Jul 13 2010 2:03pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Winter’s Heart, Part 1

What ho, WOTrians! Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read! I hope you have enjoyed my “vacation”; I didn’t particularly, but, well.

Today’s entry starts a brand new novel, Winter’s Heart, and will be covering Part 1 of the Prologue, because ye gods and little fishes this thang is lengthy.

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

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

And that is all that is fit to print above the cuttin’ line, so click on to read the rest!

So, Winter’s Heart.

I haven’t read it in years, but WH sticks in my mind as an oasis of goodness in between the depressery of TPOD and the gerbil exercise-wheelity of COT. It will be interesting to see if the Re-read of the book bears this impression out.

(“Wheelity”? Look, I don’t know.)

I think it probably will, though, because I’ve come to realize that my judgments on whether I like something, be it a movie, book, or whatever, tend to be based more on how much I like the parts of it, and less on the sum of those parts. In other words, ACOS is my favorite WOT book basically because it has my most favorite part of the series in it (and a bunch of other awesome parts too), and that seems (in my mind) to often outweigh whatever flaws (*cough*Cadsuane*cough*) the novel had as a whole.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m even more thrilled when the entire kit and caboodle is awesome, as well, but I’m willing to extend a lot of leeway to a work that may not be fantabulous in every last aspect, but still manages to bang that kneecap of Awesome at least once or twice. This is, for example, why I am not able to hate the first Transformers movie; to me, it was pretty much worth it just for Optimus Prime’s introduction scene, which was pure Peter Cullen-y grinning nostalgia fun, and never mind all the rest of it. (It wasn’t quite enough to induce me to go see the second film, true, but anyway.)

So, to veer back on topic, I’m pretty sure I will like WH just fine this time around simply because I know that there are at least three scenes waiting patiently just ahead, idling tapping their tendon hammer until I get there. (Yay!)

So, that’s what that is. And now, let’s get on to the first part of the long-ass Prologue, and some ominous ominosity to start!

The seals that hold back the night shall weaken, and in the heart of winter shall winter’s heart be born amid the wailing of lamentation and the gnashing of teeth, for winter’s heart shall ride a black horse, and the name of it is Death.

    —from The Karaethon Cycle: The Prophecies of the Dragon

Prologue: Snow [Part 1]

What Happens
Seaine watches the door of the basement room, and tries to distract herself from what is going on behind her by thinking about the rats that had inexplicably appeared in the Tower, and then about the mysterious meetings between the Ajah Heads, but Talene’s crying and moaning won’t be blocked out, and reluctantly Seaine turns around. Doesine is operating the ter’angreal they are using on Talene, which is called the Chair of Remorse.

Criminals caught in Tar Valon were brought down here to experience the Chair of Remorse, to experience carefully selected consequences of their crimes. On release, they invariably fled the island. There was very little crime in Tar Valon. Queasily, Seaine wondered whether this was anything like the use the Chair had been put to in the Age of Legends.

Seaine asks what she’s experiencing, and Doesine replies hoarsely that she’s being flogged by Trollocs; Yukiri is worried that it’s taking her so long to break, and frets that if they’re wrong they’ll all be unchaired and exiled, possibly stilled. Pevara snaps at her that not even “stupid Green Ajah pride” would be enough reason for Talene to refuse to reswear the First Oath after all the rest had done it. Saerin shuts them both up by dryly observing it’s too late to go back anyway, and Seaine is disgruntled that Saerin has taken such complete charge; her own standing in the group is low now that Sitter’s rights no longer applied. They bring Talene out of it, gasping and shuddering, and Pevara tries to make her take the Oath Rod, but Talene still recoils. Saerin threatens not to stop the vision before Talene lands in the cookpot this time, and they’ll repeat it “until summer” if necessary. Sobbing, Talene accepts the Rod, and forswears all the oaths that bind her. She screams in agony, convulses and then collapses; everyone but Pevara is shaken, who orders Talene to reswear the Three Oaths again, plus the extra one to obey the five of them absolutely and Talene obeys, shaking. Saerin asks her if she is Black Ajah, and Talene answers that she is.

The simple words froze Seaine in a way she had never expected. She had set out to hunt the Black Ajah, after all, and believed in her quarry as many sisters did not. She had laid hands on another sister, on a Sitter, had helped bundle Talene along deserted basement hallways wrapped in flows of Air, had broken a dozen Tower laws, committed serious crimes, all to hear an answer she had been nearly certain of before the question was asked. Now she had heard. The Black Ajah really did exist. She was staring at a Black sister, a Darkfriend who wore the shawl. And believing turned out to be a pale shadow of confronting. Only her jaw clenched near to cramping kept her teeth from chattering. She struggled to compose herself, to think rationally. But nightmares were awake and walking the Tower.

Pevara opines that they should get everything they can out of Talene before handing her over to Elaida, and Talene says if they do they are all dead, because Elaida is Black Ajah. Seaine, Doesine, and Yukiri are all horrified, but Pevara points out that just because Talene believes it doesn’t mean it’s true, and Saerin asks Talene if she has proof. Talene replies sullenly that she doesn’t, but that the Supreme Council knows every report Elaida receives and every decree and decision she makes, sometimes weeks in advance, so how else would they know? She pleads with them to flee the Tower and hide, and Seaine wonders if maybe Elaida hadn’t actually meant her to hunt down the Black Ajah. Saerin, though, opines that while Elaida is a fool, she doesn’t believe she’s Black, and Pevara agrees. Yukiri points out that nevertheless, they have to decide what to do with Talene before she’s missed. Saerin considers, and declares that they can’t go to Elaida until they can take down the Black “in one blow,” but is worried about how to do that with so few. Pevara reluctantly prompts Seaine to tell the others about Zerah and the ferrets. As the others argue about whether to use them or not, Seaine goes to the corner and throws up.

Elayne sits with Birgitte and Dyelin in the Palace, and tries not to be annoyed that Nynaeve and Vandene are not there. She knows that both are very busy, Nynaeve with planning how to retrieve the rest of the Kin out of Seanchan-controlled territory, and Vandene with secretly hunting for the Darkfriend in their midst, but Elayne wishes that she had the advantage of their counsel. She tells Birgitte and Dyelin that they will have to hire mercenaries and Hunters of the Horn to flesh out the men Birgitte is recruiting; normally Birgitte and Dyelin are “oil and water,” but this time they agree that this is a bad idea. Dyelin points out that mercenaries are loyal only to gold, and difficult to control, and Birgitte (who is still annoyed that Elayne had both ennobled her and made her Captain of the Queen’s Guard), growls that Hunters aren’t much better, and liable to take off if they hear a rumor about the Horn.

The Warder bond carried what Elayne had been sensing all morning. Frustration, irritation, determination. Some of that might have been a reflection of herself, though. They mirrored one another in surprising ways since the bonding, emotionally and otherwise. Why, her courses had shifted by more than a week to match the other woman’s!

Elayne counters that the situation is dire, and they know it; the Guard is a shell of its former self, and with the Saldaeans and Aiel leaving the city, order is growing more and more difficult to maintain. To herself, she thinks that if she can’t even control the capital she might as well announce publicly that she’s unfit to rule. Birgitte and Dyelin want to argue further, but Elayne declares the discussion over, and they acquiesce grudgingly; Elayne can’t help but wonder if Dyelin is only waiting till Elayne bungles everything to step in herself, and is grateful for the lessons in Daes Dae’mar she learned from Thom and the Aes Sedai in Salidar. She tells Birgitte that by spring, she wants the Guards to be an army “equal to anything ten Houses can put in the field.” Dyelin does a spit-take, and Birgitte nearly panics.

“Oh, burn me, Elayne, you can’t mean…! I’m an archer, not a general! That’s all I’ve ever been, don’t you understand yet? I just did what I had to do, what circumstances forced on me! Anyway, I’m not her, anymore; I’m just me and…!” She trailed off, realizing she might have said too much. Not for the first time. Her face went crimson as Dyelin eyed her curiously.

Elayne realizes Birgitte’s mortification is making her blush, and curses the inconvenience of the mirroring effect of their bond. Making herself be calm, she tells Dyelin that she has three declared challengers, and three more Houses support one or the other of them; of the nineteen Houses that matter, therefore, six are already against her, and she only has two. She doesn’t mention the three Houses that have already all but declared for Dyelin (Carand, Renshar, and Coelan), grateful that Egwene has them bogged down in Murandy for the moment. Dyelin doesn’t mention them either, but is sure that Luan Norwelyn, Ellorien Traemane and Abelle Penshar will come over to Elayne, and argues that this is not a Succession, but Elayne’s plan with the Guards may make it into one. Elayne shoots back that even if those three come to her, it’s still five to six, and in her opinion they won’t do anything until the matter is settled one way or the other anyway.

Light, most people were sure Rand had killed her mother, and few believed that “Lord Gaebril” had been one of the Forsaken. Mending the damage Rahvin had done in Andor might take her entire lifetime even if she managed to live as long as the Kinswomen! Some Houses would stand aside from supporting her because of the outrages Gaebril had perpetrated in Morgase’s name, and others because Rand had said he intended to “give” her the throne. She loved the man to her toes, but burn him for giving voice to that! Even if it was what reined in Dyelin. The meanest crofter in Andor would shoulder his scythe to pull a puppet from the Lion Throne!

Elayne continues that Dyelin may not consider it a Succession, but Naean, Elenia, and Arymilla certainly do, and the only way to prevent Andoran fighting Andoran is for Elayne to be so strong they don’t dare attack her. Not to mention, Elayne has no intention of letting the Seanchan have Andor either, which is another reason they must have this army. Dyelin is backing down when suddenly Birgitte declares with relief that Gawyn can take command when he gets here.

“Mother’s milk in a cup!” Elayne snapped, and lightning flared in the windows for emphasis. Why did the woman have to change the subject now? Dyelin gave a start, and heat flooded back into Elayne’s face. By the older woman’s gaping mouth, she knew exactly how coarse that curse was.

Elayne assures Birgitte that he will come, and thinks that she needs him desperately with Birgitte so convinced she can’t command anything. They are interrupted by Renaile din Calon and Zaida din Parede (Wavemistress of Clan Catelar and ambassador from the Mistress of the Ships to Rand), who barge in unannounced. Elayne tries to fob them off till later, but Renaile curtly declares that Elayne has been avoiding her, and she wants the rest of her bargain fulfilled, now. Zaida adds that Elayne had promised twenty teachers, but so far has delivered only one, and Elayne notices that Merilille has entered as well, looking permanently startled. Dyelin growls at them to watch their tone, and that their bargain will be fulfilled in good time. Renaile begins to threaten her, but Zaida shuts her up with a snap of her fingers; Elayne sees how that grates on Renaile, and wishes she could think of a way to exploit that to keep them out of her hair. Elayne calmly turns her back on them and says that the bargain will be fulfilled, but it takes time to gather nineteen more sisters. She suggests in the meantime they Travel to their people in Tear to help them against the Seanchan, but Zaida counters that they must stay here until they can meet with Rand al’Thor. Casually, she remarks that there are five other sisters already in the Palace; perhaps some of them might teach.

“Oh, yes, that would be wonderful,” Merilille burst out, taking a step forward. Then she glanced at Renaile and subsided, a blush suffusing her Cairhienin paleness. Folding her hands at her waist once more, she snatched meekness around herself like a second skin. Birgitte shook her head in amazement. Dyelin stared as if she had never seen the Aes Sedai before.

Elayne agrees cautiously that something might be worked out, but for no more than a few hours a day; Zaida formally accepts her words, and Elayne blinks at having it taken as a formal bargain. Reene Harfor enters to tell Elayne that Mazrim Taim has arrived, and then Taim and two other Asha’man (one leering, one sneering) come in uninvited right on her heels. Instantly, Elayne embraces saidar and links with Merilille; to her surprise, Renaile joins the circle too. The men sense it, and Taim’s lackeys grow angry, but Taim points out to them that there are only two Aes Sedai; Elayne realizes he doesn’t know Renaile can channel, and wonders if three makes a difference. Reene Harfor mutters about “sneaking rats” and then realizes everyone heard her, blushes, and tells Elayne that there are rats in the storerooms, very odd for this time of year, and she will see about getting rid of them.

“Stay,” Elayne told her coolly. Calmly. “Vermin can be dealt with in due time.” […] Walk in on her without so much as a by-your-leave, would they? “You can show these goodmen out when I’m done with them.” Taim’s companions scowled at being called “goodmen,” but the man himself merely flashed another of those almost-smiles. He was quick enough to know she had been thinking of him when she spoke of vermin. Light! Maybe Rand had needed this man once, but why would he keep him now, and in a position of such authority? Well, his authority counted for nothing here.

Elayne sits, facing away from Taim, and Dyelin, Birgitte and Zaida take up deceptively casual positions nearby. Elayne remarks on Taim’s tardiness in answering her summons, and Taim comments in return that he sees she’s taken down the Dragon banners, and the Saldaeans and Aiel are leaving. He wonders what “he” will say when he finds out.

“And after he’s sent you a gift, too. From the south. I’ll have it delivered later.”

Elayne replies coldly that Andor is the Dragon Reborn’s ally, not his conquest, and if Rand objects, she will deal with him. Taim raises a suggestive eyebrow, and she curses herself for using Rand’s name. Moving on, she informs Taim that no one gave him permission to wall in four miles of Andor, and she will cut off his local food supply (forcing them to Travel for all their food) if Taim does not allow the Queen’s Guards the same access as they have everywhere in Andor. Taim doubts that she could do anything further than ten miles from Caemlyn anyway, but he is willing to allow “controlled” visits, as he wouldn’t want any “accidents.” Elayne wonders if that’s meant to be a veiled threat, and suddenly realizes her fury and Birgitte are each amplifying the other’s, and forces it down with difficulty. She tells Taim that the Guards will visit every day, and she might come herself with some sisters; nothing is to be hidden.

Taim’s bow was mocking—mocking!—but there was a tightness in his voice. “I understand you perfectly. Understand me, though. My men are not farmers knuckling their foreheads when you pass. Press an Asha’man too hard, and you may learn just how strong your law is.”

Elayne opened her mouth to tell him exactly how strong the law was in Andor.

“It is time, Elayne Trakand,” a woman’s voice said from the doorway.

“Blood and ashes!” Dyelin muttered. “Is the whole world just going to walk in here?”

So, in all honesty, the first thing that came to mind upon reading this Prologue had nothing directly to do with the content at all, but rather with the controversy at the time over how it was marketed.

Previous to the release of Winter’s Heart, it had been Tor’s tradition to post the prologue of the upcoming WOT book online as a free preview. “Snow,” by contrast, was the first of the WOT Prologues to be sold as an e-book instead. Which, naturally, completely outraged the fanbase. And I was initially going to be derisive about that, but some poking around in Ancient Internet History brought me the surprising information (even though I obviously must have known it at the time) that upon initial release, “Snow” was being sold for $5.00 a pop.


