery even exists today in some part of Afrcia, especially in those area with civil wars. Would you send in American troops to free these slaves? Or wipe out that afrcia society off the face of the earth?

Let us not overreact with any slavery in the book, when our reactions facing real slavery are much tamer in reality.
A Hood
64. Cyrrha
@insectoid- thanks for the welcome. Are they chocolate chip cookies?? Mmmmm.

I have started so many re-reads of WOT over the years and I always get stuck on this book. It's like I don't have the stamina to observe my boy Rand's insanity really start spiraling out of control.

Heh- then I read TGS! But I think Brandon did such an amazing job, and I cannot wait until TOM (hooked intot he party line I guess).
Brian Kaul
65. bkaul
“I won’t take more risk without a command direct from the lips of—”

What could he have been talking about here if he was unaffiliated, hm? Nothing plausible, that's what.

Could have been from the lips "... of the Lord Dragon," if related to the current battle rather than to plotting against Rand. It's plausible that he was saying "I'm not moving my men into the dangerous position you're suggesting unless I get a direct order to do so." I suspect that the DF/plotting interpretation is probably correct, but it's not the only plausible one. (As Leigh said, that quote could just as easily be along the lines of "Don't tell me how to fight a battle, you whippersnapper.")
66. Hrothgordo
Okay two points:

I don’t see Rand as giving completely into hubris here. Or at least not fully.

As I stated in a previous PoD thread I always thought that Rand was grappling not only with depression brought on being alone and feeling hopeless. But I also tend to think that he is dealing with a pretty profound feeling of impotence, one which he masks with overcompensation.

He cannot safely embrace the source without nasuea and/or LT trying to kill someone. He spends most of this book bullying the Ashaman as proxies to do his work. When he faces Dashiva pointing out the problems with saidin he strikes out because he is ignorant of the issue since he had been avoiding the Power.

For want of another term, he was trying to “fake it until you make it”. Unfortunately, at this point in PoD he can’t bluff or proxy his way through. So he decides to try a Callandor-fueled brute force approach to the the situation. And fails miserably.

Sadly, I think this is just one of the many of the “rock bottoms” that Rand has to face in the series. And I think this feeling of impotence and loneliness is what drives the events in Caemlyn. Asking for help from Nynaeve and letting the trio bond him.

Slavery is a despicable act but I always have a tough time assigning evil to someone with no clear intent. Look at the US, a nation with deep issues over slavery and founded by slave-owners. They were wrong in that practice, but designed a pretty solid form of govenrment.

The Seanchan have made things better in every land they have conquered, providing organization and rule of law. Unfortunately even the non-slaves give away a lot of freedom and liberty, and you are completely screwed if you are a channeler.

But hey what’s better then giving them a Prince who is all about individual freedom and having a former AS become best buds with the new Empress.
James Hogan
67. Sonofthunder
twicemarked@63, ouch. Dagger in the heart. I would say this is part of a reason we read books because we're able to let our emotions have free reign, whereas in reality our power and will to affect significant changes in society is quite small.

Good words, twicemarked - thanks for reminding me that if I were in Seanchan boots, I would likely think it quite natural for the necessity of the collaring of marath'damane...
Myra U
68. Interested By-stander
Am posting for the first time, although I've kept up with the re-reads, chapter by chapter. Leigh, you are great! I really enjoy your POVs on many things, and am pretty sure we share the same moral outlook. Slavery has been with us (and unforunately, probably will be) for thousands of years. That doesn't make it right -- exactly the opposite! Humankind are formed from early childhood with the belief that 'their' way of life is right and just. It takes a BIG, BIG event to change their outlook about right and wrong. We as humans have always viewed 'different' as 'wrong'. In prehistoric times, anthropologists speculate that it kept us safe and thriving. Now it's anachronistic and is of little benefit. That doesn't mean that we will give it up easily, especially those who benefit greatly from whatever is happening in society (like the kings and queens, the Seanchan rulers, etc). I hope that Rand al'Thor can make them see how morally corrupt their way of life is, but we never want to admit things like that could be happening in "OUR" society, so he has an uphill battle, there. Moses kept the slaves from Egypt (his people) wandering in the desert for 30 years (according to the Bible) so that the next (or the next) generation could grow up without the slave mentality. This happens on both sides, people. The oppressors convince the oppressed that it's THEIR fault they are oppressed and they swallow it hook, line and sinker! You have to change minds on both sides. That makes it even harder! What a tangle he has to straighten out.
I've waited to read TGS because I didn't want to spoil the re-read of POD and WH, etc. I don't mind that I'm getting little glimpses of the book from this re-read, however.
This is a wonderful way to review these marvelous books. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks to all!
j p
69. sps49
Weiramon could be telling Gedwyn he would need a command from the Dragon Reborn.

Sul'dam could be taught some exercises- serenity now, imagine you are a rosebud- without being told what the goal is. All damane and no sul'dam removes a weapon from Seandar.

Military targets do not become immune by virtue of siting themselves to make use of civilian cover. Don't put AAA atop a hospital, m'kay?
71. Freelancer
My name is Ishamael. My compatriots and I were attacked during a conclave of the shadow at Shayol Ghul, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Ok, first things first. I might as well get the obligatory bit out of the way.
No plan of battle survives first contact. ... Something is wrong. It can't be wrong, but it is. Something strange, something wrong, skittering, jumping, twitching. It can't be! I must be mad!
Lews Therin is saying that something is wrong with saidin (skittering, jumping, twitching), and Rand thinks he's talking about the battle plan.
"I mean to drive the Seanchan into the sea!" Rand snapped. ... "I did it before, and I will again!"
Do you have the Horn of Valere hidden in your pocket this time? Lews Therin asked slyly.

I've lost, Rand thought dully. I'm the Dragon Reborn, but for the first time, I've lost.
Suddenly, Lews Therin raged up inside him, sly digs forgotten. I've never been defeated, he snarled. I am the Lord of the Morning! No one can defeat me!
He let Lews Therin rage.

When your coping mechanism is going Robot on you, waving his arms and calling out "Danger Will Robinson!", and the forward conscious you is all, "Nah, Bashere would spot a flaw", I have to wonder. And given the detailed personal memories Lews Therin has already shared inside Rand's head, a point is reached where he has to be considered a reality for no more than that. But when you've had a bad day and decide to just let him flail you for your failure, that's really not a coping mechanism. Ok, that should raise Bela for another round of abuse.

Bashere. Knows what he's doing. Rand most definitely allowed himself a case of target fixation in this segment. How many warnings do you have to get from one of the greater military minds of your time before you realize you've bitten off more than you can chew? And suddenly, I realize that I know this guy. I know two of him, and they both own sports franchises. This is Al Davis and George Steinbrenner. You get yourself a great Head Coach/Manager, and then tell him how to do his job. Of course Bashere had a right to call the troops to return to the initial rally point. It's his job. He set a plan to attack from multiple directions, and the opposing general figured it out, and countered effectively. Time to fall back and regroup. Bashere knows that. Rand doesn't need to know it, he just needs to let the man who does know it do the job he's great at. Bad Dragon Reborn.

The Seanchan. I think Jordan knew that many would hate them wholesale for their culture of human ownership, and he gave us these random POVs (Miraj, Varek) fully intending to garner sympathy for them. Despising a nation's governance doesn't require despising all of its individuals. There are dozens of such morals throughout the story which really aren't hidden or mysterious, but are all too easily glossed over. That the author so consistently gave us Seanchan POVs showing the noble internal nature of the individuals, speaks loudly to me that this was a real purpose in his mind.

Oh, BTW, someone should tell Rand...
Rand looks, and sees the lightning coming down on his own troops; stunned, he lets saidin go, and Bashere lets him up warily. Standing shakily, Rand sees that Adley is dead, and listens to the screams coming from his forces, and wonders if he even hurt the Seanchan at all, or only his own men.
Yeah, you hurt them:
Yulan weeps, not for Miraj’s death or the apology he would soon have to make to the Empress, but for that the Ever Victorious Army has now suffered a second devastating defeat on these shores. He gives the order to retreat.

That guy on the subway...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0TsOAhn8IY

Sorry, the site still won't let me post coded links without dumping to moderation.


Agree that the chapter is awesome in its content. Agree on Weiramon, but not going to engage that one this time. There are just so many pointers in these last few chapters. Mainly, there is no need for him to hush when Saighan arrives if the next words were going to be the Dragon Reborn. Finally, agree that the Seanchan culture is horrible, and I will use the "peacefulness" of the pacified lands to prove it. There is peace in a jail cell also. There was internal peace in most of Soviet Russia. What there wasn't was personal liberty. Never, ever place peace above freedom in importance. EVER. Some say "peace or the sword", but that always really means slavery of one person to another, now matter how you sugarcoat it.


It seemed to me that silver mounting on Tairen boots wasn't that unusual, given their horsemanship. ::shrug:: Sometimes a boot is just a boot.


Both Rand and the Seanchan did lose this battle. And in both cases, friendly fire had a serious impact.
Poojitha Sitaram
72. sitarap
@71 Freelancer about Peacefulness vs Freedom - I'm under the impression that once everyone swears fealty to the Seanchan, they're pretty much left to their own devices and no more restrictions are placed on them. Doesn't that say Peacefulness AND freedom?
Jeff Soules
73. DeepThought
Honestly, I'm not up enough on loony theories to know, but I have recently come to suspect that Rand's One-Power-Short-Range-Nuking in this chapter wasn't just the weirdness of Saidin, but was due to a special property of Callandor -- that it actually works with the TP as well as Saidin, and that's why it doesn't have a buffer (or the causal relationship might be the other way around, but the point remains), and that's why it magnifies the taint.

Umm... okay, I do not have much in the way of support for this, but everybody loves having a crazy pet theory.
74. Lurking Canadian
@63 twicemarked: Tuon's not a hypocrite because she owns slaves. She's a hypocrite because she's a channeler who locks up other channelers as animals. The slaveowning bit is just a bonus. I think it best to avoid discussing your real-life parallels to avoid a fight. You may wish to look up George Carlin's statements on the topic, though.

@71 Freelancer: silver mounting on Tairen boots wasn't that unusual When we are in Bors' first POV at the Darkfriend Social, I'm pretty sure he refers to the boots as the "silver worked boots of a Tairen High Lord", which I always interpreted to mean that all the High Lords had them. It may be that Jordan's focus on Weiramon's boots is intended to be a clue, though.

@72 sitarap: You are forgetting the Seekers, who have the right to question, imprison, torture and execute anybody they like for any reason (as long as they can justify it to the Empress, May She Die In a Fire)
Tricia Irish
75. Tektonica
Cyrrah, Interested Bystander, Sophmore Writer, etc: Welcome! If I missed anyone else who's new, sorry, and welcome to you too. Lot's of new voices! Yeah!

The bunker just got cleaned, thanks to Scissor, and there's always good food and cocktails available. Just check to see if JennB's new baby is napping before you blow the speakers out.

Sitarap@72: It says "peacefulness and freedom" if you can't channel, and if you and thus all your descendants are not "property". Luck of the genes?

What's going on with the Tor site? Mine's OK....something crooked? What "print" button?
Daniel Goss
76. Beren
@74 Lurking Canadian
@72 sitarap: You are forgetting the Seekers, who have the right to question, imprison, torture and execute anybody they like for any reason (as long as they can justify it to the Empress, May She Die In a Fire)

Didn't she die in a winepress? :)

Seriously, I absolutely loved the description of how she met her end. This is the woman who deliberately had a bunch of kids so she could pit them one against the other in a an ongoing battle-royale to the death for her favor. "I killed my big sister in a masterfully executed political move. Do you love me now, Mommy?"
77. Freelancer
Interested By-stander@68
Moses kept the slaves from Egypt (his people) wandering in the desert for 30 years (according to the Bible) so that the next (or the next) generation could grow up without the slave mentality.

Forty years in the wilderness. And it had nothing to do with a slave mentality. When twelve men were sent by Moses to view the Promised Land, ten returned with a report fearing the inhabitants and suggesting they not proceed. Two retained faith in the God who had freed them from Egyptian bondage, and counseled going forward. The people forgot the miracles done to bring them that far, forgot the parting of the water, the manna, the quails, etc., faithlessly bemoaning their plight. God's judgement on those was that the Israelites would not enter the Promised land until every adult among the faithless had fallen. Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful spies, were the only Israelites who left Egypt as adults and entered the Promised Land forty years later.
78. mndrew
I concur on the issue of the DNM alliance and invoke Rosenberg's Law: "Thou shalt not make treaty with slavers, ever."
Jennifer B
79. JennB
Wow. Thanks for all the congrats everybody. I think I will decline the cookies because I just ate a pint of Ben and Jerry's. (My husband went back to work yesterday and my two year old is jealous of his new brother. He seems to think that the best way to get attention is to go completly crazy and get into everything. I needed ice cream. He is thankfully napping now.)

Also welcome to all the newbies. Gone for a couple weeks and I don't recognize half the names on the board.

I totally agree with your sentiment about the pacing of the books. On my last reread, I flew through all the books with the single exception of CoT. It took me at least twice as long as any of the other books and it is one of the shorter ones.
Michael Ikeda
80. mikeda
member of the Evil League of Evil

The question is which member is Weiramon?

(Obviously Bela is Bad Horse.)

Of course, maybe Weiramon is just a member of the Henchman's Union. Less need for actual villainous initiative...
81. Freelancer

No. The oath is forced at the point of a sword, and generally the one giving said oath neither believes it nor understands it. There is only false freedom in that. I could understand Tylin's decision to take the oaths and prevent more chaos or strife for her people, but personally I like Beslan's attitude much better. Or Arthur's in the movie First Knight. Kneeling to Malagant might have been the peaceful thing to do, but making peace with tyranny is never right or noble.
There's a peace only to be found on the other side of war. If that war should come I will fight it!
Sean Connery FTW!
82. Freelancer
Deep Thought@73

We have a few known cases where a Power not accessible to someone is recognized. Egwene sensing the wards around Callandor; saidin emanating from the Bowl of the Winds. In these cases, the channelers concerned can tell that something is there which is foreign to them.

When Rand uses Callandor, first in the Stone of Tear and now in the Altaran countryside, you'd think he, being the uber-channeler, would sense any such strange behavior.

Also, it's a bit difficult to imagine Callandor having anything to do with the True Power, and being considered a viable tool by the Aes Sedai seen by Rand through Jonai's eyes. They wouldn't touch it with a ten foot ter'angreal if that were the case.
83. tearl
Lurking Canadian@74

Re: "silver worked boots of a Tairen High Lord", which I always interpreted to mean that all the High Lords had them.

It could be that the pattern was recognizably Tairen not the fact it was silver worked. It's been often remarked that Tairen maze patterning is very distinctive. I've always taken Tairen maze patterning to be similar to the decorations of Spanish Moorish architecture.
lin mei
84. twicemarked
Lurking Canadian,

Hmm, I think you misunderstood me. I am not saying Tuon is NOT a hypocrite. She is, for the exact reason you stated. But so is George Washington for the same type of reason. And if you claim Tuon is, but George Washington somehow is not, you are also a hypocrite.

Being a hypocrite is very common. Almost every lawyer is a hypocrite. Most politicians are. As the people from the third world like to point out, with so many people in the world starving, the obesity in America is hypocrisy.

Nobody is perfect. People can be hypocritial on some issues while being perfectly honest on others. It is normal. To overcome hypocrisy is very difficult. But people have to realize it first.

I am not avoiding a fight. I am just saying "let he who has no sin cast the first stone." If you are so up in arms against slavery, why don't you go to Chad and Sudan and fight for those slaves's freedom?

I am against slavery. But I am also against murder, school shooting, breast cancer, global warming and a host of other issues. The point here is about prospective. Everything considered, how does it rank relative to other issues? How does it compare to every other evil presented?

Even in the context of the books, what about the due process right of the man who can channel? Men who can channel are killed when they are found out, before they turn mad, and before they have done anything bad yet. How come nobody is up in arms about this injustice?

In the Black Tower, those that have gone mad are given poison. But not before. If you want to defend freedom, why not defend these people's freedom before they are mad?
Theresa Gray
85. Terez27
Hey Leigh,

As to the issue of slavery...I think most of us would agree. I have always felt that it was a shame that the Randland people hardly complained at all about the da'covale, while demonizing the damane practice. Yes, the latter is horrible, but the former is nearly as bad - the only difference is the level of brainwashing.

But I'm sure you remember Egwene's dream of Mat with the ravens sinking into his shoulders; it was covered in the FAQ, with the possible interpretation that Mat would actually become Tuon's property. Which leaves all of us who know Mat going 'yeah, right.' I believe that issue will most likely be solved along with the damane issue when Tuon's Consolidation is made complete, because there is no way in hell that Mat will stand for being property - we were carried through his thoughts on that notion with all of the foreshadowing, with Tuon saying she would make him a cupbearer, etc. - and it's not likely that Tuon will much enjoy the prospect, either. I think there was some ironic foreshadowing in her thoughts about how he should come back to her and shave his hair and act like a proper Seanchan; I wonder what her thoughts will be when she sees his new tattoos.

Part of why I am so sure Mat will get said tattoos is the whole image thing that RJ is building with Mat. He's been hanged, he's got the hat, and he will be sporting an eyepatch like a proper pirate soon enough. It's only fitting that he have some tattoos.

As to Weiramon - it's not that we're not aware that he could have been about to say 'from the lips of the Lord Dragon' or some such. What makes it so convincing that he is a Darkfriend was the complete change in his personality, when he was out of Rand's sight. That along with Rand noticing that Weiramon was not quite stupid enough to do something that would get him executed, and then the pass that Weiramon was supposed to be guarding...it's a no-brainer, almost as much as Moridin=Ishamael (before TGS, of course).
Captain Hammer
86. Randalator
Some random musings:

1. Am I the only one thinking that Rand didn't lose at all in this campaign?

Randland nations have been handed their respective asses ever since the Seanchan returned full force. Even the Forerunners were only turned back because there were involved: the Army of the Dead a.k.a. the Heros of the Horn, an epic battle between Champion of Light and Shadow and freakin' destiny in general. Apart from that it was Seanchan advance, Randland retreat.

But now the Seanchan invasion not only has come to a grinding halt but they actually had to retreat. And Rand achieved this despite being heavily outnumbered, simply through superior strategy. It wasn't until he became completely ax crazy that his side sustained really heavy losses.

Granted he didn't drive the Seanchan back across the Aryth Ocean but all in all calling the outcome of his campaign a loss is kinda like acing your exams and then complaining that you screwed up because you didn't cure cancer while you we're at it.

Rand has lost perspective during all the conquering (and crazy-going) he did lately, but certainly not the campaign.

2. Why all the hate for an alliance with the Seanchan?

Okay, I get it. They have slavery. Slavery bad. But, as was mentioned here already the US of A also have a history of slavery. They got rid of it eventually.

So I don't see the problem with moving the Seanchan out of the cardboard cutout villain ranks into gray area. Despite obvious and deep flaws they also have virtues and have not permenantly passed the moral event horizon. They can change and what better way to initiate the change like an alliance with channelers and nations who don't even know the concept of slavery? Randland in turn might learn a thing or two about organization, infrastructure and welfare.

In the end, everyone will be better for it.

Interestingly, I can't remember the soon to come Whitecloak-Aes-Sedai-alliance being treated that way although the Whitecloaks have a lot less redeeming qualities. Actually none, apart from being a considerable fighting force and recently having aquired a leader who isn't a power hungry fundamentalist nutjob with a penchant for genocide and rape.

So, yeah...

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.
Tricia Irish
87. Tektonica
Clear this up for me, please Terez...you think Mat WILL get raven tatoos of da'covale-hood? He will acquiesce to being property? To his wife? Mat? Are we reading the same books? Please explain.....
88. Lurking Canadian
@84 twicemarked: No, I am trying to avoid a fight, by not saying nasty things about the founders of the United States, whom Americans very often revere. You, on the other hand, are trying to pick a fight, by saying that I'm a hypocrite for being opposed to slavery yet not willing to go and fight in a multi-sided civil war on the other side of the planet to stop it. This is the wrong forum for this discussion and I will not engage in it from either side.

In the context of the books, of course I think male channelers get a raw deal from the Aes Sedai, the Seanchan and the Sea Folk. The Aiel approach is probably the best, but I find the Ashaman solution also un-objectionable. Every Ashaman is a volunteer, they are not harmed until they actually go crazy and become a danger to others and their death is painless.

Now that Saidin is cleansed, assuming Seanchan survives, within one generation I'm sure you'll have hundreds of male damane going around in black collars. I would hate that, too.

Before you ask, I am also not keen on the treatment of the peasants of Tear, the men of Far Madding, or (based on what we know) anybody in Shara. There are a lot of crapsack societies in Randland. I just think Seanchan happens to be the worst of the bunch.
89. Freelancer
I'm with Terez. Not a chance in the Pit of Doom that Mat allows himself to be owned, even by his wife. I'm not even sanguine about the tattoos. I would consider it paid that Mat has a permanent attachment to Seanchan (the ravens have their talons sunk in) due to his marriage. Mat's pending loss of an eye is about completing the mythology of giving up an eye for knowledge.

Lurking Canadian@88

Just an off-the-wall thought. We see items which are specific for female channelers as normally being white, and black for the males. Seanchan a'dam are constantly referred to as silvery. I wonder if that means anything.
Captain Hammer
90. Randalator
re: Mat being owned

Yeah, Mat actually becoming his wife's property would probably break the Wheel more thoroughly than the Dark One ever could. Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. I'm talking total protonic reversal, here...
Scott Terrio
91. Renegade248
Yes, slavery is bad. No matter what form or how it is instituted in the society.

But, on the other hand, the good ole USA had slavery since its founding until the middle of the 19th century, and it took a civil war to get rid of it. So, if the books are a resemblance to the 17th century or so in our world, slavery was still rampant then and I see no reason that it should not appear in the books. Would you all call the USA bad at the beginning of the 18th or 19th century for having slavery in place. Lots of other countries did at the time. I do hope that the Seanchan do get rid of slavery, but we will probably not see it happen before the end of the series. Maybe that is what the sequels with Mat and Tuon would be about if it ever gets written by Brandon. It may take a century or more for the Seanchan to get rid of slavery, but if I remember, they are also in a civil war across the ocean and maybe it will happen faster than we realize, as it took a civil war here for us to abolish slavery.

