Aug 20 2010 2:17pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Winter’s Heart, Part 11

I was a fool to ever leave your side, Wheel of Time Re-read! I’m glad we’re back together, hey-hey.

Today’s entry covers Chapters 15 and 16 of Winter’s Heart, in which metallurgical riddles are posed, grevious fashion crimes are committed, and we learn Reason #246 in a series for why taking shortcuts through alleys is never a good idea.

But mostly, we have a joyful reunion. And it feels so good!

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

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

And now, let’s reminisce on precious moments like this, and have a post!

Chapter 15: In Need of a Bellfounder

What Happens
Mat sits uncomfortably in Aludra’s wagon, his injuries from the wall collapse still paining him, and continues his campaign to get the secret of fireworks out of her, which he’s been doing ever since he found out she was with Valan Luca’s show outside Ebou Dar. He tries pointing out that the Seanchan don’t care about fireworks when they have damane to do Sky Lights for them, but Aludra is unimpressed by this. He points out, somewhat tactlessly, that she’s been ousted from the Guild anyway, and then comments that he wagers she’ll never see another Illuminator again anyway. At this, Aludra demands to know what he’s heard; Mat tries to evade the question, but Aludra threatens him with her pestle, so he reluctantly tells her that the chapter house in Tanchico tried to resist letting the Seanchan enter, with the result that half the compound exploded and all the Illuminators were made da’covale. Aludra curses them for their arrogant pride.

“And what would you do if I gave you the fireworks? Hurl them at the Seanchan from the catapult, I suppose?” Her snort told what she thought of that.

“And what’s wrong with the idea?” he asked defensively. A good field catapult, a scorpion, could throw a ten-pound stone five hundred paces, and ten pounds of fireworks would do more damage than any stone. “Anyway, I have a better idea. I saw those tubes you use to toss nightflowers into the sky. Three hundred paces or more, you said. Tip one on its side more or less, and I’ll bet it could toss a nightflower a thousand paces.”

Aludra mutters something about “pretty eyes” and talking too much that Mat doesn’t get. He points out that she could think of it as revenge on the Seanchan for what they did to the Guild, which surprises a look of respect from her, but she answers that she’s thought about this a lot more than he has.

“I will set you the puzzle, since you are so clever, no?” she said, arching an eyebrow. Oh, she definitely was amused by something! “You tell me what use I might have for a bellfounder, and I will tell you all of my secrets. Even the ones that will make you blush, yes?”

Mat bets himself that he would blush less than she thinks, but cannot think of any reason why she would need a bellfounder. Aludra tells him to think about it and come back in a couple of days, and shoos him out. As he leaves she laughs and compliments him on his “pretty bottom,” and Mat blushes furiously, cursing the outfits Tylin has forced him to wear (after hiding all his old clothes).

Snowy lace at his wrists almost hid his bloody hands unless he was careful, and more spilled from his neck almost to his flaming waist. Tylin liked lace on a man. His cloak was a brilliant scarlet, as red as his too-tight breeches, and edged with golden scrollwork and white roses, of all bloody things. Not to mention a white oval on his left shoulder with House Mitsobar’s green Sword and Anchor. His coat was blue enough for a Tinker, worked in red and gold Tairen mazes across the chest and down the sleeves for good measure. He did not like recalling what he had been forced to go through to convince Tylin to leave off the pearls and sapphires and the Light alone knew what else she had wanted. And it was short, to boot. Indecently short! Tylin liked his bloody bottom, too, and she did not seem to mind who saw it!

Mat slams the wagon door and limps through the circus campsite, scowling. He notes with interest the large number of horses Luca has, which he’d been allowed to keep by the Seanchan in return for sheltering one of their animal trainers; he debates having Vanin steal some of them, though he knows he’s in no shape to ride yet. He grouses to himself, imagining that everyone else including Rand and Perrin were likely having a grand time while he was stuck being Tylin’s toy.

He grimaced and rubbed at his forehead as a faint rush of colors seemed to swirl inside his head. That happened lately whenever he thought about either man. He did not know why, and he did not want to know. He just wanted it to stop. If only he could get away from Ebou Dar. And take the secret of fireworks with him, of course, but he would take escape over the secret any day.

He walks over to where Beslan and Thom are drinking with Luca, but sighs and detours to extract Olver from a cluster of women with whom Olver is flirting outrageously; one of them gooses Mat before he can drag Olver away.

“You could get yourself in deep trouble talking to women that way,” Mat told him. “Women like a man to be quiet, and well-mannered. And reserved. Reserved, and maybe a little shy. Cultivate those qualities, and you’ll do well.”

Olver gave him a gaping, incredulous stare, and Mat sighed. The lad had a fistful of uncles looking after him, and every one except Mat himself was a bad influence.

Luca, who detests Mat for no reason Mat can fathom, flounces off as soon as Mat approaches, claiming he has to get ready for a possible visit from the High Lady Suroth, an event which Mat considers highly unlikely. He asks Thom if Luca’s agreed yet to let them go with the circus when it leaves; Thom tells him he has, albeit at a ridiculously high price, but that Luca doesn’t intend to leave Ebou Dar until spring. Mat tries not to consider what Tylin will have him doing by spring, and pretends it doesn’t matter. Beslan comments that his mother will not be pleased with him for helping “her pretty” leave the city, and Mat winces. Olver demands to return to the Palace (and Riselle’s bosom), and Mat groans.

It was not his leg, this time, or the fact that every man in Ebou Dar seemed to be choosing the bosom they rested their heads on except for Mat Cauthon. Those bloody dice had just started tumbling in his head again. Something bad was coming his way. Something very bad.


*does a happy dance*

I was thrilled, the first time around, to turn the page and see that dice icon after having been denied my favorite WOT character for so long. Like, to the point where I put the book down for a moment so I could clap. So much yay. I was not nearly so upset about Perrin’s disappearance.

Of course, that might have been because I didn’t read TFOH until after the first seven books had already been published, so I only had to miss Perrin for the length of time it took me to plow through TFOH and the first half of LOC (i.e. about four days), and then he was back again. Whereas I’d been Mat-deprived at this point for almost four YEARS, which is just mean. But either way, a very happy moment for me all around, this chapter was.

I immediately remembered why I had missed him so much too, which is that reading him almost never fails to be amusing. Even when he’s being an ass (and sometimes he definitely is being an ass), his continuous snarky internal monologue to himself is virtually guaranteed to be good for at least a couple of good chuckles. And considering how much darker this series gets as time goes on, good chuckles are something to be cherished.

Besides being thrilled, I remember I was also quite indignant at realizing that Mat is having to recover from his injuries the old-fashioned way. I know, of course, that this is because Mat avoids the One Power like the plague, but this is one area where I really think he’s being stupid about it. Sorry, but if it’s a choice between icky magic cooties or possibly walking with a limp for the rest of my life, I’ll take the cooties, thanks.

And yes, I know there are no Aes Sedai left in Ebou Dar anyway, but surely Tylin could have drummed up a damane via Suroth or something to Heal her “pretty” (Grr), right?

…Actually, do damane even know how to Heal? Do we ever see that they are taught how to do it, or see a damane Heal someone? I don’t think we do!

Okay, never mind then. But still, it sucks that Mat has to rely on boring inefficient Nature to heal when there are perfectly good Unnatural shortcuts all over the place. Bah, I say!

Speaking of Tylin (loathe though I am to do so), I was forced to quote the entire description of Mat’s outfit because I am in AWE of how unbelievably hideously ugly it sounds based on the color scheme alone. And that’s before you get to the lace! Tylin thinks this looks good? What is wrong with her?

Well, other than the obvious, of course.

She must be stopped, y’all. Seriously, Tim Gunn would hunt that woman down if he lived in Randland, just to save us all from her unholy reign of sartorial terror, and no court in the world would fail to acquit him. Lord in heaven.

Although, it was kind of hilarious that it’s obvious (though not to Mat himself, of course) that the reason Luca hates him is because Mat’s clothes are even tackier (and thus, in Luca’s twisted brain, awesomer) than his own. Heh.

Aludra: I’ve always liked her relationship with Mat, how she totally calls him on his bullshit but also clearly really likes him, even if Mat is a tad too dense to completely get this. I mostly left out of the summary all Mat’s mental commentary on how Aludra baffles him from a romantic perspective, which I found amusing because Mat is so one of those people who unconsciously expects that all flirting and/or romantic interest is binary—either on or off, all or nothing—because that’s how they themselves are, and the notion that some people put out ambiguous signals (sometimes deliberately, even) is alien to them. Mat’s a bit of a prat in certain ways, but you do have to admit that in general he doesn’t flirt unless he means it.

Bellfounder: So, the answer to Aludra’s riddle (cannon, or as she will end up calling them, dragons) is screamingly obvious to me now, but I really can’t recall whether I guessed the answer myself on first reading, or if I just saw it on the Internets before I’d had the chance to think it through. For my ego’s sake I’m going to assume the former.

Mat’s mention of catapults piqued my interest, because to date I don’t think we’ve ever seen one used in the series. The closest we get, as far as I remember, is when Mat made a passing reference to “siege engines” when outing himself as a military jeenyus to Lan in TFOH.

…Wait, no, my bad. Perrin used them in the Two Rivers in TSR, didn’t he? With One Power enhancement, even!

So, never mind again. I would still be surprised at the dearth of them other than that, but I guess once you’ve upgraded to fighters who can call down lightning and also explode you, contraptions that toss rocks might seem a little passé.

Olver: Hah. Too funny. If the joke ain’t broke…


Chapter 16: An Unexpected Encounter

What Happens
Mat, Thom, Beslan and Olver walk back to Ebou Dar, slowly in consideration of Mat’s leg, and Mat frets over the dice and what they might portend; he barely notices that the harbor is full of ships. The gates are patrolled by sul’dam and damane pairs and decorated with over a dozen heads of criminals, three of them Seanchan.

Two placards marked REBELLION hung below the heads of the woman who had been Mistress of the Ships to the Atha’an Miere and her Master of the Blades.

Mat overhears Thom murmuring something about “risky business” to Beslan, but ignores it. They emerge from the gate tunnel and stop dead in amazement at the streets, which are jam-packed with what Mat realizes are Seanchan farmers and artisans and livestock.

“The Return,” Thom muttered, and if Mat had not been right at his shoulder he would not have heard. “While we were taking our ease with Luca, the Corenne has arrived.”

Mat now recalls all the ships in the harbor, and wonders how many more had yet to unload their passengers, and shivers. He had thought the Return was about an army, but realizes that this would actually be harder to fight than soldiers. He tells the others to go on without him, ignoring Beslan’s caution against him trying to buy passage on a ship again, and then remembers the “risky business” thing. He tells them to forget whatever plot they are cooking up before it gets them—and Mat—beheaded. Thom obliquely requests his help on their scheme, pointing out he has luck, and a certain “flair for the adventurous.”

Mat grunted sourly. Why did people always want him to be a hero? Sooner or later that sort of thing was going to get him killed.

He tells Beslan that the Seanchan aren’t going anywhere, and he should wait for Rand to deal with them, trying to ignore the color swirls every time he thinks of Rand. Beslan retorts that Suroth says she will give Tylin rule over all Altara, not just Ebou Dar, but his mother had to grovel and swear fealty to some woman an ocean away to keep her throne, which makes it lies in Beslan’s opinion. He reminds Mat of how badly the Whitecloak War went for the Whitecloaks against Altarans, and Mat reminds him about Listeners. Beslan growls that Mat might change his tune once the Seanchan get to Andor, and marches off.

“Cool his temper if you can, Thom. And cool your own while you’re about it. I would think by this time you’d have had enough of shaving blind.”

“My head is cool and I’m trying to cool his,” Thom said dryly. “He can’t just sit, though; it is his country.” A faint smile crossed his leathery face. “You say you won’t take risks, but you will. And when you do, you’ll make anything Beslan and I might try look like an evening stroll in the garden. With you around, even the barber is blind.”

Mat doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Thom and Olver leave, and Mat wanders to a few taverns in search of a dice game (having learned his lesson about gambling with Tylin). His clothes, however, draw too much attention and the taverns are too crowded anyway, and finally Mat decides angrily that it’s time to go back and “be the Queen’s bloody pet!” He heads back to the Palace, ducking through alleys to avoid the crowds, and is almost there when he trips on something and falls, just as someone drops down on top of him, landing on his shoulder and toppling off.

Mat’s eyes were accustomed to the dim light, enough for him to make out a slender, nondescript man. A man with what appeared to be a large scar on his cheek. Not a man, though. A creature he had seen rip out his friend’s throat with one bare hand and take a knife out of its own chest and throw it back at him. And the thing would have landed right in front of him, in easy reach, if he had not tripped.

Mat hurls his staff at the gholam, which it avoids easily, but it delays the thing long enough for Mat to get his medallion out. The gholam tries repeatedly to reach him, and each time Mat drives it back with a burning blow from the medallion, but his wounds are slowing him, and Mat knows he’s not going to last much longer. Then someone shouts “He’s down this alley! Follow me! Hurry! He’ll get away!” The gholam tells Mat he is ordered to avoid notice save by “those I harvest,” and so Mat will live for a little longer. It runs, and Mat chases it, hoping the medallion could kill it as well as wound it, but then watches in shock as the gholam squeezes itself through a hole in the wall less than a foot square.

“I don’t think I have ever seen the like,” someone said quietly beside him, and Mat gave a start at realizing he was no longer alone. The speaker was a stoop-shouldered, white-haired old man with a large hooked nose planted in the middle of a sad face and a bundle slung on his back. He was sliding a very long dagger into a sheath beneath his coat.

“I have,” Mat said hollowly. “In Shadar Logoth.” Sometimes bits of his own memory he thought lost floated up out of no where, and that one had just surfaced, watching the gholam. It was one memory he wished had remained lost.

The man asks what took him to Shadar Logoth, but Mat ignores the question to ask where his friends are that he was shouting to. The old man shrugs that he thought it would scare off Mat’s assailant, but after seeing that, he thinks maybe he and Mat both have the Dark One’s own luck.

Mat grimaced. He had heard that too often about himself, and he did not like it. Mainly because he was not sure it was not true.

The old man introduces himself as Noal Charin, and Mat is about to invite him back to stay at the Palace when he realizes the dice still have not stopped, and wonders what could be waiting for him that’s even worse than the gholam.

Okay, so, wow. I kind of completely forgot this chapter existed until just now.

I completely forgot that Mat meets up with the gholam again! How could I have forgotten that? Man.

Objectively this bit doesn’t quite rate as a Moment of Awesome, I think, but I’m giving it an honorable mention just because I forgot it, and so it was like reading something new, which is a rare (and awesome) event for a WOT fan. Gave me quite a turn, actually, when I realized what Mat was dealing with, heh. And how it got away, too, which, whoa.

Speaking of which, I rather wish Mat had never compared the gholam’s antics to Mordeth’s in Shadar Logoth, if for no other reason than that I then wouldn’t have had to FAQishly sift through the inanity that was the “Is Mordeth a gholam?” debate. (Short answer: No. Short reason: Because that is Silly.)

As an aside, I never really understood why the gholam refers to “drinking people’s blood” as “harvesting.” Those are two really… not-alike terms, there, is what I’m saying; there’s no logic to it at all that I can see. I mean, I guess… in a “gathering in” sense? Sort of? I still don’t see it.

I don’t think this has any real significance, by the way; it just bugs me in a kind of, um, vocabularian pedant way.

(Look Ma, I made a word!)

Noal: Hi, Jain Farstrider! Nice of you to join us again! Thanks for saving my favorite character’s life, you’re a peach. We’ll talk more about you later.

La Résistance: I have to say, my sympathy is with Beslan on this one. One of the things I find most infuriating about the Seanchan plotline in general is how pretty much everyone they conquer (so far) totally falls for their integration tactics and just kind of rolls over and lets it all happen, despite the heinousness and general insanity of their social structure. That those tactics (as Mat observes re: the Corenne) are unquestionably brilliant, and that the Randlanders’ capitulation to the path of least, ahem, resistance is realistic only makes me more annoyed. So I have to admire Beslan here even as I agreed with Mat that his rebellion was hosed from the start.

Which is why it was kind of a sad moment for me in TGS when Beslan finally chucked in the towel and drank the Seanchan Kool-Aid—at least to all appearances. There’s a possibility he’s faking, or so I tell myself. I kind of hope so, because even if it’s a doomed effort, it would be really nice if at least one character had the courage of his convictions on this score.

…Like, er, the Mistress of the Ships, I suppose. Which is, admittedly, not exactly a ringing endorsement for sticking to your underground rebellion guns, considering where she ended up. That bit with the heads-on-pikes was a bit of a shock to me too; I mean, damn. That’s one way to effect government turnover, I guess, but I’m betting it’s not what the Sea Folk would have preferred.

Speaking of which, bah, because that now clears the way for frickin’ Harine, whom I personally would much rather give an atomic wedgie than a throne (or the Sea Folk equivalent). Because she is a tool. Blargh. Well, that whole thing will take four more books to even start to happen anyway, so whatever.

Annnd that’s about what I got for this one. Have a lurvely weekend, my chickens, and come back for more yummy Mat goodness next week!

Daniel Smith
2. Smittyphi
Yay, new post!

Thanks Leigh.

Gholam - I don't know why the Forsaken use them. It would scare the heck out of me because the OP streghthens the gholams. Does the true power do the same thing?
3. earlgrey
Harvesting isn't really all that linguistically different than "wet work".
Don Barkauskas
4. bad_platypus
Tuon mentions to Mat that she teaches all of her damane Healing and doesn't understand why he refuses to accept it. I'll look up the reference in a sec.
Maggie K
5. SneakyVerin
Yay! Mat is back!

