Nov 16 2010 2:11pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Crossroads of Twilight, Prologue, Part 1

Crossroads of Twilight by Robert JordanWell, lookee what we have here. It’s a Wheel of Time Re-read, unless I’m sadly mistaken! And I am never mistaken! Nor do I ever lie!

…Yes, well. But nevertheless, welcome back to the Re-read, still flushed and winded a bit from the excitement of the release of the newest book as we are. Nevertheless, today we embark upon the tenth book in the series, Crossroads of Twilight.

I know, right? Double digits, yo! We’re actually making some progress here.

Today’s entry covers Part 1 of The Prologue of Crossroads of Twilight, which is the first of three parts, believe it or not, because that is how PSYCHO LONG the Prologue of this book is. Insert obligatory “Sheesh” here.

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, including the newest release, Towers of Midnight.

A note on spoiler policy: I feel slightly less justified in this than I did after TGS, because the hiatus between Towers of Midnight’s release and the Re-read starting up again is much shorter this time, but the fact remains that it was an immense struggle for me to provide worthwhile commentary on the Re-read posts that came after I read the advance copy of ToM, without giving anything away about the newest book, and I’m just not down with that, so I ain’t gonna do it no more.

So, ergo, this re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 13, Towers of Midnight. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk. Sorry.

And I think that about exhausts the introductory possibilities, so on we merrily blunder to the post!

Prologue: Glimmers of the Pattern [Part 1]

What Happens
Rodel Ituralde waits in the wintry forest with twenty armsmen, thinking of the chaos in Arad Doman, and how he could have quelled it long ago had it not been for King Alsalam’s senseless and contradictory orders that Ituralde had had no choice but to follow. He also worries that no one has seen the King since he was smuggled out of Bandar Eban, and that even the Council may not know where he is. He thinks, though, that the latest order Alsalam had sent is different.

For one thing, a Gray Man had killed Lady Tuva trying to stop it from reaching him. Why the Shadow might fear this order more than any other was a mystery, yet it was all the more reason to move swiftly. Before Alsalam reached him with another. This order opened many possibilities, and he had considered every last one he could see. But the good ones all started here, today. When small chances of success were all that remained, you had to seize them.

A scout approaches and reports that it looks as though all the men Ituralde had extended the White Ribbon to have accepted, and are waiting for him. Ituralde and his armsmen ride down to the hunting lodge that is the meeting place, Ituralde pretending a confidence he does not feel. Inside, he is met by Shimron, a Domani lord before he turned Dragonsworn. Shimron leads Ituralde to the ballroom, where some two hundred men wait, the Domani Dragonsworn staring suspiciously at the Taraboners and vice versa. Ituralde is pleased to see so many outlanders. One of the Domani, Wakeda, immediately voices his suspicion of Ituralde’s motives in offering parley. Ituralde ignores the insult and answers calmly that they have a greater common enemy: the Seanchan, who clearly intend to add Arad Doman to their list of conquests. Shimron comments that there are Aiel on Almoth Plain, and suggests that they were sent there by the Dragon Reborn to aid Arad Doman, but Ituralde replies that his intelligence tells him that the Aiel on the Plain are raiders, not an army, and they have not stopped the Seanchan advance. He shows them Alsalam’s letter and seal, and tells them the King orders him to gather as many men as he can and strike the Seanchan as hard as possible.

He took a deep breath. Here, he took another chance, and Alsalam might have his head on the block unless the dice fell the right way. “I offer a truce. I pledge in the King’s name not to move against you in any way so long as the Seanchan remain a threat to Arad Doman, if you will all pledge the same and fight beside me against them until they are beaten back.”

The men are all stunned. Finally, Shimron asks if the Seanchan can be beaten back, with their “chained Aes Sedai,” and Ituralde answers firmly that they can. After a moment of contemplation, Shimrod says that if anyone can beat them, Ituralde can, and pledges to join him. He is quickly followed with enthusiasm by the rest of the Domani, but one of the Taraboners points out loudly that he asks them to fight for Arad Doman. Ituralde counters that he asks them to fight for Tarabon, and asks the man if he thinks a small company of his men could take advantage of the confusion on Almoth Plain to slip into Tarabon, disguised as Seanchan conscripts. The Taraboners are incensed at this reminder of their nation’s capitulation to the Seanchan, and their spokesman wants to know what good one small company would do.

“Little good,” Ituralde replied. “But if there were fifty such companies? A hundred?” These Taraboners might have that many men behind them, all told. “If they all struck on the same day, all across Tarabon? I myself would ride with them, and as many of my men as can be outfitted in Taraboner armor. Just so you will know this is not simply a stratagem to get rid of you.”

The Domani protest this notion loudly, and the Taraboners argue among themselves, but the man who had spoken only nods, which tells Ituralde he is the de facto leader of the Taraboners. Relieved, Ituralde thinks of his hopes that once across the border, the Taraboners will insist on staying after the initial engagement, leaving him and his men to be hounded back across Almoth Plain by the enraged Seanchan.

With any luck, furious generals would not see where he was leading them until it was too late. And if they did… Well, he had a second plan.

Eamon Valda is riding through camp when he is startled by a sudden foul stench which then disappears just as quickly as it came; he assumes it’s from badly dug latrines. He reflects on the fall of Amador to the Seanchan a month gone, which he considers entirely the now-deceased King Ailron’s fault, and thinks he will do much better with nine thousand of the Children around him. He heads to the hut where Asunawa is staying, sneering inwardly at the luxuries the Chief Questioner demanded for himself but knowing he cannot move openly against him for now. Inside, Asunawa tells him he has reports of an Andoran army in Murandy; Valda is still bitter over the loss of Morgase and his plans for Andor through her, and answers that Murandy is very far off. Asunawa thinks it’s not too far if they cut east across Altara, but Valda reminds him that the witches’ army is in Altara—if they aren’t in Murandy themselves by now.

“Maybe this so-called Andoran army you’ve heard about is the witches, and their army! They gave Caemlyn to al’Thor, remember! And Illian, and half the east! Do you really believe the witches are divided? Do you?”

[…] Asunawa snapped the small book shut between his palms. His hands were folded as in prayer, but his deep-set eyes suddenly seemed hotter than the fire. “I believe the witches must be destroyed! That is what I believe!”

Valda would rather learn how the Seanchan “tamed” them, but their argument over this is interrupted by a guard, who tells them that the Council of the Anointed (meaning the ten surviving Lords Captain) has arrived. Asunawa reluctantly concedes the argument for the moment, and Valda reflects on the possibility that Asunawa might not be around to see the witches’ downfall.

Gabrelle rides through the woods near the Black Tower with Logain and Toveine, enjoying herself despite Toveine’s presence; after two weeks of living there she no longer puts “so-called” in front of the Black Tower’s name. She is deeply unsettled by the presence of Logain in her head, and his constant wariness.

She had never had a Warder—they were needless flamboyance for Browns; a hired servant could do all she needed—and it felt peculiar to be not only part of a bond, but at the wrong end of it, so to speak. Worse than simply the wrong end; this bond required her to obey, and she was hedged about with prohibitions. So it was not the same as a Warder bond, really. Sisters did not force their Warders to obedience. Well, not very often. And sisters had not bonded men against their will for centuries.

She reminds herself that Logain is not foolish enough to believe her or any of the other captive Aes Sedai to be complacent, or deterred from their original goal of destroying the Black Tower. To her surprise, Logain turns and gives both her and Toveine a reassuring smile; Toveine beams back at him, and Gabrelle wonders again at the Red’s utterly uncharacteristic behavior toward Logain. Gabrelle doesn’t think Desandre and Lemai’s order to achieve “cordial” relations with their Asha’man is sufficient to explain why Toveine practically “simpers” at him, any more than she understands why Logain isn’t more suspicious of Toveine’s friendliness, or for that matter why he seems less distrustful of any of the sisters than he is of his fellow Asha’man. Toveine then makes a seemingly innocent comment about how Gabrelle has made Logain “her captive,” and Gabrelle flushes at the reference to her seduction of Logain, though she tells herself that at the time it seemed a perfectly logical way to learn about his plans and weaknesses.

More fool, she. Playing the Domani turned out to hide many surprises, and a few pitfalls. Worst of all, a trap she could never reveal to anyone. Something she very much feared that Toveine knew, though, at least in part. But then, any sister who had followed her lead must know, too, and she thought several had. None had spoken of the problem, and none was likely to, of course. Logain could mask the bond, in a crude way she believed would still allow her to find him however well it hid his emotions, but sometimes when they shared a pillow, he let the masking slip. To say the least, the results were… devastating. There was no calm restraint, then, no cool study. Not much of reason at all.

The bond tells her Logain has sensed her train of thought and is very smug about it, which infuriates her; she notes that Toveine looks satisfied too. They are interrupted by another Asha’man named Mishraile, who inquires crudely if Logain is bedding them both. Logain warns him never to speak that way again, and Gabrelle is bitterly amused that he holds them prisoner and yet is ready to do violence to protect their reputation. Unfazed, Mishraile tells Logain the M’Hael gives permission, though he doesn’t understand why Logain wants to go recruiting. He supposes Logain is bored.

His smile slid into a smirk, disdainful and not at all winning. “Maybe if you ask the M’Hael, he’ll let you join his classes at the palace. You wouldn’t be bored then.”

Logain’s face never changed, but Gabrelle felt one sharp bolt of fury through the bond. She had overheard tidbits about Mazrim Taim and his private classes, but all any of the sisters really knew was that Logain and his cronies did not trust Taim or any who attended his lessons, and Taim appeared not to trust Logain.

Gabrelle thinks that the Aes Sedai had not been able to learn much of these classes, as none of them were bonded to a man in Taim’s faction, or what is the source of the division between Logain and Taim. Mishraile takes his leave with a mocking comment (“Glory waits for some of us, Logain”), and Logain muses aloud that Mishraile might not enjoy his Dragon long, as he is too free with his tongue. Gabrelle senses he is worried, and realizes a moment later that at least some of that concern is for her and Toveine. He tells them they’re heading back early; trailing behind, Toveine moves her horse close to Gabrelle’s to whisper that they must ensure they go with him to counter whatever “vileness” he’s planning. Gabrelle cuts her off sharply, and worries about what she senses from Logain now.

Something that had always been there in the connection with Logain—determination—now lay hard and sharp as a knife. She thought she knew what it meant, this time, and knowing made her mouth dry. Against whom, she could not say, but she was sure that Logain Ablar was riding to war.

So, I can already tell that COT is going to be… interesting to recap.

In retrospect, I’m going to make a prediction (er, that doesn’t make any sense, does it. Anyway) that my fears about which book was going to be the one that kills me in this blog series were completely misaimed. TPOD? Pfft. Cakewalk. This one? Erm.

Of course, that contains within itself the obvious point that I was actually wrong (mostly) about what TPOD was like to recap, so I don’t really know how much stock we should all put in my predictive powers of perspicuity (pitooee!), but nevertheless I’m feeling pretty confident in Foretelling that COT is going to be… not effortless, let’s just say, to get through.

I noticed the difference pretty much immediately, too. Jordan has throughout the series been a fan of what I think of as the “layered” reveal, by which I mean he liked to start most scenes partially in medias res, and then to jump back and forth narratively, usually through the medium of the POV character’s internal musings, on what happened in the bits we missed, to lead us up to where the scene started, and then continuing forward from there. By its very nature such an approach tends toward the byzantine, and Jordan’s gotten carried away with it before (e.g., the infamous “scarves” double-nested flashback in TEOTW), but this Prologue immediately, to me, stands out in the sheer labyrinthine density of the language. Not to mention the lengthiness of the descriptive passages.

I’m just saying, the first three sentences of my recap on the Valda scene above, for example? That covers over three pages of text. So, yeah.

At the time I first read COT, I told myself that my difficulty in getting through this Prologue (or, er, this book) was only proof that I was succumbing to Grumpy Old Fan Syndrome; you know, the thing where you’ve been so invested in the material for so long that when the next installment comes along it just becomes constitutionally impossible for the GOF to evaluate it objectively (read: not negatively). This was, as I recall, a very popular slam aimed at people in the fandom who declared themselves less than thrilled with COT when it was first released.

Further developments, however, have not borne this accusation out: just go read my days-old review of ToM if you don’t believe me, because if I was a Grumpy Old Fan when COT came out, I’m goddamned fossil fuel by now, and yet I had no problems liking the latest installment, so GOFS (due to receive a slot in the ICD any day now, I’m sure) is probably not the problem. Or at least, not all of it.

Which is rather unfortunate for COT, but something of a relief for the series as a whole, I think. Nevertheless, well, I think my point is, buckle up, gents, because it looks like it’s going to be a bumpy recap.

Yeah. So, on to specifics, eh?

Hi, Ituralde! Thanks for finally turning up, eh? Our man Ituralde, y’see, is the last to appear on screen (he was just stage right in LOC, but we never actually met him then) of the list of Great Generals in Randland (Jagad, Bashere, Bryne, Niall, and Ituralde) mentioned way the hell back in *mumblesomeearlierbook*, so I was pleased at his appearance here solely in an other-shoe-dropping kind of way, really. 

I was also pleased, though, because he endeared himself to me instantly by formulating an it’s-so-crazy-it-just-might-work military plan that, for once, did not instantaneously fill me with foreboding dread—unlike some other Crazy Plan-ful people out there, Rand al’Thor. AND Ituralde came up with this plan based on a Forsaken’s evil misdirection! That’s pretty shiny, right there. Bet Graendal wasn’t exactly expecting that interpretation of her fake order, heh.

Other than that, it’s nice to see Arad Doman finally get a little cultural exposure, but there’s really not a whole lot else to say about it. So, bye, Ituralde! See you in the next book!

Valda: This man is a tool.

I feel I may have mentioned that before. I also feel that it merits mentioning again. Of course, Asunawa isn’t going to be winning the Miss Congeniality title anytime soon either, so really, this was a shiny happy scene filled with shiny happy people that together make me wish Randland had invented napalm.

Okay, not really. A Rolling Ring of Earth and Fire will do just fine. Let’s get on that, shall we? Or, I could just wait for Galad to happen to them, mwhahaha.