Just my 2 cents. :)
Hugh Arai
92. HArai
Tektonica@38: In my opinion the remove you are feeling is the Great Captain showing through. I think Bashere genuinely likes Rand, but that just doesn't matter. He's focused on getting Rand his chance to fight the Shadow, because that's the choice available. It's the point I got from his story about the crazy relative who buried groves of trees. He was crazy but he won. And winning is what counts on the borders of Saldaea.

This also relates to some of the comments in this thread about how terrible it is Rand considers truce with the Seanchan because they're slavers. The thing is when forced to the choice, is it so unreasonable Rand (and from my reading of him, Bashere) would want to beat the Shadow first? Yes, slavery is a horror. But so is being eaten by Trollocs yes? So is the shattering of the Wheel?
Barry T
93. blindillusion
Rand -

Ghostbusters FTW!

Also, Egon...crazy man.
Jay Dauro
94. J.Dauro
As I see it in the Seanchen Cuture we have three classes of slavery.

Slavery 1 - Female channelers. When this was started, channelers were using the One Power to kill/rule/enslave regular people. The Seanchen system of using the a'dam was instituted to stop this (well, sort of. Apparently it was invented by one Aes Sedai to enslave other Aes Sedai, but she got a surprise.) Protecting society is not in itself a bad thing, but it has been taken too far.

Yes, the original damane were enslaved because of their behavior (not a pass, but a statement.) Soon however this was reduced to if you are a sparkers, you are enslaved. Although we find this repulsive (and I do), if you believe and are taught that a channeler will always behave as the original damane did, society will try for some form of control. This is effectively the same as what they do for males. They protect society. They do get a minus for just believing what they are taught, but most societies do that.

Now we get to the back side. They use this control of damane to maintain the rule of the Empress. Without the a'dam, there is no Seanchen Empire. In this they lose much, because the Empire will act to preserve its power base, no matter what they find.

So, does the ruling class know that sul'dams can channel? At the start of the series, it appears not. We DO see that blood who discover the fact, try to cover it up to preserve the empire. When Tuon and Selucia discover that a sul'dam (such as Tuon) can learn to channel, Selucia starts to move to kill Egeanin. And we see Tuon still thinks that although she can learn to channel, it is not something she has to learn. In fact, she says it would be like learning to steal, rob, etc. So the question here is does she believe this? If she believes that by not using the ability, she is not a channeler, and that anyone who channels is evil and needs to be controlled, then she is not a hypocrite. The real test will come when she is forced to channel, and/or to deal with a demonstration that channeling does not require you to be evil. And this is what I believe we are going to see. At that point, if she is not a hypocrite, she has to start working to stop the enslavement. This does not mean just issuing an edict ordering every damane released, since we have seen that many damane believe they have to be collared, and in fact, may go wild if the collar is removed. It is not going to be easy trying to change the culture. (It hasn't been easy in American culture, and still isn't done 150 years after an edict.)

However, if Tuon knows that sul'dam can learn to channel, then yes, she is a hypocrite, and needs to be taken down.

So on Slavery 1, we will have to see how it moves going forward.

Slavery 2 is the "high" slaves. These are the Death Watch Guard, Seekers, Voices, So'jhin, etc. They are called da'covale, but not treated the same as what I call the true da'covale. Not as bad a life as it could be, but not free either. Still they are seen more as people. They can accomplish things. They cannot easily escape slavery (manumission is possible, but rare.) Still it is slavery.

Slavery 3 is the true da'covale. Here they are seen as property. This is where to me, the Seanchen fail completely. Treating someone as property for a crime is bad enough, but continuing it to their descendants is repulsive. We do not see any way for someone to move up. They are punished at a whim, and killed at will. I actually find this much worse that the collaring of channelers, there, they at least believe there is a danger.
Theresa Gray
95. Terez27
blindillusion@47 - you think Weiramon was behind the betrayal at the Hook?

bkaul@65 re Isilel@12 - she also highlighted the fact that, from the wording, Weiramon had already taken a risk, and apparently also at Gedwyn's behest. He's saying he won't take more risk without a command from...who? Not Rand, surely, since the only risk we know of him taking was when he defied Rand's orders to guard the pass, and he had to play the idiot and pretend like he had been distracted by something shiny over there. If Rand had been in a different mood, he might not have bought that excuse.

So, the command of which Weiramon spoke likely came from someone else. Someone to whom they both report, and there is evidently some issue as to Weiramon accepting Gedwyn's authority, likely because no one expressly gave Gedwyn any authority over Weiramon, and Gedwyn just assumes it because he can channel.


When your coping mechanism is going Robot on you, waving his arms and calling out "Danger Will Robinson!", and the forward conscious you is all, "Nah, Bashere would spot a flaw", I have to wonder.

Indeed, you have to wonder. Dashiva, for one, was convinced that Rand was freaking nuts because he hadn't noticed the weirdness with saidin. This is a perfect example of Rand's denial habits becoming confused and dangerous. Rand knows that there is something wrong with the Power, but he ignores it because it would disrupt his plans to push the Seanchan back to...wherever. He was determined to do that, had convinced himself that because he had Callandor, that he could do anything, and he ignored the weirdness in the Power as long as he was able. He also ignored the fear of using Callandor, a simple fear of holding so much Power, that it would go to his head again like it did in the Stone. Both of these things are vented through Lews Therin.

And given the detailed personal memories Lews Therin has already shared inside Rand's head, a point is reached where he has to be considered a reality for no more than that.

Lews Therin arguments are often composed of a long string of straw men, and this is one of them. No one denies that Lews Therin's memories are real. The construct camp simply believes that Lews Therin the person is Rand at the core, and always has been; Rand is Lews Therin reborn.

Also, Rand very specifically says in KOD that 'the voice' very seldom 'shares' important information. Rand just remembers these things. 'The voice' serves as a means to disassociate himself from those memories, and a byproduct of the construct is that Rand's suppressed thoughts and emotions are expressed through the alternate personality.

Every single person has little mental quirks, ways that we lie to ourselves, ways that we justify things. Some people have very complex mental blocks; RJ has dealt other types of psychological blocks, such as wilder blocks. Nynaeve (who, as I noted before, has conversations with herself, despite the lack of past life memories to put a name and face to her self-conversation partner) was stubborn to the point that she had to be at the point of death to overcome her block. Which leads me to your next point:

But when you've had a bad day and decide to just let him flail you for your failure, that's really not a coping mechanism.

The coping mechanism was not created for the purpose of coping with all of these things. The construct was created specifically with the purpose of disassociation from Lews Therin's memories. Part of it was simple identity issues - again, the nurture aspect of identity - but by far the greatest contributor to Rand's fear of his past life memories was the Kinslaying, and in particular the death of Ilyena at his own hands.

But since Rand convinced himself every time he had a memory about Ilyena or whatever that Lews Therin must actually be there in his head, talking to him, then the alternate personality also became a means by which Rand could express his suppressed thoughts and emotions. People do this IRL, for less reason, and with schizophrenia, from what I understand, it takes years and years for a normal patient to build the illusion to the point that they can actually 'see' the voices in their heads. With Rand, it takes far less time, partly simply because he has those memories, to put a name and a face to the voice that he decided was in his head because he didn't want to admit that they were simply his memories. Part of it is also the fact that, early on, he had that strange experience in Tel'aran'rhiod of which I have spoken previously. A simple matter of the mind shaping the reality in the Dream World, but Rand misinterpreted it completely, and became convinced that Lews Therin is taking over. It became a fear aggravated his insistence that Lews Therin was another man to the point that the internal struggle stretched into struggles with grasping the Power. Rand feared what 'Lews Therin' would do with the Power; in TGS, the experience with Tam taught him that his fear was misplaced.

The denial is blatantly obvious because every time something happens that is evidence of the fact that Rand actually is Lews Therin, Rand...DENIES IT. :D "I am not Lews Therin Telamon! I am Rand al'Thor!" Who is he trying to convince? It's so freaking obvious that I want to scream.

You in particular have said before something quite snobbish along the lines of 'I won't bother posting evidence that Lews Therin is real'. But the earliest evidence we have shows that they are not two men and never have been, not least the fact that we know that Rand is Lews Therin reborn, and Birgitte hanging about to demonstrate the eternal nature of the soul's identity. The 'evidence' that Lews Therin is 'real' in the sense of having a will of his own comes after Rand has put some serious effort into building/maintaining that illusion.

The first time the 'voice' appears, it's coming out of Rand's mouth. TSR ch. 9, 'Decisions'....'and you loved power!' Rand=Lews Therin, but he can barely remember, like the oldest of Birgitte's memories that are fragmented. He goes on in ch. 10, 'The Stone Stands', to use a weave that acts suspiciously like the one that Lews Therin appears to have used to kill his family and friends, and he talks to himself in his head as he does it.

The next time we get anything is TFOH ch. 2. Rand says calls Moiraine 'little sister'. Again, a fragmented memory that Rand acted upon without thinking. He says something about being buried in the Can Breat, whatever that is, causing a discordant plunk from Asmodean's harp. Again, a fragmented memory. When Egwene confronts him, he compares her to Ilyena, another fragmented memory, and the first face he is able to call to mind, though it's dim. He thinks to himself that one day he will find himself talking to people that aren't there.

Absolutely nothing at all here to indicate that there is another man in Rand's head. We know where those memories came from. We knew when he faced Lanfear in the previous book, and when he thought of Ilyena, we were sure. He's remembering his past life. If Rand thought about it - which he steadfastly refuses to do - he might realize where those memories were coming from, too.

In ch. 3, Asmodean calls Rand 'Lews Therin', and Rand snaps at him for it. Then, later in the chapter, Mat calls to Rand, and he won't answer until Mat says 'Lews Therin'. Again, everything indicates that Rand is simply beginning to remember...that those memories are as much a part of him as his own. If Lews Therin was 'in control' at the time Mat called for him, why was there no struggle? When Mat talked to Rand, Rand was Rand, and he didn't even appear to have noticed the name that Mat had used, much like Mat often does not even notice that he is using the Old Tongue.

So the trend continues, and time after time, we see Rand's motives for misinterpreting those memories. It's not a simple matter of 'you interpret it this way and I interpret it the other way' because RJ so carefully brought those motives to our attention and painstakingly made the progression of the alternate personality logical and consistent. Rand's motives, which were repeatedly emphasized, were determining factors in the integration in TGS. That is why the nature of the integration was predicted by the construct camp rather than the 'real' camp. We are the ones that knew what we were talking about. ;)

Ok, that should raise Bela for another round of abuse.

You started it. ;)

Tektonica@87 - Yes, I believe that Mat will become property of the Empress. I just don't believe that it will last all that long. I believe it was somewhat foreshadowed in the Tower when he remembered being Aemon, and when he insisted in the Old Tongue that he was a free man. The fact that Mat has that personality is precisely why he has to get the tattoos. He is the husband of the Empress, and he will refuse to accept them. Which creates a problem for Tuon, does it not? It's not as if she really ever wanted him to be a cupbearer, and the idea of marrying even your own so'jhin is repulsive to Tuon. She is the Empress, and she is the one whose mind needs to be changed on these issues; her own channeling and Mat getting the tattoos have the potential to put an end to the two most abhorrent Seanchan practices. As for the Seekers, it may be that their incompetence will be their end.

Edit, to clear something up: I don't believe that Mat will voluntarily get the tattoos; I think they will most likely be a byproduct of his trip to Ghenjei. I'm not even sure that he will know what they mean, exactly, until he comes in contact with the Seanchan again. The only ones that get those tattoos are those who are property of the Empress; the only ones we've really seen are Seekers and the Deathwatch Guard. Mat is already like one of the Deathwatch Guard in that he is ready to die for Tuon - he said so in KOD - but he will not be happy at all about the property business.

J.Dauro@94 - I think that when the sul'dam secret comes to light, whether or not Tuon channels (I think she will), that it will probably be fairly easy for them to switch to voluntary enlistment for channelers in the military. The cultural conditioning is strong, but so is the conditioning that relates to the Empress. They practically worship her.

As to Tuon's hypocrisy...every sul'dam, whether or not she knows the secret, uses the damane's Power as if it were her own. So yes, the hypocrisy is inherent, here. So long as Tuon continues to wear the bracelet, and to use damane in her military, she is a hypocrite, because she has taken that Power and used it as if she had channeled herself. The assumption is that the Power may only be used in service to the Empire, but I don't think the assumption is all that necessary for the Empire to maintain a solid defense against insurrection, with the way that military service is rewarded.
96. MaerlynsRose
On slavery: While I was re-reading the early re-reads, I came across Leigh's metaphor for male channelers: ie, that it would be like discovering your friend was radioactive and could give you cancer just be being around. Well what if you discovered a machine that would not only protect you from getting cancer, but could turn that radioactivity into fuel for multiple homes or businesses? I feel like that's how the Seanchan really view the slavery of the damane...as a necessary aspect that would protect everyone. You can't really compare it to ANY type of slavery in the real world because most slavery has traditionally been based on ethnic or socio-economic grounds, rather than a distinctive, measurable difference in your basic make-up as a human being. Granted, in Randland we've seen that that doesn't have to be so, but the Seanchan have really only ever known chaos, if you're familiar with that country's history, and a state like that often responds to extreme methods.

The da'covale and Deathwatch Guards are a different story, mind you, but they're very similar to early Middle Eastern forms of slavery, where it was possible to have more respect and honor AS a slave than as a free person. Obviously to "own" a free being as property is pretty despicable, but you have to put yourself in the eyes of the culture to really understand how it could be interpreted as less than "evil". Generally, I work hard at making sure I see exactly what the author wants me to.

Woot wall o'text!
Tess Laird
97. thewindrose
Wow - You all have been busy today!

JennB - Congrads and I hope you find sleep soon:)

This chapter is packed full of amazing clues. If you hadn't caught the fact of who Dasive was in a former body, it became pretty clear here. Also I just love this:
Shaking visibly, he drew a deep breath. "I am well aware how long you have channeled," he said in an icy, almost contemptuous voice, "but surely even you can feel it. Feel, man! I don't like 'strange' applied to saidin, and I don't want to die or...or be burned out because you're blind!{...} Dasiva smiled, a twisted self-satisfied smile. "I cannot believe you didn't notice before." There was very close to a sneer in his voice. "You've been holding saidin practically day and night since we began this mad expedition."

Another obligatory commendation for Bashere! I do seem to be cheering for him a lot in these recent chapters. I would like to think the dark thing about him is his death. Because - look at how much Rand needs this one man. This one man who can stand there and be a damn good General, and also know when Rand has lost control, and then run up and knock him off his horse when he has a pulsating blade of crystal full of saidin - tainted saidin. And then knocks him down again! (I really don't want to see him die / get killed either, but I do think it will happen.)

And the last bit for now, I give you the line after Bertome and Weiramon get into battle:
The wind rose.

98. Vidulous
Whoa. Two things rather surprised me:

1. Several people have said that they *skipped* a certain section on a readthrough. Wha...?! I'm honestly dumbfounded. The point of a novel is to make you feel something. And no matter how good the part you skip to feels, it will never feel as good without the part that makes you feel bad beforehand. I relish every chapter of these books. Sometimes on starting a new chapter I think "oh no, not a ____ chapter!" but this is always because I was so engrossed in the previous chapter's arc that I don't wanna leave. But as soon as I shift gears and start reading the new part, I am just as into that as I was into the last part. All of this is an integral part of the reading process for me, and it illustrates what a genius RJ was - WoT always manages to paradoxically both keep my interest and leave me wanting more, at the same time.

2. IMHO a lot of people are far too glib in their generalizations. When I see "I hate the Seanchan"-style comments, I mentally flinch, because I have a feeling that this is counter to what RJ was trying to accomplish.

Okay, of course I have no idea what he was actually thinking. But what I got out of his writing is the idea that generalizations are, generally (ho ho), pointless and on occasion even destructive. Time and again references are made in the text to men, women, Cairhienin, Tairens, Seanchan, etc etc, that paint them all with the same brush. It is then usually shown that while there is often a grain of truth in those assumptions, they are basically 99% bull (One of the most amusing examples was the conversation Aviendha had with the Sea Folk the first time they met - makes me smile just thinking about it).

Anyway, I think that RJ very cleverly set us up to despise the Seanchan at first, and then forced us to come to terms with the fact that that kneejerk all-encompassing hatred was misplaced. There are good people. There are reasons for some of the morally grey things they do. Yes, there are many irredeemable qualities to the culture, but the same can be said of a lot of cultures. Is the way the Tairen nobility used to treat the peasantry THAT much better than the way the Blood do?

Also, many astute readers have mentioned that slavery does not necessarily always mean the same thing. It has been seen that many of the Seanchan property have far better lives than they ever could have had being free; Karede specifically mentions this in his internal monologue. Some slaves are so high up they can order free people about. 100% ethical and fair? No. But neither is it absolutely 100% abhorrent.

Not apologising for the Seanchan, by the way. I think their system is by far the most icky in WoT, although... hmm... Shara...? Anyway, I just think we should consider WHY we feel that way about these cultures, and contemplate whether our feelings are entirely justified given the context.

Obviously this would be a good lesson to carry into the real world, too.
99. peachy
We do in fact get at least one Bashere POV - not sure which book, but outside of Caemlyn during the succession dispute. Nothing in it to indicate his status re: DF Inc either way, as I recall... though it would bum me out if one of the relatively few competent, friendly, disinterested characters turned out to be a baddie.

And to echo some of the previous commenters - slavery can take a million different forms, some more repulsive than others. The Seanchan system seems to cover the complete spectrum, from slaves who are more powerful than virtually any free subject, to slaves who are less valuable than animals. No doubt the element of ambiguity that adds was intentional.
100. nealeturner
Re: Bashere being a darkfriend. From COT Prologue (Bashere's POV):

"Bashere nodded. The price of failure often was death. Two to search, and how many to silence
them? How many remained, and how long before they tried again? Worst of all, who was behind it? The
White Tower? The Forsaken? It seemed a decision had been reached for him."

The use of "Forsaken" as opposed to "Chosen" sems to be RJ's clue.
101. OwMasha
Jenn B - Oh. Wow. Congratulations, and also all my best wishes for an occasional full night's sleep!

I have to put on my rusty Poli Sci major's hat for a minute re: the Seanchan and slavery systems. Looking at their system - or the real life examples mentioned - as a matter of freedom v. total lack thereof isn't really precise enough, because 'freedom' is a very pretty but very broad word. Generally, you can look at freedom as encompassing rights (what you can/are expected to do, based on your status as a citizen, Deathwatch Guard, etc.) and liberties (what you are not directly prohibited from doing - reading WoT, leaving your kennel without your sul'dam holding your leash, etc.)

The Seanchan system definitely has more than one class of subjects whose liberties are restricted - slaves - but it's worth remembering that some of those slave classes seem to have rights beyond what Joe Seanchan would - talking to/advising the Blood/High Blood/Empress most Bloody (blood ... blood ... sorry, that doesn't look like a word anymore, and I forgot what I was saying.)

Basically, I get the impression that their society is built on the idea that if you want power or control, there must be tradeoffs. I'm not saying that the system didn't calcify over time and turn even worse than Artur's most paranoid dreams could suggest, but I do think that it's based on logic, and habit, and a yearning for order. Honestly, with all the time RJ spends showing us how sul'dam really adore their pet other-humans, it's hard to imagine that we're supposed to loathe them as a people, any more than we'd walk around hating imperial Romans. Mind-blowingly weird and cringe-inducing? Sure. Also, paranoid. to the max. every single day, at least as far as we've seen. But all of it with good, orderly intentions along the lines of 'keep human society strong and united so that existence doesn't unravel.'

(It took a LOT of comments involving repeated use of the word 'freedom' to ring that bell, btw. Not looking to single anyone out.)

Um, now I need to get away from this before I start digging around for sources to cite in my ten-page paper on Seanchan realpolitik and what happens to the security dilemma when your world includes at least three different kinds of magical power ...
102. Freelancer

I didn't say I wouldn't bother posting arguments in favor of Lews Therin being real. What I did say at a certain point of the reread, was that I wouldn't bother bringing up any arguments based upon that segment because the text involved could, as you so often show, be co-opted to either viewpoint with equal force, so the attempt would have been moot. I'm not quite arrogant enough to think I can make my side of a debate hold up without actually offering any arguments. Oh, I forgot to add earlier, the cat is dead.

And yes, I did start it. Something told me your fingers needed a workout.
Scott Kelson
103. scott-swampy
Hey all,

First off the Seanchan prophesies, I'm almost positive that we have been told that they were corrupted by our old friend Ishy on one of his mandatory bath room breaks from what was the class room of dreamless sleep.

If RJ didn't confirm this it is certainly widely accepted knowledge on other fan sites.

Secondly the whole Seanchan evil or maybe there not thing RJ got happening here. It bears a striking resemblance to US history in some respects. Obviously The US no longer has slaves and they managed to do that without completely imploding ala Roman's. The US is about the only society that has removed slavery and not become a former Society/empire.

Now I know a lot of other societies collapsed and then slavery stopped but my point is still valid. The Seanchan are the best governed people in the WOT world. Evidence of this is the improvement of quality of life that all people on the mainland have enjoyed since coming under there control.

And I think this is a link RJ was trying to draw, that the US for a long time, both pre and post slavery, provided the best quality of life available to all classes of society. Now whether this is still the cases is beside the point and a debate for another time. The POV's we get of "good" Seanchan, as they have been labeled should in my opinio0n should be labeled "most" Seanchan. I think RJ's attempt in the latter book's was to show that in fact most Seanchan are good, fair people and it is, in fact, the minority that are "bad" people. I think what RJ was setting up was I removable of slavery from there society, Much like the US, except without the need for a war. I will also point out that I only mean this in relation to the Seanchan on this side of the ocean. As I think the war on the other may play a part in doing this it self, in the séance that I don’t believe there will be must of a social hierarchy left, what with the DotNM on Randland proper.