Not to put too fine a point on it, that’s bonkers. Even for a monster of a prologue like this one, the sheer length of which (amounting to 10% of the entire novel, if I’m not mistaken) leads me to suspect was part of the reasoning behind the decision to start charging for the prologues rather than releasing them for free in the first place. It’s even wackier when you consider that full-length novel ebooks are being sold nowadays for an average of about seven to nine dollars, give or take. So, perhaps the outrage was not all that misplaced, at that.

But in defense of… whoever made this decision (and it was probably not Tor, as the rights had been sold to Simon & Schuster), the commercial ebook Thing was a brand spanking new concept back in 2000, and like any emerging market there was initially an enormous amount of debate/controversy/bitchslap fights over how much it should cost the consumer. Of course, “initially” is rather silly to say, since everyone’s still fighting about it ten years later, but the misty beginnings of the ebook Drama were particularly histrionic in this respect.

“Snow” is just a typical example of this. And to their credit, the Powers That Be seemed to accept in retrospect that charging five bucks a Prologue was… overenthusiastic, shall we say, and subsequent WOT Prologues have been much more reasonably priced.

(To the inevitable protestations of “but we shouldn’t have to pay for it AT ALL!,” I say that (a) well, you don’t have to, actually, and (b) enh. And then mumble something educated-sounding about demand and supply/what the market will bear/economic theory stuff, and move on.)

I can’t honestly remember if I paid the five bucks to read the WH Prologue ahead of time or not; I know I did for at least one of the latter four books, but I’m not sure whether WH was one of them. All things considered, I kind of hope I didn’t.

ANYWAY, onward, to the actual Prologue.

The Karaethon Cycle: not fluffy bedtime reading, apparently. You know when people start bringing up teeth-gnashing that things are going to get nasty. As a side note, I have never seen anyone actually gnash their teeth, but the image is deeply cringe-inducing. Ow, my enamels.

Also, nice sidewise shoutout to the Book of Revelation there, as is only right and proper in any self-respecting apocalyptic thingy. Though in the Biblical version, of course, the black horse belongs to Famine, not Death. (Death rides a pale horse.) But, you know, in the end it kind of amounts to the same thing if it goes on long enough. And it’s a nice harbinger of the whole decay/rotting food/vermin thing coming up, which we see right here in the Prologue, with the first mentions of rats in the Tower and in the Caemlyn Palace. Ick.

There was debate, as I recall, over who exactly is supposed to be “winter’s heart” riding that black horse, and again, even though a case can be made that it is Rand (who does literally ride a black horse, after all), I don’t really think it’s meant to be anyone in particular, but rather more of an abstract personification—the same as I thought with “Lord of Chaos.” However, my case against is weakened by a quote I remember finding from somewhere in an earlier book (possibly TPOD), where Rand specifically thinks to himself that he has to become “winter’s heart,” so there’s that. On the other hand, some of the things that actually happen in WH contradict the whole “frozen heart” thing rather strongly, so I dunno, really.

Seaine’s POV, I find I don’t have a lot to say about. That Talene is Black Ajah is no more than a confirmation of what we knew at the end of their last scene in TPOD, and since we know her belief that Elaida is Black is totally erroneous, there’s really not much to do with that either. I’m pleased that the Black Ajah Hunters are well on their way, though I’m still less than thrilled that they are apparently all on board with putting Zerah and Co. into what amounts to indentured servitude. I have to admit, though, that I would possibly be much more sanguine about this decision if I weren’t in the position of believing that Zerah and the other ferrets are on the “right” side. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite? Not sure.

Andoran Succession, Part Deux (or something): I had to look up a chart of the Andoran noble houses in order to keep this conversation straight, which makes me wonder how on earth anyone reads this series sometimes without the Internets to help them, because damn. But, if it was easy to follow it wouldn’t have sounded like politics, so in that respect I must give Jordan kudos.

Speaking of the Internets, the thing that most struck me about this scene was a comment that someone (possibly Rich Boyé) made on the newsgroup about Elayne’s intention to increase the Guards to an army “greater than any ten Houses.” Which was, that no nation in the series has a national standing army, owing allegiance solely to the state; and that as a historical side-note, the decision to fashion such an army has always been the death knell for the feudal system.

This is something of a simplification—historically feudalism declined for other reasons (mostly economic) as well—but the replacement of sworn vassals “loaned” by nobles to the crown with mercenaries paid directly (and loyal directly) to the state is unquestionably a huge factor in that change, in Europe at least. So in that sense Elayne’s decision marks the harbinger of a sea-change for Randland just as much as Rand’s proto-universities do.

Mirror bond effect: mostly interesting to me in that it casually brought up the issue of menstruation, for the first time in ten books. I’m not really implying this as criticism, but I did find it somewhat amusing confirmation that Jordan is male. Because believe me, if you’re a non-menopausal adult woman on months-long, continent-crossing, sleeping-rough journeys, as many of our main characters are or have been, menstruation is not a casual afterthought. I’m just saying.

It’s difficult, I admit, not to get annoyed with Elayne for the way she harps on how Rand cannot “give” her the throne, but she has a legitimate point if the statement will genuinely undermine her ability to take power. And really, there’s no reason (other than catty ones) to suppose Elayne doesn’t know what she’s talking about on this score, so I think Elayne has cause to be irate. Yet another reason why I’m glad I never went into politics, where one badly-chosen word or phrase can haunt you for the rest of your life.

Mother’s milk in a cup: For the first time in this re-read, I am forced to resort to an emoticon, and it is this one:   o.O

That is all.

Sea Folk: Worst houseguests EVER. Ugh. Though I do give Renaile and Zaida small props (small!) for presenting a united front against Taim and Lackeys.

Taim: When Elayne wonders why Rand gives the man such authority, I was all EXACTLY, THANK YOU. Taim is so long overdue to blow up in Rand’s face (possibly literally) it isn’t even funny. ToM, perhaps? We Shall See!

Oddly enough, it hadn’t really occurred to me until Elayne brings it up here that the Black Tower is on Andoran land. I see the logic of putting it near a major capital in terms of supplies and such (though I’m a little unclear on why having to do everything via Traveling is the burden Elayne and Taim evidently agree it is), but it’s just kind of funny when you consider Randland is riddled with vast swathes of land that are completely unclaimed by any nation. And if any organization would be able to take advantage of the isolation that affords, it would be this one, wouldn’t you think? Oh, well. Maybe they just didn’t want to be lonely!

And scene. My, what a lovely cliff we’re hanging off of here, don’t you think? Why don’t you take a few days to contemplate its, er, cliffiness? Excellent, I’ll be back on Friday to pick you up. Don’t let go, now! Hang in there! Ha, lookit, I made a funny. Bye-ee!

Chin Bawambi
2. bawambi
Wow a top ten

j p
3. sps49
I would still disapprove if Zerah et al were on the right side. After all, this foreshadows Elaida's 4th oath, no?
Andrew Belmont
4. rosetintdworld
I may be wrong, but I believe this is the only scene from the Two Towers plotline in the entire book. Not sure why I want to point that out, exactly, except to say that it's interesting that it's the very first scene of the book.

Not a whole lot to say, otherwise. I continue to find Elayne pretty amusing, and while her plotline will grow tedious in COT, I must say I really can't understand the hate she gets and hope it is muted this time around. The humor in her POVs may be different from Nynaeve's or Mat's: unlike them, she knows and understands herself very well, and the humor comes from how much she expects everyone else to operate on her wavelength. But I still think it can be pretty funny, especially here.

Welcome back, Leigh!
Mikael Pajunen
5. BByte
I liked WH when I first read it. But especially on re-listen roughly a year ago I started to find it quite boring. Apart from the admittedly cool ending, not a lot of stuff happens. Instead there’s the-plot-that-never-dies and the-other-plot-that’s-almost-as-bad. Even Mat’s storyline doesn’t advance much, even if there are a few nice scenes. Having no Egwene PoV at all doesn’t help.

Rip out the ending and I think WH would sink to the level of CoT, the most disappointing book in the series in my opinion.
j p
6. sps49
Oh, and what was so bad on your Fourth, Leigh? Hopefully it was only a dearth of grilling and not fireworks related. Or hangover related :P
8. Hammerlock
I think the initial placement of the Black Tower was due to reduced expectations--Rand never expected hundreds of male channelers, let alone hundreds with strength enough to Travel--so he chose a location with existing infrastructure (a farm in the countryside) that could resupply without relying on the expected few channelers that would train/live there.

Of course, that was quickly disabused, so now you have the BT comparitively next door to a major city. Oops?

As far as resupply-by-Travelling: I think it's considered more of a tedious job that would insult Taim's pride rather than an actual hardship. Since the men can't link, only those strong enough to make gateways that can accomodate wagons will be able to work Resupply Detail--though these would likely be in far greater supply than what Elayne has to work with.

Still, its an inconvenience that would need to be dealt with.
Julian Augustus
9. Alisonwonderland
Leigh @0:
Pevara opines that they should get everything they can out of Talene before handing her over to Elaida, and Talene says if they do they are all dead, because Elaida is Black Ajah. Seaine, Doesine, and Yukiri are all horrified, but Pevara points out that just because Talene believes it doesn’t mean it’s true, and Saerin asks Talene if she has proof. Talene replies sullenly that she doesn’t, but that the Supreme Council knows every report Elaida receives and every decree and decision she makes, sometimes weeks in advance, so how else would they know?

This scene is one of my biggest disappointments with the BA Hunters, and especially with Seaine (the White member). This is a huge clue that, if properly followed, could have led to uncovering of Alviarin, and indeed I thought Jordan put in this scene for that purpose. Yet, none of these supposedly intelligent women wondered HOW the BA Supreme Council knew any time Elaida changed her smallclothes. The hunters decided, on very little evidence and really based only on their personal feelings, that Elaida wasn't black. Not very smart, but even worse is the fact that not one of them thought the issue worth investigating. Deliberate dumbing down by Jordan?
10. normalphil
In fairness to the boys, Rand outright saying that he meant to give the throne to Elayne post haste was the only thing that kept Dyelin from going against him, and Andor was a mess as it was.

There were drawbacks to Elayne's perceived legitimacy, but it was the best case scenario until Mat could get across "Trakand Andor is falling apart in front of our faces." convincingly enough for her.
Jeff Weston
11. JWezy
AlisonWonderland@9: I had the same thought - after all, if you decide that something *must* be true, then you need to try to rationalize the facts that appear to contradict it. If they had simply wondered how else the BA could know, it would have quickly led to Alviarin.

Expecially when you couple it with the original instructions; as I recall, Elaida instructed them to follow the stench of treason wherever it might lead, even the keeper (which office she mentioned by name, bit of a giveaway).

So yeah, a "duh" moment for the light.
Julian Augustus
12. Alisonwonderland
I find it interesting that it was Elayne whose cycles changed to match Birgitte's. One would have thought that since Birgitte is Elayne's warder, nominally Elayne is the dominant partner in that relationship, but the fact that it was Elayne's cycles which changed to accommodate Birgitte suggests otherwise.
13. BenM
Hammerlock @8: Good point. Never even considered the fact that the men can't link. (Except for Logain and crew when they're there.) That certainly would be annoying, when you think about it that way.

(P.S. darn, thought I made top 10 this time. :)
Derek Barolet
14. Derek.barolet
Fantastic! Yay reread!

I totally understand Elayne's reaction to Black tower being on andoran soil, never hit me till this scene the problems that could result. when it did though I *facepalm*ed for like five minutes.

Re: The BA hunters, I completely understand why they didnt go to Elaida, the reasoning behind it was sound after all, Elaida didnt want them to look for BA after all, so If she had been BA that could have been um, bad. very much so.
Derek Barolet
15. Derek.barolet
And WH was one of my least favorite books
I agree with BByte @5 other then the ending it felt like what the cover shows, slogging through snow.
Morgan Crawford
16. Jenesis
Hurrah for the re-read continuation. I am sad though that we didn't even get to the first sisters section. But so far no Faile or Perrin thus these sections are good
Birgit F
17. birgit
I find it interesting that it was Elayne whose cycles changed to match Birgitte's.

I assumed that both changed and met in the middle (Jordan probably forgot that he has 10-day weeks).

A book about winter and a chapter called snow don't really fit for the present temperatures.
James Jones
18. jamesedjones
12 Alisonwonderland
I find it interesting that it was Elayne whose cycles changed to match Birgitte's.
I always assumed the Pattern just got lazy. Let's see... I could make the Creator's chosen one super fertile, or I could just switch the "cycle" alignment for these two. Jeeze, it's going to be impossible to keep the little tomboy from getting pregnant without making her infertile. Well, I don't want to do that, and there's no way I'm going to bother with dealing with that every month... What the light?! Is that goofball gambling again? Cycles it is!
Alice Arneson
19. Wetlandernw
I thought it was interesting that RJ was clearly trying to get us to understand that all Andorans would object to the idea of an outsider - even the Dragon Reborn - putting someone on the Lion Throne. We mostly get it through Elayne's POVs, after Dyelin's outright statement in the previous book, but I thought it was pretty clear that it wasn't just Elayne being snotty and independent about Rand "giving" her the throne. It's basic to Andoran thinking.

Re: location of the BT... I think Hammerlock has a good point, that the initial location was convenient for Rand and it never occurred to him that it would end up so big, or that Taim would start building a tower, or... all that. Too bad it didn't occur to them sooner to move it out, as suggested, into one of those vast unclaimed areas in the middle of nowhere... But then, there are probably future plot developments that require it to be near Caemlyn.

Alisonwonderland - Agree that it was foolish of the BAH to miss the connection to Alviarin. *sigh* Given that they understood her instructions to be "find evidence of the BA" it's quite reasonable for Seaine to be confident that Elaida isn't Black, but that doesn't excuse the failure to even think about the Keeper as a possible source of info. Should have been obvious.

Re: the cycles, we don't know that Birgitte's didn't change, sliding the other direction to meet Elayne's. Since we never get it from Birgitte's POV, it's an unknown. It's also quite possible that such things are completely irrelevant to the "dominant partner" aspect and are only dependent on established hormonal patterns and stuff.

I see birgit beat me to it.
20. Seamus1602
Count me in the camp that really likes WH.

Lots of good stuff, including Mat!, meeting Tuon, Elayne-Avi 1st sister ceremony, Rand's bonding, the Cleansing, plus the the hails thing in Far Madding, which I find more interesting than not (and Cads gets to use her skills to piss off someone other than Rand!). Lots to like there.
21. EarthandIce
Hi all, on the name of 'Winter's Heart" I always took it to mean the weather shifting after the use of the Bowl of the Winds. After the fact that the weather was being held hostage by the Dark One, all the comments about how the farmers were to make crops without rain, how first snows were supposed to have happened the weather changed from the highth of summer to the heart of winter in, I believe, a matter of 10 days or so.

I think my least favorite book in the series was Lord of Chaos; it just seemed clunky even on re-reads. It took me a re-read of Winter's Heart to realize the Perrin-Faile arc did not encompass the entire book.
22. EarthandIce
Sorry that should be height, not highth. Yes, I am a stickler for spelling.
Alice Arneson
23. Wetlandernw
EarthandIce - May I suggest that you "go grey" so you can edit? I find it invaluable... :)
Tony Zbaraschuk
24. tonyz
There are many good scenes in WH; I need to re-read it and see how it stands up structurally as a story in its own right.

