Oct 22 2010 1:52pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Winter’s Heart, Part 22

Where have all the good men gone, and where are all the gods? The Wheel of Time Re-read knows!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 33 of Winter’s Heart, in which we count coup (or lack thereof), discuss improbable housing situations, and Hold Out For A Hero.

I originally meant to cover Chapter 34 in this post as well, and have the Cleansing all by itself in the final WH post, but I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff recently, not least a very unfun bout of bronchitis, so even though that will make Part 23 EPICALLY LONG, I think we’re going to push the last two chapters together for next week. I feel certain that you will find some way to cope with this state of affairs.

“Distinctions”, the Prologue for Towers of Midnight, the upcoming newest release in the series, is now available for download, and a preview of Chapter 1, “Apples First”, is available here. The audio version of Chapter 2, “Questions of Leadership” is here, and a special preview of Chapter 8, “The Seven Striped Lass”, can be found here. If you would like to read my completely spoiler-free advance review of Towers of Midnight, you can find it here.

Please refrain from posting spoilers for the preview material currently available in the posts for the Re-read, in order to protect those who have not yet read them, or do not intend to before the release of the entire book. Spoiler discussion is going on here and here, in special posts just for discussion of preview material; please keep all spoilers there. Thanks.

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to all of the above plus links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time 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 that we’ve determined that we’ve gotta be strong, and fast, and fresh from the fight (and wielding neon whips for some reason, I don’t even know), click on for the post!

Chapter 33: Blue Carp Street

What Happens
In their room at the inn, Min tells Rand that “a half-blind goat in Seleisin” has more sense than to walk into such an obvious trap. Rand, who is checking the cuts on his sword’s peace bond, replies absently that a trap isn’t a trap if you know it’s there. Min hurls a knife past his head again, and is annoyed that this doesn’t even startle him. Rand assures her that he won’t spring the trap unless he’s sure he won’t be caught, and in frustration Min grabs the flogging strap (which the innkeeper thoughtfully keeps one of in every room) and threatens him with it. Which is of course when Lan, Nynaeve and Alivia enter, Nynaeve wearing the Well and one other bracelet. Embarrassed, Min kicks the strap under the bed, and tells Nynaeve she doesn’t understand why she’s letting Lan do this; Nynaeve replies that sometimes a sister must trust her Warder’s judgment, but her worry is obvious to Min. Lan is impatient to get on with it.

[Rand’s] face was as hard as Lan’s, his blue-gray eyes almost as cold, but in her head that frozen stone blazed with veins of fiery gold. She wanted to tangle her hands in the black-dyed hair that almost brushed his shoulders and kiss him no matter how many people were watching. Instead, she folded her arms across her chest and lifted her chin, making her disapproval clear. She did not intend for him to die here, either, and she was not about to let him start thinking she would give in just because he was stubborn.

He did not try to take her in his arms. Nodding as if he actually understood, he picked up his gloves from the small table by the door. “I’ll be back as soon as I can, Min. Then we’ll go to Cadsuane.” Those golden veins continued to glow even after he left the room, followed by Lan.

Nynaeve promises to watch over the men and runs out, admonishing Alivia to look after Min and not let her do anything foolish. Min, however, only waits a few minutes before convincing Alivia that they should follow them.

On Blue Carp Street, Rand learns from a meat pie vendor that Zeram the bootmaker rents out his top floor to boarders, but his wife wouldn’t pay for a separate door to be cut for it, which means the renters are locked in at night. Rand observes, though, that it should be easy for the occupants to reach the ground from the third floor by dropping to the roof of the seamstress’ building next door and from there to the street. Then he sees Gedwyn walking with another man who must be Torval (though Rand can’t see his face) to Zeram’s. He watches them go in and then goes to find Nynaeve and Lan a few streets away. He tells them he found their quarry, and asks Nynaeve if she can lift him and Lan to the rooftop from the alley behind the building; Nynaeve confirms that she can, but warns there won’t be enough left in the Well to get them back down again. Rand tells her that will do, but Nynaeve argues against the idea, saying she thought she would be going in with them. Rand asks her what she thought she would do, kill them herself? This silences Nynaeve as they head to the alley.

“You are very quiet,” Lan said, following close behind.

She took three more quick steps before replying, without slowing or looking back. “I didn’t think, before,” she said quietly. “I was thinking of it as an adventure, confronting Darkfriends, renegade Asha’man, but you are going up there to execute them. You’ll kill them before they know you’re there if you can, won’t you?”

Rand glanced over his shoulder at Lan, but the older man only shook his head, as confused as he was. Of course they would kill them without warning if they could. This was not a duel; it was the execution she had named it. At least, Rand hoped very much it would be.

Nynaeve sighs and entreats them to kill them in their sleep if possible, and lifts them up to the roof. Lan and Rand find the trapdoor to the attic, and from there the trapdoor to the top floor of Zeram’s. They drop in, swords at the ready, only to find Gedwyn and Torval already dead, faces black and swollen. Rand tells Lan that Fain is here, and must have sent the letter; the wounds in his side begin throbbing, and he indicates to Lan that they must kill Fain. They dart into the next room, where Fain attacks, Rand barely avoiding the dagger.

Every movement was an effort of will. The wounds in his side no longer throbbed; they clawed at him, molten iron and the very soul of ice warring to rip him open. Lews Therin howled. It was all Rand could do to think, with the agony.

“I told you he’s mine!” the bony man screamed, dancing away from Rand’s cut. With his face contorted in fury, his big nose and ears that stuck out made him seem something contrived to frighten children, but his eyes held murder.

Fain screams to “kill the ugly one,” and Toram Riatin appears and attacks Lan; Rand ignores their duel to concentrate on Fain. After failing to get past Rand’s guard, Fain snarls and runs out of the room, Rand following cautiously. Fain is waiting for him at the head of the stairs, talking about making sure Rand knows who is killing him as if Rand isn’t even there. Then Gedwyn and Torval walk up the stairs, arguing, and Rand attacks, wounding Fain. The illusion of the two dead men vanishes, and Fain shrieks and flees down the stairs. Lan stops Rand from following him.

“The street out front is filling up with Guards, sheepherder.” A dark wetness stained the left side of Lan’s coat, but his sword was sheathed, proof of who had danced that dance the better. “Time we were on the roof, if we’re going.”

Reluctantly, Rand acquiesces, and they head back to the roof and climb to the peak. Lan’s boot slips, and Rand turns and grabs him, the other man’s weight pulling them both down to the edge of the roof and past, until Lan is dangling into space, Rand above him holding on.

“Let go,” Lan said quietly. He looked up at Rand, his eyes cold and hard, no expression on his face. “Let go.”

“When the sun turns green,” Rand told him. If he could just pull the other man up a little, enough to catch the eave…

Whatever his fingers had caught broke with a sharp snap, and the alley rushed up to meet them.

When Tor’s lovely and talented Irene Gallo was soliciting opinions a few months ago on what bit from Winter’s Heart should grace the cover of the ebook edition, as I recall the only scene that got as many votes as the Cleansing (which eventually won out) was the one at the end of this chapter, with Rand refusing to sacrifice Lan for his own safety. I’m glad that the Cleansing got the cover, personally, because that was just too central to the book (not to mention the entire damn series) to be ignored, but I totally get why so many people clamored for this scene, because it is pretty much heroism wrapped up in two lines of dialogue, and it is Made of Awesome. Sigh.

Not to mention their whole infiltration bit before that, which is, in the words of Generation Kill, pretty fucking ninja. Actually, what Lan and Rand are doing there is pretty much exactly what Recon Marines like those in GK (which you should totally Netflix if you haven’t seen it already) are trained to do. Which is, yeah, still awesome.

Also, I had to chuckle at how Lan’s defeat of blademaster Toram is such a given that the actual fight didn’t even get a line. Heh. Two badasses badassing together is pretty much what’s going on here.

Like, I love how, when first observing Zeram’s place, Rand thinks jumping from rooftop to rooftop to get out of a place is (a) totally easy, and (b) something normal people would have no problem doing on a regular basis. Not ALL of us are full-time superheroes, dude. Of course, then again I have trouble believing “normal” people would consent to rent an apartment they couldn’t get out of (or into) at night, because that is just cuckoo bananas as far as I am concerned, so maybe he has a point in this case.

(Seriously, I don’t think even landlords in New York City would try to pull that shit. Well, not in most places in New York. Er. Maybe. Yeah, real estate in New York is kind of also cuckoo bananas, so.)

Anyway. I’m a bit torn about Nynaeve’s reaction to realizing that Rand and Lan intend to kill Gedwyn and Torval with Extreme Killination, because on the one hand, okay, yes, cold-blooded executions are probably not what you want to associate with your husband and your former babysittee, but on the other hand, has she met these two lately? Full of warm fuzzies they are not, girlfriend! And you know, we ARE in an epic duel of Good and Evil here; does she honestly expect there won’t be any killing involved?

…Except now I’m trying to think if Nynaeve has ever actually killed a human being up to this point in the series, and do you know, I think she hasn’t! Even with her chasing the Black Ajah all over hell and gone in the earlier books, she never actually killed any of them. She tried to kill Rahvin in TFOH, and also I think Aginor in TEOTW (though it’s arguable if Aginor counted as a human being at that point, but anyway), but she didn’t actually succeed in either instance—Rand had to finish the job both times. Huh.

…Have any of the Supergirls killed people up to this point? Not including Aviendha and Birgitte, of course, who definitely have. Hmm. Well, Min certainly hasn’t. Elayne technically killed a bunch of people in TPOD, when her unraveling gateway blew up the Kin’s farm and most of the Seanchan troops on it, but I don’t really think that should count, seeing as it was a complete accident. And while Egwene (by inference) killed a fair number of raken riders in TGS, that hasn’t happened yet; she may have killed some Seanchan in TGH, when she forgot they were supposed to be skulking in Falme and blew up a street or two, but I don’t think we ever get confirmation on that one way or the other, and I’m pretty she only injured them at worst. Oh, but wait, she had to have killed at least a few Shaido at Cairhien in TFOH while helping Rand from the tower, even if it was at a remove. So, Egwene, then, and Aviendha and Birgitte, but otherwise, no.

That’s… sort of irritating, in a way. Not to be all Yay for killing! or anything, but at risk of repeating myself, we ARE having an apocalypse here; I really think protecting the womenfolk (unintentionally or not) from crossing that particular moral boundary is a tad absurd, you know?

…Eh, whatever. I may be overreacting. But I just find it a little boggling that any of our WOT Hero Starter Kit™ has managed to make it through nine books of apocalyptical apocalypticness without killing a single person. And that all of those happen to be female is, well, a little further eyebrow-raising, is all I’m saying. The only one I’ll give a pass on, really, is Min, because all her knife-playing notwithstanding, for whatever reason I agree that she shouldn’t be killing anything. Some people just aren’t the killing kind, even in an end-of-the-world type scenario.

(And won’t my face be red if I get Jossed on that one...)

And speaking of Min, and also of cuckoo bananas, I am compelled to mention the inn’s Complimentary In-Room Flagellation Device, which… Um.

…Yeah. In lieu of all the things I could say here, please enjoy instead this moment of silent disbelief.







Thank you. Moving on!

Back to the killination, of course the irony then becomes that Rand doesn’t get to kill anyone, and then gets captured, because of goddamn Fain, again. I swear, I will sing a freakin’ Hosanna—out loud, even—when Fain finally bites it, that is how ready I am for him to die. Sheesh.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that when WH originally came out, the thing with Gedwyn and Torval walking up the stairs while dead created a HUGE amount of confusion in the fandom. Probably because it made not one iota of sense based on the information we had at that point about WOT cosmology, and the result was that a lot of people (including myself) assumed that Fain had created the illusion himself for some unfathomable reason. Of course, that didn’t make any sense either, considering the illusion is what distracted Fain enough for Rand to wound him (at least, this is what I infer from the text, which is a little unclear), but it was the best explanation anyone could think of at the time.

Later, of course, we find out that Dead Men (and Women) Walking is to become a fairly common occurrence, but at the time I don’t think it occurred to pretty much anyone to think that Gedwyn and Torval were just plain old ghosts. This is a point we will be coming back to later.

Much, much later, methinks! Here’s hoping you have a lovely weekend which does not involve either falling off rooftops, or inexplicably kneeling in the dirt singing about white knights while cowboys circle you menacingly and your house burns down, because what the hell, Bonnie Tyler, really. I Do Not Think That Video Means What You Think It Means, girlfriend. And, yeah. Bye!

Matias Miguez
1. meiyas
Nice post, to make the wait for november the 2nd a little lighter
Tina A
2. Tinaa
"When the sun turns green..."

~catch in voice~ Love this bit...
Daniel Smith
3. Smittyphi
Yay for new post
Yay for EPIC upcoming long post fot the end of Winter's Heart

The fact that Lan took Riatin out in the time it took Rand to follow, Fain, wound him and Fain to escape is just awesome. Hasn't Lan killed a 2 blademasters? Could be wrong on that point.

The last scene with "When the sun turns green," made me hope that Rand would snap out of it foolishness that he dives much deeper into the next books but that sort of feeling comes from Lan being there from the beginning with Moiraine. I think it is up to some of the original characters from EotW to help keep Rand sane as they are his link to sanity.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Again, Yay, new post!
Brandon Daggerhart
4. TankSpill
First of all:

Lan and Rand scene at the end is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. Hands down. I don't think I should be too embarrassed to admit that I've had dreams of being a Hero in the fashion that these two are in this scene.

Secondly, huh, ghosts? I know they're showing up in Crossroads, Knife, etcetera, but I thought it had been answered by Robert Jordan that Fain actually does have the ability to create illusions, which then means that weren't those "illusions" likely created by him? Did I miss something?

Man, I love that scene between Lan and Rand...
5. AndrewB
Leigh said: "Later, of course, we find out that Dead Men (and Women) Walking is to become a fairly common occurrence, but at the time I don’t think it occurred to pretty much anyone to think that Gedwyn and Torval were just plain old ghosts."

Huh. I never put two and two together. Up until read the above paragraph, I always thought that Fain created the illusion hoping to distract Rand. However, since Rand saw the two dead bodies a few minutes earlier, he knew that the two men were Fain's illuson. Rand figured that Fain would be near the two figures. Rand, therefore blindly struck with his sword and injuring Fain.

I would be curious to see which view is now in the majority: Our esteemed leader's or mine. (Note, Leigh's view is probably the correct interpretation. It is a simplier one at least.)

Thanks for reading my musings.
Rajesh Vaidya
6. Buddhacat
Nynaeve did kill a bunch of Seanchan patrol people back in TGH when Egwene was captured. Balefired the Myrddraal, but that probably doesn't count.
Rich Bennett
7. Neuralnet
ghosts.. of course. I havent read this book in LONG time so I never picked up on that.. thanks

LOL, knew you would love the in-room spanking device
Andrew Belmont
8. rosetintdworld
How great to get a post! It makes the *twitching* for TOM so much more bearable...and on a related note, I think this may have accidentally filled in one of the blanks for Leigh's non spoiler review. Not sure on that, but I think I can guess the words that come before "nuclear strike" with much more certainty now...

Re: women and killing. I had noticed this before, but it was not something I tended to get too hung up on. For one thing, Nynaeve outclasses many of the heroes in terms of getting her fair share of badass one on one duels, and the fact that none of the antagonists wind up dead at the end of those duels has often resulted in fates worse than death for them. (I'm thinking specifically of Moghedien here, who may now wish she had died in Book 4.)

(Also, I wouldn't be surprised if Nynaeve killed a few people at Semirhage's Farmhouse Ambush. The scene is written very hectically and from Rand's perspective, but some of the Seanchan wind up dead, and Nynaeve and Cadsuane were in the best position to have done it.)

Besides, if Nynaeve doesn't kill Moghedien and by the end of the series, I will be very shocked. Re: Rahvin, she did melt his face off. I mean, Rand only needed to strike the blow in order to prevent Rahvin from killing Nynaeve before expiring himself, I think.

Egwene: executes (I don't want to start a debate on how this word connotes different things than killing, so please let's not--I just mean that she does do her part to rid the world of Evil People) hundreds in TGS, in addition to blasting numerous Seanchan. She kills Shaido in FOH, and maybe additional Seanchan in TGS, as you point out.

She and Elayne have also been set up as more politically heroic protagonists, if that makes any sense. Their battles involve parliamentary bodies and negotiations, and I don't think that's any less badass (see Egwene's plot thread in POD) or particularly gendered.
9. deBebbler
In addition to waiting for the book, now I have to wait for more most inches? WTF Leigh? Did the flogging leash in this chapter bring out the sadist in you?

Waiting just as fast as I can...
10. ecthelion
Unfortunately Leigh, I have a gut feeling Fain is going to have a role sort of like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings. A pure annoyance until the complete end, and then he has some crazy major role in knocking off the DO, all the while screaming "al'Thor IS MINE!!!"
Rob Munnelly
11. RobMRobM
Ooh ooh I'm one of the early posters!

(OK Torie, you can give me my kitten now.)
Ethan Harris
12. eeh
I second that the Lan/Rand interaction at the end of the book is one of my favorite scenes ^_^

Yet I hope Rand realizes how much of a jerk-o he's been to his friend in ToM, seeing how most of the dialogue concerning him from Rand has been along the lines of...

"Ooooo, yes Lan is going to be smashed to bits at Tarwins Gap.. hm... while Mr. DO isn't looking we can get Shatan RIGHT in the kisser! Thanks for the über sacrifice dude"

Redeem the friendship now!
Kat Blom
13. pro_star
Leigh, hope you're feeling better!!!!! kitten for you! one year!

Personally, I like the idea of a flaggory in each room....come on Leigh, I'm sure you can agree that boys just need beatings on occasion *ducks from the impending poop-storm*
Daniel Goss
14. Beren
I was sure that the illusion was created by Fain. We get the bit with Fain arguing with himself about "I want him to know who is killing him," but "if he's dead, he will stop haunting my dreams." I've always read this to be: "I want him to know who is killing him, so I don't want to use this cool illusion of dead guys walking that will let me kill him because he won't be able to see me, but if I do use the illusion, then at least he's dead and he will stop haunting my dreams." Telling is the fact that as soon as he says that last part he raises his hand and the illusion starts. Remember our other look at one of Fain's "tricks?" He raised his hand and brushed it across the face of a boy who had given him a message he didn't like. Similar motions, at least on the face of it. (ooh, bad pun, sorry about that.) Anyway. The particularly damning part is that as soon as Rand performs his sword moves, the illusions (identified in the text as such) disappear and Fain is shown to have a bloodied face. This would seem to indicate that Fain was the one who created the illusion, and was sneaking closer to Rand while Rand was unable to see him, and only Rand's quick execution of a (blind) pair of sword forms enabled him to hit Fain without Fain getting close enough to carry out his plan (stabbity.)

The text does not say that Rand 'cut at Fain' or 'lunged at the two men' or any such, it just says that he "twisted his wrists" in a pair of sword forms that immediately resulted in the illusion disappearing and Fain wounded. To me, this indicates fairly clearly that the illusion was created by Fain for the purpose of making himself effectively invisible so that he could get close enough to Rand to kill him, and the only reason Fain didn't use such an illusion earlier was the desire to have Rand "know who killing him."
Bonnie Andrews
15. misfortuona
Thank you Leigh, great post as usual

I know I've been pretty quiet lately, but I couldn’t let this MOA go un-noted. Nothing says hero quite like a stubborn refusal to let one of the good guys go, even if it does mean you’ll both likely die, or at least get captured. Yep brought a tear to my eye.

Rosetintdworld @8
Besides, if Nynaeve doesn't kill Moghedien and by the end of the series, I will be very shocked.
Really, you want her to kill Cadsuane? I’m so surprised.