I think further evidence of this is that even Moridin leaking Rand was completely solid on this point in his meeting with Toun in TGS showed that this is going to be a big stumbling block at any negotiating table in Tom or aMoL. If even psycho Rand couldn't compromise on this I don't see him doing it in any other state of mind either.

Freelancer@77 I'm imprest, I didn't think there were many people around any more that had knowledge of the bible that extended past Adam and Eve and the birth of Christ. Thanks for proving me wrong. Although I think Aaron, Moses brother, did gain entry as well. And I hope you didn't just Google, because I’m going to look really stupid if you did :).

Wow that got big on me.

Edit: i lost an 'i' somewhere along the way, perhaps i am longing for an excess on 'din', not sure.
Linda Taglieri
104. Linda
@103: The Seanchan prophecies are not as simple as "Ishy doctored them". Here is what Brandon had to say on the matter:

According to Brandon Sanderson at the Salt Lake City The Gathering Storm booksigning, the Essanik Cycle is a compilation of damane's foretellings:

The Essanik cycle, they have tried to preserve it as perfectly as they can...It was given by damane in Seanchan, so nobody knows about it on the main continent.

Therefore it was created after Luthair Paendrag conquered Seanchan, and likely imposed by him upon the Seanchan. However Miraj thinks that Luthair Paendrag actually brought it with him. This may or may not be correct. It’s not known if the original Seanchan version of the Prophecies (ie pre-Luthair) still exists in Seanchan.
Captain Hammer
105. Randalator
re: Damane

You know, I never really got the concept behind this. The Seanchan argue that unleashed channelers are to powerful and dangerous, so they must be controlled. But all they do is giving the channeler's power to the sul'dam. Sul'dam, despite the fact that they are potential channelers anyway, are channelers by proxy.

What is it that makes a channeler a dangerous creature but not sul'dam? I mean, the sul'dam have all the might of the damane and all the freedom to use the One Power just like the damane would have were they unleashed. So that improves the situation how, exactely?

This whole concept doesn't make a lick of sense.
106. birgit
Re: making sul'dam channel - well, if those with Elayne are any indication, for most you'd have to not only put a'dam on their necks, but also torture them within the inch of their lives.

Elayne doesn't use an a'dam, she tries to make them admit they can see the flows when someone else is channeling.
An a'dam creates a circle that is lead by the person wearing the bracelet. If an AS wears the bracelet and a sul'dam wears the collar, the AS can simply channel through the sul'dam whether she wants to channel or not.

Maybe the different interpretations of the prophecy about the Seanchan and Rand are a translation problem. Those who translated the OT on this side of the ocean didn't know what Nine Moons meant, but believed that the Dragon must win in a conflict. The Seanchan translators believed that the Empress must be the dominant part in any relationship.
Maiane Bakroeva
107. Isilel
I don't want to offend anybody, but IMHO, yes, US slavery and it's very long-standing legacy was a shameful chapter in it's history. And it is much to US discredit that it was abolished after Russia abolished serfdom (sic!) and required a massive civil war to do so.
It also can't be denied that racial discrimination and oppression, including judicial oppression have persisted in the US for longer than elsewhere in western world. I mean, US has many awesome aspects, but it doesn't mean that it's darker sides have to be glossed over or excused. Or that Seanchan should get a pass by association.

Terez @93:

So long as Tuon continues to wear the bracelet, and to use damane in her military, she is a hypocrite, because she has taken that Power and used it as if she had channeled herself.

Indeed. The Seanchan accused channelers of oppressing other people and making them property via the use of OP, but they are doing exactly the same thing! Only, it is the Empire/Blood who direct the use of OP. But it is the one who gives the order who is morally responsible, IMHO, so high-ranking Seanchan are the guilty party. Leashing has not changed the fact that Seanchan use the OP mainly as a tool of oppression and destruction. Yes, generally in more orderly fashion than the channeling warladies pre-Conquest, but rebellions and civil wars aren't unknown either.

Oh, and as I have mentioned previously, the orderliness of Seanchan-conquered territories is not a valid argument. It was FS sabotage and/or the DR's chaos-induction that rendered the circumstances in those countries so dire. It is no wonder that the Seanchan, who have been largely free from both, are doing much better for the moment.

I also don't get how people want male channelers to immediately get all the rights and trust that the taint has denied them for millenia (with good reason, sadly), but make allowances for the more despicable aspects of Seanchan culture to persist and be tolerated by Randlandians.

Personally, I don't see how Randlandians could concentrate on TG and give their all with the knowledge that the Seanchan are poised to pounce on them and make them slaves, the second TG is won. Or how extensive cooperation could even be possible between military forces with free channelers, some of which will be in positions of command, and the Seanchan who'd love nothing better than to collar/kill those channelers on the spot.

Or even whether the world could afford for the vast majority of Seanchan channelers to be useless during the TG? I am speaking of the experienced sul'dam, who already know the weaves and could become battle-ready as soon as they are taught to touch the Source properly.

IMHO, at the very least, Randlandians should box through the agreement that nobody could be made property this side of Aryth Ocean and that all people who were so made should be released immediately.

And let's not bring up realism, OK? It and plausibility have been ignored so often in the series, that I don't see why slavery, of all things, should be the one big exception, where it is rigidly enforced.
If 3 ta'veren who can destroy or reshape entire countries without meaning to can't manage to abolish slavery when purposefully working together, then what use are they?
Tricia Irish
108. Tektonica
Free@89: I think you mean you are in my camp@87, not Terez's.....in that you don't see Mat being subjugated to Tuon via tatoos/da'covale-hood. ;-)

Terez@95: Thanks for clearing that up. I like that you don't think he'll get those tatoos willingly, or even consciously, and will oppose their meaning. I just don't see Mat Cauthon and being owned by anyone as remotely possible.

What are your feelings on Bashere? I do hope the "darkness" that Min sees is just his death. Not that I want him to die, but better that, than being a DF.
Scott Kelson
109. scott-swampy
From Isilel @107

IMHO, at the very least, Randlandians should box through the agreement that nobody could be made property this side of Aryth Ocean and that all people who were so made should be released immediately.

And let's not bring up realism, OK? It and plausibility have been ignored so often in the series, that I don't see why slavery, of all things, should be the one big exception, where it is rigidly enforced.
If 3 ta'veren who can destroy or reshape entire countries without meaning to can't manage to abolish slavery when purposefully working together, then what use are they?


This was the point that i was trying to get at. I Think that the Seanchan will be forced to abolish slavery. the comparison i was trying to draw with US history wasn't to excess the Seanchan, but to suggest that the comparison that RJ was trying to draw in relation to the fact that slavery can be abolished and hey, here's a big example right in, what was, his home land. Please don't think i was making excuses for slavery i was just saying that if you remove the whole ownership of people thing the Seanchan rule would be the best to live under. Much like the US was for a long time, and a lot of people think still is.
110. Jonathan Levy

The Seanchan argue that unleashed channelers are to powerful and dangerous, so they must be controlled. But all they do is giving the channeler's power to the sul'dam.... [who become] channelers by proxy.

This whole concept doesn't make a lick of sense.

I'm going to present two contradictory replies to this :)

1) You're absolutely right, but it doesn't matter. Yes, it makes no sense. But it's a cultural thing, not a logical thing. The channeling woman is untrustworthy, like a rabid dog, or a witch who sold her soul to the devil. It's not rational. It doesn't pretend to be rational. But a sul'dam isn't unclean. She hasn't sold her soul to the devil. She can be trusted. So what if she has the power of a channeler? She *is* not a channeler. Did I already say it's not logical?

2) You're almost right. There is one small difference between a marath'damane and a sul'dam - the sul'dam is part of a hierarchy, and in the long term, her ability to channel depends on keeping the goodwill of her bosses, otherwise she will not be allowed to be complete. Like Renna and Seta. Unless she wants to grab a damane and run away, she must obey the orders of non-channelers.

I've got another question though. With the A'dam, who melds the flows? Normally in a circle person X has control, and they meld the flows, even if they are drawn through person Y. Thus Rand weaves Saidar drawn through Nynaeve.

However, with the A'dam, the damane controls the flows, given that her sul'dam wants them channeled. Thus Egwene, after being captured, is verbally commanded to light a tree on fire. Her sul'dam doesn't do it herself, while drawing on saidar through Egwene. Also, the affinity for earth comes from the damane (Egwene) not the sul'dam, as does the skill in making sky lights (attributed to another damane, don't remember which one).

(It is true that in tFoH, Nynaeve controls the flows she draws through Moghedien. Of course, that's in T'A'R, and Nynaeve imagined the A'dam, so it might not behave the same.)

So anyway. My problem is this. We're assuming that the damane must obey the sul'dam because she is forced into a channeling link, and the sul'dam is in charge of the link. But if that's the case, then why does the damane control the flows?
Rob Munnelly
111. RobMRobM
Lsiel and many others:

Seanchan integration into Randland, which to me is inevitable, all comes down to Tuon and/or Rand and Mat acting upon Tuon. Randland needs the return of the Seanchan to be whole, but does not the plainly negative aspects asociated with that culture. I actually thought the comments posing a loose connection with the USA were pretty darned apt - even countries and institutions thought to be good can have horribly negative aspects, such as slavery, FBI/CIA abusive investigations of private citizens 50-70s, inappropriate participation in overthrow of other governments in many decades, or unsanctioned abuses of children by Catholic priest. Such countries and institutions can and must change, if there are good men and women at their core. I strongly agree that RJ has set up Tuon specifically, and the Seanchan in general, to have that type of growth and development to move past their negative attributes and participate fully in Randland society.

In TGS Tuon says she needs Mat and wants him to shave his head and be decent, like a proper Prince of the Blood, but that somehow saddens her. This is an early sign that ephiphanies are in the works - that shaving people's heads to identify the Blood is an unnecessary part of nobility; that collaring damane and making people da'covele are bad things - perhaps through the event of Terez's theory that Tuon's going to be forced to channel herself, which will freak out Tuon and all Seanchan on this side of the ocean. Alternatively, these will be forced on her by Rand as a condition of fighting at TG and she will come to see the wisdom of them. The Karethon Cycle says that the DR will bind the Nine Moons to him - query whether he will do that himself somehow, or will do it indirectly by the influence on Tuon of his good friend Mat. But I'm confident that the Nine Moons (Seanchan and Tuon) will be bound to Rand (and Randland) by the beginning of AMOL.

112. Mithraz
Hey guys,
long time reader, first time poster here...
on the whole subject of Tuon being able to channel, when Matt, Tuon, Selucia and Thom go to the pub,(A Hell in Maderin the chapter is called, in CoT maybe? can't remember, but the scene definately sticks out in my head...) and they get ambushed on the way back to Luca's show. After the fight Thom says something along the lines of "sometimes old eyes see things that aren't there, they imagine things". I always assumed that he was referring to Tuon channeling in some way, probably to help them fight.
I probably shouldnt be writing posts like this without my books or notes in front of me, but I just read all the posts and was surprised no one mentioned it considering the whole hypocrasy discussion...
Rob Munnelly
113. RobMRobM
Mitraz - welcome. Pretty clear that Thom was speaking about Seluccia's secret extreme assassin skills. Rob
114. Megaduck
Beren @76

"Didn't she die in a winepress? :)"

Wait, what? Did I miss something?

I just remember that the FS killed the Empress and all her children and Tuon got the message. I don't recall any details.

What happened to the Empress? And where did it say it? (Whatever happened, couldn't have happened to a nicer person. ^_^ )
Scott Kelson
115. scott-swampy
I think Someone makes reference to the Crystal Throne being completely covered in The Empresses blood, may she live forever. Semi?

And then whoever it was muses that you wouldn't believe how much blood comes out of a person.
116. Tenesmus
James Hogan
117. Sonofthunder
Jonathan@110, I'm confused. Why are we talking about the sul'dam controlling the link? She can't be guiding the flows because she's not supposed to even see the flows! I always assumed the damane did all the work...after all, they want to please their sul'dam. I assumed the sul'dam would just guide them in battle - they're not actually channelling through them, because that would necessitate being able to see the weaves.

And in regards to all the slavery discussion, I think all of us(or at least most!) agree that Seanchan slavery needs to be abolished...but I also maintain that the Seanchan are not pure evil incarnate either, and thus an alliance with them(pre-TG) would not be the end of the world...

I certainly hope Tuon changes her mind on Seanchan practices though...I think her time on this side of the Aryth is changing her for the better.
Scott Kelson
118. scott-swampy
Tenesmus @116

YES!!!!!!! Need something to make the twitching go away.
119. Megaduck
Tenesmus @ 116

Dude, Chill. It comes out next Tuesday. You can wait six days for it.
James Hogan
120. Sonofthunder
Megaduck@119, but usually the cover-art comes out around 12-13 days before the actual release of the e-book. That's why we're all so *twitch*y. :(

121. parabola
I know that slavery is a hot topic, but why are we all approaching this any differently than any other culture-difference?

When the Aile were introduced, they were an alien race with bizarre, often characterized as ruthless, customs and cultural norms. By now, they're commonplace so no one thinks twice about them; that accompanied with the fact that they were expecting to change as a result of the Car'A'Carn.

Here come the Seanchan who have been dealt with in a very hands-off manner until Tuon became a player. They have bizarre, seeming ruthless, customs and cultural norms. The Dragon Reborn changes everything, and Mat's already had some effect on Tuon, if you look at her inner monologues in TGS. I have a feeling we'll be seeing some drastic changes.
Theresa Gray
122. Terez27
hay guys, Amazon beat TOR to the punch on the e-book cover.
Scott Kelson
123. scott-swampy
parabola @121 Because slavery isn't nudity in the sweat tent's or odd marriage arrangements. It is despicable. It's not something you can just get used to over time. It is some thing that needs to be fought.
You could probaly make excuses for it if it was just a punishment like it is in some case. But the fact that it passes down to your children it becomes something inexcusable. And then there is the damane thing. Which take it to a level of "less than" just because of how you are born.
Theresa Gray
124. Terez27

Rob@111 - I'm not so sure about the binding happening before the beginning of AMOL at all. I think Rand will have to die first, and Rand's not going to die till the end of TOM.
Scott Kelson
125. scott-swampy
Terez27 @122 *twitch*ing subsides some what. Although i still want the write up.
126. parabola
I agree with you, but don't forget we're talking about a world that still fully subscribes to the hierarchical nobility/peasantry caste-system. From Randland's (I like that term, by the way, but why not WOTland?) perspective slavery might make them uncomfortable, but it's not too far of a cry from their status-quo.
A Hood
127. Cyrrha
What I think is interesting about the whole topic of "those who must be leashed", is that ALL channelers are not trusted in this age of the wheel. I mean, the AS are binding themselevs on the oath rod, which they originally did not do, just so they can interact (read: manipulate, albeit mostly for good ends I think) the rest of civilization. So to me, what is interesting is that the world went from this beautiful enlightened age where it was inconceivable ("You keep using that word- I don't think it means what you think it means"-LOL)that channelers would abuse their power, to one of absolute distrust to the point that the various societies use some method of control over either themselves or others involuntarily. Just another aspect of how far the world has fallen (which of course taps into all kinds of our legends- the fall int he garden of eden, the ages of decline in Buddhism,) It is just too cool how RJ incorporates something so pithy into so many aspects of WOT IMHO.
128. Mithraz
i'd never thought about that possibility. Selucia's bodyguardness(did i just invent a new word? hehe) seems a bit of an everyday thing though. I wouldn't have thought it was worth Thom mentioning.
I suppose it because I like the idea of Tuon having enough humanity to throw all her anti-channeling prejudices out the window when her friends are in danger...
Rob Munnelly
129. RobMRobM
Aiel do practice slavery - fact that it is only for a year at a time doesn't make it right either. They also see no problem with killing Carhienians as treekillers even though the King and not the citzenry was responsible. The Aiel Code in its extreme forms can be as ugly as certain aspects of life in Seanchan. R
Rob Munnelly
130. RobMRobM
Mith - Selucia's skills are a deeply kept secret. She's just supposed to be Tuon's companion. Pretty clear that was intended by Thom's statement. Second part of your post is interesting - what would cause Tuon to channel? Terez thinks it will happen. R
James Jones
131. jamesedjones
122 Terez27

Whua.. That's... awesome. AWESOME!
Daniel Goss
132. Beren
I don't think it was inconceivable(!) that channelers would abuse their power in the AOL, or esle there would have been no Oath Rod to bind channelers against particular behaviors. I think it's more that in the Age of Legends there hadn't been a recent episode where fully half of all of the channelers in the world went stark raving mad and tried to kill everyone and destroy everything. To the average person in the AOL, "Aes Sedai" meant simply "person who can channel" so is it any wonder that a bred-in-the-bone distrust of any channeler came out of this? The people of the world were burned badly by channelers. While they may know on an intellectual level that only the men actually went mad and started with the Armageddon Mambo, it is still hard for them to trust. Even in societies where channelers are "trusted members" those trusted members don't exactly flaunt their channeling capabilities. In fact, of the two that we know of, the wise ones are "all wise ones, whether they can channel or not." The same with windfinders. "No vessel will carry an Aes Sedai where his windfinder can Weave the Winds" so by implication windfinders are not always channelers either. It's almost as if Channeling has become somehow . . . dirty. You can do it, but we don't want to know about it.
Anyway, that's my take.
*edit for Spelling. Tori Spelling*
James Hogan
133. Sonofthunder
Mmm, thanks for the heads-up, Terez. Good cover!! I was going to say Rand looks a little young...but then I remembered he IS pretty young.
Craig Jarvis
134. hawkido
41. MikeDeepo

The Sad Bracelets/Collar...

Allows a Woman/2 Women to control a man who can channel... however there is a role reversal after too long of usage...

Use the Sad Bracelets on Rand and make him kneel... but Tuon will not share the bracelets with anyone so she has max control, and due to that the bond reverses faster and with more effect, and Rand Binds the Seanchan to him once he gains control of Tuon...

Maybe both sides dropped a verse from the prophesy?

Perhaps both are true? But why would randland drop the crystal throne verse? the crystal throne was never in randland, thus they had no knowledge of it and what it meant...

/end musing/
Tricia Irish
135. Tektonica
RobM@130: What will make Tuon channel? Mat being in danger. I can't think of anything else that would so motivate her, except perhaps a threat to her own life. ??

The ebook cover..... At first I couldn't figure out who the guy with the glowing ball was....didn't remember him in any of the books...doh....the Chodan Kal! Maybe I shouldn't expose how slow I was? ;-/ Anyway, I'm glad to see Rand on the cover and looking very handsome. Best Rand yet, that I've seen depicted, IMHO. He looks young and callow and yet menacing. I do hope we get a "making of" thread on the Tor page.

Edit: Bingo!
Asger Grunnet
136. asgerix
I have been wondering: Is it absolutely certain that the saidar/saidin strangeness is caused by the Bowl of the Winds?

Could it not have been Elayne's unravelling of her Traveling weave that did it?
137. MasterAlThor
I'm late to the party. I haven't read all the comments and as some of you know that is a task in itself.

So, if you have mentioned this already, sorry for stepping in your Wheaties.

And I’m pretty sure it won’t happen metaphorically either, since the mainland version of the Karaethon Cycle says Rand will “bind the nine moons to serve him”, which kind of implies the exact opposite of what the obviously-bullshittier (because I SAID SO, that’s why) Seanchan version says, so that’s good.

This is funny. Something about heads in sand comes to mind, but I can't think of it cause I need to pull my head out of the sand.

That was just a weird way of saying that I am with Leigh on this.

Can't wait for you to get to the slavery thing there Leigh. I wait with baited breath.

Theresa Gray
138. Terez27
asgerix@136 - RJ confirmed that it was the Bowl. It would be strange for saidin to be affected from Elayne's saidar-only gateway, after all.
Barry T
139. blindillusion
Terez - In regards to your question at 95:


Just some honest speculation with no evidence (other than footwear), but one must acknowledge the Forest Gump Theory.
Ron Garrison
140. Man-0-Manetheran
I agree Leigh, that it is painful to witness Rand’s failure, but what is sadder is that instead of “learning his lesson” it only pushes him further in the wrong direction:
His voice was iron. One of the first. His heart was iron.
And down we go...

Terez: So great to have you a part of our group! Your knowledge and ability to express it is very enriching. Thanks.
A Hood
141. Cyrrha
@Beren- Yeah I tend to speak in absolutes at every possible moment. Or rather, sometimes. ;) So inconceivable was probably a bit over the top. Oh well.
I agree on the cause, certainly- it's no wonder channelers are viewed this way after the breaking...I was musing on this idea after reading all the comments about the Seanchan and their treatment of channelers (ick), which just made me think that channelers everywhere have it pretty rough now. NO question the Seanchan empire is seriously screwed up on many levels and deserves the criticism it is getting, but so are all the rest of the cultures RJ describes in one way or the other. And this actually makes WOT more "believable" & valid to me since the real world is completely like this. I don't hate the Seanchan- but I stay continually frustrated with them. But then I could say this about so many other factions in WOT. (Except the Whitecloaks. I loathe them COMPLETELY!)
142. Freelancer

No, not Google. And I realized just after I posted that Aaron also made it across the Jordan, but I wasn't going to edit what was already a fairly large comment, as it really wouldn't add to the point I was making.

Jonathan Levy@110

I'd like to tackle this one. When an Aes Sedai refers to "melding" the flows, she is talking about a circle where each member is actively channeling. This does not happen with sul'dam and damane. It could, most certainly, if the sul'dam knew she could channel. Since she is not channeling herself, she cannot draw upon the damane's channeling. The sul'dam doesn't control the weaving, she is only controlling the damane's access to and directing her activity with saidar.

Bottom line, to control flows in a link, you must be embracing the Source yourself. Sul'dam do not control the flows. Their untrained ability gives them the power to inflict sensations on the damane, as well as blocking their access to the Power. That's about it.


Gai'shain are not slaves. They are not servants. They are obligated. It is a cultural norm due to their adherence to Honor and Obligation, and bears no resemblance to slavery.