The Black Ajah hunters in the Tower was another good scene (and it's interesting to note that it's a major plotline sparked off by a complete misunderstanding that is nevertheless accurate -- Elaida wants her Keeper brought down; her chosen hound interprets this as instructions to bring down the Black Ajah, which the Keeper really is a member of.) I agree that not asking the question "who is the Black Ajah spy? could it be the Keeper?" is a failure on the hunters' part, but to be fair nobody ever thinks about the White Ajah as worth doing anything, so maybe the hunters can be excused on that part.
25. Gentleman Farmer
Re: Standing Armies

I guess it depends on what constitutes a national army, but there appear to be a number of standing armies which are beholden to the state, or head of state at the time:

The King's Guards and Panarch's Army in Tarabon, the Illianer Companions and the Defenders of the Stone to name a few we've seen, and the (White) Tower Guard appear to be another.
Derek Barolet
26. Derek.barolet
@Allisoninwonderland and Wetlander
Elaida didnt want them to find the BA she wanted them to find the Keeper of treason, she didnt think Alviarin was BA she was trying to get them to out her manipulation of Elaida. I think its in TGS where this is revealed much to the shock of Saerin. Given the quicknes Elaida accused Egwene of darkfriendism I think she would have jumped all over Alviarin a$$ if she actually thought she was.

tonyz beat me to it
Jeff Soules
27. DeepThought
Re: menstruation, it's probably just not been mentioned because it doesn't make for particularly compelling reading, for all it would significantly affect The Ladies. There are many other hardships of rough travel that we don't discuss too (friction burns, blistered feet, sweat rash), and as I recall, we never get a scene where Mat takes a dump, either; the books don't exactly suffer for these omissions.

Re: Min and cycles (@jamesdjones #18) he's already got that covered; Randland women widely & regularly use an effective anti-pregnancy herb. Min's just more conscientious than Elayne.

Regarding the Black Tower's placement, I think at least part of it was that Rand expected men going to the BT would go by conventional means. In a pre-Google Maps society, you can't exactly send a bunch of farmers to an indeterminate spot six days from nowhere and expect them to arrive in one piece, and plenty of people live in the BT who aren't Asha'man; some of them probably even do recruitment and such. Similarly, it has to be plausible to everyone that people could get there on foot, or suddenly the whole world has been told that Rand and his buddies can Travel, which probably isn't wise (even if all the main bad guys know already).
Elizabeth Coleman
28. elizabethcoleman
I find the menstruation thing amusing because their cycles coinciding would happen anyway, since that's what happens when women live in close proximity. Just imagine, it's likely that everyone in the White Tower has their period at the same time.
Lucas Vollmer
29. aspeo
I agree with some of my fellow commenters above me about how the BA hunters are not following up on how the BA knows so much about what Elaida is doing. After just finding out the BA 100% exists, they should be completely focusing on chasing down any leads. Once they have come to the conclusion that Elaida isn't BA, then it stands to reason that the next best suspect for all this information is the Keeper. It would be very unlikely that anyone else but the Keeper would know the details of Elaida's plans and decrees so quickly. Perhaps they didn't consciously want to go that far up because they didn't want to believe the corruption could be that high, but it's actually very amusing that when Elaida sets the hunters their task, she specifically says to follow the trail even if it leads all the way up to the Keeper! lol

The other thing that caught my attention in this part is how supremely annoying any of the higher-up sea folk continue to be. I am fairly sure that the SF as a group aren't bad, but they are certainly poorly represented by those that are in power.
Also, I don't understand how an AS can become a such a spineless mess. It seems to me that she should teach them, but demand the respect that students should owe their teachers. I realize that the SF apparently don't treat teachers well, but that is just another example about the SF that just leaves me shaking my head. I think we need a scene with Egwene telling the SF that they will have their teachers, but only if they are treated civilly. Otherwise the bargain will be considered broken, and the teachers will leave. This way the AS won't be so jumpy, and the SF will get the teaching that they apparently want.
What do you all think?

Also Taim = Creepy
I am so glad that Elayne finally gives voice to what all of us readers have been thinking for so long. Whether Rand or Logain faces off with Taim, I don't care, I just want to have him get the beat down that he deserves!

And that's all I've got for now, but hooray for having new stuff to talk about!
James Jones
30. jamesedjones
26 Derek.barolet
I think its in TGS where this is revealed much to the shock of Saerin.
It's in the Prologue of KoD.
31. iamnotspam
I always considered Perrin the one whos heart got cold after Faile's abduction and thus the death rider.

Deffinatly no expert here but I can remember reading about womens courses changing to match one or more other women when living in a close environment over a long time. Especially in large families that have an abundance of female siblings and Aunt Whoever moves in and messes everyone up. Something to do with homornal signals or such. Like I said just something I remember reading before so dont hold me to the fire. Let me know if this totally inacurate though.

BT I think was totally about being close to where Rand was at the time.
Ben Goodman
32. goodben
Re: traveling for food

There are enough logistical problems with this to make it an inconvenience certainly and possibly more.

Enough food and supplies can't be bought at a local market. Nowhere local outside of Caemlyn can support them. Supply transportation in the WoT is a slow and erratic matter. It's unreliable enough that you can't time-table it.

The two choices to get around a blockade by traveling are:

1) Go from town to town buying up what you can. This would take lots of Asha'man to do. Most of the time you couldn't return to the same town as they would no longer have the resources to give. This removes a large number of Asha'man from learning and teaching.

2) Make a staging area outside of Andor and move your supply operation there (Tear is probably the best choice). Open gateways at regular intervals to move supplies between the staging area and the Black Tower. This would require less Asha'man resources than #1, but is more work than allowing Andor to inspect the Black Tower.

Presumably Taim knows enough that Rand doesn't want him to antagonize Elayne, also.
Marcus W
33. toryx
Oh, so many things to talk about:

1. Charging for the Prologue. Personally, I think rushing to read the prologue before the book is out is just plain silly. I've never done it, whether the prologue was free or not. I'd rather have the whole book in my hands than to get started with an appetizer that'll only succeed in arousing my appetite without bedding 'er back down again.

Despite all that, charging for the ebook didn't upset me at all. I admired RJ and company for going forward with the future and all that, thought that people who paid for the prologue were suckers who were better parted with their money anyway, and that was that. Then when I read the prologue itself when the book finally did come out, my opinion was that people got a better deal than I'd thought. Good for them.

2. The initial scene with the continuation of the BA hunt was a good start to the prologue. It was far more interesting to me than initial scenes in several of the past books. I do recall that I didn't believe Elaida was Black Ajah when I first saw the accusation. And I was a little disturbed that a chair like that existed in the Age of Legends at all. Scary, scary people those Age of Legenders could be.

I know it'll sound awful but I actually enjoyed Taim in that scene with Elayne. It amused me that he provoked her so easily. I still don't get why Elayne didn't literally scour the kingdom in search of her brother to take command of the Guard, but that's just me.

Oh, and this part of the Prologue officially marks the point at which I really started to dislike the Sea Folk. I sure wish Elayne had found a way to nip that whole treatment of teachers as slaves bit in the bud.

For what it's worth, Leigh's suggestion that the Black Tower should have been placed on unclaimed land is simply brilliant. I wish I'd thought of that. That would have been a far superior choice than the location actually chosen. Dang, that's good thinking!

Alisonwonderland @ 9:

I totally agree. Someone should have begun giving thought to Alviarin, if only to consider it. But no, they never bloody do, do they?

birgit @ 17 & Wetlandernw @ 19:

Except that menstruation doesn't tend to work like that. Women tend to link with one who is currently in menses. There's no sliding scale, there's just an untimely onset that resets the whole system. RJ might have been impractical by ignoring the whole concept previously but the change to Elayne's timing does make total sense. It probably would have less to do with the bonding than with the fact that the reset happened when Birgitte was currently "on."

Frankly, it should have happened when they were still traveling with Luca. Come to think of it, Nynaeve should be on the same cycle as well.

Okay, I've changed my mind: Linking the whole thing with the bond makes no sense at all. RJ really didn't know what he was talking about.

elizabethcoleman @ 28: Exactly.


And to end this monstrosity of a post, I'm one of those who really likes Winter's Heart too. But that's probably because I disliked PoD so much.
Derek Barolet
34. Derek.barolet
@28 Gotta suck to be a Warder for a few days every month in WT
Maybe that was the source of their natural stealthiness.
35. Laotsekung
re: the standing armies thang:
so far the only place to have a standing army is Seanchan, as far as I can tell. The others are all glorified guards and/or window dressing, at least that's the impression I get ;)
36. Dholton
re: the placement of the Black Tower

I can't speak for Rand's motives in the book itself, but on a meta level, I remember way back when somewhere that somebody made the observation that if you look at a map of Randland, and consider the the lands held ultimately by the Seanchan, and those held by Rand, that the two areas form the symbol of the Aes Sedai/Yin Yang, with Tar Valon and the Black Tower roughly in the positions of the little circles of the Yin Yang symbol. Which, whether true or not, I thought was a really interesting observation. Did Jordan plan it? Time will tell...maybe.
Tom Burton
37. Conky
Yay, new post!

Re: Taim getting his

I'm of the opinion that Taim could end up being a Dreadlord. It's high time to have a Dreadlord in this series.
a a-p
38. lostinshadow
Aren't the AM still traveling all over Randland looking for recruits? couldn't they just buy food/supplies during their recruiting trips. Isn't part of their forced training doing everything with the OP?

I don't think Taim was particularly worried that Elayne would manage to block him; for one he needles her with that comment that he doubts she has much influence beyond a 10 mile radius of the capital. He might think it's below him and/or the AM to travel for food but it always seemed to me that Taim was just playing along because he need the BT to be there for whatever plans he's hatching.

To me, Elayne's battle for the throne is the plot of doom. Am bound to rant about this multiple times as it comes up. And I actually like Elayne, way more than Eggs or Nyn. (less than Min but hey)

At one level I understand that Elayne needs this plotline to come into her own but it seems a bit forced to me. It may have been more convincing to me if she had tried to get control of Caemlyn first and then went after the bowl.

I realize that the reverse timing would have been bad for the world, but I just don't know, they way Elayne went after the bowl with nary a thought to her kingdom (queendom?) just assuming it would be there whenever she got back doesn't seem that consistent with her character. I know a lot of people say she's impulsive and blindly charges into whatever adventure she stumbles upon but from our first intro to her, Elayne's commitment to her people shone clearly (like I said, I actually like Elayne and don't mind her princessy manners at all) and I just haven't been able to reconcile how easily she ignored it all for so long. Hence me not liking this plot.

I'm sure I'll vent more on this but for now enough wall'o'text.
Sam Mickel
39. Samadai
Okay, I guess I will end my self imposed exile and comment(losing ground on my number of posts)

I Like Rand's little side quest in this book, and the book itself has a great many little victories in it. I thought the BAH could have been a little more intelligent in figuring out Alviarin, but am much happier it was done by Verin.

I wish Elayne and Co.could have shielded Taim and had him locked away.
Dyelin is the kind of supporter any ruler would ask for.( She is Andor's Dobraine.)
Alice Arneson
40. Wetlandernw
Derek.barolet @26 - I didn't say Elaida wanted them to find the BA. I said Seaine interpreted Elaida's instructions as wanting them to find the BA, which would assume that Elaida was not BA herself. The fact that Seaine misinterpreted Elaida's instructions doesn't invalidate the logic: Elaida sent me to find the BA, no BA would risk exposing the BA, therefore Elaida is not Black.

FWIW, I think it would have been great fun for the whole thing to go full circle: Elaida gives murky orders, hoping to find a way to bring Alviarin down without hurting herself; Seaine misinterprets the order to mean "find the BA" and goes hunting; they find the BA and reveal Alviarin as Black; Elaida's original intent is fulfilled beyond her wildest dreams. (Preferably just before Alviarin kills her, painfully, as she is about to be taken. No, just hurts her badly; I still want Elaida to find out how badly she misinterpreted her own Foretellings before she dies.)

elizabethcoleman @28 - I've never found that true, to be perfectly honest, and I've always wondered if it had any foundation in truth at all. In all my years of roommates before I married, I never once had my cycles shift to match theirs, or vice versa. Oh well.

aspeo @29 - I've been thinking about this since the previous posts, and I wonder if Seaine simply can't imagine a White joining the BA. Could it seem so completely illogical to her that the idea of suspecting Alviarin is virtually impossible? Would she really think that only those crazy, passionate Greens, Blues and Reds would do such an illogical thing, with occasionally an odd Yellow, Brown or Grey thrown in? I don't recall clearly (and can't go look it up at the moment, but will later) whether she even told Pevara about Elaida's mention of "the Keeper" and I'm almost sure that she didn't say it to the other sitters yet. So, unless someone can dig out such a mention, it's quite possible that Seaine is the only one, at this point, who knows Elaida even inferred any connection with Alviarin. Just a thought.

Re: those teaching the SF... We don't know all the wording of the Bargain, so the only known justification for the SF treatment of the AS is their contempt for the "shorebound" and how their treatment of the AS is consistent with their treatment of any non-SF teacher. I can almost see Merillile's transformation - she's never before encountered anyone with zero respect for Aes Sedai, and they blind-sided her. Elayne or Nynaeve should have stepped in and stopped it, though, unless there's something clear in the Bargain that prevents it.

toryx @33 - Oh, yeah. Just why didn't Elayne do something about finding Gawyn? IIRC, she assumed that he would hear she was in Caemlyn and come running, but why didn't she do something to hasten it along? Use TAR to try to find something of his location, if possible, maybe mention it to Egwene... Obviously, he'd get there a lot sooner if she found him and Traveled him there, and she'd have a trained leader that she could trust, instead of a totally trustworthy but non-officer Warder in charge of her troops.
Rob Munnelly
41. RobMRobM
OK, that's the end of the menstruation discussion. Period.

Marcus W
43. toryx
Wetlandernw @ 40:

For what it's worth, the shared cycles thing is true. I've "seen" it happen several times (uh, figuratively) with multiple groups of women. Granted, this always happened when the group of women numbered more than three and they spent several hours in each other's company. And it happened in less than a week. I always thought the whole thing was pretty fascinating.

As for Gawyn: I really didn't understand her not putting more effort into it. It seemed like she had a number of options to figure out where he was, and it would have only taken one brief trip for someone who can Travel to locate him and bring him back.

I suspect it all comes down to two things: 1. The continual lack of communication between groups, i.e., Egwene and Elayne never talked about it; and 2. Elayne didn't really want him there.

The latter I think is most feasible. Gawyn had that irritating idea (like everyone else) that he knew what was best for her better than she did and if he'd been there he probably would have been far more intolerable than Birgitte. Actually, I can't blame her for being hesitant to find him, if that was actually the case.
Tony Zbaraschuk
44. tonyz
I think one reason the Sea Folk come off so relatively badly is that our first encounter with them (all the way back in tSR) had a pair that were very polite and relatively helpful, so the contrast when most of the rest of them turn out to be annoying is all the greater.