Daniel Hanley
16. Kythorian
The bit about the Complimentary In-Room Flagellation Device is pretty horrifying...what would the reaction be if there was a place which had something similar for men to beat their wives with in order to "keep them in line" as a core part of the culture. Its along similar lines to when its seen as just kind of funny when Tylin regularly rapes Mat. But moving right on past exactly why I hate everything about Far Madding and Altara....

Overall, I do really like the chapter. It manages to mix the further hardening of Rand with pure awesomeness and a glimse of the core goodness that is still deep within Rand, in spite of how he tries to harden himself(for a while longer) when he refuses to let Lan go. Its one thing that Rand plans to execute the asha'man...thats reasonable. To do otherwise would be stupid. But he doesn't even understand the idea that they might think of anything else. Hes turning into a true sociopath that not only doesn't feel emotions, but doesn't really quite understand what they are or how they work in other people any more.

Of course, he still has a long way to go down this road, but I think this was one of the first times that I really started to think that all this hardening was a REALLY BAD THING. People have been saying it since book 4, but I kind of agreed with the Aiel...A chief needs to be harder than other men, and the Car'a'carn hardest of all. But when you can no longer understand why someone might do something out of anything other than pure pragmatism? Thats a bad sign.

As for the illusion, I do also think that it was fain's illusion, not just an early set of ghosts. It also fits in nicely with the theory that Fain sent the shadowspawn to attack Rand at the manner not too much later.
Hugh Arai
17. HArai
Ehnate@12: Rand shouldn't base strategic decisions on whether or not one of his friends might get killed. I strongly doubt Lan would expect or want him to do so. That said, I sure hope someone (Ituralde perhaps?) finds a better plan for the Golden Crane than to get plowed under at Tarwin's Gap.

Regarding "when the sun turns green". Full marks to Rand the person. Hell of a risk for the Dragon Reborn. Always interesting to see which one "wins" when they come into conflict.
18. Freelancer
Lan knows where he is headed, traveling across the Borderlands. He knows that his fight will not be decisive, but will support Rand's best chance to win. He also knows his own chances are insignificant. He wants Rand to win more than he wants to survive, and he has always been clear about that. It's his own mountain, Nynaeve cannot take it off his back.

Rand needs redeem nothing. He knows the same things Lan knows, and is glad that SOMEONE out there is proactively helping in a real way that involves battle. He has no choice but to think in terms of the major objective. In the same way that he had to give up thoughts of his own survival in order to focus on preparations which just might prove victorious. Lan knows these things about Rand as well.

They two understand the duty, the consequences, and the honor.

HArai @17

Very rarely is it the Dragon Reborn who comes through at occasions like this. While Lan can accept that he's headed for his end at Tarwin's Gap, and that Rand recognizes it as well, that really is different from choosing to let your friend fall if you believe you can avoid it.
Barry T
19. blindillusion

Hero. Just saying. Great use of song in movie.

Enjoyed the scene with Rand and Lan.

But I would pay to have been able to see Min's face when LNA walked into the room. That would have been priceless.

As for the Gap, well...who's to say it's even going to be used this go-around? And really, one has to wonder if Lan will even have made it as far as the Gap by the time the influx of Dark begins to raze the Borderlands.

Thoughts to think about, anyway, as I for one hope the Gap isn't used...simply because it's always the Shadow's doorway into Randland. Wouldn't it make more sense, especially with Moirdin now at the helm, for the influx to occur...well...everywhere else?
Birgit F
20. birgit
If we get one chapter on tuesday and one on friday the post won't be so long.

I never thought that the ghosts here are the kind that appear later. They are connected to Fain and vanish when he is wounded.
Lucas Vollmer
21. aspeo
This was a pretty good chapter. I really liked how Lan was able to take down another blademaster so quickly, especially after the surprise of finding their original quarry already dead.

Incidentally, do you all think Lan might be the best sword fighter in WOT? How about Rand? Galad? or maybe a darkhorse like Demandred? Overall I think I would go with Lan based mostly on years of honing himself to be such a master, but I think Rand and Galad are both very close in skill to him.

Also, I agree with Leigh about just wanting Fain to be killed already! Unfortunately I also agree with ecthelion@10 since I have a bad feeling that he is going to be around right up to the end of the story.

I can't wait for the cleansing next time!
Roger Powell
22. forkroot
"When the sun turns green" - My #1 favorite scene in all of WoT. In one sentence, it encapsulates the deep, unspoken bond between Lan and Rand. (Freelancer has the right of it, re: Rand in TGS when speaking of Lan.)

We first started seeing the bond between the too men when Lan took Rand's side in TGH. Moiraine was a bit shocked. This might have been Rand's ta'veren nature, but I believe it was Lan's recognition of a true kindred spirit.

Next: a brief nod of respect to Toram Riatin. Lan is now by far the best swordsman in Randland. There are few, even blademasters, who would be able to wound him in a fight. We've already seen that Riatin was very good (from his practive duel with Rand). Too bad for him that he ran into one of a tiny few who could beat him.
Roger Powell
23. forkroot
Galad and Rand (and Gawyn) are all awesome as well. The one thing that Lan has over all of them though, is years of experience. That's why I used the word "now" in the previous post. The Lan of New Spring had awesome skills, but not as much experience.

Of course none of them would stand a chance 1:1 against Mat with his ashandarei. Better weapon, and hundreds of years of experience FTW!
Daniel Hanley
24. Kythorian
To aspeo @ 21, Gawyn is probably the best blademaster alive at this point. He beat Sleete with ease every single time he fought him, even though Sleete was fighting with some other guy with him, AND, Sleete used to win two out of seven matches against Lan. And if Lan is more experienced now, so is Sleete, so thats not really a good argument for Lan beating Gawyn.

Which seems pretty conclusive proof that Gawyn is better than Lan.

Edit: You are probably right that Mat would beat Gawyn though. Gawyn has obviously gotten much better since he and Galad fought Mat, but Mat isn't sick now, and more importantly, has all those other memories to draw on too, so he is much better as well. I really hope we see this fight, actually.
25. joe heron
i always thought Riatin was akin to a 3rd rate blademaster, as Rand had the whole duel under his control till (once again) Fain interfered. between Rand and Lan, i think if they were to both duel seriously, they would take each other out or rand might inch out a win. having said that even without channeling, rand has memory seepage, aiel training, ta'verness, and i think height/reach as well. while lan is pure normal awesomeness.

of course this is KOD, when Rand had both hands.
Jay Dauro
26. J.Dauro
Kythorin @24

Very good argument. But apparently Lan improved just as much as Sleete, and he was beating Sleete over 70% of the time when he was still sparring.

However, we do have a quote on this.
RJ: Rand is second only to Lan with the sword.
This was before Rand lost his hand.
Ethan Harris
27. eeh
@18 - You know you're right, I wasn't looking at the big picture as much as their "friendship" haha. It's unrealistic for Rand to stop the entire campaign to save the world and ask Lan to come over for a cup of coffee (kaf?) and two rivers tabac and talk about how good of friend they were back in the day;

"Say Lan, you remember the good ole' days when we used to hang out... you know?"

"As I recall it was less us hanging out and more me teaching you how to keep people from stabbing you" --- 0.o

At least Rand is less fatalistic than he has been as of the end of TGS and "Apples First" : ) His march to death was growing tiresome as he grew more and more dark in his personae, I just wanted to yell at him like Nyneave or ostracized Cads and get him to return to a state of thinking that was optimistic.
Daniel Hanley
28. Kythorian
Yeah, but while Lan beat Sleete 70% of the time, Gawyn was beating Sleete AND someone else(not a blademaster, and I can't remember his name, but he was a warder, and so quite good) 100% of the time. The impression I got was that he was doing it with ease, without even getting close to getting hit, much less loosing. And for the RJ quote, that might have been several books ago...obviously Gawyn has increased a great deal very quickly over the books. Probably enough to surpass both Rand and Lan if his sparring with Sleete are any indication.
Alex Johns
29. almuric
Mat killing Gawyn would be the single greatest scene in all the writings of all time.

But, we already know that he's gonna be Egwene's warder and is, ostensibly, a 'good guy'. I sure hope someone kills his ass, though. Even if he spends the next two books on his knees apologizing for being a jerk, it still wouldn't be enough.

And as far as the flagellation toy in every room. It might not be a punishment thing; perhaps it's a, ahem, play thing. You know. For people who are into that sort of thing. Maybe that's what people go to Far Madding for. Kinda like that sex amusement park in Korea.

Otherwise, it doesn't make much sense. Even if every household in Far Madding was into flagellation as a form of punishment, they have to be aware that the rest of Randland doesn't hold to the same viewpoint. So perhaps this particular boarding house caters to visitors who are also into whipping. Could be for itinerant monks who need to do a little self-punishment. Could be for husbands/wives to use on each other. Perhaps it's for disciplining servants. Or slow pizza delivery people. Maybe it's for clearing out spiders before slipping under the covers.

Perhaps Mr. Jordan left notes on the subject. We should ask at one of the book signings.
Maiane Bakroeva
30. Isilel
Much as I enjoy Rand's and Lan's interaction in this chapter, I still think that Rand's actions here are way dumber than Elayne's attack on the BA in KoD ;).
I mean, why not send Lan and some other warders after the renegades? Why risk his life and risk revealing himself in a place where they easily could have held him captive for Elaida? Particularly since Rand himself admitted in his inner monologue that hunting renegade was basically make-work to postpone the extremely dangerous Cleansing. Sigh.

Oh, and Rand not supporting Lan in Tarwin's Gap with some channelers and troops was strategically stupid rather than dutiful, IMHO. For Lan to be a credible and sufficiently lengthy distraction, he'd need some oomph.
Also, I know that forces of Darkness have been anything but sharp, but counting on them not figuring out that Rand intended to duplicate LTT's tactics is really moronic, LOL. I mean, it isn't like the idea is original, eh?

And Nynaeve is implausibly naive for somebody who'd been along for 9 books. Of course, this inexplicable stance on the part of female characters is responsible for Liandrin's Keystone Koven being still mostly around to vex us. I bet that they are about to escape from Elayne and cause some more havoc.

Anyway, Nyn did kill people in the heat of battle - some Seanchan in TGH when Egwene was taken and some more when they were escaping from Ebu Dar, IIRC and as has been already mentioned by others she did try to kill Rahvin. But she has been very lenient to BAs and Femsaken so far. Of course, she is a healer par excellance, so maybe there is some psychological basis for it, unlike with Elayne.
Jay Dauro
31. J.Dauro
Rand was defeating 4 (good) swordsmen at once. It wasn't until he went to five that he was defeated (not completely defeated, since he still took out all 5 opponents.)

There is no way to do a true comparison without a head to head fight, and that is impossible now. And even that is not always a true measure of skill. And the results of a fight are not necessarily an indication of the results of another fight against a different opponent.

For example look at Lan's fight against Ryne in New Spring. Lan says Ryne was the better swordsman, but he was not the victor. 

Gawyn is good. But I still have to believe Lan will take him.

Of course it really doesn't matter about Gawyn and Rand. Rand can easily defeat Gawyn if he so desires. Unless of course Rand cannot do it mentally, or Gawyn acquires a defense against the One Power. 
Lannis .
32. Lannis
Re: Nynaeve's naivete about the executions... my issue is less that she's unaware of the whole Lan/Rand cold badassness and more that she isn't completely for it--because if you're the one dude who's supposed to save the world (or his friend) and you've got the chance to kill people who're trying to kill you before they even know it's happening? You goddamn well take what's offered and run! I have a hard time believing she wouldn't be more okay with the situation, seeing how it means minimal risk to Lan and Rand... I mean, if Rand kicks it, they're all kicking it--eventually--right?

Re: Min and the whipper... um... she witnessed what happened to Rand-in-the-box waaaay back in the day. I have a hard time thinking she'd pull this stunt even in jest... hmm...

Thanks for the post, Leigh! Have a great weekend! :)
33. Dolphineus
There is a big difference between killing someone in a combat situation and cold blooded murder. Combat, whether trolloc or human, is kill or be killed. Up until this point Nyneave has never had to think about cold blooded murder. She has seen her fair share of combat, and I don't think she'd shy away from doing what needed to be done. Remember what she did to those Fades on the journey to Tear?

Nyn realized for the first time that she was about to become an accessory to murder. She flinched. I would too. The only people who don't are cold blooded killers.
Michael McCarthy
34. KilMichaelMcC
I am certain that Nynaeve killed at least one Seanchan soldier with a fireball way back in TGH when she and Elayne got away from Suroth and company.
35. Freelancer
Lan would not have agreed to go anywhere near the Blight leading an entourage. Nynaeve had to trick him into accepting whoever joined him along the way. Rand could never have succeeded in what you suggest. Rand didn't even know he was gone at first, Nynaeve told him. It is what it is, and what it is isn't stupid, simply what it is.
j p
36. sps49
Huh. Somehow I always included Riatin with the other two apparitions.

forkroot @22-

Lan in TGH acts toward Rand the way I think everyone should- he sees a decent enough shepherd who Fate has put in a tough spot. He doesn't think "none of my business" (of course it is everyone's business), he thinks on his own that the best way to help is offer advice freely and give him what tools he can (knowledge, fighting skills) so he can face the Dark One.

Isilel @30-

I don't think Rand nor Lan knew of the Guardian's triangulation ability. Does Nynaeve?

Dolphineus @22-

Murder? Really? Not self defense? Or is there a court somewhere to refer the matter to?
Matthew Smith
37. blocksmith

Thanks again for the reread and the update on the schedule. Looking forward to the next one....Epic is as Epic does.

Have a great weekend and hope you feel better.
Drew Holton
38. Dholton
Re the women killing issue:

One thing I've noticed over the books, is that it seems like, in general, (there are as always exceptions) that when Aes Sedai get into a fight with another channeler, whether male or female, they don't try to kill, but to shield instead. Look at the fight between Nynaeve and Moghedien, or the dustup with Semirhage when they captured her. Each time, rather than kill, they went for shielding (well, Semirhage didn't, but you know what I mean...).

I think this may be a result of the policy of the AS to capture men for gentling, rather than killing them outright. As a default, they try to shield first, and kill second when fighting other channelers. On the other hand, the Asha'man are definitely trained to Blow Stuff Up. Regardless of who gets in the way.
Birgit F
39. birgit
I don't think Rand nor Lan knew of the Guardian's triangulation ability. Does Nynaeve?

Cads told her:

"You have done quite enough already, you fool girl." Cadsuane's voice was cold iron. "I told you about Far Madding's watchdogs. Phaw! You've put a panic in the Counsels with your channeling where no one can channel. If the Guards have them, it is because of you.""I thought saidar wouldn't matter," Nynaeve said weakly. "It was only a little, and not for long. I ... I thought maybe they wouldn't even notice."

I think this may be a result of the policy of the AS to capture men for gentling, rather than killing them outright. As a default, they try to shield first, and kill second when fighting other channelers.
Another reason might be the Oath against using the OP as a weapon. Even if they feel in danger during a fight, they might be conditioned against using lethal OP weaves. Shielding doesn't really harm the other channeler and therefore doesn't violate the Oath.
Daniel Smith
40. Smittyphi
The Aes Sedai have tradition on their side. No one could compete with them for the past 100's of years because the Forsaken & Co. were sealed up and didn't have any real threat. Stilling was the most fearsome weapon they held for their enemies, most of them being BA.

With the last battle looming, Team Light needs fighters, that's why Asha'man are trained the way they are and it's imperative that the Seanchan join Team Light because they are battle trained, ie. Alivia. Alivia says the Asha'man are good, but can't compare to her, and I believe that. Forsaken strength channelers on Team Light is what they need.
Tricia Irish
41. Tektonica
Gee have had some rough health issues lately! Get better! We need you! Thanks for the post and if it's easier for you, drop Ch.34 on Tuesday!! **grins**

I do love this chapter. Love the bad-ass-close-quarters-battle-of-the-buds, Lan and Rand. And Rand's refusal to let Lan die in a pointless manner. Good on you, Rand! If the supports hadn't broken, Rand just might have pulled Lan up enough for him to grab ahold.

I did not think the A'man were ghosts, but were a Fain illusion. He cast the illusion to confuse Rand in his fight with him. IMHO.

Darn....I want to go right into the rescue chapter!!! They go together like peanut butter and jelly! Sigh.

Feel better Leigh.....
A.J. Bobo
42. Daedylus

I think that most (all?) of us have some sort of theory about how this will all end. Since WH was released my personal theory has had Fain as a VERY major player. It'll be fun to find out how right or wrong we all are.
43. Wortmauer
Have any of the Supergirls killed people up to this point?
As Morgase taught her daughter, as queen, whatever you order done, you have done. So, yes, Elayne at least gets to kill people by proxy, and she knows it. I know she isn't queen yet, and she may not have executed anyone as of WH.

By the same token, as others have noted, Egwene gets to behead a lot of Black Ajah. And Berelain hangs Mangin. I don't suppose you consider her a Supergirl, though.

"When the sun turns green." Apparently it's just me (I've been hearing for years that it's everybody's favorite line ever uttered in fiction), but that line sounds really cheesy. The sentiment behind it is epic enough, but the line itself ... weak. Maybe he should have said "when carp turn blue."

Toram Riatin: I don't think I ever put together that he's been hanging out with "Jeraal Mordeth" ever since the Cairhien Camping Trip in ACOS. Dude must be a little bent in the head by now. Too bad Lan had to kill him before we got to hear his opinion on, say, Rand al'Thor.
44. normalphil

Confront and Denounce (like everybody know's you're supposed to) vs. Kill and Dismiss (I think if this guy gets half a chance I might end up dead).

I think the issue is cultural- as in the men mostly don't have one. No appropriate response, default to logical problem solving. Even Verin gets herself into a real blunder later in this book over this.
Thomas Keith
45. insectoid
Finally got my laptop working again. (It decided to conk out on me this morning, and I had to disassemble it.)

That's okay, Leigh... epically long posts are A-OK! Hope you're feeling better.

Anyway, the chapter:

Flogging strap: O.o

Fain: EURGH. Why won't this guy DIE!? I'll gladly join Leigh in singing when he gets offed!

Ghosts: I didn't pick up on this initially, thinking it to be one of Fain's bizarre tricks.

Aww, poor Toram, didn't even get a death scene! Or line! Let's all feel sorry for him now.

"When the sun turns green" Scene: Is legen... wait for it... DARY! And Awesome. And it's probably not something Rand would do, say, post-TP-contact-pre-Dragonmount. Just sayin'.

46. joe heron
@43 or "when rats shoot lighting out of their butts."

i notice RJ has use a lot of methaphors with the sun. so didnt bother me all.

note: i've used some of those lines on girls and they love it.
Gregg Sivyer
47. Destroyer
I also thought that RJ had confirmed that the illusions of Gedwyn and Torval were created by Fain.

RJ has definitely confirmed that Fain set the time loop trap in TGH with the house and the flies, so Fain clearly has the ability to create illusions.
Captain Hammer
48. Randalator
I'm still on the fence about the ghosts issue. Actually I'm dangling on the "Fain did it" side of the fence with my right leg on the other side and both hands desperately trying to hang on.

Reasons why I tend towards Fain:
- The stuff he babbles immediately before Torval and Gedwyn appear
- Torval and Gedwyn TALK...I can't remember that we've ever seen regular ghosts talk.
Jay Dauro
49. J.Dauro
RJ did confirm the Time Loop Trap was Fain

Knife of Dreams book tour 27 October 2005, Half Moon Bay - Chris reporting
Another interesting question was about the scene with all the flies in the house in book two. This scene where Rand sees the same thing over and over again was actually Fain’s doing, a trap devised by him to put Rand in a time loop forever.

Knife of Dreams book tour 27 October 2005, Half Moon Bay - Caychris reporting
Someone asked about the house and the flies.3 He said it was a time loop trap set by Fain and if Rand had not left the house it would have repeated indefinitely till Rand died.