I too find the concept that Mat has been recovering from his injuries the hard way nonsensical...but I guess we needed an excuse why he hasn't been around lately....

I'm also glad to finally see Noal/Jain.
Roger Powell
6. forkroot
Leigh - Yay Mat indeed! Like you, I had waited a long time in RL for his return. Nice point on Aludra's mixed signals and how Mat isn't quite set up to handle them. This, of course, aids the plot as Mat and Aludra never take things anywhere, simplifying Mat's upcoming courtship of Tuon.

To be precise, Nesta's head on a spike doesn't quite clear the way for Harine just yet. "Zaida din something or other" gets chosen to succeed Nesta. We just know that Harine will eventually get the position courtesy Min's visions.
F Shelley
7. FSS
I think the Aes Sedai Tuon keeps as a damane can Heal. At least, I think I remember a dialogue between Mat and Tuon where she mentions it, and seems to approve (!) of letting a Damane Heal her. I'll have to look for it if no one else can provide the reference.
F Shelley
8. FSS
Oh, bad_platypus beat me to it.

Tom Burton
9. Conky
bad_platypus @4

I'm actually rereading KoD right now and I recall that scene just a chapter or so ago. I'm looking it up now and will update when I find it.

ETA: Found it. KoD, page 544:
This Healing is a wonderful thing. My Mylen knows it, and I taught it to my others, too. Of course, many people are foolish about having the Power touch them. Half my servants would faint at the suggestion, and most of the Blood, too, I shouldn't be surprised. But I wouldn't have expected it of you.
David Holden
10. davidholden
I'm pretty sure that Seanchan damane didn't have Healing until they captured an Aes Sedai who knew it (I think that particular one showed up in a scene with Tuon when she was crying about being unable to kill with the One Power, since the Oath Rod overrides an a'dam).
James Jones
11. jamesedjones
Harine is better than Zaida. Hands down, the lesser of two pompus a***es.
F Shelley
12. FSS
"Don't be foolish. Toy," she had drawled in his tent, standing over him, arms folded beneath her breasts, while Lopin and Nerim plied their needles and he gritted his teeth. Her proprietary air, very much a woman making sure her property was repaired properly, had been enough to make him grind his teeth, never mind the needles. Or that he was down to his smallclothes! She had just walked in and refused to leave short of manhandling, and he had felt in no condition to manhandle a woman he suspected might be able to break his arm. "This Healing is a wonderful thing. My Mylen knows it, and I taught it to my others, too. Of course, many people are foolish about having the Power touch them. Half my servants would faint at the suggestion, and most of the Blood, too, I shouldn't be surprised. But I wouldn't have expected it of you." If she had a quarter his experience of Aes Sedai, she would have.

KOD, Ch 25
Tom Burton
13. Conky
FSS @12:

You've been beaten again. Mwahaha!
Jason Deshaies
14. darxbane
You have to remember that, up to this point, every nation the Seanchan have overtaken, except Amadicia, was barely cohesive to begin with. The best Beslan would have done was get killed with a few of his friends. His mother's power was limited, and his even more so. He made the smart choice to influence from within. Besides, have you forgotten about Rodel Ituralde? Now that's a rebellion!
Leigh Butler
15. leighdb
bad_platypus and others:

I stand corrected!


Oh yeah, Zaida. Who is also a tool. I stand further corrected!
Jason Kuhlmann
16. BrowncoatJayson
@darxbane 14

Oh yeah, Ituralde is definitely the Seanchan Resistance all rolled into one man. A living Moment of Awesome! hehe
F Shelley
17. FSS
@13 - look at the times when i posted my response and we he amended his (it wasn't there the first time). I won by a minute!

Hooray for me!

OK I'm finished being childish.
Chris Chaplain
18. chaplainchris1
Mat's funny, awesome, yeah...but there's still not much to talk about here. Other than wondering whether or not the Gholam was *supposed* to fail here, so that Noal/Jain could get in good with Mat. Considering the evidence we get later on that Ishy has been at Jain/Noal, this could be a set-up. But I think Ishy has always wanted Mat and Perrin dead, and the gholam continues to hunt Mat later maybe Noal is not a double agent. I hope not, I like that guy.
Tom Burton
19. Conky
FSS @13:

I can be childish too; it'll be fun. Oh yeah?! Actually I updated my post a second time to add bbCode to indent my quote instead of leaving it in quotes. Your post wasn't there after my initial update.

That and something to do with me being rubber and you being glue followed by me putting my fingers in my ears so I can't hear your response.
Lucas Vollmer
20. aspeo
Hooray for the return of Mat! He has been missed, and I have to agree with Leigh that I really enjoy reading his chapters.

I can’t wait for the dragons to be made and used. I think it’s going to be pretty cool when it finally happens.

Also Olver still cracks me up, and I love how Mat thinks everyone but himself is a bad influence on the boy! Lol great stuff!

To go along with that, I also really enjoy how Mat doesn’t want to be a hero but always ends up being one anyways. Actually all three boys seem to think that way, which is one reason why I think people like them so much. They aren’t power hungry glory seekers. They just want to protect the people they care about and not get killed. I’d say that’s pretty relatable for all of us readers.

As for Beslan, I can see why he starts out wanting to be a rebel and possibly being killed in the attempt. It’s his home and his country being taken over by foreigners, and that’s going to instill some rebellious notions to say the least. However, I can see why he later accepts the offer from the Seanchan to rule. His mother has been killed, and the country needs a good leader to follow. I’m sure he’s also seen how much better the regular people have fared under Seanchan rule, and how all the fighting between the countries has been stopped too. If he has to rule his home while serving under a foreign ruler, at least he will be alive have a say in how his country is run while mostly being left alone. I’d say that’s making the best out of a terrible situation.
Of course this is all going off my memory and I don't have any books available so this whole thing could be completely off base ;)
Alice Arneson
21. Wetlandernw
Comments on the recap/commentary -

Full of crack-me-up!! Ah, Mat. You bring out the bestest and funnest in all of us. (Well, most of us, anyway.) Luca. Hah. Do we see him strutting around in shorter coats after this? Or is his bottom not pretty enough to compete with Mat's? Maybe it's just his legs that he has confidence in. Snerk.

BTW - According to the BBoBA, "Some damane are also used to heal the sick and injured, though only those who are wealthy or among the upper classes..." I'm only looking at it online, so I can't see what further it says. In any case, it doesn't seem to be a well-known weave.

Oh, and here come the dice again. Brought on by the possibility of leaving? Or the (yet unknown to Mat) arrival of the Corenne?

It always makes me sad to see the Mistress of the Ships and her Master of the Blades beheaded and hung up for a warning. They were doing their best for their people, and died in the line of duty. *sigh* However, one might note that this is what happens to those who resist. (Which is why we get to see them hanging there, of course.) Remember the Watchers at Falme? The leaders of a people who resist do NOT fare well. Submitting a la Tylin may not be as heroically satisfactory as dying for your people like the Mistress of the Ships, but it sure does a heck of a lot more for keeping your people alive and in relative peace. And for Joe Shopkeeper, who is generally used to keeping his head down and under the radar of the PTB, things won't change much under the Seanchan, except to be more peaceful and make it easier to do business. Ideologically it stinks, but I doubt Joe will mind all that terribly much.

The first part of which more or less echoes what Leigh said, but oh well.

And aha! courtesy of bad_platypus, FSS and Conky. Seems that Tuon's personal damane can Heal, having been taught by Mylen the former AS.
22. Freelancer
What? Are Peaches poison? Or is it the Herb?

More to follow, and it's understood.

RE: Harvesting in gholam terms. Consider the creature's POV. People are it's nourishment, so when it sees a crowd, it sees a crop. It is somehow constrained by orders of its master(s), and so sticks to "harvesting" only those who are its targets.

well, once it leaves Ebou Dar, it seems to go random. A beast has to eat, yes?
23. Hrothgordo
It is good to have Mat back., even in this state. As much as I love his internal monologue, Mat is best as a reactionary force. It’s when he is actively trying to avoid being a hero that things are awesome (because we all know eventually all of the pretense will drop the moment someone he cares for is in danger).

As such, I always find the “waiting for the dice to stop” periods to be rather blah.

Despite that issue, upon reading much of the quoted text I was reminded just how badly BS dropped the ball in writing for Mat.

Understand, that I thought BS did a terrific job overall with TGS, especially being under such heavy scrutiny. But he just doesn’t have Mat, Thom, Avi or Cads “voices” correctly handled yet. Of course it didn’t help that the whole Hinderstrap encounter is a waste of paper, barring the 4 pages with Verin.

Aludra has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I agree that Mat isn’t exactly wired for her type of “relationship management” but I also think Leigh is downplaying how frustrating it can be to deal with that type of flirting. It’s one of the reasons I never really felt that much sympathy for her being upset about the Tuon thing.

As to Leigh forgetting about the Gholam here, I have to admit the same thing happened to me on my re-read of the series. It is a short scene and truth be told I fell into a habit of only skimming the books after LoC or at least when I was far enough into CoS to realize that Rand wasn’t going to go all “nuclear retaliation” on the Tower. By the time I got through the crawl that was PoD I was skipping whole chapters.

This is the same reason that I missed the fact that Mat was in the same room as Semi in the upcoming chapters.

The only other thing I do note in this chapter is Thom’s statements in regards to Beslan’s situation. At first I took it as simply a matter of his political savy regarding a populace dealing with an occupation. But reading that passage in terms of Moiraine’s letter and it must pretty much sum up Thom’s feelings on being forced to sit on his hands waiting for Mat to make a completely random request to see the letter.
24. AndrewB
This question is directed to those of you who are parents (although others can certainly answer the question). I am not a parent so I do not have any experience as to which my question relates.

For all practical purposes, Mat is the guardian of Olver (in some ways, he has adopted Olver; but he is certainly Olver's guardian). Do you think that Mat is sufficiently/adequately (feel free to pick your adverb) satisfying his obligations as Olver's guardian?

My opinion is that Mat is satisfying said obligations. He is making sure that Olver can read and write and is trying to provide some structure for Olver. Subconsciously, Mat realizes that there is a correct way for a civilized adult male to act (especially in with regards to a woman) in Randland. Remember, said way may not be how a man acts in our society. I say subconsciously because Mat often acts as a womanizer. Although as Leigh points out, he only acts that way if the woman reciprocates the attitude.

I do not think that it is ideal to raise a young boy in the middle of an army. Nevertheless, Olver is better off than had he never met Mat in LoC.

Those of you who are parents (or legal guardians of minors) could have a different opinion based upon your perspective/experience. I welcome any comments and opinions.

Thanks for reading my musings.

Thanks for reading
Roger Powell
25. forkroot
Nice to be reunited on this thread. That officially qualifies as an "old f**t" song reference. For another "old f**t" such as myself, it was easy. Most readers under 40 are asking "WTH?"
andrew smith
26. sillyslovene
The other thing to take into account about Beslan is that Tuon makes some pretty interesting and, in a sense, revolutionary promises about him being able to keep his kingdom-

TGS, Gambits-

"I offer you a choice, Beslan," Tuon said. "You may choose execution if you wish. I will not make you da'covale. I will let you die with honor, and it will be published that you died because you rejected the oaths and chose not to accept the Seanchan. If you wish it, I will allow it. Your people will know that you died in defiance.
"Or, you may choose to serve them better. You may choose to live. If you do so, you will be raised to the High Blood. You will step forward and reign as your people need you to do. I promise you that I will not direct the affairs of you people. I will demand resources and men for my armies, as is proper, and your word cannot countermand my own. Asife from that, your power in Altara will be absolute. No Blood will have the right to command, harm, or imprison you people without your permission."

It seems clear, especially after her actions with giving him reports on crime and offering a direct apology from the Throne if Suroth was to blame for Tylin's death, that she has changed her mind to some degree about how the Westlanders must follow the Crystal Throne. Her time with Mat and co. seems to have made her realize that she needs to act nicely, not haughtily, to make the rebellion go away. (The argument could be made that she is simply acting out of self-interest, but I still think she is sincere...) I wonder if any place/ruler in Seanchan itself ever had that kind of promise from the Throne...

I honestly think that Beslan made the best choice for his people. Rebellion would have done nothing but get many people killed...
Jason Deshaies
27. darxbane
The gholam. Haven't hear from him in a while. It, along with Padan Fain, the Darkhounds, Slayer/Isam, have all been mysteriously absent for the last few books. It's almost as if someone wanted us to forget about them or something.......Hell, they might not even make an appearance in TofM either.
Daniel Smith
28. Smittyphi
As a parent of a 3 and 6 year old, they need definite structure to their lives. Being raised in an army is certainly not the best of choices, but it's far better than the streets. Mat's band are extremely loyal, which provides good examples for Olver. Olver is also, IMHO, old enough to realize the differences in his current situation and his previous.

So yes, you're right, he's better now than he was before meeting mat in LOC.
29. AndrewB
Hrothgordo @23. I disagree. I think that BWS did get Mat's voice correctly in TGS. When we see Mat in TGS scenes, he has just suffered what he considers to be the worst fate that a man can suffer: marriage.

IMO, Mat's conversation with Talmanes is consistent with his character. Mat believes that marriage to Tuon/Fortuona will end his "freedom." Thus, his rant against women (in the context that even two women who hate each other will stand unified if a man argues with them). Mat's speech is just a way to try to avoid his inner thoughts: that he actually is glad he is married to Tuon/Fortuona.

BTW, at the Philadelphia TGS book signing, BWS felt that Mat's portrayal in TGS was consistent with his the character's voice throughout the series.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Brandon D
30. Ishmayl
Oh well, not a lot to post on this one, I believe the next chapter is where things really get interesting. However, I will mention that I also didn't remember Mat encountering the gholam a second time, and I also didn't really remember much about Beslan's and Thom's plans for rebellion.

So, I guess the "talking-to" that Tylin got from Nynaeve and Elayne didn't stick once Our Hero was crippled and bedridden, eh?
Roger Powell
31. forkroot
We pretty much beat the issue of BWS' handling of Mat into the ground in the early reaction to TGS. Regular readers in this forum will know that I stand behind no one when it comes to appreciation of Brandon and what he has done.

I'm standing behind my original assessment that Mat was slightly "off" (but only slightly). RJ's Mat would never use words like "backstory" or phrases like "do that math". Those criticisms notwithstanding, I agree that BWS's overall portrayal of Mat was perfectly consistent with what had gone before, allowing for character growth (the dude's married now!)
Jason Deshaies
32. darxbane
I'm with you Andrew@29,
The only thing that changed was Mat was expressing himself out loud more often than before.

I was just thinking of Mat's outfit. He must look like a lacey Bozo the Clown: "Just keep bloody laughing!"
33. G.O.B.
The only problem with BWS' portrayal of Mat is the swearing. There's not quite enough of it, and he's throwing the emphasis on different places than RJ did.

Save, of course, the "saidar it" abomination. That was completely unnecessary and out of character.
mark Proctor
34. mark-p
Wetlandernw :And aha! courtesy of bad_platypus, FSS and Conky. Seems that Tuon's personal damane can Heal, having been taught by Mylen the former AS.

It seemed more than that to me. Tuon learned from Mylen then Tuon taught the damane.
Early evidence that Tuon could channel if she believed she could.

sillyslovene @26 thats a good point.
When she first appears she has terrible beliefs (as do all Seanchan) about the treatment of people (slavery etc) but has potential to change so I quite like her character. It still remains to be seen if she will actually change and reform the Seanchan.
35. G.O.B.
Quick question: Did Jain Farstrider put that name on his books?

Because his book is probably the only one Mat's read more than once, and indeed, many times, and Charin's not a common enough name that you wouldn't immediately say "Uh, you aren't by any chance related to *Jain* Charin?"
36. Hrothgordo

I do not have kids either (although a number of niece/nephews), but you bring up a valid question. But I personally think Mat is a highly effective parent.

To me the functionality of the relationship of Olver/Mat is a parellel of Mat’s relationship with the Band. And is especially useful when Mat is not on the battlefield.

Mat may be a scoundrel and often reckless, because he fundamentally believes in freedom of will. The “trickster” does what he wants and we love him for it. And on some level we respect his way of life all the more because he is willing to pay any personal price for those decisions. He may try to avoid being caught, but he never holds grudges against those that catch him. He just takes his lumps.

That sense of responsibility forces him to act devotedly in his role as a protector. Once Mat thinks that his actions/decisions have placed you at risk he is forced to act. His entire purpose is to ensure you are as safe as possible even if it risks his life or just makes him uncomfortable.

With the Band, he performs his duties in creating a code of conduct through the Redarms that although restrictive to his personality is intended to provide the structure in keeping as many men alive as possible.

With Olver he is aware that he needs to provide structure. And he does provide that, even if he himself is the worst type of role model.

Personally I think Olver has it pretty good.
Sydo Zandstra
37. Fiddler
Touch and go, since I have the time now and it's quiet at the Malazan front right now.. :p :)


Because his book is probably the only one Mat's read more than once, and indeed, many times, and Charin's not a common enough name that you wouldn't immediately say "Uh, you aren't by any chance related to *Jain* Charin?"

One of the most ironic situations in the books:
Mat is the only one of our heroes who hasn't read the Farstrider book. There is a POV of him considering reading the book because Egwene/Rand/Perrin said it was a good read.

IIRC, it's in the early books. Either in tEotW, when he's at Master Gill's Inn, or in tDR when he is recovering after being Healed.
Birgit F
38. birgit
Oh, and here come the dice again. Brought on by the possibility of leaving? Or the (yet unknown to Mat) arrival of the Corenne?

The dice are for meeting Tuon.
39. G.O.B.
Christ, Fiddler, you're absolutely right, I can't believe I'd forgotten that.
40. Freelancer

Ignoring the unrealities which cannot be avoided within a fantasy setting, Olver is in good hands, even if they're red. It's just funny that he takes his cues from Mat's behavior toward women, and then has to react with incredulity when Mat calls him down for it.