Compare with Tear, which started out late in tDR with the High Lords being a bunch of arrogant morons, and they've always been arrogant morons since, but because there's no _change_ in how we perceive them it just flies over our heads as "yeah, them again."
Matthew Smith
45. blocksmith
Hooray...A post! Thanks Leigh.

But no time to read...must catch up tomorrow.
Daniel Goss
46. Beren
Lostinshadow @38
It may have been more convincing to me if she had tried to get control of Caemlyn first and then went after the bowl.

That's never bothered me. If you remember, all of their talk before going to Ebou Dar was "It'll just be a quick stop in Ebou Dar, and then on to Caemlyn." I don't think anyone expected the Ebou Dar trip to take anwhere near as long as it did, or become as complicated as it did. She may have been a little optomistic in her estimation of how easily the bowl would be located and used, but one can hardly fault her for not anticipating the myriad roadblacks that would be put in her way.

So yes, as soon as she 'found out' that her mother was dead she should have been off to Caemlyn. However. At first, she couldn't because the Aes Sedai would not allow her to. Later, she had the Bowl to deal with.

Which reminds me -- when did she learn that her mother was dead? For some reason I'm drawing a blank on whether or not that happened on-camera.

Beren, scatter-brained today.
47. Hammerlock
@44 - The Tairen Lords also have the advantage of being thoroughly overridden and shut up every time they start to get going.

"My Lord Dragon, surely we cannot acquiesce to these sniveling peons-"

The Sea Folk....not so much. They natter on endlessly and would try to bargain with a healer as s/he tries to save their lives.
Sharon E.
48. Sulin
Yay, a post! Thanks Leigh! I hope life is back on track for you. :)

jej@18- ROFL!

I am looking forward to WH, it has a lot of great scenes.
Derek Barolet
49. Derek.barolet
@ wetlander
I see what you are saying now. And now agree.
50. alreadymadwithelayne
Laotsekung @35
Tear has Defenders of the Stone and Illian has Companions. Both are considered topnotch among military units in the Westlands. Andor likewise had the Queen's guard, which Gaebril attempted to reorganize into the White Lions. Tar Valon has the Tower Guard. The latter two might fit your description, but not the previous two I think.

Dholton @36
I don't think Time Will ever tell, unless Jordan left some notes saying so.

Beren @46
She was in Salidar when she learned her mother had disappeared and that Rand had taken the city. I believe she learned by way of Egwene.

Re: Perrin and book title
Much of the connection probably stems from Perrin being on the cover art. Along with being the one actually stuck in snow.

Re: Black Tower logistics
Others have already presented valid points. I'd just like to add that while supplying the Black Tower purely through gateways is little more than an inconvenience at this stage, it was next to impossible in the early days. Rand had no way of knowing how many prospective trainees would acquire the skill or strength for Travelling.
a a-p
51. lostinshadow
Beren @46 not sure, memory banks are fogged up due to excessive exposure to MBotF but seems to me Elayne found out about her mother (or at least started hearing rumors) before she got into Salidar and if that's the case she should have just headed straight to Caemlyn. Edit: I stand corrected, apparently she was already in Salidar - still she could have escaped if she had wanted to.

I get your point about them expecting Ebou Dar not to take too long but since they traveled to a spot a good 2 weeks away from the city itself so it was obviously not going to be really quick.

It's just that Elayne is portrayed as having been trained very well in terms of her duties and she was trained further by Thom during the Luca sideshow and it seems to me that her failure to consider that her people must be in shock due to bad rule by formerly good queen and presence of Dragon Reborn and would need to be comforted by immediately seeing the heir at the reins.

Since we see how surprised she is (during her long ride through the country side) that taking control of the throne is not as easy as she imagined it would be, one could easily argue that she would assume taking the throne would only take a few days or a week (with traveling to quicken things up) and after taking the crown, reassuring her people, asserting her stance on the dragon reborn and andor's role in TG, she could leave Gawyn or Dyelin or someone else in charge (why wasn't she scouring the earth for her brother anyway, weren't they trained to rule as a team, him as her shield and sword arm?) while she takes a quick trip to find the bowl to fix the weather. her people would applaud that rather than resent it if she had just made the effort to make sure they know she cares about them first.

wow ranting too much. about a character i like.

:: wanders off to bunker to see if any chocolate is left ::
52. AndrewB
Toryx @33; @43 & Wetlandernw @ 40: Even had Elayne learned Gawyn's location, she could not have travelled to (cannot remember the village where Elaida ordered him to stay). This was right in the middle of Tower Sisters. She risked being captured (or any other Sister she would send in her place).

I too was initially disappointed that the BAH did not make the connection that Alviarin (sp?) may have been the reason why the BA Supreme Council knew all of Elaida's decrees before they happened. However, I think that the way that RJ/BWS wrote the resoultion of that issue in TSG was better than if the BAH had discovered Alviarin's true Ajah. (By resolution, I mean that Aes Sedai learned that Alviarin was Black).

Thanks for reading my musings,

edit: what do you know -- I got the spelling right.
Barry T
53. blindillusion
WH has great scenes: Ah, but "Great scenes do not a novel make." =)

As for my own read through? I'm cheating. I'm reading each POV as it's own story. Started with Mat's. Now I'm on Rand/Cadsuane/Nynaeve. And so on and so forth.

I'll end with the Perrin Mess.

Probably not the best way to read a book, and I'm sure some of my fellows on this site will put cauldrons of oil on a slow burn, but...meh...it's working.

As for cycles shifting...I've heard of it happening in Basic Training.
54. Freelancer
RE: Aunt Flo

Having had the misfortune to be assigned to supervise female berthing arrangements for the first aircraft carrier to allow female airwing members to deploy, I can tell you that the shifting of timing is a reality. While I'm absolutely no expert, my sense is that it is more likely to happen the more enclosed the working/sleeping environs. Also, some people are "stronger" hormonally, and would likely become the "trigger" for others to adjust. This would suggest that Birgit, being older and more established would pull Elayne into her timing.

My take on the "coarse" oath is that it means you're talking about something you want which isn't available to you. Birgitte wants Gawyn to take over, but Gawyn isn't about, and Elayne doesn't know where to find him. Perhaps someone is crude enough to openly request mother's milk to drink (and in a cup please, or that would really be rude), but they aren't going to get it.
55. Lillcheese
I don't think Elayne understood how tarnished Trakand's reputation had gotten until she arrived in Andor. She was the acknowledged/adored Daughter-Heir. IIRC, she had no reason when leaving Salidar to think that an extra week or two delay to find the bowl would make much of a difference. Plus, I think she was looking ahead to how difficult it would be to take care of her people if the weather didn't get corrected.
Daniel Goss
56. Beren
Hmm . . . My take on the "coarse" oath was that it was supposed to be one of the most vile oaths in Randland. I equate it to another oath involving a maternal parent. I never saw it as having anything to do with wanting something one can't have, as much as the need to spout an obscenity for whatever reason.
That didn't make a lot of sense, but I think you know what I mean.
Jennifer B
57. JennB
Freelancer @54
Just curious, why "misfortune"?
someone else
58. Naraoia
*de-lurks to play the smartass*

Re: menstrual cycles shifting, I would be sceptical. I sure can't support the theory from my personal experience. My previous flatmate and I were pretty much in opposite phase throughout the year we lived together. I also didn't manage to synchronise with my mum in seven years.

I don't know about the current state of the field, but this article from a few years ago lists a few ways synchrony could all be a giant misperception.


If two women have even slightly different cycle lengths, they will get in and out of sync by simple maths. Start with a 28- and a 30-day cycle and a two-week offset, and in half a year, you reach complete sync without any extra tinkering. Then you go back to maximum offset in the same amount of time. For more than half the time, the two cycles are less than a week apart in this case. With a difference of one day, the cycles will take longer to "sync" but will remain close to each other for longer as well.

As for sudden "synchrony", I have this cynical impression that big events can bring cycles forward. Like, heaven forbid my period miss a trip to Switzerland, even though it was due a week later... A change in the community that surrounds you could certainly qualify as a cycle-shaking event IMO. Obviously you can't "sync" with men, but I wonder if women's cycles also go haywire when they encounter a new *male* community.

Just 2 cents or so from someone who can't quit thinking like a scientist... *re-lurks*
Alice Arneson
59. Wetlandernw
lostinshadow @51 and many....

I just spent some time looking up timelines for various events on the trip to the Succession, and it's not really as bad as it looks for Elayne. When she first learned about her mother's disappearance, she was an Accepted in Salidar. She wanted, and tried, to go to Caemlyn, but was not allowed to go; instead, they sent The Embassy that messed up so badly later. So first off, Elayne had no choice about going "right away" when she first heard. I'm not so sure she could have escaped if she had wanted to; she was pretty valuable property by then as well as being only an Accepted.

Now, here are some dates, based on S. Cooper's timeline. Story-day #, equivalent Earth date, and event:

543 (9/17) Elayne arrives in Salidar
555 (9/29) The embassy is sent to Rand in Caemlyn
592 (11/5) Elayne/Nynaeve find the BotW in TAR
611 (11/24) SuperGirls are made Amyrlin & Aes Sedai
617 (11/30) Elayne/Nynaeve/Mat Travel to Ebou Dar vicinity
621 (12/4) They arrive in Ebou Dar (4 days elapsed)
657 (1/9) They find & use BotW, Travel to Andor (38 days)
687 (2/8) Arrive in Caemlyn (30 days - delayed by snow)
758 (4/19) Elayne gains enough support to win (71 days)

So... Given that they expected to find the Bowl within a few days, they "should" have been in Andor by mid-December and in Caemlyn well before the end of the year. Unfortunately, it took more than a month to find the Bowl, and then the weather changed so drastically that when they did Travel to Andor, they took more than twice as long as expected to reach Caemlyn. (I present no particular reason for why they didn't Travel a little closer to Caemlyn when the weather turned nasty. It's been discussed ad nauseum already. You decide.) Instead of arriving in Caemlyn by December 20-something, it was nearing the middle of February. Elayne miscalculated several things, but when she decided to go to Ebou Dar first, she really didn't think she'd be delaying by more than 20 days or so. The first couple of months' delay, as noted above, were out of her control.

I'm not sure that's a full defense, but Elayne couldn't have known the full truth about the mess Andor was in as a result of Rahvin's manipulation. It could reasonably have seemed to her that it was more important to relieve the unending summer for the whole world, rather than get to Caemlyn a few weeks sooner. FWIW, correcting the weather was as important to the Andoran people as much as the rest of the world, and possibly more important (in terms of survival) than a smooth Succession.
60. Freelancer

I knew someone would ask that. It had almost nothing to do with dealing with the females themselves, but a plethora of logistical, supervisory, and regulatory headaches. For one example, berthing facilities aboard aircraft carriers did not have head facilities integral to them, and once the brass decided it was time to make a change, it was necessary to reconfigure spaces in a way which wasn't provided for by the original design. Life aboard a big gray boat is already inconvenient for starters, but the additional inconveniences which arose to ensure good order and discipline were quite remarkable. And it is an absolute misfortune to become the complain department for all concerns, both bottom-up and top-down. You want a no-win situation, there it is.

I hope that answers your question.
Tricia Irish
61. Tektonica
Hi Leigh! Hope life has mellowed out for you. Thanks for coming back to us!

I don't know what to say....you amaze me, Leigh! What wry turns of phrase you employ! ie:

The Karaethon Cycle: not fluffy bedtime reading, apparently.

Because believe me, if you’re a non-menopausal adult woman on months-long, continent-crossing, sleeping-rough journeys, as many of our main characters are or have been, menstruation is not a casual afterthought. I’m just saying.

I can just see the men on this thread trying so hard to be cool and really just cringing inwardly, while the women have been wondering about this silently for years!

Sea Folk: Worst houseguests EVER.

I really miss you when Real Life gets in the way! So funny.

Other things:

It's been my experience at camp, in college and with room mates that things generally sync up in a few months. Must be pheromones or something.??

Re: Elayne: At first, I was mystified when she didn't run off to Caemlyn immediately upon learning of her mother's alleged "death", and Gaebril's "kingship". On the other hand, if he'd declared himself King, what was she going to walk into? I don't think for a second that she suspected Rand of killing her mother. I don't even think she thought her mother was really dead. I think she chose the BotW because it was urgent for all of Randland, including Andor, of course. The long march through the snow becomes more understandable too, when you consider that she really doesn't know what's going on in Caemlyn. (Why people don't Travel and communicate with each other, is another rant we've already had.)

On the Gawyn front. He should've gone to Caemlyn and to hell with Elaida, who obviously had no use for him, and in fact, wanted him dead. He had duties! On the other hand, I sure didn't miss him! Ug. He would've tried to boss his sister around and well, he's a twit. Probably would've killed Rand when he showed up to woo Elayne. (Just kidding, I know, Rand was in disguise.)

There are some good scenes in WH, but oh, the SeaFolk. Argh. The taking of the throne, groan, Mat and Tylin and Tuon, YAY! It's CoT I'm dreading....the wandering continues......
Hugh Arai
62. HArai
Wetlandernw@59: I agree for the most part, except that once she learned to Travel, she could have gone at any time if she was willing to deal with the consequences. She chose not to.


Sorry but no. You can't pin this on Gawyn.

1) Elayne is the one who can Travel, not Gawyn. Riding long-distance in bad winter weather is not a trivial matter. Look how much Elayne complains about her much shorter ride. Any searching would reasonably be done from her end.

2) Without Elayne or Morgase, Gawyn has no real power in Andor. Since neither of them were in Caemlyn the last he heard, what was he supposed to do there? Gareth Bryne had much the same problem. Without the ability to Compel, men can't operate as the movers and shakers in Andoran politics.

3) He had duties? His duty is to protect and serve Elayne. A large part of the female population of Randland, Elayne most definitely included, have carefully kept him from doing so. Several of them have had good reasons, but they still treated him like a mushroom.

4) He would have tried to boss his sister around? The only thing we've ever seen him seriously argue with his sister about is that she should tell him where she vanished to, which is something he needed to know to do his duty.
Jennifer B
63. JennB
Makes sense.

Sorry, you left that dangling there. Had to take the bait. Besides, its interesting to hear your perspective.
Sara H
64. LadyBelaine
re: Standing Armies

Some of the nations have elite military organizations - Andor's Queen's Guards, The Illianer Companions, the Tairen defenders of the Stone, even the Mayener Winged Guards, but those are just that - elite military bodies.

In the ... feudal systems that almost all the nations in WoT have, the king/queen is dependant upon the levees of his/her vassals to show up and make up the bulk of an army. House Trakand has its own sworn armsmen, but they are separate and distinct from the Queen's Guard, the Crown troop.

Elayne can't just throw her weight around with the Queen's Guards; they're not massive enough. She needs to cobble together a bloc of her allies who will , to borrow a phrase from GRRM, "call their banners" i.e. raise their troops and then lead them to the Queen's side and serve along with her.