I have not been able to find a confirmation of Fain crating Torval or Gedwyn
Jonathan Levy
50. JonathanLevy
5. AndrewB
Your interpretation was exactly how I saw it as well.
As for them being ghosts, it's possible, assuming ghosts can see and talk to each other, but it requires a hell of a coincidence. Them being a Fain illusion doesn't require that coincidence, merely for Fain to use an already-established trick of his. I'm not sure which way Occam's razor cuts here.

I see 14. Beren has covered this as well.

@ several
Re: Nynaeve's killing.
Nynaeve was involved in the scuffle at the end of ACOS, in the six-story building housing the bowl of the winds. It's unlikely (though possible) that she wasn't responsible for any deaths at all there, especially since the fight started when Lan threw himself at two channelers.

15. misfortuona
Rosetintdworld @8
Besides, if Nynaeve doesn't kill Moghedien and by the end of the series, I will be very shocked.

Really, you want her to kill Cadsuane? I’m so surprised.

I was sure she meant Daise Congar!

29. almuric
6. Kythorian
The bit about the Complimentary In-Room Flagellation Device is pretty horrifying...

It's just the Far Madding equivalent of a Gideon's Bible.

38. Dholton
39. birgit
40. Smittyphi
Very interesting and insightful discussion. I can't think of anything to add to it.

43. Wortmauer
"When the sun turns green." Apparently it's just me (I've been hearing for years that it's everybody's favorite line ever uttered in fiction), but that line sounds really cheesy. The sentiment behind it is epic enough, but the line itself ... weak.

No, it's just the two of us :)
Fake Name
51. ThePendragon
I personally have always considered the scene in TGS with Gawyn beating sleete and all that jazz to be non-canon. Anything beyond KoD I take with a grain of salt. Lan is still the best swordsman alive. Gawyn may second now that Rand lost a hand, but maybe Galad is.

As for the illusion, it was confusing to read at first, but since the first time I've read it I've ultimately come to and stick to the conclusion that it was an illusion of Fain.
john mullen
52. johntheirishmongol
I have to agree that of the SG, Elayne is responsible for the most deaths, even if she didn't do it herself. And I am not talking about the nuke she created, but the war for the throne. As queen, she is responsible for all who died in that war.

It's all good this chapter and I have already predicted that Fain is going to be the one responsible for Rand's death.
Daniel Hanley
53. Kythorian
I think that fain probably made the images, but just to play the devil's advocate... "As for them being ghosts, it's possible, assuming ghosts can see and talk to each other, but it requires a hell of a coincidence." This is around Rand, a ta'veren of massive power. How unlikely something is has no bearing on if that is actually what happened around him.

To ThePendragon @ 51, given that RJ left a 2500 page outline of the last three books(thats almost as long the combined final books will be), it seems like a somewhat major thing that is stressed to the degree it was like Gawyn's victories over Sleete would have come from that outline.

Basically, the plot was all created by RJ, leaving only the exact wording that it falls into and minor details up to Brandon. Believing that something is 'non-canon' directly from the books just because you disagree makes discussion about those books almost could just claim that anything that doesn't support whatever your argument is from tGS is 'non-canon'. To have a meaningful discussion about the books, we have to accept that all of them are canon. In the WoT, regardless of if this is a world entirely created by RJ or altered by Harriot, or by Bradon(I believe RJ would have included something like this, but I could be wrong), it seems made as clear as it can be without actually coming out and saying it that Gawyn is meant to now be a better swordsman than Lan.

Besides, it seems to mirror the situation in which RJ set Nynaeve up to be the most powerful female channie alive at first, but then later revised his list to include six more powerful female channelers (Brandon has stated that there are two lists of ranked power in Saidar, the first of which has Nyn at the top, the second, which it isn't clear exactly when came into use, has six people above her). Things change as the world changes and new people show up, or old people develop their abilities.
Eric Hughes
54. CireNaes

Nyn realized for the first time that she was about to become an accessory to murder. She flinched. I would too. The only people who don't are cold blooded killers.

Nope, what we have with this scenario are multiple traitors from a voluntary military force who had just attempted fratricide of their superior officer during a time of war (not to mention the current king of Illian, making this attempted regicide as well). Their unbridled use of the Power also resulted in the death of fellow soldiers (e.g., the maidens). These facts alone are enough to warrant an on sight execution order without warning or mercy by a higher military authority in their chain of command (e.g., Rand). That Rand is carrying out the order personally makes him neither cold blooded nor a killer, just foolish and impractical.

It is a decontextualization to turn this into a standardized moment of combat between two armed parties.
Alice Arneson
55. Wetlandernw
Nitpick with the recap - Min didn't talk Alivia into following Rand, Lan & Nynaeve - they were going to find Cadsuane.

Very much enjoyed the commentary on the CIRFD. There's really not much else to say, except that I found it rather funny in a caricature-the-stereotype over-the-top sort of way. All in all, I think I prefer the Gideons' contribution.

And the video... yeah. Huh? Fortunately I've never been under the impression that music videos were supposed to make any sense, so.... yeah. Huh?

Oh, something that I used to think was inexpressibly cool but really, really, really torqued me off this time: Nynaeve using her Well to lift them up to the roof. Hello???? For this, I finally forgive Cadsuane's later reluctance to let Nynaeve in on any plans until she proves she can follow instructions. This was just plain dumb stupid. Gee, let's help Rand get into a trap, and bring the whole Far Madding constabulary down on his head while we're at it. It was "just a little bit" - but she could only lift one at a time. And she assumed, without asking any further questions, that the Guardian only showed what happened outside the city? Or that saidar wouldn't matter? Use the brain the Creator gave you, girl!

Okay, enough rant. I love Nynaeve, but this one... just made me want to... to... to spank her! :p I'm sure that's the literary purpose for having the CIRFD in this chapter...
Hmmm. After a close reading of the passage again, I still think that Fain made the illusion to distract Rand: Fain raises his hand, and the two men appear on the stairs, then
Without thought, Rand twisted his wrists in Cutting the Wind and immediately followed with Unfolding the Fan.
The illusion of dead men come back to life vanished, and Fain leaped back with a shriek, blood streaming down the side of his face...

Looks to me like Fain leaping back was because he took a sword cut, and the illusion vanished because he quit maintaining it.

Ehnate @27 - Please remove the spoiler from your post. There are some here who do not want to read it.

sps49 @36 - Yes, Nynaeve knew; Cadsuane told her about it, and clearly expected that her explanation would stop Nynaeve from doing anything stupid. Nynaeve apparently thought so too, when reminded, because her argument was pretty lame. Next chapter. (I see birgit already quoted this section.)

Oh, and when you go hunting someone, you can hardly claim self-defense, even though you are reasonably sure they want to kill you.
Michael Johnson
56. twosheddz
Amazon just informed me that my kindle pre-order of TOM won't be available 'til 10/1/11. WTF? I've already scheduled vacation days to read starting on the release date. If I had a braid, I'd be pulling it right off my head.
57. Wortmauer
Dholton@38: when Aes Sedai get into a fight with another channeler, whether male or female, they don't try to kill, but to shield instead.
I think Moiraine was going for the kill on Lanfear. Well, she was going for a specific scene she had foreseen, but if she thought about what she was attempting I bet she thought it was to kill.
Jonathan Levy@50: I was sure she meant Daise Congar!
Ha! Sure it isn't Cenn Buie?
The bit about the Complimentary In-Room Flagellation Device is pretty horrifying...
It's just the Far Madding equivalent of a Gideon's Bible. ;)
Ha again.
No, it's just the two of us :)
Whew, for years I assumed it was just me. Not that a hero isn't allowed to have a cheesy line from time to time, even if they aren't in a comics universe. Lord knows I misstate my epic lines, such as they are, often enough.

Kythorian@53: Not to be a pedant (well, OK, I'll be a pedant), but all the books are "non-cannon" because Aludra hasn't got her foundries yet. The word you're looking for is canon.
Things change as the world changes and new people show up, or old people develop their abilities.
Or, as new people who are also old show up and develop their abilities. (Sharina.)
Thomas Keith
58. insectoid
Twosheddz @56: That follows with the pattern shown by the eBook Publishing Schedule. The Eye of the World eBook was released the day that The Gathering Storm came out in print (10/27/09); The Gathering Storm eBook will be released in 10 days, the day that Towers of Midnight comes out in print (11/02/10). So 10/01/11 is probably accurate.

For those who follow baseball: Congratulations to the Texas Rangers and their fans!! :)

Tess Laird
59. thewindrose
So from reading this chapter, it would seem that Fain knew Rand was in town and what Rand wanted to do - kill Torval and Gedwyn. So Rand see's them go into Zeram's shop. Now, Fain must have been watching both Torval and Gedwyn and also watching to see if Rand took the bait. Since we get a description of Torval and Gedwyn being effected by the wind(A gust pulled the shorter man's hood from his head.), we know they are alive at this time.
So then Fain and Toram must have gone in and killed them before Rand and Lan got up and into the attic.

Rand recoginizes what people look like when Fain kills them with the knife, and he gets hit by pain from being close to Fain:
"Fain is here," Rand wispered. As if saying the name were a trigger, the twin wounds in his side began throbbing, the older like a disc of ice, the newer a bar of fire across it. "It was him sent the letter."

Then Fain has a Gollum like moment - with the I want him to know who is killing him, and the dream haunting and agreeing with himself that that will stop with Rands death.
With a smile, he raised his free hand.

From this I belive that Fain is the one behind the 'illusion' of the dead men.
This makes me wonder how much power to effect Rand will Fain end up with, and what powers will Fain grow into.

Also in agreement with many others about how touching the ending scene is with Rand and Lan.

Shannon Wallace
60. Bravehearted
wind@59 ... I am a long time WoT fan here. WooHoo!

I have been observing for a bit now. I just had to pop in and say I imagined Fain having that Gollum moment as well, you described that perfectly. And yes the ending scene with Rand and Lan was quite touching.
Elena Vaccaro
61. EarthandIce
Thanks Leigh for the post, and feel MUCH better!

I always thought Gedwin and Torval were illusions produced by Fain. Even when the ghosts started appearing, I did not think about the possibility of them not being illusions crated by Fain to gain an advantage over Rand. Seems Fain thinks he has to be totally deceitful in order to kill Rand.

Blind @ 19: Oohh, that is one of my favorite movies! I do not care if anyone else thinks it is cheesy, I really liked # 5, and I thought the movie was great social commentary.

On Lan going to Tarwin’s Gap, both Rand and Lan knew it was a diversion. We have to remember Lan’s early training as the King of Malkier.

Also remember what Lan said in TEotW about leading men under the Golden Crane, he absolutely refused. This scene was when the party was entering Fal Dara. I cannot remember if it was Ingtar or anther Sheinairan who asked if he was raising his banner. Nynaeve is setting him up so he has to lead the people that will be gathered in by those she informed about Lan’s intentions after she drops him off at the edge of the continent. Thus giving the people time to let others know and join in the expidition

Rand also knows he has to use his friends even if he does not like it, and his not wanting to let Lan fall to the ground shows how much he values Lan. Everyone that is around Rand has been drawn to him for a reason, and he has to make use of the resources at his disposal. When Rand sends Lan off, he is the Dragon Reborn, not Rand al’Thor. Big difference. Elayne has said something similar but I cannot recall off the top of my head where, and Egwene is realizing that also. Remember her first scene with Nyneave and Elayne after she was raised Amyrlin?

I agree with CireNaes @54 on Nynaeve’s realization as well as Frelancer @ 35
Chris R
62. up2stuff
Kythorian @ 24

How many warders was Lan sparring with when Egwene found out about him at Salidar? It seems there were several there but I cant remember if he was taking on, like 2-3 at once or one by one.

My point is that I know Gawyn was beating Sleete and the other guy easily, but I don't remember if he was a blademaster or just a total badass. If Lan was holding his own against 3 warders who may or may not ALSO be blademasters, it seems like that might show he is the better swordsman.
Antoni Ivanov
63. tonka
He was alone, training alone when Egwene found him. No warders.
Daniel Hanley
64. Kythorian
To up2stuff @ 62, Yes, he was alone, and furthermore, Sleete was not only a blademaster, but one of the more famous ones out of all of the Warders. As I mentioned, he could beat Lan 2 out of 7 times. While he lost to Gawyn every time, even though hewas fighting with another warder at the same time(not a second blademaster, but still). The fact that Gawyn beats 2 people, one of which could sometimes beat Lan, every single time is as close to proof that he is better than Lan as you are going to get without the two of them actually fighting.
Maiane Bakroeva
65. Isilel
Freelancer @35:

Lan would not have agreed to go anywhere near the Blight leading an entourage. Nynaeve had to trick him into accepting whoever joined him along the way. Rand could never have succeeded in what you suggest.

Umm, Rand already knew that Nynaeve had organized Lan an entourage, didn't he? Otherwise how could he have thought that Lan would provide a distraction to the forces of Shadow? I mean, the dude is awesome and everything, but it would have been impossible for him to do so by his lonesome...
And it should have been common sense for Rand to reinforce Lan with some channelers, so that he could, indeed credibly provide that distraction long enough, rather than be destroyed the minute a FS or a Dreadlord took field against him.

Besides that the whole "They'll never guess that I intend to jump directly to SG!" notion strikes me as exceedingly dumb, LOL. After all, isn't it exactly the same thing as the Dragon did in the last Age? And I know, the DO and Co. aren't the sharpest, but surely they'll be guarding against this tactic _now_?
John Massey
66. subwoofer
And here we go again.

Good morning folks:) A beautiful Saturday in the WoT world!

The post- y'know, I never made the connection with the er..."devices" that Leigh picked up on. Must be my pure mind blocking such things out. Funny how Leigh takes a trip down that road every other post:P

Fain. I have said this before: somebody needs to beat him until all he says is "Baggins" or "Shire". Geeze! What an odd little guy. But this is the perfect set up for Fain that Rand should have seen coming a mile off. Fain has all his neat little powers that are not affected by the Guardians and theoretically Rand is a stranger in a strange land with just his sword, Lan, and a bunch of women glowering at him. Tall odds for anyone.

The Scene- yeah it is a good one. Numbers in my top 5 hairy chested moments in WoT. Favorite to date, even with the spoilers is still "the Golden Crane" chapter- c'mon, I cry at the end of that, and of course Loial getting married. RJ wrote those two scenes perfect. So much emotion in the face of so much war going on. Love it.

Rand shoulda known that Ny would not totally let her husband "fall down go boom" though. I'm sure if she had advanced warning, Nynaeve would have been standing below, waiting to catch Lan, all the while muttering about men thinking with the hair on their chests or some such.

@Kythorian- come on. Lan can whoop a$$ with his little finger. Gawyn can't even get off Egwene's apron strings. Skill means nothing, Lan's attitude counts for all. Elvis is rolling over in his grave about that one. Geeze! Gawyn better than Lan. Really?! You put that to type for everyone to see? No curly haired princeling is gonna beat the Uncrowned King. Nope nope nope. Not gonna happen. Lan says one "for Frodo" and that is all for Gawyn "you killed my mommy" Trakand.

John Massey
67. subwoofer
Lan gave up his personal war with the Shadow because Moiraine convinced him that the Dragon was reborn. Finding this child and guiding him was the new purpose of Lan. His own vendetta with the Shadow for toppling his country paled in comparison to Rand beating the DO at the Last Battle. Lan got that so it was his duty to see Rand do well. This fell on Lan's shoulders even more after Moiraine... disappeared and his marriage to Nynaeve also focused him on Ny's idea that as Wisdom protecting the boys from her villiage from outsider harm.

Lan only went back to plan A when he felt that Rand was going off track and was more focused on the Seanchan instead of where the battle truly should be fought- at the Gap. Loyalty vs. duty. Classic dilemma.

Jay Dauro
68. J.Dauro
Actually the key here may be the phrase "back when Lan had been known to spar with other Warders." Why did he quit? And he is referred to as " the best of the warders."

We cannot know for sure at the present time. So take your pick as to who you think would win. But I think there is enough evidence that I will go with RJ's quote of Lan first, Rand second, and everyone else after.
Ben Norris
69. I_have_no_life
Just a little comment from the blademaster debate in the 20s of posts or so:
Top 3 Blademasters:

1. Gawyn
2. Lan
3. Galad

and I agree about Mat, as shown in
Top 3 Warriors

1. Mat
1. Mat
1. Still Mat
Chris R
71. up2stuff
63 & 64,

Like I said, I could not remember how Lan was training at Salidar or if Sleete was in fact blademaster, or not. I know he was good (Sleete). Your reasoning is very sound. I still lean toward Lan being the best for the following reasons though:

1. Beating someone at something doesn't always mean you are better. Sometimes they are lucky, or more creative. We don't know if Galad faced Sleete and the bonus warder in the same venue each time, or different scenarios. Fighting amongst trees, buildings, rocky terrain, sand would all have different effects on leverage, posture, endurance, random crap to throw at an enemy/opponent...Take your pick.
Also, Sleete may have bested Lan those 2 out of 7 times on a practice field, or the different places I mentioned above for the same reasons. PROBABLY NOT, but we don't know for sure what the conditions were each time and if there were variables to each of Sleete's wins or Gawyn's.

2. He's Lan, I'm stubborn, and according to the rules I have in my head, I think Lan is better. I can think how I like so Nyah, Nyah. (So can you).

Chris R
72. up2stuff
I DO think that Mat would probably beat anyone in a fight though. He beat BOTH Galad and Gawyn at the same time, while sick. No denying that while they were not yet Blademasters, it was what 1.5 years ago? As good as they were at that time, there is not room for THAT much improvement from all three of them in their skill alone.

Mat's biggest handicap at that time though, was his stamina from his illness. That is no longer a factor, nor are his injuries from Ebou Dar. It also seems that he has had the most hand to hand combat in that amount of time and the most experience honing his skills. I know Gawyn has been campaigning with the Younglings, but I think he was generalling more, and while campaining against the Seanchan, I dont think Galad has been in as many battles as Mat either. Could be wrong, but according to MY rules...

a a-p
73. lostinshadow
hope you feel better and stay healthy Leigh!

I lean toward the Fain being responsible for the illusions theory, largely because the idea that the right ghosts appeared at exactly the right time for Rand to be tricked seems way too coincidental to swallow - sorry can't suspend disbelief that far.

Lan would beat Gawyn every time hands down. I can't believe there's actually an argument about this.
74. smok40
Thanks for the post, Leigh - hope you'll feel better soon!
I think what we're forgetting in discussing Nynaeve's lack of enthusiasm for cold blooded killing is that she is a Healer type of person and that killing and hurting have always angered her.That's one of the reasons I really love her as a character. It pays testimony to the seriousness of the situation that she accepts the necessity of killing the renegades quite easily.
There are no gender issues here (contrary to what Leigh wrote ) -after all, the second best Forsaken -exterminator (after Rand) is Moiraine.
Tess Laird
75. thewindrose
A poll!!! Not that kind sub(and MAT);)

Lan is the man. He is the number one Blademaster.
In a cagematch with any other blademaster he would win. (See, I am taking swords here, so Mat would lose in a sword fight, but make it a pole;) and he would win anywhere anyhow.

Bravehearted - Welcome to posting - keep at it! Welcome to the Bunker as well!

Seems to me we should start stocking up on some candy for trick-or-treaters. And are we going to have another Halloween bash?

Gregg Sivyer
76. Destroyer
I haven't got to TGS in my re-read yet. I don't know TGS as well as the other books since I've only read it once so far (*gasp* - my excuse is that I was waiting to buy the small paperback to go with the rest of my series, it was only released recently and my library has a *long* line of people still waiting to read TGS).

However, in my mind before a further re-read of TGS, there is just NO way that Gawyn is better than Lan. My impression was that only Rand (with two hands) was better than Lan.