Edit to add: Now that I've mulled over your question a bit more, I'd have to say that regarding Mat and Olver, there's one perfect fit, and this one is it.
(Don't hold your breath waiting for me to call you "sugar")

As for how Mat is characterized in TGS, the shift in his character, his change in confidence, his need to be "prepared" instead of going off half-cocked, was guided by the notes. Brandon followed what was expected, he did not generate those scenes or the portrayals on his own.
41. Hrothgordo
As to the Mat being off.

I do not state that Mat is completely out of character. His actions are totally consistent in TGS.

But his inner monologue and his sense of humor is simply not right to me (and at least a few others). And to me it is made more obvious in his interactions with Talmanes and especially Thom (who I think is off on tone and action).

Most other character interactions in this series are based entirely on events going on at the time. So if you can explain the action going on at the time you can usually justify the dialogue.

Mat, however, has a coterie of people that act as a "greek chorus" to his character. Providing insight to his true motivations and feelings since his inner dialogue (and often his outer) is almost all pretense of selfishness.
Alice Arneson
42. Wetlandernw
mark-p @34 - You're right, of course, in Tuon's wording; I was only making the statement in terms of "a limited number of damane in Randland know it, and they only know it because of a captured Aes Sedai." The wording, however, defintely says that Tuon taught the rest.

It just now occurs to me, however, that she might think in terms of "I taught them" when what she really did was direct Mylen to show them the weaves. The idea of one damane teaching another something doesn't quite fit their way of thinking, so... ::shrug:: I doubt that Tuon channeled the OP directly in order to teach them the weaves. It seems much more probable that in the process of training/rehabilitating Mylen, Tuon learned that she could Heal. Being a useful sort of skill, she thought it worth teaching to the rest of her personal damane and did so by demonstrating Healing through Mylen - however the actual control thing works.
Jason Deshaies
43. darxbane
It was "Saidared", and I honestly didn't find anything wrong with it, but that's just me. I will tell you one mistake that really irked the tone for me was "Bloody Ashes" instead of "Blood AND Ashes". I don't know if it was a printing error or what, but it's like that through the whole book, and the proofreader in me just gets hung up every time.
Hugh Arai
44. HArai
If you look at what Mat actually says to Olver, I don't think you can really complain about how he intends to raise him. The problem of course, as even Olver can readily determine, is that it's a "do as I say, not as I do" sort of thing. Mat the "parent" and Mat the living example don't intersect much. Even so considering Olver is getting educated, fed, clothed, sheltered, and most importantly played with and given honest affection, I'd say hooking up with Mat tremendously improved Olver's life and future prospects.
F Shelley
45. FSS
@42 - sometimes it has been "blood and bloody ashes" throughout the series. I could see Mat using "bloody ashes" if he was in a hurry to get the "curse" out quickly.
Thomas Keith
46. insectoid
Yay, Mat is back! Happy days!! Great post Leigh!!

Mat: Is... oh what's the word for it... Awesomecakes! :p

Of course some damane know how to Heal; many were captured AS, after all. All they ever do otherwise is blow things up, so I guess it's easy to forget. (Thanks Conky @9 for the quote.)

Olver: Heh.

Gholam: Dun-dun-DUN! Also, very nice of Jain/Noal to save the day!

I always get a kick out of the dice.

Mistress of the Ships: Well, I suppose it depends on which SF woman you can't stand the most: Nesta (who bit it), Zaida (who is elected the new Mistress), or Harine (who Min had a viewing of becoming Mistress).

47. GBM

I believe that the dice stop rolling once Mat sees Tuon for the first time. The dice began because the Corenne had just arrived in Ebou Dar with Tuon on board.


The passage in which Tuon learned about healing from Mylen (thanks, Conky@9 and FSS@12) better indicates that Tuon had the weave taught to her other damane through the a'dam (the sul'dam would know the weaves that her damane should use). Considering the difficulty of the healing weave, not to mention the cultural risk for anyone to know that Tuon could learn to channel without an a'dam, it seems unlikely that Tuon would have channeled Healing on her own.
j p
48. sps49
Gah, the debate over character voice was done to death in the first Open Thread; please let's drop it here!

If Mat does puzzle out Aludra's riddle, what will be done with her secrets that will make him blush if he's married now?

And I never ascribed the given motivation for Valan Luca's pique before. I thought it was because Our Heroes mean risk for him.

Don't Mat's dice act up when he is started on the Aes Sedai/ Sea Folk rescue? I gotta go look now...
James Hogan
49. Sonofthunder
Huzzah for Mat!!! I don't have too much to say here, other than:

Aludra is still awesome. I felt really bad for her upon finding out how upset she was with Mat/Tuon. Poor Aludra.

Mat is awesome, albeit with a gimpy leg. When I first read this part, I had a feeling tugging at the back of my mind...thinking it was odd for him to have a bum leg. Then I realized - this is really the first time that we see a character recover like we do! Silly Mat.

And Olver is hilarious. I'm very glad Mat's not shy and reserved!!

In regards to Noal, I never figured out he was Jain Farstrider on my own. That's what online re-reads are for!!

Oh and one other note - I thought Mat's use of "saidar-ed" was brilliant. In my mind, pure Mat. I did feel some of his "voice" was off, but then, I can be severely over-critical. If I hadn't known it was Brandon writing it instead of RJ...I probably wouldn't have noticed. Curses for my fault-finding mind!!

EDIT to respond to sps49@48, Aludra can't share those secrets with him now, sadly. That was one of her little ways of flirting with him...alas, Aludra, you were not destined for him!
50. BenM
I've always thought that Mat gets a bit of a bad rap regarding Olver.

Mat is an adult, and he doesn't behave improperly for an adult. He does a reasonable amount of flirting, but never presses his attention on women who aren't interested. Nowhere did he ever tell Olver that young kids should behave that way.

Plus, looking at it from Mat's viewpoint, at best, what Olver does is a GROSS exaageration of Mat's behavior, so it's actually not all that surpising that he doesn't recognize where it's coming from.

As one example, I think Olver pinched a lady's bottom once, and I don't recall Mat ever doing that. Mat flirts, but he doesn't sit around with a bunch of women complimenting them all and telling them he can't decide which one to kiss.

Plus, from a perspective of "do you got game?", Olvers approach wouldn't work, and would just annoy women if he was older, instead of them thinking it's cute. Honestly, even Mat's approach is a strech. Compliment a woman you hardly know, or who doesn't dig you much, and she'll probably think you're insincere or something. Buying jewelry when you haven't been a couple long or at all - it's just way too soon, like you're trying to buy her approval and affection. You may wind up attracting only gold digger types.
James Jones
51. jamesedjones
41 Hrothgordo

As most here know, I totally agree with the sentiment about Mat being off. And I still believe it's because an author needs to write what he knows. BWS just doesn't understand the art of gambling, and the skills associated with doing anything you're not supposed to just for the fun of it.

BWS is a stand-up guy. He's honest and hard-working, and about as innocent an author as I've ever seen. Mat's a scoundrel. His internal perspective is hilarious to the reader because it's completely off from what he displays to the world, except in those wonderful moments that he's so thrown by a comment that the grin slips, and the scowl matches his internal indignation.

But most of the time, Mat is playing the part. The smile might be genuine if he's really enjoying himself, but only if it fits with what he wants those around him to see. This is especially true if Mat is acting under purpose: winning at gambling, duplicity with AS, trying to convince everyone he's nothing more than a fool.

I truly hope that BWS finds the "internal voice" of my favorite character. But I'm not going to risk any money on the possibility.
52. Hrothgordo
IIRC, during the Aes Sedai/Sea Folk thing I believe the dice occur three times:

1. While traveling to Ebou Dar they start up and end when he walks into Mistress Anan’s inn (picking that inn eventually reveals the Kin).
2. The dice rattle around again while he is staying and come to a stop the moment he decides to help Elayne and Nyaneave (assumed to be because it means he is moving into the palace which results in becoming Tylin’s Toy).
3. The dice start up again and end during the Seanchan assualt on Ebou Dar specifically as the wall crashes on top of him (thus trapping him in the city until Tuon comes).
Jason Deshaies
53. darxbane
Right, but it's not just the Mat sections. Blood and Ashes and Blood and Bloody ashes never show up. Anyway, it's a personal pet peeve.

Olver's got a lot of influences besides Mat, especially the Eelfinn he came from ;)
54. BenM
Although Mat buying her the horse/zebra/whatever turned out to work well. He got lucky in that. (Go figure, it's Mat.)
55. Not THE Linda
I think Aludra is a great character, and her relationship with Mat is one that rings true for me. In a lot of ways they have a mutual attraction going on, but she can take or leave him. Much more believeable than Egwene, Perrin, Elayne, or Rand's "love at first sight and forever after" stuff.

As far a TOr dot being on the downslope, there are a lot of lurkers like me out here. We just know better than to comment, because by the time we think about entering the bunker all the sandwiches are gone. Or we get politely flamed. which is hwat has happened every time I've commented.
Alice Arneson
56. Wetlandernw
Uhhh.... how do you get "politely flamed?" I thought flaming was by definition NOT polite. ::is confused::

Never mind. I'm bringing in some fresh guacamole and chips in a little while, so maybe that'll help make up for the lack of sandwiches.
57. Hrothgordo
Olver gets a little of his personality from many of the Band but the primary template is Mat. And all of the flirting is based of our favorite ta'veren.

I don't doubt that other men in the Band's leadership flirt but none so flamboyantly as Mat. More importantly his flirting is basically reality television for Talmanes and company.

Just look at their commentary (and humming) during Mat's courtship of Betsey the waitress.
Jason Deshaies
58. darxbane
Oh how we dread change sometimes. Consider Mat to be well and truly "thrown off" by his marriage. To an Empress. He's a prince now, and no one is buying the carefree rogue act anymore (oh, and he's stuck with 3 Aes Sedai, an ex-Suldam,a crazed ex-illuminator, and Seanchan who-is-not a Seanchan. I'd have run for the hills a long time ago). He is well and truly screwed, and he knows it.

As for Mr. Sanderson's life experience; I hardly think that has any bearing on whether or not he can capture a character's essence. The bottom line is, BWS had to get the approval for these chapters by Team Jordan, and they know what Mat's "voice" should sound like more than anyone alive. If it's good enough for them.......
James Hogan
59. Sonofthunder
Hrothgordo@57, hahahahaha! Mat = Randland's finest reality TV programming! And that scene with him and Betsy is one of my favorite "comedy scenes" in WoT. Classic. *needs to reread* Thanks for the reminder.
60. Hari Coplin
I would like to see a WoT movie reach this stage, I would ;)
Noneo Yourbusiness
61. Longtimefan
What I find interesting in Mat's attitude towards Olver is that in some ways he treats him more as a person and less as a kid wherin Nynaeve for a while tended to treat the other Edmond's Field charges (as she saw them) as children even when they were a few years younger.

Nynaeve matures through the books and sees the others as adults eventually. We have not had a reunion with Mat and Nynaeve yet so it will be interesting to see how she treats him in her new found self from The Gathering Storm.

They are both very protective people and that is not what I mean by treating someone as a child.

It is more in the dissemination of information. Nynaeve was "commanding" where Mat tends to be "conversational" unless he does not have time.

It will be interesting to see how Nynaeve would react to Olver ogling her since she is slim and pretty; now that she is married she tends to dress in flattering silks instead of stout woolens. :)

Of course if she asks Mat where he learned his "manners" he will probably say something funny and shirking which will only set the "Nynaeve/Mat" dynamic that we all know and love.

I will say that treating a kid like a person is not the same as treating them like an adult. Mat still recognizes that Olver is young and needs some guidence but his hand is sheltering more than guiding and most certainly not firm. :)

One can only hope that Olver has the good sense to not emulate Mat's current wardrobe when he gets older and all those seamstresses are vying for his attention.

(what? I am spectulating, if he is getting his flirt on now and the Westlands are filled with comely young seamstresses 2 and 2 could easily equal 4 coats a day.)
Daniel Goss
62. Beren
Longtimefan @61
Seamstresses. Maybe I've been reading too much Pratchett, but '4 coats a day' seems like an interesting euphamism.

With apologies,

Jason Deshaies
63. darxbane
The way they describe Olver, he better get his flirting done now because when he grows up just the look of him will send women running in disgust.
mark Proctor
64. mark-p
Wetlandernw @42, GMB@47
I guess you are right, it is probably just the way she speaks about it.

I was thinking it went like this: Mylen chained to Tuon healed someone then later Tuon uses the a'dam with a damane and makes them heal someone.
I also thought I could remember Egwene being taught by a damane through the a'dam without a demonstration, though I am not so sure now (after a brief skim of the Great Hunt).
Dorothy Johnston
65. CloudMist
Talking about Mat's internal monologues, one of the funniest, IMO, is coming up. He enters Tylin's sitting room, meets Tuon and co. and is totally confused about why the dice stopped. Nothing happened. :)
Bonnie Andrews
66. misfortuona
Ideal Seek
returns 48 instances where blood and bloody ashes were used in the first 12 books + NS, and 132 for blood and ashes.

Perhaps you are just mis-remembering the bloody ashes.

Mis-drive by poster
Daniel Goss
67. Beren

I thought he was saying that Matt didn't use those exact curses ("Blood and ashes," "Blood and bloody ashes") in TGS, and only used "Bloody ashes" (without the "Blood and") throughout that book.

But I could be wrong.

Parentheses and quotations and misquotes, oh my!

Bonnie Andrews
68. misfortuona
Ah yes that would make sense then.

My appolgies if I've mis-understood Darxbane.

F Shelley
69. FSS
@Beren - "parantheses and quotations and misquotes" are the only way to write (in my opinion).
Matthew Smith
70. blocksmith
Finally, I can complete a reread in a somewhat normal timeframe and read the comments without a new one coming out. Damn real-life intrusions!!!

Anyway a quick recap from the two past rereads...

The Veins of Gold was amazing. I loved the way the scene was written. And yes, I believe Alanna's collapse was the bonding/relations with Elayne. No sleeping potion.

I won't say I knew Anath=Semi at that intro, but I remember thinking there is something bad up with this one...wouldn't surprise me if she was Semi. Call it a very strong suspicion.

Also glad to see the almost fireworks between Wetlander and Leigh were diffused. Nice to see calm heads prevail.

On this reread...Mat was a return of the breath of fresh air. Continuing funny the Olver bits. The real reason this continues to work is that it is always told from Mat's standpoint with only his view of Olver's reaction to clue us in. Too funny.

With regards to Mat's clothing...yeah, I'm with you Leigh. Red, White and Blue look good on a flag, not completely outfitting sections of your body. That said though, I kind of like Tylin's character...I think she was wrong with the whole knife thing early on, but as the story goes, I believe she is not truly a bad person. And you have to admit, making Mat squirm takes a lot.
Maiane Bakroeva
71. Isilel
well, not much happens in these 2 chapters and I can't be as ecstatic about them as you Mat-lovers ;). I have always felt, though, that there was much more real chemistry between Mat and Aludra or even Elayne than between him and Tuon. Also, it is kind of sad that all Our Heroes just have to pair up with royals...
Jennifer B
72. JennB
Yay, I finally got here early enough to read the comments and chime in myself.

My reaction when reading the Mat and Aludra chapter recap was "Oh gag, Mat." I don't hate Mat, but I am not too enthusiastic about canons and find the continuation of the Tylin's Toy thing to be tiresome. I will be cheering with the rest of you when he frees the Windfinder damane though.
Tricia Irish
73. Tektonica
I just had a weird Tor thing a message....

"You are forbidden to access this site from this server."

It erased my whole long post. Damnit! So for now, I'll just ::wave:: and say hi.


Edit to say: YAY!!! Mat's back!!! Thanks Leigh for loving him as much as I do!
74. Eclectic
Only 136 chapters to go to get to the end of TGS! I sure hope we aren't still waiting to get there by the time the last book comes out! Not to be Debby Downer, but at the rate we're going it will take another 14 months to finish up to book 12. Here's hoping that isn't what will happen.
Thomas Keith
75. insectoid
Ah, I see finished going boom. I don't like being forbidden from things! ;)

Tek @73: ::waves:: You really should use a text editor, ya know. :)

Jennifer B
76. JennB
I got the forbidden message too. Luckily it didn't last long. Tuesday my reread enjoyment was cut short by a power outage. It lasted 3 hours, which went way beyond my free time because my 2 year old is napping window.
Roger Powell
77. forkroot
Just curious, did you remember to count New Spring in that chapter count?

FWIW, I don't mind the pace of the re-read. I'm pretty sure that we won't have AMoL in 14 months, although of course we'll have added the ToM chapters to the reread list.

If we're caught up just as AMoL hits the bookstores, that would be fine with me.

My .02
diane heath
78. jadelollipop
I just finished re-read of TGS the other day. IIRC "blood and bloody ashes" was used as well as simply 'bloody ashes". I don't see it as a big problem.

Re: the dice. They always occur when a life changing decision or event is facing Mat or will soon. One of my favorite events is in KOD (?) when Mat has several dice going at once (planning to buy the razor;buying the razor;asking about the letter and agreeing to rescue Moraine; and then agreeing about something re: Tuon (my book not here at moment). But Mat would always remember "Tuon smiled and then the dice stopped"

Re: Mat and Talmanes in TGS as opposed to previous books. Harriet has been quoted as saying Brandon nailed Mat's voice. Talmanes seemed a bit off to me moreso than Mat. (The ? about the backstories seems to upset some readers but it was pointed out either in this re-read or at Dragonmount that Mat used backstories to explain joining Luca's caravan. It got him in trouble with the circus people who did not approve of him hanging around Tuon when he supposedly had run away with Egeanin.
Jennifer B
79. JennB
re Mat's voice
The only thing that bugged me was the backstory scene. There were two issues. The big one was the written pages. Mat isn't interested in reading and doesn't write much. The second one (if I am remembering correctly) was that Mat comes across as manically obsessed with finding the person who is circulating his picture. He should have been determined, but in a more laid back way.