Other than that, I…don’t have a lot to say about this scene. Basically the purpose of it is to stick a pin in the map to show us where Lord Captain Commander Tool and his merry band of Loose Screws are relative to everyone else, in particular Perrin. The stench Valda smells will become relevant when we get to Perrin, as well.

Gabrelle: I continue to be profoundly irritated at this entire situation, not least because it’s been made impossible for me to write anyone involved off as the obvious villain in this (utterly messed-up) scenario. Not even Toveine, really, and definitely not Logain.

Even so, while I guess it’s nice that Gabrelle and Logain are at least getting some spectacular sex out of it, the underlying implications behind introducing sex into what is, at base, a hostage situation, no matter how altruistic Logain’s motives might be…well. There are some things, I find, I have a lot of trouble being practical about, or appreciating when the characters involved are being so either, and so maybe the less said about it all, the better.

As far as Taim’s “classes” go, AI YI YI, because holy crap, dude. And also, wow am I oblivious sometimes. Because, you know, I assumed from the moment they were first mentioned that these so-called “classes” were basically Darkfriend Recruiting 101, but somehow I never made the logical deduction that Taim might not be doing “recruiting” so much as bloody freaking impressment. Not until I read Androl’s POV in ToM, anyway. But now that I have, it’s so damn obvious that I want to kick myself. Because seriously, why would you bother trying to woo yourself Evil Minions when you can just set yourself up an assembly line (or assembly circle, whatever) and goddamn well crank them out? I mean, duh!

Also, yikes does not even cover it.

(I have to assume, tangentially, that there is some kind of limitation or handicap on the 13x13 trick, because otherwise I don’t understand how the entire Black Tower hasn’t been turned to the Shadow long since. Presumably we’re going to find out how that all works in—well, sixteen months or so, hopefully.)

I also have to wonder what exactly Logain thinks is going on. I originally was convinced that there was no way he could know the full truth of what Taim is doing, for the very simple reason he hasn’t already taken his followers and gotten the bloody hell out of Dodge at Ludicrous Speed. My ass would be so gone you wouldn’t even see the trail of smoke I’d leave behind, personally, because this is one draft I am perfectly fine with fleeing to Canada over, y’all. *shudder*

However, Gabrelle’s last line in the scene strongly suggests to me that not only does Logain know (or at least deeply suspects) about the recruiting (if not necessarily the forcible impressment part of it), but that he’s decided that rather than flee, the best thing to do about it is stay and fight it.

Which, okay, very noble, yes, and Min’s viewing of glory and all, ha-ha, joke's on you, Mishraile. And I admit fighting The Man is certainly one way to go about getting said glory, even if I think Logain is batshit insane for staying within a hundred miles of this bullshit, but WHY, for the love of Mike, does it not occur to him to tell Rand about this? I don’t remember exactly what Logain says to Rand about the Tower when they briefly hang out in KOD, but I’m pretty damn sure he didn’t say anything even close to “and oh, by the way, I think Taim might be running a Dreadlord factory out of his home office and I could use some help BUSTING HIS EVIL ASS, HELLO.” I mean, does he really not think this might be the kind of thing the Dragon Reborn might possibly, you know, not be in favor of?

Yes, nobody trusts anybody, yadda yadda ad nauseum barf, but come ON. Could we all PLEASE stop being idiots for one bleeding second, WOT people, and just freakin’ talk to each other?

No? Well, fine! I’m taking my toys and going home, then! Maybe I’ll come back Friday—MAYBE. But I expect cookies! So there! Bye!

Daniel Smith
1. Smittyphi
Obligatory "sheesh, this is long."

Logain tells Rand but I believe Rand dismisses it. I am at work so I can't look this up. Wish we had more of the good bonded Asha'men.

Thanks for the new post
2. DanielHolm
I think Logain DID tell Rand. Rand's response amounted to, as far as I can remember, "Eh, okay. I don't really believe you, but I'm trusting Taim either, so..."

Oh, and welcome back, Leigh.
3. DanielHolm
*NOT trusting Taim, obviously. Blargh.
Hugh Arai
4. HArai
@leighdb: Well Rand is still in his "barely restraining himself/LTT from killing male channlers" phase here and he and Logain are not exactly pals. Logain might be afraid of Rand deciding to eliminate ALL the Asha'man if he really forces the issue.
5. mazza313
ooph, yeah, COT will def be a doozy, but regardless, welcome back! and for my next trick, a sentence with five commas!!!

love logain for some reason, even though he is a grump and quite possibly slow of thought. yeah, hi, TELL RAND ABOUT PSYCHO TAIM ET AL dude....
6. parabola
Yay! We who are about to embark on the continuation of your re-read salute you!
7. alreadymadwithnewbook
Can't really blame Logain for wanting to fight it. For the foreseeable future, the Black Tower is his lot in life. And he has heard there will be glory for him, so he can't really help himself if he thinks this is how he'll get glory.
Theresa Gray
9. Terez27
@Leigh - I gather that the main reason they haven't started turning folks before this point is because the effects are rather obvious, and they didn't want to give it away too soon. The first turned channelers are noticed just as the dreamspike is activated, and I don't think that is a coincidence.
10. AndrewB
Thanks for another great post Leigh.

Raise your hand if you saw that King Alsalam was in the clutches of Elaida's Aes Sedai rather than Graendal. That is right. I do not see any hands.

Leigh. I realize you do not like the Logain / bonded Sisters situation. However, it was Gabrelle, and no Logain, who initiated the sexual relationship.

BTW, Gabrelle single-handedly changed my views of the Brown Ajah. (By this, I mean the image of how a Brown should be. I guess those Tower Librarians really know how to throw a party.)

Thanks for reading my musings,
Hugh Arai
11. HArai
Terez27@9: I think you definitely hit on it there. You need a gate-denial method to keep the unturned channelers from scattering.
Kurt Lorey
12. Shimrod
I don't know Terez27. I kinda think that Taim has been working on his clique all along. In ToM the process has just accelerated with the placement of the dreamspike, and the closeness of Tarmon Gai'don.
Theresa Gray
13. Terez27
He has been working on his clique for a long time via recruiting. But he had only managed to recruit enough Darkfriends to give him 10-15% of the Black Tower, which wasn't enough. There is a hint that some of the 'losses in training' were actually failed recruiting attempts.
Daniel Smith
14. Smittyphi
I would figure that Taim could tell those who would and wouldn't be on board with becoming a DF idea. Those that would voluntarily go over would be enticed that the DO could stop them from going mad from the taint effects. These are his favored ones that are voluntarily learning from Taim.

Once the TG gets closer the DF Asha'man are already in place and now would be the time to convert the unwilling with the 13 X 13 trick AND the dreamspike is put there to stop others from getting out to tell Rand as the effects are pretty obvious. So, I agree with Terez
Leigh Butler
15. leighdb
Terez @ 9:

Good point. I suppose at this stage Taim could still be collecting the initial 13 channelers needed to, er, commence mass production.

AndrewB @ 10:

I know the sex was Gabrelle's idea. That doesn't stop the whole thing from being skeevy in the slightest, in my opinion.
16. Adrian Sedai
At the first time of reading this was my least favourite book. Not because of the subject matter or the writing, but because I was expecting a spectacular tale of the fallout from the cleansing of saidin. Instead, RJ decided to tell a series of interlocking POVs set in the run up to the cleansing to get the rest of the cast of millions to roughly the same point chronologically. We would move from one situation to the other with every one of them suddenly getting freaked because of the sudden massive amount of channeling going on then metaphorically shrugging their shoulders and carrying on with whatever they were doing.

Whilst waiting for TOM to come out I re-read this book myself and found it very enjoyable. I took my time and read with future knowledge knowing who did what later and who got a well deserved spanking (masema!!). It was a lot of fun :)

To be honest Leigh, I don't think you have too much to worry about. Several long running plots actually move forward and there is a lot of fun to be had just because we now know where a lot of them are heading.

And it is very odd, but after every chapter I kept expecting to read a commentary from Leigh and was slightly annoyed that it just went into the next chapter. I think Leigh needs to sort out with Harriet the publication of an annotated edition of every book :)
17. SoonerFan
Mishraille didn't show any signs of being turned right? I don't remember the creepy descriptions from ToM in CoT. Its possible that Taim started with recruiting existing/willing Darkfriends and then once he gained the Dreamspike, he started turning Light side channelers.
18. SoonerFan
Lol. Terez already beat me to it.
Theresa Gray
19. Terez27
SoonerFan@17 - No, no one has shown signs of being turned, which seems to be characterized by 'something not quite alive' in the eyes, and grimace-like smiles 'like the smile on the lips of a corpse.' Mishraile just showed signs of being a cocky, arrogant Darkfriend. We haven't seen him in the last couple of books - I'm betting that Logain was right about him.
Barry T
20. blindillusion
Et al regarding the Black Tower:

Eh. Much like Terez, I’m thinking the 13x13’ing has yet to begin. After all, now that I firmly believe Taim to be a Darkfriend/Dreadlord/Junior Forsaken(?), it makes more sense that in the beginning his cronies were who they were: The Foolish Foursome:: Gedwyn, Kisman, Rochaid, Torval, confirmed Darkfriends all. And Mishraile doesn’t read: Spooky, Soul-Sucked Minion, but more: Cocky, My-Lord-Is-Going-To-Beat-Your-Dragon Patsy (read expendable, because I for one hope he’s the first named New Age Dreadlord to get Nap…Rolling Ring of Earth and Fire’d into the ground.) So, to my mind at least, Taim’s flunkies are run-of-the-mill Darkfriends being trained to be Dreadlords.

Tsk. Seems my points were made while I typed. Eh. Minds, alike, think, great. Those words in some sentence.
21. SoonerFan
Terez27@19-That's what I thought. Mishraille probably died from the incident at the end of KoD, most likely.
Karen Jacobs
22. KJacobs
Leigh is back! All is right with the world! :)

I have to tell you, the last 7 days have been positively crappy for me, and this was exactly the pick me up I needed. Thank you Leigh!
23. boquaz
One of the truly great things about WoT is that we can have a character like Ituralde. He shows up here with a vague plan. We see him briefly again in the next Prologue. And he really doesn't show up very long until the book after that. Despite that, right here we know who he is, that he's got some giant brass balls, and that he can actually pull off his crazy plans. Everything we need is here in this small part in this prologue, set up amid insane world building. Awesome.
24. Joebuu
I think the reason that Taim had not started the Turning via 13x13 was because the process required a circle. Gabrelle states that none of the 51 sisters were bonded by Taim's faction and women are required for linking. Circles require more women than men so for a cirlce of 13 they would need a minimum of 7 Aes Sedai. Also, we've seen most channelers develop a sort of Shadowspawn radar when in close proximity so they would have to ward them somehow, similar to how the Draghkar that attacked Moiraine in The Great Hunt was.
Maiane Bakroeva
25. Isilel
It was deeply creepy that in ToM some of the bonded sisters seem to still be in the WT, while Logain's faction is hemorraging members. And yes, the whole situation is very disturbing. It didn't improve my opinion of Logain that he agreed to the sexual relationsip in such circumstances.
Even more disturbing is that an Asha'man with less than sterling morality could use the modified bond weave on anybody he fancied and make them his slaves. And nobody could tell, really.

Ituralde FTW!
Rajesh Vaidya
27. Buddhacat
I seem to recall that a constraint on the 13x13 turning assembly line is that the process of channeling through 13 myrddraal destroys them. So you're using up 13 myrddraal for every Dreadlord produced.

Can't recall where, but it's probably in TDR.
Barry T
28. blindillusion
That would probably be in the BBoUA (or whatever they're calling it these days). I'm not sure, as I've only ever skimmed the thing. I can check when I get home, unless some else has it handy.

Granted, if that aspect of the 13x13 Trick is mentioned in that book, it's suspect at best....

Err, BBoBA. Opps.
Sam Mickel
29. Samadai
As I finished ToM I began to wonder a few things about Taim.
I believe that Taim had been recruiting Darkfriends from the beginning and teaching them Channeling. Promising them protection from the madness. I have begun to believe that Taim asking Rand for permission to travel and bring in recruits was his way of finding those followers.
He mentions to Rand that 2 of his followers went insane pretty much instantly and another he had to kill after A year( or a few months). Bares strong resemblance to what is going on with the tower, when Torval tells Rand about the Towers losses. If Taim has been a darkfriend all along (which I assume he has), he would be risking much to increase his power. I think that those that died and were poisoned found out too much and wanted out, so were killed for their knowledge.
I believe that the traitor four were part of Taims group of pre-tower trainees.
Also for what it's worth, I find it likely that the 13x13 trick wasn't being used until some Black Ajah showed up to help. It really looks like Javindhra is black, and with the dream spike, Taim is now set to get everyone
Jonah Feldman
30. relogical
@Joebuu: I was just about to post the same thing.Technically, it's never been explicitly stated that a circle is required for the turning, just 13 Dreadlords channeling through 13 Fades, but it's a logical assumption that it's the case- the mechanics of linking hadn't been explained to Egwene when 13X13-ing was first introduced. Taim would have to scrouge up a bunch of Black Ajah, not to mention the Myrddraal, before he could start things up. With the Shadow's famed reluctance to trust each other, that could take time.
Colleen Palmer
31. arianrose
Leigh, I now have a Johnny Cash song stuck in my head. Thanks.

I think I agree with Terez - I think this is the "gathering materials" portion of the assembly line.

And, you know, I don't actually find the sex all that skeevy, especially from a Brown, or maybe a White. There's information to be had, and a way (she thinks) to get it. Really, if your body is just another resource, then, well, you use what you have in a hostage situation, right?

The *bond* on the other hand, is deeply, deeply frightening. But as far as Logain accepting the come on? He knows he hasn't forced her into anything, he seems to know exactly what she's after, and he chooses to enjoy her, um, interrogation. I don't really fault either character for those choices.

Really, Galina and Therava is deeply more horrific, but that may be because I have trouble with the "all lesbians are a) evil, b) grow out of it, or c) are clueless (cf. Meidani)."
32. gadget
Not only is the 13x13 tick a bit premature at this point, but Taim and his 'boys' can't link, no matter how many there are. They need women to link, and until Egwene's purge of the WT there just aren't 7 (minimum number of woman to make a circle of 13) black ajah available for the task. After the purge in TOM, yeah, then you have plenty of Black Ajah available for the task, besides doing dream world forrays to the WT and getting pawned, I mean they don't have much else to do.
33. DanielHolm
I don't know how long Taim has been using the 13x13 trick, but my suspicion is that he used it as soon as he could. Why wouldn't he? He has his "palace", so he could easily ward against anyone detecting Shadowspawn. The question then becomes, when was he first able to? I don't recall the first mention of Taim's "private students", but I wouldn't be surprised if that was the start. Certainly some of them were Darkfriends, but we don't know that they all were.

We also do not know the full extent of the effects of the turning trick. Perhaps the obvious change -- that which Pevara easily notices with Tarna -- is only there for a short time, until the newly-minted Darkfriend has gotten used to their new allegiance. For instance, Javindhra's behavior leads me to believe she was turned as well -- unless, of course, she was a Darkfriend already. If it does not have to be obvious (for just some people, or for everyone after a while), any of the Dark Asha'man could be turnees.

My thoughts are that it might require more effort than is immediately apparent -- i.e. you might only be able to change one person per week per 13x13 group, or some other such limit (perhaps even harsher ones). Perhaps you can only turn 1 person per 13 Myrddraal period (if the Myrddraal die, for instance). That could explain why they have not begun simply abducting the Asha'man and Aes Sedai bondees en masse: They wouldn't be able to turn them fast enough.
James Jones
34. jamesedjones
32 gadget

I think you nailed it. Although I don't recall any mention of the 13x13 trick requiring a linked circle, the sparse use of that procedure before ToM strongly implies the limitation.
35. wallman97
On Logain, think about where he was prior to the black tower. Dude doesn't want to go back out into the world alone.

On COT, its not a bad book on writing or pacing. Its bad in that it does nothing but focus on subplots that few care about. Very little dragon vs DO. Compare it to the latest two books to see what I mean.
Thomas Keith
36. insectoid
Great post, Leigh! We've missed you, you know... you don't pop in on the spoiler thread very much. (Not that I blame you, as there are over 1200 total comments.)

Black Tower: Seriously, they really should be getting out of there—"Run awayyyyy!"—and, yes, Logain does tell Rand about the things Taim is doing, but Rand dismisses it saying something like, "I'll deal with the Black Tower some other time." ARGH.

Ituralde: Misinterpretation FTW!

Rajesh Vaidya
37. Buddhacat
Rajesh Vaidya
38. Buddhacat
Just thought of another thing for the 13x13 assembly line to start up now: I seem to recall that Shadowspawn can't pass through saidin/saidar Gateways. Perhaps they can pass thorugh TP Gateways. So, may be Taim has now earned enough Great Lord credits to have access to the TP to create Gateways to bring in the Myrddraal. Or Moridin may be actively helping him. Perhaps the Dreamspike allows TP Gateways.
A.J. Bobo
39. Daedylus
If you haven’t read, read at your own risk. Sorry.

And...darn. I'll be back in a month when I am prepared for the spoilery goodness that you will be sharing, Leigh.
40. Joshie
I can't believe anyone can make it through CoT twice! I have embarked on my own re-read, and when I get to book 10 I'll just read a synopsis on line (won't take long).
Tricia Irish
41. Tektonica
Hey Leigh! Nice to see you back in action! Thanks! It does seem funny going back to this knowing what we know now....I must look up what Logain said to Rand when they got together, because, yeah, Rand needs to know about this stuff....but we knew that, didn't we....communication 101. I seem to remember Rand being pretty dismissive of Logain's concerns. (So where has Logain gone now in ToM?)

I am a bit confused by the quotes below:

Gabrelle: Playing the Domani turned out to hide many surprises, and a few pitfalls. Worst of all, a trap she could never reveal to anyone. Something she very much feared that Toveine knew, though, at least in part. But then, any sister who had followed her lead must know, too, and she thought several had.

The bond tells her Logain has sensed her train of thought and is very smug about it, which infuriates her; she notes that Toveine looks satisfied too.

Now, is Gabrelle talking about the "sex" creating a "trap". A trap of attachment? Feeling? Something else? What am I missing here?
42. VoxOrange
It's later made clear that the Great Lord of the Dark prefers people who are selfish. (certainly not the compelled). Also it could be a simple matter of logisics. Fades would have to be smuggled into Taim's palace - since they can not travel. (no easy feat).

Regarding Gabrelle. I recall comments from Leane when she, Min and Siuan were escaping the Tower. Leane commented that when you "play the Domani" (lessons from her aunts before she could channel). Sometimes you paid the price, and sometimes you enjoyed it. Gabrelle echoes the sentiment here.
Daniel Smith
43. Smittyphi
@Joshie 40
I highly enjoyed CoT. Call me wierd, but I enjoyed it.
45. hamstercheeks
"Aes Sedai put bonding a man against his will on a level with rape." (CoS, ch. 12) I understand why Leigh is so adverse to this particular plot thread. However, that just makes Gabrelle all the more awesome. She's been violated, but she's not just gonna lie down and take it ... without further study.

Tektonika@41: I think the trap she refers to is the complete loss of control that the sisters suffer when their Asha'man hit the Big O. As a society that values control and serenity to extreme degrees (c.f. Nynaeve's nearly failing the test for the shawl for being "openly furious"), they must count it a really, really bad disadvantage. That's how I read it.
Ron Garrison
46. Man-0-Manetheran
I re-read CoT last month and remarked to myself that it's a much better book than I remembered. So, take heart Leigh!
Birgit F
47. birgit
Now, is Gabrelle talking about the "sex" creating a "trap". A trap of attachment? Feeling? Something else? What am I missing here?

She is probably talking about the emotional feedback when Logain lets the masking of the bond slip.

Fades would have to be smuggled into Taim's palace - since they can not travel.

They cannot use gateways, but they can ride shadows. There might be a range limit for that, but the limits are never made clear.
Skip Ives
48. Skip
hamstercheeks @45 - I don't think violated is quiet the right word for someone who was captured while trying to attack Logain and under orders to gentle every man they found who could channel. Given the situation it was bind them or kill them. I think part of the hate factor for Leigh is that bonding without permissions skwicks her, but how do you assess the blame between the three?

I also don't think the trap is quite what you think either. The thought that made the rounds at the time was that with two channelers in the bond you end up with a feedback loop, so it is more of a massive mutual climax than him running wild over her.
Hugh Arai
49. HArai
Even more disturbing is that an Asha'man with less than sterling morality could use the modified bond weave on anybody he fancied and make them his slaves. And nobody could tell, really.

The same potential is there with any Accepted or Aes Sedai that knows the warder bond. They make noises about equating it with rape but there's nothing stopping them.
50. SNuBoi
Can't fades travel through shadows or something to that effect? If so they could just pop up in his palace pretty much anytime. But I agree I don't think he started the 13x13 trick at this time. The black ajah channelers would be harder to get.
Skip Ives
51. Skip
HArai @49 - you also have to wonder how true the "warders haven't been bonded against their will in centuries" thing is true considering the actions we've seen in the books to date. Lan's commentary in "New Spring" make it seem that once an AS has made up her mind, she usually gets her way.
Tricia Irish
52. Tektonica
42, 45, 48:

Thank you for that input. Ummmm....I wonder if my husband could learn to channel??
Barry T
53. blindillusion
Rehash, for S&G's:
It took thirteen Dreadlords—Darkfriends who could channel—weaving the flows through thirteen Myrddraal. You see? Not easily done. There are no Dreadlords today. This is a secret of the Tower, child. If others knew, we could never convince them they were safe. Only one who can channel can be turned in this way. The weakness of our strength. Everyone else is as safe as a fortress; only their own deeds and will can turn them to the Shadow.

tDR: Chapter 22
It was Semirhage who discovered that a circle of thirteen, using thirteen Myrddraal as a sort of filter, could turn anyone who could channel to the Shadow, though she invariably preferred to handle Aes Sedai herself.

The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time.
Sam Mickel
54. Samadai
Reading what blind just wrote @53 made me realize (or re-realize) that team dark is completely stupid. They could have had the Supreme council of black sisters turning people to the shadow for the last 20 years. Practically any sister who spends time in the tower could have been turned. Who would notice the dead look in their eyes, if they are all turned. I realize it comes down to the the primary motivator the dark one wants in his servants, selfishness. They are so selfish of the power they might gain, they are unwilling to do whatever they can to ensure that team light can't win.
Theresa Gray
55. Terez27
@Samadai - I doubt that an abundance of turned channelers would make the effects any less obvious.

Another thing worth noting is that the Black Tower is still behind in the timeline; Brandon originally intended to try to fit it in, but it didn't quite work out that way. I'm not sure how far behind they are, but I'm thinking it's at least a (WoT) week.
56. Freelancer
Hi Leigh! Hi everyone!

Leigh, I bow before your restraint in not unleashing a FBLR over your favorite topic of mental slavery. Very well done.

RE: 13x13

Nothing I've ever read says that the 13 Myrddraal used in a "turning" are consumed by the event. Also, the term "circle" is never used. The phrase is "thirteen dreadlords channeling through thirteen Myrddraal". So no apparent requirement for female channelers. And if there had been one, Taim would have simply had his crew compell-bond the Aes Sedai and force them to participate in the circles. That he refuses to allow any of his faction to be part of a bond says otherwise.


You bad...
Roger Powell
57. forkroot
Agreed that the text does not specifically call out a circle; nevertheless, it's hard to imagine a a circle not being part of the procedure if for no other reason than to coordindate the flows. We'll either learn more in AMoL or have to ask Brandon.

I'm not sure that Taim would have chosen to compell-bond the Aes Sedai. We know from Alviarin's POV that no BA were among Toveines' group. He would be taking a risk bonding a non-DF AS - it would be almost impossible to bond them all simulataneously without someone on the Light side getting wise to what was going on and running out for help.

It's clear that Taim was building his position slowly and carefully. He had reason to be careful as there was always the chance that Rand would show up and confront him before he could withstand Rand.

For that same reason, I agree with previous commenters that the 13x13 trick was not rolled out until the dreamspike was in place. Look how quickly Pevara realized something was wrong with Tarna.
Valentin M
58. ValMar
So does it mean Tektonica can channel? :)
Aaanyway, I agree with those thinking that the 13x13 just begun when we saw these dead eyes and the dome is no coincidence. Taim has check and is moving for mate. The last moves of the Game are at hand.
Actually, am I writing this in the right thread? Ah, forkoot's post means yes...
59. SoonerFan
read @53's post again. The BBoBA does state that it requires a circle.
Eric Cherry
60. yenhe

Sorry to be posting here, but I thought you'd actually read this as this is your latest post. Just started reading your re-read...absolutely great work.

I was reading part 2 of TEOTW, and was struck by your comment regarding the relative danger of travel in medeival times. I have a thought for you on this point. The entire concept of "checks" and "money orders" (in our real world) derives from a medeival 'banking' practice where monied groups with a presence in many cities (Knights Templar?) would essentially write an I.O.U. for a merchant who wished to travel with a large sum of money. Upon arrival in the destination city, his I.O.U. would be honored and the merchant could use his money for trade there. All of this was to defeat highwaymen who sought to rob merchants for the money they carried.

All of our "promissary note" practices and laws are based on this. So, yeah...it's a bit of authorly tension-adding...but its also based on our notions of what medeival life must have really been like.

And besides, it's not like the Watch Hill 5-0 are gonna roll around the corner and save the poor Ferrymen...
61. Freelancer
The BBoBA is also not considered completely reliable canon, per the man who wrote it.
Barry T
63. blindillusion
Yep. I concur with Freelancer. It's not reliable, but then, neither is what Sheriam said, so....

Meh, I think we can all agree that in some fashion the use of 13 channelers and 13 Fades leads to a state pretty much worse than death:
Week 15 Question: When a channeler is forcibly turned to the Dark, is his/her former personality lost to eternity? Are they in a permanent state of mindless Compulsion? Furthermore, can a channeler forcibly turned to the Dark return to the Light unaided?

Robert Jordan Answers: They are not in a mindless state of Compulsion. Their former personality is twisted, the darker elements that everyone has to some degree elevated while what might be called the good elements are largely suppressed. I don't mean things like courage, which is useful even to villains, but they are unlikely to be very charitable, for example, and forget any altruistic impulses. Call it being turned into a mirror image of yourself in many ways. It is very unlikely that a channeler forcibly turned to the Shadow could find a way back to the Light unaided. For one reason, by virtue of the twisting he or she had undergone, it is very unlikely that he or she would have any desire to do so.

Andrew Peterson
64. BCWoods
My personal hope is that using 13 Myrddal in a 13x13 "Turning" creates the same effects as the other sort of Myrddal bond that we know about.

When Myrddal bond Trollocs, all the Trollocs die when that Myrddal is killed. So maybe the reason the 13x13 Trick wasn't used often in the Age of Legends was that you could kill all those turned by killing the linchpin of the "Turning Circle."

I'd assume that to be one person for the purposes of dramatic effect.

My guess is that would be Taim.

If Turning requires the same sort of "Don't Kill Me or Else" bond that Myrddal and Trollocs have, Taim gains an army of channelers who literally CANNOT kill him except as an act of suicide.

At least that is my hope.
Gary Masterton
65. GM
"Presumably we’re going to find out how that all works in—well, sixteen months or so, hopefully."

AHHH!!!!! i honestly hadnt thought about it, but saying it like that.... sixteen months... i dont think i can spend sixteen months in anticipation. ill overheat by february at this rate.

also, ok, forgive the noobishness, but on first reading, i didnt leap to the 13 13 conclusion. it never occurred to me. i just figured compulsion. not even that actually, reading so fast and so engrossed, i forgot to step back and consider, i just thought, ahh, theyre evil keep reading.

so why 13 by 13? devils advocate here, if i may. wouldnt compulsion be a more ready source of power for taim? an expedient, quick and nasty means of gathering followers. after all, does taim want followers turned to serve the shadow, or turned to serve and obey him? selfishness being the prime directive modus operandi of all DFs weve EVER seen, turning a pool of channelers into DO-minions seems... sorta selfless. horrifyingly effective, no doubt about it, but contrary to that self-interest weve come to know and love from the Forsaken - the reason theyre so flippin useless most of the time.

maybe its just because 13 13 has only been mentioned once in WoT, in TSR or whenverr, and compulsion happpens to every other joe bloggs, but it the trick wasnt the first thought for this reader. after leigh mentioned it in the review, ill admit, i thought, oh right thats what was going on, DUH. but... think about it.

What else are you going to do for 16 months?

AHHH!! Sixteen Months!!!
john mullen
66. johntheirishmongol
Frankly at this point, I was hoping for some resolutions, not additional characters. And while Itur is a great battle leader,others who were already there would have sufficed. This was why I think most didnt care for it so much.

That being said, it is a pretty interesting prologue.
Linda Taglieri
67. Linda
@30 Actually it was specifically stated in the BWB that
Semirhage "discovered that a circle of thirteen, using thirteen Myrddraal as a sort of filter" could turn any channeller to the Shadow.

But as I said in my BA essay last year before TGS was released (not going to link it here since links never seem to work for me on TOR these days), not since Liandrin’s group was broken up have there been 13 Black Ajah free and available to link together with 13 Myrddraal to forcibly turn channellers to the Shadow. Now we have over 70 Black sisters who fled either the rebels or the White Tower. Taim at the Black Tower has been turning channellers to the Shadow, so some of these Black sisters must have been sent to him. The circles of 13 don’t need to be all women, but there does need to be at least 7 women in each circle (but could be up to 13). In any mixed circle the minimum number of women is one more woman than the number of men and for a circle of 13, that minimum would be 7. Even a free and available group of 7 Black sisters hasn’t occurred that often before now, which is why Taim didn't arrange for this procedure until now.
Joseph Armao
68. joeyesq
@ well... pretty much everyone.

Anyone have any ideas about what effect, if any, the 13x13 trick has on channelers who are bound by the oath rod? If the Aes Sedai turned by Taim are still bound by the 3 oaths, doesn't that somewhat limit their effectiveness... Or did Moridin have a spare binder in his toy closet of doom? I don't remember...
69. Freelancer
GM @65

Compulsion makes it difficult for people to think for themselves, even to accomplishing moderately routine tasks. Consider Kreb, he had what Graendal considered a very mild case of Compulsion, and Nynaeve's removal of it killed him. He wasn't a terribly active character other than the directives which had been planted. Better to leave a person's active will functioning, but perverted to its basest state. And given that Jordan's description of the result includes the person not having a desire to be "back to normal", but preferring this darker self, who needs Compulsion? Win-win for the bad guys.

joeyesq @68

At this point there is no evidence of an Aes Sedai having been "turned".
Joseph Armao
70. joeyesq
Free @ 69 Didn't ToM leave us with at least circumstantial evidence that Tarna had been turned, or am I misremembering?
Linda Taglieri
71. Linda
@70 You remembr correctly Joey. Both Mezar and Tarna are now described as having 'dead' or 'lifeless' eyes as well as a marked character change, which includes wanting to be around people they previously disdained - namely Taim and his cronies. Tarna was all set to persuade Javindhra to leave the BT one day, and the next is very offhand about the threat Taim poses and says she wants to stay on at the BT.

Incidentally, Javindhra does not have dead eyes, and is likely one of the Blacks that have been turing channellers to the Shadow. She's keen to stay on; no doubt she has been told to. She behaved suspiciously in earlier books and wers very dark clothes, often a hint of a Black sister (eg Duhara, Katerine).
Barry T
72. blindillusion

Well, I'd say there's evidence, though it's not irrefutable.

Tsk. Forget to hit "post" and two people have already commented on this. Eh.

Hi Linda! *waves*
craig thrift
73. gagecreedlives
Pretty sure your right there joeyesq. Didnt Pevara notice something wrong with Tarna and wanted to have the meeting done with the gateway ashaman (cant remember his name sorry) over with before she returned back to the tent.

Wonder if the starting of the 13x13 trick started because Taim lost taint protection as bait. I know a bit of time has passed but it would of taken a little while to organise to get the fades, dreamspike and black ajah together for the plan to be effective.
Jay Dauro
74. J.Dauro

Moridin does have an "Oath" rod.

TOM - 5
"Three binding rods? A rema'kar? Those pieces of a sho---"

And there is some evidence of an Aes Sedai turned.

TOM - 53
The woman looked up, and Pevara froze. There was something different in Tarna's eyes, something cold. She'd always been a distant one, but this was worse.

We will have to see if this is really 13x13'd, but it meets the description IMHO, as other have also felt (Hi Blind and Linda.)
I believe Linda and the BBoBA are correct, they have to have a circle, so they need at least 7 Black Ajah. Now these are available. And Taim waited for the Dreamspike, to prevent the good ones from escaping, and to prevent word from getting out.

But in 16 months or so, we will know for sure.
Linda Taglieri
75. Linda
Hi Blind and Jay!

@73 Turning to the Shadow was done in the AOL. Semirhage used to like to do it with torture. She was also the discoverer of the trick with a ring of 13 and 13 Myrdrraal back then.

In TGS Prologue Mesaana said that she'd have an entire brood of channellers serving the Dark One - one way or another. I think this procedure is an example of one of the 'other ways' - an unwilling way. Note that while she was speaking of the WT, she didn't specify whether the channellers would all be female. Since she provided the BA essential to do the deed she can claim as much credit as Taim can.
craig thrift
76. gagecreedlives
Hi Linda

Sorry I didnt make myself clear (common habit of mine) but I didnt mean to imply that Taim discovered the 13x13 trick, just wondering if it only started to be used in the black tower because saidin was cleansed and they needed a new way to convince potential dreadlords to join up
Linda Taglieri
77. Linda
@76 I understood :), I was making the point that I think they would have turned people anyway. The timing was more a matter of having the required number of women together for the circles.
John Massey
78. subwoofer
Hi Leigh ::waves:: Missed ya! Great to have you back:)

The 13 trick- I dunno- why? Gain more baddies? Seems like a logistical challenge unless you are going for a plant higher up in the Tower and Aliviarin and Mesaana had that covered. I am thinking that a fair chunk of BA work was to sow seeds of mistrust and to dwindle the Tower numbers. The amount of female channelers in the Tower is at an all time low, did that just happen or is it on purpose? Wouldn't it be simpler for the BA and others to just "off" Sisters that leave the Tower on excursions and slow down recruitment drives?

On another note why do we always go there? Nice fantasy story, swords, sorcerers, wolves, Bela, good, evil- etc. and some folks go right for stuff I didn't even think about- rape, spanking, gender issues, thankfully we have mostly managed to skirt religion, gun control, Gawyn... but anyways, this kinda reminds me of studying Shakespeare in university. When Will was penning a play was he really putting so much symbolism and layers of meaning into his stories or is it just stuff people are digging for after the fact to take his work to the next level. If Willy was alive would he cop to all the parallels everyone sees or would he just say "hey, I was trying to make some money pumping out as many good plays as possible. The rest is just gravy." Did RJ really put some of this stuff in to be "hot button" topics or are we just bringing in our own prejudices?

Edit-all I am trying to say is that sometimes a sword is just a sword.

craig thrift
79. gagecreedlives
Im not so sure about that Linda. After all if it was just a matter of getting a few female darkfriend channellers over to the black tower I am pretty sure Mr Nae'Blis could of organised it pretty quickly.
j p
80. sps49
This must be like what the newsgroup used to be- a few lines of text spawn paragraphs of analysis and theories.

Leigh, the spoiler call had to be made. If not for yourself, then certainly for the ensuing comments!
Roger Powell
81. forkroot
Yes, to gain more baddies! At some point this whole thing is prophesied to degenerate into the Mother, Father, Sister, and Brother of all battles. Every channeler for Team Dark is worth a lot of soldiers (or Trollocs).
Alice Arneson
82. Wetlandernw
Re: CoT in general - I was deeply frustrated on my first read, because it seemed like each plot took one baby step forward, if that. I was greatly comforted to read, from RJ's blog, that "if he could change anything he wanted about the books, the only thing he'd change would be the structure of CoT. It just didn't work like he thought it would." I thought it was also interesting to note (although this may be just rumor) that it was partially a reaction to the fan outrage at Mat being missing from the previous book; he wanted to try to make sure he didn't leave out any of the major players.

Anyway, on my later rereads, it wasn't nearly so bad, because my expectations were vastly different and I had a place to go with it. Now I rather enjoy it, because there are a lot of good things hiding in here that we're starting to see play out in the last few books.

And... everything else I had to say has been thoroughly covered. Maybe I'll get some brilliant insight tomorrow and post something intelligent. Or at least not repetitive.
Peter Leventis
83. PL1
subwoofer@78, forkroot@81

Also, each good person turned to the Shadow isn't just a gain of more baddies, it's a loss of those of the Light; ie each 1 person turned is a net gain of 2.
Antoni Ivanov
84. tonka
I think I am one of the very few who liked COT. It was a bit different which I liked. And the fact that we have so many different viewpoints and reactions to the cleansing was fascinating. I really love when authors shows us the same scene from a couple of point of views. It's very interesting to see the difference in reactions, thinking to the same event(s) from different characters. That made me devour the pages in burning curiousity to find out how were the people reacting to the cleansing (undoubtly the biggest achievement to date for the Light Team).Which made the book pretty interesting for me.
Claire de Trafford
85. Booksnhorses
Wow, what a day. A new WOT re-read and Wills and Kate get engaged! I'll leave you lot to guess which one I preferred...

Random thoughts. This one was the first one that the UK covers started messing around and it really dicked me off. I hadn't really got into buying from .com, not .co.uk then so I was stuck with them. Boy I hate it when covers changed mid-series. The only possible exception is the Sweet cover for TGS which is just plain wrong. Other than that I quite like his covers, this one is nice and I wish I had it on my shelves (sorry for covering this now but the last book's cover got very short shrift at the end Leigh - you know it did). Second totally random thought - am I the only one with 'hey Carrie Anne, what's your game now can anyone play', running around in a loop when Careanne appears in the series? Hope you are stuck with it now also.

Other than that, and slightly more relevant, I think I did cotton on to Taim's evil plans fairly early on and I'm still very annoyed with Rand for not dealing with this. And also that it didn't get more coverage in TOM.

Valda - yes Toolirific. Logain's forced bond icky. Mind blowing sex - possibly a slight compensation. Makes you wonder about all these chanellers with multiple warder bonds ...
Jonathan Levy
86. JonathanLevy
"Lord Captain Commander Tool and his merry band of Loose Screws"

45. hamstercheeks
Janet Hopkins
87. JanDSedai
Yes, CoT was a very different book. After the prologue, (which in itself was the length of most books 20 years ago), the next 460 pp are all spent on the same day!

It is almost easy to forget that this book actually advanced the plot another 21 days-- as long as the last book (WH).
Gerd K
89. Kah-thurak
@CoT not beeing so bad on Re-Reads
I really cannot confirm this. In my last Re-Read of the complete series (after TGS came out) I couldnt make myself to do anything but skim through practically the whole book because nothing really happens. TPOD and WH have at least some interesting sequences but CoT is really superflous. I still believe that compressing the plot of TPOD, WH and CoT into one book should have been possible and would have made the series much better. Sure some characters and plotlines would have to go, but I am pretty sure that noone would think that something was missing if they didnt excist.
Birgit F
90. birgit
New reread statistics are on the last WH thread.
Grainne McGuire
91. helen79
@85 ClairedeT re covers

I agree with you re the covers - I am not a fan of the UK covers and prefer the Sweet ones.

The UK market seems to favour abstract covers (more so than American publishers do - but correct me if I'm wrong about this). For me, the Darryl Sweet ones made the WoT books different and made them stand out. A friend recommended I read them; she started reading them because she was curious with books with such different covers.

I've stuck with the boring UK covers from CoT onwards because I don't want to buy the books online and risk having the book turn up late, not to mention paying postage. (If anyone wants to swap UK covers for the Sweet pictures, let me know!)
Thomas Stessl
92. tommythecat
Did I miss something or weren't the last 3 books supposed to come out a year apart from each other?
James Hogan
93. Sonofthunder
Yeah, I think initially they were - so we were going to get a Nov. 2011 release of AMoL. But Brandon has decided he needs to do a series re-read before he gets down to business on AMoL(a move I heartily agree with!) and if I remember correctly, he's going to start that re-read in January. So the release is going to be pushed back a few months into 2012, it appears. As long as this results in a more polished and totally epic final product, fine by me!!

And yay Leigh! Good to see a new reread post(and new book!). I don't currently have CoT in my possession and I really shouldn't buy it again...so I'll be relying on my faulty memory and your amazing re-caps. The first time I read the series, I had sort of gotten used to a very-much-slowed-down pace(from CoS through CoT) and so I sort of muddled through this book - it definitely wasn't in my top favorites. My second read though, I had a much greater knowledge of the series as a whole(helped much by your FAQ!) and I read more slowly to just absorb the wonderfulness of Jordan's writing. And CoT(except for the Faile/Shaido/Sevanna/Therava bits, which just annoy me to no end) managed to delight me anew. Conclusion(for me): First read was so-so. Re-reads are great. So I'm greatly looking forward to the re-read of this book and hope that you'll have more fun than you expect.

As for the prologue(or, first third anyway), yay for Ituralde! First time I read it, I remember wondering why we were being introduced to another random character(especially since he didn't even come back the rest of the book!), but reading these bits now(with knowledge of what an amazing character he is) is enjoyable. The Valda bits...him and Asunawa...yeah, not so fun. Both of them are scum. Moving on...to Logain and his Aes Sedai. It's interesting to see a POV from Gabrelle this time instead of Toveine. Moving past her seduction of him...while the forced-obedience-bond does not make me happy, I guess Logain(like Rand) has little trust in Aes Sedai, who were, admittedly, sent to wipe the Black Tower clean. All in all, it could have been MUCH WORSE. Imagine if Taim and his pals got a hold of the Aes Sedai first. Yeah.

I'd be intrigued to see if Gabrelle and the other bonded Aes Sedai ever meet up with Egwene. That should be...interesting. I'm hoping the obedience-part of the bond can be removed - if anyone can do it, Nynaeve can!

Thirdly, Logain is an interesting character - I feel sympathetic towards him(he's been through a LOT) and intrigued by promises of his future glory. He's one of the few minor characters that have been with us since EotW! And just wondering...where IS he lately anyways? Inquiring minds want to know.
94. Third dimension
Really enjoyed this story
95. Ian B Manc
@91 grainster

It was the out and out D&D type artwork that first attracted me to pick up WOT. But being British, we're all slightly embarrassed about what other people think, hence, the subtle sombre covers. Its like the Harry Potter covers for "grown ups".

The 13x13 think in ToM is possibly the creepiest thing in WOT.
It's like the Stepford Wives. Compulsion comes a close 2nd and the a'dam 3rd.
Thomas Stessl
96. tommythecat
Thanks Sonofthunder. Makes sense and I agree that whatever makes the last book better I am all for!
Valentin M
97. ValMar
Yep, in the UK we have the "boring" covers. I'm not complaining since I tend be something of a "Cairhienin" in character. I used to have the first 8 with US covers bought from the American Bookstore in Geneva but lost them sadly. Now all of them are UK editions.
Colleen Palmer
98. arianrose
@81 grainster -
"For me, the Darryl Sweet ones made the WoT books different and made them stand out."

That's so completely different to US marketing that I'm actually surprised by it. I picked up TEOTW in an airport because it had what I considered "typical fantasy" cover art, and therefore was a fairly safe bet that I could at least tolerate it for my flight.

Not only are the Sweet covers usually erronous, I think the largest crime for me is that they've become so boring - it's an art style that's been overused in American fantasy art.
John Massey
99. subwoofer
Yay! Good morning all:)

Looked on the fridge this morning (edit where we keep our shopping list), saw "butter", then "onions" beneath it. Added the word "bloody" on top. Does that give me my official WoT geek/cred card or what?

@Hamstercheeks(love the name, gotta, gotta, gotta go grey) what kind of "further study" are we talking about here? ;)

John Massey
100. subwoofer
1 Hunny!!!

Dang rest of comment went up in smoke!

Ahem- all in all I liked CoT. I would have cheerfully done without the Elayne sucession saga. On the other hand, we do gets tons of Mat and Tuon and the merry hijinx that ensues, got a good chuckle outta that. And of all things, Alviarin gets the smack down.

Edit- Oh yeah- the covers- Back in the day what drew me in to tEotW was Lan on his horsie. Looked really cool and spoke to me of the potential inside. I had just finished rereading Eddings and was starving for something fresh. Yay for me. Funny how the artwork is not so bad, but it does feel like the artist has not read a page of the book he is doing the cover for.

David Platt
101. The Not So Dark One
@85, 91 & 95

How can you possibly say the Sweet covers are good? I remember being about 14 and a regular library user - not so many years ago *cough* and I regularly ignored TEOTW due to the dodgy cover. It made the book look like some poor Tolkien rip off. (I must say that until half way through the first book my opinion hadn't changed much, Trollocs instead of Trolls/ Orcs living in bands like the Uruk Hai ( I think thats their name?))
But yes, the writing won through and the series expanded and grew it's own wings. It was only a recommendation from a friend who I trusted in such matters that made me pick it up in the first place. Every cover that Sweet does is wrong in some way - or sometimes just badly drawn. Give me the new covers anyday.

As a side story I remeber taking a few of these books back with me from leave during my RM training. Locker inspections came around and My Corporal went bog eyed at 4 WOT novels in my drawer. "You have much time for reading?!" he screamed,
"No, Corporal" I replied - and that seemed to pretty much stump him - not sure what answer he was expecting - "Yes Corporal I have too much time on my hands please give me a beasting and then if possible some extra work to fill my time!"

Not this boy


Edit: for spelling
102. Splaaat
@24, 42, 47, it doesn't seem like not being able to bring myrddraal through a gateway and the proximity detection of Shadowspawn by channelers should be much of an obstacle to 13x13 by Taim - he could just have the circle do their work at another location where Myrddraal were convenient. Taim could just take his victims and channelers through a gateway rather than bringing the myddraal to the Black Tower.

As I'm convinced that Taim is Moridin (thanks to the clever theory posted on the Thirteenth Depository), he can simply bring the work to his base in the Blight and return when done.

Of course, the dream spike is now a problem for the traveling, but the inability of Shadowspawn to use gateways should not have served as an obstacle for someone with the resources to assemble 13 myrddraal.
Maiane Bakroeva
103. Isilel
Samadia @29:

I believe that Taim had been recruiting Darkfriends from the beginning and teaching them Channeling.

I have been only saying it since ACoS, when we first saw that none of the first group of recruits, the ones who supposedly had been channeling and teaching the longest and were most directly affected by Rand's ta'verenness (i.e. were bound to have strong potentials), has been given the dragon!
I'd go further and say that whether Taim is a student of Ishydin or Ishydin himself, he'd been training male channeling DFs for years prior to Rand's proclamation and all of the earliest dragon-pin wearers (apart from Dashiva), were his students from before the BT.
The only non-DFs who got the pin were those who got it from Rand himself or who got it after the advent of Logain at the BT, when Taim had to become a little more circumspect.

Harai @49:

The same potential is there with any Accepted or Aes Sedai that knows the warder bond.

Umm, no. Compulsion via the AS warder bond requires constant effort and can be resisted (viz. late Eldrith who had to flee from her warder, who was intent on killing her for her DFness).
Whereas, Ashaman Compulsion bond is Graendal's wet dream. The subjects have to obey every order given to them and are unable to resist in any way.
Which, BTW would make any forcible bonding or abuse of it absolutely undetectable as long as the compeller is careful. Also, do the saidin bondees get any benefits from the bond apart from superior sex? Gabrelle doesn't seem to be brimming with increased vitality / endurance / speed...

And BTW, I still have to wonder about the dynamic with the bonded sisters who already had warders. Surely it would be implausible for _none_ of the 50, many of whom were Greens, to have any.

Logain is an interesting character with serious crimes in his past, but currently on the way to redemption. I'd still like to hear his reasons for becoming a False Dragon, when as an educated man he had to know that he didn't fulfill the very first Prophecy.

Sonofthunder @ 93:

Imagine if Taim and his pals got a hold of the Aes Sedai first.

Well, IIRC Taim never wanted his pals to participate and I am still unclear on the why of it, since the advantages of getting 50 obedient channelers who don't need to be slowly corrupted or turned are obvious.
Maybe Taim expected Rand to be angry with the bonders and generally to keep a much sharper eye on the situation (which, after all, involved women) than he did?
Also makes me wonder why Taim bothered to turn Tarna instead of just having one of his flunkies bond her and avoiding the evil "tells".
Another interesting line of thought is what will happen if one of the bonders goes over to Taim's faction and gets turned. IIRC, Logain's faction is quickly losing members - can it be that none of the 50 were tempted?
104. hamstercheeks
skip@48: Agree with you about the feedback loop. However, I don't think the rest of the Tower group under Toveine knew about their real orders, which, as you point out, was to gentle and hang every man on the spot.

The silly Brown nattered on as she carried out her domestic tasks like a contented farmwife... (snip, snip) "He found your lapdesk.”

Toveine felt as though an icy hand had seized her throat. She tried to hide it, but Gabrelle was looking straight at her. “He burned it, Toveine. After reading the contents. He seemed to think he had done us a favor.”

The hand eased, and Toveine could breathe again. “Elaida’s order was among my papers.” She cleared her throat to rid herself of hoarseness. Elaida’s order to gentle every man found here and then hang them on the spot, without the trial in Tar Valon required by Tower law. “She imposed harsh conditions, and these men would have reacted harshly, if they knew.” In spite of the heat from the stove, she shivered. That single paper could have gotten them all stilled and hanged.

Toveine seems to be fudging here. So, for all the rest of the sisters knew, they were simply there to arrest the male channelers and take them back to the WT. Certainly there are questions of accountability and morality here. I was just trying to underline that bonding against will equals rape for the sisters, hence the bonded sisters can be considered "violated." I concede that might be too strong a term, especially as it comes with a bonus orgasm. Or whatever that was.
Grainne McGuire
105. helen79
@101 TNSDO

Speaking only for myself it is not so much that the Sweet covers are good but rather that they are different to just about all other books I have.

@95 Ian B Manc's comment about British editions having subtle sombre covers is quite accurate IMO (and maybe his reason about the Brit's sense of embarrasment is accurate too).

So when I look at my bookshelf, books 1-9 stand out because they are different to just about everything else I have. And that's why I like them. I don't disagree with most of the negative comments about the covers,but to be honest it doesn't bother me that much since I'm not used to the cover having any particular bearing on the book.

and felt like I was knee-deep in tackiness. Mind you that place had a large romance section and they're probably the worst offenders]
Matthew Smith
106. blocksmith
Good to have you back to your old re-reading habits. Thanks.

Regarding Taim's lessons....as so many others have said, I think, at this point, it is truly special lessons for those that Taim feels are "so inclined". The 13^2 scenario is likely occurring just prior to and (definitely IMO) during TOM.

It is nice to know, now, that both Valda and Asunawa have both gone quietly (or not so much) into that good night. Couldn't have happened to two *cough*nicer*cough* individuals. Here's to hoping a few more join them in AMOL.

Rodel Ituralde does demonstrate some pretty good military acumen here...both in strategy and tactics while at the same time getting rid of potential enemy combatants. I do recall though that at the time, I had this really bad feeling about how it would work out for him. Omniscient I am not.
Tricia Irish
107. Tektonica
I'm a bit confused here...I understand that shadowspawn can't travel through gateways, so we've been told, but how do those Mydraal get around? Are the portal stones all they've got? Can't the DO just plop them wherever he wants?

One pops up with Elza and Semi at Rand's place in Bandar Eban, doesn't it? Can they make their own gateways with the TP? Would that allow shadowspawn through?

And if I remember correctly, and I will try to find it in the book when it's to hand, I believe that either Slayer in T'AR with Perrin, or Graendal, mention that you can make exceptions to gateways in a dreamspike....whoever controls it can let in who they want.
Ergo: If Moridan is either Taim, or if Taim is his minion, they could bring whatever shadowspawn into the BT that they want, Mydraals included. Ug.
Brandon Daggerhart
108. BDaggerhart

Logain is an interesting character with serious crimes in his past, but currently on the way to redemption. I'd still like to hear his reasons for becoming a False Dragon, when as an educated man he had to know that he didn't fulfill the very first Prophecy.

I imagine that, for the most part, no matter how educated someone is in 'Randland,' there is a very large difference between knowing that prophecies exist, and knowing the exact manner in which they exist - that is to say, think of what Taim said to Rand, essentially:

"If I had gotten Callandor, the histories would have shown me to be on Dragonmount."

Most people to view the prophecies as more like directions of what needs to happen, rather than the actual fate-based-hand-guiding that they actually are. I think, other that possibly some of the wiser Aes Sedai, most people figured the prophecies were more like just helpful hints, but could be accomplished by anyone with the willpower/strength-of-arms/charisma to make it happen.

@107 - I think that's Shadar Hairan that shows up in TGS, not just some random fade. Meaning, I think ol' SH has more power than the regular, run-of-the-mill Myrdraal.

Also, I'm one of those few people I believe who actually doesn't mind this book. But on the other hand, I don't really dislike any of them - I just don't pick this one up to re-read often. But I have re-read it, even in the last year, and mostly enjoyed it. Especially for the Mat scenes (when they're available).
James Jones
109. jamesedjones
Re: DKS covers

I really like them. They've always been a mark of how tight Tor or RJ was with the material, instead of Sweet's inability to draw.

I first started selecting books for my own enjoyment when I was 9. Back then, my reading list included Narnia, Xanth, and the Myth-adventures. But my favorite, by far, was the Shannara series by Terry Brooks (I may have been 10 or 11 by that time). If any of you have read the Elfstones of Shannara and the Wishsong of Shannara, you'll know that DKS can draw some incredibly accurate covers and interior art, when given accurate information about his subject.

Although, I'll admit his dragons on the Xanth covers lost me. :P

He's still one of those authors that you can easily identify when browsing fantasy. And I will still pick up a book with his work on the cover, just to check it out. Found quite a few good ones that way.
Hugh Arai
110. HArai
Umm, no. Compulsion via the AS warder bond requires constant effort and can be resisted (viz. late Eldrith who had to flee from her warder, who was intent on killing her for her DFness).

And yet Lan was unable to resist the compulsion to go to Myrelle, weeks away, from the instant Moiraine fell through the portal. I recall Eldrith but not the exact details. I'll have to look her up. The fact she fled instead of simply dropping the bond and killing him leads me to believe something more is involved.
Barry T
111. blindillusion

Tankspill would be correct. The Fade in tGS was SH (who has been around in different versions since tGH). This bit from aCoS: Chapter 40 (the last POV), involving SH, gives a small hint as to how Fades move about:
A sudden ache climbed the back of its neck; a faint weakness washed along its limbs. Too long away from Shayol Ghul. That tie had to be severed somehow. With a snarl, it turned to find the edge of shadow that it needed. The day was coming. It would come.

Maiane Bakroeva
112. Isilel
Harai @110:

And yet Lan was unable to resist the compulsion to go to Myrelle

Yet once he got there, Myrelle was afraid that he might kill her, IIRC. Also, Lan knew that it was Moiraine's last wish - would he have resisted whole-heartedly?

Re: Eldrith's warder, I am not sure why Liandrin's Coven didn't try to trap him, let Eldrith remove the bond and then kill him and chose to flee when he showed up instead. However, Eldrith didn't for a second think that she could compel him out of his intention to kill her via the warder bond.
Skip Ives
113. Skip
Hamstercheeks @104 - no worries, I tend to be pedantic about word choice, its an occupational hazard. I agree that any bonding against one's will is a Bad Thing (tm), and the upsides do not really mitigate that. They do make things better for the person bonded in this particular situation though.

While you are probably correct that the AS did not know what Tovaine's exact orders were, anyone of them that lived through "the vileness" should have had a good idea about how an Elaida ordered, Tovaine led task force would be dealing with any men that could channel.

I do like to think that it was the Feedback thing rather than the bonding that knocked Alana out when Elayne, Min and Avi bonded Rand in Andor. It makes it that much more of a nice schadenfreude thing that way.
Theresa Gray
114. Terez27
Linda@77 - As others have said, I find it hard to believe that it would have been all that difficult for them to scrounge up a measly 7 Black Ajah to turn some folks. Even 13 wouldn't have been too difficult, especially from the rebel camp, where women knew Traveling and were completely unsupervised in their comings and goings. The only thing stopping it would be a fear of stepping too far outside the heart system, but even that can most likely be avoided in a manner similar to the hooded meetings of the Supreme Council.

Wetlander@82 - Mat was missing from TPOD, not WH! Just nitpicking. :)

tonka@84 - That. 100% that. I loved the first 357 pages of the book for that reason. I think most people expected there to be some immediate fallout...but the fact was, most of the Asha'man were at the Black Tower, or with Rand, or Perrin - they weren't really out spreading the word, and who would believe them anyway? Probably only the men they were recruiting.

I do remember being extremely satisfied and at least a little on edge after finishing it, but also at the same time feeling like I hadn't read a whole book.
Don Barkauskas
115. bad_platypus
@107 et seq.:

All Myrddraal can travel in shadows, not just Shaidar Haran. From LoC, Chapter 6:
Turning sharply, it strode away through patches of shadow---and abruptly was gone.
Semirhage wished she knew how Myrddraal did that. It had nothing to do with the Power, but on the edges of shadow, where light was becoming dark, a Myrddraal could suddenly be elsewhere, in another shadow far away. Long ago Aginor had tested over a hundred of them to destruction in a vain effort to learn how it was done. The Myrddraal themselves did not know; she herself had proved that.

Roger Powell
116. forkroot
Regarding "turning" vs. "compel-bonding":

Let's remember who the boss for Team Dark is: The DO himself. His orders, as conveyed either by Shaidar Haran or Moridin are to the ultimate advantage of Team Dark - not the particular darkfriend carrying out the orders.

Whether Taim might have prefered compel-bonding some light-side Aes Sedai or not, it appears it is much more advantageous to TD to "turn" them as they are now full-fledged agents of the Shadow, not reluctant participants squirming against a bond. Furthermore, they remain potent agents of the Shadow unto themselves - if they were compel-bonded they would be useless if the bondholder died.

IMO it is a measure of RJ's creative genius to have set up this Chekov's gun so long ago. Now it is brought into play with absolutely chilling consequences. I was surprised just how much it creeped me out to see Tarna (a minor character, really) turned.

(I kinda wish RJ had mentioned dreamspikes in passing - like shocklances and glowbulbs were mentioned . The appearance of an item with substantial significance to tactics etc this late feels a bit D.E.M.ish. It should be noted that RJ did hint about this sort of item when discussing defenses against gateway'd forces in the AOL battles - but that was in an interview.)
117. pwl
One thing that bothers me about the line of thinking that goes "13x13 is happening now that Black Ajah are free", why would Shaidar Haran not have ordered Mesaana or Alviarin to send 7 (or a few more for redundancy) Black sisters to the Black Tower to start the process well before the Great Purge? Alviarin was able to ensure that no BA went, but if the Dark would gain from BA being sent she could have just as easily done the opposite, with simultaneous orders to Taim not to kill them when they "attacked".
Roger Powell
118. forkroot
Agreed that the availability of BA did not drive the timing.

We've seen that the results of 13x13 are readily evident, so it's not like Taim could do that at his leisure. Once he started the process, Team Light would know about it. And... I think I'm repeating points from @57 and other posters, so I'll stop.
Ron Garrison
119. Man-0-Manetheran
Loial is due for a reappearance. Since the quote from his book is all past tense, then I think it safe to assume that he swayed the Ogier not to open the Book of Translation. I'm looking forward to when the Ogier meet the Gardeners...
Thomas Keith
120. insectoid
Birgit @90: Thanks for the info!

Oh no... not another DKS cover debate. Hasn't that horse already been beaten enough?


Tess Laird
121. thewindrose
This prologue with Ituralde always makes me chuckle when I read it. Graendal went to such complicated lengths to get this message to him(with making sure there is human blood on the letter incase someone in this age could test for that, etc), and he turns it around and mounts a great campaign. Instead of causing more chaos, Ituralde gets Taraboners, Domani and dragon sworn to all work together - successfully.

And, you got wonder about these Aes Sedai. From Leigh's review:
Gabrelle doesn’t think Desandre and Lemai’s order to achieve “cordial” relations with their Asha’man

What! OK sisters, we have been bonded by these Asha’man, and they have added a obey clause to the bond - so try to bed them! Why didn't they try working on getting released from the bond instead. They could have maybe? convinced Logain that they learned their lesson and he could have Traveled with them back to the Tower and released their bonds - I mean some of them have negotiated before right? Oh well - I know it adds to the story, but it makes me wonder how competent Aes Sedai are:)

122. KiManiak
Leigh, thanks for the post. I look forward to reading your perspectives on CoT. It’s not one of my favorites, but you’ve done an excellent job of having me reassess my opinion of the other books, so maybe I’ll give this book another chance (anything’s possible…)

subwoofer@78 – Actually, I thought you brought up a really good question and was surprised that not too many folks responded. Why do we always “go there?” Speaking just for myself, I think a big part of it is becoming immersed in such a well-written story that you do bring real life perceptions, concerns and biases with you. Even understanding that I am reading fiction, I still will be irked by things that irk me in RL.
If sexism, corporal punishment, racism, the physical and mental effects of sexual assault, etc are a sensitive topic to you in RL, I think you’re likely to be sensitive to it in your favorite works of fiction. If you studied them and/or had great discussions about topics (like institutionalized racism; or is spanking ever necessary; or inherent sexism in society; or is rape actually rape if both parties are married (or if the person “raped” is male and the “rapist” is female)) with peers and/or loved ones, then I think you are more “primed” to see aspects or hints of those topics in what you read.

I think another good question to ask (which you did), is if the author purposefully placed scenarios, situations and layers that were meant to evoke this type of reflection and discussion amongst their readers. I often wonder if part of it is intentional, but if a greater portion is due purely to them being a product of their society and of their time. If we compare the works of Shakespeare (to continue your example) using the understood norms, mores and beliefs of his time, with the current ones here (and then factoring in that I would just be doing it as an American citizen; I’m sure there would be similarities and yet vast differences from country to country and culture to culture) I would like to believe that his works are viewed very differently by critics then and now (I’m not a historian or English major, but I think it’s a logical assumption).

I’m biased, but I think that the WoT will stand as a popular and well read literary work for decades. As our societal and cultural norms continue to evolve, and as our morals and spiritual beliefs also develop, I would assume that the discussion of these same topics in WoT that we like to discuss here (and maybe, thanks to the preservation of opinion via the interwebs, Leigh’s re-reads and our comments themselves) will be analyzed and debated based upon those future perspectives. Who knows; maybe all of us who had little issue with the amount of spanking in these books will be seen as barbarians in the future? Or, maybe visionaries? :)

Just my 2 cents, but I thought you brought up a good question subwoofer.
123. Evinfuilt
I expect we'll find out early in the next book why it took so long. I'm pretty sure there will be a "cost" in conversion via the 13x13 method.

The cost will be why it was only those attaining the dragon who got chosen initially. This has been building for a while, that the weaker ones not converted, led by Logain, will have to conquer the more powerful Dreadlords.

I guess we could ask Brandon what the cost is for the 13x13 conversion, but we all know the answer. RAFO
124. pwl
I really like them. They've always been a mark of how tight Tor or RJ was with the material, instead of Sweet's inability to draw.

I don't recall there being a mystery over the number of swords Lan carried, or whether Trollocs were mutated abominations or black people with animal-shaped helmets. Or whether Mat's Ashandarei was the size of an Aiel short spear or more like a naginata (granted, this one got fixed before the book went to print -- but even then it was obvious in the composition of the piece that the spear was originally much shorter). De gustibus non est disputandum, I suppose.
125. Evinfuilt
I totally forgot an important reason why they wouldn't be converting at this point. The Dark One had another tool for getting followers.

The Taint

Till Rand cleansed the taint, the only way to not go insane was by being friendly. Taim was most likely offering all of those others a way to survive. He basically unlocks something in them, a primal energy and power. Then after they've had a good taste of it, he lets them know "I have a way you can keep channeling and not die", those who accept it (which will be quite a few) become new Dreadlords. Their selfish reasons of abandoning the light just to keep tapping the power are perfect.

Only after the cleansing takes place (in this book for Black Tower folks) is there any need to convert.
126. Freelancer
Agreed, it seems Tarna has been "turned". I'd forgotten that amidst all of the other details still churning...

Tonka @84

I'm completely with you about your reaction to CoT. Yes, it was weaker than several other volumes regarding the aggregate plot movement. But it was a fascinating read regarding the variety of responses to the same events. One of the weaknesses in most fantasy literature is the monotone nature of the hero's POV, to the point where even characters who would have no reason to share the experiences which inform that POV mirror the responses, reactions, and decisions. That's just poor writing, and one of many areas in which Jordan proved his mastery at seeing through his characters' eyes, including their personal baggage, biases, circumstances, etc. while writing their POVs.

The side-effect of this, and how it was presented in CoT, includes increased tension about when, oh when, will our heroes ever start rejoining and using their shared understanding to overcome their various misconceptions, incorrect conclusions, etc. Anyone who thinks that this isn't what Jordan was trying for, isn't reading the same story.

Dumai's Wells made me crave the next volume to find out how Rand would respond to the White Tower's kidnapping/beating of he and Min. CoT made me crave the next volume, hoping the communication would finally begin. Of course, Rand never directly approached the White Tower, and KoD provided no significant collaborations among Team Light, so my reader's expectations where unrequited in both cases, except that what really happened next was worth it even so, in both cases.

I hereby respectfully request that all future references to the Dreadlord/Myrddraal "Turning" process by called 13+13, rather than the mathematically incorrect 13x13. And now the ultimate nit has been picked.
Bonnie Andrews
127. misfortuona
New Post. New Book. Thank's Leigh.

insectoid @120
Oh no... not another DKS cover debate. Hasn't that horse already been beaten enough?

What can we say? They really Bug some people.
*** Waves***

KiManiak @122
The idea that future generations may be analysing our words and judging society based on them strikes me as humorous for some reason

Mis-wondering what they'll make of Sub. :D

128. Freelancer
KiManiak @122

Interesting thought. Anyone who truly believes that society has "progressed" need only examine, side-by-side, the most profound thoughts of the current day with those of Plato, of Cicero, of Charlemagne, of DaVinci, of Newton, of Kant. As folks from The City would say, fugeddabouddit.

Mis-flyswatter @127

I saw what you did there.
Hilde Sørensen
129. edlihs

I hereby respectfully request that all future references to the Dreadlord/Myrddraal "Turning" process by called 13+13, rather than the mathematically incorrect 13x13. And now the ultimate nit has been picked.

Others have tried that one.


Loial is due for a reappearance. Since the quote from his book is all past tense, then I think it safe to assume that he swayed the Ogier not to open the Book of Translation. I'm looking forward to when the Ogier meet the Gardeners...

Can't wait!
Roger Powell
130. forkroot

I hereby respectfully request that all future references to the Dreadlord/Myrddraal "Turning" process by called 13+13, rather than the mathematically incorrect 13x13. And now the ultimate nit has been picked.

Au contraire. 13 + 13 would be correct if your earlier contention that no circle was involved was proved accurate. In that case, we can surmise that each Myrddraal would be paired with a channeler and that channeler's flows would somehow go through the Myrddraal to the victim.
If we take the position that a circle is required, then it could be argued that flows originating from 13 channelers proceed as a bundle and then transit through the 13 Myrddraal collectively. Thus each channeler interacts (somewhat) with each Myrddraal. The number of interactions is the product of the number of channelers and the number of Myrddraal. Hence 13x13 is a more accurate description.
131. hamstercheeks
Yes, it should be 13x13, as per the distributive property in mathematics. I totally just made that up. Besides, 13x13 has a more visual flair to it, not to mention it makes me think of a giant piece of wood that will hammer non-compliant channelers into submission. Appropriate imagery, n'est-ce pa?
Matthew Smith
132. blocksmith

I would argue that the mathematically correct version would 13/13 since the result is 1 turned channeller ;)
Claire de Trafford
133. Booksnhorses
Hi all,
@101 and 105

Re the covers (and sorry to harp on about it - last time honest). I too went through a phase when I was deeply embarassed by the Sweet covers, but I guess we've been together so long I've got Stockholm syndrome now. And also the point I mentioned re changing mid series.
I generally prefer UK editions but I don't like this trend of not having a cover artist at all. This is fantasy after all. You might as well get rid of the maps! Oh, you mean some people don't like maps? And some people have got rid of them? Gulp.

I love the fact that there is so much in this series to keep us occupied. I'm sure that we put our own biases and cultural influences into our comments, like Jordan had his own blind spots etc. And that's what makes it all so much fun. One of the great things about this re-read is that we can reexamine books we didn't like at the time (and I liked this one anyway) in the context of the wider series, knowing that events will get caught up and tied in (hopefully at least) and that most of it links in and extends the plot. When we get to aMol we can see the whole at last and revel in it - I even like Perrin now and who'd have thought that would happen. There still seems so much to go (Seanchen, Mat and Tuon, the Ogier, Logain etc etc) I almost wish we had 2 more to go.
Barry T
134. blindillusion
It took thirteen Dreadlords—Darkfriends who could channel—weaving the flows through thirteen Myrddraal.

Going by that, I'm going to say.... Let's just do away with math completely and say 13&13.

edit: Though blocksmith makes a rather valid point.
Valentin M
135. ValMar
As amusing as this discussion re: 13-13 has been I personally am going to assume that anything with 13x2 is the turning procedure.

Re: blocksmith's version. After the procedure there is one turned channeler but there still are the 13 others and maybe the myrdraal too.
If we have a resident maths guru here now is the time to confess you are one and step in...
Ron Garrison
136. Man-0-Manetheran
I heard the Dark One was never good at math. Everything he touched turned to zero.
137. Splaaat

While there have been individuals that have made huge strides in human knowledge in past eras, I'd argue that the fact that many highschool graduates have had exposure to relativistic phisics, world history, organic chemistry, calculus, literature, etc. may indeed be a nice mark of progress.
Matthew Smith
138. blocksmith

No pun intended (yes it is) but every now and then a blind squirrel finds a nut.
Scientist, Father
139. Silvertip
@128 Freelancer:

Well put, but I dunno ... your list comprises some of the most profound thinkers of a time period spanning just over two millenia. A fair comparison would be to wait until, say, the year 3900, then pick an all-star team from 1900 on. The comparison might not be so bad. My own lifetime overlaps with Martin Luther King, who perhaps falls short of, say, Kant in sheer erudition, but will I think endure as an eloquent moral leader. Would a random 45-year period in, say, the 1200's really have such a huge number of comparable figures?

p.s. obviously your list is far from exclusive, but I'd have pegged you as a Marcus Aurelius fan ...

140. hamstercheeks
Roger Powell
141. forkroot

Interesting thought. Anyone who truly believes that society has"progressed" need only examine, side-by-side, the most profound thoughts of the current day with those of Plato, of Cicero, of Charlemagne, of DaVinci, of Newton, of Kant. As folks from The City would say,fugeddabouddit.

For starters, there is an implied premise above that the "progression" of a society can be measured by the quality of thought of its deepest thinkers. That's dubious ... great works can and have come from various cultures, many of which would fail any reasonable test of relative enlightenment.
For someone to argue meaningfully that society has "progressed", there needs to be a common understand of exactly what signifies "progress". That will take some time to settle!

So let us just consider your statement disparaging the profundity of today's thinkers:

Take care, lest you commit a logical error analogous to those who elevate classical music over today's popular music. They make various valid points about the technical superiority of Bach, Beethoven, etc. vs. the everyday schlock we hear on the radio, while conveniently ignoring the fact that there was plenty of schlock in the Classical and Romantic eras - it just didn't last. There is indeed music created in the last 50 years that will stand the test of time -- just a small percentage though.

To hammer home the analogy - there were plenty of people saying plenty of dumb things in the time of Plato, Augustine (don't forget him!), and onward.

My point is that while we are indeed awash in drivel today (I agree with that implied point of your argument), great men and their thoughts have also graced the last 150 years. I'll submit Wittgenstein, Einstein, and von Mises for starters. (Admittedly the third choice is a little more controversial, but it won't be a 100 years from now :-) )

And... one more thought about "progress". If nothing else, we have the "progress" of the accumulation of wisdom and knowledge over time. Later deep thinkers drew on the works of their predecessors. And to quote Newton: "If I have seen far, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."
Don Barkauskas
142. bad_platypus
Re: the 13x13 vs. 13+13 debate, another way that would make "13x13" the correct term even without linking is if each channeler has to divide their flows 13 ways to go through each of the Myrddraal. This could also explain the timing of the conversions; in Honey in the Tea in KoD (possibly my single favorite chapter in all of WoT), Egwene divides her channeling into 14 simultaneous weaves (one ball of fire and one ring of fire for each of the seven Ajah) and thinks that it's unlikely the watching Aes Sedai could divide their channeling so many times. It's possible that they had to wait for enough male and/or female channeling Darkfriends who could channel 13 weaves simultaneously to be in the right place.

That being said, I think the most likely explanation for the timing is that they simply didn't want to tip off the good guys that it was being done until they were ready to strike.

In a related question: Why did Sheriam tell Egwene about the process in the first place (other than the meta-reason of hanging Chekov's gun on the wall)? The only reason that makes sense to me is that it's known to enough non-Black Aes Sedai that denying it could lead to exposing Sheriam as Black Ajah; and she felt that dodging the question would be too risky, since as Mistress of Novices she was responsible for educating the novices and not to answer the question would be seen as out-of-character and thus could also lead to her being exposed as Black.

All in all, that seems pretty weak to me. Anyone else have a reasonable (in-story) explanation for why Sheriam would have told Egwene?
John Massey
143. subwoofer
It's snowing up here in the Borderlands:) Dogs are happy, me, not so much...

Hmmmm-@Man-O- methinks I saw a skittles commerical about the DO's touch.

@KiManiak- thank you for reading my comments:) Sometimes I feel like I get passed over for the more profound gurus. Then I think, meh, I say what I do to put it out there, that's my choice- how people respond is their choice.

I just get overwhelmed with some of the things that are brought to the discussion and at times feel like a knob- I can't tell you the amount of times somebody says something and I'm like "really? Lemme see that in the book..." I honestly read WoT because I enjoy the plot, the characters and their relationships. That's it. The rest is gravy. When we got into gender discussions I stayed away. No happiness could be found wading into that quagmire. Same can be said for the bondage, the S&M, the role reversals... I said my bit about gun control and Cadsuane (heh-see how I put the two in the same reference, good I didn't lump her in with bondage:)] but let's face it we're on a fantasy site, not the NEJM. And we are talking about a fantasy book.

I am honestly surprised when I hear stuff like Tolkien being taught as a university level course. Mind you, anime is offered up as an elective, so meh.

@Mis- what will folks think of me? I dunno- something along the lines of "he has really great teeth"... or maybe I get compliments on my cologne choice.

John Massey
144. subwoofer
13x13... I feel kinda gyped 'cause there is no mention of the turtle doves or the bird in the fruit tree.

Profoundness of todays thinkers vs. eons ago. Well first I have to say of course Freelancer would prefer some of the ancient thinkers, he knew them personally so he has bias;) ::ducks::

Ahem... and it is not even close. Back in the day- you remember it Free- things like paper was scarce. Heck, things like reading was scarce. Folks didn't go to school for over 12 years of their life and books were not just floating around. Knowledge was very centralized. These guys also thought the world was flat and had quite a few gods. Man could not fly either. Trips to the moon? Crazy talk.

Modern thinkers just express themselves differently.

And don't forget... education is an everyday thing now- kids are staying in school getting multiple degrees. No life experience but whatever. And the internet and other tools like television are giving us mediums where thoughts can be expressed freely. Us being "awash in drivel" is merely the spin off of everyone having access to expressing themselves instead of a select few that could afford it 1000's of years ago. Everyone is equal and able to express themselves in today's world. I'd take that any day over the struggle it was back when. Class structure is not a filter as much as it was a while ago. And there are wayyy more people so there are more ideas floating around out there. We just need to find a filter for some of it.

Practically everybody in New York has half a mind to write a book, and does.
-Groucho Marx

Theresa Gray
145. Terez27

Take care, lest you commit a logical error analogous to those who elevate classical music over today's popular music. They make various valid points about the technical superiority of Bach, Beethoven, etc. vs. the everyday schlock we hear on the radio, while conveniently ignoring the fact that there was plenty of schlock in the Classical and Romantic eras - it just didn't last. There is indeed music created in the last 50 years that will stand the test of time --just a small percentage though.

This particular lesson should have been learned when Juilliard finally acknowledged the jazz era in the year 2000, at least half a century too late. Part of the reason for all of the 'schlock' in popular music today - or the schlock-to-gold ratio, anyway - is that the academia disassociated itself from popular music in the jazz era. How can we expect pop music to reflect classical music values when we give them no incentive to study them? Going to school for music isn't likely to help you get a career in performing, and that's a damn shame, IMO.

As for 'progress', some might say that there has been undeniable progress in the arena of human rights since the era of the Empire. Some might even equate that with moral progress.
John Massey
146. subwoofer
And look at ourselves too- can it be said that the time we are spending here is furthering mankind?

Things are what they are, they don't have to be any more complicated than that.

Hugh Arai
147. HArai
Isilel@112: Hang around with Myrelle vs. seek what he's always seen as his life's goal - a death in the Blight? Yes, I think he could have resisted that whole-heartedly, Moiraine's last wish or not. He's doing it in TGS/ToM regardless of how Nynaeve feels about it, and she's the love of his life.

As for Myrelle - if you're trying to help a suicidal Warder retain his sanity, you're going to have to take some risks and show trust. Compelling him around or even just holding saidar whenever he's around isn't going to cut it if you actually care how he feels about it. Props to her for taking the risk, but I don't think it was because she didn't have a choice.

Re: Eldrith. I just checked - Eldrith herself refuses to let the other BA harm her warder. So again, I suspect this is a matter of "I don't want to hurt/kill/compel him" not "I can't hurt/kill/compel him". And not even the Asha'man bond appears to compel people's intentions.

Question for you though: If the Aes Sedai can't make the Warder do what she wants as long as he resists, what could Alanna possibly have been trying for when she tried to compel Rand after bonding him? You don't think Rand would have resisted at that point?
Scientist, Father
148. Silvertip
Forkroot@141, sub@144, terez27@145 (who were 1-26, btw?):
What you guys said.

Of course my perspective comes from working in science, which is progressive by nature. My own contributions to molecular genetics are exceedingly minor; but I (and millions of others) understand the subject better than anybody in the world did in 1952. Same with physics in 1904, biology in 1858, I could go on. Now (returning to FSF ...) if I'm Tolkien, at the top crust of British academia looking around at midcentury, maybe my perspective's different. Although I like to think he'd at least have appreciated the smallpox vaccine and penicillin. Where is RJ on that scale? Carrying around a deep understanding of both perspectives, or the cyclic cosmology he created wouldn't be as rich as it is.

Scientist, Father
149. Silvertip
@146 sub:

The biggest contribution of these forums to humanity, IMHO, is diverting all of us from the damage we might be doing elsewhere. Were they to disappear, the increase in chaos would be palpable.

Jay Dauro
150. J.Dauro
thewindrose @121

I actually think Graendal got exactly what she wanted from her message to Ituralde, a major war with Seanchen. The Dark knows that for the Light to succeed, everyone has to work together. If they can keep the Seanchen fighting to against the rest of Randland, the Light is doomed.

This is going to be one of the major things that has to happen in AMOL. All three of our boys have had contact with the Seanchen, two in a positive way. I look forward to seeing how this works out.

Just my thoughts.
Kimani Rogers
151. KiManiak
Misfortuna@127 – Yeah, there are quite a few characters on these posts. Let’s hope they can truly appreciate how clever and witty some of you can be! :)

Freelancer@128 – Well I don’t know if society as a whole has made radical “progress,” but I think that some of our beliefs and mores have changed/evolved over the centuries. To use the previous examples, I think attitudes regarding sexism, racism, corporal punishment and sexual assault have changed since the time of Plato, Charlemagne and Kant. Did they even care about corporal punishment, racism or sexism during Plato’s time? And how much did they look down upon sexual assault of the non-aristocracy? Actually, I think it’s safe to say that opinions on those 4 have changed fairly dramatically over the last 50 years.

Silvertip@139 – Good points. God only knows in 3900 AD how JFK, Nixon and Reagan will be ranked in terms of moral leadership and they were President only 20 years apart. Then again, people would probably disagree about that ranking now, and it’s only been 20+ years since Reagan. ::quickly shuts the door before more politics talk comes out::

Subwoofer@143 – I enjoy reading your comments (and from what I’ve seen/read, I’m not the only one). I think everyone -from the OGs to the lurker who posts for the first time- makes this re-read incredibly fun and brings something cool to the table (unless you type something like “First!” Thanks to Torie and her kitty photos). As for why you read the books and what you get out of them, as long as you consider reading them as time well spent, right…

Oh, and as far as what is taught at the University level, for awhile UC Berkeley was giving a course on the works of Tupac, so I have no problems with Tolkien being taught at the collegiate level (Btw, I love Tupac’s music)
152. EmailAnimal
(a) Ituralde is written up in a way that is almost unique in the WoT universe: he is entirely cerebral, he thinks before he acts, and foresees the exact consequences of his actions without the need for prophesies, dreams of visions. While this is less evident in his first POV, we keep seeing him snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat over and over again specifically due to those unique qualities. In TGS, Rand's interaction with him is one of the few grains of hope and sanity up until Veins of Gold.

No other "great Captain" is written in a similar way. Bashere is competent, but overburdened, Bryne is sage, but mostly is a footnote to the Salidar arc, Aglemar is off-screen, Niall gets himself killed (and was not doing much better before that). Only with Ituralde one actually gets a pre-TG view of *why* he is a "Great Captain". Major props to RJ for conceiving and executing such a character (with similar props to BS for continuing get him right and turning him into a walking CMoA generator).

(b) It always appeared to me that Logain &Co essentially saved the 51 AS's proverbial bacon. I do not see what else could have been done that would not be a disaster... Shield them all the time? There are 51 of them...It's a logistical nightmare. Execute them? Send them back to Elaida? I do not think that under the circumstances, the latter was feasible option. Also, probably not a very smart one in the meta sense. The bond achieves precisely what is needed both in-story: make Ashaman safe from AS use of Power, make AS safe from the Ashaman, and in the meta: make Ashaman responsible for AS well-being and demonstrate that it is feasible, make the Ashaman and AS work together, and set up further bonding between AS and the Ashaman.

One can certainly complain about the "extra bit" part and the "bonded against will" part on general humanitarian grounds. But one could complain, on the very same grounds about the lack of general freedoms almost anywhere in the RandLand: from the Senchean slavery to whatever servitude that shows up everywhere else: Aiel gai'shain, and the Da'shain Aiel come to mind right away. Most institutions of RandLand that involve voluntary or involuntary servitude are morally unacceptable according to modern norms. A large proportion of societies show aspects of severe gender and/or class discrimination.

To me the question is, does the observed behavior make sense in its context? Is it plausible? Does it follow from what we know about the societies that populate RandLand? It it something about which the in-story norms are different than the modern ethical and moral standards (which CAN BE, I should say, drastically different for different readers)? In my very humble opinion, there is a clear difference between complaining about events in the book based on personal moral compass and complaining about the author writing them as they were on similar grounds. The former is totally acceptable no matter what, when and how - it is part of how we judge the book and react to it. The latter, on the other hand, is subject to the questions above. If the author place the events in the context, the the events are plausible and consistent with the in-story societal norms, and if the descriptions are not gratuitous and/or full of revelry, then I see no grounds to complain. In fact, the author succeeded in his goals by eliciting strong reactions from readers.
j p
153. sps49
I nominate 13!13 for the turning notation. Not that I believe any change will happen : )

KiManiak @151- Now you have Dave Chappelle's Tupac skit (about the amount of his posthumous music) running in my head.
Antoni Ivanov
154. tonka
The Asha'man bonding Aes Sedai into total obediance is indeed morally wrong by at least modern standarts. But if you were in the Asha'man place, would you have done it ? Even if you knew it's morally wrong and if not then what would you have done instead ?
Personally the way Logain handled the situation is the best way I can imagine. And at least Logain is not abusing the bond. One can hope that the other Asha'mans are not as well. Certainly it's better than they were 'taken' by Logain's fractions. I cannot imagine what Taim would have done if he had 51 Aes Sedai for himself.
Gregg Sivyer
155. Destroyer
Tonka @ 154

I suspect we'd be talking about 51x51 instead of 13x13.

EDIT: Or he'd be wanting one more so he could do 4x(13x13) to speed up the conversion rate.
Claire de Trafford
156. Booksnhorses
@Sub 143. I am at one with your comments and always enjoy reading them. Good luck with all the snow, hope the Blight hasn't reached you yet.
Gabor Kecskemeti
157. gkecskem

First post here. The Black Tower situation seems really hopeless. Especially since the 13x13 is irreversible. Just like stilling and gentling is irreversible. Just like the madness from the Taint is irreversi... OH WAIT! :waves to Nynaeve:

Yes, that's my pet theory for now...
Tess Laird
158. thewindrose
J.Dauro at 150 - I do agree with you that the main intent of Graendal was to keep the Randlanders fighting with the Seanchen. But I just don't think she realized how effective Rodel Ituralde would be at getting said Randlanders to work together - and wanted to give him proper recognition for that. I am worried that there is some latent Compulsion on Ituralde since he did meet with 'Lady Basene' back in LoC.

Tek at 52 - Snicker;)

I like blocksmith's annotation of 13/13, but will listen to what our own number 13 expert - blindillusion- has to say on it;)

subwoofer - sounds like you need a hug - sending you a ::virtual:: hug:)

John Massey
159. subwoofer
@Silvertip149- no matter how much time I spend here, it will not derail me from my plans to take over the world someday. Ben and Jerry's just have to be more cooperative.

@Folks- thanks for the virtual hugs:) Wasn't what I was going for but still, am all warm and fuzzy inside now.

I was merely stating that I say things to get them off my chest, not for acknowledgement of others- ie... 100000 people tweeted they liked your comments- but I have always looked at this site as a virtual journal of my ideas on the given topic of WoT. At times it is interactive, but I say what I do because it is relevant to me, that other folks hear me and respond is butter... it also further's another plan of mine to take over the world;)

So thank you good people. And when somebody tells you

"It's a sunny day"

You respond: "my favorite drink is Mylanta"

Instructions will follow.

Barry T
160. blindillusion
But Sub...you're plans to take over the world may interfere with my plans to take over the world.

Well, good luck to you, sir.... walks away muttering about dog catchers and pounds

- Wind - =) (but between you and me...I think it would be amusing because it would be annoying to some people to type 13&13...I mean, it's one whole extra key stroke and everything)
Bonnie Andrews
162. misfortuona
Sub @159 & Blind @160 re: taking over the world.
I would think you'd do better to work together


Mis-just saying
James Jones
163. jamesedjones
124 pwl
I don't recall there being a mystery over the number of swords Lan carried

That's evidence in favor of being tight with information. If you're only told to draw a picture of a guy who uses a katana like a Samurai, you might look to other examples. Many pictures of Samurai show them carrying two blades, a two hander and a hand-and-a-half sword.

Should DKS have asked some more questions about the material? Sure. But a lot of artists love to work from their own vision, especially initially. Look at the corrections that ToM went through. The final version looks good. Everything matches the scene from the book. But the first draft had some errors that our resident gurus caught. DKS went back and fixed it.

This may be the only cover where that took place. Sad, but true. It doesn't stop me from enjoying the WoT cover images, and DKS's work in general, especially his sketch work inside the Elfstones and Wishsong of Shannara.
164. pwl
Should DKS have asked some more questions about the material? Sure.

I'll grant the "more questions" with TEoTW, but you really can't handwave tGH in the same manner. It's not like, you know, Trollocs sound like black people wearing animal helmets, or could in any reasonable manner be described or implicated as such...and I'm not even getting into inconsistent portrayals of the main characters (that would be too nitpicky I think).

Look at the corrections that ToM went through. The final version looks good. Everything matches the scene from the book.

Except that the ToG is a smooth metal spire, as revealed 11 books ago amirite? And I wonder when Jain stole Moiraine's staff from the cover in that selfsame book.

I should be explicit that I have no problem that some people like the covers. That's a matter of taste, and not worth arguing. But it's a copout to try and write off the parts that people complain about as due to a "lack of information". The only possible book for that is TEoTW. After that point, most of the problems people have with the covers are things that are clearly described in books earlier in the series, and either wrongly or just inconsistently portrayed in subsequent covers.
Captain Hammer
165. Randalator
I agree with the idea that the reason why 13x13 wasn't Taim's standard practice in the Black Tower is the dreamspike.

Old-fashioned recruiting looks just like...well...old-fashioned recruiting. Taim attracts men of a certain disposition, favors them, makes them his minions, yadda yadda yadda. But, while you might not like that, it's no reason for you to actually leave the Black Tower because you're not in any danger. It looks like a gradual and natural process because it is exactely that.

Pulling a 13x13, on the other hand, just screams Attack of the Bodysnatchers. People change literally overnight. You could pull that off what? A handful of times? Either way, people will start noticing pretty soon that they're surrounded by freaking pod people and the natural reaction to that would be to make like a tree...

But now with the dreamspike in effect and the Tower grounds effectively sealed off they can't. Cue Taim firing up his Dreadlord assembly line.

Btw. loony theory coming up.
With so many good ol' Two Rivers boys being strong in Earth and digging a canal through the Black Tower...does anyone else get the feeling that we might see some Great Escape-ish Tom, Dick and Harry action in AMoL?
Karen Jacobs
166. KJacobs
Tektonica @ 52: Best. Comment. EVER. :)
James Jones
167. jamesedjones
164 pwl

Go grey so I don't waste any more comment space with you.
Thomas Keith
168. insectoid
Mis-cheeky @127:
What can we say? They really Bug some people. *** Waves***
I see what you did there. ::waves back:: True, though... my mom is among the people bothered by some of the DKS covers. As for myself, I don't really mind them.

13x13: I think this form looks better, though Blocksmith @132 has a point about the mathematical correctness of 13/13 = 1 turned channeler.

Blind @134: You could argue that & is the Boolean AND. ;)

Sub @143: I took a junior college course on Tolkien. ;)

Sub @144: ::clutching sides:: Poor Free.

Sub @159, Blind @160 et al: ROFL!! xD

edit: Re-read comment 6 hunny! FWIW. ;)

169. Freelancer
jej @163

What Samurai traditionally carry is known as a Daisho, composed of the Katana, which is a hand-and-a-half weapon, and a Wakazashi, a shorter sword which would almost never be wielded with two hands, in spite of having nearly as long a hilt as the Katana.
You'd be hard pressed to find an example of a Samurai carrying both weapons in back-sheaths, and almost as rare that anyone would carry just a katana that way. The back-slung sword carried by the Ninja is shorter and straight-bladed, and not paired with a second blade.

All that to say that the cover of TEotW is well out in left field regarding its presentation of Lan, and that just on the business of the swords, forget the armor.
Roger Powell
170. forkroot

the Katana, which is a hand-and-a-half weapon

Hmmm - perfect for Thomas Covenant then?
::grins and dashes for the bunker::
Ben Norris
171. I_have_no_life
Hey pplz, its nice to be back, and I hope ur all unhappy to see me!

Anywayz, glad this is starting up agen. I been offline a while, so u all prob think im just some fan who was w8ing on ToM. Well guess what? U cant get rid o me! Mwahaha!
Alice Arneson
172. Wetlandernw
pwl @164 - Who says the one in the picture isn't smooth, just because it has a pattern? And whatever you think of Jain's staff, it is pictured exactly as described in the book. I really don't see how anyone can blame the artist for not having read every word of the series, as well as the yet-unpublished book, prior to doing the actual painting. If you want to quibble, quibble with the editor, author and publisher who okayed the painting, and presumably gave him the general description for the scene in the first place.

FWIW, the cover for AMoL is already done, although of course there may be some revision yet. The book hasn't even been written yet, but when Harriet consulted with him on the cover art, Brandon provided a detailed description of a scene which, though yet unwritten, will take place in AMoL. He feels that the resulting artwork is spot on, and has said that he LOVES it. ymmv of course...

I_have_no_life @171 - Hello again. I see you forgot all your writing skills while you were gone. :p
D.I. Rock
173. FeatherDancer
Asha'man Bond Question

I'm confused. Is there more than one type of Asha'man Bond or is the bond customizable? I recall one of the Asha'man telling Perrin that the bond was worked out by one of the marrried Asha'man so he would be able to tell if his wife was alright. I don't remember any mention of obediance being involved in that bond.
Alice Arneson
174. Wetlandernw
FeatherDancer @173 - the obedience is a permutation of the original wife-bond, used only on bonded AS.
Barry T
175. blindillusion

From The Path of Daggers, Glossary
Although many women, including wives, flee when they learn that their men actually can channel, a fair number of men at the Black Tower are married, and they use a version of the Warder bond to create a link with their wives. This same bond, altered to compel obedience, has recently been used to bond captured Aes Sedai as well.

D.I. Rock
176. FeatherDancer
174 & 175 Thanks kids, guess I'll have to do a re-read of the glossaries too.
177. nightpat purdy
I agree whole hearted.

Yes, the covers...what's really wrong are his people proportions they jar the eye, and his hero figures are rather stiff, to boot.... other than that, not bad.
Don Barkauskas
178. bad_platypus
@174, 175, 176: Even in the main text, it's implied that the bonds are different:
"I could have done without the extra bit...yet I suppose it is necessary. You're hardly a wife."

(TPoD, Chapter 26, The Extra Bit)

Janet Hopkins
179. JanDSedai
re: covers

I had the pleasure of talking to Darryl Sweet at an SF convention in July of this year. When I mentioned the WOT covers, he immediately got defensive, and stressed that Harriet kept such close tabs on the actual text that he was basically working off one paragragh. FWIW, he tried doing the tower smooth, but it looked funny; probably too much negative space.

He had some of the first-draft cover paintings for sale in the art room. Alas, I didn't have $1200 to bid on art. Most notable was a painting for _A Crown of Swords_; the background of Shadar Logoth was the same, but the Rand figure was holding a sword.

Artistically, Sweet deliberately draws fore-shortened and truncated figures, on the premise that this is more real than posing or rotating for effect. He attended the convention with his son, Darryl Jr., who is also an artist, although he does primarily Western scenes.
David Platt
180. The Not So Dark One
The paragraph excuse doesnt work for me as by the time of the great hunt it was known that Trollocs were not just men wearing horned helmets. But I believe all the errors have been covered on Dragonmount and other places. Guess it's just a thing you love or hate
Ken Jack
181. nanaimobar
Leigh! Come to Canada. We have cookies. Even Maple-Flavoured!.

Sweet has a style all his own. I don't really recognize the characters in TEOTW as anyone other than Lan and Moiraine. Too many covers look different to truly identify one "look". I've decided to take them as Impressions of a climatic moment, even though DKS is no Impressionist. (...maybe Van Gogh...don't like him either)

Looking forward to COT which really seems - different - with ToM hindsight.
Steven Pattingale
182. Pattingale

Howdy. *Looks around.*

*Steals a maple cookie.*

Mumble mmmm good cookie mumble.
John Massey
183. subwoofer
Oh joy!

Are we getting a post today?

Inquiring pups wanna know.

Oooo cookie!


mmmmmmmmmmmmmm! yummy maple goodness!

184. hamstercheeks
silvertip@149: I agree--these forums are keeping us out of trouble. Thank you for contributing to the maintenance of civil order, Leigh! Er, post today?
Sandy Brewer
185. ShaggyBella
So at the Beginning of Crossroads of Twilight, I am trying to figure out where all the armies are. I have been skipping around the books lately and can't keep track.
This is where I think they are. I wish I had one of those maps to stick labeled pins in.

Borderlanders N of Andor Braem Wood 200,000
The Band ofthe Red Hand ...Murandy? Not with Egwene anymore, I think
The Rebel Aes Sedai....Near Tar Valon 50,000
Seanchan......Almoth Plain
Andoran Nobles seige outside Caemlyn 30,000
Rodel Ituralde /Domoni....Tarabon
Lord Darlin/Tear??
Children of the Light.....9,000
Davram Bashere Caemlyn 8,000
Rand's Aiel.....Cairhien
Jarid Sarand ...unknown
186. hesuchia
The last post is 4 years old, but for those of us who are re-re-reading, the Seanchan aren't just on Almoth Plain. I remember mention that they were setting up some entrenchments/battle forts in Illian (country, not city, that distinction was mentioned along with the info). They're also in Ghealdan/Amadicia where Valda is presumably going to meet with them. Also of course they're in Ebou Dar, Tarabon, etc. They're pretty much everywhere south and west (hint hint toward the aelfinns' prophecy).

And yeah Red Hand at this point split off from Egwene's army to mercenary for Roedran til Mat returns or Egwene made them promise by spring, if Mat's too slow.

Darlin is in Tear by this point, Steward of the country. The rebels have moved from Haddon Mirk by this point (and seem to be against Darlin now, funnily enough). I think this was overheard in the Far Madding inns (and possibly the Seanchan/Illian connection) when Rand was looking for the renegades, and though rumors are of course not always reliable, these prove later to be real enough.

I think Rand's Aiel are a bit scattered through the east too. They moved down from Cairhien to distract Sammael a couple books ago, and I don't remember anybody explicitly saying that he sent them back after Illian was taken. I think someone mentioned that they were also pushed back out of Caemlyn into camps, but I don't think they're still there since they don't seem to be mentioned during the siege planning, though.

And I think Sarand is with the siegers.

Most of these I'm fairly certain of. I'm willing to admit I could be wrong, though.

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