Also, I would rank Galad as a better swordsman than Gawyn. Galad is a natural and flowed into things that Gawyn struggled learning. Galad when he was fighting his way to the Riverserpent with Nynaeve, Elayne and the Shienarans was a CMOA for him, IMO.
Susan Greger
77. Seosanna
Ok, I don't comment often.

I was re-reading some of the earler chapters.


Hasn't anyone thought about how earlier in WH, with the sister bond, one of the Wise Women (Amys, I believe) volunteers to go through the pains of childbirth in order for Elayne and Avi to become first-sisters? AND, doesn't Aviendha remember every weave she has ever seen? Therefore, I think that at some point Avi will be the "mother" of several other "babies" of Rand's. Possibly the remnant of a remnant?


Sorry if off topic, but it all just...kind of boiled over.
Love the re-read, by the way, even if I don't comment much.

Daniel Hanley
78. Kythorian
"The two Warders looked at Gawyn, shocked. They had borne similar expressions the last time Gawyn had defeated them, and the time before that. Sleete carried a heron-mark blade and was near-legendary in the White Tower for his prowess. He was said to have bested even Lan Mandragoran twice out of seven bouts, back when Mandragoran had been known to spar with other Warders. Marlesh wasn't as renowned as his companion, but he was still a fully capable and trained Warder, no easy foe.

But Gawyn had won. Again. Things seemed so simple when he was sparring. The world contracted down--compressed like berries squeezed for their juice--into something smaller and easier to see from up close.
"Gawyn removed his blade and steeped away, sheathing it. He offered a hand to Marlesh, who took it, shaking his head as he stood. "you are remarkable, Gawyn Trakand. Like a creature of light, color and shadow when you move. I feel like a babe holding a stick when I face you."

I get that people don't like Gawyn. I don't either. He is annoying and kind of an idiot. But he is very clearly presented as supposted to be a better blademaster than Lan. He killed Hammar a year ago, who was also one of the legendary Warders, and now beats another, with a second warder to boot with ease. I don't see how people can just reject what seems like extremely clear evidence being presented that Gawyn is supposted to be the best blademaster alive now just because they like Lan more...The evidence that Lan is better seems to come down to a quote from RJ which was made years ago, back when Lan would have still been better than Gawyn, and the fact that "Lan is the man." Apparently all that is needed to be the best swordsman alive is to be much cooler than the other guys in competition?
John Massey
79. subwoofer

Apparently all that is needed to be the best swordsman alive is to be much cooler than the other guys in competition?

Pretty much, yes. And that is a nice bit O typing, but no, nowhere in any text does is say "Gawyn is better at swords than Lan". That is the conclusion you are leaping to, so it is not at all "clearly" presented.

Right then.

Lan was born in 953 NE, the year Malkier was betrayed to the Shadow. When he was an infant and Malkier was falling, his parents, al'Akir and el'Leanna Mandragoran, placed the sword of the Malkieri kings in his hands, named him Dai Shan, Diademed Battle Lord of the Malkieri, and swore the ancient oath of Malkieri kings and queens in his name. His mother placed a locket around his neck for remembrance and twenty of Malkier's best swordsmen carried him to Fal Moran in Shienar. Only five reached the city, all wounded. The surviving men taught the child all they knew of weapons and fighting the Blight.They train him to be the best sword master of his generation.

Most importantly:

Lan is very similar in characterization to Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Jordan described the character thus: "Lan is simply the man I always wished I could be."

Lan is RJ's guy- bar none. That is what I am going with. Gawyn is still the doof waiting outside his sweet baboo's tent every day for her to tell him to take a bath. If he had the sense the Creator gave him, he would go be the First Prince of the Sword to his sister, he would not have abandoned the Younglings and his few years of training does not trump a man that has been raised with the sword he has been given at birth. Sorry, but the intent- the will to do harm is everything, and Lan has that killer instinct. Gawyn- well, let's face it, he is way to wishy washy to be at Lan's level.

John Massey
80. subwoofer
And- lets look at this another way- how useless is Gawyn really? It will take something pretty spectacular in the next book to change most of the WoT's readers opinion of him. While Gawyn is busy... putzing around outside Egwene's tent on a daily basis- Lan is going to the Gap where the Last Battle is taking place. Lan is stepping up. We cannot say the same for Gawyn- best case scenario here, he is the doof that is going to stand in Rand's way and maybe duel him for "killing his mother".


If Gawyn wanted to be useful he'd have helped his sister secure the Andor Crown and then be mustering the rest of the country to help Rand at the Gap. Instead what do we see happen?

"Well, that worry was the sacrifice I demanded Gawyn," she said exasperated(how most of us feel about him)." Don't you see what a distrust you have shown me? How can I trust you if you will disobey me in order to feel more comfortable?"


"You love me Egwene," he said stubbornly."I can see it."... gag, the Twilight saga continues..."And you can't see how your uncertainty undermines anything we could have together?" -Eggy
"I can change. But you have to help me."" Which is why I wanted to talk later," she said. "Are you going to let me pass?"
"He stepped aside with obvious reluctance. "We're not finished with this talk," he warned. "I've finally made up my mind about something, and I don't intend to stop chasing it until I have it."
"Fine, Egwene said, passing him. " I can't think about that now. I have bigger fish to fry you donkey"... or words to that effect.

No way a boy with that kind of mindset would beat Lan in a sword fight. That's gotta be Aiel humor. Gawyn beating a warder that 2 out of 7 times in a controlled setting "beat" Lan. That's like saying 2+2 = chicken pot pie. Must be some kinda new math going on here.

Captain Hammer
81. Randalator
Kythorian @78

I get that people don't like Gawyn. I don't either. He is annoying and kind of an idiot. But he is very clearly presented as supposted to be a better blademaster than Lan. He killed Hammar a year ago, who was also one of the legendary Warders, and now beats another, with a second warder to boot with ease. I don't see how people can just reject what seems like extremely clear evidence being presented that Gawyn is supposted to be the best blademaster alive now just because they like Lan more...

Sorry, but I don't see that as "clear evidence" at all. Even Rand managed to beat a bonafide blademaster back in TGH when he was just past the don't-hack-off-your-own-foot stage. So Gawyn beating a blademaster + company doesn't tell us anything other than that he is a blademaster himself.

The way I see it the key to blademastery is experience and determination.Physical advantages will only get you so far when you're fighting against someone experienced. Lan has been trained since he was an infant and has been in action for the last 20 odd years, so he is as far up there as you can possibly get concerning experience. No other blademaster/warder has anywhere near his experience in fighting.

Now, Lan was already able to best a superior swordsman 20 years ago through sheer will and determination. Add 20 years of frontline badassery and no loss in will power or physical ability and I don't see how anything described in the novels up to this point could be clear evidence that Gawyn is a better blademaster than Lan.

Could Gawyn beat Lan in controlled circumstances like the sparring against Sleete? Yeah, two times out of seven, I guess, since Lan hasn't exactely become less capable recently. Could Gawyn beat Lan in a fight to the death? Not in a million years...
Drew Holton
82. Dholton
@57 Wortmauer

As I said there are exceptions. In Moiraine's case, both in your example and when she balefired Bel'al's ass, she had time to prepare, and knew what was needed. In fact, as I remember from TGH, she specifically went out and hunted down the weave for balefire (since it's forbidden by the Tower), knowing she would need it against the Foresaken. But when rushed, or when it's possible, the AS fefault to shielding.
Thomas Howard
83. didymos
OK, so lemme get this straight: Gawyn wins three sparring matches against two guys, one of whom managed to beat Lan twice years and years ago (and actually, it's simply said Sleete beat him. Said by whom? Sleete? Marlesh? Sleete fangirls/boys?) And yes, Marlesh is no chump, but he's also no Sleete and he's certainly no Gawyn and definitely no Lan, so how exactly is it that we know that Sleete+Marlesh is actually a tougher fight than just Aan'allein alone? Do we know a damn thing about how Sleete actually managed to pull off those victories? Were they resounding defeats or did he just barely scrape by? Do we have any reason to think Lan hasn't gotten even better since then? So on, so forth, ad nauseum.

So, given all these rather substantial uncertainties, why is it "clear" that these three wins can only mean "Therefore, Gawyn must pwn Lan"?

Sorry but...NOT PROVEN. More evidence is required to reach a verdict in the case of Trakand v. Mandragoran. Please re-file when said evidence becomes available.
Alice Arneson
84. Wetlandernw
Isilel @65 - Rand knew nothing about Lan leaving for the Borderlands until after he was long gone, so even if Lan would have accepted help, Rand had no opportunity to offer it. Not that Lan would have accepted it; as Freelancer said, Nynaeve had to trick him into accepting "anyone who wants to ride with you." (BTW, have you read the prologue for TofM yet?)

That said, it would make sense (now that he knows) for Rand to send help to meet Lan at Fal Moran. He refused in TGS, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find him doing exactly that, somewhere in the next two books. We'll see. In any case, we already know that Lan won't ride alone to Tarwin's Gap.

Kythorian @78 - Do we have any idea how long ago it was "when Mandragoran had been known to spar with other Warders"? It would have to be between 2 and 20 years, but we don't know. It might easily be as much as 10 to 15 years ago - years which might change the relative skill levels of Lan and Sleete. I.e., we don't know that Sleete could, at present, beat Lan in 2 of 7 bouts; we just know that he did at one time. And we do know that Lan had frequent need to use and hone his skills as Moiraine's Warder for 20 years. (To forestall the argument, Sleete is NOT one of the Younglings. He is Warder to Hattori, one of the TAS embassy to Rand. We don't know how old he is, nor how long he's been a Warder. For all we know, he could be older than Lan.)

FWIW, I'm holding out for Gawyn filling the blank in either #2 or #9 of Leigh's list of scene reactions to TofM.
Daniel Hanley
85. Kythorian
Fair are right that it is certainly not proven that Gawyn is better than Lan, but even if it isn't proof, there is at least a fair amount of evidence that Gawyn at least might be able to take Lan. I just find it strange that most people seem to completely reject this evidence apparently just because they prefer Lan as a character. Many people seem absolutely certain that Lan is the better than Gawyn based apparently entirely on their respective attitudes, and the idea that RJ wouldn't make such an annoying character the better swordsman.

It seems like those sparring matches should make people at least question that Gawyn might be the better blademaster now, or at least an equal match, but people keep responding with things like "Could Gawyn beat Lan in a fight to the death? Not in a million years...", etc. It just strikes me as an unwillingness to at least consider the (granted, not absolutely conclusive) evidence presented.

And yes, im sure it was probably 10+ years ago when Lan and Sleete sparred, and I'm sure Lan has gotten better, but so has Sleete. It also refers to Sleete's black hair, so he is unlikely to be older than Lan(i.e., he almost certainly has not become a worse swordsman based on age than he was when he fought Lan). And those were one on one fights. It seems likely that if Sleete was close enough to win even 2 out of seven times, together with even an inferior swordsman, he could have likely fairly consistantly beaten Lan at the time, and I just can't see Lan getting enough better to reverse that to the 100% winning with ease that Gawyn demonstrates. But I could be wrong. Its certainly not proof. But it is more evidence than we have for Lan's superiority, so people should at least accept that Gawyn might be Lan's better with a sword until we find out one way or the other (if we do).
John Massey
86. subwoofer
Hmmmmm... I see a lot of "mights" and "maybes" going on here. I'll add I also see Aiel humor and chicken pot pie. Yoiks!

We know that Lan has gotten infinitely better with the sword in the last little bit. If not evidenced by him working the forms on many occasions then from the level that Rand reached just working for a small period with Lan. Lan's "not sticking himself in the foot with a sword" is good enough to beat a blademaster.

Another thing I personally have learned, is to not base much of my conviction on what is written in TGS. We just don't know if what is said is RJ's intent or Brandon's interpretation. I qualify this by pointing out that much of the ammo and ire I had for Caddy came from the dreaded chapter. I was convinced that Cadsuane was just this side of Beelzebub, she really did leave me feeling raw. But if we look at RJ's body of work in regards to Cadsuane, she was written with an entirely different purpose in mind.

Gawyn, yeah he beat Hammar, but suddenly in TGS he has a couple of chapters where he has grown in leaps and bounds. Was this to give him credability in his upcoming duel with Rand? Maybe it makes Rand more awesome when he beats Gawyn single handed in their upcoming duel? Or maybe, like a couple of other characters, Brandon is finding the right tone to set with Gawyn. I said when TGS came out that no matter what was put to page, Gawyn is still a doof. I maintain this position. A little fancy footwork and a flashing blade does not erase what Gawyn is doing and his repeated demonstration of poor judgement. It will take much to excuse that.

Jonathan Levy
87. JonathanLevy
80. subwoofer
Regarding the scene with Gawyn & Egwene that you quoted.

I've always considered that scene to be utterly un-Jordanesque, and one of the major Sandersons of TGS. It ranks with Bryne explaining to Siuan that he doesn't like how easily she's taken to lying because it's bad for her psyche - and this 2 minutes before he asks her to bond him and they go on a daring rescue mission in the tower. (I'm quoting from memory here, sorry).

I hated reading that scene.

Jordan's WoT characters do not sit around blabbing about their emotions. They do not indulge in 2-cent psychoanalysis of each other's emotions. Sanderson's do this (but not too often, thankfully), and it makes them come across as cheap and shallow. It makes me cringe inside to read it.
Maiane Bakroeva
88. Isilel

I was talking about TGS when Rand already knew that Lan had/would have an army and counted on them providing distraction, whilst conveniently forgetting that one FS or a couple of Dreadlords helping the Shadowspawn hordes would be all it would take to quickly crush Lan's forces.
Things like that just go to show that making hard choices often doesn't lead to superior decision-making.

As Rand's conviction that Shadow would never guess that he intended to jump directly to Shaiol Ghul also shows. I mean, really, dude, it isn't like it's exactly the same thing that you pulled the last time ;).

Re: Lan sparring with warders, I struggle to imagine when it could have been - IIRC Moiraine stayed as far away from the WT as she could for the most part, as has been often enough mentioned in the earlier volumes. For the first 5 years after NS she had to hide from Sierin Vayu too...
Moiraine visited a short time before TEoTW, arranged the bond transfer to Myrelle and was issued an angreal, but before that it is all kind of murky and somewhat incongrous.
Charlie McMurchie
89. FromtheLangToun
Wetlandernw @ 55 I think you can claim self defence for a pre-emptive strike, if someone's out to get you why wait until they attack on their terms thus giving them an advantage, you go on your terms to increase your chances of winning & to remove a distraction from all the other concerns you have going on.

Re' the best swordsman, the advantages the Warder bond carries needs to be factored in. Gawyn's defeat of Warders points to him having exceptional skills. OTOH, we know how someone benefits in one of the later books from the bond (trying to avoid spoilers, most of you will know who I mean). Lan has that advantage & a lot more experience, I think he would come out on top v Gawyn or Galad but it'd be a close run thing.
John Massey
90. subwoofer
@JL- you do have a good point there, in all fairness. It is a matter of reading between the lines in TGS. What was RJ's intent and how did Brandon execute it? I think the crux of it all to me is, regardless of what Gawyn says the fact of the matter is he left his leadership role of the Younglings to go find Egwene. That burns me because he left his command of men that followed him and are basically viewed as outcasts from the Tower who are not summarily put in chains because they are needed and because of Gawyn's position in the world.

The other thing that bugged me is his choice to put Egwene above his duty to his sister. I was under the impression that way back when, Gawyn swore an oath over Elayne's crib that he would protect and bail her butt out no matter what. And even though the chapter's were a challenge to read, Elayne could have used some First Prince of the Sword help. Even Birgitte admits that beyond herself, there is no one else Birgitte can trust to lead and attack against an insurgent force as most of the support comes from ambivalent mercenaries.

Bottom line, regardless of the words spoken. Gawyn is sitting on his thumbs outside of Egwene's tent instead of being with his troops or his sister. As annoying as he is, can you imagine how happy Elayne would have been to have Gawyn and his group of Younglings show up on her doorstep to bolster her forces?

I'm just sayin'.

Antoni Ivanov
91. tonka
The Younglings are brainwashed idiots (except Gawyn, who is another kind of idiot, though I must say I like Gawyn). They will never do anything that the White Tower and an Aes Sedai does not approve. Except for Gawyn they are all awed by Aes Sedai. If Elaida ordered them to have Gawyn beheaded, his own younglings would do it in a heartbeat and call their duty done. Which does not excuse Gawyn for abandoning them of course, but he certainly could not have taken them to Caemlyn.

Btw I don't think that Gawyn knows that Elayne is in Caemlyn until very recently. He thought that Rand is there and since then he hasn't had any new information until he joins the Rebels in TGS but then it is too late already, Elayne has already secured her throne.
John Massey
92. subwoofer
Yes , the Younglings are... young. Heck if they had the sense God gave them, they would change their name straight off to something less noobish. I do get the impression however, that in light of recent events- Dumai's Wells- etc. that the Younglings do not have as much faith in Aes Sedai as they previously held. And IIRC Elaida is not Gawyn's biggest supporter.

Gawyn just figuring stuff out as to Elayne's whereabouts? Well... maybe so, but as soon as he heard of his mother's "death" Gawyn's first duty would be to get his bum back to his country. If he didn't know where Elayne was, it would be a safe bet that at some point she would be coming home. It would have been handy for him to at least be in the vicinity.

Lan and other warders- well warders are capable with swords, but there are other men out there outside the Tower that can use a sword, Borderlands, Sheinarans, Aiel etc. I am sure that Lan had the chance to practice with many of them. Beyond that, I am sure that Lan's experiences with Moiraine brought them in harm's way more than once so Lan has also been battle tested time and again. Fighting Myrddraal, Dark Friends, Trollocs, whatever else that has been thrown at him while looking for the Dragon Reborn, Lan has years of real world experience and has lived. I think the real world vs. practice with swords gives Lan an edge with experience.

Max Espensen
93. Andvari
Jonathan Levy@87:

I agree about the Gawyn/Egwene scene, it's horribly-written whoever it's by, though I would tend towards Sanderson. To be honest, RJ's romantic interactions were...not the best parts of his books either and the fade to fireplace scenes, whilst family-friendly were pretty cheesy too. The relationship I enjoy reading most in WoT is Mat-Tuon, all others seem a little contrived/idealistic or otherwise somewhat arbitrary. Having said that, the Rand-Min one is the best of the rest in that there seems to be an easily discernable progression and evolution of feelings. I simply don't get the whole Elayne-Rand one for example. She sees him fall over a wall, falls in love instantly (something I don't really believe is possible, lust or infatuation is possible pretty early on but to me love is based on many things, some of which you really need to know the person a bit better than 5 minutes for), has a few snogs in Tear. I suppose they were there for a few weeks, but it seems rather contrived. It'd be about as plausible and interesting to read a Dobraine-Talmanes slashfic. Hmm.
Chris R
94. up2stuff
I feel like we are all gathering up on Kythorian on the Gawyn vs. Lan thing. He can't help it if he's wrong. (Winks, Just kidding).

Kythorian, you DEFINATELY have a good point. Gawyn MIGHT be better. MIGHT! He IS warder trained, HAS beaten a top-notch opponent plus one, and does have no small amount of talent and experience what with his command of the Younglings and Gareth Bryne's training. But the reason most people disagree isn't that we like Lan better (although we do), there are simply many other factors that we are choosing to give more weight to than you are.

Again, Sleete beat Lan, true. Probably many times. But it could have been in a ring, with a clear floor and no obstacles OR, any other imaginable venue. Tree branches and roots in the ground tripping up footing, overhanging or narrow areas hampering sword swings/thrusts, any kind of obstacle. You admitted too, that it could have even been ten years ago.