I have to reread TGS soon. I have only read it once.
john mullen
80. johntheirishmongol
Thank goodness Mat is back. Enjoy the musings of his mind immensely. One thing though, all those past lives of being a military guy and he has to invent cannons from scratch? He should be able to build it, rifle it, add trunions, add explosive ammunition, develop uranium depleted shells..etc etc

About his outfit, while it sounds rather garish, with lace and colors, it probably saves him because he is known as the toy, so he has a place.

Nice to see Jain too. I would think someone would have recognized him besides the readers.

Anyway, I hope we do get thru the rereads before the final book but at this pace, I don't see it
Roger Powell
81. forkroot
sps49@48 (as opposed to say ... sps48@49)
Gah, the debate over character voice was done to death in the first Open Thread; please let's drop it here!
Agreed, and I regret having even "re-commented" Especially after re-reading TGS, whereupon my appreciation increased even further for just how good a job BWS did.

Regarding Mat's clothing: Once again, the Pattern takes care of it's own. Although he hates it, Mat's clothing helps the Seanchan dismiss him as Tylin's "pretty". He thus flies under their radar and ends up perpetrating the theft of 3 sul'dam, 2 damane, 1 marath'damane and, um ... oh yeah, the Daughter of the Nine Flaming Moons! (Phraseology courtesy of Uno). This would have been hard to do if he had been watched as much as, say, Beslan.

EDIT: Hey Freelancer - it happens to me too! JTIM@80 scooped my point on Mat's clothes while I was still wasting time making sure I was spelling marath'damane correctly!
Tess Laird
82. thewindrose
Here we learn a bit more about the Listeners:
"You know about their Listeners. That fellow over there who looks like a stableman could be one, or that skinny woman with the bundle on her back."{...}Light, they could be Listeners. Anybody could be. It was enough to set a prickle between his shoulders, as if he were being watched.

Another lovely Seanchan way of life.

This bit about Mat is so true(from the book and what Leigh quoted:

“Cool his temper if you can, Thom. And cool your own while you’re about it. I would think by this time you’d have had enough of shaving blind.”

“My head is cool and I’m trying to cool his,” Thom said dryly. “He can’t just sit, though; it is his country.” A faint smile crossed his leathery face. “You say you won’t take risks, but you will. And when you do, you’ll make anything Beslan and I might try look like an evening stroll in the garden. With you around, even the barber is blind.”

And it is so exciting when he does take leave of Ebou Dar - yay good times coming up!!

Ok reading and Mat. In tSR when Moiraine confronted him and Rand we have this:
"And you?" She shifted that drilling gaze to Mat. Did you read it in a book, too? You?"
"I do read sometimes," he said dryly. He would not have been averse to a little hide-peeling for Egwene and Nynaeve after what they had done to make him tell where he had hidden the Amyrlin's letter - tying him up with the Power was bad enough, but the rest! - yet it was more fun to tweak Moiraine's nose. "Treasures, Dealings. Lots of things in books." Luckily, she did not insist that he repeat the titles; he had not paid attention once Rand brought up books.

And then back in tDR:
When he stepped into the library, he stopped and stared. There had to be more than three hundred books on the shelves built on the walls, and more lying on the tables; he had never seen so many books in one place in his life. He noticed a leather-bound copy of The Travels of Jain Farstrider on a small table near the door. He had always meant to read that - Rand and Perrin had always been telling him things out of it - but he never did seem to get around to reading the books he meant to read.

Max Espensen
83. Andvari
I think these chapters might be viewed more fondly by those who had to wait for them. I don't mind them, they're perfectly fine chapters but as someone for whom the first book they had to wait for was Knife of Dreams, the time since previous Mat chapter for me was probably about two weeks not years (I was seriously obsessed by this point, buying books in advance, reading through the night etc.).

Re: Mat in TGS - I have to say I thought Brandon Sanderson has done an excellent job in TGS in general, it is testament to him that most of the time it is extremely difficult to even remotely fathom whether he or RJ had written a certain section. His Rand, Egwene, Perrin, Aes Sedai etc. are all great on the whole and there was little to no distraction from the plotline where things jarred or stood out awkwardly from an abrupt change of style. However, the one arc, and I really think it is the only one, where the character felt wrong is Mat, and to a lesser extent his followers. Talmanes sounds different too. The whole thread through TGS is vaguely uncomfortable to me. Now, I don't even know how much is Brandon's doing. It may be that these scenes were written out in detail by Jordan. But whoever did them, they jar and make me..well not exactly cringe, but feel sad that they're out of character. All this stuff about Mat's married and a changed man is nonsense really. He may be married but he knew he was going to and his new wife is nowhere near him and the changes you would expect from that transition are in no way representative of the odd lurch in character he undergoes. He sounds really strange here and the humour is way too forced. This makes me suspect it is mainly Brandon's writing, and the thing is, the character he is is in no way bad, it's just different. I mean no disrespect to Brandon, in fact almost the first thing I thought upon hearing he was taking over (after blessed relief it would be finished) was how hard the Mat/Tuon scenes would be to emulate because they had an inimitable brilliance to them which made them contenders for best parts of the last 2 or 3 books. It is not a failure on Brandon's part to not be able to recreate them perfectly, but it is noticeable that these scenes sit awkwardly to those used to the scenes of Jordan in, e.g Knife of Dreams. Such is life.

I think he captured Rand and Egwene very well and is a very talented writer and am immensely pleased he has been chosen to continue the series, I don't think anyone else could have achieved what he has and will do in the future. I think a fair few of the fandom were holding their breath in trepidation when the first "co-authored" book came out, but it is testament to Brandon that very few of the same people are concerned about ToM and all are just eagerly looking forward to it because they have utmost confidence that he has written an excellent and engaging volume that is as near as to Jordan's wishes as is realistically possible.
84. Freelancer

I agree regarding how well Brandon did with TGS. Something which was, I'm sure, very satisfactory to him, was the number of complaints that this or that bit of the story wasn't how Jordan would have done it, and how many of those turned out to have been more Jordan's words than his own. Which is to say, it wasn't as easy as some presumed to tell which words were his, and which Jordan's.

That said, there is no question that some phrasing was more contemporary, and less of the classical fantasy vein, but that doesn't jar me out of story immersion. Tpyos and repeated repeated words do, though. Those make me clench.

11 days to The Way of Kings release. I believe that in the course of working on that and ToM during the past year, Brandon has matured his craft greatly. Perhaps it will offer a preview of what can be expected, from a style standpoint, when November comes around.

Edit to add: Wetlandernw@56

Well, I do believe that I've managed one or two "polite" flame jobs. Or, I could be wrong.
Alice Arneson
85. Wetlandernw
Freelancer - Hmmm. I do believe you're right. Okay, I stand corrected. *tszing!*
Barry T
86. blindillusion
I'm very happy that Mat is back.

Just not sure there is anything to say about these Chapters.


Oh, and Mat worked in tGS: He'd just gotten married.

As for the obsession bit over the mystery person handing out pictures...Well, it wasn't that big of a surprise. The build-up was there. He spent his whole span of time in the book getting more and more pissed about being hunted.

Also, he's 9 Kinds of Wigged-out thinking about the Eelfinn being in his head.

Yes, I believe the foundation was there throughout the novel for Mat's freak out regarding the raid(!!!) on Trustair. (I mean come on...he was not just making up back stories...he had a full battle plan going.)

Just adding a comment to every Thread. Nothing to see here. Nothing to see here.

Family Time, FTW!!!
87. Eclectic
Forkroot, I didn't count the New Spring chapters because I'm not sure where you would put them in order of the Wheel of Time. You could put it at the beginning, though if you do Leigh skipped it and it doesn't matter. You could put it at the end and she'll get to it eventually. You could put it in order of having been written in which case it would be coming soon. But New Spring really doesn't fit precisely anywhere. As I'm sure you're aware, Jordan started with a very formal and melodramatic language in Eye of the World, and went on a journey to deconstruct everyone into more and more recognizable people. Lan went from being a Diademed Battle Lord of the Malkieri to well, just Lan. Aes Sedai went from mysterious and awesome wielders of the One Power to a bunch of squabbling schoolgirls (largely) by where we are now. But New Spring enters at a point where the characters are already largely deconstructed and since we've read all the books leading up to it they seem pretty normal to us. But if you read it then Eye of the World, the change in character and language doesn't fit.

I think the best we can hope for at this point is the re-read is caught up (minus New Spring) by the time AMoL comes out. I can't see how we get up through TGS by the time ToM comes out.

I was being a bit snarky but it came from the fact that I started the re-read at the beginning when it started, but finished the books by the time we were at book 3 here. I've since done a complete re-read after TGS came out, and am about to do another one in prep for ToM, but we're still far short of finishing the re-read here. I wanted to be able to re-read the series following along with the blogging here, and at least now we'll probably get through Winter's Heart by the time ToM comes out, but we wont be caught up by then. And to be indelicate, it has been a year.

Anyway, it's still great fun reading these and the comments are just as good. I'll probably start back at EotW here when I start reading it again. I just wont post to comments a year old (or will I?)
Roger Powell
88. forkroot
Leigh stated that she would be re-reading New Spring in publication order (which I think puts it after CoT but before KoD). So that's why I asked the question.

Regarding the pace: If you refer back to the start of the re-read, Leigh would do somewhere between 7 and 9 chapters in each posting. She finished the prologue and all 53 chapters of TEoTW in 7 posts. This was a breakneck pace, brought on by the original idea that the entire reread would need to be done by the upcoming AMoL in the fall of 2009.

As soon as reality set in, and AMoL became three books, the decision was made to relax the pace. I decision that I, for one, heartily agree with.

One of Leigh's talents is she does a terrific job of condensing a chapter or two into a manageable post, while keeping all of the key story points. Nobody could reduce 8 chapters into the size of the postings without a loss of a lot of plot points. Just go back and compate those early TEoTW posts (and how much they skipped) with what we are getting now.
Scott Terrio
89. Renegade248
I do not understand why people think the re-read blog has to be completed by the time AMOL comes out. I am sure there will still be plenty to talk about years after the last book, and I for one am looking forward to whatever pace Leigh sets.

As to these chapters: YAY, Mat is back. I think that sums up my sentiment.

I enjoy all chapters with Mat, including TGS chapters. I believe there was a BWS quote somewhere that it was in Jordan's notes that Mat would be different after having married and not being nowhere near his wife.
90. Eclectic

I'm fine that the re-read didn't try to finish by TGS last fall. But no one can read this slowly to stay with the pace of the re-read. So I decided months ago to put off reading this series of posts until the last minute, after two full re-reads of the WoT books and dozens of books in between.

I'm guessing there were some large breaks in the writing during the last year since Leigh posted something above about returning to the re-read.

It seems that this was never intended for the audience to read the series along with these posts. Perhaps it was my mistake to think that was the way to do it; read along with Leigh while she blogs the book. I was willing to give her a year head start to do that. And I love her conversational style. I just wish I could read all the books and every couple chapters or so read this series of posts in order.
91. Eclectic

I didn't think anything about the pace; I assumed incorrectly that the pace of the writing of the new books would have some effect on the pace of the writing of this re-read. Did anyone assume a year ago that this series of posts would take 3 years to complete? Because that's how long it will take at the current rate. It's not that I thought this had to be done by a certain time, it's that I could have finished by now. And while I don't claim the expertise of the best here, I did start reading the books when the first one came out, and have re-read the series before every book, and have read the newsgroup periodically and the FAQ and have several friends who are avid readers (I got them hooked and they all complain to me about it when they found out the series would take 2 decades to complete). I founded a White Tower and the city of Tar Valon in a once popular MMO game. In other words, I'm as big a WoT geek as anyone. So I could have done a re-read like this, as could many here.

It is what it is. I'll enjoy it, just not as much as if I were able to read through all the books and not just the first 9 books this year.
Tricia Irish
92. Tektonica

You are right, of course. I usually "copy" my post before I actually post, just in case disaster strikes. It usually doesn't strike while it did tonight. If needs be, I just "paste" my comment back in....or just go back a page, but Tor wouldn't let me in at all! I got a big blank white page with a big** Forbidden** written on it! Very scary.

Really, I was just" yaying" and responding to a few people, but now it's all old news.

Windrose@82: One of my comments was on the irony of Mat meeting up with Jain Farstrider and not having read him. It's also funny because he always claims his military knowledge is from books! LOL. He's not a big reader!

FWIW: I think Mat and Aludra would've made a much better couple than Mat and Tuon. She's much more his type and they share some common interests. Alas, the Wheel had other ideas.

I loved Luca's pique over Mat's more flamboyant clothing, or was it him showing off his physique? LOL.

Olver has some good roll models. He's much better off where he is than where he was, orphaned on the streets. There are many good ways to be raised that are not "traditional". Olver has plenty of love, support, busomy teachers, travel, and a fun yet well mannered, "father". He'll be fine.

Birgit is correct, the dice in this instance is for Mat meeting Tuon.
Alice Arneson
93. Wetlandernw
Re: the dice - IIRC, while they all have a definite end-point, the "big result" which makes them stop, they also have a particular starting point. I had the idea that a particular event would start them, and another event would stop them. Usually, IIRC, it's a seemingly minor decision or action by Mat or someone near him that starts them rolling, and most of the time it's either a decision or action by someone else that ends them. So I was curious about what others thought triggered the start this time; we'll see them stop soon enough.

Or maybe I'm wrong, and they start randomly some time before the event that stops them. In this case I'm having trouble pinning the start to anything in particular, so... anyone have any thoughts?
94. Demira
Wetlandernw @93
Hmm. Maybe the dice started at the exact moment that Tuon actually set foot in Ebou Dar, and stopped when Mat and Tuon met face to face?
Sandy Brewer
95. ShaggyBella
"You tell me what use I might have for a bellfounder, and I will tell you all of my secrets. Even the ones that will make you blush, yes?"

Now that did sound interesting. But the fireworks were more important than an hour of snuggling with her. What secrets did she have that could make him blush? He might surprise her, there. Not all of those other men's memories that had been stuffed into his head had to do with battles.

I kinda wondered about that. Tylin thought he was just being Ta'veren.
Alice Arneson
96. Wetlandernw
Demira - It might be exactly that. I think I need to go back and research the dice phenom to see how much RJ really tells us about the triggers, and how much is me imagining things. :) Just for grins I went to see what he had to say in the interview database on the subject of Mat's tumbling dice, and it's kinda wierd. He wouldn't really say what it is or what started it. When someone asked if Lanfear had anything to do with the dice business (because it started shortly after his conversation with her in Tar Valon) he said it was coincidence, and added this:
When they say that Mat has the Dark One's own luck, he can get as mad as he wants to, but in a way it is true. It wasn't a gift from Lanfear, though.
And when someone asked when it started, and if it were an aftereffect of the dagger/healing business, he gave them a RAFO. I wonder if we'll be learning more...

Eclectic @several - Yes, we can all read faster than four chapters a week. But how many of us can read and summarize two chapters, attempting to catch all the important bits without just copying and pasting the whole thing? And then write some kind of commentary on it? In our spare time? While attempting to do justice to the full-time job needed to pay the rent? And do it all in such a way that people want to bother with reading it? Oh, and let's not forget eating, sleeping and maintaining some sort of normal relationships to keep us from going nuts.

At the current pace, we should be about halfway through CoT when TofM comes out. If you allow a few weeks break for TofM-frenzy, include New Spring, give Leigh a week or so off for Christmas and a break for the occasional holiday, we should hit the TofM reread sometime next fall. If Brandon is correct and AMoL doesn't actually come out until spring 2012, we could be right on target. If it comes out on the original schedule of fall 2011, we might not have finished TofM first. But the discussion we'll have along the way, the clarifications and new ideas we'll meet by talking things over here, and the laughs we'll get from Leigh and one another, are the reasons we all stay with it. YMMV.
Sandy Brewer
97. ShaggyBella
Valan Luca was after Nana (Nynaeve) to have his children, now he is married to Latelle the bear trainer. That was fast and was there ever an explanation?
Heidi Byrd
98. sweetlilflower
Yeah! Mat is back!

::throws confetti::

Although, it occurs to me that Mat is another one of those characters whom I would not necessarily want to be friends with in real life. I like to read about a good scoundrel, but I think he would piss me off. I mean, I'm the person who hates the Patriots simply b/c Tom Brady looks like he would be a jerk. So, take it for what its worth (about 2 cents :p ).
Heidi Byrd
99. sweetlilflower
Brandon did a wonderful job in TGS. I know, we aren't discussing this topic b/c it has already been done to death. But, Brandon did an excellent job with TGS.

@62: Beren
I love to see other people bring in the Pratchett humor. He's another author whom you can read over and over and still pick up new things in the books. I just e-read the Tiffany Aching trilogy b/c there is a new one coming out soon. I will say that what really turned the corner for me giving lee-way to Cads was when my Mom compared her to Granny Weatherwax.

"I can't be having with this at my time of life"
Heidi Byrd
100. sweetlilflower
I'm feeling cheeky :)

Well, when I stole 200 on the last re-read I had a somewhat interesting topic to discuss, but I got nuthin. I really just wanted the beauty and perfection of 100 to be mine...