The ebook cover article is up here guys. I'd post a link, but Torie still thinks my links need to be investigated.
James Hogan
143. Sonofthunder
Free@142, bouncing off your gai'shain comment, the Aiel are suitably horrified when they discover the Shaido are taking wetlanders gai'shain. Wetlanders do not follow ji'e'toh and thus cannot be made accountable to Aiel cultural practices. Jordan shows this as a Shaido perversion.

Shaido dogs!
144. BenM
mdrew @ 78: I don't remember seeing you here before, so welcome. That said...

'I concur on the issue of the DNM alliance and invoke Rosenberg's Law: "Thou shalt not make treaty with slavers, ever."'

So, what, better to let the world come to an end and everyone die, rather than align yourself with people you don't like? (And then fight them later, after TG.)
145. Subbak
RobMRobM@129: Uh, I wouldn't call it slavery if you are free to walk away at anytime (but pay the price with your honor). Also, except during Sevanna's reign over the Shaido, Aiel never took gai'shain who didn't accept their fate, and especially not non-fighters.
I'm not saying Aiel are a bunch of care-bears (as you said, they have excessive hatred of tree-killers, mostly beacause they cannot understand that wetlander society is considerably more individualist than theirs), but really, it's nothing in comparison to the Seanchan.

Now, on the various concept of Seanchan slavery. The so'jhin are widely accepted as "not that bad". The low-level da'covale seem to shock more people here, but really, is it considerably worse than poor working classes? The concept of ownership is despicable to us because we live in a world where slavery is almost non-existent, and (at least in countries where most people here live), there are unions, laws limiting the work hours, pensions, ect... In Randland there are no such thing, so I'm not sure working in a Tairen lord's estate is preferable to cleaning the seers of Ebou Dar for Seanchan.
I believe that both type of da'covale can remain part of Seanchan society even if there is an alliance of forces of the Light. The change will come by itself from contact with Randlandians (remember, if they make Randland kings & queens High Blood, it means that eventually ruling class will have a different point of view).
However, damane cannot be justified by society the same way. Damane are not enemies or members of less-advanced societies captured to be made slaves (I'm not saying that would make it okay, just more understandable). They have all been born in Seanchan families, and lived normally for several years before being collared. The fact that society is ready to accept this dehumanization of 2% of its population is really disturbing.
Even nazis had a much harder time killing handicapped people, who could be born in any family, than ethnic groups such as Jews or Gipsys who could be presented as the enemy. The fact that the Seanchan people reacts less than the German people during the third Reich make them a truly evil society (as opposed to just a bunch of sheeps), at least in my eyes.

Disclaimer: I think it's clear from the text anyway, but I'd rather repeat it than start a flamewar for no reason: I am in no way saying that genocide or slavery is excusable. However, there are some utterly evil practices that, when they have been a part of society for long, take a particularly free thinker to shake off. These do not make individuals evil per se. The ability to treat members of their own families, who they have known for long, as less than human, does.
Tricia Irish
146. Tektonica
A brief Man-O sighting! @140. hit and run....
147. Mithraz
I don't have any specific theories as to what might cause Tuon to channel, i just have a gut instinct that she will.
I think there are(at least) two problems with this though:

1)She has a moral problem with channeling. She has compared it to theft and murder, and quite clearly thinks that anyone who channels is incapable of doing so without being tempted to use that power for their own ends. Its a fairly classic 'power corrupts thing.

2)She clearly believes that the social stucture of the empire is the best available, and that its her duty to maintain it. The Empress, may she live for ever(!), to all intents and purposes, IS the Empire.
She is far more important to the cohesion of society than rulers on the other side of the sea. Her rule is absolute in a way that is replicated no where else. Even the Amyrlin has to wash people's feet.
As such, the example she must set in the execution of her duties must be impleccable. The very thought of the Empress being marath damane would cause chaos.

The first point i'm sure she could overlook in the name of duty, she did, after all, want to steal the Bands maps and their crossbow thingy. It is also the case that there isn't a person who ever lived who wouldn't steal food when starving, or kill to protect their children. I'm pretty sure she has a moral tipping point just like the rest of us. She isn't Galad.

The second is trickier. She would have to find a reason to channel that was more compelling than her duty to her empire. What that might be I dont know, but I'm convinced something will happen. She will be forced to make a choice: channel and destroy the foundation of the country she was born to lead, or let something even more catastrophic happen.

I believe she will choose to channel, it just makes sense:)
Heidi Byrd
148. sweetlilflower
Its interesting how many people log-on and comment around this time on Tue and Fri. We're all lurking and waiting with bated breath for the "latest post" section to show us the next installment. I don't know why, but I find this trend very funny.
Theresa Gray
149. Terez27
M-O-M@140 - Thanks for the welcome! It's good to be here. Theoryland is boring lately.
Heidi Byrd
150. sweetlilflower
Sooooo...I am a very tired mother whose 2 yr old has decided to stop taking naps which means I stay up late trying to get stuff done without him. That is my official excuse for thinking today was Tuesday. Sigh.... I miss naptime :(
151. BenM
I just remembered something interesting. An old form of slavery (not that I've ever been a fan of slavery in any form, I must hasten to state) that is about as un-icky as it can ever be. The Hebrews in ancient times would allow people to be sold if they couldn't pay their debts. It allowed them to pay the debts, and still get food and shelter. And they and their families were automatically freed in ... 7 years, I think it was. (Even their land reverted to the original family owners every 50 years.)
152. parabola

Not only must the master provide food and shelter, but the example given is that if the master only has one pillow, the slave must get it.

And upon release, the master gives major monetary gifts to the newly freed slave.
153. birgit
I know that slavery is a hot topic, but why are we all approaching this any differently than any other culture-difference?

My theory is that for Americans slavery is a sensitive topic because of its role in American history, just like Germans are always careful about Nazi references.
Some people complain about the hereditary part of slavery, but how is that any different from the social position people in other societies are born into? In most historical societies a person's role was determined by birth. The way Tairen nobles think of commoners is historically more realistic than the situation in the Two Rivers that we prefer because of our own present-day values. Fantasy usually has a medieval setting, where a stratified society is natural.
Maiane Bakroeva
154. Isilel
Subbak @145:

I'm not sure working in a Tairen lord's estate is preferable to cleaning the seers of Ebou Dar for Seanchan.

If you don't like working for a Tairen lord, you can leave. And if you are talented, diligent and lucky, you can make something of yourself. As a slave, you don't have this option. IMHO, it is self-explanatory.

And BTW, the Seafolk et al. whom Seanchan enslaved and forced to clean sewers while wearing chains _did_ have much better, skilled jobs previously. Ditto the Illuminators who dared to try to protect their trade secrets. Ditto everybody whom the Seanchan enslaved this side of Aryth Ocean.

I really don't understand why you folks defend slavery, of all things. Yes, on certain development stages of society it is inevitable, but Randland is far beyond them. On that level, it is despicable and shouldn't be tolerated, IMHO.

And yet again - it is all well and good to say that Randlandians must concentrate on TG, but in practice they won't be able to do so wholeheartedly, as long as they know that they'd have to fight with Seanchan immediately afterward or be enslaved, and they'd need to have some reserves left for that. It is just human nature.

Freelancer @142:

The sul'dam doesn't control the weaving, she is only controlling the damane's access to and directing her activity with saidar.

Except for Tuon, apparently. She seemed able to take over Joline's ability and directly control the weave in KoD. I seriously wonder what that means and whether it has something to do with Semi/Anath saying something re: how dangerous Tuon could be to the DR.

Speaking of Bashere, I dunno why I suspect him of DFness, the "Forsaken" inner quote not-withstanding. And didn't we have some similar inner quotes from other DFs? I know Verin was a special case, but wasn't there somebody else too?

Of course, his appearance with Taim and their strange interplay are kinda suspicious. As is the fact that not only did Bashere very suddenly throw his support behind Rand, neglecting his other duties, but that could be ta'veren.
But that he never tried to bring Tenobia over to Rand's side and in fact did nothing to reduce her ire at his sudden desertion, seems strange to me. Also, while Bashere is clearly able to stand up to Rand, he doesn't do it often enough. For instance, he didn't say anything about the necessity of bodyguards to Rand.
I mean, the many times Rand got hurt and nearly killed because he didn't have bodyguards - I'd have expected an experienced and loyal general to say something and, in fact, insist.

Then there is the strange quote about it being Demandred's task to watch Rand. Yet it becomes clear in the later books that Demandred hadn't been around Rand (or the BT) personally, so he must have been using a proxy, and who could that be? Taim? He barely saw Rand. Ditto his minions. Weiramon? He didn't seem to be around Rand nearly enough. Bashere, though...

And the dark thing that Min saw around Bashere clinched it for me. Also, he has to die along with Tenobia, for Faile to become the Queen of Saldea, which the whole "she learned to truly be a noble when captive of the Shaido" thing seems to be aiming at.

Birgit @153:

In most historical societies a person's role was determined by birth.

Not rigidly determined. And there is reason why Europe that largely abandoned slavery and serfdom early, far outstripped societies that continued to practice them. Free people are more productive and more determined to protect their country. Yes, even in societies that have nobility, etc.

Also, the flip coin in RL societies where slaves could rise high while remaining slaves, was that law meant even less than elsewhere and everything depended on the whims of those in high positions. In the end, everybody was treated as a slave and had to abase themselves as one, whether technically free or not.
Tricia Irish
155. Tektonica

Thank you for those musings on Bashere. I've always felt something fishy there too and just couldn't put my finger on it. You've mentioned several "odd" instances of Bashere acting out of his "General" character. The Demandred theory is new and rather interesting....he has an army....he's close to Rand....ummmmm.

Edit to add: Bashere is smart and crafty and is not going to have a big red X on his chest like Weiramon. I know he's spent his career in the Borderlands, defending against the Dark hordes, but might he not be more susceptible to their "influence" there too? Whether sought or forced upon him?

I suspect most of us don't want to believe Bashere could be a DF, but, I don't know...I'm suspicious. This would be a major miss on our part if this proves to be true.
156. parabola

You are correct, the Seanchan are engaged in a horrible practice. I don't think anyone's defending slavery, just trying to put it in perspective as to why the main characters might disagree with it but don't find it worth fighting tooth and nail.

I am curious why you assume that WOTland has advanced beyond the developmental stage of understanding that slavery might be wrong, but failing to go out of one's way to fight it.
157. parabola
If I could register, I'd be able to edit...

Just wanted to add that reading some comments I missed, Isilel@107 and scott-swampy@109 I agree 100%.

I'm waiting for Mat and Rand's influence to turn the Seanchan society on its head.
Tricia Irish
158. Tektonica
Parabola....why can't you register? You are most welcome to "go gray". Top right of the home page. (good name, btw....better grab it!)
Daniel Goss
159. Beren
@157 Parabola
I think you might be waiting a long time. I don't see how we have time for a cultural revolution before Tarmon'Gaidon. In addition, even if Tuon does start channeling it would not immediately emancipate all of the damane. This is a culture with hundreds of years of ingrained thinking, and even if the empress herself declared every single damane free it would take time for the decree to have any practical effect. First of all, think of all of the absolutely broken damane out there who think of themselves as WMDs on a leash. I'm not sure we want them off of that leash without some serious training on how to reintegrate themselves into society. In addition, there will always be holdouts whose worldview simply will not allow the possibility of these marath'damane running around free. There will be plenty of those willing to take matters into their own hands.

While I'd love to see the practice of keeping channellers on a leash abolished . . . I just don't see it happening. Not any time soon, anyway.
Tess Laird
160. thewindrose
Gathering Clouds -tPoD:
Bashere caught him before he reached the pass. The man's bay was small-most of the Saldaeans rode small horses-but quick. "No Seanchan here, it seems," he said almost idly, stroking his mustaches with a knucle. "But there could have been. Tenobia's likely to have my head on a pike soon enough for following a live Dragon Reborn, much more a dead one."
Rand scowled. Maybe he could take Flinn, to watch his back, and Narishma...

Times are, you seize the advantage and rise on," Bashere growled. "Other times, you take your winnings and go home. I say it's time to go home."

Bashere has a POV in A Time For Iron and it doesn't point to him being a friend of the dark:
He had patterened his movements on what he had studied of the Trolloc Wars, when the forces of Light seldom came anywhere near the numbers they had to face. Slash at the flanks, and run.

Also, we don't have anyone but Rand Mat and Bashere who know about the Sammael plan until it happens. I would think if Bashere was a mole, we would have had someone else think about it, or try countering it. So I am not seeing 'dark' yet...

Bashere also has a good idea about who is trust worthy and who is not. Gedwyn, Rochaid, Taim, Anaiyella, Ailil, Weiramon - on the not trust worthy list. Flinn, Morr and Narishma are alright, he took a good liking to Mat, and I think to Perrin as well.(Hey he knows all three, and they all respect him, so I do admit it would be quite a coup for the Shawdow to get him on it's side.)
He also gets on well with the Aiel - Bael is a close friend.

Valentin M
161. ValMar
Interesting discussion on the Seanchan slavery.
All forms of slavery they practice are wrong and I hope they don't last much longer. But I was always bemused by some people declaring their whole society evil because of this.
What am I to think of the protagonists in the stories/films I read and watch set in the Wild West, Seminole wars, the Alamo? Should I dismiss all the Romans as evil and don't bother with them? Or Carthage, France, Britain, Spain, Belgium, Venice...

There are several other factors which earn the Seanchan further "black points" and which would make them very difficult allies. Their entrenched views on channelers, ruthless secret police... Also, some of their positive attributes are a bit overstated. Isilel made very good points on how quickly and violently their Empire fractured, and how little prior interference they had from the Shadow.
But from what we have seen from individual Seanchan, they are just regular folks. They have some unpalatable views, but remember what common views were towards women up to 1-2 centuries ago in Europe and America. When one is raised in a particular culture certain moral values are ingrained. Let's see how the Seanchan react to what they see in Randland. Some of them are already reconsidering...
Roger Powell
162. forkroot
Parabola - By all means go gray! Just keep the following guidelines in mind when you post:

1) Beware of circular arguments
2) Go easy on the ellipses ...
3) Avoid hyperbole

Conically yours
Daniel Goss
163. Beren
Yeah, go grey. Don't be a square!
(yes, I shamelessly steal funny ideas.)
Sam Mickel
164. Samadai
Forkroot, Beren,

So we are heading for shape jokes now, really? lmao
Daniel Goss
165. Beren
It's Wednesday. We're trying to get over the curve.
Don Barkauskas
166. bad_platypus
Parabola - By all means go gray! Just keep the following guidelines in mind when you post:

1) Beware of circular arguments
2) Go easy on the ellipses ...
3) Avoid hyperbole
...and don't lose focus!
Daniel Goss
167. Beren
If you can follow all of this advice, then the rest is as easy as pi(e)!
Don Barkauskas
168. bad_platypus
Re: Bashere thinking "Forsaken"

tSR, Ch. 38: Rianna, Asne, Jeaine, and Liandrin all refer to "the Forsaken" in their conversation.

tFoH, Ch. 18: Liandrin thinks when meeting Moghedien
Why one of the Forsaken---they were not supposed to use that name, but usually did, among themselves...
So just thinking "Forsaken" is not a good indication of "non-Darkfriendness". It's clear that no (sane) Darkfriend would call the Forsaken that to their faces, but Darkfriends clearly use the term in their thoughts and in conversation among themselves.

That being said, I personally don't believe that Bashere is a Darkfriend. It will be interesting to find out.
James Hogan
169. Sonofthunder

I can't believe y'all..

No more of this - I'm at my limit, I tell you!!
170. alreadymadwithTuon
Beren @159
Chances are, Tuon starting to channel will simply get her collared, as even members of the royal family are not above the prejudice against channelers. Also the Empress essentially rule with the support of the High Blood, all of whom are in line for the throne. An Empress that channeled would quickly lose the support of the High Blood, and the most influential or powerful of them would rapidly rise to take her place.

As for Bashere, Tenobia and Faile:
I don't believe Bashere is a darkfriend. He may die, or he may not, no opinion really, either way. I'd rather Tenobia did not die so Faile can take the throne of Saldaea. I really don't see how her lessons on being a noble can point to a future as queen of Saldaea. She has enough flaws that need correcting without having to be groomed as a future queen.
Daniel Goss
171. Beren
Which was my point. There is no quick, easy fix for Seanchan at this time. Being on the main continent will most likely have the effect of gradually eroding prejudices (unless they take over the whole thing) but it will definitely not happen overnight. And as I was saying, even if Tuon were to suddenly have a change of heart (whether due to her own channelling or other, outside factors) and immediately declare all channelling to be perfectly safe and harmless, and even if she were able to keep her position after such a radical change in policy, there is no way that she could possibly enforce such a declaration immediately, due to the reasons I already cited.
172. Megaduck
Sonofthunder @ 169

Oh these jokes are pretty plain but don't worry, I think this line of thought is almost at an end. Parabola probably got the point.
Hugh Arai
173. HArai

And yet again - it is all well and good to say that Randlandians must concentrate on TG, but in practice they won't be able to do so wholeheartedly, as long as they know that they'd have to fight with Seanchan immediately afterward or be enslaved, and they'd need to have some reserves left for that. It is just human nature.

So you're seriously claiming that Rand should want the two main battle forces of the Light to fight it out and seriously weaken each other before TG? Just to avoid worrying about a conflict afterward? I think you need perspective.
Captain Hammer
174. Randalator
ValMar @161

There are several other factors which earn the Seanchan further "black points" and which would make them very difficult allies. Their entrenched views on channelers, ruthless secret police...

Their views on channelers are a very good reason why this alliance is absolutely necessary. It's difficult to uphold these views once you've fought side by side with channelers for the survival of mankind and creation itself.

Also, some of their positive attributes are a bit overstated. Isilel made very good points on how quickly and violently their Empire fractured, and how little prior interference they had from the Shadow.

The way I understood it there was quite some meddling by Ishamael. After all he claimed to be the one who sent Luthair to Seanchan in the first place. I can't imagine that he would just leave it at that and a little tinkering with prophecies.

And the volatile nature of their society doesn't reflect negatively on the fact that they invented the whole concept of the welfare state, for example. It is more a result of their political structure, anyway, which obviously is baaaaaaaad, bad, bad, bad, although the fact that the whole imperial family was wiped out clearly exacerbated things gravely. Usually, Tuon just would have become Empress (and would have had to dodge a couple of bullets from her siblings, most likely), but overall it would have been a relatively clean thing. But with the line of succession effectively cut (all dead, save Tuon who is unavailable which basically amounts to the same thing) civil war was to be expected, really.

Also, I don't think Randland would react any differently to that kind of power vacuum if it was a single nation with, say, Cairhien-style daes dae'mar. Cairhien, too, went *kaboom* within mere hours when Thom offed Galdrian.

But from what we have seen from individual Seanchan, they are just regular folks. They have some unpalatable views, but remember what common views were towards women up to 1-2 centuries ago in Europe and America. When one is raised in a particular culture certain moral values are ingrained. Let's see how the Seanchan react to what they see in Randland. Some of them are already reconsidering...

Absolutely right. There is a long list of things wrong with Seanchan but none of them are irreparable. Not to mention that it all comes down to a choice between a world of suck and no world at all. Which really isn't that much of a choice. You always have a shot at repairing the suck, but the non-existence...? Not so much...
175. Freelancer

Groan-worthy. Some thoughts should be circumvented.


Focus, or locus? I know, the lines get exponentially worse...


Some would say that was an irrational statement.


That's asymptotic of midweek twitches.
Jennifer B
176. JennB
Isilel @107 re the US and slavery
Once again thank you for stating what I was thinking. Especially since you word it so much better than I would have.

Exactly. :-)

In my opinion, alot of people have expressed dislike for certain aspects of Seanchan society and alot of other people have misinterpeted that to mean dislike of Seanchan people. The people and the institutions are not the same. In my comment, I tried to specify that I meant the institutions and not the people by using the word culture, but this may not have been clear enough.

The reason I do not like Tuon yet is because I feel she has been given plenty of opprutunity to grow and she has not. When she was first introduced on the ship, I liked her despite her being the ultimate Seanchan slave owner. Once she had been exposed to Mat, uncollared channelers, and other Randlanders for an extended period of time and she had not had an epiphany, I decided she had some serious growing to do. I think that she will eventually get there.

Many people have brought up Seanchan history. I would like to point out that what we know of Seanchan history is from the warped perspective of a ruling class that was heavily influenced by Ishamael. What I am referring to is that Artur Hawkwing was biased against Aes Sedai by Ishy. He also believed that the world should be united under one rule (his of course), a belief that was probably also influenced by Ishy.

It is very likely that Luthair came to Seanchan and discovered something similar to present day Randland. Seanchan was a large continent broken into many nations, inhabited by diverse people and cultures. Some nations probably warred with each other on a regular basis, while others were peaceful.
The main difference is the lack of a White Tower. I would guess that many of the nations were probably ruled by channelers. Luthair came to conquer. He saw himself as bringing order to chaos when he consolidated all the independent nations into one under his rule. He was already biased against channelers and the fact that they were probably the leaders in the defense against his conquering army made them even more villainous in his eyes.

My guess is that pre empire Seanchan was not as bad as we are led to believe by the history written by its conquerers.
177. parabola
Thanks for the words of encouragement and wisdom. I will try to hold off on the ellipses, but I do enjoy using them. They mirror how I talk... with many pauses.
Roger Powell
178. forkroot
Hey parabola! Welcome to grey! And don't worry about ellipses ... I'm one of the worst offenders myself!

I was just trying to be clever. Other posters picked up the geometric angle (so to speak) but I don't think everybody picked up on the fact that the puns involved the other three conic sections.

Eclectic Fork™
179. Kutulu
(Apologies if someone already brought this up... got here late.)

The whole shift in Jordan's depiction of the Seanchan, to me, seems to be a result of the series going on much longer than he originally planned. The Seanchan that Rand drove back into the sea in TGH is significantly different from the one that returns a few books later.

In TGH, Jordan isn't even slightly subtle about the parallel between the Seanchan and the Dark One. Rand's fight with Ishy has a direct effect on the Heroes fight with the Seanchan, as if they were collectively the physical avatar of the DO. Even outside of the battle, they are depicted as irreparably evil for all of the reasons Leigh mentioned.