In a system like we see in WoT, the bulk of the men under arms are sworn to serve their local liege, and wear their colors and carry their house banners. Those local lieges are supposed to fall under the command of the monarch, who is their liege. This whole system is why the king was always concerned about the "over mighty subject."

Elayne's decree that the crown troop, the Queen's Guard, the state troop (aside from House Trakand's levee) be as big as almost all the major houses' sworn levees combined is new and unprecedented. There is no national army in Andor.

The same seems to apply in Illian, as the Companions serve the Laurel Crown, but the bulk of the Illianer men under arms are those sworn to the various nobles.

Ditto for Tear, as we see High Lady So-and-soo and High Lord Such-and-such riding forth with their own house forces, with their own commanders and banners - High Lady Rosana, for example, isn't riding at the head of a detachment of Tairen Defenders. She commands her own house forces.

Cairhien appears to have no national elite force sworn to the Sun Crown, which might be why its royal politics are so precarious. It's every major house for itself, with no elite national squadron, say, the Lancers of the Sun, serving to help keep things stable when House Riatin decides to screw around and jockey against House Damodred.

With respect to Tarabon, the King's Life Guard would seem to be, well, basically, an elite bodyguard designed to protect the king's person, and the Panarch's Legion seems to serve mostly a police function.

Tar Valon is a city-state, albeit an amazingly powerful one, but as such, is not a feudal government with various vassals governing tracts of land for the Amyrlin and raising troops from them.
Alice Arneson
65. Wetlandernw
Lady Belaine - Nice! Good summation of the "army" situation.
Tricia Irish
66. Tektonica

You make very good points. It's just that I can barely stand his decision to stick by Elaida in light of her actions in the Tower, and towards the Younglings. And I think his hatred of Rand is unfounded. Granted he doesn't have all the info that we have, but Egwene herself told him that Rand is innocent, but he is a hot head ,and goes on believing Rand guilty anyway. Emotionally he is a bit, um, immature. IMHO.

I do think Elayne should've made an effort, with Egs help perhaps, to locate Gawyn and communicate her intentions to him. If I remember correctly, Gawyn finds out in tGS that Elayne is seeking the throne in Andor, but he doesn't go there....he sticks with Egwene and Byrne. BTW, why didn't Byrne, his mentor, send him straight away to Andor? He knows Gawyn's role there for his sister.

Of course, all of this would require communication!
Thomas Keith
67. insectoid
Yay, new post!! Read it this morning, didn't get around to commenting till now (been reading; I'm about halfway through AGoT) Hope RL is better for you now, Leigh.

BA Hunters: Are awesome; we inadvertantly find out here that the DO's oaths AFAWK can be removed with the Oath Rod!

Elayne's curse: Yes, I can see why this is profane, sort of... er, the lightning helps. O_o

Birgitte: Still cracks me up.

Sea Folk: Still annoying. 'Worst houseguests' is right!

Taim: Vermin... how right she is!

Leigh: Cliffiness is a great word. ;D

RobM² @41: Yeah really... I'm surprised it's generating so much discussion!

Tek @66:
Of course, all of this would require communication!
But Randland doesn't have any of that... ;)

Ron Garrison
68. Man-0-Manetheran
re."...harbinger of the whole decay/rotting food/vermin thing coming up, which we see right here in the Prologue, with the first mentions of rats in the Tower and in the Caemlyn Palace."

This is one of the things that makes the re-reads so interesting. Initially it served to set the mood of the story to follow. Knowing what we know now it also indicates the decline into darkness that our hero has begun. The re-reads give me so much appreciation for RJ's crafting of the tale.
j p
69. sps49
EDIT: Oh, lordy, the people on this cover!

Freelancer @54-

I can only imagine how many other khakis and civilians were looking over your shoulder. My sympathies.

Got any advice for the submarine force?
Hugh Arai
70. HArai
Tektonica@66: Being sensible, Bryne does tell Gawyn that Elayne is in Caemlyn in TGS and suggest Gawyn should go there. I believe that makes Bryne the first person since Gawyn's arrival at the Tower to tell him the full truth about Elayne's whereabouts. Gawyn doesn't go because by then Elaida is holding Egwene prisoner as a pretender to the Amyrlin Seat and Gawyn wants to rescue her. Otherwise he quite likely would have gone to Caemlyn then. I don't dispute he's a hot headed, impulsive young man. His POVs in TGS show that even Gawyn knows that's true. I'll just point out that if you have someone like that, giving them an important duty and then making it impossible for them to execute that duty is not likely to turn out well.
Derek Barolet
71. Derek.barolet
BA Hunters: Are awesome; we inadvertantly find out here that the DO's oaths AFAWK can be removed with the Oath Rod

You know, I never made that connection at all until Verin and Egwenes conversation. Damnit why couldnt verin have waited. RIP Sneak Queen

But does that mean someone can turncoat on DO or are they just not bound? Is there a link to the DO for darkfriends that they cant turn back again? I never understood that part of it
72. jj8
@ leigh

thanks for mentioning the revalations refrence.
being from israel i know nothing about the new testement , but i realize that jorden is alweys refering to it. this is one of th reasons i love this re read!
Jonathan Levy
73. JonathanLevy

My take on the 'coarse' oath was that it was one of those which Elayne had learned from Mat. I don't remember if it's true of this specific one - maybe someone has a reference?

As to why 'Mother's milk in a cup' would be considered a curse by anyone, I have no idea, but we've seen sillier ones before in WoT - "Bloody buttered onions" & "you summer ham" spring to mind.
Derek Barolet
74. Derek.barolet
re oaths
maybe referring to milking someones mother like a cow, i know i would be mad if someone milked my mom. "I have nipples Greg can you milk me?"
75. Rando al'Rissian
Regarding removing the DO's oaths...

Is there any reference as to how the DO's oaths are taken? It would seem to me that the DO's oaths can't be removed by the oath rod unless they were taken on the oath rod. Verin being the sneakiest of sneaky and basically outsmarting the DO himself should have deduced using the oath rod to remove her BA oaths would have saved her life.

My first post BTW. :)

Thank you leigh for all you have done and are doing for this reread.
Max Espensen
76. Andvari
I always took the "Mother's milk in a cup!" oath to just mean something so preposterous and unlikely, seeing as there's absolutely no need for it to be in a cup and perhaps that if it were it would be some sort of grave insult to the mother or baby for it to be there.

I still have no idea about "Sheep swallop and bloody buttered onions" though...
Max Espensen
77. Andvari
JL@73: Ah ha ha yes "summer ham" is even more surreal. I might start using WoT insults just to see the bemused look I'd get.
Kurt Lorey
78. Shimrod
The scientific verdict on menstrual synchrony is still out, but the concept has been around since 1971.

McLintock Effect

Regarding "coarse oaths", I think that it just means using a phrase that is somehow vulgar in nature. The "Mother's milk..." oath is easy to classify in that vein, because for most people, talking about their Mother's milk outside of its normal usage/delivery methodology might be considered rather vulgar. Regarding the other phrases, those might be somewhat more obscure in origin.
Derek Barolet
79. Derek.barolet
On the other hand could be completely random too
RJ said there wasnt a history behind Blood and Bloody ashes so its interesting that we start seeing odder oaths later in the series. I wonder if he got asked about certain ones so many times he just sat down and came up with random stuff that would spark debates like this...seems like somethin he would do.
Jonathan Levy
80. JonathanLevy
Another point regarding oaths: When Mat is speaking the Old Tongue (without realizing it), he uses subtly different oaths:

In the doorway in Tear:

“The Light burn my bones to ash if I want to go Rhuidean! And my blood on the ground if I will!
...Burn your soul for a craven heart...Burn your hearts, what fate?...Unhand me, you white-livered sons of goats...Burn your eyes! The Shadow take your souls, loose me! I will have your guts for a saddle girth!”

And when speaking to Birgitte:

“You are she. Birgitte, for true. Burn my bones to ash...

Birgitte says something unusual herself:

“Birgitte Silverbow. Faith of the Light...

The difference between "Blood and Ashes" and "Burn my bones to ash" is subtle, but I think Jordan is very consistent in these little details. Illianers say "Fortune prick me", and swear by their aged grandmother. Ebou Dari say "Stab my eyes". Can't think of other examples offhand, but I'm sure there are many.
81. Megaduck
Elayne's decision not to go straight to Andor always made sense to me in the fact that she has massive entitlement issues. Not really surprising considering that she is a princess and has been raised that way.

Consider, the fact that she is the Daughter Heir of Andor has always been a massive part of her personality. She goes on about it when she's drunk even.

So the idea that she might NOT be the Daughter Heir and that someone else might become queen isn't only something that's hard to conceive, it threatens her very sense of self identity.

Worse, her political environment has always been very structured. Her mother was on top and everyone followed her. She didn't have much personal experience in a situation where the ruler was unstable or what an actual succession was like.

The fact that the last time she was in Andor (WAY back in EotW) she was a little childish and a little bit of a fluff head probably doesn't help people who had memories of her.

All and all, this fits into Jordon's pattern of giving people blindspots. Rand has his about woman and Elayne has hers about the throne.
Lucas Vollmer
82. aspeo
RE: coarse oaths
I've always thought RJ didn't want to use regular curse words in his writing to help keep it more accessible to more people. If this were the case then he might have just thought up some phrases that sounded slightly derogatory, but didn't actually have any bad meaning to us in the real world.

It's kind of a boring idea, but I do find that I like reading these coarse oaths better than I would if real cursing had been used in their places.
Marcus W
83. toryx
HArai @ 62:

Sorry, but I'm going to disagree with you.

1) Elayne is the one who can Travel, not Gawyn. Riding long-distance in bad winter weather is not a trivial matter.

The thing is, he didn't have to ride. He could have taken a boat to Andor and only had to ride a short distance to Caemlyn, if at all.

Furthermore, do you really think that would have stopped him if he thought he was needed? Gawyn has proven himself to be able to surmount difficulties far greater than the weather.

2) Without Elayne or Morgase, Gawyn has no real power in Andor. Since neither of them were in Caemlyn the last he heard, what was he supposed to do there?

Men cannot rule but that does not mean that they cannot play the Great Game. He could have gone there and tried to muster up support for Elayne. He could have visited the other Houses and found out where their loyalties lay. He could have sought out the troops that Gareth Bryne was supposed to be in command of and prepared to take their loyalties for the rightful Queen. He could have kept quiet and gotten a feel for the lay of the land.

There are countless things he could have done, beginning with finding out the true situation of his kingdom. Unfortunately, for reasons not fully known to us, he chose not to do any of that. I personally do not think that speaks well of him.

3) He had duties? His duty is to protect and serve Elayne. A large part of the female population of Randland, Elayne most definitely included, have carefully kept him from doing so. Several of them have had good reasons, but they still treated him like a mushroom.

He took an oath, an oath that he blabbers on about at every opportunity. The oath does not require people to treat him well or keep him involved. His oath should have put him in a place where she could reach him when she was ready to pursue the throne, not in Tar Valon where she would have absolutely no control over her own choices. He, of all people, actually knew that but he disregarded things because he was angry and bitter.

4) He would have tried to boss his sister around? The only thing we've ever seen him seriously argue with his sister about is that she should tell him where she vanished to, which is something he needed to know to do his duty.

I sort of agree with your comment, but not fully. He would only try to take command when it came to his fulfillment of his vow, but he is as guilty as any other male in Randland in deciding what's best for the women regardless of their capabilities. Honestly, I think he would have bossed her about as much as Birgitte does and she would have been infuriated with him on a regular basis. That doesn't mean he'd be wrong, but he certainly would have been as determined to see she was guarded and did not go out into the city without a huge guard to protect her.
Maiane Bakroeva
84. Isilel
I don't buy it that the BAH couldn't conceive of a White going Dark - wasn't their first suspect Zerah a White? And going over certainly could be logically supported.
I'll be charitable and say that Elaida's nature threw them off - they couldn't imagine her confiding in Alviarin so much that her plans would become known _weeks_ in advance.
Still, the Keeper was a logical target for investigation, given the information leaks, and Elaida even specifically pointed her out to Seiane...

Elayne and character-building - her storylines so far have been nothing but and it is just too much, IMHO. She is supposed to be in her own element now and I don't see why she should have almost the same struggles as TRlers.
Good on her for being on to Taim and standing up to him though.

BTW, that's the problem of most of the main cast - instead of character-building happening while they participate in important main plot events, as in the early books, they increasingly get specialised "side-quests" specifically for that.
Meanwhile, Rand's offing of FS gets ever more repetitive and yawn-worthy. After Rahvin, RJ should have really let others from the main cast try their hands at them, IMHO. It would have been much more interesting.

And now, after you have heard me yammer how this or that should have been cut or compressed in after-LOC volumes, WH provides the big exception - the thread that deserved much more attention than shenengians of Perrin or Mat or Elayne, but got a lamentably short shrift.
Namely, the build-up to the Cleansing and bonding of Asha'man, complete with rediscovery of cross-gender links (which, according to Asmodean should have required some serious figuring out) as well as weaving of the opposite half of OP by the leader of said links (that should have required even more, since the weaves are supposed to be so different!), which preceded it.

Still, I don't hate WH and actually like it more than KoD. Far Madding stuff, while really tangential, is quite nice. Rand and Lan together again are gold ;). And of course, the quadruple bonding, hanky panky with Elayne and the scene of Cleansing itself.
Jonathan Levy
85. JonathanLevy

I don't buy it that the BAH couldn't conceive of a White going Dark - wasn't their first suspect Zerah a White? And going over certainly could be logically supported.
I'll be charitable and say that Elaida's nature threw them off...

I agree with what you're saying about the White Ajah, but in general I've got a much less charitable explanation for the BAH's behavior: They're scared s***less. They've discovered one darkfriend, and it terrifies them. The thought that the Keeper might be Black Ajah is so horrifying that none of them is capable of conceiving it, because if it's true, then the Black Ajah must be much larger than they thought, more powerful than they thought, and will easily crush them like a roach once it finds out what they've been up to, which will doubtless be very soon indeed.

No no, much better not to even think about the keeper being a darkfriend....head deep in the sand...
86. peachy
Another charitable alternative is that the non-existence of the Black Ajah is a fundamental article of faith for the AS, drilled into them from the instant they arrive and reinforced through their careers (unless they become BA, of course, or fall into its clutches.) Simply acknowledging that the Black exists at all is a massive step... it might be too much to expect them to also immediately recognise that the BA is so large and powerful as to be the dominant faction in the Tower.

Even with that said, the failure to pursue Alviarin is definitely odd.
Hilde Sørensen
88. edlihs
Mothers milk in a cup: mother's milk is considered the best for the baby. Milk in a cup/ surrogate milk being inferior, therefore "mother's milk in a cup" => cheap, inferior, worthless (etc) original.
Jennifer B
89. JennB
I agree completely. I think its funny that people try to find meaning in the made up swearing.
diane heath
90. jadelollipop
@88 Your explanation makes sense. I always think of the Friends episode where one of the guys puts breast milk in his coffee and their reaction upon discovery.
@82 and 89 also agree that I don't want "true" cursing. I figure RandLand has own curses etc because different culture/world. Like the ones on Pern are all Dragon related (Shards. By the Great Egg etc)
Alice Arneson
91. Wetlandernw
Isilel @84 - I don't buy it that the BAH couldn't conceive of a White going Dark.. I don't really buy it either - I was just trying to think of some reason that Seaine wouldn't think of Alviarin as a source for the Black Council's information, since she was convinced that it wasn't Elaida herself.