I will say that the issue of the dice is interesting. Now I, too, wonder what exactly makes them start and where they come from. Doesn't Hawkwing call Mat "the Gambler"? Perhaps Mat's soul always has the dice. I guess we will all RAFO. Its probably another one of those little jokes that Team Jordan laughed about and we were all clueless. Like Cads bemoaning her inability to catch the BA with Verin standing next to her :) You gotta love RJ. The guy had a twisted sense of humor :)

edit: in regards to the re-read pace: Some of us have a hard enough time with only four chapters a week. I hardly ever get to the end of the comments until the next day. Its unusual for me to read everything on the day of the post. I'm perfectly happy the way things stand. Plus, we saw on the last post what happens when Leigh feels rushed and gets snippy :)

*running for my life with a huge grin on my face to convey that I was only making a joke and should not be taken even the littlest bit seriously*
Thomas Keith
101. insectoid
Blind @86:
Just adding a comment to every Thread. Nothing to see here. Nothing to see here.
That's exactly what I do! I mean, I do actually have things to say about the chapters usually, but if I comment at least once a post, it will always be in "My Conversations" in my profile. (Which doesn't really matter, because I save those two tabs anyway.)

Tek @92: Yaying is very important. Just ask Leigh! :)

Sweet @98:
I mean, I'm the person who hates the Patriots simply b/c Tom Brady looks like he would be a jerk.
I feel the same way about the Mannings. But maybe it's because I'm a San Diegan and Eli snubbed the Chargers. Enh. ;)

Sweet @100: Naughty naughty! :D

Noneo Yourbusiness
102. Longtimefan
Just a thought on Mat having the Dark One's own luck.

If Rand is the weapon or perhaps more accurately counter point to the Dark One's "attack" against the wheel then maybe it is possible Mat is the Creator's counterpoint against the Dark One's " chance.

In the sense that on the balance of the wheel there are other places outside of Rand's direction towards the Last Battle that need a competitor for key events that tip the favor one way or the other.

I do not think that Mat is tainted by the Dark One but he is gambling against him directly at key events. Or The Key Event, gaining the upper hand with the Seanchan with Ishy tainting Seanchan and Semi placed by the Emperess (who does not live forever ) the Dark Side had no interference from Rand and Company until the Correne. Mat has gambled his way into a position of influence and changed the house
percentage against the Dark One.
Janet Hopkins
103. JanDSedai
re: Mat sounding "odd" in tGS

The first time I read it, I was very much struck by the same thing. As exeplified in this chapter, the dichotomy of Mat's interior dialog with what he is actually doing provides for most of the humor. And BWS had Mat speaking his thoughts out loud more often. There was a self-awareness that (in my experience) most people are not objective enough to exhibit.

On the other hand, on my second reading, I was particularly looking for miss-steps, but I couldn't put my finger on anything. So, I guess Brandon did well.

I concur with the voices above that the dice started when Tuon set foot in Ebou Dar. I can't help but think that the dice have something to do with the *Finn, because they are signs that he is fulfilling his *destiny*. But maybe his destiny is ordained by an outside agency (the Pattern or Age Lace).

Since it has been so hot, it is almost too hot to eat! So I am bringing some chilled fresh fruit to the bunker, to whet our appetites. Served with vanilla yogurt and white chocolate, of course. And has anybody else tried the cheesecake-filling -in-a-tub? Almost as good as *my* cheesecake!
Noneo Yourbusiness
104. Longtimefan
Please forgive any errors or bluntness. I am typing this from my iPhone and it acts up when the text gets too long.
105. alreadymadwithmatreading
Tektonica @92
Mat isn't a reader. But a lot of what he knows about battles is from books the people in his head have read. He even names a book and author: Madoc Comadrin's Fog and Steel and regularly quotes from it.
106. Can't wait!

Thanks for these re-reads and this is the first time I've had to comment on your commentary:

"Jain, Hi and Bye." (I know I'm misquoting you)


I'm so bummed! I've been waiting for an explaination of how he got here and who wrote his book (himself?) what his role in the tower is going to be and and and and!!!

To me he is one of the most interesting and unexplained characters in the series. Of course we know all about him from his book, but what really happened? Where is he from? What pages on Facebook is he a fan of?

Oh well, I guess the anticipation will make your commentary later that much sweeter.

Re-reading my comment makes it seem a bit bitchy. I'm not complaining, your re-read is a masterpiece in itself, I'm just eagerly anticipating a good Jain/Noal explaination!

Keep on keeping on!
Maiane Bakroeva
107. Isilel
AMW @105:

But a lot of what he knows about battles is from books the people in his head have read.

Not only that, but at least one of people he got his memories from was a poet - i.e. both a reader _and_ a writer ;). I chose to think that the written backstories in TGS was that poet acting up :).
Birgit F
108. birgit
It was enough to set a prickle between his shoulders, as if he were being watched.

The gholam was probably watching him and waiting for a chance to attack unobserved (and maybe Noal was watching, too).

Where is the dice ter'angreal the BA stole? Will Mat face someone using it?

What would we do if the rearead finished before the last book comes out? The threads would probably get too long to load again.

People probably wouldn't like these chapters so much if they weren't the first Mat chapters in a long time. Everybody just says "Mat is great", while disliked characters like Cads provoke real discussions.
109. Freelancer
RE: Triggering points for Mat's dice

Not authoritative, but in the example of them stopping when Tuon first looks at him, they started when he first saw the Seanchan ships in the harbor. She was aboard one of them. Sometimes they start after he makes a decision. sometimes they start after someone else has made a decision, or committed an act of some kind. And he isn't always where he could be aware of same, just that it happened. So it's regularly a mystery to him why they started. Even when he's in sight or hearing of the triggering event, it might be such an innocuous thing at the moment that it doesn't connect, so once again, mystery to him.
110. alreadymadwithnoalcharin
Can't wait @106
If you're looking for definitive back story on Noal Charin... you're not gonna get it. There isn't one. Everybody suspects him to be Jain Farstrider but this is actually just a theory. Nobody really knows anything about him.
Tricia Irish
111. Tektonica

I would sure appreciate getting books into my head without having to actually "read" them. Not always, as reading is a pleasure, but it certainly would've been a help in school /or doing research! So there is that upside for Mat.....

Agree with Free@109 about the Dice in Mat's head.


Mat is another one of those characters whom I would not necessarily want to be friends with in real life. I like to read about a good scoundrel, but I think he would piss me off.

Did you ever know a guy like Mat? Timing in Life is everything.....when a scoundrel is young, he's just a fun guy to date...don't even think about him seriously, or he's gone.....but as they get older, if they truly are good guys, they get responsibility, and then they are great, fun partners! ( I think I married a Mat.) Mat has developed responsibility slowly, first with his friends, then the Band, and now his marriage. He is brave, true and loyal, even if he professes to not want to be a hero. I don't think he would dream of cheating on Tuon or shirking his duty to the Band or Rand, or the Last Battle. He's grown up.
Captain Hammer
112. Randalator
re: BWS's Mat

I, too, thought that Mat's voice was slightly off. And can't stress enough that it is just the voice and just slightly.

The way he acts is completely within Mat-parameters, as far as I'm concerned. I particularly loved the overelaborate backstories thing because that whole half-sincere, half-joking overcompensating for a previous lack of believable backstory seemed so Mat-ish to me.

So yeah, it really was just his internal (and sometimes external..."saidared") voice that wasn't spot on. BWS's Mat is still a brilliant Rogue-character that I would have absolutely loved in any other book but as Matrim Cauthon he is maybe 5-10% off.

That's not meant to be taken as an absolute statement on character quality. I don't think WoT would have been worse or Mat any less lovable if he had been written that way from the start. But as it is, he is a tad different from RJ's Mat and to me that is at least noticeable even if it didn't take the fun out of reading TGS. I loved that book; BWS did an amazing job on it and I don't think anyone else could have pulled that off.
Antoni Ivanov
113. tonka
Actually am I the only one who thinks that "saidared" was very much something Mat would say - very inappropriate, quite clueless about the One Power, uncomfortable talking about things related to the One Power.
Valentin M
114. ValMar
I would like to add my 2 cents to the comments re: Mat in TGS.
I agree with the posters who are very happy with BRS's work with the book. And the only material element which is noticably off is Mat. Even if RJ wrote every single word of it. As was said already, the voice is off. And with Mat in particular, this makes it rather different reading experience. Others with him, mainly Talmanes, also read significantly different. At least for me.
In a way this may serve as a reminder that Mr Jordan isn't here, for the ones not friends or family of his. If the last 3 books were 100% perfect, to me personally it would feel like cheating, in a way. It feels a bit difficult or awkward to put this in words, but here it is anyway.
John Massey
115. subwoofer
Well- good stuff here, will take a few moments to wade through it all tho. Did a new thing last night- went out instead of blogging, I will see if folks have stole my thunder.

Luca- IMHO, and I believe Wet's, his issue with Mat is there can only be one pretty boy stealing all the women. Which brings back to mind all his styling and sashaying when Galad came to town. Also like when the hottest girl in the room notices the competition.

What Mat wears. Honestly, I think for all Mat's complaining, he likes it. The man can make coin hand over fist if he wanted, go out and buy some normal clothes dude. Keep them at the circus so you don't have to parade around with a woman's stamp on you. Unless Mat is smart and does that so folk's will know he's the queen's pet and leave him relatively alone for that.

No complaints beyond that. We have waded through the hard stuff of the last two chapters to make it back to the stuff that keeps me reading.

Good times.

John Massey
116. subwoofer
Just off on another tangent though, and it is prompted somewhat by M A T complaining about the all white main cast. Do we really have a breakdown of the different cultures in comparison to our world?

Reading how Mat goes on about the descriptions of the Seanchan and Sea Folk etc. I get a few impressions.

The Sea Folk would be a comparison to the African continent for color. Randland would be the hodgepodge that is Europe. Always pictured Dobraine as a Frenchman. The Seanchan, some are fair and blond, some are dark like Sea Folk. Takes me to the middle east and the Return kinda reminds me of the Moors invading Europe with some distinctly dynasty trappings about them. And the Aiel, definitely dessert folk, but I don't get the hugeness and redheadedness, I think that was RJ being random.

But this is just conjecture on my part, what is in my minds eye. I am know to be wrong, according to my wife.

John Massey
117. subwoofer
Olver- always pictured him as a young Clark Gable

He just has to grow into his looks. I know this has been said in the past, Mat is the biggest influence on Olver, hence Olver's bafflement when Mat tells him:
"Women like a man to be quiet, and well-mannered. And reserved. Reserved, and maybe a little shy. Cultivate those qualities, and you'll do well."

Guess Mat is playing opposites with Olver.

Olver is in good hands, even if they're red.

Heh. Just read that, made me laugh. Good times as always Free:)

John Massey
118. subwoofer
It is also nice to see Thom get some action from Lady Riselle. Seems to have recovered from the loss of his last apprentice, Zera. I like it that RJ moves along the secondary characters and doesn't just have them around as Red Shirts.

Yay Thom, whoot whoot:)

119. EarthandIce
Have not been able to get through all the comments yet, wow 118 when I started this.

Sub : Mat has yet to think about having a bolt hole yet. Soon he will start looking for a room to hide his gold and old clothes. I cannot see Tylin allowing him to bring other cloths back to the palace, her knife would be working overtime.

105. alreadymadwithmatreading : yes the men who's memories have read many books, but also were warriors in their own right. In TDR on the way out of Rhuidean Mat knows how to use the ashandarei, without any sort of training. (TSR,Ch26) Granted he has used a quarter-staff, but the use of the short spear on it adds different aspects.

Getting to be lunch here. Anyone for pizza in the Bunker?
Alice Arneson
120. Wetlandernw
Can't wait @106 - Have you seen this? It might help, even though it's a couple books old. And I'm sure we'll talk about him more when we spend more time with him soon.

Isilel @107 - Hey, I like that explanation!! Can I share?

Edit - Sorry - I goofed up the typing somehow. Fingers did their own thing without asking brain. :( My bad. The link works - now that Freelancer has reposted it anyway... Thanks - since it took me several hours to get back here.
Tricia Irish
121. Tektonica

I got a page not found error code when I clicked on your link. Is it just me?

(Meet you for pizza earthandice....we can discuss Malazan too!)
diane heath
122. jadelollipop
Tek @ 121 not just you. I got the same error. :)
123. Freelancer

I think most men have some of all three wrapped up in them somewhere.

~ Most men have a fair sense of duty, and can accept the need to do what must be done, whether they are the only one who can, the only one available, or the only one willing.

~ Most men take satisfaction in a job well done, and appreciate craftsmanship which transcends to artistry. Most men enjoy being able to "do it themselves", and being handy at fixing things.

~ Most men dream of being unbound by responsibilities, of being completely care-free and able to indulge their sense of adventure, of taking risks. Most men also dream of being all that with the ladies.

My wife married a Rand, with a healthy side of Perrin, and a very carefully disguised and controlled side of Mat. (hold the womanizing)

Here's Wetlandernw's Farstrider link:

It had a couple bbcode characters hanging on the end of it.
Tricia Irish
124. Tektonica

~ Most men dream of being unbound by responsibilities, of being completely care-free and able to indulge their sense of adventure, of taking risks.

Some of us women to too......shrug.

Thanks for the correction on Welander's link!
John Massey
125. subwoofer
Er... hang about a second here, I may have to clean up the bunker a bit. Made a wee bit of a mess with my "coaching session" with Cranky Pants. End result, she agreed to be a nicer person, I agreed to stop smacking her with a wet noodle.

126. alreadymadwitholver
tonka @113
I happen to agree "saidared" was very much Mat. Using as few words as possible to refer to the One Power or any use of it.

subwoofer @115, 117
Having a change of clothes else where isn't really practical with that bum leg of his.

Olver will always look like Alfred E. Neumann to me.

EarthandIce @119
Most of the motions are the same. If you wanted to train to use an ashandarei or spear, you'd train with a staff.
127. Freelancer

Now see, I was speaking only of men, and not with the intent of exclusion. How large a fool would I be to speak for what women want. Mel Gibson I'm not, and haven't used a blow-dryer in months.

You started it by saying you married a Mat. I just think there's a little of each in most of us hairy-chested woolheads.

(Apologies to hairless-chested males, or hairy-chested females)
Tricia Irish
128. Tektonica
LOL Free!

I didn't mean to say you excluded women....just that we have some of those desires too. My dad was a Rand....a wonderful man....and he could make or repair or build anything. My hubby, not so much. He has other of the hairy chested qualities......isn't it all fun!
Captain Hammer
129. Randalator
tonka @113

I happen to agree "saidared" was very much Mat. Using as few words as possible to refer to the One Power or any use of it.

Character-wise it might be appropriate but this "verbing the noun"-Buffyspeak doesn't fit into the established speech patterns of the series. I don't have a problem with that speech pattern per se, as a matter of fact I'm very Buffyspeak-y myself, but in this particular setting it just felt horribly wrong.

Then again I love playing with language and am therefore very prone to catching (and very much not liking) stylistic inconsistencies. I can see where other people might either not catch or simply not care about a relatively minor issue like that.

alreadymad @126

Olver will always look like Alfred E. Neumann to me.

It took me ages to get rid of that mental image. Thanks for reviving it... *grabs the brain bleach*
130. SushiSushi
@116 subwoofer: The whole thing about the Aiel supposedly being physically Irish always seemed totally nuts to me, never mind the oddness of having fair-skinned blondes and red-heads living in a desert. I don't know where RJ got his stereotype for Irishness from, but I doubt very much that he ever actually visited here, cos the country is full of short pale people with brown or black wavy hair, with only the occasional redser for variety. The only blondes I know here are Scandinavian imports or out of a bottle :) It's not a big deal, it just bounces me out of the story every time someone comments about all the blondes and red-heads bounding around the waste (I don't suppose they gave Aviendha any sun-tan cream on her way to Rhuidean, either...)
Captain Hammer
131. Randalator
SushiSushi @130

Where did you get this supposed Irishness of the Aiel from? I certainly never though about the Aiel as even remotely Irish.

Btw. no, they didn't give Aviendha any sunscreen and that resulted in one hell of a sunburn (TSR, ch. 34).

subwoofer @116

And the Aiel, definitely dessert folk, but I don't get the hugeness and redheadedness, I think that was RJ being random.

We have to keep in mind that the Aiel are not natives of the Waste. They were tall and blonde/red haired people in the AoL and migrated all over Randland for generations before finally settling in the waste (at least the part of them that became Third Age Aiel eventually). And once they had arrived there they had a completely isolated gene pool for cultural and geographical reasons. I don't know how fast evolution would work under those circumstances (maybe someone here can shed a light upon that) but roughly 3000 years seem too short a time span from my layman POV to turn them into Tuareg...
132. Freelancer
What you're describing isn't evolution, but regional adaptation. Their DNA didn't change, they didn't mutate, they didn't become a different species. How long "evolution" takes, in terms of species, is a completely random question, since it is conventionally described as completely random behavior. There is no pattern, no fixed rate of "drift" from one thing to another.
Captain Hammer
133. Randalator
Well, as Prof. W. Ikipedia always says: "Evolution is the change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations."

Which means that regional adaptation is part of the evolutionary process. We don't have to go as far as the Aiel becoming a different species (which, by the way, I didn't suggest). Even if they adapted to the Waste by developing a darker complexion and darker hair they would still be the same species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens.
Barry T
134. blindillusion
Here ya go:

Seraph23 asks: First off, I'd like to say thanks Mr. Jordan for providing my family and I countless hours of reading enjoyment, and I'd like to ask you something about the Aiel, well, who are they?

RJ: You're welcome. And they are the descendants of the pacifists who were in service to the Aes Sedai in the Age of Legends. If on the other hand, you mean the source of the culture in my mind, they contain some elements of the Apache, some of the Zulu, some of the Bedouin, and some elements of my own including that I rather liked the fact of making the desert dwellers blue-eyed and fair instead of the usual dark-eyed, dark-complected desert people.