The other thing is, we don't know Sleete's real world experience either. We know that Moiraine has been away hunting the DR for sooo long and Lan has been right there with her. Hattori and Sleete might have spent long periods of time at the tower. Even practicing and training, he may or may not have improved in the same increment as Lan.

One final thing I would like to mention. A friend of mine was teasing my grouchy cat one day. I told him watch out because she was a "witch" and would tear his hand off if she got mad enough. He kept reaching out and patting her on the nose, not hurting her, but making her madder. He said there was nothing to worry about. He had been studying martial arts for years and it was based on moving like a cat (Kung Fu maybe?). He said he had greatly improved his reflexes and he was fast enough he wouldn't get hurt.

After the bleeding stopped about 5 minutes later, we were looking at the deep scratch on the back of his hand and a couple tooth punctures on one side, and I pointed out that training LIKE a cat, doesn't mean he was AS FAST as a cat. He agreed. Gawyn is Warder TRAINED, not a Warder. He MIGHT be better, but I don't think so. I know, Sleete was but I think if it were even close, Lan's Warder bond would give him the final edge.
95. Shadow_Jak
I like you cat story.
A friend of mine had a similar experience with my dog once... ("Oh you know you ain't gonna bite me... ouch!")

Must point out that by considering the advantage of the Warder Bond, both Sleet and the other Warder also have it, and it didn't help much.
So once Gawyn bonds Teslyn he should be even better.
You didn't really think he's gonna let Eggy bond him do you!

But still, Lan wouldn't even work up a sweat on Gawyn

BTW, I didn't like that whole sparing match thing anyway. We've never seen sparing done with live blades before. Always with a simulated weapon of bundled lathes.
There's really no way to spar with real swords without either lots of padding or lots of blood
Thomas Howard
96. didymos
I think all we're supposed to take from that scene is that Gawyn has officially joined the ranks of the elite badasses-among-badasses in WOTLand: he's now in that company with Rand (pre-dehanding), Lan, Galad, Mat, etc. It's really irrelevant who's got the greatest skill in purely objective terms, because that's often not the only factor that decides any given actual, to-the-death, fight. You can be the most awesomest blademaster ever, but if you slip on some blood or whatever at just the wrong time, Random McSucksAtSwords can kill you to death in about a second flat.

And short of definitive authorial fiat on Twitter or whatever, or a scene where Gawyn beats Lan in sparring about 20 times in row or something, it's basically impossible to even make an objective judgement. This is why I personally have just said it's not proven Gawyn is better than Lan, rather than saying "Nuh-uh! Lan is TEH BEST EVAR!" I don't know that either. I certainly lean that way, but I can't prove it.

So, all that matters is this: could Gawyn now win against Lan? Yes, he's good enough to make that a real possibility but it's hardly a foregone conclusion, and there's no guarantee he'd live to enjoy his victory for long. I have trouble imagining that in such a hypothetical duel with Lan, Gawyn would come out unscathed, and it's fairly likely he'd be fatally scathed even if Lan went to the last embrace of the mother first.
Antoni Ivanov
97. tonka
About Gawyn-blademaster thing. I am sure that Gawyn can win against Lan as I am sure that Lan can beat Gawyn. I agree with didymos, the whole point was to show us that Gawyn is one of the top in the blademaster guild. And you can not really comare skill or results by Gawyn beating Sleete just because the later has beaten Lan. This is not transitive relation. Just because Boston beat Miami and Miami beat Lakers that does not mean that Boston will beat Lakers. (or soccer one just because Milan beat Man. Utd and Man Utd beat Real, you cannot say nothing about match between Real and Milan before it happens).
Alice Arneson
98. Wetlandernw
Regarding practicing with real swords, someone asked Brandon about it on the TGS tour, and he gave a MAFO. Final answer:
also answered a few questions as follows: about symbology, she said that RJ had some notes on that, and that the posts on 13th Depository are pretty accurate regarding this. About Gawyn's duel with Sleete, and the usage of real swords, she said she would have to look into that, since I had believed that normally practice swords are used.

Maria clarifies:

With novice swordsmen, the practice sword is very good because they can swing away with abandon and be swung at and at worse get a bruise. But there comes a time when a person must practice with a real sword, and not just shadow fencing. How does a sword feel when it hits another sword? How quickly can you come back from that? Practice with the weapon you are going to use in real combat is necessary. This is especially true if you are with an army in the field; you’re not playing at keeping in shape, you’re trying to make sure that you are at your absolute top form to keep from being killed when you come up against someone else with a pointy blade. These Warders are very, very good; they trust themselves to fight with real swords without damaging each other.

So, often they practiced with practice swords, but sometimes they practiced with real swords. There is a type of practice with real swords in the books. We see it in New Spring: the Novel, where Bukama “took the other two a little distance away with talk of some game called “sevens.” A strange game it seemed to be, and more than dangerous in the failing daylight. Lan and Ryne sat cross-legged facing one another, their swords sheathed, then without warning drew, each blade flashing toward the other man’s throat, stopping just short of flesh. The older man pointed to Ryne, they sheathed swords, and then did it again. For as long as she watched, that was how it went. Perhaps Ryne had not been so over-confident as he seemed.”

It’s not the same as when Gawyn faced Sleete and Marlesh, but it is experienced swordsmen practicing with real swords.

So. There you have it.
99. ONEwithPOWER
Sub @92 - Wow, did you just include the Aiel among those capable with the sword?! Cause I think they consider them fightin words! :) (unless of course you're referring to Aram..) ;)
100. Wortmauer
subwoofer@86: We know that Lan has gotten infinitely better with the sword in the last little bit.
We do? Lan's almost 50. Dude's a geezer. Way over the hill, when it comes to the physical sports. How do we know his furious practice is making him "infinitely better"? It might just be all he can do to maintain what edge he has in the face of his advancing years. They seem to have better health care in Randland than in the real world analog (1700s Europe), but the man's not young. I'm just saying.

I'm with Kythorian. It's kind of amazing to see this sheer blind trust that Lan, clearly the stronger character, is also of necessity a better swordsman than an athletic man half his age. Rand himself is pretty good evidence that if you have quality instruction and good instincts, and you work really hard, you can become a very good swordsman in a relatively short time.

You guys say things like "Well, that's a lot of mights and maybes." Indeed. So let's look at one possible comparison. Lan can best other blademasters, granted ... but when have we ever heard of him besting a blademaster and an accomplice who, though not a second blademaster, is clearly not chopped liver either?

Jonathan Levy@87: Jordan's WoT characters do not sit around blabbing about their emotions. They do not indulge in 2-cent psychoanalysis of each other's emotions. Sanderson's do this (but not too often, thankfully), and it makes them come across as cheap and shallow. It makes me cringe inside to read it.
Another thing we agree on. I too am thankful the pop psychology only comes out occasionally. Even if it didn't feel anachronistic, it's too much tell, too little show.
Isilel@88: Re: Lan sparring with warders, I struggle to imagine when it could have been
Maybe right around the time Elyas Machera taught him a lot about the Blight. Whenever that might've been.
FromtheLangToun@89: I think you can claim self defence for a pre-emptive strike, if someone's out to get you why wait until they attack on their terms thus giving them an advantage
Yeah ... you can claim anything you want. Good luck with that speech of yours in court.
Tina Pierce
101. scissorrunner
2+2=chicken pot pie
best laugh I've had in days.
Tina Pierce
102. scissorrunner
oops, double post

well I DID laugh pretty hard.....
103. Shadow_Jak
@ 98
Thanks for the info Wetlandernw.
Glad to see Maria's explanation... and it's a pretty good one... I'm OK with it... This is fantasy after all... It doesn't over-stress my "belief suspender" suspension... Not a bit... OK maybe a little.

I certainly agree that practice with live blades is needed. But full contact sparring, with multiple assailants does require me to beef up my belief suspension a bit. (air shocks maybe).

OTOH, the "Sevens" game I find easily believable. It's a simple formula, the moves are known. With very skilled heroes players... why not.
Alice Arneson
104. Wetlandernw
Wortmauer @100 - Let me quote from RJ:
- Warders don’t slow. They age at a natural pace, but they do maintain vitality and vigor beyond the levels associated with most ordinary men. That said, I recently saw a photograph of a man in his seventies who had an absolutely ripped six-pack. In fact, from the neck down, if you were told you were looking at somebody in his 20s or 30s, you’d just think he was in incredible shape. And he wasn’t bonded to anyone.
So, youthful arrogance aside, I don't think "Lan's almost 50. Dude's a geezer. Way over the hill" is entirely... accurate. Certainly not in the author's opinion.

Since this is not reality, we can't prove anything one way or the other. Should Lan and Gawyn meet and duel in the books, we'll find out which would win. I don't really see that happening, but... whatever. In that case, though, the one who would win is whoever the plot/Pattern needs to win, so all this wrangling is pretty pointless.

For the record, I'm not voting. I'm only (occasionally) pointing out errors in reasoning, one of which is the notion that when a man hits 50 he must of necessity be in poorer physical condition than someone in his 20s. Even IRL, that's demonstrably not true. For example, when my father was 75 he could still efficiently and effectively use a 24" chain saw at arms length for nearly half an hour without stopping. Could you, at whatever your age?
105. Shadow_Jak

regarding claiming self defense.
Local news a few years back... well actually quite a few years back, 91 maybe?
(about the time I started reading WOT!)

'Hot" burglary attempt, home owner had a gun, burglar did not. Home owner chased him out of the house, across the yard and shot him in the back as he was running away...

Self defense. Home owner was not charged.

His argument was pretty simple, the guy broke into an occupied home and got chased away, this time... But if allowed to get escape, he could easily have come back again with his own gun.

OK, that was not particularly related to the subject at hand, but I like the story anyway ;-)
Daniel Hanley
106. Kythorian
well self-defense laws vary pretty widely from state to state. Some states require that you attempt to run before using deadly force as an absolute last resort. Some states require that you can only use force proportional to the threat being put against you(i.e., you can't shoot someone who is threatening you with a knife), and other states give absolute discression if someone is in your house (meaning you can shoot someone even if they have given absolutely no indication that they are armed in any way just because they broke into your house).

But yes, there have been isolated examples of people not being charged for killing someone in a pre-emptive strike based on it being ruled as self-defense. Generally in cases where someone has threatened someone's life and left, but that person reasonably believed that going to the police would not protect them(ex-they have little evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of the person who threatened them, meaning its probably just their word against the other guys, and given their death threat, they are probably going to go ahead and kill you if try and get them arrested). So they go out, find the guy, and kill them. And walk. Other times very similar cases have gone to trial, so again, it can vary state to state and DA to DA, really.

To Wetlandernw @ 104, I do kind of disagree...while there are some people over 50 who are in very good shape for their age, and could easily out-run/out-muscle/etc the average 20 year old, there is always some physical deterioration as you age. So a 20 year old in peek physical shape is always going to be in better shape than even a peek physical shape 50 year old. It happens a long time before 50, really...thats why there are no professional athletes over 40(in most sports, at least. Some sports it gets fairly rare to see people over 30). Even in the best shape they can be for a 40 year old, they can't match the best shape a 25 year old can be in.

But maybe the Bond makes up for this, we really don't have any way of knowing.
John Massey
107. subwoofer
Two Several things here. One- this is fantasy, not RL so what the author-RJ says, goes.

Two- let us not forget my previous quote that if RJ could, he would be Lan. No way the author would create another character more awesome that the one he wants to be.

Three- Randy Couture

Four- we are not talking about the average 20 year old and the average 50 year old. We are talking about a princeling and Lan. Best of the best. All that happy goodness.

Five- dang it, I'm going to find my ACoS and there is a chapter- 12 "A Morning of Victory" that show's Lan's badness at just going through the forms. The other warders are even paying attention.

Six- nope, Aiel don't use swords. But they are awesome fighters and Lan has killed quite a few. That is the "practice" I was talking about.

Seven- Ask Freelancer, he's pushing triple digits and can still whoop butt.

Eight-@100- preemptive?

Nine-holy moo! I can't even believe we are having this debate. It's a gimme. Unless we are using new math over here, and in that case I want a crack at that chicken pot pie- mmmmm salty goodness. One freakin' chapter about dipstick doing some stuff in a barn and suddenly he's the best thing since sliced bread.

Gawyn is being set up for a big fall. That's it. He will go through his Ingo Montoya schtick and might actually slap Rand in the face with a glove. Maybe Gawyn feels all chagrined and fights back to back with Rand redeeming himself. I dunno. Bottom line, RJ is rolling over in his grave that we are even going there.

Julian Augustus
108. Alisonwonderland
To divert the discussion away from the purely hypothetical and unwinnable "who will win if A fights B" theme, here's something I just came across in my first re-read of TGS since the original, as I get ready for for ToM in a few days.

It has always seemed to me obvious that the Seanchan prophecies of the Dragon were doctored, in large part because it seemed to me inherent in the setup of the story that the Dragon, the prophesied saviour of the world, MUST be free to fight the DO in whatever way HE chooses, and CANNOT be subject to orders or instructions from any quarter. So, when we have two mutually exclusive prophesies, one saying he will bind the Seanchan Empress to serve him, and another saying he must kneel to the Seanchan Empress, it seems clear to me that the one saying he must be subservient to the Seanchan Empire is a lot of hooey. Not to mention that consideration of the relative motives and opportunities to tamper with the prophecies on either side of the Ocean should lead to a similar conclusion. It seemed a given to me.

To my surprise, I found so many other posters who seem to think it possible that BOTH prophecies can be true, and have invented some really creative scenarios to make the two mutually exclusive events occur! Even my good friend Wetlander, whose intellect I hold in the highest regard, is reserving judgement on the issue, in case RJ can somehow make the impossible happen.

Well, let me stack the deck further against the "kneeling to the Empress" idea. TGS ch 35, A Halo of Blackness, p543, Rand is having the summit with Toun, and here are Toun's thoughts:

The Last Battle would be between the Empire and the forces of the Dark One. Everybody knew that. The prophecies clearly showed that the Empress would defeat those who served the Shadow, and then she would send the Dragon Reborn in to duel with Lighteater.

Say what? But wait, as they say in commercials, there's more. Page 545, Rand has just informed Tuon that he won't allow channelers to be leashed:
Tuon's guards-Selucia included-gritted their teeth, and the guards dropped hands to sword hilts. He had interrupted her twice in a row. The Daughter of the Nine Moons. How could he be so bold?
He was the Dragon Reborn, that was how. But his word were foolishness. He would bow before her, once she was Empress. The prophecies demanded it. Surely that meant that his kingdoms would join with the Empire.

So there you have it. The Essanik Cycle clearly says he will be a subservient to the Seanchan Empress, while the Karaethon Cycle clearly says the Seanchan Empress will serve him. This is not a contradiction that can be resolved by him tripping and falling on his knees while talking to Tuon, as some posters have so creatively advanced to try and square the circle. It has to be one or the other, it can't be both. I'm curious to see if the believers in the "Rand will kneel" theory have a way to still support the validity of that prophecy.
Janet Hopkins
109. JanDSedai
re: bowing before the Crystal Throne

Alisonwonderland's quote doesn't say that the Prophecy means that Randland will be subserviant. Just that that's what Tuon *thinks* it means.
Alice Arneson
110. Wetlandernw
Alisonwonderland @108 - Thanks for the diversion - and the shoutout. :)

FWIW, my main reason for reserving judgement is along the line of JanDSedai's point @109 - that most of what we've seen of the Seanchan versions of prophecy are not direct quotes, but interpretations by characters who assume that "of course it means _______ ." Every time someone says "the prophecies (or the Foretelling, or viewing, or vision, or dream) obviously means..." whatever, I assume that the prophecy (Foretelling, viewing, vision, dream) is probably valid but will actually be fulfilled in some way that is likely very different and maybe even diametrically opposed to what they expect. The exceptions are when Egwene knows what her dream means and when Min knows what her viewing means. Even then, Egwene's dreams only show possibilities, and sometimes the "how" is still very different than she expected, even though the "what" is exactly what she understood.

That said... I'm quite sure that Tuon will not be giving orders to Rand. Nor will Egwene, for that matter. Or rather, they may give orders, but Rand will politely ignore them if they do. (Is that possible? I think so...) He will do what he needs to do, and will give them the opportunity to help him do it, but if they try to interfere with his plans they'll find out they don't have as much power as they thought. On the other hand, they might find out that by working with him, they'll have more power than they thought. And it's quite possible (and I hope it happens!) that if they approach their respective meetings with Rand as though they were consultations rather than confrontations, Rand will listen to their input and modify (improve?!) his plans accordingly.

Okay, so obviously I'm assuming that sometime soon Rand will meet with both Egwene and Tuon, and in his new persona. :) He might even be polite enough to satisfy Cadsuane, too. Wouldn't that be fun?
Antoni Ivanov
111. tonka
@108. Alisonwonderland:
I agree with Wet and JanDSedai. What you quote is rather Tuon's interpretation of the prophecies. I don't think if we ever heard the actual prophecy (maybe that "he will kneel to the Crystal Throne" was a quote ?"). Anyway, I believe that both set of prophecies has been tampered with. 3000 years even if we ignore Ishamael being free from time to time (which anyone does at their own peril) only time and translations from the old tongue are enough to see that what we have today is somewhat different from the original.
Holly Finnen-Stewart
112. Branwhin
On Rand bending knee to either Egwene/the Tower or Fortuona/the Seanchan:

Seanchan: Don't think so. I really think Ishy was messing with them especially in that particular line; and given how exceedingly hierarchical the Seanchan are, I think kneeling before the Crystal Throne would be a mistake. But RJ has surprised me before; not completely ruling it out.

The Aes Sedai: five words. He's said them before (likely). "Please allow me to serve." Egwene knelt before the Hall when she was brought forward as candidate for Amyrlin. Twice. The Dragon, as the Servant of All, might well be no exception. And I think that would be epic. Especially if there are men involved.

But in either case, I agree that Rand must be free to do what he needs to.

Thomas Keith
113. insectoid
Been lurking since the Lan v. Gawyn debate started (as well as trying on suits). Now that it looks to be winding down (thank you Alisonwonderland)...

Sub @107:

Seven- Ask Freelancer, he's pushing triple digits and can still whoop butt.

I almost fell out of my chair laughing. (Sorry about that Free!)

Branwhin @112: I'll see your *twitch* and raise you an eight-days-till-drop-date *shiver* ;)

Jonathan Levy
115. JonathanLevy
90. subwoofer
I think the crux of it all to me is, regardless of what Gawyn says the fact of the matter is he left his leadership role of the Younglings to go find Egwene. That burns me because he left his command of men that followed him and are basically viewed as outcasts from the Tower who are not summarily put in chains because they are needed and because of Gawyn's position in the world.

Well... yes, but also a bit no. First, Gawyn considers the Younglings outcast from the tower mainly because of Elaida's attempts to contrive a convenient death for Gawyn. The individual Younglings do not consider themselves outcast from the tower - otherwise, Gawyn would have been able to lead them into Egwene's camp.

The main reason the Younglings are not trusted by Elaida is because Gawyn is considered too independent and too unreliable. By abandoning them, he solves that problem for them.

As for helping Elayne, well, he hasn't known where she is for a long time. First Salidar, then Ebou Dar, then a turtle-march to Caemlyn. True, Elayne has been in Caemlyn for a while, (counting minor houses on her toes in her bath) but Gawyn has been doing hit-and-run raids for a while now, which tends to put one out of touch with the rest of the world. If he heard that Elayne is in Caemlyn, it's probably just one of a dozen rumors placing her in other parts of the world, or denying that she's there.

We've berated Gawyn a lot for jumping to conclusions based on rumors. If he had gone raring off to find Elayne in Caemlyn based on a rumor, would we have accepted it as logical and sensible? Or would we have just used it to criticize Gawyn's character and Jordan's portrayal of him?