Jonathan Levy @85 - I hate to think this theory may be true, but.... it may be true. *sigh* Considering Seaine's realization that facing a confirmed Black sister was far, far worse than the abstract concept of the Black Ajah, so much that she had to go hurl in a corner, wilful blindness may be a part of it.

@many - I never particularly thought of cursing as being a significant part of world-building, but it is. Aside from the offensive possibilities (and resultant loss of readership) of RL curses in any book, in an SF/F book it makes much more sense for the curses to be sourced in that world. It makes the writing much more internally consistent while at the same time allowing for the apparent neccessity of human nature to express anger or frustration in terms calculated to offend.

(Completely aside, one of the (many) reasons I rarely use vulgarities is the pure challenge of finding adequate expression without resorting to that particularly limited vocabulary set.)

Nested parentheses FTW!
Julian Augustus
92. Alisonwonderland
Rando @75:
Verin being the sneakiest of sneaky and basically outsmarting the DO himself should have deduced using the oath rod to remove her BA oaths would have saved her life.

Of course Verin did make that deduction! And tried to act on it. Unfortunately for her, when she went to steal the oath rod to remove the BA oaths, the oath rod wasn't available (because the BA Hunters had filched it to use in their campaign!). That is why Verin decided her only recourse left was the poisoned tea.
93. alreadymadwithmilkinacup
Re: Mother's milk in a cup
I always figured it was a reference to the reduced shelf life of Mother's milk when placed in a cup. I looked it up though and we're still talking 4-5 hours before it spoils.
Daniel Goss
94. Beren
That's probably it, but "Spoiled in four to five hours!" just doesn't have the same punch to it.

Hmm . . . maybe it refers to someone trying to make punch with it?
Thomas Keith
95. insectoid
@many: I shudder when I try to imagine what the WoT would be like with real curse words and vulgarities, a la G.R.R. Martin! It just wouldn't be right...


Scientist, Father
96. Silvertip
Mother's milk: I kind of like the idea that at least some of the invented curses in WoT don't actually have an intended backstory, on the assumption that something left unspecified would have a better impact (think figs and mice). That said, you can imagine as an adult picking up a cup expecting something else and finding ... mother's milk? I'd probably cuss. (And then get cussed out).

@95 insectoid: exactly right: context is everything. Leaving aside suitability for little kids, I really don't care whether books (or music, or movies, or whatever) are explicit or not with respect to language, sex (panning to the fireplace vs not), etc. What's key is keeping true to the overall work. Sometimes that means being PG, sometimes R or NC-17: But books that are artificially sanitized or racy-ified (is there a real word to express that?) in a way that doesn't fit are usually obvious, and detract from the work. From what I've heard here, vulgarities work in GRRM's books, which would sound just as odd without them as WoT would if they were there. To thine own series be true.


97. Freelancer

Some of us men have wondered a bit as well. But just as novels don't tend to deal too closely with toilet necessities, it's normal to skirt the regular, factual, intimate details of womens' issues (Pun intended). Any man with both a wife and at least one daughter has a fair empathy for all points related, even if he tries to deny it.

And, back to the synchronizing thing, since my daughter has come home from college, there has been an "adjustment". I've had to reschedule a romantic weekend from just after my wife's next birthday to just before as a result.


Just to clear the air, while on active duty, females have accounted for both some of the best and some of the worst workers, sailors, and people under my leadership, and many points in between. I don't care which side of your shirt has the buttonholes, if you honor your commitments and help make your workplace successful.


We're brought back to the issue of we the readers knowing more than the characters, and expecting them to act on information they don't possess. At that point in time, Gawyn isn't sure where Elayne is, but since for his entire life Elaida has been watching over her, and given Elayne's own determination to serve the White Tower, he could reasonably expect that his sister will come back under Elaida's care RSN. The last time we see Gawyn is when the Younglings are escorting the surviving Aes Sedai from Dumai's Wells back to Tar Valon (ACoS Ch.32). The next time he's onscreen is in CoT. Egwene hasn't contacted him since she became Amyrlin (Fears being caught in his dream again), and Elaida is indeed treating him like a mushroom. The Younglings, and even the twelve Aes Sedai who returned from Dumai's Wells, are being kept out of the city so that Elaida doesn't have to admit the disaster of attempting to kidnap the Dragon Reborn.

If Gawyn believes that his Mother is dead and his sister is out of pocket, he has little reason to ride for Caemlyn, since national law wouldn't allow him to assert any authority as the surviving member of the royal family, due to his non-matching chromosomes. As he sees it, his duty is to his Younglings, and to remain where there is the greatest chance of encountering his sister. Add in the weather, and his actions up to this point are completely reasonable.


You want advice for those who ride in a boat which sinks on purpose? I wouldn't know where to begin. (PS ~ My boss is a former bubble-head)

Jonathan Levy@73

Elayne's use of the phrase is the first time it comes up in the series.


That may well be the first Meet the Parents reference here. Well played.
Valentin M
98. ValMar
I agree with the fact that Gawyn is not of the position of us readers so it is very reasonable that he acted in the way he did.
But I, being an all-knowing reader, reserve the right to consider Gawyn a proper numpty.

edited due to someone more academic than a geek could find "sm*g-head" offensive or something.
Jennifer B
99. JennB
I like that term "non-matching chromosomes". I had never heard that used before.
Roger Powell
101. forkroot
Aloha from the 50th state. Caught up with BillinHI for an excellent breakfast. And no, even with the collective wisdom of two gray heads we are not sure about who killed Asmodean.

Of course Verin did make that deduction! And tried to act on it. Unfortunately for her, when she went to steal the oath rod to remove the BA oaths, the oath rod wasn't available (because the BA Hunters had filched it to use in their campaign!). That is why Verin decided her only recourse left was the poisoned tea.

I've mentioned this before ... it seems like "time was of the essence" for Verin at that point as she could not wait for further investigation of the whereabouts of the oath rod. Nor could she wait until Egwene's position was more secure.

If there's one thing we do know about Verin, it is that she was very careful (for good reason!) Thus it was undoubtedly not a rash decision for her to take the poison, rather a decision forced by circumstances.

It's fun to speculate what those circumstances might have been. Three possible theories come to mind:

Theory #1 - She knew that she was about to be discovered as a light-side mole by the BA. If this were the case, her life would almost certainly be forfeited before she could pass on her life's work.

Theory #2 - She knew that she was about to be discovered as BA. Most likely in this scenario she would not be able to pass on her life's work to the one she chose. (Plus she'd probably get assassinated by the BA in this scenario too.)

Theory #3 - She was under orders to do something nasty. I like this theory because it's possible that the BA oaths include some sort of binding obedience to the Chosen. She might have been ordered to kill someone (Egwene?) and knew that if she didn't get free of the oaths, or take her own life, that she would be forced to complete the order.

The only problem with the idea of binding obedience to the Chosen as part of the oaths would be Liandrin's behavior toward Moghedian. Perhaps the oaths are subtler and only compel obedience to Ishy/Moridin -- quite possible since he established the BA.

Scientist, Father
102. Silvertip

Do we know how long Verin had been back in the WT before that scene? I ask because of ...

Theory #4: With one of the letters we saw, Verin had set some sequence of events in motion that required her to braindump to Egwene by some particular time, perhaps immediately upon returning to Tar Valon. Of course, it's possible that what her machinations were leading to were your theories 1 and/or 2; I'm hypothesizing that she set things in motion herself, with passing her legacy to Egwene as part of the plan.

In this scenario, we'll almost certainly get the story in one of the upcoming volumes.

Daniel Goss
103. Beren
Theory #4 Variation

With the letters, she had set in process a sequence of events that required her to be either free of the BA oath or dead by a specific date/time. I've been speculating on whether she could put a betrayal in a letter and give it to Matt with the understanding that he would not open it until such a time that she has guaranteed that she has shuffled off this mortal coil (therefore still not betraying the Great Lord until the hour of her death.)

Bill Reamy
105. BillinHI
Great get-together with Forkroot for breakfast this A.M. Good food, better company. Now to go read all the posts, since I am now so far behind...
Derek Barolet
106. Derek.barolet
Beren@103 OOOOOOHHH I like.

Hey Freelancer, you military now or former military?
Bill Reamy
107. BillinHI
Beren @103 Extremely interesting idea! I _really_ hope we get full disclosure on Mat's letters (and maybe the others as well), 'cause I really want to know more about super-sneaky Verin's MOA work over all those years!!
108. Freelancer

I'd had the same possible conclusion, that one or more of the letters left with Mat and/or others included the truth of her story. However, her offer of choices to Mat would have allowed him to open the letter as soon as he was in Caemlyn, if he promised in advance to comply with its contents. Otherwise, he has to stay put in Caemlyn for 30 days after she Travels the Band and him there, which seems to closely line up to Verin's meeting with Egwene. So, if Mat changed his mind, opened the letter the day after Verin dropped him in Caemlyn, and it contained a betrayal of the DO, then Verin would in effect have broken her oath. I'm not sure it would be possible for her to do so.


Nice avatar there. ::trying vainly not to seem jealous::


USN Retired. 21 years active. Avionics. And no, you cannot have my name, rank, or serial number, because I'm not your prisoner, I'm not in uniform, and we aren't in Geneva. (Commas, FTW!)
Derek Barolet
109. Derek.barolet
hahahaha thats ok i just wonderin' whether you were servin now or in past
Well from a young vet to a retired vet, thank you for your service.
x x x x .........................
x x x x ...._...................
x x x x ../....O................
Sandy Brewer
110. ShaggyBella
I have always wondered why Egwene did not try to heal Verrin after she drank the poison. Or go find a sister that was good at healing. (After Verrin had told her what she needed to, of course.)

Siuan was able to heal a poisoned Gareth Bryne and Nynaeve healed Milisair Chadmar of the Domani Council of Merchants. Egwene did not even try.
Hugh Arai
111. HArai
toryx@83: The trip from Aringill to Caemlyn is not trivial, but yes Gawyn could get to Caemlyn. But since there's no indication Elayne is there, why would he go? If I'm not mistaken, the last location for Elayne he thought he could believe was when Siuan lied and said she was studying in Illian. Other than that, the best odds to find her would lie in Tar Valon.

You say that men can play the Great Game in Andor, and that's true, but you might remember who Gawyn's father was and why he died before you suggest that Gawyn do it.

As far as nagging her like Birgitte does, well of course he would have, for the simple reason that Birgitte is right and Elayne is an idiot for disregarding her advice. Hardly a weakness of Gawyn's character, IMO.

Valmar@98: You're entitled to your opinion of course, that's the fun of being a reader.

ShaggyBella@110: I suspect healing Verin would have been really really nasty without the Oath Rod to release her. Her BA Oaths would have triggered if she was not about to die.
112. Demira
RE: Taim - An interesting characeter. I always read scenes with him so closely, looking for any hints as to who or what he is. I really thought I had evidence of a disguise during this scene with Elayne. Remember there was a storm at the time, and there I read this tantalizing little detail about the "... lightening flashing from the windows sent strange lights across his face..." And Elayne's POV meantioned these dark shadows following Taim. I thought Taim might be using a disguise. *Big inhale Sigh* I'm sure all you WOT fans know better who Taim is than me. If he isn't Demandred, then I don't know who. Really
113. Rando al'Rissian
alisonwonderland @92: Thank you, I had forgotten about that and about the letters and instructions she gave Mat. I flew through TGS when it came out and have not re-read it yet.
114. Rando al'Rissian
demira @112: I wonder if he uses the "menace" weave that Dashiva used on Cadsuane everywhere he goes. That may explain peoples uneasiness around him.

And am I the only one who wants to deck him everytime I picture that half smile in my head?
Birgit F
115. birgit
Theory #3 - She was under orders to do something nasty. I like this theory because it's possible that the BA oaths include some sort of binding obedience to the Chosen.

There probably is no Oath of obedience, but disobeying a Forsaken is still no good idea. They are not patient with failure even when they give impossible orders.
There is probably a difference between the Oaths taken by the BA (on the Oath Rod) and the oaths of a darkfriend to the DO. Talene was freed from the first, but not from the second. It is probably not enforced the way Oaths taken on the OR are, but maybe it still limits her usefulness to the BA hunters.
Jonathan Levy
116. JonathanLevy

it's possible that the BA oaths include some sort of binding obedience to the Chosen

I think Verin explicitly says in tGS that you can betray other darkfriends, even the Chosen if you can justify it, but you cannot betray HIM.


I think you've hit the nail on the head. As for the timing Verin chose, I think that if she had been given orders so horrible that she chose to suicide braindump instead, she would have mentioned it to Egwene during their conversation, because it would have been a serious BA plot which Egwene should know about.
Derek Barolet
117. Derek.barolet
Unless she knew Egwene couldnt do anything about it but someone who recieved one of her letters could...
Jonathan Levy
118. JonathanLevy
I think she'd have mentioned it to both, in that case. It couldn't do any harm to tell Egwene, and it might do some good.

Some more thoughts on the question of timing: You'd think Verin would have waited until the tower split had been resolved before revealing herself. If she decides not to wait how does she choose between confessing to Egwene and confessing to Elaida? Wouldn't Elaida have been just as ruthless as Egwene in stamping out the Black Ajah?

Consider the risks Verin took in going to Egwene. If the schism had been resolved in any way except for Egwene becoming Amyrlin of a united tower, Verin's sacrifice might have been a waste. If Elaida is Amyrlin over a united tower, and Egwene's faction is absorbed/scattered, and Egwene is relegated to the status of a permanently disgraced novice, then no-one will believe her warning and all Verin's work has gone for naught.

Of course, there are many reasons not to want to work with Elaida (her character, her poor judgement), but there are equally many not to want to work with Egwene (her youth, inexperience, status as a prisoner, lesser legitimacy in leading the rebel faction).

And while it's true that Elaida was firmly under Alviarin's thumb for a long time, she has broken free of her.

Also, Verin has known Elaida (to a certain extent) for years. Egwene showed up a year and a half ago, and Verin hardly knows her at all.

So, two questions:

1) Why not wait until the schism is resolved?
2) Why Egwene and not Elaida?

I think we have a reasonable explanation for (1) without resorting to imminent and dangerous Black Ajah plots. Verin's letters forced her hand. But why did she give the letters out at this time? Maybe she felt the last battle was coming, and that it would be a mistake to wait any longer. After giving the letters she waited as long as she could, but then had to act because of her Oaths. Speculation, but reasonable speculation.

As for (2), it's an interesting question to ponder, remembering that we must answer it from Verin's perspective, not from ours.
Maiane Bakroeva
119. Isilel
Speaking of Verin, didn't either RJ or BWS say in some interview that becoming a DF forfeits some very important protections that Light-fearing folk enjoy?