He made the Aiel look Irish because he thought it was kind of funny. He doesn't like the fact that hardened desert warriors are always described as looking a certain way, so he used the opposite description.

And because it's an interesting question I've thought of a couple of times:

Q: Are the Aiel already a Remnant?

Note: Don't know if the quote in italics is something Mr Jordan actually said, but meh. It's there.
Jennifer B
135. JennB
First edition WOT books are packed full of typos and errors. Sometimes I feel like I should go through mine with a red pen. I don't want to mark up my books, but maybe I'll make a list sometime. Some are pretty bad, for example I remember one in TSR where one of the characters is described as doing something in Tanchico and that character isn't even in Tanchico. RJ used the wrong name. Can't blame Brandon for typos. They just push the books through the editing process too fast. But we can't complain about that because we want to get those books in our hands ASAP.

I think Latelle always had a thing for Luca. I believe that was the reason Latelle hated Nynaeve so much.

Agreed. I would probably not enjoy being around Mat in real life.

RJ was not trying to make the Aiel physically Irish. All he wanted to do was make them the opposite physically from how desert people are portrayed in other books like Dune. I think he kind of meant it as a joke.
The Aiel were refugees who were forced into the desert because of their pacifist culture, so their physical appearance does not have to make sense. As long as the pale Aiel were not more prone to dying of heat stroke, there would be no natural selection for darker individuals. RJ may not have felt it was necessary to factor in natural selection anyways. Although he does factor in natural selection with the other group of Dai' shain descendants that he introduces. We haven't gotten to this yet, but it seems that RJ used a concept called island effect evolution when developing the Amayar. (One of my favorite little things RJ did that no one ever notices.)

You are correct. Evolution can be something as small as the pigment change in moths in a certain region to aid them in hiding from birds on surfaces that became soot stained because of the industrial revolution.
Jennifer B
136. JennB
In fact, the thing that dog breeders do is evolution as well. It is evolution via artificial selection.

On a side note. (This is a pet peeve of mine.)
Darwin did not come up with the idea of evolution. The idea was very well established long before he came on the scene. In fact his grandfather Erasmus Darwin was a huge proponent of evolution. Charles Darwin came up with the mechanism that causes evolution in nature, natural selection. This huge discovery changed biology forever.
John Massey
137. subwoofer
@Blind, thanks for that:) I always figured RJ was having fun making the folks in the hottest part of the world red-heads. Every red I know shuns the sun because they burn inside 5 mins. The freckle factor is great with them. I know they go about head to toe in their garb, but when they have to do yard work or relax by the dust pool, I betcha they would give the fifth for a pair of shorts and a wife-beater.

"When a thought takes one's breath away, a grammar lesson seems an impertinence."

-Thomas W. Higginson

Ron Garrison
138. Man-0-Manetheran
Conkey@9: Thanks for that quote (and FSS@12).
This Healing is a wonderful thing. My Mylen knows it, and I taught it to my others, too.
Anyone else find that "I taught" just a bit interesting? Wouldn't it seem more likely that she would have had her Mylen teach the others? edit: OK, late to the party... I see Wetlandernw and others have mused on this. But RJ didn't have her say "I had my others taught." He had her say "I taught it." Deliberate? This is Robert Jordan, so I'd say "probably."

Freelancer@22: Peaches and Herb always left me a little nauseous.

forkroot@31: Totally agree! "Backstory" is a Hollywood term and it jumped off the page at me. But I still found BWS's portrayal of Mat consistant with the character we know and love. Not perfect, but hey.

Bloody Ashes! Sorry, not buying that it is wrong. If you use Ideal Seek you will count 34 times in the first 11 books where the term is used - mostly as "Blood and bloody ashes!" LttPA edit: misfortuona@66 did an even more thorough search. So enuf on this argument!
Debbie Solomon
139. dsolo

Loved your comparison of Granny WeatherWax and Cadsuane. So all along, she's been using headology on Rand. Sorilea is another in the Granny mold. None of them easy to deal with, but you're really glad that they're on your side.

On the Aiel debate, are we assuming they're supposed to be Irish because of the red hair? The point has already been made that they were not originally native to the Waste, just as the Seafolk weren't originally sailors. If you look at any pictures of warzones, there are always streams of refugees trying to get away from the fighting. When things are settled, they may or may not return home. That wasn't an option after the Breaking of the World, geography itself was changed (hence the name Breaking of the World). Everyone had to find there own place to survive. Picture the Amish in a Mad Max world. What beliefs do you keep and which do you discard for survival? The Aiel kept the name and discarded the pacifist philosophy. The Tinkers kept the philosophy and abandoned their promise to the Aes Sedai.
Jonathan Levy
140. JonathanLevy
Re: When did Min tell Moiraine about her viewing of her and Thom
One very plausible explanation: Min and Moiraine wintered together in the mountains (with Rand and Perrin) post-TGH. It seems plausible that with that much time together, Min would let it slip to Moiraine that she had seen that she would marry Thom (even though the vision had occurred in Baerlon.)

Sorry, haven't read all the comments, but I'm pretty sure Min told Moiraine about the viewing right away, because already in TEOTW, when travelling the Ways, Moiraine tells the boys that she thinks Thom is not dead. She doesn't explain why, but Rand thinks to himself that perhaps Min saw something and told Moiraine.
Jonathan Levy
141. JonathanLevy
You're absolutely right! I also felt that "bloody ashes" curse was like a jarring chord. Ugh! It made me cringe each time. It didn't appear once in RJ's books. I can't figure out how that slipped past the editor. One instance, I can understand. But over and over again? It bespeaks a degree of sloppiness that boggles the mind. The rest of the book isn't so badly edited, so how did this happen?
diane heath
142. jadelollipop
@43 and @141
Maybe it is because I don't curse as a rule but I don't see the significant difference between "blood and bloody ashes" as opposed to "bloody ashes" not to the extent of being jarred out of a story. I would just think that "blood and ashes" over time became "bloody ashes". If that is the extent of the complaints though than we are fortunate. :)
diane heath
143. jadelollipop
@43 and @141
Maybe it is because I don't curse as a rule but I don't see the significant difference between "blood and bloody ashes" as opposed to "bloody ashes" not to the extent of being jarred out of a story. I would just think that "blood and ashes" over time became "bloody ashes". If that is the extent of the complaints though than we are fortunate. :)

eta apology for duplication of post.
Jonathan Levy
144. JonathanLevy
@142 & @143
It's jarring because it's obviously an unintentional slip by the new author which should have been caught in the editing process. It's as if Mat's name were suddenly spelled Matt, or Thom became Tom. Is it a big change? No. Plotwise, could it conceivably have happened? Theoretically, yes. Over the 2 or so years since TEOTW? No.

It should have been caught in the editing process. But it wasn't. That's very strange. I wonder what we'll see in ToM.
John Massey
145. subwoofer
@JL- agreed, I curse like a champion so it really stuck out in my mind. It is like going What The Fruit to What Fruit! Just doesn't flow properly. But I think we already flogged this one on TGS thread. Bottom line, BS theoretically has everything done, let the folks that do the editing earn their pay this go-about.

It reminds me of a story I heard about medieval scribes. They could not read, but they could copy the image of the words. Seems to me somewhere along the way the editors lost the feel for some little nuances. Maybe if Harriet was lurking over BS's shoulder with a rolling pin-"get the swearing right this time! And Mat is snarky, not Silk!"

-Edit, for that last bit, the whole "backstory" bit with Mat writing out the characters reminds me of Eddings doing Silk. Silk had this whole infatuation about how a character's history affects the way he portrays them. One merchant is rich and prosperous, one is down on his luck and really needs this sale to survive- but it is still the same guy playing them. IMHO it feels like that was what BS was trying to do with the lengthy personas Mat thought up.

Tricia Irish
146. Tektonica
Sub@137: Great Higgins quote...bears repeating....

"When a thought takes one's breath away, a grammar lesson seems an impertinence."

Man-O@138: Agree with you on Peaches and Herb, meh....but I did have to photograph them once, in their studio in NYC, for a Time article...that was cool.

Mat: The only problem I saw with Mat in tGS was there just wasn't enough of him! The swearing didn't bother me in the least bit....flew right over it. (Some things do get contracted sometimes.) I loved Mat's writing the backstories too...they were hilarious....he just seemed so manic and "out of his element" realizing he was "married". He almost didnt' know what to do with himself. It seemed like he was asking himself,
" Who is the new Mat?"
I thought it all fit. (I could've done without Hinderstap).
147. alreadymadwithtuonsweaves
Man-o-Manetheran @138
I taught it to my others to
The other way to look at it is that suldam can, through the a'dam, actually force the damane to form specific weaves. They would have to be able see the weaves though, which would imply that Tuon is even closer to channeling than she'd like to think.
F Shelley
148. FSS
@147 - In TGH, when Tuli was being trained, the suldam had her use her abilities in new ways that she didn't know she could, but they were her abilities, not the Suldam's. I think it's more likely that Tuon had Mylen show the others the weaves for Healing and the other damane learned them.
Noneo Yourbusiness
149. Longtimefan
Just a thought on the "I" in "I taught it to my others".

In her very foreign mind Tuon thinks differently than people in this modern world.

Mylen is not a person, she is property. An object who does not "teach" but is an instrument to be used or a weapon to be aimed (and since the Oaths kind of limit that weaponosity she is more of an instrument)

In the thought process of a person who has been raised to see several different "kinds" of people, superiors, equals, lesser and property there would be a different grammar applied when speaking about those people.

In the case of property they do not do anything, they are directed to do it or it is done by the speaker even though they did not do it personally.

If one were to have some extensive gardening done and a guest commented on how lovely it was there are several ways to respond but one way is to say

"Thank you, I only plant red roses to the west for the dramatic reflection at sunset."

Even if the hands holding the champagne did not grub the soil the pride of work can be taken by the person.

It may not seem appropriate to certain sensibilities but it is a turn of phrase that a person can use if they feel the workers are so far beneath them that they are of no consequence.

Property is at that low level.

Just a thought.
Jennifer B
150. JennB
You have it exactly. A damane is a tool. Another way to put it is that when the washing machine washes the dishes, I claim credit even though I didn't scrub a single article of clothing.
John Massey
151. subwoofer
@JennB- You do your clothing in the dish washer too?:P

Tricia Irish
153. Tektonica
LTF@149: You hit it on the nose, I think. The Royal "we" kind of...the Royal "I".

Sub@151: LOL....JennB, you made a funny.
Alice Arneson
154. Wetlandernw
On "the Aiel are Irish" question - as far as I can tell, RJ never claimed to make the Aiel in any way similar to the Irish. That can be laid at the feet of a fan who thought RJ's description (blue-eyed and fair) sounded like his own concept of the "stereotypical" Irish complexion. As has been said several times, RJ chose their physical characteristics to deliberately contrast with "the usual dark-eyed, dark-complected desert people." Culturally, he referenced Apache, Bedouin and Zulu (hey, A to Z!) and linguistically he mentioned Gaelic, Russian, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. Now, can we please get over the idea that anyone thinks that RJ attempted to pick up the Irish lock, stock and barrel, and stuff them into the Waste? His only comment that even came close to mentioning the Irish was using some Gaelic roots in the Aiel language.

jadelollipop @142 - I'm with you!! It's not that "jarring" to drop part of a phrase. I didn't hear anyone complaining about "Blood and bloody flaming ashes!" in CoS, even though that's the only time it's used in the whole series. For that matter, there were 33 instances of "Blood and ashes" before the first "Blood and bloody ashes" showed up. At that, the former is used roughly twice as often as the latter.

Personally, I don't find it "obviously an unintentional slip by the new author." I find it a slight change which could have been deliberately made by either the author or the editor for a number of reasons. One of the reasons an author might do it is because we, as people, do change our "favorite" expressions from time to time, and either RJ or BWS might have decided this was a reasonable thing for Mat to do. (And it's not even remotely comparable to changing the spelling of a well-known character's name.) They might even have decided to do it just to reduce the word count by a few. What I, personally, find irritating is the assumption that because a particular reader wouldn't have done it that way, it must necessarily be an error. Misspellings can be blamed on the proofreading process; grammatical errors can be blamed on either editing or proofreading. Changes in phraseology might bug you, but authors get to do that, and IMO they should not be accused of wrong-doing when they do it.

Longtimefan @149 - Excellent analysis. I think you are entirely correct.
Barry T
155. blindillusion
What I, personally, find irritating is the assumption that because a particular reader wouldn't have done it that way, it must necessarily be an error. Misspellings can be blamed on the proofreading process; grammatical errors can be blamed on either editing or proofreading. Changes in phraseology might bug you, but authors get to do that, and IMO they should not be accused of wrong-doing when they do it.
Amen Wetlander.

It's truly aggravating when a reader decides they could have done better than the author in question.

Especially calling an OoC. If an author writes a character a certain way in a novel, then that is the way said character was meant to be written.

And yes, that is a comment about Mat's depiction in tGS.
Jennifer B
156. JennB
That's what happens when you change your analogy half way through what you are writing and then your husband decides it's time to go to the store so you hit post without proofreading.

(I decided to change the analogy because tossing clothes in the washer is a lot less work than loading the dishwasher. Of course I don't sort clothes; I just stuff them in, add soap, and hit start.)
Thomas Keith
158. insectoid
Sub @145:
It is like going What The Fruit to What Fruit!
And What the Fruit! is now my new favorite curse. ;)

AMW @147: You said it better than I could. (I tried, and it didn't look right...)

JennB @150: LOL!!

Why are we still talking about Mat's voice in TGS? Didn't we already discuss that to death on the Spoiler Threads? Just sayin'.

Roger Powell
159. forkroot
Jonathan Levy@140
Sorry, haven't read all the comments, but I'm pretty sure Min told Moiraine about the viewing right away, because already in TEOTW, when travelling the Ways, Moiraine tells the boys that she thinks Thom is not dead. She doesn't explain why, but Rand thinks to himself that perhaps Min saw something and told Moiraine.
Excellent point! You've convinced me.

You're absolutely right! I also felt that "bloody ashes" curse was like a jarring chord. Ugh! It made me cringe each time. It didn't appear once in RJ's books. I can't figure out how that slipped past the editor. One instance, I can understand. But over and over again? It bespeaks a degree of sloppiness that boggles the mind. The rest of the book isn't so badly edited, so how did this happen?
Granted, the initial editing of TGS was not up to recent WoT standards. As I've often disclaimed, I'm usually the last person to pick up on stuff in the story (e.g. Dashiva, Anath). But even on my first read of TGS, at a breakneck pace, I noticed things like Joline forgetting her warders when requesting horses from Mat, and Sulin mysteriously showing up with Rand's entourage when she should have been with Perrin.

I'm inclined to think the high number of errors was more a product of a compressed schedule and different logistics. In the past, Harriet was right there with Jim (RJ) and probably saw the manuscripts at different times and in a different way than she saw from Brandon who lives two time zones away. Then there was the urgency of getting a new book out (with all of us frothing at the mouth) so there just wasn't a lot of time.

On WoT editing in general: It's damn hard! First off, the story is very complex, there are 100s of characters with all sorts of interlaced time lines. Then consider the rabid fan base (oops! That's us I'm talking about.)

Face it, if someone else starting writing the Drizzt books, few people would jam a chat board complaining that Wulfgar was "off". No disrespect to Salvatore, but people aren't as emotionally invested in other works like they are in WoT. So every little editing slip gets magnified. That, my friends, is pressure!
160. AndrewB
Forkroot @159

IIRC, BWS indicated during a TGS booktour event, that the mention of Sulin showing up as part of Rand's Maiden protection was not a mistake. As to any further clarification, BWS replied with a RAFO. I do not have any particulars -- maybe somebody else out there does.

Thanks for reading my musings.
161. AndrewB
Forkroot @159

IIRC, BWS indicated during a TGS booktour event, that the mention of Sulin showing up as part of Rand's Maiden protection was not a mistake. As to any further clarification, BWS replied with a RAFO. I do not have any particulars -- maybe somebody else out there does.

Thanks for reading my musings.

edit: Double post was for one of those Tor error thingies.
Alice Arneson
162. Wetlandernw
Here's a slight clarification of the Sulin question:
Rob Trotter on Twitter - 1 August 8:32 am
Any chance you could clear up Sulin in The Gathering Storm? Was her appearance a typo or deliberate (Varied answers exist on the web?)
Brandon - 9:37 pm
Sure, you guys deserve an answer on this one.
9:37 pm
Sulin began life as a simple typo. When I saw it, I shrugged, and had a good reason. Maria thought that reason would not work.
9:38 pm
So we decided to retcon it out. Mistake was mine all along. Really nothing special to report there, I'm afraid.
And another:
I asked Brandon about Sulin this evening. He said that he had originally placed Sulin like that very intentionally, intending to do "something" with her. However, after a conversation with Maria, he became convinced that his original plans regarding this character were not workable, so Sulin will be edited out of future editions of The Gathering Storm.
Might give you an idea of the complications Team Jordan faces.
163. Freelancer
Randalator & JennB,

I will not insult Leigh by engaging in this debate here, beyond a correction regarding a small thing. What was presumed to be strong evidence of "evolution" regarding the peppered moths of England during the sooty years of the Industrial Revolution is nothing of the kind. When the trunks of the moths' preferred resting places became darker due to the loss of certain lichens from airborne pollution, those moths of the species with lighter bodies were less camouflaged to the eyes of their natural predators. Eventually, the predominant population of the moths were those darker-bodied versions which had been so less common previously, or at least thought less common. In fact, they appeared more rare because they were more often eaten by the birds, and once the trees hid the darker moths, the birds began feeding on the lighter, reversing the resultant distribution.