It might have been different if, for example, if Tarna Feir had provided Gawyn with positive information on Elayne's location, after Egwene had spoken to him in his dreams every night for the last week asking him to come to her, just as Jisao rode up to say that Bryne had them strategically surrounded, and they would have to fight a running battle for two weeks to extricate themselves. Then we would have seen him in a real dilemma. An Acceptatron-like moment, even. But all things considered, I think I prefer to be grateful for every moment of screen-time denied to Gawyn and given to other characters.

I see tonka @ 91 has made similar points.

93. Andvari
I agree about the Gawyn/Egwene scene, it's horribly-written whoever it's by, though I would tend towards Sanderson. To be honest, RJ's romantic interactions were...not the best parts of his books either

Ha! True indeed. I'm was just re-reading a bit of TSR where Egwene and Elayne visit Rand to transfer ownership of him. It's an awkward scene, though to be fair such scenes are often awkward in real life. What's funny is that after the girls leave, the Lords of Tear come in, and Rand has a long argument with them when all he's really thinking about is Elayne and Egwene. That's pretty well written, I think.

96. didymos
In my opinion you've said all that needs to be said about the Gawyn/Lan argument. I think far too much ink has been wasted on it. It reminds me of something a co-worker once said (on the nature of religious arguments): "Which of us has the bigger imaginary friend?".

105. Shadow_Jak
Are you trying to derail the Lan/Gawyn thread by reviving the gun control discussion? Talk about fighting fire with fire... :)

112. Branwhin
Isn't there some prophecy about Aes Sedai washing the Dragon's feet with their hair? I vaguely remember one of the supergirls saying wryly to the person who quoted it to her "You will have to wait a long time if you expect to see me wash anyone's feet with my hair".
Thomas Howard
116. didymos
Re: foot washing, it comes from the Jendai Prophecy of the Sea Folk:

The White Tower shall be broken by his name, and Aes Sedai shall kneel to wash his feet and dry them with their hair.

Personally, I think this may just be a fancy way of saying they'll swear to serve him, in which case it's been fulfilled.

That said, it's interesting to note that when Egwene was put forth for the Amyrlin Seat, she had to kneel and wash the feet of those who hadn't stood for her and say "Please, allow me to serve."

The existence of this ritual among the Aes Sedai, so close to what's in the Jendai Prophecy, makes me think it may actually happen at some point. However, given that the AS ritual has that "Please, allow me to serve" bit, it could be taken as supporting the "fancy language, already fulfilled" interpretation.
117. Freelancer
Sheesh, stay busy for a few days, and your name gets used in vain in your absence.


Got your geezer right here, pal. Stand you up and set you down in any sport you choose. Someone who lived a life such as Lan's would be a very long distance from feeble, and not likely even on the downward slope at 50.

sub ~ I'll see your Coutoure, and raise you a LaLanne. Dude. And, although not quite in the same league, a guy who deserved the title The Old Man.
Grainne McGuire
118. helen79
@108: Seanchan+DR prophecies

I don't have the books here to check but here's a thought:

Rand has to bind the Nine Moons (RL prophecy). He has to bow before the Empress (Tuon's thoughts). Is it possible that the Empress and Nine Moons are two different things but in the same person so he can bow to one persona and command the other?

I also note here that Tuon is no longer Daughter of the Nine Moons so can binding the Nine Moons refer to her? But perhaps another name for the empress is Nine Moons.
a a-p
119. lostinshadow
I always assumed that Rand had fulfilled the binding the Nine Moons to him part of the prophesy when Mat and Tuon got married. Rand may not have been aware of it but Mat is definitely bound to Rand and his marriage to Tuon (who was the Daughter of the Nine Moons at the time) binds her to him as well.
Antoni Ivanov
120. tonka
The prophecy says that he will bind the nine moons to him not the daughter of the nine moons, so it obviously does not refer to Tuon while she was Daughter of the Nine Moons.
121. John1948
Whoever cleans up the comments, please remove 114 Rita1986. We don't need advertisers posting here.
Tricia Irish
122. Tektonica
Alert!! We have a spammer @114!!

Is the "Mine's bigger than Yours" debate over? Whew and RAFO.

I certainly have no clue how it's going to be resolved, but I agree with Wetlander and others, there's just no way Rand can not be free to do what he needs/has to do. He must be in charge.
I also agree, that if they approach Rand "as though they were having consultations rather than confrontations," they'd not only find a welcome listener, but also find more power for themselves.

Rand was not an unreasonable person in the first few books of this series. He was misled and uninformed many times by various Aes Sedai, (even my fave, Moraine, was very closed mouthed about her motivations, while trying to steer him in her own direction), and as his mistrust grew, and he accepted his death sentence in order to save the world, the hardness appeared and grew. He was totally overwhelmed and underprepared, with the weight and fate of the world on his shoulders.....and he had very little sympathy from those who were pushing and prodding him for their own ends.

I just can't help but wonder what he would've been like, if he had been dealt with more openly and honestly? I know, it would be a different book series, probably much shorter! And it would've required much more communication and less self-interest on all parts!
John Massey
123. subwoofer
No! The debate is not over:P

How about this? Lan's so bada$$ his unborn children can kick Gawyn's butt?

John Massey
124. subwoofer
Rand- well here's the thing, he's not just dealing with one crisis, Rand has the whole world up in flames. Arad Doman, Tarabon, Illan, Cairhien, Amadicia etc. all these places are vying for Rand's attention. It is like a bunch of lobbiests saying "pick me" when Rand has armageddon on his doorstep to boot.

I think Rand's big thing is that he internalizes everything and he is trying to micro-manage the world. Won't work. He has started to delegate and use people he trusts, now the next step is to give better instructions so people know what he expects and to also let things slid off his back. Rand cannot be everything to everyone and win. I think the big thing is that Rand has come to this conclusion at the end of TGS. It is like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders. Do what you can, get the important stuff done, and the small stuff can take care of itself.

James Hogan
125. Sonofthunder
And 114 has now been balefired. Yay!

Sub @123, I almost spit out my sandwich. Thanks for that. And for what it's worth(I know I'm late, but have to put my word in!), I also found Gawyn's rise to blademaster prominence in TGS a little weird. Came out of left field, as it were. I always thought Galad was the better of the brothers, but apparently Gawyn is now the best. Um...alright. Even approaching Lan status! I'm another disbeliever that Gawyn is better than Lan. Would he beat Lan 3/7 times? Possibly. We've been hit over the head enough times that on any given Sunday the most backwoods farmer could take Blademaster Champion, but I cannot say "Gawyn is a better blademaster than Lan" and keep a straight face. Just can't do it.

Also, this chapter is one of my favs ever. Rand may be hardening, icy cold eyes and all...but he's still got Lan's back. "When the sun turns green." Sure, a cheesy line...but gosh if it doesn't give me goosebumps every time.
126. hamstercheeks
Thanks for the entry, Leigh! The edge of the rooftop scene is definitely a CMOA. As for Nynaeve not killing anyone, a couple of people have posted this already, but the first time she killed someone was at Falme--"...she had seen one of the soldiers, or his body rather, burn from the ball of fire she made and hurled at them." (TGH, ch.40) That was self-defense, of course.

Jonathan Levy@87: Agree about the emotional psychoanalysis being out of place in Jordan's WoT. In a perfect world, RJ would have finished the series. But, like Rand and Lan, Sanderson understands and accepts the responsibility of completing this epic. I think he's doing great.

Branwhin@112: It was Nynaeve who said that she wasn't about to wash anyone's feet with her hair anytime soon (TSR, ch.19). That's a pretty funny image... Nynaeve does have long hair...

Gawyn's character development has been going downhill since LOC. Did his charging into the WT fulfill Egwene's Dream of him saving her from the chopping block? Ugh, he's still objectionable.

TOM out NEXT WEEK. Holy Lord. Tor's servers will probably explode.
Daniel Smith
127. Smittyphi
"Hey, look, another point of contention for the Gawyn-Lan debate. Lets toss it in (chuckling maniacally)."

Yes Gawyn killed an acknowledged Blademaster in Hammar but all we get is the fact that he killed him while Hammar was attempting to rescue Siuan. No details of the fight were given. Did everyone just pause in the upheaval while Gawyn and Hammer fought it out? Heck no. We can't effectively evaluate Gawyn's win.

Lan, with Rand, are ambushed by Fain and Toram. Rand chases Fain while Lan dispatches Toram despite the ambush. Although one might say it isn't an ambush because Rand and Lan knew it was a trap, the two dead Asha'man certainly surprised Rand and Lan, giving Toram the advantage anyway.

Edit: Lan is 47-48
Julian Augustus
128. Alisonwonderland
Comments @118-120:

You are leaving out an important part of the prophecy. The actual statement is: he shall bind the Nine Moons to serve him.
Tess Laird
129. thewindrose
Don't forget that it is Lan Mandragoran, so Lan is like a Man Dragon:)
And he has a special name given to him by the Aiel - Aan'allein - a man who is an entire nation(of blademasters;;).

Alice Arneson
130. Wetlandernw
Re: Gawyn - his own thoughts from CoT prologue:

Gawyn sighed. He should have gone home when he returned to Tar Valon and found the Younglings expelled from the city, instead of letting himself be caught here by winter. Especially when he was sure Elaida wanted them all dead. His sister Elayne would come to Caemlyn eventually, if she was not already there....
Grainne McGuire
131. helen79
My (perhaps badly phrased) half-baked idea is that Fortuona as Nine Moons has different responsibilities than fortuona the Empress. So Rand goes "Empress I bow to you", then "Nine Moons, you must obey me".

Perhaps Tuon becomes a main political force in RL and as political leader, Rand must bow before her. However, Rand is sort of akin to a religious leader (only loosely - but he is dealing with salvation of RF) and thus political leaders should follow his instructions in the battle for the pattern.

But, this isn't even quarter baked and the most parsimonious solution is Ishmael tinkering with wording here and there.
Thomas Keith
132. insectoid
Flagged the spammer as soon as I saw it. (Thanks Insect!)

Sub @123: ROFL!!

Hamster @126:
TOM out NEXT WEEK. Holy Lord. Tor's servers will probably explode.

And our mouse's scroll wheels will break from over-scrolling, and our keyboards will spontaneously combust from F5 overuse. This I Foretell. ;)

Wind @129: Ooh... A Man Who is a Dragon Blademaster.

Gregg Sivyer
133. Destroyer
Insectoid @132: You forgot that there shall be much wailing and gnashing of teeth in your Foretelling.
Marcus W
134. toryx
In totally unrelated to much of anything news, my partner won a free, signed copy of ToM in a recent event. Yay!
135. Freelancer
Sonofthunder @125

No, "When the Sun turns green" is not a cheesy line. Now, had it been, "When the Moon turns green"...

To those folks hunting for a formula which allows all of the prophecies be true, it isn't likely. As for Fortuona, the Seanchan imperial court is called the Court of the Nine Moons. The Empress IS the embodiment of the Nine Moons. While she was the heir apparent, her title was Daughter of the Nine Moons. With no surviving family, Daughter no more. The idea that Rand can bow to the Empress, but command the Nine Moons, has no textual support. They are the same person, at the same status. People can say Rand is the Car'a'carn, the Coramoor, or the Dragon Reborn, but from whichever angle you approach him, it is one person. Expecting to obey the Car'a'carn while ignoring the Dragon Reborn will not work.
Thomas Keith
136. insectoid
Destroyer @133: Oh yeah... There will be wailing, gnashing of teeth, twitching, wondering when the next book will come out, polls, cage matches, comment-number-year puzzles, new math, a prime number hunt, lost bandwidth. random unexplained errors, and (by December) begging for a new spoiler thread. By then the thread will be only mostly dead. (The first TGS Open-Spoiler Thread lasted 6 weeks.)

Free @135: Mmmm... green cheese. ;)

Roger Powell
138. forkroot
Well, while we wait for TOM, it's almost time for forkroot's "Top Ten Things that won't happen in TOM." Recall that I scored a perfect ten for ten with my predictions for TGS (i.e. all ten things that I said wouldn't happen, didn't happen.)

Since Tor seems to think that links to their own website might be spam (doh!) - you'll need to cut/paste this if you wish to go back and review the old predictions:
139. Shadow_Jak
Jonathan @115

Are you trying to derail the Lan/Gawyn thread by reviving the gun control discussion? Talk about fighting fire with fire... :)

That transparent huh? Got to work on my sneaky diplomatic skills
Roger Powell
140. forkroot
Hopefully you've all reviewed last year's successful predictions. So with my prowess fully demonstrated, you are safe in assuming that none of the ten events described below will occur:

1) Mazrim Taim channels near a Portal Stone and ends up being transported to Downtown Phoenix, Arizona in our world. Unfortunately he comes late on the night of Halloween and the only business open is Bert Easley's costume shop. Taim's odd clothing is just attributed to the holiday.

Unable to speak our language, he ends up communicating with sign language. His gold pieces are accepted and he leaves with several fake swords, a squirt flower, a whoopee cushion, a fake rubber vomit patch, and a box of Chinese handcuffs. Disgusted with modern day Earth, he channels near the Portal Stone again and returns to WoT-land.

2) Rand has his long-awaited meeting with Egwene. They begin negotiating and things are going well. Rand excuses himself to go to the bathroom. Egwene points out that the Amyrlin has a personal restroom, and lets him use it. He leaves the seat up. Egwene discovers this and is really angry.

3) Idrien Tarsin discovers cyanoacrylate glue (aka Super-Glue). She shows this to Rand when he visits and he takes several tubes as he can see its usefulness. He gives a tube to Harine din Togara Two Winds and tells her it's lip gloss.

4) Logain's faction battles Taim's faction for control of the Black Tower. Taim's faction escapes through a gateway to a deserted area north of the Blight, followed in hot pursuit by Logain's forces. In an epic battle, the Dark Asha'man are destroyed, leaving behind a few artifacts. The victorious Asha'man laugh in relief and joy as they search through the artifacts and discover the case of Chinese handcuffs.

Soon every one of them has his two forefingers caught. They all laugh and joke about it until they suddenly realize that they are stuck out in the middle of nowhere, and not one of them knows how to channel without waving his hands. They redouble their efforts to escape the Chinese handcuffs, but are unable to.

As they sit there waiting to die of starvation, suddenly a gateway opens up and Cadsuane appears. She teaches the Asha'man to hold their fingers vertically and close together, letting the Chinese handcuffs relax. Soon they are free.

5) Rand attempts another meeting with (now) Fortuona. In the meantime, the Seanchan have gained the secret of Traveling, and have brought a critical artifact over from the Seanchan continent.

As Rand approaches Fortuona, she is sitting on a giant Crystal Throne. What happens next astonishes everyone as Rand's ta'veren nature sets up a resonance with the throne. It vibrates violently, distressing the Empress.

Fortuona: "I have never had this happen! I fear it may explode."

Rand: "Not to worry. My old memories tell me these ter'angreal usually have an on/off switch.He kneels down in front the throne and starts feeling underneath it with his one hand.

Rand: "Ah! Here we go..."

He flips an unseen toggle switch on the bottom, and the throne stops vibrating

Fortuona: "You truly are a man of wisdom ... I agree to work with you"
(She offers her hand)

6) As Rand rises and prepares to shake hands with Fortunona, he realizes his hand is covered with dirt from the bottom of the thone. He quickly shoves it into his pocket and rubs it against the fabric in an attempt to clean it. Unbeknownst to him, he also shatters one of his remaining tubes of Super Glue. He only discovers his mistake after clasping hands firmly with Fortuona.

(sometime later)

Fortuona: "I find this need to spoon-feed you tiresome"
Rand: "Quit yer bitching. At least you have a hand free to do things with"

7) Mat reunites with Elayne and co. in Camelyn, while preparing to leave for Moiraine's rescue. Birgitte gives her old drinking buddy a priceless gift - two glowbulbs from the Age of Legends recovered from the Black Ajah drop house.

Mat enters the Tower of Ghenji and negotiates with the Finns for Moiraine's release. He offers to play "this game" with them as he holds out Olver's "Snakes and Foxes" board. The Finns immediately agree; only then do they realize that Mat has tricked them when he turns over the board to reveal it is a actually a game of Risk™!

The Finns grumble, but sit down to play. Mat positions the two glowbulbs - one to light the left side of the board (the Western Hemisphere) and one to light the right (Eastern Hemisphere.)

The game commences. Mat's legendary luck with the dice continues and soon he has the Finn armies in full retreat as his pieces sweep across the map of the world.

When he, Thom, Noal, and Moiraine depart, Mat leaves one of the glowbulbs as a goodwill gesture to discourage the Finns from any last minute tricks.

8) On the eve of Tarmon Gaidon, Mesaana leaves 30 books of Sudoku puzzles in the White Ajah main lounge, effectively crippling the White Ajah.

9) Brandon Sanderson, with his non-WoT career on the rise, realizes that he needs to prevent being sidetracked by the "Outrigger" novels. So he bypasses Team Jordan and inserts a scene in Tor's final TOM manuscript which has Elayne experimenting with an angreal that "accidentally" balefires Fortuona. Rand is relieved, Mat is pissed.

10) And finally ... Rand and company Travel to Shayol Ghul. They enter the hole in the side of the mountain and make their way toward the center. It's very hard to breathe as the air is rich in natural gas.

They can't see, so Rand takes out a torch. He can't channel to light it, so asks for suggestions. (Un)fortunately, Alivia had previously acquired a few of Aludra's fire sticks, so she hands one to Rand........
141. BenM
Hi Leigh,

We were happy for y’all with your Saints winning your championship last year. That said, sorry, but I gotta say, woohoo, Go Browns! And to steal a line from Sub: WOOF! Yeah, I know they still suck. What are ya gonna do? Actually, to be honest, they’ve put up a heck of a fight all year long. They’ve been in pretty much every game. What Mangini’s done with hardly any talent, a boatload of injuries, and probably the worst receiving corps in the NFL is amazing. Anyone who thinks this guy can’t coach the heck out of a football team doesn’t know much about football.

Good luck against the hated Stillers.

Tricia Irish
142. Tektonica
Forkroot@140: Brilliant! I almost lost my supper on the keyboard!

I'm going to come back and read this when the going gets rough in ToM and I need comic relief.
Well done and thank you!
John Massey
143. subwoofer
@Forkroot-#6- you forgot the most important thing- if Rand has to take a wiz (8:45).... yes, I went there.

Edit- go there? Heck, I live there.

Thomas Keith
144. insectoid
Fork @138/140: How could we forget? ROFLMAO!! ::clutching sides::

Thomas Keith
147. insectoid
Wetlander @146: Seems we're more reliable than the spam filter... :)

Alice Arneson
148. Wetlandernw
insectoid @147 - Us, FTW! ;) Either we care more, or we have better brains. Maybe both?

Jonathan Levy
149. JonathanLevy
116. didymos
Thanks for the quote, Didymos.
Originally I thought this would be fulfilled by Aes Sedai recognizing the Dragon in an Amyrlin-seat-raising-like ceremony, possibly with a unification between the white and black towers. But too many things have happened since then (e.g. Nicola's foretelling), so I've fallen back to pretty much the interpretation you gave.

123. subwoofer
Lan's unborn children are probably also Nynaeve's, so that gives him a grossly unfair advantage.
How about: Lan's so bada$$ that his 1-week-old eyes-still-closed puppies can kick Gawyn's butt?
(Also, I recently watched Million Dollar Baby again. Remember the scene where the 50-year-old retired half-blind boxer who is now a janitor gets pissed off and boxes a few teeth out of the uppity (whoops!) youngster? Hehehehe...)

131. grainster
I had a paragraph written here, but I see Freelancer @ 135 has addressed it much more ably.