From the minute they reappear and we start seeing POV scenes from them, they are suddenly depicted as people that believe very strongly in the Light, and fight against the DO every bit as much as the Randlanders; they're depicted as just misguided adherents to some ugly traditions that are being eroded even as we watch.

IMO, this looks a lot like Jordan realized somewhere in the middle of book 3 or 4, that he painted himself into a corner with the Seanchan. He realized that they would eventually need to be an alliance, or at least a cease-fire, with the Seanchan, but as they were written in TGH, none of our heros would be willing to be in the same room with them. But magically, in TFoH, Elayne and Nynaeve not only put up with, but *befriend*, a Seanchan with only minor (for Nynaeve) reluctance. If Jordan always planned for the Seanchan to play out the way they have been in the second half of the series, then he seriously blew their introduction. It's the one major distraction I always run into when re-reading the Matt/Tuon storyline, that any of the good guys can even be civil to Tuon given not only her beliefs, but how she acts on them w/ the AS.

180. Demira
Although Seanchen traditions of slavery are distasteful to put it mildly, the clash between the two cultures,(mainland and Seanchan), will only have one resolution. The end of collared Damane, and Da'acoval. I believe it inevitable. I think the end of RJ's beloved WOT would not end with this issue between the two unresolved. Rand already said it was a point he would not concede.
( I love how he said that and stood up to Tuon by the way).

So many surprising things happen in this series I have no doubts that the final resolution between the two cultures will be dramatic. I love trying to guess what might happen nex.t Everyone's ideas make me wonder and expand upon.

The idea of Tuon eventually using her unused channeling ability and Egwene's dream of being saved by a Seanchen makes me think the Seanchen may yet become the heroes in the end. But Tuon must concede.

I look forward to see the amazing things Rand will do with the power that somehow save the day. Even using it to save himself. Time and again he shows the Rand we knew walking on the Old Quarry Road with Tam is still there. Rand, the man is still there, even at this,a very dark moment in his life.
I have been drawn from the beginning to Rand's sense of duty. His responsibility he feels for the protection of the people is so Rand. He IS the son you raised Tam! Never fear he will show!

The most exciting thing of all is we not only get to see Rand grow, change, overcome, and most of all, learn to love,we get to see all the characters we love grow and change in some profound way.

I'm hooked totally and completely.
I appreciate the discussion
Thomas Keith
181. insectoid
Saw the eBook cover. Nice.

You think twitching for a new post is bad? Somebody is having their 24th naming day Friday, and there will be cake and goodies in the bunker. :)

Fork @162 et al: LOL!! I took geometry in high school, but don't remember a lot about the conic sections, other than the names and shapes. I guess I didn't focus enough!

Heidi Byrd
182. sweetlilflower
@forkroot 162

What's wrong with circular arguments? They always equal one!

I couldn't help myself, I really couldn't :)

Edit: I thought about this post this morning and realized that the formula for a circle equals the radius squared. It is ellipses and hyperbolas that equal one.
Scott Kelson
183. scott-swampy
@all Everyone seems to be *twitch*ing hard this week. The whole post kind of went pair shaped on us...

I'm sorry. Really i am, but i couldn't help my self.

BenM@151 It was after 70years i think. It almost always worked in lot's of seven. This is because in the bible the number 7 is used to represent heavenly perfection(hence 666 for the devil, because he fall's short of perfection).

Freelancer @142 Glad to hear it, about Google. And adding to your other point, further proof of this is the fact that when Nyn had Moggy trapped Suian Tried on the A'dam and could sense Moggy but not channel through her.

Kutulu @179 I think RJ addressed this in his blog or question of the week at some point. He said that the RandvIshy fight reflected the battle below was due to the fact that the Seanchan army was, at that stage, being commanded by a DF-our friend who got rapped by the death watch guards at the end of knife of dreams, her name escapes me.
Theresa Gray
184. Terez27
scott-swampy@183 - Brandon is the one that implied that about the Rand vs. Ishamael fight, that it was because the Seanchan were led by a Darkfriend. It was a paraphrased report, though, so I'm not sure if Brandon meant to imply that was in the notes or not. The way that the question was phrased was basically 'Were the Seanchan inherently evil? Because this.' And Brandon says, 'nothing is inherently evil in WoT except the Dark One, blah blah blah'. He might have just been making a suggestion as to a reason that might be logical.

Ktulu@179 - There is some foreshadowing in the very first book that makes it clear enough that RJ had this planned from the beginning. The prophecy about binding the nine moons, for example, and the foreshadowing of Justice being hidden in the abandoned stedding. I don't think he blew their introduction at all; they were introduced in that way so that we would see them as evil; they were always intended to make the point that cultures with evil practices are not inherently evil or full of evil people in any way. Sometimes evil ideas just have a way of being institutionalized, and revolutions are not easily come by.

@various, on the subject of the damane and da'covale revolutions, and how little time there is left in the series. Sometimes revolutions happen slowly, but in the right circumstances, they can happen in the blink of an eye. With the sul'dam secret sure to come out soon enough, the damane system is doomed to collapse. And Tuon is not any ordinary High Blood. She is the Empress. We don't know of any Empress that has been made damane before; she's probably the first to have ever been in this position. The Seanchan people practically worship the Empress because she represents the Empire. The conditioning for that is just as strong as the conditioning concerning the damane; the truth about sul'dam will probably serve to help Tuon make the necessary changes without too many ruffles. I can just see her, using her damane voice to convince them that it's okay to be free.
185. BenM
Scott@183: just looked it up, Exodus 21, it is 7 years, for fellow Hebrews, at least.
Benjamin Moldovan
186. benpmoldovan
Hey, I'm gray too! (Though it's not my preferred ajah ;)

Benjamin Moldovan
187. benpmoldovan
I was already registered. I wonder if I can change my username?

188. Jonathan Levy

I'd like to tackle this one. When an Aes Sedai refers to "melding" the flows, she is talking about a circle where each member is actively channeling. This does not happen with sul'dam and damane. It could, most certainly, if the sul'dam knew she could channel. Since she is not channeling herself, she cannot draw upon the damane's channeling. The sul'dam doesn't control the weaving, she is only controlling the damane's access to and directing her activity with saidar.

Bottom line, to control flows in a link, you must be embracing the Source yourself. Sul'dam do not control the flows. Their untrained ability gives them the power to inflict sensations on the damane, as well as blocking their access to the Power. That's about it.

Let me ask my question in another way. I see four possible explanations for how the A'dam works:
1) The sul'dam and damane are linked in the same way
that two Aes Sedai link.
2) The sul'dam and damane are linked in the same way that two Aes Sedai link, except that Ms. sul'dam is channeling 0 saidar.
3) The sul'dam and damane are linked, but it must be in a different way than Aes Sedai, because the sul'dam can't channel.
4) The sul'dam and damane are in fact not linked at all. The magic of the A'dam is what lets the sul'dam control the damane, not the fact that they're in a Circle. For an unknown reason the A'dam requires that the sul'dam be able to learn to channel - but not because she will be linked to the damane.

Your explanation (which I find very reasonable) suggests that 1 and 2 are not possible, and it must therefore be 3 or 4.

This would be a consistent and convincing explanation, except for two points, one strong and one weak.

Strong: When Moridin is thinking in his mind about the unpleasant surprises this Age has, one of the things he mentions is "involuntary rings". A Ring is the AOL term for a circle. A very reasonable assumption here is that he is referring to the A'dam, since there isn't much else that it could be.
But if we just agreed that the A'dam's mechanism is not (1) or (2), then it's not really a Circle (ring) is it?

Of course, it's possible that Moridin was thinking of something else entirely, or that he mistook the mechanism by which the A'dam works, or that he was thinking of the Domination Band, which has a completely different mechanism than the A'dam. But this feels like a bit of a cop-out.

Weak: It TGS, Egwene thinks to herself that the Seanchean cannot link, because the A'dam prevents it. Now if the damane is in a forced and unequal link with the sul'dam, this makes perfect sense. But if they are not linked, then why ever should six damane have any trouble linking with each other, with the melder's sul'dam in control?

I very much like the idea that the A'dam forces a link (option 2) with the sul'dam in control. It neatly explains why the sul'dam has to be a potential channeller. But I cannot square it with the fact that the damane controls the flows. This is the source of my confusion.

As for good old Caleb Ben-Yefune, I was always amused by the meaning of his name. Literally: "Dog son of he-that-shall-be-evicted".
189. Freelancer
Jonathan Levy

The damane controls the flows for the obvious reason that the sul'dam doesn't have any idea that it is within her to do so. You can't control what happens in a circle unless you are embracing saidar yourself. It isn't that they can't, it's that they don't, because they don't know that they can.


Servants had to be offered freedom after seven years. If they decided they preferred to remain in service to their master, they would be marked, and then they were permanent servants:
If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.

And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.
~Exodus 21:2-6

You're correct about the sevens, but BenM is correct about the Jubilee:
And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.

And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.

For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.
~ Leviticus 25:8-12

In practice it was very much different than the slavery thought of today. Usually someone who could be bought as a servant was either under criminal punishment, or was destitute and had no better options, so offered themselves in service. They were not treated as chattel, in fact the proscriptions against mistreatment were exceptionally harsh. A servant could go to a legal authority with a valid complaint, as long as he had at least one other witness. Just saying.
Theresa Gray
190. Terez27
Jonathan Levy@188 - The 'involuntary rings' to which Moridin referred are probably the questioning methods of the Black Ajah (with which he is well-acquainted, having been free of the prison well before the rest):

TITLE - Knife of Dreams
PROLOGUE: Embers Falling on Dry Grass

“Last night, Talene received an order to appear tonight before their ‘Supreme Council.’” Her mouth twisted around the words in distaste. “It seems that happens only if you’re being honored or given a very, very important assignment. Or if you’re to be put to the question.” Her lips almost writhed. What they had learned about the Black Ajah’s means of putting someone to the question was as nauseating as it was incredible. Forcing a woman into a circle against her will? Guiding a circle to inflict pain? Pevara felt her stomach writhing. “Talene doesn’t think she’s to be honored or given an assignment,” Yukiri went on, “so she begged to be hidden away. Saerin put her in a room in the lowest basement. Talene may be wrong, but I agree with Saerin. Risking it would be letting a dog into the chicken yard and hoping for the best.”

He might have been referring to the a'dam, but this seems more likely because it actually challenges the Age of Legends knowledge of the fundamental nature of linking, whereas the Seanchan simply use a ter'angreal to facilitate the link. I think that the latter probably doesn't amaze Moridin so much as that which challenges the 'superior' knowledge of his Age (which is, after all, the very subject upon which he pondered). Forcing someone into a link is supposed to be impossible:

TITLE - The Path of Daggers
CHAPTER:5 - The Breaking Storm

"This is dangerous!" Renaile broke in, shouldering roughly between Caire and Tebreille. Her scowl took in Nynaeve, Elayne, and the sisters standing off from the circle as well. "You say that one woman can simply seize another, hold her captive, use her? How long have you Aes Sedai known this? I warn you, if you try to use it on one of us – " It was her turn to be cut off.

"It doesn’t work that way, Renaile." Sareitha touched Garenia, and she and Kirstian leaped apart to make room. The young Brown eyed Nynaeve uncertainly, then folded her hands and took on a lecturing tone, as if addressing a class. With it came composure; perhaps she did see Renaile as a pupil right then. "The Tower studied this for many years, long before the Trolloc Wars. I have read every page that survives in the Tower Library of those studies. It was proven conclusively that one woman cannot form a link with another against her will. It simply cannot be done; nothing happens. A willing surrender is necessary, just as in embracing to saidar itself." She sounded absolutely definite, but Renaile still frowned; too many people knew how Aes Sedai could sidestep the Oath against lying.

Freelancer@189 - Do you think that Tuon can control the flows simply because she knows she can? That might be the case; I saw it rather more as a matter of skill, and I figured that most der'sul'dam probably have that skill, simply because it seems odd that Tuon would be the only sul'dam with this ability, but I suppose it's possible she's never shown the ability before. Otherwise, such a strange ability would be remarked-upon, I think. Also, during the whole scene it seems as if she states these facts about her control over their Power as if they are things that every damane must learn, as if she's said them before. Just an impression, but there it is.
191. Gorbag
@71. Freelancer

My name is Ishamael. My compatriots and I were attacked during a conclave of the shadow at Shayol Ghul, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Doncha mean, My name is Ishamael. My compatriots and I were attacked during a conference at Shayol Ghul and only I escaped with my life and with $13 Million dollars, which would ordinarily go to the Shadow Government unless you agree to put forward your name as heir ...

Light! It even agrees with some of the central motives of the Dark Friends we encounter in WOT!!!
Valentin M
192. ValMar

Re: Channelers and alliance. My point is that the Seanchan's rabid revulsion towards free channelers will make an alliance difficult to achieve. Once they work together it may well speed up the change we all want.

Re: Interference from the Shadow. The word I meant and should've used is "sabotage". Ishamael wanted Seanchan to become strong enough in order to launch its destructive invasion across the vastness of the ocean. Also, there isn't really Blight to deal with there.

Re: Cohesion of Seanchan society. My point was that for all their vaunted peace and stability it did fracture very quickly- 50 armies in the field and the capital in total chaos. But you are right, this isn't so exceptional. E.g. the Roman Empire- it's highly organised professional army often split up among different factions in the many civil wars, especially in the infamous 3rd century.
As for welfare and similar, I totaly agree. I always maintain that for regular Seanchan citizens life was rather reasonable, by the standards of their epoch. The Seanchan understand that this is important for their strenght and the state administration tries to maintain it.
After all, we've seen that military generals and mid-level nobles have to be very careful when dealing with commoner beaurocrats.
It's just that when this points are made, 20-21 century arguments are thrown back, and I wanted to spare myself...

Thanks for reading.
Chin Bawambi
193. bawambi
I have read every page that survives in the Tower Library of those studies. It was proven conclusively that one woman cannot form a link with another against her will.

Question for gurus:

I will admit that I just picked up this convo at the end but..do we have any Sareitha POV's in the text - what if she is lying and is black - just sayin'
Tricia Irish
194. Tektonica
Randalator@174: Off topic a bit....you made me think about Thom offing Galadrian....that would've been a wonderful scene to have witnessed. We haven't gotten a lot of Thom pov's, (one?), and have learned about him through small snippets from others. It would've been a nice MOA for him and not taken up too much space. I know, didn't happen, won't happen, maybe in the Tower of Genji.....

Parabola and Benpmoldovan: Congrats on going Gray....we welcome your commitment.

Demira@180: Looks like your an addict too. Time to go gray.

Insectoid@181: Ummmmm....birthday party, tomorrow? Oh boy! Cake! Have a great day and many more...hope you get a wonderful new long post from our fearless leader for your B'day.

I have nothing WOT related to add, but have enjoyed the discussion! Thanks all.
195. Jonathan Levy

Thank you very much for reminding me of that Black Ajah quote. I had forgotten it.

I'll grant you that it fits the description 'involuntary rings' better than an A'dam. But it doesn't fit so well on a "list of unpleasant surprises for Moridin in this age", because Moridin himself (as Ishy) founded the Black Ajah 2000 years ago, and has had plenty of contact with them since, and would have had plenty of time to get used to the idea of involuntary rings.

Still, your point is well taken, and it is a strong argument in support of the A'dam-is-not-a-link explanation.
196. parabola
I'm a little rusty on the particulars, but the nitpicker in me would point out that "one woman cannot form a link with another against her will..." but more than one might be able to.

Just realized that the whole debate is in regards to a'dam... oops.

I would still say that" one woman cannot form a link" allows for one woman using some intermediary to form a link.
Maiane Bakroeva
197. Isilel
Freelancer @189:

the wife and her children shall be her master's,

So the 7-year rule didn't apply to women who entered slavery unmarried and their children? They were slaves forever? Not so idyllic, was it?

Speaking of Tuon - she was clearly able to take over the channeling. Joline wasn't broken or conditioned to obey and in any case no verbal order was given.
This completely contradicts Egwene's experiences, where _she_ was in control of the weaving and in fact the training was aimed at making her obey orders to channel without question. And IIRC every time when we saw damane in battle, sul'dam were pointing targets for them and giving orders. With Tuon it seems that training isn't even necessary, since she just completely takes over. Like SGs with Moggi.

IMHO, Tuon has a specific Talent that manifests even on a not-quite- channeling level of an experienced sul'dam. Or maybe she became a blocked channeler and unconsciously hides it. She is unusually young for a sul'dam who is able to see the weaves too (and thus would be held by an a'dam). I wonder if she is still subject to testing.
And why on earth don't Seanchan relegate such matters as marriage or inheritance of the Empire or sul'dam training until _after_ the woman in 25 (though the limit is really 21 for women, according to the World Book), just to be safe.

for regular Seanchan _citizens_ life was rather reasonable, by the standards of their epoch.

Well, slaves aren't citizens. And in normal times lives of regular Randlandians in most countries are also rather reasonable. Those are not normal times, though.

P.S. Another idea re: sul'dam and how there should have been a lot of marathdamane found among them during training, as lateish sparks manifested. We don't know the ratio of sparkers to learners, but even 1:100 would be enough for it to be known to sul'dam. Yet they were completely and sincerely shocked that their had OP potential.

We have so often heard that something is imposssble and then it turned out to be very much possible. Maybe there _is_ a way to prevent a sparker from ever channeling and sul'dam training is it.
Maybe that's the reason for Tuon's oddities - that she is an arrested sparker. IIRC, her "omens" are also similar to Nyn's "Listening to the future", a diffuse form of Foretelling.
Chin Bawambi
198. bawambi
@ parabola - actually that works for me it shut Renaile up but she didn't answer the question that she asked in standard Aes Sedai fashion FTW!
Don Barkauskas
199. bad_platypus
One WoT thing:

1. Re: bringing channelers into a link involuntarily

Elayne thinks to herself that she should question Sareitha further on the issue, as "She [Elayne] had noticed a slight change in Sareitha's inflection at one point." She never follows up on this before Sareitha's death, however.

One non-WoT thing:

forkroot@178: Yeah, I noticed the conic section thing, which is why I went with "focus" as my contribution. I could also have commented on the "eccentricity" of some of the posters, but decided not to. I tried to work "directrix" into the conversation but somehow couldn't come up with a pun for that one. :-)
Daniel Goss
200. Beren
@197 Isliel
Maybe that's the reason for Tuon's oddities - that she is an arrested sparker. IIRC, her "omens" are also similar to Nyn's "Listening to the future", a diffuse form of Foretelling.

I love this idea. However, I'm afraid that even if this had been the case, with all the Aes Sedai around someone would have noticed the PowerGlow around her when reading the omens. Even wilders manifest this, and other channellers can tell that the wilder can channel, even if they're blocked.

On the other hand, I would still love to see an instance where Tuon, pushed to her limit physically and emotionally, DOES channel. Tuon the fleeing marath'damane would be a much more interesting character, I think.
Sam Mickel
201. Samadai
This link is pretty cool. although I am no subwoofer, and it is no rickroll.

Valentin M
202. ValMar
"for regular Seanchan _citizens_ life was rather reasonable, by the standards of their epoch."

Of course I don't include slaves here.

The Seanchan Empire is a complex culture. It clearly has some great accomplishments and things to be proud of. OTOH, at its core it is rather nasty and ruthless. As large empires tend to be. And then there is the slavey and other minor unpleasant customs.

The above paragraph can apply to many states in RL. I live in one with such history. As do most of the posters here. Up to a certain extent, naturally.
Captain Hammer
203. Randalator
Tektonica @194

Thom offing Galdrian onscreen would have been a Moment of Awesome but I tend to think that the whole thing happening offscreen in such an oblique way that a lot of readers even failed to catch it kind of awesomes the moment even more.

It's the assassination to end all assassinations because there is literally no witness, not even us.
Daniel Goss
204. Beren
Thom is a ninja. I give you:
Weapons hidden everywhere about his person.
Unusual dexterity/flexibility for someone of his (or any) age.
Excellent fighting abilities.
Ability to blend into any situation unobtrusively.
Knows the 'ancient ways' (stories.)
Hates pirates.
Can walk on water.
Can catch an arrow out of the air and hurl it back at his enemy with enough force to pin him to whatever building he happens to be standing against by one earlobe even if the building happens to be solid granite and the arrow is paper and the enemy has no ears.
Wait, what were we talking about?
Tricia Irish
205. Tektonica
Randalator@203: You are of course, correct, as I didn't get on my first read through. Maybe later in a recollection....maybe we'll still get it? RAFO. I do think his MOA will come in the ToM with Mo and Mat. I hope so!

Edit: Beren: LOL...I like Thon as a Ninja! He's got the knife throwing thing down, like he did with Nynaeve in Valan Luca's menagerie.
James Hogan
206. Sonofthunder
Tek@205, I didn't realize Thom had assassinated Galdrian until someone mentioned it on here during one of the re-reads. *hands head in shame*

EDIT for grammar.
Maiane Bakroeva
207. Isilel
Beren @200:

someone would have noticed the PowerGlow around her when reading the omens.

Nyn doesn't channel when she "listens to the wind" and/or to the future. Neither does Elaida when she has a Fortelling.
IMHO Tuon didn't channel. She should have been a sparker, but sul'dam training somehow arrested her manifestation. But she is closer than most sul'dam and has almost channeler-like abilities, like direct control over weaving that seems unique to her.

IMHO, the only way the sul'dam could be unaware of connection between themselves and damane (as they clearly were) would be if use of a'dam somehow prevented the sparks from coming out. And there should be many more sparkers among people selected for their channeling potential! We don't know the ratio of learners to sparkers - 10: 1? 50:1? But in any case they should have found marath'damane among sul'dam trainees much more frequently than among general populace. And it would have been impossible to hush up so completely.

My impression was that girls testing for sul'dam had to be a little older - at least of age, while they start to test for the collar at 12 or so. But not old enough to be "safe". So something must be preventing the late-bloomer sparkers among them from manifesting.

Oh, and BTW, how silly is it that sul'dam don't receive weapons training? There are many more of them than damane and yet when they don't wear the bracelet, they are a complete ballast, not even capable of defending themselves.
Valentin M
208. ValMar
Re Sul'dam weapon training.
Maybe because they had such an hounored position in Seanchan society that it was a taboo to attack them.
Eugenie Delaney
209. EmpressMaude

"Oh, and BTW, how silly is it that sul'dam don't receive weapons training? There are many more of them than damane and yet when they don't wear the bracelet, they are a complete ballast, not even capable of defending themselves."

You want silly? How silly is it that Saldaean girls are not "taught war, or the sword," but then constrained by a societal expectation that the officers' wives and ladies accompany their husbands and lords on military campaigns and even assume their commands if their husbands fall in battle.

That, THAT is ... silly.
Captain Hammer
210. Randalator
EmpressMaude @209

Saldea as a whole lies in the Devil's Triangle between silly, completely batshit insane and St. Loony-Up-The-Cream-Bun-and-Jam...
James Hogan
211. Sonofthunder

But their farmgirls make up for it all.
Captain Hammer
212. Randalator
Sonofthunder @211

As long as you don't have to put up with them afterward...
Maiane Bakroeva
213. Isilel
EmpressMaude @209:

Oh, yes, some months ago I have already ranted about the stupidity of Borderlander women and Saldean ones in particular not receiving weapons training and being totally helpless against frequent incursions of Shadowspawn if there are no or not enough men around. All the better to eat you, my dear!
Ditto all the other numerous cases where it would have been helpful to Randlandian women.

But Seanchan actually have female soldiers and sul'dam are part of the military! So, it is even more inexplicable, IMHO, that they are allowed to be so useless when not linked to a damane. And IIRC, their position isn't more honored than that of other officers or perhaps even NCOs? Didn't we have a POV of some sul'dam re: how insignificant she is in the scheme of things and how difficult it would be to convey Rand's message to the higher-ups?
diane heath
214. jadelollipop
okay my computer is working again so I can now comment on things discussed.
1. I like these chapters...I am ahead in the reading. Just finished prologue in COT
2. Re: Bashere --I am not sure about the darkness Min saw. I don't want him to die although that is preferable to being a DarkFriend. I don't think he is a DF. In the COT prologue a foreshadowing of his possible death is seen when he comes back to camp and finds that Diera had been stabbed. He runs to the tent
and only relaxes upon seeing her. "He knew she would die one day--they both would--but the only thing he feared was living without her". I am curious about the statement he makes to Tumad "You know where to find the man that came to me yesterday? Find him and tell him I agree..." Any one else recall what this is about?
3. Re: Tuon --I am a fan of Mat and Tuon. I think we see the effect of Mat on Tuon and changes will come to the Seanchan empress and the empire as well
I don't know if she will channel but knowledge of the fact that sul'dam can learn to channel would eliminate the use of the adam. (Setalle who was burned out not stilled could not be used as a sul'dam. Joline could not walk with the adam on her neck unless a true sul'dam was at the other end. It led to the alliance with Egeanin and added more to Mat's party) I am not sure what this means about how the a'dam works but you cannot leash a damane or another channeler (sul'dam) without having a channeler in the link.
4. Re: Raven tattoos. I thought they were more symbolic than literal. I do agree that if Mat becomes literally tattooed and hence property the explosion would match Dragonmount eruption. Egeanin did tell Mat that his gift to Tuon of the razor acknowledged his inferior social position. Maybe the Ravens in his case are a higher symbol...Prince of Ravens...maybe he would command the Seekers/Listeners etc...
Maybe the Seanchan questions were to be answered in the outriggers. All I know of it is that it takes place 5+ years after TG. Mat and Tuon have to bring peace to the empire...Mat the new Hawkwing...lol
Ron Garrison
215. Man-0-Manetheran
benpmoldovan @ 187: "I was already registered. I wonder if I can change my username?"

I haven't found a way to change my user name. I mis-spelled Manetheren when I first registered and tried to correct it before anyone noticed. Couldn't do it, but then no one noticed. Or else everyone was just too polite to say so. Yeah, that's probably it.
Tricia Irish
216. Tektonica

You could just pick a new name, register again using it, and abandon use of your current one, if you're determind to get a new name.

I think that is possible. Maybe you need a second email? I really don't know...just an idea.
Valentin M
217. ValMar
Another explanation on the sul'dam could be that there are plenty of them, and those not linked are well away from any fighting. Probably situations where sul'dam could make a difference with conventional weapons hardly ever arose.
But about borderlands women, I agree totaly. And the men there have this protective attitudes towards women which make Rand seem totaly reasonable.
Roger Powell
218. forkroot
I will admit that I just picked up this convo at the end but..do we have any Sareitha POV's in the text - what if she is lying and is black - just sayin'
It's highly doubtful that Sareitha was BA. When Elayne, Sareitha, Careane, and Vandene are captured, the BA prepares to kill all but Elayne. At that point Marillin identifies Careane as BA (which would have saved her life except for Vandene's final MOA.) I'm sure that if Sareitha was BA she would either have also been identified or spoken up on her own to avoid being killed.

I am curious about the statement he (ed: Bashere) makes to Tumad "You know where to find the man that came to me yesterday? Find him and tell him I agree..." Any one else recall what this is about?
I believe Bashere is talking about Logaine. At the time, Rand was MIA (this is after the attack on the Sun Palace) and it seems like Logaine had proposed that they go find him. Shortly thereafter we see them showing up in Cairhien looking for Rand.
219. Adriansedai
Reading the comments about the Seanchan culture and the general feeling that they are evil, I think I have to disagree.

Whilst the general details about various aspects of their culture are abhorent for our western sensibilities, it is a valid system of civilisation that works on values different to ours. We all try to accept the differences in cultures, races and religions in real life, but it seems to be acceptable to bash the Seanchan because their values don't match ours. I actually find that attitude a touch racist to be honest.

In our world we get upset when we hear about things that infringe on other cultures values. Wearing a Burkha might offend some peoples sensibilities with its connotations of female opression and subjugation, but I would defend a womans right to wear one if she felt the need, just as I would defend her right not to wear one if she didn't want to. Indeed, in Britain we defend our muslim friends from being tarred with the same brush as the people blowing up buses and flying planes into buildings. We are rightfully horrified that some people despise our way of life so much that they feel they have to resort to such extreme measures to try to destroy our lives and freedoms.

In different parts of the world alternative values apply. Cannibalism in some primitive tribes is considered to be a good thing, in Switzerland it is a monstrous crime committed by the insane and monstrously evil. Calling the primitive tribe evil is mistaken for a given value of evil. We can't even say they are mistaken, their moral compass is so far away from ours that we can't make a judgement.

I feel the same way about the Seanchan. Their culture works. The people are in many ways the same as us. The are born, grow up, work, marry and die. They have their own morality and social structure but it is very different from our own. People know their place in society the same as we do, it is just a different society. The fact that institutionalised slavery is so common doesn't even enter the minds of the general population as being wrong, it is normal. I'm sure that when slavery was abolished in the west there were many people who weren't slaves that couldn't understand what the problem was. They probably thought the abolishionists were mad for even bringing the subject up.

As a middle aged man I often find myself at odds with people 20 or so years younger because we share different values and opinion. I'm of the generation that was terrorised into respecting authority, from my parent to police and teachers by the fear of corporal punishment. I didn't misbehave in public or swear to my elders or play up in school because I knew that the adult in question would give me a smack, then my parents would have given me a spanking for daring to do something that got me a smack. I grew up to be a decent human being who loves his parents deeply. I certainly don't consider that it was any form of abuse. I actually think back on it as love, because a small amount of pain on my bottom prevented me from doing a lot of bad things because I knew what I would get if I didn't behave. As an adult working in the judicial system I see a lot of children coming through the courts who would have benefitted from a little tough love early on. They are foul mouthed, disrespectful and just vile. By the time they are adults they will be beyond any form of civilised behaviour.

However, the modern theory of parenting is totally different to the way I was brought up. I face a culture shock quite often when I see the way children are brought up now. I'm not saying that either system is better than the other, but it is why I can't understand Leah's attitude towards spanking. I was brought up with it and think it is a good think if applied properly, Leah loathes it with a passion that is almost holy. I respect Leahs position but I don't think either of us would be able to change the others viewpoint.

Now, if a mere twenty years can alter a society's moral compass to the point where certain aspects of that society have to agree to disagree, imagine how different two societies would be with several thousand years and a vast ocean seperating them.

I'm sorry to have taken so much space to make my point, but in my opinion the Seanchan society is no better or worse than any in the real world, it is just very different.
James Jones
220. jamesedjones

I started reading your post at 95, "but then, um, I just carried on living my life." Bonus points for the first to ID the movie that's from.

Seriously, though, I didn't read the post, but I'm just going out on a limb and guess that you still think LTT is a construct.

It's a response (for the most part since I saw some other handles in there) to Freelancer's post regarding the flaws in the LTT construct theory. Again, taking a huge leap of faith here, but I'm going to assume that Free's still not buying the argument (even with all of the additional comments you added to sweeten the deal at no extra cost).

Mostly, though, I'm just posting this out of bitter jealousy that I can't post that much stuff during the day. *sigh* Impressive devotion.

Still working on reading all of the comments. Lots of folks with lots of free-time this week. lol
Tess Laird
221. thewindrose
Hi jamesedjones! I am at work too! Whoo hoo. Uhh not really.
I do find I actually have more time to read and post when I am at work then when I am, say off with the kids. So I just wanted to make a generalized comment about people who are at work and don't have the books. I think that is legitimate. I am sure all the sites we visit during our work day are happy to have us visit and add up the tally of visits to the site - from advertising dollars to just a sense of pride that people are interested in what you have to say.
Soooo, I just wanted to make a comment that by prefacing a comment with I am at work so I don't have the books is polite, and many say that they would be happy to support the idea further when they get home, if one of the guru's haven't stepped in before this time(which usually happens).

I must get back to work now:)

Tess Laird
222. thewindrose
jamesedjones - google came back with Forgetting Sarah Marshall???

Thomas Keith
223. insectoid
Tek @194: ::waves:: Someone noticed! :D

Man-0 @215/Tek @216: Or you could beg the webmaster to change it. ;)

James Jones
224. jamesedjones
222 thewindrose

Yup. Brilliant movie... except for the last 20 mins.

I always picture Kristen Bell for Liandrin.
225. Freelancer

I've no idea about Tuon controlling the channeler's weaves. Perhaps she'd already realized in private what we all know now, that a sul'dam could learn to channel. She didn't seem surprised at the revelation, and just matter-of-fact stated that she isn't a damane because she chooses not to channel. Makes you go hmmm...


No, I didn't mean that. I meant what I wrote. Also, what?


Chesmal Emry wastes Sareitha in the house on Full Moon Street in Caemlyn (KoD). Only Careane was Black among those.


The cake is a lie
Samantha Garcia
226. dancingsam
Amen Vidulous 98! Well put.

I can't believe I've been oblivious to this place all this time...

Was going to post something longer but after reading probably only about 60% of all the comments I'm pretty damn exhausted! In a good way :)
Rob Munnelly
227. RobMRobM
Russell Brand as Fain? Mila Kunis as Min?
229. dancingsam

Not sure about the choices for Moghedien or Lan. Also this scares me slightly - don't think I'd want to see WoT turn into something like the Lord of the Rings films.
Noneo Yourbusiness
230. Longtimefan
Did not check the comments too thoroughly but it seemed to be focused more on the slavery/Seanchan thing so I am going to suspect that my comment has not already been made. (fingers crossed and hoping)

So Rand gets on his Hubris Horse and says “Nobody stands nose-to-nose with the Dragon Reborn."

Later he is knocked down by Bashere shouting
“Stop it! You’re killing us, man! Stop!”

Rand looks, and sees the lightning coming down on his own troops; stunned, he lets saidin go, and Bashere lets him up warily."

Apparently no one "stands" nose to nose with the Dragon but lying on him shouting nose to nose is something a crazy Saldean will do. And survive.

Making Bashere braver and better than the Forsaken.

I was trying to work out a funny way of writing this but today my brain is not working that way.
diane heath
231. jadelollipop
Forkroot @218 Thank you. I know Logain is at Sun Palace at end of Prologue of COT but memory fails to recall Bashere in Carhien at the moment.
Tess Laird
232. thewindrose
insectoid - Happy Birthday!!

IIRC you are fond of cats:) Enjoy your day!!

233. sushisushi
Isilel @213 That sul'dam was Falendre in the Prologue of TGS, who had been given a message by the Dragon Reborn for the Daughter of the Nine Moons. She was thinking that she was far too low down the hierarchy to easily get to see the heir to the throne, not in comparison with her fellow military officers. The audience Tuon has later on in the book does reinforce this, as Tylee barely gets in to see her, and she's now a member of the low Blood, not a commoner (all the non-Blood officers seem to spend half of this chapter prostrated on the floor...)
Ron Garrison
234. Man-0-Manetheran
Adriansedai@219: Interesting commentary. "Now, if a mere twenty years can alter a society's moral compass to the point where certain aspects of that society have to agree to disagree..." I am sad to say it hasn't even taken twenty years in the U.S. for it to become almost impossible to have a civil political disagreement!

Re. Spanking: I too was raised with discipline and got a couple spankings when I was really bad. After that, I learned. Never was I "beaten." Never was it in anger. And never was it abuse! There is a distinct difference between spanking and beating a child - a BIG Difference! (and I turned out pretty darn O.K.)

"We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology"
- Sting
Tricia Irish
235. Tektonica

As you say, the Seanchan have developed their own culture far far away from Randland. Remember too that it has been influenced and twisted through the eons by Ishmael through Luthair and others.

All that being said, the problem is that they're trying to bring their culture of slavery, leashing, Seekers, etc. to Randland.

If they want to keep their twisted ways, they need to go home, or adapt to new ways. Their beliefs do not mesh with those of Randland, and although they think themselves the superior culture, they need a good comeuppance, delivered by The Dragon Reborn and his faithful sidekick, Mat, to understand the errors of their thinking.

They need to find a new way to govern in a new land. Fear and subjugation won't work here.

Insectoid: The bunker's being decorated with Bunting as we speak....what's your favorite kind of cake? We'll have Suffa whip one up. She's been taking cooking lessons.
Ron Garrison
236. Man-0-Manetheran
Speaking of Suffa, tomorrow's chapter brings us Elaida!!! Wheeeee.
Theresa Gray
237. Terez27
insectoid@wherever - Happy Birthday!

bawambi@193 & bad_platypus@199 - Others have commented on the fact that we know that Sareitha is not Black, but the comment about her change in inflection was certainly a red herring designed to make us suspect her of being Black - the Adeleas mystery was introduced later in the book, and the suspects narrowed down to Merilille, Sareitha, and Careane. Sareitha was the favorite suspect because RJ put in a few red herrings for her, but really, Careane showing her face at the Kin's farm should have clued us in. Very chaos-inducing, that.

Tektonica@194 - We get 4 POVs from Thom actually; TGS chs. 26 and 34, and TSR chs. 4 and 17. TSR ch 4 is actually a whole chapter for Thom.

Jonathan Levy - First of all, what makes you think the Black Ajah came up with the link-forcing so long ago? And more importantly, since he's thinking about things that Third-Agers have come up with that Second-Agers never dreamed of, it doesn't matter if he did know about it so long ago. But it seems more likely he only learned of it recently.

Also, the a'dam is certainly a link, though it's an atypical one since the leash holder need not have actually begun channeling.

parabola@196 - Even Pevara thought that the link-forcing was 'incredible', in the true sense of the word (like, 'I can't credit that.') so it seems unlikely that Sareitha had any reason to hedge. Only the Black knows of the practice.

randalator@203 - There were no witnesses to Thom killing Galldrian, but part of me wants it to be at least rumored when he takes the throne, so...there is always the innkeeper. She seemed to know exactly what he was planning.

jadelollipop@214 - We know from TSR that the mark of the raven is forever, so it's unlikely that an exception would be made for Mat. More likely that it would cause the explosion that has been suggested previously (which is exactly the point - the explosion will guarantee the necessary revolution).

M-O-M@215 - I noticed. I even thought about saying something, but then decided not to be a Grammar Nazi, for once. ;)

jadelollipop@231 - Bashere wasn't in Cairhien; Logain was looking for Rand, so he went to Cairhien first, and then apparently he was told that Bashere would know where Rand was, so he went to Caemlyn looking for Bashere. I think the Aes Sedai that helped find Rand through the bond were essential, but perhaps they needed Bashere for a more exact location. Perhaps they only needed Bashere for legitimacy. In any case, apparently Logain made a proposition to Bashere, and after Bashere's camp was attacked (apparently by someone looking for the seals, like with Dobraine), then Bashere decided to take him up on it.
Ron Garrison
238. Man-0-Manetheran
Terez: "I noticed. I even thought about saying something, but then decided not to be a Grammar Nazi, for once. ;)"

I think you meant Spelling Nazi.

Oops. Did I say that out loud? :-)
Tricia Irish
239. Tektonica

LOL....So Rand gets on his Hubris Horse...... ."

Oh, I'm going to use that one!

adriansedai@219: Again....Man-O@234:

I'm with you on the spanking too. I had three, and I remember them all distinctly, and why I got them. They were very effective.....Not beatings, spankings, humiliating and crucial lessons. I was not afraid of my parents, I respected them and their far superior knowledge of the big good/bad world.

Some of my kids' friends' manners today are appalling. My kids are appalled.
Rude, selfish, thoughtless. Argh. What are their parents thinking? I always thought part of a parents job was to "civilize" the little animals!
**puts soap box away**

Terez: Thank you for those chapter refererences! BTW, I love it that you have Thom (and I assume Mo) taking the Cairheinian throne!
Roger Powell
240. forkroot
You put a lot of ideas out in that post and I do not have time to address all of them (I'm just sneaking a break at work); however I do offer the following:

You appear to be arguing from a position that there is no absolute morality (Technically speaking, the philosopher's debating point is the proposition: "Objective moral standards do not exist"). While I suspect that your position is distinctly the minority position in this forum, that doesn't make it invalid.

Since I happen to believe that there are objective moral standards, and I take it as an axiom (a stipulation, if you will), then it seems there's little to debate. Perhaps though, we can agree that any proposition or position should, at least, be consistent (i.e. does not self-negate.)

This helps dispose of statements like "All truth is relative, there is no absolute truth", which of course is self-negating. No worries though, I'm not accusing you of advancing that argument.

As I page down through your post though, I see that you have no problem making various statements of moral value as applied in different situations. From this, I conclude that your operating philosophy might be something like: "Although there are no universal moral standards, we may critique individual actions as being consistent ("good") or inconsistent ("bad") with the local cultural standards". (Apologies if this is putting words in your mouth, however I'm attempting to discern a consistent philosophical basis based on a single posting :-) )

Thus the cannibal kills and eats someone in New Guinea and that is "good" but were he to do the same in Switzerland that is "bad". Or a modern day English youth acts disrespectfully ("bad" to you, "good" or at least "acceptable" based on current English parenting theory?)

Sorry, I don't buy it and your examples provide the ammunition. In the first example, there are two widely separated groups with the differing moral standards, in the second the groups shrink. Taken to the logical extreme, consider the sociopath: He murders with any particular feeling that what he is doing is "bad" - thus by relativistic moral standards he can merely consider himself a society of one and his actions cannot be called "bad".

I would also like to point this out: Even were I to concede that actions should be judged within the prevailing moral framework, I would submit that within the WoT Universe we would then need to judge actions within the framework presented by Robert Jordan.

I can assure you that Jordan was no moral relativist! In fact, we have seen references to interviews with him posted in this forum where he was quite explicit in his belief that sometimes there aren't "shades of grey" and there really are things that are "good" and "evil".

A couple of more points: At one point you said
I feel the same way about the Seanchan. Their culture works.
The way you used "works" implies a value judgment that elevates some sort of abstract utilitarianism over the desires of the individuals involved. Under that sort of criterion, all sorts of despotic cultures could be considered to "work". The pre-civil war American South "worked", but we have rightfully rejected that.

Another thing you said:
Wearing a Burkha might offend some peoples sensibilities with its connotations of female opression and subjugation, but I would defend a womans right to wear one if she felt the need, just as I would defend her right not to wear one if she didn't want to.
I'd be right with you defending her right to wear or not wear one (assuming, of course, that she was free of coercion). It's interesting how we'd be allies on this one, you defending her on the basis of defending cultural relativism and me defending her on the basis of natural rights.

Gah! Here I was going to take a quick break, and I now realize that I've spent quite a bit of time on this response. Ah well ... props to you for putting something both well-written and controversial out there. I actually think we'd agree about a lot of things in practice.
Alice Arneson
241. Wetlandernw
AdrianSedai @219 or wherever it was - I agree with most of what you said. I definitely believe in absolute good and evil, and in definite moral standards, but to say that an entire culture is horrible because it doesn't fit with our current standards is vastly erroneous. It may be offensive to us because of our culturally-ingrained beliefs, but that in itself doesn't make it wrong or evil. But I don't have time right now to go into it. *sigh* Still, I'm with you (I think) in thinking that just because the assumptions of their culture are foreign and foolish/horrible to us, doesn't mean that we are any more right in all our cultural assumptions. Nor do we, in all honesty, have any business accusing them of being either hypocritical or evil, considering many of the things we accept without flinching in our own culture.

For the record, "hypocritical" has to do with saying (and sometimes acting as though) you believe something, while in fact you do not at all believe it. We fling the epithet of "hypocrite" around far too freely, when we do not really know what the person (or character) really believes. Tuon, for example, is acting in perfect accord with her beliefs, as taught by her entire culture for hundreds of years. The fact that she realizes that she could learn to channel does not make her a hypocrite. If she were to channel freely while with one group of people, and then when in her own culture still maintain that all channelers should be collared, that would be hypocrisy. Given her understanding of the world, the fact that she chooses not to learn and therefore is not a channeler and does not need to be collared is a completely legitimate stance. From our Randland-influenced understanding, she's not seeing straight; from her Seanchan perspective, we're nuts.
Theresa Gray
242. Terez27
M-O-M@238 - You know, I think about that every time I use the term in reference to a spelling error, but I use it anyway because language is an ever-evolving thing, and no one speaks of Spelling Nazis on the Great Interwebz. The fact that there is some irony in the term (yes, I used that word correctly) gives me some occasional amusement (because it is, after all, most often invoked in cases of spelling errors).

Tektonica@239 - I was going to link the POV index for you, but I didn't want to get marked as spam. I could test it, but I'm lazy. It's on the Theoryland forums in the Theoryland Database subforum.

Also, there is a quote in New Spring that indicates that the throne is dually held in cases where the true claimant is married; Moiraine mused that Laman had never married because being queen was not enough inducement.

wetlandernw@241 - The point that most of us were trying to make with 'hypocrisy' is that Tuon does channel freely. She does it via her damane, but what is the difference? The Seanchan philosophy is that people who are that Powerful should not be allowed to run around freely, but every single drop of their Power is harnessed and freely used by the Empire. The sul'dam use it freely, but they are less hypocrites than Tuon, who is essentially the Empire personified. Should there be laws concerning the use of the Power? Yes, there should be, and I see no problem with encouraging channelers to enlist in the military, especially now that a balance has come for the non-channelers in the form of Aludra's dragons (though of course, I see war decreasing a great deal after the Last Battle). But enslaving people who can channel is unjustified, and yes, even hypocritical. If channelers are dangerous, then sever them and be done with it, but to reduce a person to the status of a pet animal for no other reason than that they were born with a Talent that most people do not have, and then to take that Power and use it for your own purposes...that is the very height of hypocrisy.
243. Freelancer

I had to look three times. It really was you that posted that. Normally I expect to see Wetlandernw's name on a post that so closely resembles my thoughts on a topic. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the least surprised at you holding those positions. Do I detect some C.S. Lewis in there?
Thomas Keith
244. insectoid
Thanks for the well wishes; it's tomorrow by the way. ;)

Wind @232: Ohh cute!! :)

Tek @235: Chocolate!

Man-0 @236: And Alviarin. Eurgh.

245. Ouroboros
Whew, bad couple of weeks. I'm a few chapters behind on comments, not that it matters since 21-24 always seem to blur into one. I know that some people find this to be a miserable slog but I rather like it. I refuse to comment on what that says about my personality. :)

It's certainly necessary. If it weren't for bits like this Rand would have to suddenly flip into bad-Rand mode, and I had quite enough of that in Star Wars Episode Crap - sorry - IIIII. So, chops to RJ for giving us a good long term character development. I also love the Seanchan POVs.

To be honest, I didn't get much of a "Seanchan aren't too bad" vibe in the later books. There practices are as unpleasant as always and there for the seeing and most of the observers are not seeing them for the first time, so the initial shock has worn off. We're given enough passing comments to make it clear that said practices are still disapproved of though, and that's enough really.

parabola @ 6: Now I can't get Stallone's Judge Dredd voice out of my head: "I am the storm!"

Don't you mean Judge Elaida? "I am Tower law. – rapid weave"

meal6225 @ 10:

If there's one moment I'm looking forward to, it's this.

Egwene: I hate the Seanchan and there smelly Empress.
Mat: That's my wife you're talking about.
Egwene: [Very long silence] You're what?
... To be continued

JennB @ 20: Congratulations :)

@Many on Tuon, peace with the Seanchan, and ending slavery.

I've always thought that Tuon is going to have to endure an unpleasant moment - for her - that will serve as an epiphany. I.E. she needs something that will shock her into realising that most of her convictions are wrong. I don't think that this will happen gradually over time, but rather come in a great big eye opening lump. This will then bring about the necessary changes. It will also be much more fun than a slow eroding of her currently held views.

According to the Seanchan prophesies Rand must "kneel before the crystal throne". There's a strong possibility that this is just propaganda - we have no way of knowing how much editing went on - but it could just be referring to the physical act of kneeling down in front of the throne. It doesn't say anything about supplication and obeisance. It could mean "the Dragon Reborn must kneel before the crystal throne and use his power to bind whoever is sitting on it to follow him." In any case, the fulfilment of the binding the nine moons part of the prophesies could easily be what brings about her epiphany.

Lurking Canadian @ 28:

I never really thought that RJ was trying to make Tuon "cute". It's pretty clear that she's a ruthless woman with no qualms about removing threats. Remember that she wants to destroy Mat's map of Seanchan deployments in Altara, as well as get hold of a crank to copy. She also doesn't understand why Satalla has such a big problem with da'covale and damane. Not exactly what I’d call cute.

Freelancer @ 71: You rabble rouser you. :)

Freelancer @ 81: "Sean Connery FTW!"

Yesch, he'sch scho schplended.

Terez @ 85:

Hmm, that’s an interesting point. The best I can come up with is that the damane are more visible than the da’covale. That’s to say, most of the Westlanders have only encountered the military and have not spent much time around those who have da’covale. There are exceptions of course, Mat’s party for instance, and the whole Thera plot is a good example that they have not gone completely unnoticed.

I’m not sure which practice is worse. Their fear of channelers at least gives them a substantive reason for the treatment of damane. It’s certainly not a good one, but it’s a lot better than any justification of the treatment of da’covale. The really disturbing bit is when the da’covale kill themselves after Turak’s death in TGH. Talk about brain washing!

The other fact is that most of the observations of the Seanchan came from channelers, who are understandably biased as to which is the bigger problem.

On Mat.

Mat spoke strange words she almost understood - the Old Tongue, she thought - and two ravens alighted on his shoulders, claws sinking through his coat into the flesh beneath. He seemed no more aware of them than Perrin had been of the hawk and falcon, yet defiance passed across his face, and then grim acceptance.

IMO, this has already been fulfilled. The ravens on his shoulder represent his marriage to Tuon; she literally gets her claws into him. He was reluctant but has now accepted it. I suppose there could be more to it than that, but we’ve got a big enough shopping list to work through as it is. :)

Linda @ 104:


Tuon nodded. She herself was not sure at all. That sort of sureness could lead to the Tower of the Ravens even for her. Perhaps especially for her. “I must find a way to make contact with the Dragon Reborn as soon as possible. He must kneel before the Crystal Throne before Tarmon Gai’don, or all is lost.” The Prophecies of the Dragon said so, clearly.


How much had he fulfilled? He didn't seem blinded yet, so that had yet to happen. The Essanik Cycle said that he would stand on his own grave and weep. Or did that prophecy refer to the dead walking, as they did already? Certainly, some of those spirits had walked across their own graves. The writings were unclear, sometimes.

Is the Essanik Cycle separate from the Karaethon Cycle or are they considered to be one cycle? If they are two different things then the part about Rand kneeling to the throne came from the Karaethon Cycle that Luthair brought with him, which must have been changed by the spin doctors.

If they are one and the same, then the kneeling part could have come from one of the Seanchan foretellers, in which things get more interesting, unless they were changed as well. IMO, Rand won’t have to kneel, because … he just won’t … and because I said so … okay!

Randalator @ 105:

They despised channelers so much that they believed they were untrustworthy, even evil, by their nature. However, having someone else who cannot channel controlling them was fine since the person in control has not been "corrupted". In other words, it's not just a question of the use of the one power, but the reliability of the person who has the ability. Sul'dam can be trusted because they cannot channel.

Beren @ 132:

There are different cultural paradigms at work here. The Seanchan attitude comes from the fact that they are descended from Hawkwing who had a fanatical hatred of all AS. Aiel and Sea Folk don't want outsiders to find out about their channelers because they are afraid that the AS will come in and take them all away. They are treated fairly though, which Seanchan channelers are not.
246. Freelancer

I have to disagree. Tuon allows one person to make unfettered use of an ability which is constrained from the person who owns it. It is indeed hypocritical to presume an ability is too dangerous for one person to have, but is completely acceptable for another person to "have" by proxy, especially through enforced servitude. Granted, this is generally a societal culpability, but even before becoming Empress Tuon accrues personal guilt on this score by being a sul'dam herself. The question to be asked is what makes any sul'dam less dangerous a user of the Power than the damane who accesses it? Any less than honest consideration of that question results in hypocrisy.

And now, the apocalypse must approach, as I've disagreed with Wetlandernw and agreed with Terez in the same comment. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!


Sorry, it was a Portal thing. If you've never played Portal, it's an interesting physics-based puzzle game by Valve. Just don't believe in the cake.
Jay Dauro
247. J.Dauro
Sorry folks, but Tuon is not a hypocrite.
a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
Although you may believe she channels, she does not. She sees damane as automatic weapons with unlimited ammunition and the trigger held down by a rubber band. She sees sul'dam as the hand that prevents the firing except is cases where the firing is done for the good of society. Yes, she controls the channeling, but in her eyes, she is not the channeler, the damane is. She may now believe that she could learn to channel, but unless something happens to force her, she will not channel without the a'dam and a damane, and will only use that link for the good of the Empire.

If she is forced, channels, and denies the implications, then she is a hypocrite. She would then be pretending to believe that all channelers should be collared, and she would know that she is a channeler.
Theresa Gray
248. Terez27
She does not believe that she channels the Power personally, but she knows that she uses it for her own purposes. No matter how you try to wiggle around it, she still fits the definition.
Jay Dauro
249. J.Dauro
Is a gun evil? As I said, she uses the power for the good of the Empire. She believes a damane will always use it for evil, because they cannot control it on their own. Just like the gun that is locked on. But a damane that is controlled can be used for good, and will be happy because they are used for good.

For her, the power is not evil. Uncontrolled power is evil.

This is what she believes. (Not what I believe.)
250. Freelancer
Posit 1: I believe that Group A is unfit to employ saidar because they are innately endowed with an access to saidar, which universally makes them dangerous and untrustworthy, and fit to be treated as animals.

Posit 2: I believe that Group B is fit to employ saidar because they are innately endowed with an ability to forcibly control members of Group A, which universally makes them profitable and trustworthy, and fit to be honored.

Posit 3: No individual behavioral traits or characteristics possessed/displayed by members of Group A or Group B may be considered to alter the judgements and results of Posit 1 or 2.

You may say however you wish that the above, which effectively describes the Seanchan mechanism of deciding what to do with certain persons in their culture, does not meet a dictionary definition of hypocrisy, but there is no way to honestly say that it is not functionally hypocritical.

Man, that's twice in less than two hours.
Scott Kelson
251. scott-swampy
@RobM & Freelancer mt comment related to the land reverting in ownership after seventy year, not fifty, on the basis of the seven years. Which, evidently, i was incorrect about also. Sorry for not being more specific. And thanks for quoting that. I'm staying away from home so am lacking the resources to look it up.

Terez27 @242
Should there be laws concerning the use of the Power? Yes

Why? I'm not saying there shouldn't be consequences for breaking the law/crossing moral boundaries. But the law's or boundaries already exist, i.e Don't murder, or you can't force some one into something against their will. Why should they be different for Channelers. The means used to commit the deed really should affect the punishment.

For example, I don't see any difference in forcing some one to do something at knife point than via compulsion. So why would any further law's be needed? Not sure if I'm communicating this very well. The ACT is what is wrong, not the means used. Isn't putting restrictions on someone who can channel simply because they can channel just another form of oppression?
Why should there be any differing laws on channelers V non-channelers? Why should they be subjected to any further sanctions?
Scott Kelson
252. scott-swampy
Freelancer @250: Will we be safe in the bunker?
253. Ouroboros
forkroot @ 162:

I've never been a fan of tangential discussions, though I do like circular arguments - I'm a tail eating worm, what can I say. And Descartes is so boring.

Also remember that if you don't like the trajectory of the discussion, what goes up comes down.

Beren @ 165: "It's Wednesday. We're trying to get over the curve. "

True, and it's a tough gradient.

Beren @ 167: "If you can follow all of this advice, then the rest is as easy as pi(e)!"

You should know that I'm diametrically opposed to this kind of humour.

Sonofthunder @ 169: "No more of this - I'm at my limit, I tell you!!"

I tend to agree.

Megaduck @ 172: "Parabola probably got the point."

Oh, I don't know, it's a pretty complex discussion, given all the imaginary things we have to deal with around here.

Freelancer @ 175:

We'd never manage without you - you're so good at formulating positions that we’d never be able to differentiate all the divergent arguments around here. What an integral function you provide. Whew, I can’t stretch that one any further.

forkroot @ 178: "Other posters picked up the geometric angle (so to speak) but I don't think everybody picked up on the fact that the puns involved the other three conic sections."

That’s the problem with oblique humour; it’s so far away from the pole.

Well, my working here is done, I’m off for a nappe.
Roger Powell
254. forkroot
Do I detect some C.S. Lewis in there?
I take that as a compliment as I am certainly a fan of his. I'm also quite a fan of William Lane Craig.

AdrianSedai's post moved me to respond for two reasons. The first was that I profoundly disagreed with one of the premises and wished to make some arguments as to why.

The second (and equally important) reason is that his post was well-written, thoughtful, and provocative. AdrianSedai sounds like a very intelligent individual with whom it would be possible to have an interesting discussion.

One of the points I omitted (because it was not specifically in response to AdrianSedai) was a point about what we call "bad" and "good": Those of us (like you and me) who hold a Christian worldview should take pains to point out that we do not label individuals "bad" or "good". Rather we label values and actions "good" or "bad" based on our belief that not only do objective moral values exist but that we have a Creator who is the source of those values.

It's a even a little tricky to say something like "Seanchan culture is bad" (or evil if you prefer) because we fall into the same trap of assigning a characteristic to a collective when we know not all members of the group share it.

For example, M-A-T rightly upbraided us for effectively saying "All Sea Folk are obnoxious and arrogant" when some very good counterexamples are available in TSR. So to say that Seanchan culture is bad implies that all of the Seanchan cultural mores are evil. Wetlandernw rightly objects to this as we end up judging way too many things that indeed can be construed as culturally relative.

So where do we end up? How about "certain key Seanchan cultural practices are evil" ? I make my stand here and I don't budge. :-)

I truly believe that slavery in all its forms is evil, based on the Christian worldview that each of us were created by God and have intrinsic worth. Thus there is no place for damane or da'covale even allowing for cultural variance.

(Let me forestall objections about how long it took "Christians" to abolish slavery. It's a complex issue, but abolitionist history in the west was undeniably a Christian movement.)

Let me also acknowledge that a fairly good case for natural rights has also been made by some without resorting to belief in a Creator. So you actually don't have to be a Christian to believe in "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" (but it helps :-) )
Scientist, Father
255. Silvertip
My older daughter is about to turn eight. I've done my best to teach her right from wrong, and have thus far done so only invoking the word "evil" twice (which allows me to point out to her how big a word it is). The first time was when we were reading her biography of Dr. King and she encountered the concept of slavery. I told her: We don't need to use the word Evil much, since most of the time there are multiple sides to the story, but we use it here. Slavery is Evil.

I'm a pretty live-and-let-live guy most of the time, but parenthood is a great way to be forced to come up with straightforward answers to the big questions. I have to agree with Forkroot and (speaking of the Apocalypse) Freelancer -- some things are just nonnegotiable. Slavery, whether it's whips and chains in the history books or a fifteen year old girl in a brothel in Bangkok, is right at the top of the list.

For the Seanchan, we can understand and perhaps even forgive those individuals who grow up in a society with evil at its roots and never see past it. But there always are those who see past it, and reject it, and it is those people who most deserve our honor and respect. They are The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.

@254 Forkroot -- a sincere thank you for the last paragraph. I am perpetually dismayed by the proportion of people who think just the opposite.

(I haven't checked ahead, somebody please tell me the next chapter is at least a little less heavy).

Scott Kelson
256. scott-swampy
Silvertip @255...Ummm not really, with all this talk of slavery from this chapter in the next two we have force oaths of fealty, and forced boding mixed with a little compulsion at the black tower, so no, not much lighter at all.

Although there is something about a bronze hem or something. I don't know, i wasn't really paying attention... ;) but it may spark a debate about some Mesaana person. But like i say, didn't mean much to me.
Thomas Keith
257. insectoid
Swampy @256: ::chuckles::

For those who would like to buy an argument... ;D

Don Barkauskas
258. bad_platypus
Terez27 @237: I had never considered that the "change in inflection" was merely designed to be a red herring for Sareitha as Black Ajah. That's distinctly possible, but I think it's overstating it that it "certainly" is the only purpose. It could also be foreshadowing the reveal in KoD that the Black Ajah can, in fact, bring women into circles against their wills. Once again, it's too strong to say that only the Black Ajah know about this; we certainly have enough examples in the series of people with unexpected knowledge.

Although I do like the "red herring for Black Ajah" angle, it seems to me that there's more to it than that.
259. Freelancer
For the record,

One's ability to think rationally, to understand the difference between a thing which is absolutely wrong and a thing which may be wrong circumstantially, or which may stand apart from being called right or wrong, is entirely independent of one's internal position regarding the supernatural.

Translation: One doesn't have to believe in God in order to have a rational moral foundation regarding good and evil. One doesn't have to believe in any particular faith in order to be possessed of any given cognitive attribute. Faith does not confer intellect.


Sometimes, calculus is just that scaly stuff on your teeth.
Scott Kelson
260. scott-swampy
Freelancer@259 whilst faith doesn't confer intelligence, that was never really the point. The fact is that people who have no faith in a higher power tend not to draw conclusions of absolutes when it comes to moral issues. What i mean by that is that things tend to get excused a lot more in societies were there is a majority view that faith is out dated. And I'm not trying to pass judgment one way or the other, but it is true.

You can find excuses for just about every thing if you are not answerable to something greater. And i don't mean government because we see injustices in legal system's all the time.

Having just re-read this I'm sure it doesn't make much sense. but i can't think how els to word it, so I'll try to explain once questions are raised, rather than re-wording because I'm sure it wouldn't help:)

And i'm sure someone will find questions:)
Hugh Arai
261. HArai
Freelancer@259: Well said.


What i mean by that is that things tend to get excused a lot more in societies were there is a majority view that faith is out dated. And I'm not trying to pass judgment one way or the other, but it is true.
The problem here is what you consider being "excused". All you can really say is that societies that don't believe a particular tenet of a particular faith is valid won't follow that tenet. And to that I say, well... duh.

You can find excuses for just about every thing if you are not answerable to something greater. And i don't mean government because we see injustices in legal system's all the time.
You can also justify any horror by claiming it's the will of a greater power. I'd say that's a wash too.
262. Freelancer

No worries, your intent is clear. And I take that position whole-heartedly. I believe another commentor was suggesting that many people of faith tend to judge that those not of like mind have no ability to tell right from wrong. I was making certain I could not be counted in such a group.

Where there are no foundations, the sand shifts underfoot.


While some have done so, nobody who is serving their Creator with a good conscience would dream of ascribing an evil act to the will of said Creator. It is always a subterfuge to take what isn't rightfully theirs to take, be it property, lives, or power, and hope that they can get away with it by deflecting responsibility "upwards". I contend that those are not people of faith, but looters hiding behind the cloth.
Hugh Arai
263. HArai
While some have done so, nobody who is serving their Creator with a good conscience would dream of ascribing an evil act to the will of said Creator.
I would say the issue here is that so long as the individual's honest belief is that said Creator desires a given act, they don't consider it evil. I don't dispute that there are people who hide behind professed beliefs in hopes of finding advantage, but an individual's faith is their own: you can agree or disagree with any part of it, but you can't believe for them. So I contend in turn that there are people who have a faith in a Creator as you do and yet disagree with you exactly what acts are evil or good.
264. Gorbag
@212. Randalator

Sonofthunder @211

As long as you don't have to put up with them afterward...

"Why she had to stay, I don't know, she wouldn't go!
"I said something wrong, now I long,
"For tomorrow, tomorrow
"Love was such an easy game to play,
"Now it looks as though she's here to stay
"Oh I deeply regret ... yesterday!"

Sung by the Bull-Ants, after the Beatles fell into a Antlion's trap, and were eaten to a beatle ...
Scott Kelson
265. scott-swampy
Edit: Removed./

I reread it and it came across wrong.
James Hogan
266. Sonofthunder
Gorbag @264,

Firstly, well played!! Hilarious. And I do love that song..
And secondly, your name is pretty much awesome.

And to insectoid, Happy birthday!!!! Don't listen to Free, eat lots of cake!!!

(But Portal is a pretty awesome game - you should give it a whirl, for sure)
Tricia Irish
267. Tektonica

Sings:: "Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Insect,
Happy Birthday to you!"
::throws confetti!::

Have a great day! Play! Eat chocolate cake! Party later in the Bunker, all chocolate, all the time.

**the twitching has officially begun**
Barry T
268. blindillusion
Bug - A Most Happy Birthday to you.

But a Very Merry Unbirthday to the everyone else!
Scientist, Father
269. Silvertip
Scott-Swampy @256:

Oh well. Fortunately, on the question of the bronze hem, I am, er, agnostic.

Freelancer @259,262:

If I am your "another commentor," I obviously need to explicitly clarify that I was absolutely not referring to you or anyone else on this list. As has been said before, this is a remarkably collegial and respectful group of folks here on tordot, which is why it's worth lurking as much as I do. I was just giving a quick shout-out to Forkroot for going out of the way to emphasize the point. Apologies if I gave any other impression.

James Hogan
270. Sonofthunder
I want to agree with Silvertip@269 and express my great appreciation for everyone here - I tend to start writing long-winded posts before realizing that someone else on here has already said what I'm feeling, and said it much better than I already could!! I'm used to "less mature" forums of conversation, and it has been a great delight to read and follow along with y'all. Believe it or not, I've been following along with the re-read since TGH or thereabouts. Once in a while I may post, but I fear my insights are old news to most of you(being a relative WoT n00b). And most of the time I'm here, I'm also at work and thus lack the time to form as eloquent posts as comprise the majority of those here. So yes, there's my rambling way of saying how awesome this place is!!
Maiane Bakroeva
271. Isilel
Well, IMHO Tuon does come through as hipocrite as well as inexplicably and inconsistently obtuse, but that's because RJ desperately tried to inject Perrin's Plotline of Doom with some relevance for the main plot. Hence Tylee (as Egeanin before her) is immediately struck by various drastic incongruities between Seanchan perception of channelers and Randland realities, while they completely bounce off Tuon.

So of course, Tuon, who is otherwise depicted as quite perceptive and flexible, is wholly oblivious of the many contradictions that she should have at least wondered about:

Like, if marath'damane always try to seize power and make everybody property, why aren't there any channeling rulers, except for the DR and the Amyrlin?
For that matter, why is the very concept of people as property foreign to Randlandians?

Why was the vast majority of marath'damane they have captured this side of the Ocean leading completely inconspicious lives, so that nobody even knew that they were channelers?

Why were Mat and his people so set on rescuing Joline and Co.?
Why didn't the freed AS murder the sul'dam at first opportunity? Why wasn't everybody in the circus terrified of them?

Why did Teslyn save Egeanin's life at a significant risk of discovery and recapture?

Why did the AS try to talk Mat into giving medical help to Seanchan battle survivors (sic!)?

I don't say that all of the above should have completely changed Tuon's thinking - she is far more invested in the system than Egeanin or even Tylee and has a very personal reason to cling to the prejudices, too.
Also, Joline and Co. are hardly the most impressive specimen.

But that she doesn't even consider any of the above things that sharply go against her preconceptions, even if just to rationalize them away, still throws her in the negative light.

And incidentially, makes Mat's romance with an intransigent happy slaver and hobby torturer difficult for me to relate to. It doesn't help that I don't see any chemistry between them, while Mat certainly had much more of it with other women, IMHO. YMMV.

Imagine a happy world where the Storyline of Doom was cut, though, and Tuon could be allowed to start coming to realizations without Perrin's involvement... Personally, I think that it would have improved the books as a whole and Mat-Tuon romance in particular a lot.
James Jones
272. jamesedjones
270 Sonofthunder
I'm used to "less mature" forums of conversation, and it has been a great delight to read and follow along with y'all.
It's nice to have a purpose. Too much maturity all at once could hurt someone. I try to ease everyone into it. For a rough diagram of the process I like to follow, I've posted an educational link. This is not something I came up with on my own, but carefully crafted over a decade of effort by many brilliant minds (some on this re-read).
Scott Kelson
273. scott-swampy
jamesedjones @272 Damb copyright!!! All i get is this=

This video contains content from Vevo, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.

Although you may want to keep this in mind as well

OH and the little avatar pics are back as well

EDIT: no they're not*sigh*, but i can see them while previewing comments
Tess Laird
274. thewindrose
jamesedjones - I'm never gonna, never gonna, never gonna click on your link - I know where its going:)

scott-swampy I see no avatars yet!! - oh I see your edit - never mind.

Alice Arneson
275. Wetlandernw
J.Dauro - thanks for understanding what I was trying to say, and reinforcing it with definitions!

@many - I perfectly agree that, from our perspective, there is essentially no difference in wielding the OP through one's own access to it, and wielding it through a damane. No argument. However, from Tuon's perspective, they are miles apart, not even comparable. That thinking is so deeply ingrained in her, particularly with her training (as opposed to Tylee or Khirgan, for example) that it's not something that will change over the course of a week. Recall that she's spent some time in Tylin's palace, and the rest of her time with Mat and the circus until just recently returning to take her place as Empress. In the first position, she was pretty busy with the leading edge of the Return; in the second, her visibility was limited to the circus & Mat's party; in the third, she's making major decisions, mourning the mess Semirhage made of the Empire (if not exactly mourning her not-so-beloved mother) and taking on a whole different role. This does not give a lot of time or opportunity for researching the political situations etc. in Randland. Certainly, if she'd been on a mission to find out such things, and see if any were worth keeping, and which ones needed to be abolished, etc. etc., she could have, but given her position as the Daughter of the Nine Moons, she had a clearly predefined agenda. NO ONE is going to go into that situation with a completely open mind to evaluate all those things dispassionately.

And I maintain that given her current understanding of the world, Tuon is NOT a hypocrite. When her understanding changes, as I think it will, she'll have to deal with it.
Scott Kelson
276. scott-swampy

And the worst part is it is 11:30 at night here, and I'm sleepy...I'm not gonna make it, you'll have to go on with out me *cough*

(over dramatic enough?)
277. parabola
While frantically refreshing the TOR page...

I am also curious what would have happened had Rand not been friggin psycho when he met Tuon and had actually negotiated with her in good faith.

Since she was clearly trying to fulfill the prophecies as she knows them, I believe that she would have been willing to rethink the Seanchan stance on damane. Slowly, and tentatively, but it would have happened.

Now it will take that much longer.
Bonnie Andrews
278. misfortuona
Happy Birthday BUG. I've brought cookies, and balloons, and Twister. Let the party begin.

Yep nothing WOT related today either.

Mis-left hand on red
Scott Kelson
279. scott-swampy
misfortuona @278 What no cake?

right foot on yellow, your turn...
Ron Garrison
280. Man-0-Manetheran
insectoid: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! No cake? There's GOT to be cake! It's an absolute moral imperative! The Creator told me so him/herself. And that's the truth.
281. Adriansedai
Many thanks to Forkroot @235 for the comments, it's nice to have someone debate points of view without it turning into a screaming match where people spend hundreds of posts calling each other idiots.

And Forkroot, I totally agree with everything you say. My examples are just thoughts that flowed as I wrote and I accept your criticism, but I think that looking at a sociopath as a society of one, in my mind within the cultural morality into which he was born and raised he would be regarded as evil. Thoughts of murder and mayhem may occur, but at some point a person has to make a choice whether to cross the line that society has drawn.

As for other points raised by people, I too am convinced that genuine evil exists. I think that for certain people a choice appears in front of them and they pick. People like Mother Theresa picked one path, Adolf Hitler picked another. Sometimes the choice isn't clear, or we don't realise there is a choice. all we can do is pick and hope for the best sometimes.

I'm as much a product of my own upbringing as everyone else so sometimes it is hard to look at something like the Seanchan culture without shuddering about how truly horrible it is. Trying to look at aspects of a culture or regime that has entrenched in it's basic fabric views that are diametrically opposite to mine can be difficult, but that is part of the fun. I find myself drifting more and more to the idea that we should stay out of our own worlds conflicts for instance because I'm getting to the point where I believe that imposing our own ideas of government on countries that work in fundamentally different ways to our own never works. I'm sure that Iraq and Afghanistan are/were run by unpleasant individuals who have caused untold suffering and misery to millions, but rushing in with military force and imposing change whether the general population wanted it or not is a mistake. If the tables were turned and Iran decided to march across the world and destroy the decadent European union and impose their religion and government in it's place we wouldn't be too happy and would fight to the last man to prevent it happening. I'm not saying Iran is a bad place, I have worked with several Iranians who love their country and see nothing wrong with it. I'm just saying that we look at the world in different ways and it is highly unlikely that we will ever live in a world where both ideologies will ever have more than an uneasy truce. True change has to come from within, and is almost always bloody. It cannot be imposed.

The Seanchan are learning this the hard way. They believe that the chaos they left behind millenia ago needs to be tamed and are finding that the indiginous population has other ideas. If it wasn't for the Dark One and the last battle the grass would flow with blood and their victory would be far from certain. so far they have only managed to take cities by surprise, but the further inland they get the more they would find the great generals devising new and interesting ways of countering their tactics. Even without the dragon reborn, the Aes Sedai are all convinced the Seanchan are dark friends so the gloves would be off. The schism in the tower is healed and Egwene is more than capable.

I was going to comment on points raised by other people but I just realised how big this is already. Sorry if I waffle on too much :)
Scott Kelson
282. scott-swampy
well, I'll see you all in the morning(my time)

And misfortuona, Don't let insectoid have to much cake(or cookies if thats all you bought) or he'll never sleep.
Sam Mickel
283. Samadai
Happy birthday Insectoid!

Enjoy the birthday treats in the bunker.

On a WoT note. *twitch*
Tricia Irish
284. Tektonica

And incidentially, makes Mat's romance with an intransigent happy slaver and hobby torturer difficult for me to relate to. It doesn't help that I don't see any chemistry between them, while Mat certainly had much more of it with other women, IMHO. YMMV.

Imagine a happy world where the Storyline of Doom was cut, though, and Tuon could be allowed to start coming to realizations without Perrin's involvement... Personally, I think that it would have improved the books as a whole and Mat-Tuon romance in particular a lot.


Wetlander@275: Tuon would never be allowed out and about in the real Randland world. Going on an adventure with Mat and his entourage in the Circus is a huge opportunity for Tuon to find out, first hand, what the people of Randland are like, what they believe, what it would take to govern effectively there. Mat and Setalle Anan are two great sources.

But does she take advantage of this situation? No. She asks a few questions, but they are mostly about who Mat is. She just assumes that what she knows from the other side of the ocean is better and the way it should be.(BTW, I think Elayne in this situation would be asking zillions of questions to suss things out.)

I'm afraid I have to agree with Isilel on this one. I find Tuon very close minded and narrow. Given the intense political arena she was raised in, I am surprised at her lack of savvy with the Randlanders. I would like to like her, as it appears Mat is stuck with her, but sigh. The pattern needed him to marry her, but I sure don't see a "love match."

I hope there is some "revelation" for her re: slavery, channellers, secret police, well, governing by Fear, in general.....and soon, so we can move on to the Tower of Genji, Caemlyn and TG. We're running out of books!

scott-swampy@279: Suffa made a chocolate cake already! It's the Bug's fave.

--right hand on blue.....pass
Karen Jacobs
285. KJacobs
Insectoid - Happy Birthday! Hope you get to take the day off from all the building/moving/cleaning/reorganizing you've been doing to chill out & relax in the bunker!
286. Hrothgordo
I do think Tuon is techinically hypocritical, but not really so given her upbringing and station.

As disturbing as the damane slavery system is the concept is it really is just a twisted version of what many other cultures have when it comes to “sparkers”. In the Aiel the woman is forced to become a Wise One, among the SF they are pressed into being a Windfinder and even though the WT did not force you to become an AS the current edicts by Egwene are certainly stated in that direction (and the Oath Rod is certainly a form of slavery).

In each case there is a fundamental understanding that:

a) Someone who has channelled will continue to channel.
b) That channeling is such a useful resource it must be used for the good of society
c) That channeling is such a dangerous weapon that people are scared of those that wield it.

One of the things lost on many of us westerners is the concept of something coming before our own individual freedom. Be it a priority for family, clan or country many people in the world thrive with the basic concept that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.

This is the basis of all of the current culture models for channelers and the title “Servant of All” implies it was also occuring in the AoL

From Tuon’s perspective, channeling is not exactly evil but represents a significant threat to the stability of the Empire. The intent of the channeler is immaterial.

Put it this way. Let’s say I am a brilliant scientist that has a concept of how to succeed in creating an ultra-safe form of nuclear power. That’s a really great and noble goal, but the US governement is going to become very hostile very quickly if I start enriching plutonium in my basement. The risk is simply too large.

As the head of her Empire (or destined to be) Tuon must remain consistent to that concept of control over channeling. Her test will become whether her culture can adapt to other possible ways to protect themselves, be it an Oath Rod type thing or an army of medallion-wearing folks whose sole purpose is policing the channlers.

And I should also point out that Tuon is technically correct in her statement that she has a choice not to channel


I pretty much have to disagree with you that absolutism is ever a good thing. A person’s moral choices and their faith are something that should continually be questioned and reviewed.

The world is always changing, and so must we.
Alice Arneson
287. Wetlandernw
I don't claim that Tuon doesn't have her blind spots, but we all have those. I just think that given her culture, her position(s) within that culture, and the limits of the opportunities she's had, it's understandable that she hasn't changed her position on everything from government to slavery to damane. Sure, she had some opportunities to learn - and she took advantage of them from the perspective of her culture rather than ours. That's not hypocritical, it's practical. Sure she thinks the Empire has the right and responsibility to rule. That's what she's been steeped in from the day she was born.

Tuon is smart, and ruthless, and dedicated to the furtherance of the Empire. It's her job. It's also, incidentally, her only means of survival in the culture of which she is a product. So yeah, with our Randland sympathies, she's not very endearing. I don't think she's supposed to be. She is, however, understandable. If she were all we might wish her to be (sympathetic, understanding, ready to change Seanchan culture and accept Randland culture instead - only you have to pick which one you want her to accept) it wouldn't make sense and would weaken the story immeasurably.

Oh, and just because you don't like Perrin's current plotline (or any other) does NOT mean it is filler, padding or irrelevant to the greater story. It just means you don't like it. And that you're not the author, the editor or the publisher, so you didn't get to decide what was necessary to tell the story. Deal.

P.S. Happy birthday, insectoid! Have fun!
Barry T
289. blindillusion
And let’s not forget, the Seanchan see the Randlandians as thieves, particularly the Rulers. Why would Tuon feel the need to change her views towards those who can channel because thieves see them differently? And sure, I suppose she could have changed her views as a result of her interaction with Joline&Co, but again, why, from her perspective, would she?

After all, this is asking her to go against two of the core tenants of her belief system: 1) The people of Randland, particularly its Rulers, stole the entire continent from her ancestor. 2) Those who can channel must be collared.

This comes down to more than how she was raised or what she was taught to believe. As a member of the Royal Family, this is who she is.

Tek –

I hope there is some "revelation" for her re: slavery, channellers, secret police, well, governing by Fear, in general.....and soon, so we can move on to the Tower of Genji, Caemlyn and TG. We're running out of books!

Well, let’s not forget this option, which I still think would be MOA:

In the middle of a battle (TG, of course), Tuon notices Mat surrounded, fighting with everything he has, but losing at the sheer numbers around him. Tuon fears for his life...and then feels anger...gut-wrenching, I'm-gonna-cut-your-heart-out-with-a-spoon FURY. And she reaches to the One Thing that she has always known in the back of her mind is there to aid her. And right before her eyes, all those (Trollocs and Myddraal) attacking Mat burst into flame.

Tuon knows the sul'dam around her realize she has channeled the One Power. She knows they saw the weaves she created, the Fire that destroyed the monsters they had always thought of as myth. She watches as one of the sul'dam pulls an a'dam from her pouch, as the sul'dam looks directly into her eyes, the eyes of the Empress.

The sul'dam says, “It must be this way, marath'damane.” Tuon whispers, “No.” She reaches again for the thing that just aided her in saving Mat's life only to find that it is no longer there. At that moment she feels loss, and fear, almost as great as what she felt at the thought of losing Mat. She turns to Selucia for help, but sees her struggling against bonds of Air, a dagger in both hands. Sweat beads on Tuon's brow as the sul'dam places the collar around her neck.

As she looks around at her armies she sees Furyk Karede surrounded, swords at his throat, his own sword being taken from his hands by the Deathwatch Guard. She knows all is lost. And then, from the corner of her eye, she sees Mat approaching, his ashandarei held tightly in his fist. She still wonders, even in that moment, how she ever thought this man a fool. And then she sees the sul'dam around her staring at him in fear...then she sees why. The weaves being cast at him simply dissolve upon touching him.

She cannot stop looking at his eyes as he approaches her. All the bravado seems to have left him. No light grin touches his face. He kneels before her, touches her face and says, “This must stop, Tuon. Now.” Then he reaches his hands towards the a'dam and to her shock removes it from her neck.
Joseph Blaidd
290. SteelBlaidd

Tuon is starting to reconsider some of her assumptions and we see in tGS that she is lthinking abaout how the assumption that people in Randland would react the same way Seanchen do has triped up the Return (oaths, specificly) but she is certanly hampered by her position as the one with primary responsibility for maintaining teh stability of Seanchean both as an empire and a culture.

Regrding teh debate on hw the A'dam work. The best place to look is in LoC with the descriptions of woorrking with Moghedean. The SG several times mention the dificulty of learning things because Moggy can't just demonstrate how it is done.


Theresa Gray
292. Terez27
On the subject of evil, I have a few things to say.

It is interesting how the debate on this subject has reflected the human condition, and the ‘realistic’ approach that makes revolutions so generally hard to come by in the first place. While all of us know that the institution of slavery in Seanchan is abhorrent in all its forms except perhaps in cases like Suroth and Liandrin where it is a punishment for crimes that are at least equally abhorrent, we apply the ‘relativity’ clause to the situation in order to excuse them for it.

Fortuona (Tuon for short) is young yet, but moral responsibility for slavery in her Empire now rests on her shoulders. I find it hard to believe that RJ was planning on finishing the series with her still not having seen the truth about that. And again, that’s exactly why I believe that Egwene’s dream does indeed refer to raven tattoos on Mat’s shoulders (presumably gotten at Ghenjei), because with the way that Tuon has been brainwashed, it will take something like her beloved husband becoming her property (and then refusing to accept it, probably in front of her entire court) to make her see the truth.

The da’covale issue has barely been addressed in the context of the proposed truce, or in the context of anything for that matter. Rand says [the collaring of channelers] is the one thing he will not concede. Mat told Tuon that he would not accept her collaring the Aes Sedai, even though they annoyed him surely at least as much as they annoyed Tuon. I believe that Tuon was brought into the circle of Randland’s most important people so that she could be shown the truth, not so that the series would end with her still denying it.

Make no mistake: RJ did not give us sympathy for the Seanchan so that we would be forced to concede that slavery is just the way it is sometimes. He is not a big fan of moral relativism, and he’s said as much before. I apologize for Godwin’ing the thread with this quote, but I think that some things can be drawn from it:

RJ’s blog – ‘This and that’, 19 December 2005

In my own work telling right from wrong is often difficult. Sometimes my characters make the wrong choice there. Sometimes they do things are quite horrific. But they try to find the right choice. This is the way I think most people see the world and their behavior in it — trying to do the right thing with the knowledge that sometimes you’re going to make the wrong choice, and with “right” defined as more than simply being of benefit to yourself — and they want to read books that reflect this. Right and wrong are not simply different shades of gray. Good and evil are not simply a matter of how you look at them. (Have you ever noticed the use of “of course?’ As in, “The actions of the suicide bombers is quite horrific, of course….” You know that a “but” is coming, followed by an explanation of why their actions. while “quite horrific. of course” are also “entirely understandable under the circumstances,” which come down to “the death and destruction is all somebody else’s fault completely.”)

RJ’s blog – ‘ It’s been a while’, 20 January 2006

For Jacham, I am not saying that there is no relative evil, no shades of gray. What I am saying, and complaining about, is that allowing shades of gray has led us all too often to believe that there is nothing except shades of gray. All truths are equal. By that reasoning, Hitler’s reasons for murdering millions of Jews, and others, in the death camps carry as much validity, and are as “right,” as any other opinion regarding him and the camps. You might say that I have front loaded that, but it wasn’t so long ago that I heard of a number of students in a college class who refused to write papers which called on them to condemn the Holocaust, not because they didn’t believe it happened and not because they were Nazi sympathizers, but because doing so would have required them to be judgmental. All versions of the truth must be given equal weight. That’s the current thinking. And it’s bull. Yes, there are gray areas. Yes, there is relative evil. But that is all too often today taken as an excuse to say that it’s all relative. One man’s perceived evil is another man’s inconvenience. That last is a quote from a man, now dead, who was a terrific writer and a great intellect. I could never argue him down on that one, however. But I never stopped trying. Relativism or no relativism, however many shades of gray you want to call up, evil still exists, and if you won’t expend the effort to figure out where and what it is, then one day it will swallow you whole.

That responsibility rests on Tuon’s shoulders now, and I think it is clear that her seeing the truth about slavery is one of the requirements of Rand’s success at Shayol Ghul. Call me crazy, but I think that’s why it’s important in the prophecies for the two to be as one, but I also think that the structure of the Empire is necessary to hold the lands together through the Last Battle and probably after as well. One is a matter of good and evil; the other is simply a matter of common sense, and a bit of humility on the part of the nobility. Just a small tad. I enjoy the stories of the nobility under Hawkwing. :D

As for all of the arguments against Tuon's hypocrisy...all of them rest on the fact that Tuon is ignoring something that should be crystal clear. It's that sort of bandying with words that allows evil to fester in the first place. Just as much as Tuon has a choice whether or not to channel, she has a choice in what truths she chooses to ignore. At the root of her ignoring those truths is hypocrisy, as just because every Empress has ignored that truth before her does not mean that she is excused for also ignoring it.

Tuon even knows that Aes Sedai are useless as weapons, and that they can do wonderful things with the Power, like Healing - this is one place where Tuon has been more open-minded about the Power than most people, as she tells Mat he's being stupid when he refuses to be Healed - so she has no real reason to believe that what she does with the Power is in any way better than what the Aes Sedai do. Since she is smart, she won't be able to hold on to that self-justification for long, but for the moment, she is a hypocrite.

Edited to correct a badly-botched paragraph.
Linda Taglieri
293. Linda
@292 Terez: I just want to add that that's what Tuon's discussions with Setalle Anan were for. They and Mat are the things she regards most about her time living away from her cocooned society.
Theresa Gray
294. Terez27
@Linda - Indeed, Setalle has laid the foundation for Mat to use to his advantage with Tuon. I can see her channeling to save Mat as I've said before, but I can also see her holding out and facing the truth in a more straightforward manner. A lot of emphasis has been placed on bargaining in the series, and Mat is good at it even without his ta'verenness playing a part. Egwene's bargaining skills have also been mentioned by Rand re: Logain's 51.

I suppose it's possible that Tuon will work out her truce with Rand personally, but I doubt it. The prophecies say that he will bind the north to the east, so we know he will take care of the Borderlanders before he dies, in some way, but they do not say that he will bind the west to the south (of course), and so far as we know they do not say anything about making the two as one. The Aelfinn do not say that he will personally do it either; they just say that 'the two must be as one'. So I think it more likely to happen after Rand dies, when things are really dire. I doubt the truce can happen while Rand is still linked to Moridin, and in order to sever that link he most likely has to die.

And of course, I think that Gawyn will do the deed, that Alivia's contribution will be nothing so premeditated as everyone seems to expect, and that if anyone is going to make sure that Rand is good and dead after Gawyn opens his old wounds with a (real) sword, it will be Moiraine.
295. David DeLaney
@74 - "the Empress, May She Die In a Fire" - *splorf*

And for all the reactions to parabola - aren't we supposed to be keeping to dra-conic subjects here? Stay in line! Keep to the point!


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