With the arrival of less-polluting machines, the trees trunks returned to a lighter shade, the darker moths became more visible, and the earler "evolution" reversed itself.

The simple fact is, from the beginning to the end of the history of this period of study, there have been both light-bodied and dark-bodied peppered moths, and serious scientific studies have shown that production rates of both have remained fairly constant in controlled conditions. The moths did not adapt or change in the smallest aspect, genetically or otherwise. A dark peppered moth from two hundred years ago is identical to a dark peppered moth today, and likewise with the lighter. The eyesight of birds and the survivability of the incident environment changed the population distribution. Nothing more, and nothing less.


There is another tidbit which relates to the Aiel (in a way) and the Irish. When Sulwin defied Adan, and left the wagons to find the old days, to find the old songs, rather than stay faithful to the Aes Sedai's charge of keeping the People moving until they reached safety, that was the birth of the Tuatha'an, the Traveling People. This group from the story comes from the Tuatha De Danann, an Irish legend of early conquerers of the Island. The name is translated as The people of the goddess Danu (interestingly, considered the source for the name of the Danube river).


Amen! Now, being a huge Salvatore fan (he and Drizzt brought be back to SF/F as an adult), you're right that his work never endured the intense scrutiny of WoT. The interesting thing is, part of the reason is the incredible number of real world connections Jordan made in his story, a fact which made the creation of the WoT world far more difficult than simply abiding by the Forgotten Realms strictures. Therefore, I declare that every complaint is, in fact, a testimony to Jordan's brilliance, and the unparalleled phenomenon which is the Wheel of Time universe.


Yes, the question, asked and answered(BTW, not my question, it was provided by someone else here, I merely presented it to Brandon):
Q. Sulin is incorrectly mentioned in a scene with Rand’s group, when she is still with Perrin. Who was meant to be named there?

A. Sulin

All follow-up attemps were RAFO'd
Barry T
164. blindillusion
Meh. Just throwing it out there...seeing if it sticks....

MiniCon 3 April 2010 - Kathana Trevalaer reporting:

I asked Brandon about Sulin this evening. He said that he had originally placed Sulin like that very intentionally, intending to do "something" with her. However, after a conversation with Maria, he became convinced that his original plans regarding this character were not workable, so Sulin will be edited out of future editions of The Gathering Storm.

For all of your Aiel needs.
John Massey
165. subwoofer
Alls I said at the beginning of all this was RJ being random making the Aiel- dessert folk large and red-headed. Nothing about Irish in that at all. Not sure when we made the leap but meh, it is what it is.

And I stand by the Blood and Ashes vs. Bloody Ashes. I have never said I can do a better job than BS- once again, I am equally baffled by how folks make the leap from- "gee, that phrase doesn't flow for me" to "I can write that book better than BS", it is just a missing word that bugs me(er... no offense, Insectoid). Not on the level of Cranky Pants, call it a minor irritant if you will.

j p
166. sps49

The peppered moth shouldn't be discussed anywhere that religion and politics aren't, because it is ongoing reality. It can't be used to support evolution vs. intelligent design because intelligent design is faith based, and isn't tested the same way.
Alice Arneson
167. Wetlandernw
Any cosmology is by definition faith-based.
Scientist, Father
168. Silvertip
@131 Randalator:

Should the Aiel have dark skin by now?

(Putting on "pedant" hat):

How fast evolution would shift the physical characteristics of a population depends on a great many things. In part it depends on how uniform the original population is, that is, how much variation there is to begin with, since that variation is the raw material of evolution. (You could start from a bunch of clones and wait for random mutations, but you would wait a *long* time.) We have some hints in TSR that the Aiel were physically distinctive even in the Age of Legends, implying less initial variation than in a random population, but nothing really detailed.

More important would be the strength of the selective advantage: It's not enough for dark skin to make your life better, natural selection only cares if it makes you more likely to survive to adulthood, have more children, or improve those children's survival and subsequent fertility. How much more likely is a slightly lighter-skinned Aiel to die young than a slightly darker-skinned Aiel? I could be wrong, but I suspect that the highly sophisticated Aiel culture would tend to minimize this -- they have low-tech but extremely effective ways of coping with a desert climate that likely minimize mortality in childhood and early life from the direct effects of sun and heat. (Famine, another matter: but dark skin doesn't help you if you're hungry). Under those circumstances, I don't find still looking like AoL Aiel after 3000 years to be unreasonable. One comparison would be Native Americans, excluding Inuit: I could start a hundred arguments with every clause here, but in the simplest understanding that population was genetically isolated from Old Worlders for about 10,000 years prior to 1492, and retained a real physical distinctiveness that didn't correlate strongly with the varying climates that smaller populations lived in.

This is why what's called artificial selection (aka breeding of domestic animals) can be so incredibly effective and fast. A wolf that's a little bit faster than another wolf has a minor statistical advantage in leaving descendants, likely to be overwhelmed by chance in any individual case--the statistical effect will only change the population over many generations. By contrast, a domestic puppy that does or does not meet an arbitrary breed "standard" can have a digital (on/off) change in the probability of leaving large numbers of descendants. It doesn't take too many generations of that sort of thing to move traits a lot. The process (and the equations describing it) are exactly the same as in the absence of human intervention, the magnitude of the effect is just far stronger. (Which is why Darwin got so much help in formulating his theories by observing, among other things, pigeons). Coming back to WoT: To the extent that the ability to channel is genetic (and correlated between the genders), I find it completely believable that the extremely efficient purging of male channelers by the Red Ajah in late adolescence/early adulthood would have led to a drastic decline in the quantity and quality of channelers in that same 3000 years.

In general, RJ was quite good with this sort of thing. (Although, as we discussed extensively a few books back, 3000 years is plenty to blur out any distinction between, say, Rand and Rhuarc in terms of which dude in the ancestratron is their "direct ancestor," but it's a cool story and we'll give it a pass). For as far out of his central interests as this all was, it's pretty impressive.

@133, exactly right. This *is* evolution. Even if the environment changes back (more or less) and the population returns to the status quo ante (nicely described by Freelancer @ 163, although his interpretation of the situation is different than mine), that's all there is to it. Now, there's no speciation event in the situation, but then, as you say, we're not looking at a speciation event in the books either. That's a different story, and this post is plenty wallotextish already.

(Removes pedant hat). Welcome back Mat! I also had forgotten about the second confrontation with the Gholam. Good stuff, although by KoD this plotline too will be starting to drag for me.


Edit: for clarity.
Scientist, Father
169. Silvertip
OK, so thinking about evolution in the context of these books: When people argue about "evolution" in the popular culture, what is most often at issue is the more-specific concept of "common descent," that is, that all life on earth (including yours truly) shares a common ancestor some billions of years ago. In WoT, however, cosmological time is (per the name) circular: There is neither beginning nor end. This very likely implies that, in the cosmology of these books, there *is* no common descent, since it would imply an earlier turning of the wheel in which things were very different indeed. (I'm not picturing Ishamael and Lews Therin incarnated as lobe-finned fish, personally). Quite different from the scientific understanding of RL, but I'm fine with that, it's his Universe, he can set up his cosmology however he wants. But it's interesting. Even the exhibit hall in Tanchico, if I understand correctly, contained bones of creatures actually existing elsewhere in the world, rather than of extinct lineages. Can anybody recall any instances in which the natural world is implied to be linear-time-style different than on previous turnings? I can't.

Maiane Bakroeva
170. Isilel
Silvertip @168:

I find it completely believable that the extremely efficient purging of male channelers by the Red Ajah in late adolescence/early adulthood would have led to a drastic decline in the quantity and quality of channelers in that same 3000 years.

I don't. Not only did they only get the male sparkers (whom all cultures of that world purge in one way or another, BTW), who are a small minority of all channelers, but men spark between 18 and 30, so there was even a chance of them having descendants. Impact of this should have been insignificant re: numbers and strength of channelers born, except for maybe making the sparking trait rarer.

The initial huge die-off of channelers during the Breaking and subsequent lack of inter-channeler breeding should have logically been a much greater factor, IMHO, as well as AS and the Kin eschewing procreation.
Captain Hammer
171. Randalator
Freelancer @163

Again, what you describe there is exactely how evolution works. Evolution doesn't mean that a horse will suddenly turn into a camel if it only lives in the Sahara long enough.

There are always slight variations within the genome of a certain species. If such a variation provides a significant enough advantage over other variations (like for the darker bodied moths on soot stained surfaces), they will eventually become the predominant variation because they have better chances of survival. There's more dark bodied moths, so more offspring with the same genetic traits are produced, lather, rince, repeat. If this goes on long enough other variations might even become extinct.

In the moth example the darker moths had an edge over lighter moths but not enough to make the latter go extinct, just diminish its numbers. So when conditions changed back, giving the advantage to the lighter bodied moths again, of course they became predominant again.

Silvertip @168

Thanks for the pedantry-ing. Feel free to walltext me with interesting insights anytime...
David Jameyson
172. Aneid
165. subwoofer
I agree, if I think the football coach made a bad decision or the quarterback threw a bad ball I should be able to criticize. The criticism is not predicated on me believing I can do better, the criticism is only stating that I think “they” could have done a better job. I have heard or read the detractors of criticism use this faulty logic a lot. In essence stating unless you can do better or have walked in the persons shoes you are criticizing then do not criticize. In that case only 4 people are allowed to criticize the President.

It is kind of a slippery slope here … heh, Could I be a better Insectoid or Wetlandernw, not even close, so should I not comment on their comments, criticize their criticisms, hrmmm.

Speaking of Cad’s, I thought a Mat and Cad’s scene would be fun. As I stated from reread 10, I believe Cad’s is a bully and her bullying works because she has the will and strength in the One Power to back up her threats. It would be interesting for her to try and lift Mat or whip him with Air only to have it melt. Something akin to Nyn’s reaction is Salidar … the whole “oh sh**” moment as Mat is slowly stalking towards Cad’s with bad intentions in his eyes. Not that I want Mat to waste his time teaching her a lesson, but it would be satisfying to read a scene where Cad’s finds out that her mouth and actions can indeed write a check that her One Power prowess cannot cash, and not to the Dragon Reborn, but from a common dude, with uncommon ta’veren, and a Prince, okay Mat is not so common.
173. AndrewB
Aneid @172,

I am one of those posters who do not like Cads. I do not hate her; yet, I would not shed any tears if Cads died. That said, I think she is one of the few Aes Sedai who would not freeze when her weaves melt against Mat. She would instantly adapt tactics and become a psychological bully towards Mat.

Thanks for reading my musings.
David Jameyson
174. Aneid

Like Tam, she would probably give up the whole thing. You can only bully someone who will be bullied. Once Tam made it clear he was not intimidated and was not going to back down she let it go with the obligatory ~sniff~.
Tricia Irish
175. Tektonica

She didn't change tactics when her confusing intimidation tactics weren't working on Rand. (Which is the crux of my position that Cads is ineffective.)
176. sushisushi
Whoops, didn't mean to start a debate on evolution there. I realise that the Aiel aren't supposed to be native to the Waste, that's why it always sticks out as incredibly incongruous that they have exactly the opposite physical characteristics best for life in the desert.

Wetlander @154 Okay, that actually makes way more sense to me, if it wasn't actually RJ's stereotype, but a fan's reverse engineering. The redhead/blondes with blue eyes really is such a hoary old stereotype of Irishness that I was really surprised when I originally read what blindillusion quoted @134, particularly considering the amount of detailed research that goes into RJ's world-building. I would have been very surprised if he hadn't done the same level of research for such an important culture as the Aiel.

subwoofer @165 That was me, sorry, based on my recollection of the quote @134, when it was first reported. If I bring some biscuits can I come and hide in the bunker for a while, please?
177. EarthandIce
All, a side comment on the evolution/genetic thread. The genetic make-up of the Aiel is made up of mostly recessive. Light eyes, especially blue and green, are recessive traits while brown and black are dominant. That means both sets of genes inherited by the child have to have that gene.

If both parents have brown eyes and their child has blue, that means both parents have blue as a recessive trait, and the child got the blue gene from both. Now that child as a sibling that has brown eyes. There is a 25% chance that sibling has the blue gene, but as brown is dominant that child has brown eyes.

The same goes for light hair, the reds and blonds. From what I remember of Rand's visit to the Columns, all of the Aiel in the Age of Legends had light hair and eyes, so the founding population all had recessive traits.

Ya on the Eddings and Salvatore references. Really liked Silk. Some of Mat's attitudes are reminiscent of him, others no. But then Silk was brother to a King and had covert training as a child. Mat got his the hard way, ouch!

Funny, someone asked me to describe Jordan's writing one time. A combination of Eddings and Tom Clancy.
Matthew Smith
178. blocksmith
Jonathan Levy and (kind of) Subwoofer and others

Everyone is entitled to there opinion on the writing whether Jordan's or Sanderson's. You can argue til your blue in the face on whether one line and/or word was BWS's selection/authorship instead of Jordan's or vice versa. We will never now unless BWS and/or Harriet, Maria etc. let us now. So, personally, I think it is pointless to say it is obviously by one or the other when you don't know it. You come across as disparaging with little or no evidence of a mistake being made.

And as a counter-argument, I think it is likely that Maria and Harriet, et al., are likely just as much as, if not MORE, on there game when editing BWS than when they edited for RJ.


And to think I thought I knew everything there was to know about peppered moths....
Tom Feltes
179. tomf
[quote][i]If both parents have brown eyes and their child has blue, that means both parents have blue as a recessive trait, and the child got the blue gene from both. Now that child as a sibling that has brown eyes. There is a 25% chance that sibling has the blue gene, but as brown is dominant that child has brown eyes.[/i]
Not to be a pedant (ok, I am - so what?), but doesn't that sibling with brown eyes have a 66.67% chance of having the blue gene, not 25%? if I remember my HS biology correctly:

| B | b |
B | BB | Bb |
b | Bb | bb |
where B = Brown (dominant) and b = Blue (recessive).
(sorry, the table comes out poorly - why doesn't support the "code" tag?)

In this scenario, kids get four possible outcomes: BB (Brown), Bb (Brown), Bb (Brown), bb (Blue).
Therefore, blue-eyed kid has bb (and a 100% chance of having the blue gene, obviously), while brown-eyed sibling has either BB, Bb, or Bb, so a 2 in 3 chance of having the blue gene, aka 66.67%.
Brian Vrolyk
180. vyskol
@144. Jonathan Levy

Hmm. No... Not so obvious. Nor is it unintentional or a mistake in my opinion. "Bloody ashes" seems like a natural progression or derivative of "Blood and bloody ashes" which, while I can't quote a book or number, am pretty sure has appeared prior to TGS.

That's my opinion anyway; you're certainly welcome to your own, but try not to present it as haughty fact.
David Jameyson
181. Aneid
I do not think I have ever seen Jonathan as haughty
Maybe a little shoddy while drinking a latte’ but never haughty!!
Noneo Yourbusiness
182. Longtimefan
Not to be pendantic, romantic or fanatic but...

High School Biology, Darwin and Scientific Priciples aside Fantasy Biology has it's own strange charms.

One of which is, "One of the women must be a red head."

Entire subcultures have been spun from nothing to whole cloth based on the natural selection of the Fantasy requirement that for the dramatic, romantic and exotic element of feminine beauty one of the women must be a red head.

This does lead to a whole sub set of red haired men and women who may or may not be included in the story.

I believe the Fantasific Equasion runs thusly

Hero multiplied by Romance to the second power of Authoritaive Fiat equals blond unless the power of Unknown Exotic is under the comonality quotient of 4 books in genre read. Divide Romace accordingly to discover the Power of hair color in both occurance and continuation.

Often writers have poor math skills and default to Red Hair because of a misplaced decimal or an overly ambiguous variable.

Now if a Hero is traveling with a compainon rating of 3 at 10 pages per chapter and the Plot is traveling at a convolution rating of 6 threads per book how long until the Hero and the Villan finally meet at the climax?

Please remember that the compainon rating is not a constant must be divided into the convolution rating for every 40 pages read but then multiplied for every book finished.
James Jones
183. jamesedjones
182 Longtimefan
Now if a Hero is traveling with a compainon rating of 3 at 10 pages per chapter and the Plot is traveling at a convolution rating of 6 threads per book how long until the Hero and the Villan finally meet at the climax?
Folk Hero or Anti-Hero?
Roger Powell
184. forkroot
You need to add another conditional term into your equation which quintuples the probability of a redhead when L.E. Modesitt is the author.
Noneo Yourbusiness
186. Longtimefan
@ Jamesdjones 183

Well I believe that Anti-Heroes are calculated after the decimal point where Folk and Traditional Heroes are before the decimal point. Transitional or Abiguous figures who may be assigned the Hero place would have to be calculated against factors limited to the plot within 3 pages of the current event in the story.

@ forkroot, I believe that is called the Modesitt inversion.

Valentin M
187. ValMar
Bloody hell guys! You're taking the piss, what is it with all the maths... Stop it! Now! We are not amused ;)

If we are still talking about unusual terms introduced by BRS, how about all the "wilting" people started doing? Anyone else noticed it? I didn't enjoy it much, felt too strong a word to be used that often. Could just be my perception and English.
Scientist, Father
188. Silvertip
@170 Isilel: Good point! Absolutely, the celibacy of AS/kin is a big deal for this situation also. Which is the bigger contributor would probably depend on some of the details of both population structure and the genetics of the traits, neither of which we know ... but a cultural norm of, say, "OK, all you blue eyed people, join a monastery and don't have sex" would sure drop out the blue eyes in a hurry.

@171 Randalator: Anytime! Just punch up pedants'r' And thanks for the discussion.

Damn, better check if that's a real site ...