139. Shadow_Jak
That transparent huh? Got to work on my sneaky diplomatic skills

A noble cause, yet doomed to failure. Only gun control or homosexual marriage can derail a Lan/Gawyn thread. Though I think if both of them were living in Far Madding, they would make a very cute couple....
(ducks for cover)

Very nice! :)

@ All
Speaking of :: twitching ::
I checked my Amazon orders today and noticed that the ToM pre-order has... shipped.



Now granted, I live abroad, and the expected delivery date is Nov 13th, but...

:: twitch ::
150. Wortmauer
forkroot@140: I think you won this thread. 3) and 8) were particularly good. Lip gloss! Sudoku!

(I do try to say something of value every post, but what could I possibly add? As I said, you already won this thread.)
James Hogan
152. Sonofthunder
forkroot @140...awesomeness. I particularly liked your non-predictions of Mat dominating the Finns at RISK and Mesaana distracting the Whites with Sudoku. Just what I like to wake up to(well, along with my morning coffee, that is)...great start to my day!! :)

Oh and to any darksiders/facebookers...Brandon posted a picture of one of the books he signed with a limerick. I was instantly suspicious of y'all. Hmmm...

You know what's weird? Realizing that ONE WEEK from today I will be driving into town at lunch to visit a certain bookstore to pick up a certain book..
Thomas Howard
153. didymos
As far as the Lan issue goes, I say we....Embrace Derailment! To that end, everyone should now start posting "Lan Facts". For example:

Lan is so good with the sword, he delivered himself via caesarean section. He called it "Parting The Womb".

Thomas Keith
154. insectoid
Let the mad twitching begin... one week till drop date!

Oh wait... it already has. Well, um... Points for the most creative twitch? ;)

Didymos @153: ROFL!!

*twitchity shivery twitch*

Jonathan Levy
155. JonathanLevy
Ok, here's something to help pass the time until the twitching stops. I stumbled upon it during a re-read. I don't know if this has been noted before, but in any case I'd appreciate some help to see if I'm right or if I missed somthing.

TDR:50 Loial speaks of Be'lal:
"He is not much mentioned, except in the razing of the Hall of the Servants just before Lews Therin Kinslayer and the Hundred Companions sealed him up with the Dark One"

However, in TSR:26, Rand is in the glass columns, looking through Jonai's eyes:
"No one questioned his entering the Hall of the Servants..."
From the context it is clear that this is after the Strike on Shayol Ghul:
"Can we trust Kodam and his fellows, Solinda?"
"We must, Oselle. They are young and inexperienced, but barely touched by the taint, and . . . And we have no choice."

Ok. So we are told:
1) The Hall of the Servants was razed just before the Strike on Shayol Ghul.
2) The Hall of Servants was still standing after the Strike on Shayol Ghul.

This seems like a contradiction.

Of course, it can be worked around with a few mental gymnastics, e.g. there were several halls, or it was razed and rebuilt half a dozen times, or the historians were wrong, or Loial got mixed up, etc. etc. But to me it seems like a small slip in the timeline by RJ.

Any comments?
Thomas Howard
156. didymos
OK, so what exactly does "just before" mean? That's pretty non-specific. Also, I see no particular problem with them rebuilding it given the OP mastery that existed back then, or simply moving into another building in the city and declaring that it was now the Hall Of Servants. I mean, it's not like they suddenly stopped having meetings, or all migrated en masse to some other city, or stopped being "The Servants" so...

Really, the latter seems like the most likely scenario during wartime.
Barry T
157. blindillusion
Lan Fact:
al'Lan Mandragoran walked into a bar. 30 seconds later Chuck Norris ran out crying.

Daniel Smith
158. Smittyphi
Didymos @ 153 LOLOLOL!!

Insectoid @ 154 Most creative twitch?
As I wheel Insectoid into the Looney Bin the nurse asks, "What's wrong with him?"
"He won't stop twitching and he mutters words like 'tower', 'midnight', and I think I heard something about a bale of hay being on fire."
David Platt
159. The Not So Dark One
Lan walks into a bar,

Barman asks - "Why the Stone Face?"

no? Just me?
Jonathan Levy
160. JonathanLevy
156. didymos
It doesn't matter than much if 'Just before' is 5 minutes before, 1 day before or 5 years before. The point is that it's before.
Also, I see no particular problem with them rebuilding it given the OP mastery that existed back then, or simply moving into another building in the city and declaring that it was now the Hall Of Servants

The problem with this is not that it wasn't possible for them to do it. The problem is that everyone refers to THE Hall of Servants, using both the definite article and capitalizing the name. This usage is not so likely (though not impossible) if the hall had been dramatically destroyed and rebuilt. For example, if the World Trade Center were to be rebuilt, people would call it the New WTC, the Second WTC, etc.

Also, the descriptions in TSR give the hall a feeling of grandeur and permanence about to be destroyed:
No one questioned his entering the Hall of the Servants; there was no one at the great columned entrance to question anyone, or give greeting. Plenty of people darted about inside, arms filled with papers or boxes, eyes anxious, but none so much as looked at him. There was a feel of panic about them, and it grew by increments every time the ground shook. Distressed, he crossed the anteroom and trotted up the broad stairs. Mud stained the silvery white elstone. No one could spare time. Perhaps no one cared.
There was no need to knock at the door he sought. Not one of the great gilded doors to an ingathering hall, but a door plain and unobtrusive

If your center of command has been razed to the ground, and you're still in the middle of a war, you usually don't bother with gilding in your replacement building, at least, not until the fighting is over.

It seems to me that if, when writing these scenes, Jordan had been thinking of a second hall which replaced the original one which had been destroyed earlier, he would have described it differently. Instead of noting the beauty of the building in his mind, Jonai would have been comparing it unfavorably with the grandeur of the original.

Lan is so badass that as soon as he picked up "A Game of Thrones" for the first time GRRM started working on "A Dance with Dragons" - and hasn't slept since.
James Hogan
161. Sonofthunder
I agree, JL - most likely it's a RJ slip. But I will plug my fingers into my ears and hum loudly and rationalize it to myself anyway...telling myself they just moved "The Hall" to a different fancy building..maybe their now-in-disuse "Tribute to Eternal Peace" building. ;)
David Platt
162. The Not So Dark One
There used to be a street in Tar Valon named after Lan - but they had to change it as no one crosses Al' Lan Mandragoran and lives.
David Platt
163. The Not So Dark One
Death once had a near Lan experience.

The Bogey Man checks under his bed for Lan every night

The resaon the one power develpoed instead of Chemical based science is that the only element Lan allows is the element of suprise

Okay - Im done
David Platt
164. The Not So Dark One
Johnathon Levy@160

Is there a chance that the building has been razed - all be it not completely to the ground - and that is why they are removing what books they can find and salvage and also why the meeting is in one of the off shoot rooms with no gilded door rather than the main ones with a guilded door. I dont really think so myself but will hang on to any notion to keep the continuity
David Platt
165. The Not So Dark One
Or maybe the hall was razed by a specific dreadlord who was then majorly balefired meaning it came back into existence? Although I think they had stopped using it by then. hmmm, or maybe not.
Tess Laird
166. thewindrose
Funny The Not So Dark One! - Does any one remember which thread we did this on before? There were some pretty funny ones.

Forkroot AHAHAHAHAH!!! Very good! I liked numbers 3 & 8 the best, but they were all funny:)

167. Tialin
Lan is so Bada$$ Chuck Norris wrote a book about HIM.

@forkroot - All good , but... Sudoku, OMG - the poor Whites
168. Paulw
Seanchan: Don't think so. I really think Ishy was messing with them especially in that particular line;

Didn't the BBoBA explicitly say that Ishy had altered the prophecies sent with Luthair to Seanchan? It's kind of silly to assume that the one Karetheon Cycle prophecy from Seanchan (it wasn't from the Essenik Cycle) that someone from Westlands very familiar with the Karetheon Cycle (Domon) vouched is nowhere to be found in the Cycle is legitimate, given that.
Chris R
169. up2stuff
Isnt the Hall of Sitters a group as well as a place? Doesn' t the Amyrlin go before the Hall of the Sitters for votes or whatever?

Maybe I am not interpreting the term Razed strictly enough. Maybe he Razed the "Hall of Servants" ala Darth Vader style. The Hall of Servants structure could have been the last bastion where the forces of good holed up.
Thomas Keith
170. insectoid
These Lan jokes are cracking me up. xD

Smittyphi @158: LOL!! I'll probably resemble that remark by Sunday... ;)

Jonathan Levy
171. JonathanLevy
@169 and @164

I dunno, 'razed' is a pretty specific word. It's not the ruination, destruction, wiping-out, undoing, or dispersal. Razed pretty much means no two stones left one on top of the other, or few enough not to matter. You don't have staircases in razed buildings :)

164. The Not So Dark One
If the Hall had been destroyed by one man, and the destroyer was balefired, then future historians would not be likely to record it as destroyed. Only the people who saw it destroyed but were not killed in its destruction would remember it being destroyed. Everyone else would not remember the destruction, and the building would be there for anyone to see.

165. The Not So Dark One and 161.

I understand the wish to cling to continuity, but I don't share it. For me, picking out these slips does not detract in the least from my enjoyment of the books. I think the close scrutiny his readers give his work is more a testament to their love of it, than a deprecation of Jordan's talent. The tiny number of such slips is a solid testament to his skill.

That said, I think there's another slip here. In the glass columns, one of Rand's ancestors thinks that he can't imagine what the world would be like without war. He's just 16, but the war had been old when he was born. This is on the day of the Strike on Shayol Ghul. However, the text of 'The Strike on Shayol Ghul' states that the actual War of the Power lasted about 10 years. It was preceeded by a great increase in social ills and a certain unraveling of civilization, but the War itself was a bit more than a decade. I don't have the text in front of me, so I may be mistaken. I believe the Strike to be canonical, but if pressed I will choose the glass columns - they're my favorite scene in the whole series. :)
Jonathan Levy
172. JonathanLevy
Did you know that the only reason the Dark One is trying to get out of his home is because he's terrified of his Landlord?
Matthew Smith
173. blocksmith
Forkroot...loved the not-predictions. Very well done.

Also the Lan lines are great. What? No mention of when Jack Bauer is in a tight spot, he calls Lan to get him out?

Not much else to say...had to check if my new avatar is working. Not sure if anyone else tried this but Tor's announcement of TOM had a picture I could not resist. I hope that is not copyright infringement.
Daniel Hanley
174. Kythorian
To Jonathan Levy, I don't know about the destruction of the hall of servants, but the whole war was old when I was born thing...well, although the outright war was only 10 years old, there had been wars springing up between humans all over the place for decades before that. So even if the trollocs didn't invade until 10 years ago, once people saw the threat of the DO, they realized that he had been behind all of the collapse of civilization over the previous 100 years. I could easily see someone thinking to themselves that the war against the dark one had lasted 100 years, even if few were aware of it and the true War of Power had only been going for 10.
Amir Noam
175. Amir
Jonathan Levy @160:

Lan is so badass that as soon as he picked up "A Game of Thrones" for the first time GRRM started working on "A Dance with Dragons" - and hasn't slept since.

Oh, this is definitely one of the best in this thread :-)
Hmmm. Maybe Chuck Norris can pay GRRM a visit...
Amir Noam
176. Amir
forkroot @140:
Absolutely excellent list for the next book! Loved it :-)

Personally, what I'm looking for in the next book is the same thing I'd been hoping to see in all the recent books, as summarized a long time ago by Mike Hoye:
Tricia Irish
178. Tektonica
Amir@176: Thanks for that link....very funny! It helped with the twitching....for a moment.

I wish Lan could get GRRM moving!
Thomas Keith
180. insectoid
Amir @176: Re: link... ROFL!! That's as funny as Fork's 'non-predictions'!

Tina Pierce
181. scissorrunner
TheNotSoDarkOne @ 162
I am amazed.
I laughed so hard I stopped twitching.

Sandy Brewer
182. ShaggyBella
There once was a Warder named Lan,
Darkfriends saw him and ran
He was awesome with sword
and an uncrowned Lord
and could spank a prince named Gawyn
John Massey
183. subwoofer
@Amir- brilliant link. Sums everything up quite nicely. Would be nice to have Berelain turn SULTRY on me:)... I'd settle for a jiggle tho'. Don't understand the prejudice against chipmunks.

Rand holds up a MAP, points to SHAYOL GHUL.
"Saddle up."


"Rand, I am the Amyrlin Seat, you will blah blah blah blah."

"I'll nothing. We're going to fight the last battle in five minutes, here. Perrin's nearly done brooding, for f's sake'...

Best lines ever!
Jonathan Levy
184. JonathanLevy
174. Kythorian
I don't know about the destruction of the hall of servants, but the whole war was old when I was born thing...well, although the outright war was only 10 years old, there had been wars springing up between humans all over the place for decades before that

Yeah, that's a reasonable explanation. But it does have two weaknesses, I think, when applied to this instance.

1) As far as I remember, nowhere are we told that there were actual wars before the war of the shadow. The Strike says:
"We still cannot be certain how long passed between the creation of the Bore and the actual beginning of what would come to be called the War of the Shadow, yet plainly at least fifty years and possibly more than one hundred were marked by a rapid decline in the social order and an equally rapid increase in a thousand ills that previously had been either rare or entirely unknown. War itself was a “new” discovery, it seems, though one quickly learned, some might even say perfected. The War of the Shadow tilted one way, then another"
It doesn't rule out the idea of previous wars, but it doesn't mention them. The line explaining how war was new can equally apply to the War of the Shadow itself, or to minor wars before it.

2) In the TSR PoV, he's wondering 'what would the world be like without nightrunners and trollocs' right after 'the war had been old when he was born'. It's part of the same thought. This argues against the idea that most of the old war was actually fought between various factions of humans, and only the last ten years were fought against shadowspawn.

Amir @ 176
I should have guessed you'd turn up with that link :)
This is my favorite excerpt:

Cadsuane ENTERS.

"Rand, you must learn to laugh. You must learn to be soft, and gentle, and loving, and pliant. You cannot win the last battle unless you arrive there
with the mindset of a q-tip."

Rand HITS Cadsuane on her HEAD, has her TIED UP and placed in a CATAPULT.


"If you are going to act like a petulant child, you can expect that..."

Rand PULLS the LEVER. Cadsuane is FLUNG a great DISTANCE and is NOT HEARD FROM AGAIN.

James Hogan
185. Sonofthunder
Whoa, never seen that Mike Hoye write-up. Thanks Amir...full of amazing awesomeness. Oh Perrin, please do something awesome this book to redeem your good name. Otherwise, you'll be known as Perrin "Broods" Aybara for ever.

I had a dream last night that me and my sister(who is currently thousands of miles away, so unrealistic but cool) went to this sweet book shop(named Google Books. Ok?)...and while I was randomly walking around the store, my sister came up to me and told me she'd found ToM! I followed her to find stacks and stacks on the floor. I quickly picked up two of them and bought them before the store pulled them from the floor. Me and my sister were jubilant and I couldn't believe we'd found the book a week early! I was very sad when I woke up. And realized there was no ToM next to my bed.
Amir Noam
186. Amir
Jonathan Levy @184:

Amir @ 176
I should have guessed you'd turn up with that link :)

Well, you know me :-) Happy to oblige.
My personal favorite part is a toss up between the Cadsuane section you've quoted, the end

Tarmon Gaidon ENSUES. Good guys WIN. Rand gets FUCKED UP. Jordan writes scene that he's had ready for YEARS. It BETTER be GOOD.

and this:

"It's true, wolf-boy. By the time you're done all of your sniffing, scowling and brooding the rest of us will have finished Tarmon Gaidon, cleaned the whole place and put two coats of paint over the scorch marks." Perrin SNIFFS. Rand smells SARCASTIC. Perrin SCOWLS and LEAVES.

Amir Noam
187. Amir
Sonofthunder @185:
Wow, that's... quite a dream.

You didn't happen to glance in the book in your dream and remember some tidbits from it, now did you?
Amir Noam
188. Amir
Jonathan Levy:
BTW, I'm halfway through your copy of KoD and am almost ready to borrow TGS. I've found that the reading goes much faster when I skip all scene descriptions and jump just to the dialog and action sections (and skim all Elayne chapters).

Also, as expected, skipping CoT completely causes no problems in following the plot of any of the characters :-)
Christa Warden
189. lizy
Random question from a frequent reader but not so much with the posting. Does anyone know if/when the eBook version of TOM will be released? I haven't found it anywhere and prefer to not carry the 10-15 lbs book with me everywhere as I devour it.

John Massey
190. subwoofer
@Lizy- sadly, the e-book is being released much later. I have just hopped on the Kindle bandwagon and love it. I will buy a book to keep my collection complete, but I prefer reading the e-version.

Le sigh.

Daniel Goss
191. Beren
@182 shaggybela
I see your limerick, and raise you:

See the blademaster,
Uncrowned king, Al'Lan Dai'Shain,
Flinch when Nynaeve sniffs.

James Hogan
192. Sonofthunder
Yeah, Tor seems to be quite silent on the subject of the ebook's release date...hmm..

Amir @ 187: Sadly, I didn't even open the book in my dream. Silly me! I'm going to the local book store tomorrow(Waterstone's) and see if they have it in...maybe my dream was a true Foretelling!
Daniel Goss
193. Beren
Yeah, when I went to the bookstore yesterday to pick up Side Jobs, the manager said that she had several boxes of ToM in her back room. Unfortunately, she also said that my bribe would have to be enough to compensate the store for the fines for breaking street date, and I didn't have that much on me. For some reason, she wouldn't take a check. Go figure.
James Hogan
194. Sonofthunder
Beren, aw...

I'm not really trying to hunt it down(mostly because I already put my money down for a pre-order at Waterstone's - £10, yeah!) And I'm not about to spend more somewhere else just to get it a few days sooner...

Even though I am slipping into the uncontrollably *twitch*ing zone...
195. chewynewyork
Great post, Leigh. I am so psyched about the upcoming climax. The Cleansing is definately one of the top three favorite scenes in the series.

It is refreshing to see Rand doing his incognito thing these days. Since he declared himself many moons ago, it seems that he couldn't even wipe on his own without one of a dozen Maidens wanting to hold the roll (the beat him with the roll). I mean, I know that's how kings get down and all, but his jaunt to Far Madding to handle business on his own is a nice change of pace for Our Hero.

I am glad I read the commentary on the scene with Fain and the renegades. I was kinda confused when I first read it years ago, as I did not recall Fain having the ability to conjure illusions. Maybe I missed it. Still, I am leaning a little more to the image of the renegades being the result (one of the first, I would think) of those pesky evil bubbles that follow Rand and the other ta'vereen around. It wasn't the most important mystery in the world, so I didn't pay it too much mind at the time. (or thereafter, apparently lol)

I think Nynaeve's reaction in the build up to the infiltration is logical, from a certain point of view. If she even has offed anyone through the series, I would bet good money it was using the OP (or a freaking leaf, for all we know). That being said, it should be considered a distinct difference between killing someone using the OP and using a blade or sword or weed wacker. Unless I am misled, I don't think channelers can actually feel the sensation of their weaves doing what they do, except perhaps for spirit. In contrast, driving a blade towards someones neck and chopping their head off must be quite a sensation on the digits (or so I hear). I can't imagine someone who has not been in the thick of a knife fight, at one time feeling the blade diggin' into someone's gut, understanding that difference. I applaud Nynaeve coming to the conclusion so speedily; I think the other Supergirls would've balked a lot more than she did.

Okay, now for a little of the ugly. Let me just say...I love this series. Rand is the fuckin' man. Yet, I must say (and I know I am in the serious minority here) that his line "When the sun turns green..." was seriously in the lacking department. Don't get me wrong! It was a little cool. Fitting, perhaps, since weather analogies are a dime a dozen in crazy-ass Randland. But for some reason, I find his other one liners (notably, to the females, that little bad boy!) are much more inspiring. The "I would say you were both beautiful, but how can one compare two sunrises?" blew my socks off, and I can't imagine one of his chicks not getting slack jawed over this. Hell, I would use that one and pray for rain for a chance to cuddle lol.

Finally, I shall bring some New York insight into this little thread here, because if it's one thing we know how to do well, it's rank the competition. In anything. Lol.

Now, Gawyn is a talented lad. Years o' trainin' at the Warder school of Kick Assery. Kewl. But sadly for all his fans, he is not tops. Sure, he beat all his teachers and whatnot, but think about it. They trained him. It is not an intellectual leap to figure he can beat these deadly geezers, whether through instinct or training, because he had studied them for so long. Plus, it was a damn coup, so I think the teachers were probably a little distracted, with their whole world getting turned upside down and all. So, First Prince, you're good, but considering the running mates, not terribly exceptional. You're runnin' a respectable fourth, dude.

Next, we have Galad. I get him. Silent, lithe, boring. Poster boy for why kids should really be allowed to have fun. I have always accredited Galad for having more raw talent in the sword than his brother (by Gawyn's own testimony, if not in as many words). Plus, he is a little older, so that means a little more experienced in swingin' that thing around (no pun intended lol). He also trained with the Children, and I think they are formidable military-wise, and there is also his training in Caemlyn afforded him more training than most. Congrats, do-gooder prince. Bam! You're third.

Our silver medal may cause some controversy, however. Like I said before, Rand is the man. He channels, so he got talent. He knows the sword, having the best Running Fo' Yo Damn Life Training in different countries. He can kick your ass with hands and feet, in case he gets tired of channeling AND chopping heads off. So, you know what, he is all-around tops. But, the best at the sword...? I can't in all fairness give him this honor; it is undeserving, if not altogether premature. Let's remember that he was shearing sheep about a year an a half ago, the high point of his day probably being skatin' off with Mat and Perrin to go cow tipping. Like Neo, he has the gift, but unfortunately for him, there is another that would best him.

Oh all know who that leaves. Al'Lan Frakking Mandragoran. Of all the warriors we have come across in WOT, Lan is the one that you would truly piss your pants were he to stop you in the street. In broad daylight. During a parade. I gotta doff my hat to this killer. He literally has had his sword since he was in the crib ("I hate this porridge!!!" *CHOP* lmao) He has traveled all over the world, trained with the best, in all disciplines, I would imagine. He is a Warder, so his arm won't get that tired when it is hacking off limbs. Additionally, he is a monster. I never stood next to dude, but I get the impression he is fucking huge like Yao Ming after genetic engineering, and the sheer physical is never something to balk at. Finally, there is nothing like a healthy chip on your shoulder, as that is probably the best motivator in a fight to the death. I can't think of anyone (in the present Age, at least) who has more of a reason to want to kill the enemy as he does. His whole city-state was overrun, and he will have to trod over the land of his people when he inevitably goes against the enemy. Not fun. No, having a disagreement with this one would be deadly, because no one wants it badder than the one who has nothing to lose. As good as the others are, especially Rand and Galad, in a one on one with Lan, all the others would be regretting crossing paths with this Sheinaran.

That does it for me; thanks to all for the ear. Can't wait for the next post. Kudos, fellow fans.
Daniel Smith
196. Smittyphi
I see your Haiku and raise you:
Roger Powell
197. forkroot
@forkroot - All good , but... Sudoku, OMG - the poor Whites

I've had a good chuckle over how popular the "Sudoku" item was. Ironically it was the only item in the list that wasn't part of the spoof on the prophecies - but I had to keep it in there because I thought it was too funny to omit.
Daniel Goss
198. Beren
@196 Smittyphi
Raising again, this time to:

Shall I compare you to an Aes Sedai?
You have no thought for anything outside.
Your ivory tower reaches to the sky,
Your memories are long, your reach is wide.
Your men, like warders, fight and don't complain
Though following your orders mean their death.
We have to weigh each of your words like grain,
For, not lying, you change the truth each breath.
Your channeling is weak, your will is lax.
Your stark manipulation leaves us wroth.
You'd have us think that you'll spin gold from flax.
But all we get are half-truths, and rough cloth.
You'll never have my trust, my will's my own,
I'll live my life. You'll always be alone.

*edit for punctuation
Jonathan Levy
199. JonathanLevy
186. Amir
In the end we'll discover that in TG everyone in the whole world dies except for Faile and Gawyn, and the scene Robert Jordan had in mind for so many years ends with them sitting on the beach watching the sunset, and she leans her head on his shoulder, and he holds her hand.

Foolproof way of making sure there are no unauthorized sequels, no?

188. Amir
If you'd skipped the clothing descriptions as well as the scenery descriptions, you'd be done by now :)

BTW, Amazon says my copy of ToM has shipped already, but the expected arrival date is Dec 13th :(. I'll be optimistic.

198. Beren
Ooooh. Wow.
Thomas Keith
200. insectoid
SOT @185: Spooky. ;)

Beren @198: Wow... ::claps::

JLevy @199: Now it's December 13th?? Ouch... that bites. :(

edit: Oops... 2 hunny :)

Daniel Smith
201. Smittyphi
Go ahead and throw rotten tomatoes at me for my cluelessness, but i'm guessing the first part is Lan, the second part, no clue @ 198

If it all IS Lan, color my memory weak and explain to the court jester over here the meaning.
Daniel Goss
202. Beren
@201 Smittyphi

Not about Lan, actually, just . . .
Well, it started out as a lighthearted poke at Aes Sedai in general, and an experiment with writing in the form of a sonnet. However, I seem to have this issue where Iambic Pentameter makes whatever I write take a dark turn.
Sorry for the confusion :)
Amir Noam
203. Amir
Beren @198:

:: applause ::

Wow. That was damn impressive.
Jonathan Levy
204. JonathanLevy
200. insectoid
Actually, it was always December 13th, I just misread it the first couple of times I saw it. Wishful thinking. Urrrgh!

That said, it's just an estimate. The book shipped on Oct 23rd, and it usually takes 3-4 weeks to get here (right Amir?) so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

That said, I've got family coming to visit on Dec 20th, who could bring me the book. If it arrives after them I will be very upset.

In any case, I think I'm going to have to leave off reading comments here until it arrives. The spoilers, they burn!
Daniel Smith
205. Smittyphi
Beren, you've inspired me.

For things I see and what will come to pass,
I long for them to be fulfilled at last.
For Perrin’s surrounded by flow’ring trees,
Whose Falcon guides him to what he must be.
For Mat caught against two worlds that still vie,
He still has yet to lose a single eye.
For Lan, the uncrowned king of Malkier,
In Nynaeve he has found his one true wife.
In his war against the Blight he leaves her,
A destination that courts death, not life.
Lastly, the man I love most in my life,
Who’s determined to die at Shayol Ghul
A death he hopes will stop the endless strife.
He’s sacrificing for the world we know.
For things I see and what will come to pass,
I long for them to be fulfilled at last.
Thomas Keith
206. insectoid
JLevy @204, etc.: Must be tough being WoT fans living overseas. I feel your pain, friends. :) With apologies to Pink Floyd:
Sitting in the Bunker
Here behind these walls
Waiting for the Book to come
In near-perfect isolation
Here behind these walls
Waiting for the Book to come
Oh, don't worry, we won't spoil anything on this thread or the next, but you may want to steer clear of the soon-to-be Towers of Midnight Review and Open Spoiler Thread... ;)

Smittyphi @205: Awesome, Min's POV! ::applause::

207. Jem182
Wait for me! ::panting::

Now I have 3 more books to re-read until I get to read ToM.

Can't wait for the next post.
Amir Noam
208. Amir
Jonathan Levy @204:

That said, it's just an estimate. The book shipped on Oct 23rd, and it usually takes 3-4 weeks to get here (right Amir?) so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

You've ordered from the *US* Amazon store, right? Every one of my past orders from them has arrived at the local post office *exactly* 10 days after being shipped. Of course, many times the post office would wait a week or two before informing me :-(. Other Amazon stores (UK, Canada) took much longer to arrive.
I've never pre-ordered a book, though, so I don't know if it will make a difference. Their expected delivery date of December 13th is suspicious.
Mikey Bennett
209. EvilMonkey
Amir, love it love it looooooove it!

My favorite scene:

"Hi, Mat. Perrin is still brooding. Can you believe that?"

"Yeah. You know, I used to think that you two knew more about women than
me, but I was wrong. Perrin doesn't know shit. Neither do you. I'm the

"Like fuck, you are. I'm getting all the action I can handle, and it's
wired right into my brain three ways. Soon as my school finishes their
moving-picture invention, I'll show you."

Avienda, Elayne, Min ENTER.

"We all love you, Rand! Isn't it great that we can all get along and love
each other as sisters, and you as a lover?"

Aviendha, Elayne, Min LEAVE.



Royalty who've been here all along become UNCOMFORTABLE with this TOPIC.

Bring on the Towers
Jonathan Levy
210. JonathanLevy
208. Amir
Yeah, the U.S. Store. I think the expected delivery date is based on the expected shipping date, so it's not relevant. There's no tracking at all for overseas packages. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
211. Dolphineus
Murder: kill intentionally and with premeditation

How can you claim self defense. They hunted them down, laid plans and entered the building with the intent to kill them. That is murder.

I would agree that it is a justified killing, and that it is warranted by their dersertion and attempted murder of Rand.

It is still murder. Premeditated, cold blooded murder.
212. Paulw
Murder: kill intentionally and with premeditation

This makes the death penalty murder. Is that your intention? For what it's worth, a more common definition of murder is "The unlawful killing of another human being without justification or excuse." According to my definition, you already say that it's not murder since you argue the killing is justified. Let's play duelling definitions!

Premeditated, cold blooded murder.

This is redundant, going by your definition.
213. ONEwithPOWER
@ Dolphineus & others

As I skim through, observing all the witty banter and poetic absurdity (Beautifully done, by the way!) a thought will occasionally surface. One such thought, I share with you now...

At this point in the story, (though he may not be doing the best job of it) Rand is a powerful leader, and the closest thing to a government in several of these lands. (including Cairhien) Being that he is supposed to be the head honcho of the BT, and the head of the Cairhien administration, would it not fall upon him to make/enforce the law? I'm sure attempted murder (Regicide?) would be considered among those infractions punishable by death...

It is merely incidental (to the point I'm trying to make here) that Rand was the target of this particular attempt. And seeing as how he is the governmental figure of both the land in which it took place, and the organization to which the criminals were affiliated, would it not be fair to say that he had every right to sentence these men to death..? (and carry out said sentence, if he so chose?) Do you consider lethal injection cold-blooded murder..?
214. Paulw
I should have added that the "unlawful" part of my definition is one of the most important aspects to murder. War casualties are generally not considered murder, for instance. Is it unlawful in Randland to kill someone who has attempted to kill you and is hatching a plan to do so again? I don't think we know.

I should probably register in the future so I can edit posts in situations like this...
Daniel Smith
215. Smittyphi
@214 Paulw
Isn't the whole series a war? Light vs. Dark. Anyone attempting to kill Rand is on the opposite side of this war.
Daniel Hanley
216. Kythorian
To Smittyphi @ 215, if we are going to take that view, than Rands response of going in to kill the two asha'man is equally simply an attack as part of a war. If we are not going to even qualify trying to blow up the Sun Palace (killing plenty of random civilians in the process) as murder, than Rand's actions certainly couldn't be considered murder.

So regardless of if you see him as the administer of justice, executing those who have murdered and attempted regicide, or see him as a soldier in a war killing other soldiers on the other side, the one thing that he definately isn't doing is contemplating murder here.

And to Dolphineus @ 211, in the US, at least, as I discussed earlier, there is legal precident for the concept of premeditated homicide justified by self-defense. These two things are not automatically exclusive of eachother as you seem to believe, from a legal standpoint, at least. You can argue that they are from a moral standpoint if you want, but thats just opinion.
217. Paulw
Isn't the whole series a war? Light vs. Dark. Anyone attempting to kill Rand is on the opposite side of this war.

That depends on your (and their) viewpoint. Niall wasn't on the Shadow's side, but he would have eventually attempted to kill Rand once he united the nations. He was just a dumb person on the side of the Light.
Further, it could easily be argued that killing Rand is actually a Light action, since the Dark One wants him alive. If the theories about the DO needing the Dragon to turn to break him free are true, it is straightforward to argue that the most moral action is simply to kill the Dragon before he turns. Things might be worse than if he had united everyone and fought for the Light, but infinitely better than if he had turned to the Shadow (sort of a reverse Pascal's Wager without the stupid special-pleading. Letting the Dragon live and fight for the Light offers finite gain for infinite risk, whereas killing him is at worst a finite loss for a potentially infinite gain).

I'm not, of course, saying that was what the Fearsome Foursome were doing. They were explicitly Darkfriends. Just thought your statement was a bit absolutist for my taste.
218. Freelancer
Dolphinaeus @211

Those men, as Asha'man, took a pledge of fealty to the Dragon Reborn. They rebelled against that pledge and attempted to murder their liege. Rand's response is not murder, but an execution, just as Nynaeve called it.
Daniel Smith
219. Smittyphi
You're right, it isn't as simple as light vs. dark. The enemy of my enemy is my friend is more along the lines of what's going on here. You couldn't count Russia as a pal in WWII but they were a friend due to the Germans being the enemy.

In theory, you're theory is right regarding the DO. But the DO is not omniscient and will certainly not reveal that which would hurt him. I disagree about killing Rand because the DO needs him. He is the only one with a prayer of defeating the DO. The nations of Randland would be taken over by now because of the Forsaken if Rand had not intervened when he did. Since the seals are getting weaker, they will crumble with enough time. Rand is powerful enough to set him free prematurely but is also powerful enough to reseal him permanately (as long as both sides of the OP cooperate. At least that's my opinion, maybe we find out in ToM).
220. Oldwizard
A revelation! Maybe... :) (I have a log on somewhere, but I don't have the time to find it now)
Reading book 7 at the moment, where Elaida is looking at the view of the beginnings of her new palace. Not sure it this is mentioned later, but it is here at least. And I was thinking about some of the comments Leigh made after she had read ToM and I started thinking. Could the Black Tower (at least those not known darkfriends) move into Tar Valon, using the finished building as their HQ? Is that what she meant? Dunno, but any speculations on the subject might be intresting.
And yes, i know this is not the right place to put this, but I don't know anywhere else. Knowing ther right place would also be apreciated! :)
Thomas Keith
221. insectoid
Freelancer @218: Well said! Maybe that will put this debate to rest.

Oldwizard 220: The Towers of Midnight Prediction Thread and the Towers of Midnight Advance Review are both good places.

Matthew Smith
222. blocksmith

I would argue execution as opposed to murder. The Asha'man were intended as an army of male channelers under Rand to battle Dreadlords at Tarmon Gaidon. If members of that army attempt to kill their leader, sorry, but the firing squad it is. If you want to say that they did not get a fair trial, fine. But during active combat, such justice can be distributed in the field.

And oh yes. TOM due in t-minus 103 hours 45 minutes (plus or minus an hour) assuming a midnight pickup.

Edit: Once again, Free beat me to it...oh well. And that countdown was based on midnight, EST.
Thomas Keith
223. insectoid
Blocksmith @222: Makes me wonder why Subwoofer isn't here counting down the days till drop date for us like this time last year.

So, that said: Less than 5 days until ToM drops!!!

Boris Hayete
225. rimorob
Of course Nynaeve has killed people! Recall the scene where some
Seanchan go out to capture Nynaeve near Falme, and come back carrying at
least one body by the time they give up the effort. Or does that not
qualify for some reason?
Eric Hughes
226. CireNaes

Context is key, but emotions can run high when killing of any sort is encountered (even in fictional works). I respect your strong distaste for killing in general, I even agree with it. But I think you are flat out wrong with your label of this particular scene. I doubt your mind will be changed so let's both have an apple and call it good.
Tess Laird
227. thewindrose
So I was at a stoplight by a bookstore earlier, and I chanced to look up at the sky. I saw two different flocks of birds fly into each other!
Must mean that my book is waiting for me. Maybe I should have seen if I could get it now.

Thomas Keith
228. insectoid
::tap, tap:: This thing on?

::only the chirping crickets answer:: I'll take that as a yes. Four days till ToM drops!!! (More or less...)

Waiting for the Book, the Book to drop!

James Hogan
229. Sonofthunder

And on that note...last night went down to the bookstore where I'd placed my pre-order, and I must admit, I asked them if they had it in. Sadly she told me it was embargoed until the 2nd. Oh well, I guess it won't kill me to wait four more days.

Almost here, y'all!!!
John Massey
230. subwoofer
Sorry folks- last few days, well honestly, it feels like the last few months, I have been dealing with "baby needs this" or "we need that for..."


And my last plan to get a book early flopped. The kid just paid me out and gave me the number to the insurance. Damned honest people in this world! Grrrrrrrrrr.

Anyways - 4 Days! It comes, It comes-!!!!

- Thanks for keeping the home fires burning Insectoid:)

231. jelsel
tremors starting to become uncontrollable.....

need a fix... now!!

also yes :D 4 more days, 1/3 done of TGS re-read :D
VJ Bruce
232. vjbruce
jelsel @231:
I hear you! Finally finished re-read of KoD last night, starting tGS re-read tonight -- re-reading is the only way I can keep from twitching during the waiting.

Well, that, and telling adult daughter (who is now in tGH on her very first read of the books) lots of times to RAFO (bwahahahaha!). :) Like last night, when she asked me how come Bayle Domon showed up in the story again....
Thomas Keith
233. insectoid
Sub @230: Glad I could help. ;)

234. Dolphineus
Yes, it is a justified killing. We could argue all day over the definition of murder, and whether Rand is/has legal authority.

My original point seems to have been lost in the discussion. I was referring to Nynaeve's reaction to the encounter. In her commentary, Leigh mentioned her disgust at Nyneave's reaction. My point was simply that it was a shock to Nynaeve that she was involved in a killing/murder/execution. She had been involved in many dangerous situations. She has probably killed people. She has fought against some of the worst of humanity.

Leigh was making it out to be a character weakness, or a flaw in the writer for having a woman be so squeamish. My point was simply that Nynaeve had never, before this point, deliberately set out to kill someone. All questions of justified or not, legal or not, murder or execution were beside the point.
Daniel Hanley
236. Kythorian
To Dolphineus, I don't know if I would call Leigh's reaction "disgust"...specifically,
Anyway. I’m a bit torn about Nynaeve’s reaction to realizing that Rand and Lan intend to kill Gedwyn and Torval with Extreme Killination, because on the one hand, okay, yes, cold-blooded executions are probably not what you want to associate with your husband and your former babysittee, but on the other hand, has she met these two lately? Full of warm fuzzies they are not, girlfriend! And you know, we ARE in an epic duel of Good and Evil here; does she honestly expect there won’t be any killing involved?
That seems more like mild surprise that Nynaeve does not understand just how hard Rand and Lan are at this point in the books. I wouldn't say that Leigh is claiming it to be a character weakness though. She is just pointing out that Nynaeve really probably should have thought through his whole mess before she goes out with Lan and Rand, rather than during. Which is probably true.
Rahul Luhar
237. Gerontius
@sleepinghour Who is the best swordsman in #WoT right now? Lan, Galad, or Gawyn?

Brandon Sanderson: Lan. Then Galad. Then Gawyn. Gawyn is luckier than he thinks he is.

Ha! Take that you Gawyn fans. Lan's the man!
238. DougL
Well, I am just doing a reread preparing for the inevitable start of the resumption of Leigh's posts. Egwene surely killed a few Seanchan in the Great Hunt, she blows up a road with some soldier's on it.

As to people claiming Rand is murdering people here. Umm, he's kind of THE representative of the Light here, a King, head of the Black Tower, even though he is absentee, and certainly in the olden days it was for just such people to condemn men to death. I had no problem with it.

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