I also remember him/them saying that Shaidar Haran has a much greater power over people sworn to the Shadow, which is why we have seen him brutalizing DFs and FS, but not actually doing anything to the heroes.

There is also the fact that Fain can see sooty marks on DFs... and granted, he has some funky powers, but maybe DO/his avatar can see them too? The FS also manage to scoop up DFs very quickly when they have need of them - clearly not going through the cell system. Do they have some DF detection methods?

Finally, Delana thought in her POV that she received the name Aran'gar "in her dreams". But as an AS her dreams should have been warded! And even if not, familiarity clause should still apply. So, another vulnerability here, apparently.

Which is why "there is no way out, not really" even for a non-channeler like Tomas, IMHO. Getting hold of an Oath Rod would have only given Verin a few extra weeks, probably with a truly horrible death at the end of them.
All DFs are marked in some indelible way IMHO and the higher ups can find them anywhere because of it, if they bother to take the effort.

As to why confide in Egwene - Verin knew that Egwene was a Dreamer and could communicate the info to others, even if she remained a prisoner. For that matter, Verin was pretty much bound to know that Egwene only remained a prisoner by her own volition and could escape given a strong enough motivation. She was also vastly more likely to convey Verin's info to Rand and other people concerned than Elaida.
Also, it is not true that Verin didn't know Egwene - IIRC they spent about 4 or so months together traveling to WT after Falme.

Oh, and another thought about WH prologue - I was pretty disappointed by Brigitte's "why meee?" reaction to finding herself in command of an army. Not only because we already had a surfeit of that with the TR boys, but also because I thought that "Maerion or _Joanna_" were sly hints that Brigitte was Maid Marion and Joan d'Arc in previous incarnations, both of whom had some experience there...
Personally, I hope that Brigitte does become a good general, rather than getting replaced with some guy.
120. peachy
re 118 : "Also, Verin has known Elaida (to a certain extent) for years."

I think you have the explanation right there. :)
Jonathan Levy
121. JonathanLevy
How much did Verin know about Egwene's dreaming abilities? In TDR she says she might be a dreamer, and gives her Corianin's ring that allows access to TAR.

How much does Verin learn about Egwene afterwards? Verin never goes to Salidar. Verin can't really know that Egwene learned to speak in dreams to people from the Aiel Wise Ones. Does Verin know that Elayne cloned the TAR rings, allowing many people to access TAR, and that such meetings are in fact occurring regularly? I don't think she participates in any such meetings.

Maybe I missed something. But in WoT no-one ever tells anyone anything. Do we really know that Verin knows all this about Egwene?

As for conveying info to Rand.
1) Well, if this was high on Verin's list of priorities, she could have given the information to Rand, or to Cadsuane.
2) I get the feeling, though, that getting rid of the Black Ajah had to be done by an Amyrlin Seat. Rand wouldn't be able to do it.
3) As for the other information (about Black Ajah in general)... come on, this is WoT. There's a 99% chance that Rand gets to the last battle without Egwene ever telling him any of it. For his own good, of course. She wouldn't even tell him where Salidar was, remember? He was much too dangerous to allow him near Salidar. Ugh.

As for travelling from Falme to the Tower: I don't think it was as long as 4 months, and all Verin did was give Egwene and Nynaeve a few lessons. I'm pretty sure we can say she knows Elaida better than Egwene, even if Elaida spent a lot of time in Caemlyn.

As for Chosen finding Darkfriends: At some point someone (Moiraine maybe?) explains that the DO can't touch most of humanity, unless they seek him out. I think it was in tEOtW, but I'm not sure.

peachy@120 Har Har Har :)
Lucas Vollmer
122. aspeo
RE: Taim - An interesting characeter. I always read scenes with him so closely, looking for any hints as to who or what he is. I really thought I had evidence of a disguise during this scene with Elayne. Remember there was a storm at the time, and there I read this tantalizing little detail about the "... lightening flashing from the windows sent strange lights across his face..." And Elayne's POV meantioned these dark shadows following Taim. I thought Taim might be using a disguise. *Big inhale Sigh* I'm sure all you WOT fans know better who Taim is than me. If he isn't Demandred, then I don't know who. Really

I believe that RJ explicitly said that Taim is not Demandred, even though a lot of people seemed pretty convinced that he was for a long time.

It has been postulated that Taim is being secretly controlled by Moridin, however. The fact that Taim has been channeling for so long, and knows so much kind of points to him being taught by someone. Since we have repeatedly been told in the series that a woman cannot teach a man to channel, that leaves someone like "Ishydin" to teach him. He was the most loosely bound to the bore, and could have been released well before the others which would have allowed him time to teach Taim. Also, at the end of KOD (I think) when we see him in his hall laughing with his cronies the color scheme is black and red. This could just be an evil liking dark sinister colors choice, but black and red also seem to be the colors of choice for Moridin. This has helped bolster the idea that Taim is under the sway of Moridin.

I'm sure their are other theories out there about who Taim is, or who is directing him. I personally like the theory above the most, but I guess we'll have to RAFO :)
Marcus W
123. toryx
HArai @ 111:

Ultimately, I think the question is, what good was Gawyn doing hanging around in Tar Valon? He had a pretty good idea that Elaida wanted him dead and that he and his younglings were unwanted. He wasn't really contributing in any real way to the Tower. What was his purpose?

I believe it should have been obvious that he could have done more good in Andor than he was outside of Tar Valon trying to survive against enemies on every side for a cause he had no real investment in. He simply chose not to for reasons that make little sense to me.

And while we know fully well who Gawyn's father is, and why exactly he died, I doubt that Gawyn is quite so well aware. He and Elayne both were surely sheltered from their father's more unsavory qualities. I don't think that has anything to do with his choices, which is what concerns me.

Edit to add: Btw, this is coming from someone who totally understands his reasons for fighting on Elaida's side during the Tower's Breaking. I don't agree with them, but I understand them. Gawyn's actions afterward, however, especially following the events of Dumai's Wells, make no sense to me.
124. alreadymadwithwardeddream
Isilel @119
Aes Sedai dreams are warded, just as Rand's are. Yet, Lanfear at one point threatened to simply break through whatever wards Rand had in place. So like waking world wards, a strong and/or skillful enough application of the Power can feasibly overpower them.
Joseph Blaidd
125. SteelBlaidd
We'll I was one of the ones who bought the Prologue, and I enjoyed it.

Unlike many the Andoran succession is one of my favorite plot-lines, in part because I think Elayne is a hoot, and in part because I really enjoy the politics of it(even the dresses and the baths). The First-sister ceremony is one of my absolute favorite scenes, and is a great insight into both Elayne and Avienha. I too, was always frustrated by the blind-spot regarding AlveieranBAH not being able to conceive of anyone successfully blackmailing Elida.

Re the discussion of armies: the BWBoRBA says that the national units are at most 5-6000 soldiers and the bulk of the armies in war time is made of house levies. The largest standing Army being the Whitecloaks.
Ron Garrison
126. Man-0-Manetheran
Beren@103: That was also my assumption - precisely because of the letters and the explicit instructions that they not be opened until a specific time. The option she offered Mat is intriguing though. I’m definitely looking forward to more of Verin’s last days in ToM.

Demira@112: None of us knows any more than you about Taim’s true identity!
...shadows seemed to follow him, as if half the lamps in the room had gone out; not real shadows, but an air of imminent violence that seemed palpable enough to soak up light.
Certainly the finger of suspicion has always pointed at Demandred, but we’ve been told that he is not*. I’m of the “taught by Moridin, inhabited by Moridin” camp: the shadows, the black and red motif in the BT, etc.

*Imagine where we would all be if this had never been denied. I'd bet 98% of us would be totally convinced Taim is Demandred. What a jaw-dropper the truth would be then!
Noneo Yourbusiness
127. Longtimefan
At this point I am just popping in to say "hi". Hi.

Winter's Heart is the first book I gave away right after reading it.

Even though the Cleansing of Sadin is a great scene the first time I read the book I found it dissapointing.

I will admit that at the time I had waited for two years and this is what was delivered and it just did not feel the same to me.

Now I can read the series and it is still a weak book with excellent scenes.

This is the book that almost killed my love affair with the Wheel of Time series.

Such things are hard to kill however and I have been waiting for every next book and reading them within the first week but my excitement over there being a next book has never been the same.

It is a really good prologue though. It just makes one feel that lots of interesting things are going to happen in this book.

and they do. sort of. :)
diane heath
128. jadelollipop
I think age is kicking in. I know I saw a "Webchat interview" by Brandon Sanderson at Dragonmount but cannot find it anymore. The reason I am looking is because IIRC Brandon comments on the Gawain hate and the fact that he has more to him than readers know and a part still to play.
Can anyone find this comment?
In my re-read of COT Rand and Company are at Algarin's home in Tear. Is this the manor attacked in TGS? Bashere,Loial, and Logain have all joined Rand...
diane heath
129. jadelollipop
Re: relevance of my reread of COT to WH...the ?? re bonding of Ashaman has been discussed by the SAS Hall which will lead to a delegation sent to BT. Tarna and Pevara are planning a Tower delegation of Reds.
Cadsuane and Merise discuss Jahar's increasing strength. Cads worries about the increased intimacy of the bond between channelers as opposed to normal Warder bond. Cads would disagree with Tarna and Pevara
about bonding Ashaman to control them. Doubts this would work.
a a-p
130. lostinshadow

I would agree that the BA cleansing had to be done by the Amyrlin Seat for a number of reasons. First off the tower split, subsequent mending and exposure of the BA serves to shake the AS out of complacency and hopefully inspired to get organized and start to help Randland get ready for TG rather than looking down on people, thinking they're great and in fact not doing anything that's constructive.

Second, of all outsiders Rand is certainly not the one to be entrusted with this not so much because of his dislike of hurting women (though that too is a factor) but more because he is already persona non grata with many AS because of the black tower and his unwillingness to be guided properly and of course the accepting oatsh from AS. So if on top of all that he had been the one to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the White Tower is infested with BA, I don't think the AS could have forgiven him enough to ever work together with him again (as an organization).
Maiane Bakroeva
131. Isilel
Jonathan Levy @121:

Verin can't really know that Egwene learned to speak in dreams to people from the Aiel Wise Ones.

Well, Verin knew what the Dreamers are supposed to be capable of - she had Coreanin Nedeal's notes, after all, and after her capture Egwene told everybody who'd listen in the WT that she was one. And it was also common knowledge in the WT that SAS could Travel.

You have to remember that Verin's book has a lot of information on DFs in general and what she thought the Shadow was about, not just on BA. Egwene focussed on what was relevant for her at the moment, but I am sure that there is a lot of stuff there that Rand needs too. Making a whole second copy of Verin's work would have been impractical, given the limitations she had to work under.

Oh, and IMHO Verin chose to act when she did because she suspected that somebody was getting on to her or because she received an order that she couldn't fulfill without doing unacceptable damage to the cause of Light.

AMW @124:

Finding somebody's dreams normally also requires familiarity with the person - which Lanfear aquired by hanging around Rand. And she also had some special ta'veren-finding-fu, using spikes in the Pattern or something.
None of this applies to Delana, unless she was one of the AS at the DF social in TGH.
Alice Arneson
132. Wetlandernw
Jonathan Levy @121 As for travelling from Falme to the Tower: I don't think it was as long as 4 months,... Actually, it was slightly longer than 4 months. It was 137 days; in our calendar, November 22 to April 8.

As for Verin knowing about Egwene being a Dreamer - In addition to what Isilel said already, Verin knew Anaiya was convinced, and she herself was sufficiently sure to give her the dream ter'angreal and a fair bit of instruction on TAR.
James Jones
133. jamesedjones
Re: Verin's timing.

Clearly, she was so sick of SWMNBN (and the fact that she still hadn't taught Rand anything) that she decided to kill herself to stop the misery.

But, before she did that, she had some business to take care of...
Derek Barolet
134. Derek.barolet
ok at the risk of seeming a dumbass, i keep seeing SWMNBN and i have been racking my brain and cant figure it out.
John Lofgren
135. JohnTheLurker
Since we're talking about Verin, I'll ask this question:

In the Wheel of Time, does Verin take any action to aid the Dark One?

I don't know of any. I'm surprised that the Forsaken never force her to aid them.
a a-p
136. lostinshadow

SWMNBN = She Who Must Not Be Named aka Cranky Pants otherwise known as Cadsuane defended ably and eloquently by Wetlandernw but still reviled (or at least disliked) by many.

@133 hahahahha :p

@140 thanks freelancer (goes to show I'm not a certified Cads hater)
137. Looking Glass
Alisonwonderland@9: It’s a missed clue, to be sure, one that could have led them to Alviarin, but it’s not quite so glaring as all that. Remember, Alviarin’s not supposed to have access to all of Elaida’s mail or heads up on all her policy directives; the only reason she does is because she’s blackmailing Elaida so she can just walk in and read all her stuff. So as far as the hunters know, Talene’s statement implies that either Elaida’s black (which is a worry later, instincts or no, once they realize Elaida didn’t mean to start a BA hunt), or someone’s outright spying on her study by other means. That’s very possible (in fact, the rebels are doing exactly that with TAR), and doesn’t point exclusively to Alviarin.

normalphil@10: Actually, I think the best thing for Rand to have said would be something like he “had no intention of interfering with the legitimate succession of Andor”. That would address Dyelin’s fears and still allow the prospect of quietly menacing of anyone not the daughter-heir, without making it look like he was setting Elayne up as a puppet. He messed up. It’s understandable, but still a mistake.

Tektonica@61: If Elayne found out about her mother via Egwene, she’d really have had no chance to go to Caemlyn under Gaebril- Rand attacked less than a day after he (and Egwene) found out.

toryx@83: Gawyn seems to have spent a long time thinking that wayward accepted Elayne would eventually be found by loyalists and safely returned to the Tower, as was indeed one of Elaida’s top priorities (and nearly happened once or twice). Given that assumption, Tar Valon is a pretty logical place to wait. Of course, he was underestimating his sister by a lot: infuriating, perhaps, but still understandable, especially since he hasn’t seen her since, what, she ran off to Falme midway through book two? Book two Elayne would be way, way out of her depth nowadays.

Rando al’Rissian@114: Alternatively, it could be a result of TP exposure- Rand himself has that scary aura-of-darkness effect afterward. Taim may or may not be Forsaken, but if not, he’s got to be next tier down.

Isilel@119: I agree with your overall point here- just as an aside, it’s seriously unlikely that Delana could have warded her dreams well enough to keep out, say, Moridin.
I do hope Birgitte turns out to be a good commander. And I sort of expect she will. Rand and Mat will presumably outperform their past memories, after all; why should Birgitte be stuck with past results?

Jonathan Levy@121: Verin does seem to have a gift for deducing correct results from incomplete information, perhaps as a cosmic balance for all those characters who unfailingly go off in exactly the worst possible direction. Heck, Verin’s basically the anti-Elaida.

Of course, even if Verin had thought Elaida was a better choice than Egwene, by that time ten minutes wandering around the tower would probably have been enough to convince her otherwise.
Tina Pierce
138. scissorrunner
why didn't the BAH look at Alviarin? only the DO knows....

its hard for me to scrutinize/analyze these (or any) writings. while reading (well written stuff anyway)I find myself so absorbed in the story it becomes too close to RL for me to pick it apart. "shoulda, woulda, coulda" just doesn't leap into my thought processes..... (but I love it when someone else can)
139. tearl
Looking Glass @137

...especially since he hasn’t seen her since, what, she ran off to Falme midway through book two?

Actually, Galad, Gawyn, Elayne, Nyneave, Egwene and Mat are all at the WT halfway through TDR.
140. Freelancer

The Cadsuane-haters (many of whom will now no longer proclaim such so loudly, thank you Wetlandernw for the pro-Cadsuane fanfic!) decided some time back not to use Cadsuane's name in a fit of pique, or animosity, or some equally fruitless emotion. They are convinced that Cadsuane does more harm than good to Rand and the Light, with Cadsuane's chosen methods, and her arrogance, and her seeming double standards. Cadsuane herself knows how close to the edge she must act, and once in a while (rarely) Cadsuane will actually have an introspective thought. Certainly that is what led to Cadsuane's decision to spank Semirhage as a disobedient child. So, because Cadsuane is such a polarizing figure, and operates independent of the standard behaviors expected of other characters, those few malcontents have stopped using Cadsuane's name in favor of SWSNBN, or any of it's variants (SWMNBN, SWWNBN, representing Shall, May/Must, Will, respectively) in a show of defiance. They have Brandon on their side, he can't wait to dispose of Cadsuane, to which I can speak firsthand, having seen the evil grin on his face when he said Cadsuane would get hers if he had anything to say about it.

Hmm. An even dozen. CADSUANE! There, thirteen seems proper.


I am out of the habit of noting typos and such, but
SWMNBN = She Who Will Not Be Named
made me blink twice, knowing something wasn't right but not quite seeing it at first.
141. Looking Glass
tearl@139: Ah, you're right; for some reason I'd forgotten he was still there at that point. Even though Mat hit him up for funds to leave the city. So to speak. Regardless, it was a while ago, back when Elayne was decidedly less capable, and even more prone to walking into ambushes.
Tricia Irish
142. Tektonica

Free explained the general animosity that some of us feel towards Cranky Pants pretty accurately, but just to clarify.....

We didn't just out of the blue decide to not use her name......this decision followed a very very very lengthy, ummmm, discussion of her pros and cons that achieved a virtual stalemate. The dissenters were all just sick of the discussion and the name. ;-) Wetlandernw's defense of her in her fanfic went much further to bridge the chasm than all of our discussions.

I still wouldn't want to be stuck in the same room with her for a red hot minute. But I do have perhaps a better understanding of her....at least as Wetlander perceives her.
Scientist, Father
143. Silvertip
@141 Even though Mat hit him up for funds to leave the city. So to speak.

Ha! It took a minute for that to sink in (the best kind of joke), but once it did, major ROFLMAO. Good shooting!

John Massey
144. subwoofer
Holy Moo! Are we still beating that horse? Run Bela, run!

'K first post so I will break this down so it is not too epic with so much going on.

Thankfully, being late to the party means I missed the discussion on "Mother Nature's gift". Hooray for small miracles. Why, oh why, would that ever be a fascinating topic of discussion? Perhaps we could discuss the merits of using natural er... fertilizer back when and how it kept everything "organic". Geeeezzz! No wonder Rand is so big...

Gawyn...le sigh... to use a phrase- that boy carries his brains in the same scabbard with his sword.

Elayne- heh- @LookingGlass- understatement of the thread- Elayne prone to ambushes... yup, she gets doinked on the head so much I figure it rattled something loose. Of all the girls, she needs a Warder sooner rather than later.

Edited for ?

John Massey
145. subwoofer
Verin... man, is it me or does she just keep on turning up?

She's there when Moiraine took her test for the shawl.

She's around just after Mo and Lan hooks up with the boys.

Verin is one of the women that Heals Mat.

She's around when Perrin goes back to TR.

Rand gets "candy-grammed" and Verin is in on the rescue.

Verin also linked with a few other AS whose names escape me when Rand was cleansing Sadin. She fought Gren so I think it is safe to say no oaths to Forsaken. Heck, they are as much fodder as the next DF. Just depends of if the DO decides to bring them back.

Verin knowing what a doof Elaida is, based alone on what she should know?- well, she was also around before Elaida was raised to the shawl.

When the call for AS to return to the Tower went out, Verin did not come back... so it is safe to say her trust in Elaida or at least her faith in Elaida's abilities can't be too high. About the only thing Verin would know is that Elaida is not BA... and maybe that Elaida is an egotistical donkey.

Derek Barolet
146. Derek.barolet
@tek and free

Thanks for bringing me up to date on that

And for the record Cranky Pants can go drink her moms milk from a cup

John Massey
147. subwoofer
And... I'm just throwing this out there- maybe Verin took a slight detour on her way back to the Tower. Like something out of Looney Tunes, she should have taken a left turn at Albuquerque.

Tess Laird
148. thewindrose
Hi all - *Shakes head* Busy life!!
My moms told me you can pre-order Towers of Midnight on Amazon. There is a little blurb under the book that I will provide here - it really is nothing more than what we know is coming up so no spoilers -but I AM SO EXCITED!!!!(Oh yeah and it is 784 pages hard cover, come over here you big bug;))
“The battle scenes have the breathless urgency of firsthand experience, and the . . . evil laced into the forces of good, the dangers latent in any promised salvation, the sense of the unavoidable onslaught of unpredictable events bear the marks of American national experience during the last three decades, just as the experience of the First World War and its aftermath gave its imprint to J. R. R. Tolkien’s work.”--The New York Times on The Wheel of Time®

Product Description
The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight.

The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age.

Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way--at long last--to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever.

Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways--the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn--have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men’s lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost.

This penultimate novel of Robert Jordan’s #1 New York Times bestselling series--the second of three based on materials he left behind when he died in 2007--brings dramatic and compelling developments to many threads in the Pattern. The end draws near.

Dovie’andi se tovya sagain. It’s time to toss the dice.

Tess Laird
149. thewindrose
subwoofer - The last post needs you. It is at 591...

Also, your woof has dropped something, on purpose?

Back to your regular programing, sponsored by Midol;)

Ron Garrison
150. Man-0-Manetheran
Oh, I thought SWMNBN meant "She Who Must Not Be Needed" since she is completely unlikeable, ineffective and cannot possibly have any reason to be included in the story.
John Massey
151. subwoofer
Heh... great minds think alike. I posted about the cure and Cranky Pants the same time you did the Midoly thing here.

Bark was broken. TOR was being mean. All fixed now.

Scott Terrio
152. Renegade248
New ebook cover for COT is up.

Alice Arneson
153. Wetlandernw
thewindrose @148 - I must admit, I find it amusing to have Amazon giving a page count, while Brandon's facebook is providing regular updates on the revisions now going on. He's on a hunt to cut the draft down by about 10% (I think that's what I read, anyway...) and keeps giving things like "15% cut from that chapter" or "This chapter actually grew by 2.3%; I felt I had to add a scene back in" and so on. Oh well! I wonder who does the review... the ARCs aren't out yet... It must be provided by Tor, like the cover blurb. Or something. Sure would love to get my hands on an advance copy, though. I'd happily taunt everyone with it... :>
Tess Laird
154. thewindrose
Wetlandernw - that is why I linked to the site, because on one hand we have the Author giving updates, and then there is Amazon. So I guess 'for what it is worth?'

Suffa, the Drambuie is gone, all gone. Must mean I need to drink a gallon of water and go to bed.

Shout out for subwoofer, he racked another 00, I mean he hit 600 on tPoD 19!!! WooHoo!!

Sleep well and wake:)

Kurt Lorey
155. Shimrod

You need to get a lawyer. Someone else is using your "woof" thing.

I was recently talking to a coworker and she related a story about this man she knows who drops in a verbal "woof" at the end of every other sentence, or so. She told him it was really annoying, and he said that it was "his thing, woof, and that he wasn't going to stop".

From now on, everytime I read one of your comments I'll be thinking of that instead. lol
John Massey
156. subwoofer
Heh- good times:)

Awww- let him bark all he wants. I'm not offended, and at least nobody thinks I am mental...er, that I know of.

Tess Laird
157. thewindrose
subwoofer @147-
So is Verin the Roadrunner or Wile E. Coyote?

158. alreadymadwithverin
subwoofer @147
Maybe she took a left turn to Toledo, Ohio.

thewindrose @148

Considering she led most if not all of the fandom on a wild bird chase regarding her true allegiance... I'd say she's definitely the Road Runner.
159. Branwhin
Meep! Meep! Thbbbbbbpt!

I do wish to point out that Wile.E (and Verin could definitely be called wily!) is the Brown reading a book.

However, for thumbing one's nose at the Dark One and getting away with it... As far as she could, at least. Miss you, Sneaky Verin!
160. Demira
I know I am late, but thanks aspeo@122, and man-o-mantherin@ 126, RE Taim's identity. I agree man-o-mantherin about how differently we would look at Taim now that RJ said he isn't Demandred. I look forward to totally being blown away.

windrose@147, 148 Roadrunner cartoons were always my favorite! LOL! And the excerpt about TOM preview was good to hear. Any news at all about the new book I am excited about too. Cant wait!
Julian Augustus
161. Alisonwonderland
Thewindrose @148:
Oh yeah and it is 784 pages hard cover, come over here you big bug

I don't think 748 pages is a big book, especially if it has the font size of aCoS. I'll be much happier if the page count is in the 900s.
Karen Fox
162. thepupxpert
Everyone - really enjoying the Verin theories and comments. I'm sure it will be discussed in upcoming chapters but I was really shocked to find out that Verin received her poison from Sorelia. One drop will make you sleep, more than one drop and you won't wake up, or something like that. Verrrry interesting...
163. chewynewyork
Welcome back, Leigh. Excellent start.

You know, I am still grasping how freakishly long this series is, and how it affects the re-read. Except for a few wham-bam! Moments scattered through the next FOUR BOOKS, I fail to see any one book henceforth that can top, say....any volume pre-LOC. Maybe it's just me, but the road the main characters took to be who they are was better than actually being there sometimes. When we're actually WITH the main characters, at least. Aaannnd, we're just starting book nine. I'm just saying....kudos, Leigh. There are times, like the last book lol, when this takes dedication.

Still!!! This is great opp for Leigh to delve into the finer workings (or lack thereof) in Randland. I very much look forward to this sort of speculation (exquisitely attractive Hula dancers with tatoos on their faces at a party only for natives is one of my impressions of Shara, for instance), even with the main people missing from most of it.

Elayne's succession: She lucky she fine, wit that British accent cursin' an all (dudes secretly dig chicks who curse about mother's milk in a cup, see), cuz she could really put the nightight on and put you to sleep! I mean...this took really long. Worth it for the bonding between her and Aviendha as first-sisters.

Till next time.
Roger Powell
164. forkroot
162. thepupxpert@162
I'm sure it will be discussed in upcoming chapters but I was really shocked to find out that Verin received her poison from Sorelia. One drop will make you sleep, more than one drop and you won't wake up, or something like that. Verrrry interesting...
Verin did NOT use the potion from Sorilea when she poisoned herself! That would have put her to sleep (too soon) instead of giving her the hour of clarity that she needed to pass on her research to Egwene.
Alice Arneson
165. Wetlandernw
forkroot - I'd noticed that as well. The potion she got from Sorilea, under the guise of "having trouble sleeping" was the one she considered slipping into Cadsuane's tea later, in Far Madding. "Just three drops in water, or one in wine. A little more, and you might sleep a day or longer. Much more, and you will not wake. There is no taste to warn you, so you must be careful." Once she was "sure of Cadsuane" she put it back in her pouch. The stuff she used on herself in TGS was clearly different, if only in that it tastes so awful she had to get a specific tea from Laras to disguise the taste: "It takes a very special tea to make asping rot go down sweetly." Also, Egwene remembers Nynaeve saying that a drop could kill: a quick, peaceful death, occuring within an hour of ingestion.

Not sure from the comment which event thepupexpert was referring to, but there it is.
Skip Ives
166. Skip
I will admit to paying the $5. I read 'Snow' on my Handspring, and still have it (both the ebook and the Handspring).

The succession is only slightly less annoying than the emo-Perrin mess that started last book.
167. macster
One note on the "winter's heart" phrase: it was also used in TFOH, during the confrontation at the docks in Cairhien--Lanfear "smiled like winter's heart". That does not seem to be particularly relevant to this novel (since Lanfear only appears in it near the end, at the Cleansing), but on the other hand, to suggest Rand is becoming anything like Lanfear is...a Bad Thing.
168. macster
@140 Freelancer: It's funny that Brandon should say he hates Cadsuane, and imply he is going to bump her off. Because for all that, I came to like and respect her more in TGS and ToM than I ever did in any of the previous books (other than at the Cleansing, and her moment of sympathy when she learned what happened to Rand in the box). She actually admitted her mistake and fallibility to the Wise Ones, and even if she was nasty to Tam, it was clear she was trying so hard to help Rand be human again. Then in ToM after she gets her wonderful smackdown from "Rand Sedai" she complies with his request to go to the Caralain Grass, gives him plenty of great advice re: the BoTO, admits to herself she is proud of him (grudgingly), and is by turns amused and pleased with how he manipulated the Borderlanders and had "learned how to be dramatic". All rather odd things for Brandon to write re: a character he claims to hate and wants to kill off.

Of course it could just be he wanted to give the Cadsuane fans some morsels and tidbits before getting rid of her, or that giving her a few awesome moments and showing the value of her advice and knowledge is a way of setting her up for a fall, that just when it seems she's redeemed herself to the fandom and proven she was both right and useful, she dies. I also can't believe Harriet and Team Jordan would allow Brandon to kill her if that wasn't part of Jordan's plans all along...which suggests that even if Jordan personally liked her more than most fans do, it still didn't stop him from killing her off if it served the story better.

I guess we'll have to wait and see how it happens if she does die; whether she gets a graceful, dignified exit after doing some great deed, or if her death is ignominious and ripe with irony and failure, should make it clear if Jordan intended it and whether Sanderson's feelings about her do influence the narrative, perhaps more than they should.
Alice Arneson
169. Wetlandernw
macster - FWIW, I believe Brandon's feelings toward Cadsuane have changed somewhat; I don't think he really likes her a lot, but I think he's got a lot more respect for her than he used to. As a fan, he royally loathed her; with his access to RJ's notes and plans, I think he views her somewhat differently by now. In any case, of course he won't kill her off if it wasn't already in the notes.

Oddly enough, I realize that I've given some people (including Brandon) the idea that I've always liked Cadsuane, and in many ways I feel like I have. It was a bit of a shock to go back through the comments and see my own turning point a few books back. I used to loathe her every bit as much as Brandon, but I've done a complete 180 on that. Not that I think she's perfect (RJ was too good a writer to create any "perfect" characters) but I think she's worth a lot more respect than most readers give her.

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