189. boquaz

Finally someone making some sense!

All those non-linear variables. No wonder WOT is so complicated.

I always found it strange that while there were distinctive genetic traits for different regions in WOT, there were very few different linguistic traits. Languages evolve much, much faster than biology. 3000 years is nothing genetically, but a long, long time for languages.
Sean McLaughlin
190. sean1116
Ok, first post for this. Due to an interest in linguistics, I wanted to respond to boquaz @189 on language change. Admittedly, I am not anywhere near an expert but this is how I understand it.
One of the largest reasons for a major change in a language over time would be a sudden influx of a different language i.e. an invasion or massive immigration. However, in Randland there would be no different language to enter the area talked about. Everything is based off of one language, the old tongue, throughout the entire world that we have seen. Therefore, there is nothing to spur massive changes to the language. So, to use a European example, the only language the existed would have been Latin, with no Slavic, Germanic or Arabic influences. That would mean that no matter how far the languages would drift, they would probably be no more different than say Castilian Spanish and Portuguese. In the real world the best example would probably be Japan however. Japanese has changed little over the past millennium due to Japan being an island nation with limited contact with the rest of the world. And remember, Artur Hawkwing ‘s empire was only a thousand years ago, and he would have tried to make everyone speak one language. That also limits the amount of change that would have happened. There has been enough change so that each nation has its own way of speak, accent and some slight differences in words used, like how the Illianers use the phrase “do be” before every verb. There has been some shift in the languages, but not that much due to the relative linguistic isolation in the world.
John Massey
191. subwoofer
Now if a Hero is traveling with a compainon rating of 3 at 10 pages per chapter and the Plot is traveling at a convolution rating of 6 threads per book how long until the Hero and the Villan finally meet at the climax?

Erm... first I believe we need to establish the kind of climax-(go there? Heck, I live there), and are they at this "climax" together? If so are they really Hero and Villain? Can't they just be friends? Can't we all just get along? Maybe Moridin goes all-in at the Last Hand, Rand calls and the river shows a pair of herons, which gives Rand 4 of a kind...

John Massey
192. subwoofer

Celibacy- well now, the Greens knock boots as well as anyone, and do AS really abstain? Another thing, this "slowing" does it extend the life of an AS er... birth cycle, amount of years of... aw, shucks, what I am trying to say is that do AS go through menopause? Is the amount of years they can have children extended with the slowing? Is there an upside in the birth-thingy process for AS?

Just putting it out there...

Scientist, Father
193. Silvertip

True: I guess I meant "childlessness" rather than "celibacy," since the only reference we've heard to a pregnant AS was the yellow who offered to bear Damer Flinn's child. And that's a mindbending point about the slowing -- I guess if, say, Cadsuane had achieved the shawl and immediately said "you know, I'm going to have a kid every two years until I can't any more," well, the mind reels.

John Massey
194. subwoofer

The mental image!- where's that brain bleach? What about Mr. Kannish?

Cad+ ? Is there Compulsion involved? Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Edit- someone else make a grab for 2-hunny- I'm going to therapy.

Captain Hammer
196. Randalator
Silvertip @193

Yikes! Seriously, if I were her vagina in that situation I'd be like "WTF? Screw this, I'm outta here! *finger* *door closing* *screeching tires*"...

Mind reels indeed...
Scientist, Father
197. Silvertip
Seems I hit a nerve! Sorry about that, Sub, but LOL. ... actually, the mental image I got was flocks of little kids running around with their hair tied up in nets, decorations dangling, impolitely telling each other to be polite.

@135 JennB, I just realized I duplicated some points you had already made, and made well, so sorry for not duly noting. But I'm curious ... what did you pick up about the Amayar? I don't remember anything striking me about them as a people in that context. (I think they even washed all of their domestic objects in the proper appliances.)

I'm enough of a nerd that I'm more likely to shoot for a prime number than a round 200. Somebody else grab it.

Thomas Keith
198. insectoid
Need... brain bleach... ::goes hunting for GameBoy::

Ahh, Final Fantasy. ;)

Sandy Brewer
199. ShaggyBella
GameBoy = Pinball of the Dead for the best mind bleaching.
Thomas Keith
200. insectoid

ShaggyBella @199: Mmm, don't have that one. But thanks for the recommendation! ;)


Maiane Bakroeva
201. Isilel
Silvertip @188:

It now occurs to me that female sparkers are prevented from procreation far more efficiently than male ones, Red Ajah here or there:

They spark between 12 and 21 - and Randlandians don't marry very young - late teens to mid-twenties seem to be the norm. Vast majority of undiscovered female sparkers belonging to the unlucky 3/4 will die before marrying.
If discovered by the WT, they become AS/Kin.
But even if they aren't discovered and belong to the lucky 1/4 who survive, they still feel that they are different and seek out solitary occupations like Wisdoms, etc.

Men who spark between 18 and 30, OTOH, have a good chance of already having some offspring before it happens.

BTW, I often wondered how these women deal with slowing. Do they move every 20 years or so to prevent people from noticing? What a terribly lonely existence they must lead!
Or that red-haired novice who ran away with a guard when Min was at the WT - how would they deal with the fact that she isn't going to age normally? That alone should have lead to eventual discovery back when the Tower had the leisure to concentrate on hunting runaways...
Barry T
202. blindillusion
Seems I hit a nerve! Sorry about that, Sub, but LOL. ... actually, the mental image I got was flocks of little kids running around with their hair tied up in nets, decorations dangling, impolitely telling each other to be polite.

Now that's rich my friend. Cudos for making this Tuesday morning shine a little brighter.



*chuckle* *cough* Ok. Better now.

Nothing serious to add. Though the new Castlevania game comes out in October. Too long to wait for some brain bleach? Neh.
Captain Hammer
203. Randalator
Isilel @201

As far as I know, the intensity of the Slowing depends on the actual strength of the channeler (which isn't the same as their potential) and use of the Power. When a girl sparks she starts quite low on the strength scale and with continued use of the Power her strength increases. So if you are an undiscovered sparker with only sporadic involuntary channeling you will slow to some degree (depending on your initial strength) but not enough to really raise suspicions.

Morgase as the probably weakest possible channeler (with at least some years of practice during her time as a Novice) has slowed enough to look about ten years younger than she really is. Someone with a higher "entry strength" and more numerous involuntary uses like Nynaeve would slow more, obviously. Already in EotW she's 26 but looks more like she's 20 (young enough for Moiraine to initially call her "girl", at least). I guess, if she had stayed in Emond's Field she would have slowed to a point where she might have looked maybe 15-20 years younger and lived a good deal beyond 100. That would certainly raise a few eyebrows, but more in a "Holy smokes, I'd like to have her genes" kind of way. But that would probably be the best you could get.

Slowing really kicks in with growing strength and prolonged use of the Power, so it only really becomes an issue when you start channeling voluntarily and regularly.

For the runaway Novice with some moderate channeling that would most likely mean a remarkable life expectancy (~120 or so) and phenomenal skin during most of her life. So still a relatively normal life. But in the case of the Kin you're right. As practicing channelers they will have to relocate every two decades or so. No families, no ties other than members of the Kin. So yeah, desirable this is not...

Yay, nothing like a wall-o-text to start your day.
John Massey
204. subwoofer
@Silvertip- s'ok, I told my therapist others would be coming and she offered me a group discount. Oh the humanity! Wasn't that kinda stuff in the Bible under plagues? One of the signs of the end of the world? Cranky Pants and ... .... begat should never be in the same sentence. Nice image of the little nippers tho'- telling each other how to behave:)

Jonathan Levy
205. JonathanLevy
Tsk Tsk.

My tone seems to have rubbed some people the wrong way. Sorry about that. Perhaps I can explain the direction I'm coming from - textual criticism and analysis.

Different authors have different styles, different vocabularies, different conceptions of characters. When you have a work of dubious authorship, an analysis of these textual characteristics can reveal whether the whole work was written by one author, or if there are two or more distinct authors.

A pair of phrases like "blood and ashes" and "bloody ashes" are an excellent point of analysis. That they are very similar, sound almost the same, and that the second is a natural abbreviation of the first does not invalidate them. In fact, it is precisely this similarity which makes them so good! Only because they are so interchangeable, if different parts of the text use them differently, we can distinguish different authors.

A real-world application of this technique can be seen in the old testament, where four different authors can be identified in the text of Genesis alone. The name used to identify God is the primary tool used, and is most obvious in the story of the Flood. Almost every element in the story of the Flood is repeated twice, once with the name "Elohim", and once with "YHWH" (the tetragrammon). Once you map out different sections of text, you find other pairs of phrases which have the same meaning, but each author is consistent in using the same one. Mr. Elohim says several times that the Flood killed "All Flesh", but Mr. YHWH always says "everything died from Men to Beasts". Mr. YHWH never says "All Flesh". Mr. Elohim never says "From Men to Beasts".

The text of the biblical Flood also has other elements which prove the different authorship to a high degree of certainty; e.g. Mr. Elohim has Noah bring 2 of each animal, whereas Mr. YHWH has Noah bring 2 of each unclean animal, and 7 of each clean animal. Conveniently, Mr YHWH has Noah perform a sacrifice after the flood, an element which is missing in Mr. Elohim's text - because that would have meant the extinction of a species. Maybe it was the unicorn.

(The book of Genesis contains many other pairs of phrases which can be used similarly. For example, when Jacob flees from Esau, texts which use Elohim have him run to "Padan Aram" (no relation to Fain), but YHWH texts send him to "Haran").

It is this same analysis which I am performing here. The first 11 books always use "Blood and Ashes", over dozens of instances. Book 12 always uses "Bloody Ashes", over 6-8 instances (an estimate - I didn't count). The first 11 books never use "Bloody Ashes". Statistically speaking, the CHI-Square score of this distribution is very unlikely for random variable with the same P & Q. Hence it is a likely inference that this is a result of a different author.

vyskol@180 - I don't remember seeing any "Bloody Ashes" before TGS. If you can find a reference, it will weaken my argument, because it reduces the unlikelihood implied by the CHI-square test. But just one instance won't reduce it by far. If you find 10, I will revise my opinion. But it has to be precisely "Bloody Ashes", not "Blood and Bloody Ashes".

This statistical analysis is how I came to my opinion. It was not on a whim, or because I "would have done things differently", therefore it must be Sanderson's fault.

Well, I started this post hoping that explaining my reasoning would make me sound less haughty, but I'm afraid it will have the opposite effect. C'est la vie.
Tricia Irish
206. Tektonica

Between "Brain Bleach" and your link @204, you've really started my day off right!

You are the best antidote to RL I know! Thanks.
207. alreadymadwithslowing
Randalator @203
Interesting take on slowing, though you may have a point. Even with the regular use expected of an initiate of the White Tower, slowing doesn't set in for at least a few years.
F Shelley
208. FSS
@207 - I think the slowing starts immediately when using the One Power. Agelessness doesn't kick in for years after swearing on the Oath Rod.

Can't remember which book it was, but when Nynaeve finds out Aes Sedai slow, she's upset because that explains why everyone always thinks she's younger than she really is. She'd been slowing since she started Healing and Listening to the Wind...
209. G.O.B.
Uh, is is possible that one of the side effects of the Binders is sterilization?

I mean, they were designed to prevent people like Semirhage from indulging in their predilections.

Wouldn't you want to keep a stone cold sadist like her from reproducing?

We know that stilled/burnt out women like Setalle can have kids, and we know that channelers like LTT and Ilyena can have tons of kids.

But I don't remember ever hearing that AS have kids - *married* yet, but not have kids.
210. alreadymadwiththewind
FSS @208
You're right about the agelessness. But Listening to the Wind doesn't require channeling, although the ability itself requires a channeler.
Tess Laird
211. thewindrose
210 - alreadymadwiththewind - What did I do;)

I wonder how much fun Leigh had with recapping the next chapter - Pink Ribbons- hope to find out soon

Captain Hammer
212. Randalator
FSS @208

Actually the slowing starts somewhere between 20 and 25 otherwise sparkers would look ~13-16 years old when they're already 20.

"We slow, Nynaeve. Somewhere between twenty and twenty-five, we begin aging more slowly. How much depends on how strong you are, but when doesn't"
(ACoS, ch. 24)

That was confirmed by RJ, even adding that for men slowing doesn't start until they're at least 25 but usually closer to 30...
Hugh Arai
213. HArai
Jonathan Levy@205: Actually in my personal opinion, your last post sounded considerably less haughty than your previous posts with highlights like

I can't figure out how that slipped past the editor. One instance, I can understand. But over and over again? It bespeaks a degree of sloppiness that boggles the mind. The rest of the book isn't so badly edited, so how did this happen?

Statistical analysis pointing to a change in voice isn't terribly haughty. I found it much more convincing than your BWS life experience comments. Your assumption that the change in voice is an authorial/editorial failure just because it didn't suit you personally strikes me as fairly haughty however.
214. sleepinghour
I suspect the reason Talaan looks so young (she's 19, but Nynaeve thought she wasn't 15 yet) is that she started to channel at an early age and had great strength. We don't know how early the Sea Folk start to train their apprentices, but Talaan's female relatives can all channel, so she was probably tested as early as possible. And the SF seems like the kind of people who'd start training as soon as possible given how valuable Windfinders are.

Verin mentions she found a 12-year-old Two Rivers girl with the spark, so channeling ability can be detected quite early it seems. But the Tower doesn't accept any novices below 15 unless they've started to channel already.

It's possible that Nynaeve would have started to slow even earlier than 20 if she hadn't been blocked for years and only channeled occasionally. I wonder how long she would have lived if she had remained in the Two Rivers.

Interestingly, Tuon also looks very young.
Jennifer B
216. JennB
Well I tried my first post with an imbedded link and it got marked as spam. :-( So here it is without the link imbedded.

The Amayar are the third group that RJ created that are descendants of the Dai'Shain Aiel. They are physically similar to the Aiel with light complexions, hair, and eyes. They follow the Water Way, which is similar to the Way of the Leaf and also believe that life is an illusion and death releases you from illusion, which is similar to the Aiel belief that life is a dream we all must wake from.

The similarities are obvious except for one thing. The Aiel are all very tall, while the Amayar are very short.

Most people think this size difference means the Aiel and Amayar could not possibly be related despite all the similarities, but if you take into account island effect evolution you have an explanation for the size difference.

Here is an article on island effect.
Alice Arneson
217. Wetlandernw
For those who aren't familiar with the way it works, the new post is up. Look in the "Latest Posts" list for Winter's Heart Part 12, or in the "Latest Comments" for someone commenting on it.
Maiane Bakroeva
218. Isilel
Randalator @203:

I don't believe that undiscovered wilders channel as rarely as you seem to think - channeling is addictive, after all. So, even if blocked they'd do it with increasing frequency, subconsciously putting themselves into situations which would allow them to channel and eventually reach their full potential. And not all of them are blocked either.

And a runaway novice? How on earth could she channel _less_? That was just an AS explanation for why only themselves got ageless faces - that wilders/WT rejects didn't channel enough to get there. But of course, that was completely wrong.

G.O.B. @209:

There are mentions of AS having children: Queens of Manetheren were all AS, for instance and Faile mentioned another who married some king and bore him 7 kids.
219. perrin's lost axe
The look of agelessness isn't caused by channeling, it is a side effect of the oath rod. Wilders never take the oaths, so...
220. Commenter
Randalator @171

I dont know if anyone answered you. It seems to me that you and Freelancer are using the word evolution in two different ways. You are referring to Evolution as the process of Natural Selection in an overall sense of the word while Freelancer uses it to describe the process of macro evolution which is theoreticized to be able to create new characteristics.

If the process would have gone far enough regarding the moths to completely remove the white gene from the species gene pool it would not have been an example of a new feature being created but just one of the gene pool becoming poorer.

Natural selection as we can observe it today and the more controlled selection that has been done to for example dogs are processes where nature or mankind is filtering certain characteristics to make them stronger.

The process that is supposed to bring forth new characteristics and in the long run changing a bacteria into a human being involves genetic mutations where genes are changed and in the long run new chromosomes, new genes and other things evolve. This is of course highly theorethical and we have not been able to observe it. The problem is that mutations are usually not "good". The chances for enough good mutations to create some of the more complex structures are in fact so low that it is unlikely that this process known as macro evolution did ever occur.

Back on topic. I think freelancer refers to evolution as the process of macro evolution which if it is a sound theory would anyways not have any effect over just 3000 years and further more would not be needed as an explanation to the changes in the human genome pool required for the Aiel to adapt to the desert climate if such a change would have occurred.

In short I would like to say that the moth is an example of one of the evolutionary principles which is the principle of natural selection. Its result however is hardly evolutionary in the macro sense since no new characteristics are created.

Sorry for my bad english
Jonathan Levy
221. JonathanLevy

In my original post, I was replying to someone who also found the statistical differences to be convincing, and therefore saw no need to rehash what I supposed to be a mutually agreed-upon argument.

In any case, if the statistical argument is taken as convincing, it opens the doors to some very interesting questions.

Personally, I think the key is that if you don't know ahead of time what you're supposed to be hearing, "blood and ashes" and "bloody ashes" are very hard to tell apart when you hear them spoken quickly. It's like "a narrow flight away" and "an arrow's flight away" (an example from an encyclopedia brown mystery :). If TGS is 100% consistent in using 'bloody ashes' (which I believe it is, but may well be mistaken), then I would speculate the root cause is a misheard or misremembered phrase.

In any case, when I get ToM, I'll have a pen and paper on hand to count the instances ;)
Randall Trussell
223. Randalthor1966
As a former United States Marine Corps artilleryman, I understood the bellfounder reference instantly - and practically yelled at Matt (in the book) what it was for. *Sheesh* People can be crazy.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment