Nov 23 2010 1:39pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Crossroads of Twilight, Prologue, Part 3

Crossroads of Twilight by Robert JordanYo, Love! Come quick, and also in a hurry, ‘cause there’s a Wheel of Time Re-read tonight!

Today’s entry covers Part 3 of The Prologue of Crossroads of Twilight, in which there are thieves in the temple. Or, well, the tent. Which is practically the same thing, clearly. If you’re an idiot.

Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general, including the newest release, Towers of Midnight.

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.

And like a poor man looking for gold, we find a post!

Prologue: Glimmers of the Pattern [Part 3]

What Happens
On a ridge a league or so north of Caemlyn, Davram Bashere watches the army of some five thousand gathered below him through a looking glass; the army’s officers ignore him even though he is standing in plain sight. It is one of eight similar armies, all spaced evenly around the city in order to lay siege. Bashere is confounded by the flags the army is flying, which indicate that not only are the supporters of House Arawn and House Sarand down there together, but that they are both collectively supporting Arymilla Marne for the throne, which Bashere considers akin to “wolves deciding to follow a lapdog.” Next to Bashere, Bael growls that the army ignores them even though he could “break them before sunset.”

Quickly considering several approaches, Bashere decided on lightness. “Elayne Trakand would not like that, Bael, and if you’ve forgotten what it’s like being a young man, that means Rand al’Thor won’t like it.”

Bael grunted sourly. “Melaine told me what Elayne Trakand said. We must do nothing on her part. That is simpleminded. When an enemy comes against you, you make use of whoever will dance the spears by your side. Do they play at war the way they play at their Game of Houses?”

“We are outlanders, Bael. That counts, in Andor.”

Bashere is not sure how to explain to Bael that foreigners aiding Elayne would likely actually cost her the throne. He thinks to himself, though, that he rather agrees with Bael; even though he knows both the Andoran factions will go to great lengths to prevent the Succession from actually coming to pitched battle, even such a bloodless civil war would never be allowed in Saldaea. He and Bael watch a brief skirmish in which townspeople attempting to flee the city are waylaid by the besiegers, and then rescued by a larger sortie from the city. When it ends with no violence, Bael gets bored and takes his leave; Bashere follows soon after with his escort. His Lieutenant, Tumad, is also annoyed that the Andorans are ignoring them, and Bashere is amused, asking if having Tenobia, the Andorans in Murandy, the Seanchan, and possibly even the Aes Sedai army all after them isn’t excitement enough. Bashere is privately most worried about Tenobia; he doesn’t understand what had induced the Borderlanders to leave the Blightborder, but he’s sure that Tenobia wants his head, and is unlikely to be dissuaded from it.

She should be in Saldaea guarding the Blightborder, but so should he. She could convict him of treason twice-over at least for what he had done since coming south, but he still could see no other way to have gone. Rebellion—Tenobia could define that loosely when she chose—rebellion was horrible to contemplate, yet he wanted his head firmly attached to his neck a while longer. A neat and thorny problem.

Once back at camp, Bashere notices a commotion and realizes it is centered around his tent, and rushes there to find Deira inside, being tended for a deep wound on her arm. Pale but fierce, she tells him that she surprised two strange men ransacking the tent, so “naturally” she hit one of them with a chair and stabbed the other, but they wounded her and escaped. One of the other women kicks Bashere out so they can sew Deira up, and Bashere exits to announce to the onlookers that Deira is fine. Tumad comes up to tell him the thieves had been found, but they had been assassinated.

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

Bashere tells Tumad quietly to find the man who came to Bashere yesterday and tell him Bashere agrees, but that there will be “a few more than we talked about.”

From a window, Samitsu Tamagowa (Yellow, one of Cadsuane’s followers) gazes at the wrecked wing of the Sun Palace and thinks about the troubles she’s having following Cadusane’s orders, given before she left a week before, to keep Cairhien calm. She feels fortunate that Dobraine is not causing trouble, despite accepting the “fool appointment” of Steward of Cairhien from “the boy,” and is only quietly raising support for Elayne Trakand’s claim to the Sun Throne.

The boy had named a “Steward” of Tear, too, a man who had been in rebellion against him a month gone! If he had done as much in Illian… It seemed all too probable. Those appointments would cause no end of trouble for sisters to sort out before all was said and done! The boy brought nothing but trouble!

Even so, Samitsu is more concerned with the effects of the rumors that al’Thor has gone to the Tower to submit to Elaida, though she finds the way it makes everyone step gingerly rather useful. From behind her, Sashalle asks if Samitsu is listening, and Samitsu turns reluctantly to the source of her biggest troubles. Sashalle is dressed in a strange mix of Aes Sedai and Wise One garb, and Samitsu finds it difficult to look at her directly.

Sashalle was a Red, yet despite her Ajah, she was oathsworn to young al’Thor. How could any Aes Sedai swear fealty to anyone or anything other than the White Tower itself? How in the Light could a Red swear to a man who could channel? Maybe Verin had been right about ta’veren twisting chance. Samitsu could not begin to think of any other reason for thirty-one sisters, five of them Red, to take such an oath.

Sashalle tells Samitsu that the Lady Ailil has been approached by House Riatin’s followers to take the High Seat, and Ailil wants Tower approval first. Samitsu says to tell Ailil no, as Toram is not confirmed dead, and they do not want to foster unrest between Toram’s faction and Ailil’s. Sashalle counters that unrest is inevitable, as the Dragon Reborn is “the herald of upheaval and change,” and besides it is unreasonable to expect that the Cairhienin will ever stop playing Daes Dae’mar.

A Red, preaching the Dragon Reborn like a street-corner demagogue! Light!

Sashalle goes on that Ailil has forsworn any claim to the Sun Throne in favor of Elayne, and is ready to swear fealty to the Dragon Reborn to boot; therefore she considers the change worth making and intends to tell Ailil so. Samitsu thinks irritably that there are others among the Dragonsworn sisters besides Sashalle who stand higher than she, but only Sashalle and Irgain and Ronaile are given enough freedom by the Wise Ones to give her trouble.

Unfortunately, for some reason she could not learn, the Wise Ones looked differently on Sashalle and the other two sisters who had been stilled at Dumai’s Wells. Stilled. She felt a faint shiver at the thought, but only faint, and it would be less if she ever managed to work out how Damer Flinn had Healed what could not be Healed. At least someone could Heal stilling, even if it was a man. A man channeling. Light, how the horror of yesterday became merely the uneasiness of today, once you grew accustomed.

Samitsu knows Cadsuane will be displeased to lose Ailil and her inside information on the Cairhien nobility, but before she can figure out how to counter Sashalle, they are interrupted by Corgaide Marendevin, the head servant of the Palace, who tells them that there is an Ogier in the kitchens with a young man, both claiming to be masons looking for work. Before Samitsu can say anything, Sashalle thanks Corgaide for the information and dismisses her politely, and Corgaide clearly curtseys to Sashalle instead of Samitsu as she obeys. Furious, Samitsu is about to light into the other sister when she suddenly realizes why Sashalle’s face bothers her so much: she no longer has the ageless face of Aes Sedai.

Even Aes Sedai could hide their eyes when they did not want to see. There were always those rumors, though, almost never mentioned and so vague you could never recall where you heard them first, whispers on the edge of hearing, yet forever floating about. One that Samitsu had only half remembered, till now, said that a woman who was stilled grew young again, if she lived. It had always seemed ludicrous, till now.

Now, though, she wonders what else had changed for Sashalle and the others. Sashalle declares they should go check out this Ogier, and leaves without waiting for Samitsu, who perforce must follow her, seething. In the kitchens, all the servants are gathered around an Ogier and a young man. The Ogier (referred to as “Master Ledar”) is asking about Rand al’Thor, while his companion (“Master Underhill”) is more concerned with the rumors about Asha’man being bonded as Warders; the servants reply to both queries with wild and exaggerated tales, until they notice Samitsu and Sashalle, whereupon they clear out hastily. The Ogier tries to make excuses for them to leave, but Sashalle stops him to ask if he is headed to the meeting they’ve heard about in Stedding Shangtai; uneasily, the Ogier says no, and tells his companion (who he calls “Karldin”), that they must get going. Samitsu and Sashalle both block their path, and Samitsu brings up a story she’d heard, of a young Ogier named Loial who was friend to Rand al’Thor, and had left Cairhien some months ago with a man named Karldin. Loial’s ears wilt; Karldin growls harshly that he leaves when he wants to, but first he wants to know what happened to his friends, and whether “he” went mad.

Abruptly it occurred to Samitsu that she could have handled this better. Those were not the eyes of a cornered fox, but a wolf. She had grown too accustomed to Damer and Jahar and Eben, safely bonded and tamed. That might be an overstatement, though Merise was making an effort with Jahar—that was Merise’s way—yet it seemed the horror of yesterday could become the complacency of today after long enough exposure. Karldin Manfor was an Asha’man, too, and neither bonded nor tame. Was he embracing the male half of the Power? She almost laughed. Did birds fly?

Glad that Sashalle has made no move to embrace saidar, Samitsu lays a hand on Karldin’s arm and tells him that “he” seemed sane when last she’d seen him, and was alive as of a few days ago. She reflects to herself that Alanna hadn’t told them much more than that before leaving again, though.

“As for the others, they became Warders of their own free will.” As much as any man did anything of his free will. Her Roshan certainly had not wanted to be a Warder, until she decided she wanted him for one. Even a woman who was not Aes Sedai could usually make a man decide the way she wanted. “They thought it a better choice, safer, than returning to… the others like you. You see, the damage here was done with saidin. You understand who must have been behind it? It was an attempt to kill the one whose sanity you fear for.”

The last does not appear to surprise Karldin, who only asks Loial what they should do. Loial answers that they must find him (meaning Rand) and let him know that they did as much as they could. Samitsu wonders what they did, but before she can ask, a serving woman runs into the kitchens, shrieking that Lord Dobraine has been murdered, and that the dead are walking the corridors. Grimly, Sashalle commands Samitsu, Loial and Karldin to come with her to Dobraine’s apartments; Karldin begins to refuse angrily, but Loial insists that they must go, as Dobraine is a friend. Samitsu reflects, as they follow Sashalle through the halls, that her day is going very badly. They reach Dobraine’s rooms to find two men dressed in servants’ livery but armed with knives dead on the floor, and real servants preparing to cover Dobraine’s bloody body. Sashalle stops them and orders Samitsu to check him; gritting her teeth, Samitsu obeys, and is surprised to discover that Dobraine is still alive, barely. However, he is so weak that Samitsu thinks the shock of a full Healing will kill him.

“Karldin, do you know the kind of Healing that Damer Flinn uses?” Samitsu asked. “The kind that uses all of the Five Powers?”

He paused for a moment, frowning at her. “Flinn? I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I don’t have much Talent for Healing, anyway.” Eyeing Dobraine, he added, “He looks dead to me, but I hope you can save him. He was at the Wells.”

Samitsu knows she has to Heal him enough to survive but not so much that the shock will kill him. She does so, hoping she’s chosen the right amount, and it works. She instructs the servants to put him to bed and send for a Reader (Cairhien’s equivalent of a Wise Woman). She is gratified by the servants’ approbation, but less so by Sashalle’s approving nod. Meanwhile Karldin has been searching the corpses of the fake servants and found a note, which he attempts to show Loial without letting anyone else see.

“But this makes no sense,” the Ogier muttered, frowning as he read. “No sense at all. Unless—” He cut off abruptly, long ears flickering, and exchanged a tense look with the pale-haired fellow, who gave a curt nod. “Oh, this is very bad,” Loial said. “If there were more than two, Karldin, if they found—” He choked off his words again at a frantic head shake from the young man.

Sashalle demands to see the note, and Loial gives it to her over Karldin’s protests. Sashalle reads it and then gives it to Samitsu:

At my command, the bearers of this are to remove certain items, which they will know, from my apartments and take them out of the Sun Palace. Make them private of my rooms, give them whatever aid they require and keep silent on this matter, in the name of the Dragon Reborn and on pain of his displeasure.

Dobraine Taborwin

Samitsu notes that the forgery is a good one. Sashalle demands of Karldin and Loial what it is they are afraid Dobraine’s assailants may have found. Karldin only glares, and Loial lies badly that he didn’t mean anything in particular. Sashalle says they are not leaving until they tell, and Karldin asks quietly how she means to stop them. They are then interrupted by an Aes Sedai named Rosara Medrano, who tells Samitsu that a party of Aes Sedai have entered the city and are on their way to the Palace.

“There are Asha’man with them, and one of the Asha’man is Logain!”

Karldin barked a rough laugh, and suddenly Samitsu wondered whether she was going to live long enough for Cadsuane to have her hide.

Holy crap, I actually reached the end of the Prologue! And me without my choir of angels!

(Sloped off for a smoke break, dontcha know. Silly angels.)

My thought on first reading Bashere’s POV: well, thanks man, that was clear as mud.

Of course, I know now who Bashere’s visitor was (Logain) and what the thieves were after (the unbroken seals), but at the time I was very annoyed at all the vagueness, especially since (as it turns out) we don’t get any of it explained to us for another twenty-odd chapters.

When I did figure out that the thieves were after the seals (in both Bashere’s and Samitsu’s POV) I also remember being all, man, I forgot all about those things! Which isn’t surprising, considering they haven’t been in play or even mentioned in the narrative since LOC. A trifle odd, really, in light of how central (well, central-ish) the seals were to the plots of the first few books.

Actually, the whole thing here is odd, if you ask me. Perhaps this has come clear somewhere and I just don’t remember it (and you guys might as well get used to that phrase, because I’m going to be saying it a lot from now on), but I remain confused as to why the Shadow picked this particular juncture to suddenly decide they wanted the (intact) seals now, after being content to leave them in Lightside hands for months on end. (In the case of the seal Moiraine found in the Stone in TDR, almost a full year!) Also, why Moridin (or whoever) would assume Rand (or Bashere) would be dumb enough to keep one or more of the seals in a tent (a tent!) in the middle of open countryside with only a bunch of non-channelers to guard it is utterly beyond me. I mean, yes, I understand that sneering at your enemy’s foolishness is contractually required under the Villain Accords, but that’s just insulting.

While we’re at it, I also never understood why Taim gave Rand an intact seal in the first place (in LOC) if the Shadow was only going to want it back later. Even more, I don’t get why Taim seemed so freaked when it looked like Rand was going to smash it, when presumably breaking the seals and setting the Dark One free should be Itemo Numero Uno on any decent Darkfriend’s to-do list. I mean, what am I missing here?

I suppose one reason for the timing of the attempted burglary could be that Moridin had been hoping Rand would break them all himself, and eventually decided Rand wasn’t going to and so changed plans, but… enh. That’s so wishy-washy and unnecessarily convoluted that it just pisses me off, and I don’t even know how many ways it is in violation of the Evil Overlord List. Plus it doesn’t explain Taim’s reaction.

I dunno, I am definitely missing something here. The entire thing is just hinky. Hinky, I say!

Also, I am not a Deira fan but I have to admit her line about her reaction to the thieves (“They drew daggers, so naturally, I hit one of them with a chair and stabbed the other”) made me chuckle approvingly. Heh.

Anyway, other than that Bashere’s POV is mostly for the purpose of setting up the long, long slog we have ahead of us with regard to the Andoran Succession. It’s ironic, I think, that we’re told that Andorans in general are so much less inclined toward the Game of Houses than most other nations (excepting the Borderlanders, natch, who judging by all evidence (*cough*bitchslapping*cough*) are just too batshit crazy for subtlety), when the Andorans are responsible for the most convoluted and drawn-out political plot of any in the series. The sole exception being, wouldn’t you know it, the Tower schism.

Which, well, there you go. Let’s just say, I do not feel you are living up to your rep for straightforwardness, Andorans, when your machinations nearly rival those of Aes Sedai for length, even if the twistiness is not quite a one-to-one ratio. I mean, I think this may be a, how do you say, blow to your credibility on that front, n’est-ce pas?


Samitsu: I’ve seen commenters complain about the number of Aes Sedai whose names start with “S” just in this Prologue alone, and I rather agree, but I also have to point out that it’s statistically accurate—for some reason there are always a ton of “S” names. That and “M” names. I have no idea why.

No, I have no data to back that up, other than way (way, way) too many jobs where I’ve had to alphabetically file things. I could be completely wrong. But I feel it, maaaan.

(And speaking of names, nice Tolkien shoutout there with Karldin’s pseudonym, eh? Of course, now I’m stuck imagining that Karldin looks like Elijah Wood, which is a pretty but rather disconcerting image.)

And in relevant news, I spent Samitsu’s entire POV wavering between wanting to smack her, and wanting to feel sorry for her. On the one hand, it is so not fun to have your authority undermined out from beneath you, so sympathies there, but on the other hand, the sheer gall of Cadsuane leaving Samitsu “in charge” of Cairhien in the first place when Dobraine is, hello, right there, and about as lawfully appointed as anyone is likely to get these days, well, grrr. Because at the end of the day, I’m going to care a lot more about someone undermining Rand’s authority than I am Samitsu’s, because duh.

This put me in the bizarre position of realizing that I was ultimately rooting for Sashalle in this scene. Who is Red, and one of the kidnappers, yet is also now apparently on Rand’s side—or as close to “on Rand’s side” as any Aes Sedai besides the Supergirls ever are—and, ergo, one of the more confounding characters in WOT I’ve come across recently. I am right there with Samitsu in not getting her deal at all. Why did she swear to Rand? I suppose the ta’veren thing could account for it, but it seems like she should at least also have some actual reason for it as well, especially since Rand wasn’t even there to give her and the other Reds the full-on ta’veren whammy at the time.

And why is she so comfy with the Wise Ones, enough to dress like them? I mean, I know why they are cool with her—they consider her stilling to have been sufficient to meet her toh for kidnapping Rand, which is a testament to how much everyone agrees stilling sucks—but I don’t get why she apparently returns the Wise Ones’ warm fuzzies (er, relatively speaking, anyway) at all. ‘Tis a puzzlement!

I’ve always kind of vaguely wished for a POV from her or one of the other Reds who swore to Rand, to settle me on this front. Not to mention I think it would have been cool to get a closer-than-thirdhand perspective on the scene where Flinn Healed her and the other two sisters, because that must have been quite a thing and I’ve always been a trifle miffed we didn’t get to “see” it. It probably won’t happen, the POV from Sashalle I mean, there being only so much we can get to in the one book we have left, and that’s fine, really, but it is definitely one of many dim itches I know the ending of this series is not going to let me scratch. Oh well.

Loial: Squee! Hi, Loial! We missed you! Give us hugs! *squidges*

I love that his reason for going to see Dobraine is just because Dobraine is “a friend.” Aw. So sweet. Never change, dude.

Also, I’m not sure why but I felt like I should congratulate Karldin for his lack of blowing-things-up-ishness in this scene. And vague props to Samitsu for realizing how explosive (literally) the situation with him was and taking steps to defuse it with, look at that, some honesty and straightforwardness. CRAZY how that works, innit?

Of course, then we go right back to smackings, with her musings on Warders and “taming” them, because ugh. I trust I need not explain how closely (at least to my way of thinking) that is veering toward Skeevy, right there? Hello, “taming” is not something you do with people, it’s something you do with caged animals, Samitsu. Quit being gross. Plus, we’ve all seen how delightful the view is going too far down that road. Seanchan much?

Anyway. Again, I still don’t understand why the thieves would think Dobraine and/or Rand would just leave the seals lying around in a chest in the Palace, or anywhere a couple of cutthroats could ever get to without at least being able to channel. And obviously they couldn’t, so really, what the hell? I am so not understanding this lame burglary scheme, you guys!

I’m glad Dobraine lived, though. I like him. It’s so nice (and rare) when people stay loyal.

Also, first mention here of the dead walking, which is to become a major “new” feature from here on of how much this apocalypse sucks. Yay? We’ll come back to this later.

(Of course, this begs the question of whether you can have a non-sucky apocalypse. I think that’s probably fairly impossible by definition, wouldn’t you? Lessee… Biblical, zombie, nuclear, millennial, robot, asteroid and/or comet, epidemical, Godzilla, Mayan, global warming, alien invasion… yeah, they pretty much all unequivocally blow goats. So, guess not!)

Aaand I think that is a sign (or a Sign, even) that I have officially run out of useful things to say, so we’ll stop here. Join me next time for an actual Chapter or two! CRAZY. Voices from the sky say have a Happy Thanksgiving if that should geographically apply, and I’ll see y’all later!

Christopher Sandoval
1. crsandoval
Hey Leigh,
thanks for the re-read, always as awesome.
Marcus W
2. toryx
I think I'd completely forgotten this part of the prologue. Like, completely. I vaguely remember the Underhill business and Dobraine getting stabbed and all, but by and large most of this was strangely new seeming to me, even though I re-read this book just a little over a year ago.


I agree completely that Andorans are crazy scheming people with convoluted politics and meanderings. I think the real difference between the Cairhienen and everyone else is that the Ciarhienen are more obvious about it.

I also hate the talk about "taming" men and how they don't really have an original idea in their head anyway until a woman comes along and gives it to them. Grrr. Blatant sexism is repugnant no matter what the gender is.

As far as the seals go: I think it's part of the Shadow's prophecies that the Dark One can only break free under certain circumstances or at a particular time in order to be certain of success. I think the Dark One wants the world fully ripe and ready for him to get down with it. Killing off all the plants and spoiling the food and breaking down the barriers between the living and the dead is a part of that.

So Taim gave Rand a seal way back when because they thought that the Light-siders would be fully dedicated to ensuring they were protected; which is what the dark-siders want. Unfortunately, Rand had the raving lunatic and now he's been learning what the Shadow went through a great deal of difficulty to make sure he didn't. The seals have to be broken for the DO's prison to be made whole again.

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it!
3. Joruus
Fantastic job as always. You've made re-reading these books much easier as I work my way through to TGS and ToM, both of which I still have yet to read. (Yes, I'm fine with the spoilers. They'll still be fun.)
Kurt Lorey
4. Shimrod
I had completely missed that it was Logain who had visited Bashere.

Somehow, I think that Sashelle is the second or third best thing to have come from the Reds (Pevara and Silviana, being the other two).

edit. toryx @2, I am totally on your side with the whole Breaking the Seals thing.
5. Abraham Lincoln
I would've liked to see more about Sashalle too, but always figured that this was just a case of someone realizing that the Aiel can actually be cool people. Aes Sedai tend to shun women who get stilled, but the Aiel reached out to all three of the sisters stilled at Dumai's Wells, and went out of their way to make sure that they each found a reason to live. So it's not surprising that Sashalle, and probably the other two, developed close bonds with some Aiel women. I took her semi-Aiel garb as a sign of some kind of gift-giving going on between her and some unknown Aiel. The point is to show that Sashalle and the others have become close with the Wise Ones, but Samitsu is too blinded by Aes Sedai arrogance to ever consider a reason as simple as friendship.
Tricia Irish
6. Tektonica
Thanks for doing the heavy lifting Leigh, and for making it entertaining. Onward throught the book, a.f.a.p., please....knock off a couple of chapters, K?

Oh, and have a Happy Thanksgiving Leigh, and all, while you´re at it!

For those of you not in the US, celebrate something and eat a lot.

Sorry, I can´t find the comma on this computer ;-(
7. denari6
Just a few cents on the "what the deal is with the seals..."
I wonder if these attempts by cutpurses was merely one of many attempts by Moridin to mess with Rand.
1.) Encourage paranoia...they are out to get me and my stuff
2.) More importantly they may give Rand the impression that the dark guys want them, therefore Rand will deny them and maybe not break them, (which as of the last ToM, Rand appears to have to do before he can heal the breech).
3.) Mebbe assassination was a secondary motive. I mean they had guys close enough to kill a.) grand general after Mat and b.) the only Cairhenin (*sp?*) loyal enough to be allowed steward of the city.
4.) AND there is always that Let the Lords of Chaos Rule bit.

Brandon Daggerhart
8. BDaggerhart
Just one comment - isn't the reason most of those Aes Sedai swore to Rand because Verin was throwing around compulsion-lite like beads at Mardi Gras?

Also, as far as the scheminess of the Cairheinens, Andorans, and Aes Sedai go, I figure the most likely reason it looks (to us) that Andorans are even worse than Cairheinens, is because we've never had to sit through four freakin' books of a major Cairheinen Characters POVs. If Elayne had been Cairheinen instead of Andoran, or if we actually get to see Terez' theory of Moraine bitchslapping Elayne off the Sun Throne (which I don't agree with, just using it as an example), I imagine it would be much, much worse.

Also, do we ever see much more of Karldin? I don't remember him, but for some reason, I kinda like him here. Is he loyal to Rand and Logain? Someone spoil it for me please, I haven't read this book in awhile.
Karen Jacobs
9. KJacobs
My thought on Sashalle re the Wise Ones was that the Aiel still treated her has a useful, functioning human being when she was stilled, as opposed to the typical pariah treatment she would have received from the Aes Sedai. After that, it would seem natural to have a closer bond with the Wise Ones.

Edit for: Oops! I see Abe Lincoln @ #5 beat me to it. At least I know I'm not alone in thinking that way! :)
Mike McCaffrey
10. earlgrey
Everyone's thoughts on Sashalle are, hopefully correct. But she can lie.
Stefan Mitev
11. Bergmaniac
 I was rereading this part of the Prologue few days ago and it struck me that Bael made a complete 180 turn in his position about the Andoran civil war. Here he didn't understand why Elayne didn't use his forces, but in TGS he explained to Rand that he completely understood her view and would've done the same in her position. I don't remember whether this is a mistake by Sanderson and Team Jordan or if there was an explanation for this somewhere in the books.

 Anyway, I have to say that the healing of Dobraine is the most impressive healing scene for me in the series. The way Samitsu managed to find the balance between Healing too much and too little was remarkable. I know that objectively what Nynaeve did by rediscovering how to Heal stilling is more impressive, but still I like the Samitsu scene better for demonstration of Healing skill. 

 As for the seals business here, I thought the idea of Team Shadow was to make Rand think they want them, thus make him less likely to break them, which they didn't want for now. 
12. pwl
I remain confused as to why the Shadow picked this particular juncture to suddenly decide they wanted the (intact) seals now, after being content to leave them in Lightside hands for months on end.

There is a theory out there that breaking the Seals is NOT what Rand needs to do, and Fel was either wrong or misled by the Shadow tainting his sources. If the latter, it means that the bad guys (or at least Moridin) have been trying to convince Rand that he needs to break the Seals. In that framework, these silly attempts are not meant to succeed -- they are meant to demonstrate to Rand that the Shadow doesn't want him to be able to break the Seals, giving another factor to convince him to do it. The attempts as you point out are laughable, so it had to be that they were intended to get Rand to act in a certain way instead of actually trying to accomplish a goal in and of themselves.
Alternately, the Shadow just finally realized "OMG Rand has all the Seals", which is something they didn't realize before. And they want to be able to break them at the time of their choosing to maximize their offensive, and to prevent the Dragon from breaking them at a time convenient for him. Although this choice doesn't tell us why they thought Rand would keep a Seal to the DO's prison in a frakking tent.

As for Sashelle, I was assuming she got some good ol' Verin Compulsion. I didn't bother to go back to PoD or whenever to try and trace it to make sure it was possible, but it seemed the simplest and most likely explanation for the abnormal behavior (see: Elza whatshername).
Noneo Yourbusiness
13. Longtimefan
I had suspected that Sashalle had not only had a new perspective on life from the whole stilling incident including that a man had given her back her ability to channel but also that Verin had managed to get to her and gave her a motivation to live in the form of supporting Rand. (a rather consistent motivation in all the sisters that Verin "spoke" to and I believe she managed to speak with all of them but it is not confirmed in the books that I am aware of).

Sashalle may not even think of herself as a Red anymore. Maybe she does and maybe she does not. She has been freed of the oaths, she works with the Wise Ones and she is dedicated to Rand. Without her internal thoughts all we have to go on are the observations of others about who she used to be. Not who she is now.

Aes Sedai have long memories and sometimes those memories forget to take in to account that people can change under unusual circumstances.

Fictional People to be sure but the character development is what makes this series so interesting. the minutuae, the minutuae!
j p
14. sps49
I forget what Logain is up to here, probably because I haven't reread this one and KoD (which is only "good" in comparison, too many new and extended threads when they should be getting closed out ferchrissake!).

Taim still puzzles me over who the heck he is, so his goofy introduction is just part of that.
Lee VanDyke
15. Cloric
Ah! A trope link! There goes the rest of my afternoon! :-D

As to the Reds swearing to Rand, I think that was probably a result of Sneaky Verin's Compulsion-Lite on them.

Edit: Oh, I see LongTimeFan got there ahead of me.
Antoni Ivanov
16. tonka
This is one of my favourite scenes. Bael and Bashere are two of the coolest characters. It's always nice when we see a POV from some of the older and wiser - like Bashere, Bryne. It's just such a stark contrast from the younger main character we usually have and I find it quite refreshing.
Heidi Byrd
17. sweetlilflower
Yeah... it really doesn't make sense for Team Dark to look for the seals in a tent. Plus, I never questioned the timeline. Two very good reasons why you, Leigh, are runningthe show. :-) Thanks for doing the hard work for us!
Ron Garrison
18. Man-0-Manetheran
re. a Sashalle POV: I think the closest we'll ever get to it is in her letter which is read out in the prologue of KoD. And it really doesn't add anything to what we know: "I was stilled; I was healed by a man; I've sworn fealty; I look forward to returning to the Tower and taking my oaths."
19. Freelancer
Hi Leigh. Nice job. Uh, with two teensy exceptions (picking nits is now my favorite thing to do here, since viable discussions now all go sideways almost before they are begun):

1. From the Department of Redundancy Departnemt ~
undermined out from beneath you

2. From the Fallacious, False & Ficticious Apolcalypse Department:
global warming

As the new, strawmanish Driod commercials say, Really?

Ok, ok, one point on story content. About the question of bad guys searching for Seals with Bashere and Dobraine, this is not about the Seals. These scenes are a massive clue-by-four to the head that someone very near to Rand is playing for Team Dark. Someone who is able to deduce that of all the multitide of people in Rand's entourage, the only two Rand personally trusts enough to have them possibly care for the little bits of pottery preventing Eternal Darkness, are Dobraine and Bashere.

Having the two Seal-stealing attempts so close together in the text, yet in two geographical areas, also lights up in neon the fact that there is a channeler who can Travel behind the plot. Now, whioe it seems to us readers like that would qualify half of the characters we know, at this point of the story it truly isn't that long of a list. (Wetlandernw, does that of belong there, or could it be excised? I never am sure on that one.)
Thomas Keith
20. insectoid
A new post... fancy that! Insightful and funny as always, Leigh!

Annnnd... I'm having trouble coming up with anything concrete to say. Maybe I'll just amuse myself reading the limericks you loonies left on the last thread... ;)

Free @19: How about 'Spontaneous Ice Age'? ;)

Skip Ives
21. Skip
It is possible that the attempt at the seals was supposed to fail, and that the Dark actually wants the seals to remain intact. If as Rand says, the bore cannot be sealed as long as the seals are intact, then the Dark want Team Light to think the seals must not be destroyed.

Egwene certainly seems convinced.
22. AndrewB
TankSpill @8: Beldeine (the Green with the non-ageless face who is captured at Dumani Wells and winds up with Cads) bonds Karldin in KoD.
23. hamstercheeks
How could Verin have used Compulsion-lite on Sashalle? Was she around? In WH, it's 10 chapters between Corele announcing to Cadsuane that Flinn had figured out how to Heal stilling (ch. 13) and them gallivanting off to Far Madding (ch. 23). I'm not sure about the time gap. Enlighten me?
z drake cupsford
25. zdrakec
"While we’re at it, I also never understood why Taim gave Rand an intact
seal in the first place (in LOC) if the Shadow was only going to want
it back later. Even more, I don’t get why Taim seemed so freaked when
it looked like Rand was going to smash it, when presumably breaking the
seals and setting the Dark One free should be Itemo Numero Uno on any decent Darkfriend’s to-do list. I mean, what am I missing here?"

I often wonder if it's a mistake to assume that Taim was dark when he first accepted Rand's amnesty. It seems to me he was prideful, but loyal; it was only after Dumai's Wells that he seemed to change...
In which case, his behavior in LOC makes sense.

Just speculatin'.

26. pwl
How could Verin have used Compulsion-lite on Sashalle? Was she around? In WH, it's 10 chapters between Corele announcing to Cadsuane that Flinn had figured out how to Heal stilling (ch. 13) and them gallivanting off to Far Madding (ch. 23). I'm not sure about the time gap. Enlighten me?

There's no reason Compulsion-lite had to happen after Sashelle's stilling was healed. She was with the Aiel when Verin was Compelling all the AS being held by the Aiel (in tPoD?). It doesn't make sense to try and make the timeline only take place after WH like you are. Stilling removes Oaths, not Compulsion.
Birgit F
27. birgit
How could Verin have used Compulsion-lite on Sashalle? Was she around?

Sashalle was one of the three sisters stilled when Rand escaped at Dumai's Wells. Verin Compelled them before they were Healed. In TPoD Prologue where Verin is shown using her Compulsion she sends for another stilled sister (Irgain) at the end of her PoV. In WH ch. 25 Damer Flinn Heals the three sisters and they swear fealty to Rand.


John Massey
28. subwoofer
Right- the post, have a bit to say here.

First off, you make an excellent point Leigh- why the deuce does Team Dark wait till now to make a grab for the seals? If I was the DO, when I am drafting the bad guy manifesto, top of that list would be "listen to me and shut yur cake holes" and number two would be "if I'm in prison, find the keys, bust me out". I don't think that idea is too complicated.

Frankly Team Dark should have been casting about for the seals from day 1. Never mind the Moiraine bits, before Rand was born, as soon as possible after the DO was resealed- look for the seals, get your boss outta jail.

And Team Light- wha? What were you thinking? Isn't there somebody around that is supposed to take care of these things? Maybe has that in their title or something? Perhaps keeping these things under lock and key, with armed guards, and wards, and stuff for protection. Kinda like you're protecting something important...

Why'd Taim give Rand the seal? Well beyond what Freelancer was commenting about, maybe there is a tracker placed on said seal in the hopes that Rand would keep the seal with the other ones that should be in his possession. Where you can find one, you can find all. I dunno, just a thought.

Roger Powell
29. forkroot
I'm starting to take you for granted, and that's not right. Thank you once again for all that you do... the stats and (time after time!) well-researched answers complete with citations.

I hope I speak for all of us when I say "well done and thanks!"
John Massey
30. subwoofer
And Loial trying to be all "nope it's not me". Kinda like the Hulk in a trench coat pretending like he's not green. And huge. And stuff.

Thank you Leigh:)

Y'know, usually when I reread, I skip the prologues and the chapters with the baddies in it. I just try to read the happy stuff... probably why the last few books seemed a bit of a struggle. Now, this Leigh thing has prompted me to actally read stuff I have skipped for years. Yay!

31. Megaduck
I was beated to it, but I also thought that Sashalle joined the wise ones because they were nice to her after the other AS abandoned her.

It must be really horrible. You just got horribly crippled and then all the people you thought were your friends and colleges abandon you without even a farewell fruitbasket. I think that is why Shashalle was glaring at Verin with such hostility in LoC and prompted her change against the AS.

The AS really tend to be fair weather friends. Once things get tough (Or you get stilled) you are no longer usefull and abandoned.

The wise ones on the other hand take care of thier own, as demonstrated in ToM when they mention that they even took care of the dreamwalker who burnt her mind out.
Bill Stusser
32. billiam
Verin used her compulsion-lite on at least one of the Aes Sedai stilled at Dumai's Wells, Irgain Fatamed, in the prologue of tPoD so its probable that she used it on all of them.

I see Birgit beat me to this @ 27
Sam Mickel
33. Samadai
Dobraine and Bashere have been some of my favorite characters. Their loyalty and trust that they show Rand is awesome. I figured it was Logain that Bashere was talking about, and it was confirmed for me with the last scene of this prologue. I agree with others regarding Sashelle, she has become strong in herself because the wise ones gave her the will to live(along with a little Verin compulsion-lite)
Ron Garrison
34. Man-0-Manetheran
@31 Megaduck: I mentioned Sashelle's letter to Tsutama and the Reds previously, but here is a quote from it:
"We have all been Healed, however, by a man named Damer Flinn, one of the Asha'man, and we all seem to be restored fully. Unlikely as this seems, I swear beneath the Light and by my hope of salvation and rebirth that it is true. I look forward to my eventual return to the Tower, where I will retake the Three Oaths to reaffirm my dedication to my Ajah and to the Tower."

OK, technically she can lie now, but it sounds like she hadn't given up on being Aes Sedai.

Antoni Ivanov
35. tonka
Btw, I am almost certain that Taim was not Darkfriend from the beginning. I think he was either turned 13x13 or he "Pull a Demandred/Sammael" (e.i. he got too jelous and resentful of Rand's powers and lack of recognition (as he feels it) and decide to go over)
Valentin M
36. ValMar
Sub @ 28
So you finally decided to lift the lid on your plans for World domination. One of your minions in the picture? No wonder wholesale food prices have been rising lately.
37. hamstercheeks
I forgot about Irgain. Thanks brigit!

Re: Taim freaking out

Bashere stepped back slowly, and Rand brought the seal down just as slowly. If Rand had thought Taim unflappable, he had proof to the contrary now. Shock painted the man's face. "Do you know what this is, Taim?" Rand demanded. "You must, or you wouldn'thave brought it to me. Where did you find it? Do you have another? Do you know where another is?"

"No," Taim said, voice unsteady. Not with fear, precisely; more like a man who had felt a cliffunexpectedly crumbling under him and had somehow found himself back on solid ground. -LoC, ch. 2

Option 1: "ZOMG this guy is crazy!"
Option 2: "Argh does he even know how much...service...I had to perform to get that thing?"
Option 3: "Nooooo the seeeaaaaaaal...!"

If it's #1, then I'd say that's a reasonable reaction to Rand temporarily going bugnuts.

If it's #3, he's probably a DF who doesn't have Moridin's info. Then again, who does?
38. AshandareiFighter
Maybe someone has said this but Taim may have given Rand the seal to:
A. gain his trust or,
B. because he hadn't yet gone to the dark

Either way it is really annoying that the Aes Sedai are all arrogant enough to want to "tame" the Asha'man, but I can kind of see where they are coming from, in that they don't know the source can and will be cleansed, so still believe they are all ticking time bombs. Still though it is just a ridiculous notion.

On how NO ONE seems to know that Nynaeve was the first to heal stilling, it really annoys me because it seems like she isn't getting credit for what she discovered (this might have to do with the fact that she is one of my favorite characters, cause come on she is AWESOME), although Flinn did also make the discovery.
Skip Ives
39. Skip
hamstercheeks @37 - Or 4) He's a sneaky Baggins and he's only freaked because he was told Rand wouldn't shatter the seals.
40. AshandareiFighter
@37 Haha guess it took me awhile to post this, Didn't see your comment. But that is definitely like the same thought i had. Although in my opinion he could just be a jack ass.
41. Freelancer
subwoofer @28

My comments didn't address the seals directly; not why they aren't a higher priority for Team Shadow, not whether Rand should breakthembreakthembreakthemall, none of that. My aim was on a different tack. Remember when Moiraine asked Rand what he learned by getting the letters from Elaida and Alviarin? And when Rand said that there were White Tower spies in the palace, Moiraine was pleased, told him that he would do well. So now I ask, what can we as readers learn from the parallel attacks on Bashere's and Dobraine's "dwelling places"? Elementary my dear Watson...

Oh, and thanks for the CanOpFor photo. Clearly our Northern border is secure.
Valentin M
42. ValMar
Good points Freelancer. We can speculate what the Shadow take is on the Seals, but there are some interesting conclusions that can be made from this attacks.

Do you have any suggestions who the mole might be? And just how little spread the knowledge of Bashere and Dobraine's loyalty to Rand is? Maybe it's not as little known as to validate this line of thought.
43. Shadow_Jak
She could convict him of treason twice-over at least for what he had done since coming south, but he still could see no other way to have gone. Rebellion—Tenobia could
define that loosely when she chose—rebellion was horrible to
contemplate, yet he wanted his head firmly attached to his neck a while
longer. A neat and thorny problem.

This has much more meaning for me now, after seeing Yoeli's comments to Ituralde in TOM, To Make a Stand.(He's the one who rebelled against the DF ruling the Saldeans in Maradon, and opened the gate for Ituralde to retreat into the city)

"Ihave betrayed my oaths and killed firends. I will demand execution, as is my right"

Of course, Bashere has not been forced to fight other Saldeans, so not quite the same...but still, he must be feeling very conflicted over his current situation. He might be figuring on demanding execution himself, after the LB.
44. Shadow_Jak
As for the attempt to steal the Seals...
I always though this was somehow related to the cleansing of Saidin. Maybe the goal posts have shifted now that the taint is gone?
Roger Powell
45. forkroot
Re Taim and the Seal:

One "off the wall" idea: Maybe Team Dark is playing a deeper game and the "seal" that Taim brought to Rand is actually a fake!

How the heck could Rand know? If Team Dark produces a piece of heartstone with the requisite pattern (refer to Freelancer's icon), how would Rand tell if it were genuine?

What a deep play! The Shadow realizes that Rand will eventually need to break the seals prior to a permanent fix on the DO's prison. So they give him a fake to make him think he's got all seven. He may realize too late that he's missing one, and hence will not be able to "clear the rubble".

So .. Taim gives the fake to Rand and immediately Rand makes like he's going to break it. Of course Taim gets nervous - he thinks Rand is onto the scheme!
Alice Arneson
46. Wetlandernw
TankSpill @8 - Karldin and Loial will shortly go with Logain to meet Rand. He helps set up the meeting with the (fake) DotNM. Later Beldeine asks him to be her Warder and he agrees.

Freelancer @19 - Excise the "of" - at least in my estimation. And I think you make a good point on the whos and whys of the seal-snatching cum assassination attempts. It should tell us (and hopefully Rand) something significant.
47. Freelancer

Sorry, I can't buy that scheme. You might ask why not.


Well, you might have asked...

Anyway, the reason is simple. Verin didn't do it. And nobody else in the WoTverse is that sneaky.
Kimani Rogers
48. KiManiak
Thanks for the post, Leigh. Happy Turkey Day to you (and to all my fellow posters who currently reside in the US of A. Is it true that Canadian thanksgiving was in October?).

I’d like to add my 2cents about the attempts for the Seals. I would echo what a number of folks here said, regarding making a half-hearted attempt to go after the Seals to give the impression that they are important and need to be kept intact (yes, I am clearly in the “Rand must break the Seals” faction. I will gladly accept “I told you so’s” if proven wrong in AMoL).

I would add another caveat. My theory is that this lame attempt was a feint by Team Dark to find out where Rand is keeping the Seals. Of course he’s not keeping them in a tent or a bedroom in the palace. But maybe, if a (pathetically weak) effort is made to get the Seals, then Rand or one of his trusted lieutenants (Bashere, Dobraine, etc) will check to make sure that the real hiding place for the Seals is secure. It wouldn’t surprise me if Team Dark had people watching the actions of Rand, Bashere and Dobraine or someone else in Cairhien (I think Dobraine’s near murder was an accident by low level Darkfriends who didn’t know the whole plan) immediately after to see if they could guess where the Seals were.

As for why Taim gave Rand the Seal, I think it was The Shadow told Taim to do this in order for Rand to trust Taim (as much as Rand trusts anyone), and it worked. Rand gives Taim massive leeway in running the Black Tower (to the chagrin of all of us who thought Rand should’ve Traveled his ta’veren ass there a book or two ago, as of ToM). I could see how Rand was less likely to think Taim was a Darkfriend since Taim gave him the Seal. Before, he was probably writing off Taim’s actions as just arrogance and opportunistic; not evil.

Edit – I see AshandareiFighter@38 already provided the “gain Rand’s trust” theory.
49. Freelancer

Thank you. I knew it didn't feel right, but I had to put it in there in order to ask if it was wrong to put it in there. ::cough::

I give Rand great credit for having an insightful mind (I've read so many other commentors misspell that as inciteful that I nearly did it myself). Who else realized that the Forsaken would be coming after him in the Waste? Who else knew to plant "clues" to his decision to go to Far Madding and that someone would take the bait? Rand is no moron, people. However, does he have enough information about what happened at Bashere's tent and to Dobraine in the Sun Palace to raise the same suppositions that we can? Perhaps, perhaps not. I can't recall OTTOMH if he's ever been made aware of the forged note found with Dobraine's attackers.
Roger Powell
50. forkroot
Re: Sneaky Verin - LOL! Yes indeed she was sneaky, but we loved her. One of my (few) disappointments with ToM is that we didn't get another scene with her on one of the "catch-up" timelines.

(Hey ... if Tam can be two places at once in ToM, why not have "dead" Verin do a scene?)
Theresa Gray
51. Terez27
@Leigh - I don't really think Moridin changed his mind about the seals; his 'complacent' smile in KOD3 suggests that he's not worried about finding them, despite his words - I see the words as something along the lines of the orders that Elayne gives to Mat on the way to Ebou Dar. Things she knows he will do anyway. It was a means of asserting her authority over him, an attempt to break him to her leash. I'm betting that Moridin has more than the quoted prophecy to suggest that Rand will break the seals, and that this will be beneficial for Team Dark.

Also...yeah, Sashalle was most likely Compelled by Verin. The Reds were the top targets, since they had no Warders. Samitsu even mentions Verin's explanation - ta'veren twisting of chance. ;)
William Fettes
53. Wolfmage
I don’t think there’s any great mystery to Taim’s reaction in LoC.

If we metatextually assume, I think correctly, that the seals must be broken to properly reseal the bore, it stands to reason that an important minion of the Shadow would naturally be alarmed if Rand broke a seal. Giving Rand a seal was a ploy under this theory, and it was almost foiled immediately – hence the reaction.

Moreover, I hardly think it’s likely that every Dark Friend would contemplate the quasi-freedom of the Dark One with total equanimity. It’s one thing to think about the Dark One's existence in the abstract, and the power and rewards you’ll receive by swearing over, it’s entirely something else to have him suddenly on your doorstep without warning. It’s a shocking thing for light siders and dark siders alike.

Remember, Dark Friends and the Forsaken don’t exactly have to love the Dark One. In fact, I can't think of any that do. Asmodian (fear) and Lanfear (ambition) are most typical of the kind of selfishness that leads one to the Shadow. Also think about all the Dark Friends we’ve seen used and discarded along the way; it might not be written in the glossy brochure, but they know the score. Hell, even Ishmael is not exactly following based on platonic bonds with the boss. His allegiance is more like a twisted version of Pascal’s wager than anything
54. alreadymadwithsashalle
It really irks me that Samitsu thinks Aes Sedai should undo everything Rand has done no matter how good it has turned out - for no better reason than that Aes Sedai had no hand in it. I mean c'mon... where were the Aes Sedai when Cairhien descended into a Succession? Even without the Shaido that should have been a prime opportunity for the White Tower to assert itself.

I particularly liked it when Karldin asked the Aes Sedai how they mean to stop them from leaving when they chose.

As for the Seals:
I think it's a matter of timing. Breaking them when Rand was relatively stable and in control would not have been a good idea. As Rand would have his full power to counter the Dark One's chaotic influence. But now that the Dark One's minions are redoubling their efforts to sow chaos and unhinge Rand, they must control when the Seals are to be broken.

As for Sashalle:
She may be able to lie. It makes little difference. Swearing under the light and by one's hope of salvation and rebirth is one of the strongest oaths anyone not a darkfriend can make. Besides we've pretty much beaten the usefulness of the Oath against lying horse to death many times over. That said, I kinda like Sashalle. A decent Red, if a touch Compelled. Or Suggested, maybe...
Greg Bloom
55. MuleHeadedLummox
Another possible explanation for the seal stealing attempts is that the Forsaken are not all on the same page. Taim is probably getting his orders from either Demandred (who had just gotten orders from the DO) or from Moridin (who has access to all the dark prophecies). If Rand breaking the seals eventually is in the dark prophecies, this would explain why the seal is given to him. However, one of the other Forsaken who does not know this may have made an attempt to get them back, thinking this will help them become Nae'blis.
56. alreadymadwithbrokenseals
I'm almost certain breaking the Seals will kick off the Last Battle. Hence everybody's interest in controlling when they are broken. What if they had been broken when Rand's darkness was at its height? When his power to heal the land was at its lowest?
Alice Arneson
57. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @49 - Well, thank you from the bottom of my heart for checking your spelling!! That one drives me nuts - especially since we have plenty of incitefulness going on here frequently enough, and I'd far rather have the insights. :)

And... I don't seem to have much to say on the recap text tonight, do I? Sorry...

About the seals, I can readily see arguments both ways on whether Rand will have to break them or not, so I'm just going to RAFO. Either way, it's gonna be cool.
Theresa Gray
58. Terez27
I can also see the seals going either way; I just dislike the fervent insistence that Rand is so obviously doing the right thing; it goes along with all of the other reasons why I think that JesusRand is a little on the suspicious side.
Alice Arneson
59. Wetlandernw
I don't know that I'm particularly "suspicious" of the new Rand, but I do question the conviction of a large segment of the fandom that he must be right about everything now. Of course he thinks his opinion is correct - it's the nature of opinion, that what one has come to understand, is true. After all, who holds an opinion he doesn't think is correct? Duh. But that Rand is necessarily correct in all his understandings? As a reader, I'm less than 100% convinced. RJ was a better writer than that - no one is right all the time in the WoT. Whether the matter of the seals is one of the times Rand is right, remains to be seen.

Hey, maybe these are the seals that are eating all the (red) herring... Bloody seals. (Taishar Manetheren!)
William Fettes
60. Wolfmage

I don't know that I'm particularly "suspicious" of the new Rand, but I do question the conviction of a large segment of the fandom that he must be right about everything now.

I don't think Rand's right about everything. I certainly don't think he knows how to reseal the bore in the present timeline. Indeed, I think it's likely that IF Rand's plan is simply to follow LTT's original plan to reseal the bore, but this time with Saidar included, it would doom the world.

Of course, it's not clear to me that that really is his plan, despite what others seem to think. Saidar and Saidin could be used in an entirely different plan that hasn't coalesced in Rand's mind yet. It's obviously an unresolved matter, and without any evidence, it's silly to just assume Rand has everything perfectly prepared and planned in advance. In fact, his plea to Min suggests exactly the opposite - he's still actively researching how to execute the solution. That shows even he doesn't believe he has all the answers.

That said, the question of breaking the seals or not is a rather binary issue, and it does seem manifestly unlikely that this won't be required as an antecedent step prior to any successful plan. If Rand is in error right now it seems far more likely to me that the error is he might be prepared to break the seals without the right plan in place, rather than the necessity of breaking the seals per se.

Given Fel's note and subsequent death, the LoC over-the-head moment, other character comments, and Rand's unshakable certainty, I just think it's very likely. The alternative would rob Fel's death of significance, diminish an awesome call-back resosance to the LoC moment, and discount Perrin and Nynaeve's expertise on healing/creation. There's also no compelling evidence that intact dodgy seals ought to be required for an alternative successful plan. It just seems more like wishful thinking on the part of Egwene fans that her obstinancy on the issue is proven correct.

Personally, I don't have a big problem with Egwene's reaction, and I think she will probably contribute to the elements of the plan that eventually triumphs. So believing that the seals must be broken doesn't necessarily diminish Egwene and nor is it conceeding that Rand is omnipotent.
Kimani Rogers
62. KiManiak
@61 - Hmm, didn't even try to make the comment related to the post, huh?

Re: The belief that Rand knows what he's doing with the seals- I kind of look at it like this: RJ planned AMoL to be 1 book, but for logistics sake BWS had to split it into 3. So, the AMoL that we are now going to wait ~ 16 months for is actually (approximately) the final 3rd (or 3rd act, if you will) of RJ's planned final book. I have to believe that by that point, the proclaimed Savior has a pretty good idea of what is needed for him to save the universe/Pattern.

Does he have all of the answers? Probably not. But do I believe that his plan to break the Seals is one of however many necessary steps to reach the end some of you have been waiting decades for? I think so. And do I think that having half of his (ultimately, anyway) allies oppose part of his actions is part of the tension that is necessary for this story to continue to be one of the best I've ever read? Sure.

I also believe (because I'm gonna stop asking rhetorical questions now) that it's not going to be as simple as Rand destroying the Seals, but that there are all kinds of twists and turns that will come after he meets with Egwene and her posse, and that his manipulating Egwene into gathering the various Free Nations was an important part of his plan.

However things unfold, I'm sure that I'll love it (and I hope that all of those who have been following the re-read feel good about it too), because I have faith that RJ left out a detailed plan and notes of how the story ends (along with whatever parts of AMoL that he actually wrote). It just feels right that Rand should have a good idea on how to re-seal the Dark One after his Zen/Jesusifying that happened at the end of TGS/beginning of ToM.
Leigh Butler
63. leighdb
Freelancer @ 19:

2. From the Fallacious, False & Ficticious Apolcalypse Department:

global warming

Interesting that you assumed I was making any kind of assertion of truth there, rather than merely making reference to various and sundry apocalyptic type movies you guys may have heard of.

(Although, I would point out that by inference, then, you seem to be saying that (for instance) a zombie, Godzilla, or robot apocalypse are all less fallacious/false/ficitious end-of-the-world scenarios than something that's been proven to be happening, if not quite the way Roland Emmerich would have it. Also interesting.)
Wesley Parish
64. Aladdin_Sane
Friends, Romans, Countrymen! Lend me your ears! At five per cent per annum, it's a wise investment, you'll see!

I'm amazed that nobody's remembered that by this time the seals are little more than soapstone paperweights!

You remember, when the Supergirls turned up in Salidar with one of the seals after their traipsing through Amadicia and whatnot, one of the Aes Sedai - I forget who now: it's been a while since I read it - carved a chip off it? Adn that they had felt it to be "evil" or the focus of evil feelings while it was in their possession and then the feeling had gone and they were left, for all intents and purposes, with a soapstone paperweight?

Since the seals are by now, practically worthless - unless of course they have some merit as a residual "anchor" on the DO's projection of force - I've always taken this little sideshow as precisely that - a sideshow to make Rand think that the seals are worth spending much much more energy and time than is strictly necessary.

At any rate, that's my theory, and I'm sticking by it - until better information comes to hand. (Lews Therin Telamon should've used walrusses - they've got a bigger grin and much nicer teeth! :)
Antoni Ivanov
65. tonka
Interesting that the Rand/Egwene/Seals discussion has been over 3 re-read threads and 2 TOM spoiler threads.

@64. Aladdin_Sane

Eh, the three (three are left?) seals are not worthless. True, they might crumble at touch but they haven't yet. They are still holding and keeping the Dark One trapped.
Maiane Bakroeva
66. Isilel
OK, let me jump in:

From the vantage point of later books, it seems very likely that the papers found on the DFs were forged by our very own professional in the field - Graendal.
And there is no reason to think, really, that they were looking for the Seals. In fact, the wording of the forged papers seems suspiciously like Moridin's orders to the 4 DF Asha'man:

"kill him if you must, but above all _bring me the items in his possession"_. (paraphrasing).

So, yea, IMHO all of this is a reaction to Rand airing his intention to cleanse saidin back in ACoS and rather half-assed attempts to remove the tools he'd need - the Choedan Kal.
Now, why would Dobraine/Bashere have them? Well, for the same reason why they might have the Seals? Which reason I never understood. Why would Rand give anybody the Seals, when he could have hidden them anywhere in the world and securely protected them with wards? So, maybe it was all a misdirection. Who knows.

Re: Samitsu, this is one of those small things that really prevent me from seeing Cadsuane as deserving of her legend. How on earth could she believe that this woman would be able to hold things together in Cahirien? Mind you, I like Samitsu when she is in her element - Healing, and I was disappointed that she wasn't the one to bond Flinn. But a decent politician she is not. Not to mention that when she first appeared she seemed much less prejudiced.

Re: bonding of Asha'man - much as people may be offended by "taming" or whatever, while saidin remained tainted and even after the Cleansing, while the harm left by the taint seemed irreversible, it was the right and necessary step that may have saved a lot of lives. In fact, it may have been something that AS should have done all along, after the bond was invented.

Even after the Cleansing/healing of the madness (if it will be applied to every Asha'man afflicted), it would have been realistic if people still preferred the illusion of dangerous male channelers being under the control of safe(r) female channelers, particularly after Taim and his boys show their stuff.

Re: Sashalle - makes Egwene's agreement with the Aiel about the student exchange that much less groundbreaking, doesn't it? Kind of strange that she wasn't mentioned during the discussions in ToM. Generally, the whole Aiel tutoring of AS thing seems to have run into the sand, as I personally didn't see much of change/improvement once they were released into Rand's service. And Rand doesn't seem to be using them much either.

I used to have a theory that the WOs, having been disappointed in AS, but cognizant that Rand was supposed to take the Aiel back to "their places of old", were trying to remake the AS into people potentially worthy of their service, but it clearly doesn't seem to be the case.
John Massey
67. subwoofer
@Wolfmage- perhaps they sing the DO away? I seem to have seen that in a movie somewheres... find the song... Aiel dancing and singing unitl the DO goes bye bye... I dunno... theory I'm working on.

68. hamstercheeks
Isilel@66: What you say about Samitsu got me thinking about AS effectiveness. It seems that somehow, offscreen, Aes Sedai are pretty good at pulling strings and manipulating events, but only when they're alone or in small groups. When you have a dozen or so, it's bedlam and squabbling and rank-pulling, unless an alpha female takes charge. Egwene reflects on this, too:

...the pure fact was that the Ajahs stood apart in all but name, the Hall their only true meeting point, and the sisters themselves were little more than a convocation of hermits, speaking three words beyond what was absolutely required only with a few friends. Or with another sister they had joined in some design. -CoT, ch. 17

So they're like cats, solitary and hunting for the fattest mouse, and they're okay as long as there aren't too many of them together. Sorry, couldn't think of a better analogy.

Re: Rand using the AS who were Wise One apprentices -- I'm pretty sure he's sent them to do various errands; we just weren't shown this, as the descriptions of what they were all wearing would have caused fifty more pages.

subwoofer@67: Maybe not Aiel, but the Tinkers? They're due for a comeback...
Kurt Lorey
69. Shimrod
I would like to echo previous sentiments regarding having a Happy Thanksgiving.

Since the weather has turned in significant portions of the country, be safe, and let the Light shine on you and the Creator shelter you.
Skip Ives
70. Skip
Terez27 @58 - I think it is less to do with Rand's new calmness/powers, and more to do with his integration of LTT. Since LTT designed the seals, and it was only his second choice of ways to seal the bore, I presume that he has a better idea of what went wrong than anyone except maybe Ishy and the DO. The characters have mostly seemed to have missed this point as well.

Isilel@66 - I really am not as irked about her attitude toward "taming" the Ashamen because of the taint, but she applies her thinking to men generally, and that is more of a problem.

Her thoughts about her own warder could be taken to mean she took him against his will. I don't think it was intended this way, I think that Samitsu is supposed to be read as another of the women of the white tower that cannot believe that anything of real value would come from a man. Some of that is commenting on our gender politics, some is turning historical gender prejudices on their head, and some is just Samitsu's character. It's the combination that is grating.
71. Bourgeois Nerd
I've always assumed it was teh Choedan Kal that they were after, not the Seals. Moridin found out that Rand was going to try to cleanse saidin, and it's only logical (and we all know how Moridin likes his "logic") that he'd use the most powerful sa'angreal around to do it, so "Minions, FIND ME THOSE FIGURINES!!!!" would be at the top of his lungs.
Richard Boye
72. sarcastro
One of the truly most despicable things about the Aes Sedai is how they treat the sisters who still themselves. I mean, Martine/Setalle's account how she was basically a starving homeless person until the man who would become her husband found her and took her in is telling. It's a ridiculous custom - "we just tell them to go on their way with no resources, no one who has lost as much as she has would possibly want to linger and remain near awesome us."

Even the malign neglect for Siuan and Leane is absurd. They weren't even really guarded! Laras, of all people, was able to spring them!

The Wise Ones were actually kind to the stilled Aes Sedai - I know how it seems like they were just putting them through their paces back in the mega-camp outside Cairhien after "the Wells" but compare what they were making Sarene do (basically mindless and USELESS labor, on purpose) as opposed to Irgaine: they had her milling flour. 1) It's to keep her busy and distracted and not lapsing into catatonic depression and 2) it's the type of labor that is, I dunno, emotionally satisfying - knowing that you are creating a useful product that will feed someone and make them happy, as opposed to digging holes with your bare hands only to fill them back up for no reason. I always gathered that RJ showed the dichotomy in their treatments by the WOs for that reason.

I can see why the Healed Aes Sedai might be kindly disposed to the Wise Ones. The Aes Sedai would have just chucked them on the curb and expect them to sit there quietly and die.

Regarding Samitsu and her 'S' name - even RJ had problems keeping them all straight. At some point, he exchanges her with Sumeko, the Healing Maven among the Kin (or vise a versa).

And also, I noted with no small degree of WoT Minutia Geekery-derived enjoyment, we see the only other red-haired Saldaean in the whole series as one of Deira's attendants (even though we were told it's actually fairly common for them).
73. Looking Glass
Andoran lack of subtlety: One reason that the Andoran succession was such a long and tedious affair was that it was big and messy but not subtle- it all played out on center stage, to both the readers and the world. We’ve had a much clearer view of what was up with the Andorans than with just about anyone else, and the position of all the players was pretty clear if you could be bothered to keep the names straight. Raising an army to besiege the capital is the opposite of subtle.

For contrast, how long did we have to speculate about Weiramon's motives?

Subwoofer @28: Yes, someone has “Watcher of the Seals” in their title. Two someones: Egwene (whose track record for keeping evildoers away from her stuff is less than stellar) and Elaida (just… no). Rand’s method of hiding the seals at least appears to have worked. The AS, on the other hand, appear to have a near-zero theft prevention rate within the series.

Hamstercheeks @37: Alternatively, Taim could know that Rand will break the seals for the last battle, and therefore Rand suddenly and unexpectedly looks like he’s ready to start this thing right now. Rand was just being crazy, but if you were on Team Evil and didn’t know that, it could look like Armageddon had just caught you with your pants way, way down.
Skip Ives
74. Skip
Looking Glass - We speculated about Weiramon's motives? The only way he could have been more obvious was if his name were Snidely Whiplash. ;)
Birgit F
75. birgit
Generally, the whole Aiel tutoring of AS thing seems to have run into the sand, as I personally didn't see much of change/improvement once they were released into Rand's service.

That's why Eg wants to send Accepted, not full AS.
Donna Harvey
76. snaggletoothedwoman
The only comment I have for this section of the re-read, is the attitude of ALL the AS for Rand. They all seem to be following Cad's attitude. They even think of him as "that boy", "That fool boy", "the so called Dragon Reborn". They are all sooooo full of themselves! The common folk seem to have the right idea where the AS are concerned....Stay away from them& don't let them attach a string to you!
Alice Arneson
77. Wetlandernw
tonka @65 - Yeah, we don't seem to find much else to say anywhere at the moment, do we? Bloody seals. ;)

Isilel @66 - Re: bonding of Asha'man - Exactly. Now (after ToM) that Nynaeve can Heal the madness, and maybe (??) teach someone else how (Samitsu, anyone?), controlling the Asha'man is less important, but at this stage of the game, the Cleansing hasn't even happened. (At least, I assume this scene is set prior to the Cleansing, since there's been no mention of the beacon.) And as we saw clearly demonstrated in ToM, the madness that was already there didn't go away when saidin was cleansed. So, yeah, it's going to be a while before even we nearly-omniscient readers can be sure which of the men are actually safe; given the last 3000 years, it's going to be a lot longer before society at large is ready to accept them as truly safe. And... yeah, I don't think Taim and co. will contribute much to that acceptance!

I really, really wonder what would have happened (pre-cleansing) if an Aes Sedai bonded a non-gentled male channeler. I speculated a bit, at one point, but as far as I know RJ never addressed that. (Isilel or Terez can probably correct me if I'm wrong.) It seems like it should have been tried, at least, although it might have been rather hard on the AS. Would he still have gone mad at the same rate? Would she have gone mad with him? (Unlikely, IMO.) If he still had to be gentled (as I think he would, eventually), what would have been the effect on her if she still held the bond? If nasty, would it be unconscionable for her to release the bond before gentling him? Seems rather selfish to abandon him for her own sake, but how far do you take the self-sacrifice?

You know, it would really have been a different story if it had been standard practice to bond any willing male channelers rather than immediately gentling them. Think of the practice they could have had in mixed circles, and the weaves they could have discovered or not lost in the first place.

Okay, end rabbit trail.

hamstercheeks @68 - Good analogy! It's actually quite accurate, too. Any individual sister will have her share of failures, but in general she will be pretty effective on her own. It's when they are together, and especially with multiple authorities in effect, that things go sideways. Hmm. Note that here you have TAS, SAS, CAS and DSAS all conflicting... (That would be Tower AS, Salidar AS, Cadsuane's AS and Dragon Sworn AS.) Conflict of interest, much?

As for Rand using the AS who are sworn to him and have done their WO apprenticeship... I do think we've seen him send them on errands and stuff, but he still doesn't entirely trust them. From what we've seen, I think it's probably just as well he doesn't; they tend to interpret things as they choose instead of as he meant. It's a pity, but until the LB is staring them in the face I don't see it changing. If then.

birgit @75 - Good point. Full AS are too set in their opinions and attitudes to change significantly, as a rule. Accepted would hopefully be a little more flexible. They'd get more out of the training, in less time, too.

snaggletoothedwoman @76 - I hardly think you can realistically blame Cadsuane for the AS attitude toward Rand. More accurately, the AS mostly (including Cadsuane) follow the WT attitude toward men in general, and young men in particular. Realistically, though, for anyone over 100 years old, a 22-year-old IS a boy! (For that matter, Nynaeve at 26 or 28 is still a girl to them.) The fact that the attitude is sometimes imitated by those more recently come to their title... well, it's quite consistent with human nature IRL, so why not in WoT? Remember, anyone not full AS is often called "child" in the WT, whether novice, Accepted or visitor. That tradition would logically be reflected in their dealings outside the Tower as well, though some have the sense to use it (or not) more as a tool than a habit.

And on a personal note... I'm having a lovely extended Thanksgiving holiday. We had school Monday morning, and then they sent everyone home at lunchtime to avoid the (likely, as it turned out) possibility of terrible roads to come get their kids at the usual dismissal time. Then, since it's stayed cold and snowy, they cancelled school on Tuesday, and again on Wednesday. :) No school on Monday because of a teachers' work day (grading & doing report cards), so with the interruption of a half-day on Monday, we've got a 10-day holiday! Yay for snow days! Of course, we'll pay for it in June, but... I'm loving it for now.
78. Looking Glass
Skip @74: Granted, in the particular case of Wieramon the primary question was "how much of his obstructiveness is intentional versus just stupidity", but it was a question. Whereas there really weren't any questions about anyone in the Andoran succession, period. Except maybe Dyelin, and then primarily because reasonable, helpful adults in WoT are rare enough to be suspicious.

Besides, Taim has carried a huge flashing I'M EVIL sign from day one, and that certainly hasn't stopped us from wondering what he's up to and how much he knows and if he's someone else in disguise and what he had for breakfast and and and...
Theresa Gray
79. Terez27
Skip@70 - Thing is, we know he has no clue beyond that he feels like he should break them. No plan. Despite all of Lews Therin's knowledge, he has absolutely nothing to offer here. And that is the point I feel like the Rand-worshipers are missing. If we were completely ignorant of his plans, then there might be reason to believe he had a solution based on Lews Therin's memories, but we know from his begging Min to find the solution that he does not.

One of the dangers of placing the seals in the first place was that a small error might rip the prison open entirely; it stands to reason that breaking the seals by force, no matter how weak they are, would run the same risk.

@Wetlander - Narishma, Flinn, and Hopwil were bonded before the Cleansing, though of course it didn't last long.
Skip Ives
80. Skip
Looking Glass @78 - I see, and I'm with you. I actually picture Wieramon as Snidley Whiplash.

Yeah, Taim was such the obvious analogy to some of LTT's enemies that it really is amazing that Rand never nuked him just on principle.

Terez27 @79 - I don't know that Rand begging Min to do more research is proof that LTT had nothing to offer. I agree that just accepting Rand is right is a bad thing to do if past efforts are any guide. I do find it odd that people that know he is LTT don't bother to ask about the seals, since you know, he like placed the things and all. ;)
Donna Harvey
81. snaggletoothedwoman
Wetlandernw@77: I know, I know..... It is the only way they look at everyone...the majority of the AS are that much older, that everyone else is boy or girl to them. It just bugs me...oh well, maybe someday they will realize they need to join the rest of Randland and actually participate in society. They have sooooo much they could contribute and don't. le sigh On another note... does anyone remember if Taim was described as having dead eyes like Tarna? Or have we come to the conclusion that He joined the Dark side on his own? Or is this the way the madness took him?
Theresa Gray
82. Terez27
@Skip - the proof is more in the conversation that Rand and Lews Therin had when the subject came up in TGS. Lews Therin had no clue. The begging Min bit just indicates that the reintegration didn't actually help him come up with any ideas.
Rajesh Vaidya
83. Buddhacat
Wetlandrnow @77:

The BBoBA states that the Warder bond was in fact discovered while the AS were trying to find a way to cure the taint/madness of the male channelers. What you say was already tried about 3000 years prior, and failed to control the taint or madness.
Alice Arneson
84. Wetlandernw
Terez @79 - Quite true, but it lasted such a short time before the Cleansing that we don't know what the long-term effect would be. And we're given no indication of whether anyone had tried it before in the history of the Tower. So I still wonder what the ramifications would have been. Oddly, I don't recall anyone thinking about how risky it might be, though.

Buddhacat @83 - I vaguely recall hearing that before, but I can't find it in the BBoBA. Can you give me a direct quote (short phrase) to search on, or a page number, or something? I'd like to see what all it says.
85. BiggMann
Concerning other shoutouts for Tolkien, the farmer in Cairhein earlier in this prologue was traveling to the Nine Rings Inn (the number of rings given to mankind by Sauron) when the Choedan Kal lit up.

To All: I think LTT did have another plan when Latrae Posae (sp) refused to assist him, much as Egwene is now. It aggravates me as well as most of you that lifelong friends will not sit, talk and trust (although I do understand from Rand's POV, an innocent mistake by even his most trusted confidants may cost the world), but why does almost everyone refuse to keep him informed?

Other then his generals and captains, and maybe Min, is there anyone else who has attained full disclosure with Rand? And I'm not just talking about telling him what they know when they happen to see him, but seeking him out to give him an important bit of information for the sake of keeping him fully informed?

The one person that has to know every bit of pertinent information out there, whatever mindstate he may be in, is Rand. Yet people left and right on the side of the Light (hey, I made a rhyme funny!-in my Foghorn Leghorn voice) keep information from him IF they choose to tell him anything at all on a regular basis. It's like Egwene wants to stop him for the sake of stopping him. Correct me if I'm wrong, but her efforts since leaving Falme have been aimed at becoming Aes Sedai, completing Wise One training, and making the Tower whole with herself as Amrylin. Although she want this done in order to be ready for the Last Battle, she hasn't given much thought to actually fighting the LB. And if she has, she's either not put nearly as much thought into it as Rand has or she's keeping an important bit of information learned from being Amrylin from the one entity that can make any successful use of it. Hell, she's still thinking in terms of controlling and guiding him! What makes her so sure she knows what she's talking about?

Well enough ranting about the motivations and aspirations of fictional characters for one day! Hope all who celebrate it have a Happy Thanksgiving and think on the original intent of the pilgrims: thanking God; for I actually have to work tomorrow and Friday. But I thank God for this raggedy so-called piece of what some may incorrectly call being gainful employment!
86. BiggMann
Lost Post Edit: The Nine Rings Inn comment happened at the start of the Cleansing.
Roger Powell
87. forkroot
Actually, we first see the Nine Rings Inn in TGH when Rand, Loial, Hurin, and "Selene" go there.
craig thrift
88. gagecreedlives

Well I’ve been reading on my Max Brooks so at least if there is a zombie apocalypse I am prepared


Are the seals actually keeping the DO trapped though or just limiting how much influence the DO can have on the world? From what I understand there needs to be a pretty set of circumstances that is needed for the DO to be free and the seals were just used to plug a hole so he couldn’t reach through. If the seals breaking actually released the DO completely pretty sure they would have been the highest priority for team dark


Wouldn’t be surprised if that’s pretty close to the mark especially now that Rand seems to be healing the land with his ta'verenness instead of being destructive. Maybe we will see Rand as a choir leader and the tinkers, aiel and ogiers will suddenly remember the song and chime in.

I am thinking that Rand needs to break the seals to clear the way and the 3 ta'veren will be needed together as a sort of focus point to keep the pattern unravelling while the dark one tries to break it and to give the pattern time to heal over the bore in the dark ones prison. Providing of course that the pattern itself is the DO's prison. I'm not overly sure on that point
Kimani Rogers
89. KiManiak
Biggmann@ 85 – I admit that I haven’t read the short story regarding Lews Therin and the 100 male channelers (I think it’s called the Strike on Shayol Ghul ) recently, but I do recall that Lews Therin was trying to get the female channelers to work with him to seal the dark one. Since Lews Therin was seen as a great general and strategist for the Light, I think its safe to assume that he had an alternate plan. Or, multiple options that he was considering.

As for the parallels between the actions and stance of the leader of the female channelers during the AoL and the current leader of the female channelers, I definitely see it. I don’t think this occurred by accident. I’ve said before that I think the Aes Sedai vehement and somewhat irrational stance to oppose Rand’s plan to destroy the seals without evaluating and considering any potential merits to that plan seems somewhat like a plot contrivance to add a sense of tension to the story as we near its close. Isn’t a constant theme of this story that when people or groups work together “good” things happen, but when they try to do things separately and/or secretly, well, things don’t go so well for our heroes then, do they?

This also ties into your full disclosure point. Speaking for myself (and making an assumption for the vast majority of faithful WoT readers), it would be great if the characters would just talk to each other. But it’s been a common theme: most characters think they should be mysterious and make a go for it on their own. We’ve sat through numerous books where Character X has chosen to act mysteriously, or withhold information, or manipulate others. Rand has been guilty of this as much if not more than most characters, so I’m not trying to just put the blame on the various Aes Sedai that have been involved in our hero’s life since that first night in Emond’s Field. It’s not surprising (but it is disappointing) that the various factions do not seek to give Rand intel. It would be best if all the allies on the side of the Light would try to work together.

And as for Egwene’s actions, well… I’m still observing my self-imposed gag order regarding her actions in ToM, after the extended, beating-of-the-dead-horse type discussion that some of us had on the ToM spoiler post and comments regarding her, Rand and the Seals (it was fun though, and many of you -on both sides- made good points; I think most of us have just agreed to disagree and RAFO). I can’t wait until her arc in CoT so I can discuss her, pre-reunified Tower.
Theresa Gray
90. Terez27
@Wetlander - Pevara and Co. considered it in KOD; they all agreed they wouldn't bond anyone who showed signs of madness. Which is kinda funny, since their entire objective was supposed to be controlling the men because they couldn't gentle them all.
91. VoxOrange
I would think Taim had orders to surrender the seal before Moridin's resurrection. Now that Moridin has ascerted himself over the Darkfriend network. The change in command results in a change of plan.

As for Taim's reaction when Rand tries to break the seal? I'd say he was always a darkfriend (closet dreadlord). Fifteen years surviving against the taint - in my opinion can only occur if you have Dark Lord's protection. Taim immediately gets to observe that the man he is ordered to serve under, is potentially in the grip of taint. Between a rock and a hard, refuse a Choosen's orders or stay in the same room as someone crazy enough to kill you. Who wouldn't be nervous?
John Massey
92. subwoofer
@Hamstercheeks- well, not a lot, I just like saying "Hamstercheeks:D

Actually the song thing was a reference to the movie Rock and Rule where they sung away a horrid demon worshiping Mick Jagger lookalike. The key to the gateway was based on the harmony of two voices etc. Anyways, was an interesting idea and the Wheel has this song thing going on...

Yeah, good times.

About Egwene- while her current actions honk me off- big time- I think she still has the ability to turn things around. Trasparent as it is to us, Egwene has diddled the Hall twice by remembering some obsure law or rule or stuff to get the Hall to declair war on Elaida and to let the Amrylin deal with heads of state. I see a round three coming up were Egwene gets some martial law going on and takes control of the Tower for the Last Battle. Cut the chatter and get at 'er already girls! Enough with the debate and hen pecking sessions. The world will end while you guys are still discussing what to do.

Heck, the Ogier are faster at debate. And that is saying something.

Alice Arneson
93. Wetlandernw
Like all readers, I sometimes get irritated when Character A doesn't tell Character B about Important Item C. Aside from the fact that there wouldn't be much of a story if they did, though, there are a couple of other reasons why said characters really wouldn't share all relevant info. One, quite frequently A doesn't realize that B needs to know C, and B doesn't ask because he has no idea that A knows anything about C. For that matter, B often doesn't even realize yet that he needs to know C. Two, sometimes A really intended to tell B, but by the time he had a chance, it was a short opportunity and he simply forgot to mention it. (I know - I do this all the time!) Then there are the times when A might not want to explain just how he came across that particular tidbit, and doesn't think about just how important it might be to B. Or A doesn't want to add to B's worry-list, again not registering that B might need to know.

Those certainly don't cover everything - either the many similar reasons for not sharing, or the times when someone seeems to be deliberately concealing intel. Still, if you give it an honest try, you can usually find a lot better reason for the failure to communicate than "A is trying to be mysterious." Let's not forget, too, that sometimes A just has no idea where B is or how to get the info to him. They haven't invented cell phones yet, and if they had, the coverage would still be abysmal. How long will it be before his friends can even let him know about the events of this part of the prologue? While it would be nice, communication isn't always straightforward.

Oh, and let's not forget the number of times B walks away before A has a chance to tell him everything he'd planned...
Kimani Rogers
94. KiManiak
I wonder if BWS did a re-read of the Strike at Shayol Ghul before he began his work on the final 3 books; there are quite a few parallels, like the effect of the Dark One on the world; the massive push by the armies of the shadow; the scarcity of food and the inability of the Light to sustain a long, protracted war. And the differences in opinion regarding the application of the Seals by the leader of a large number of the male channelers and the leader of a large number of the female channelers. I guess, as the Wheel turns, and all that jazz.

To argue a (slightly) different side then my last time, it turns out that communication and open dialogue between characters in the WoTverse doesn’t always lead to the side of the Light winning. Lews Therin and Latra Posae apparently discussed their plans at great length, with no clear resolution. You know, I wonder if that’s what’s motivating Rand’s manipulation of the female Aes Sedai this time. He realized that in his previous life as LTT, it didn’t matter about the strength of his arguments or how much he tried to convince others about his plan; some folks would just disagree with him regardless.

I think that this time, he’s decided to manipulate and (it looks like) either make demands of his allies or extort them into doing what he wants. Without knowing whether his actions will result in even more damage to Team Light this time, of course (Last time, it only just resulted in the tainting of the male half of the True Source after all). I think his actions in this case makes sense; it’s common to consider how you would do things differently if you found yourself in a similar situation. LTT/Rand not only finds himself in a similar situation, but finds himself with an ace in the hole: he’s the prophesied savior. In order for Team Light to have a chance, he has to battle the Dark One. Don't get me wrong; I think that would be a pretty messed up thing to demand, but I guess I could see that being a tactic he'd consider using.
Regardless, I still have faith that Rand will be the key to the solution of fixing the Bore.
95. Freelancer
No, Leigh, no such inference. The obvious difference among those things is that folks with a moderate level of reason already know those others are made-up, while sadly, many of those same folks haven't yet figured out to stepped away from the AGW Kool-Aid. But you already knew that.
Adam Bodestyne
96. thanners
for some reason there are always a ton of “S” names. That and “M” names. I have no idea why.
No, I have no data to back that up, other than way (way, way) too many jobs where I’ve had to alphabetically file things. I could be completely wrong. But I feel it, maaaan.

Wow, seems that you're right. I've got a database which happens to have a large number of names in it, and just out of curiosity decided to check those frequencies of the first-initials of all the distinct names.. Turns out 'M'-names and 'S'-names really do happen a lot more than others. In this sample, at least. (c:

Now I'm curious to see the numbers for all the names mentioned in WoT.
Maiane Bakroeva
97. Isilel
Wetlandernw @77:

I don't recall any mentions of male channelers being bonded in the past, no. I don't have the BBoBA, but as far as I remember, the WT stopped trying to find a cure for male channelers a few centuries after it's founding and the warder bond was invented during the Trolloc Wars, so this time gap could be responsible for this lack.
In any case, AoL male weaves would have been forgotten and they would have had to start from scratch. It would have still been worthwhile, IMHO.
And yes, I imagine that part of the deal would have been for the AS not to dissolve the bond even when the man had to be gentled. That would have been their part of the bargain - that the man would never have to face all that horror alone. And besides, I strongly suspect that the bond would have helped the gentled men to survive.
The danger there would have been that some AS might not have been strong enough and helped the men to escape when their time for gentling came or they may have deluded themselves about the signs of madness they'd receive through the bond and not acted quickly enough. But that's why they have the tests, right? Maybe those willing to undertake this task should have undergone additional tests to prove their fitness.

As to self-sacrifice, well, the AS were willing to march into what later became the testing ter'angreal in order to study it even after the first explorer came out burnt out, so it seems to me that there should have been some among them willing to take that step with male channelers. Cadsuane's crew certainly had little problem with trying it, didn't they?

Full AS are too set in their opinions and attitudes to change significantly, as a rule.

Yea, but they did seem to be changing and there was some attention drawn to it. Like when we see Sashalle here and Kiruna earlier, etc. And besides, why was this event of kneeling worth a prophecy if nothing much comes out of it? It is a pity that RJ/BWS decided to abandon that plot-line, IMHO.
Not to mention, that unwillingness to change is a flaw and I am not sure why Egwene would have defended that flaw in her charges.

BTW, Egwene's bargain in ToM is wonky in it's SF part too. Because as far as we have seen in series until now, absolutely nothing precluded the SF AS from returning to their people after their raising. Nobody cares what an AS does once she reaches the shawl, if she isn't right there at the WT be ordered about. If SF AS returned to their ships straightaway, nobody would have been the wiser.
It always seemed to me that absolute lack of contact between SF AS and their people, so absolute that even such useful skills as Healing or linking weren't passed along, had to come from the Seafolk themselves.
Jay Dauro
98. J.Dauro
KiManiak @94

(Last time, it only just resulted in the tainting of the male half of the True Source after all)

Only? Didn't it also result in sealing the DO away for close to three thousand years, and preventing the destruction of the pattern?

I did a quick count of the names listed as Characters on Encyclopedia WOT. So we have some names that are aliases, and we do not have Ogier, historical characters, etc. But it's good for a rough comparison.

A 200
B 107
C 156
D 106
E 110
F 34
G 53
H 63
I 34
J 125
K 57
L 95
M 215
N 97
O 11
P 33
Q 1
R 86
S 144
T 117
U 2
V 26
W 19
X 0
Y 8
Z 14

Some M and S are up there, but S is less than A.
John Massey
99. subwoofer
@Wetlander- er... thems a funny alphabet you be usin'.

Been rereading tGS- much good stuff there upon the second pass, when some people finally stop putzing around under the wagons.

"The Last Battle really is coming," Siuan said, mostly to herself.
"It is," Egwene said, voice solemn.
"And I'm going to face it with barely a lick of my former power,"Siuan said, grimacing.
"Well perhaps we can get you an angreal once the Tower is whole again," Egwene said." We'll be using everything we have when we ride against the Shadow."

I think Egwene does have a plan, I'm just not sure about her timing. Part A seems to be to undo the damage Elaida has done. Part B seems to be getting every woman that can channel, that is not leashed, to work together. Part C is grabbing everything from Whoville that can do stuff and use it. Part D is hopefully some practice before some serious on the job training.

Stefan Mitev
100. Bergmaniac
Isilel @97 - "It always seemed to me that absolute lack of contact between SF AS and their people, so absolute that even such useful skills as Healing or linking weren't passed along, had to come from the Seafolk themselves."
Agreed. I guess the Sea Folk thought the need for secrecy overcomes the gain from the knowledge they can get this way.

Speaking of linking, yesterday I was rereading the scene where the Bowl of the Winds was used. The way linking is described there, it's a quite simple thing, and everybody learned it really quickly. It really stretches credibility that neither the Windfinders nor the Wise Ones had dsicovered it during all those years they stayed away from the Aes Sedai.
Karen Jacobs
101. KJacobs
Good Morning All! Just a quick pop in to wish everyone out there a very Happy Thanksgiving. To all those not in the states/not celebrating . . . Happy Thursday! :)
Valentin M
102. ValMar
Wetlander @ 93
You forgot to mention one major reason for non-communication. It's when A believes B's mental ability makes him unworthy of the piece of info.
Happy Thanksgiving to all celebrating it. Next April we are getting an extra Holiday. TV will be crap on the day though.
103. Papazian25
After scanning through all the 100 entries so far I'm a bit surprised that no one commented on Bergmaniac@11. I also found it quite strange in ToM when Bael did a total 180 on this subject.
Valentin M
104. ValMar
Papazian, Bergmaniac @ 11, 103

OK, I'll comment.
One option is that it is a slip- BWS needed someone to make the statement in ToM and wasn't aware that Bael had made an opposite statement books earlier.
Another is that in the following months after Caemlyn Bael changed his mind. He may have overcome Aiel's naturally xenophobic tendencies and grasped the simple logic of the situation.
Bonnie Andrews
105. misfortuona
Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today. Even though I'm up in the Boarderlands, I'm giving thanks today for all of the wonderful, and special friends who've come into my life through this re-read.

WOT related: Everything I might have to say on this chapter has already been covered.

Mis-late to the party again
Tess Laird
106. thewindrose
So first off - have an enjoyable Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it and a lovely Thursday to everyone else.

So Samitsu - I find her very annoying. While I did enjoy how excited she was by Flinn's Healing powress - that was short lived.
She is a Yellow, and considered to be the best at Healing(we are talking of before Nynaeve came along with Healing by using the 5 powers). She realizes why she finds it troubling looking at Sashalle's face:
It was no longer an Aes Sedai face, outside of time and standing apart from age.

Then she reflects on this:
What was known about women who had been stilled was little better tham rumor. They ran away and hid from other sisters; eventually, they died. Usually, they died soon rather than late.

I guess one of the things that has annoyed me about the whole situation is that Nynaeve is the first one in such a long time who really is determined to study this. Remember how all the Salidar Aes Sedai kept telling Nynaeve to stop trying to do the impossible. (How many of the Aes Sedai had wished that Suian and Leane would just go away - they didn't want to be reminded of what could happen to them - losing saidar.)
So here we have a PoV from Samitsu, and she seems so petty. She is worried about her standing with regards to Sashelle. If she is such a good Healer, why did she turn her back on women who lost their ability to channel. And her thoughts on Rand - yeesh!
Of course, he had accepted that fool appointment as "Stewaed of Cairhien for the Dragon Reborn." The boy had named a "Steward" of Tear, too, a man who had been in rebellion against him a month gone! If he had done as much in Illian....It seemed all too probable. Those appointments would cause no end of trouble for sisters to sort out before all was said and done! The boy brought nothing but trouble!

Go Team Light - yikes:)

Kimani Rogers
107. KiManiak
J.Dauro@98 – My weak attempt at a somewhat sarcastic stating of the major negative effect of LTT’s last plan to seal the Dark One apparently missed in your eyes. Sorry. So, to be a little more thorough: it sealed away the Dark One; trapped the Forsaken; decapitated the leadership of Darkfriends; protected the Pattern from the direct influence of the Dark One for 3000 years; caused the instant madness of the 69 survivors of LTT and the Hundred Companions; led to the Breaking; displaced the Aiel and led to the complete reversal of what the Aiel stood for; led to the decline of the Aes Sedai; led to the establishment of the White Tower; etc, etc and here we are 3000 years or so later, on the eve of Tarmon Gaidon. :)

My point is that the last time he tried, a good faction of allies wouldn’t work with him no matter how much he tried to convince them, so I can see why he’s trying to manipulate the faction that seeks to oppose him this time. I was also trying to show the possible (major) drawback that the last time he went ahead with his plan (admittedly without the benefit of a full circle of the most powerful female and male channelers) there was a major negative consequence, as well. Even though I think that the Dragon would have the best grasp/understanding of how to defeat the Dark One, I can still be cognizant of some of the arguments against blindly following him.

Bergmaniac@100 – I agree that linking was picked up quickly by the SF with the use of the Bowl of the Winds and that Egwene even showed the novices how to link fairly quickly (and in a high pressure situation) during the Seanchan raid of the Tower in TGS. I could see how the SF and Wise Ones didn’t know how to do it though. If they were unaware that such a thing could happen (as I think the SF were when this was described to them in ACoS, and its logical to assume that the Wise Ones probably didn’t know either before Egwene taught them as part of meeting her toh, if I remember correctly), then they would have never tried. In that sense, I could see why neither group had come up with linking.

I'll have to doublecheck, but does anyone know off hand if the SF and Wise Ones had heard about linking and Circles before the Aes Sedai show them how?
Alice Arneson
108. Wetlandernw
Isilel @97 - Enjoyed your thoughts on the warder-bonding over the past 3 millenia. Thank you! Good point on the courage and willingness to sacrifice themselves; we so often think about their condescending attitudes and frequent pigheaded blindness, but we forget that they do have positive traits too!

I, too, wonder if more is going to come out of the Dragon-sworn AS than we've really seen so far. The story hasn't done much with that "unstained Tower breaks and bends knee to the forgotten sign" or however it goes. Well, obviously the broken and restored Tower, but is the bent knee going to be more significant? Will the Tower, as represented by the Amyrlin, also "bend knee" to the Dragon? I'm not sure what I'd think of that... except that the demonstration of unity and identification of a single leader might be worth rather a lot.

subwoofer @99 - I agree that Egwene has more in her plan than we've seen so far. I just don't see how she's going to have any time to implement it, at least not in time for TG!

ValMar @102 - That was in the "many similar reasons for not sharing, or the times when someone seeems to be deliberately concealing intel" category. :)

Last but not least, happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it! I am thankful for all of you, and for the fun we have together here.
Jay Dauro
109. J.Dauro

Looking at the list of Aes Sedai on Encyclopedia WOT. As of KOD there are 264 named AS.

A - 31
M - 31
S - 25
N - 20
C - 19
B - 17
T - 17
J - 15
L - 13
D - 11
E - 10
R - 10
K - 9
F - 8
V - 8
G - 5
I - 4
P - 4
Z - 4
Y – 2
H - 1

So although it seems like S is in the lead, both A and M have more.

I hope all who celebrated had a Happy Thanksgiving (or a Happy Thursday) 
James Hogan
110. Sonofthunder

Thanks for compiling that, JD. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that there are TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR named Aes Sedai. *blink*
111. Freelancer
Wetlandernw @108

One thought about your ponderings regarding Egwene "bending knee" to Rand. It seems that while Rand had no compunctions about telling Cadsuane that he's the only real male Aes Sedai around, and the oldest Aes Sedai around, it wouldn't work in favor of Egwene's existing fears about his mental state to make the same claims with her. She doubts him enough that she asks if a Yellow can check him out, telling her that he's three millenia old would be pouring gasoline on that candle.
Antoni Ivanov
112. tonka
@111. Freelancer

Naturally Egwene would think he is crazy if Rand tells her so but if he explains and Min and Cadsuane attest to this, she would believe him and realize he is not crazy (or well that he is holding it at least). Despite her Aes Sedai arrogance, Egwene can be very open minded.
Richard Boye
113. sarcastro
"Thanks for compiling that, JD. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that there are TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR named Aes Sedai. *blink* "

There are probably more than that, since EWOT hasn't added all the ones that BS named in ToM.

Heh - I wonder if someone, somewhere can make one of those "Can you name 100 Characters " quizzes, like they did for Harry Potter, only with Aes Sedai.
114. alreadymadwithtaimsseal
toryx @2
Errr.. It's the Cairhienin who are addicted to playing Daes Daemar. Andorans are novices compared to them. Everyone thinks so. Rand said so himself when he took over Caemlyn. He learned from the best.

forkroot @45
At the time Taim handed over the Seal, no one in the modern age had the skill to make cuendillar. Egwene did not discover it until a bit later, and even the Forsaken do not necessarily know how to do it except for some general idea what the process entails. So no, not likely a fake.

Freelancer @47
That's one other reason. LOL.
Brandon Daggerhart
115. BDaggerhart
Any word yet on whether or not Leigh's putting one up today?
Sara H
116. LadyBelaine

I think you missed toryx' point. While everyone says that the Andorans don't engage in Daes Dae'mar and always use the Cairhienin as the counterexample of people who positively revel in it, when we actually see the Andoran political elite up close, they are just scheme-y and back-bite-y and plot-y as the next guys. I mean one of the ladies kept a torturer on staff! They almost immediately cleaved the body politic into entrenched camps and them skirmished and maneuvered for their own advantage.

If the Andorans were so stolid and proud of their nationhood and disdainful of Dae Dae'mar as we were led to be belive they would be, the entire Rose Crown subplot (Elayne: The EnCrownening!) would never have happened.
117. Jonellin Stonebreaker

I believe that you may misunderstand what Daes Dae'mar is.
Politicking is to be found in all cultures, as is jockeying for advantage.
Daes Dae'mar, however, is refinement of this.
For example, where an Andoran might say "Hand over your money or I'll bash you over the head!" and a Tairen might say ,
" What a lovely head you have! It would be a shame if something were to happen to it.", a Carheinin would regale you with a story he overheard on the way to your house, the upshot of which you would be begging him to take your money so as to be protected from incidents of the sort that happened to that Altaran fellow.
The very fact that there would be a siege to resolve the Andoran Succession at all shows how poorly Andorans play the Game of Houses.
118. ONEwithPOWER
Ok, I know this isn't really important or anything, but when reading you guys' thoughts on the laughable burglary attempts being intended for the CK, I realized that this assumption would eliminate/explain the absurdity of the Shadow sending puny non-channelers on such a seemingly important errand...

If it were the access keys they were after, it would be a fair bet that the Shadow would not send anyone capable of making use of the AWESOME power to which they allow any channeler access... We all know how selfish and power-hungry these darkfriends can be. (That is kind of what one looks for in a darkfriend after all..)

Anyway, I found a couple of pennies, so I figured I'd share 'em...
119. ColinBC
I have been tossing around a Looney Theory ever since the Glove Slap Sequence in ToM, where Rand reveals the other major flaw in the Guardian of Far Madding (besides the Well workaround).

I think even Zen!Rand can touch the True Power. His newfound serenity makes it easier for him to ignore it, since he is no longer the cold "unfeeling" creature he was turning into, but it's still there and he still knows it.

He is asking Min to keep up her research because he's followed the lessons of the Strike along with Fel's research to their logical conclusion: he's going to need to bind the DO in the TP, then use saidin and saidar to mend the prison. The problem with this plan being that he knows full well that when he goes into the mindframe that will let him touch the TP again he won't be much for telling friend from foe, and a single screwup after that results in Rand going really really batshit, compared to the merely unhinged he'd been after Semirhage's death. If anyone else has ANY other idea worth mentioning, he's all ears....
120. chaplainchris1
Don't have my password handy and am traveling for the holildays, so I'm red today.

Anyway, I realize the thread's moved on, but two quick thoughts that I've not seen duplicated in my speedread of the comments.

1. Re: Sashalle and the Wise Ones. The bond between them may well be in part due to factors such as the Wise Ones taking an active interest in those who are stilled, but I think most commentators are missing the key point of these interactions - which is that the Wise Ones regard Sashalle as, in effect, another Wise One. Rand apprenticed all the captured Aes Sedai to the Wise Ones; Sashalle, who met her toh by being stilled, is basically a graduated apprentice. Hence the respect between her and the Wise Ones, and their gift to her of her ivory jewelry like the Wise Ones wear. (That gift isn't stated outright, but from Aviendha's conversations with Egwene we know that those bracelets they were must be given as gifts to not be seen with contempt by the Aiel. Since they don't see them with contempt, they must be gifts.)

The potential exists for *all* the apprenticed Aes Sedai to "graduate" and thus also be accorded respect as from Wise One to Wise One. Well, maybe not *all* of them - I'm not sure that those Elaida sent to kidnap Rand, who were named datsang, will ever achieve that. But Egwene seems to have unofficially done so, and Kiruna seems to be on her way to it.

Corollary point on Sashalle: some have mentioned that she can lie now. I find it interesting that, per her letter (quoted in comments above), she apparently realizes that and sees a need to be rebound to the Three Oaths, while at the same time not advertising that she's *not* bound currently. From this I deduce that she, like Egwene, sees the Oaths as integral to being Aes Sedai; that she's not Black, since she's offering to be rebound (though this isn't ironclad it is indicative); and that she's not stupid, since she knows advertising her current state to other Aes Sedai would cause her to be met with a lot of suspicion.

Oh, and of course the Verin-Kool Aid contributed to her swearing to Rand. But in Sashalle's case, as in others I'm sure, it's still a genuine "conversion" of sorts.

2. On the seals - given that the hole in the Dark One's prison was there all through the War of the Shadow in the Age of Legends, breaking the seals shouldn't *automatically* mean that the DO will instantly break free. But his touch on the world will be even worse - and he may have been nearly free when the Bore was initially sealed, so we may not have much time once the Seals *are* broken. But timing is key - too soon, before the Light is ready, or too late, after their forces have grown too weak, and we're lost.

I like the theory that the theft may have been an attempt on the Choedan Kal rather than the Seals - given that we've never been given reason to suspect the seals other than the characters assuming it. If it *was* an attempt on the seals, then Bashere's thought that the White Tower was behind it is interesting. Certainly if Elaida was behind it I'd understand - she's all about being the greatest Amyrlin/Watcher of the Seals ever, and her bungling would explain why the attempts were so...ineffective. On the other hand, maybe the attempts *couldn't help* but be ineffective. Even if the Shadow is behind it (I like the Graendal theory), it might have been a mnor, off-handed plan. Sure, Rand *probably* has important items well-hidden, but if he was careless then maybe a burglary attempt will have a big pay-off - and if not, maybe a little collateral damage (killing Bashere or Dobraine would have been semi-big collateral damage) with not much risk. So I'm not convinced it was a terrible plan - or that it was a central plan, just a shot in the Dark, so to speak.
Maiane Bakroeva
121. Isilel
chaplainchris1 @120:

I like your thought about Elaida being behind the theft attempts - but did she even know that Rand had the Seals? Did even the SGs know this when they got to Salidar?

Shot in the Dark is also a good idea, but then one has to wonder why they didn't try a bit harder to kill Deira. And of course, by the same token that sending non-channelers after CK was safer for Forsaken, they may have perhaps reasoned that Rand might leave them in care of a non-channeler?

Of course, with either Seals or CK it seems to me that just hiding them in a random place and warding them would have been much safer.
The contradictory thing here is that the FS should have been able to locate either items via T'AR...

Re: Sashalle, that's why it is such a pity that this developement with her and some others seems to have been completely ignored in ToM.
122. BiggMann
I undrestand what it is you're saying, and that type of situation would not irritate me as much as when you know their reasoning for not sharing from their POV. and more than enough info and intel is passed through the World of Dreams, and Rand's general location can be discovered and later pinpointed by the 4 women bonded to him, everyone currently in his entourage, Mat and Perrin could even give a general description to his surroundings at any given point in time.
Skip Ives
123. Skip
Terez27 @82 - Thanks - I completely spaced on the Rand/ LTT bit, and just remembered the conversation with Min. I still find it odd that no one asked Rand about the seals since LTT made them.

Which makes me wonder if Rand can make 'angreal, or if someone else actually made the seals and LTT was just the battle leader. And what the heck was the first option? Enquiring minds want to know.
Roger Powell
124. forkroot

forkroot @45At the time Taim handed over the Seal, no one in the modern age had the skill to make cuendillar. Egwene did not discover it until a bit later, and even the Forsaken do not necessarily know how to do it except for some general idea what the process entails. So no, not likely a fake.

Do you have any Forsaken POV's that confirm this? The recipe for cuendillar was known in the AOL and the 13 Forsaken were all highly skilled in the One Power. It seems unlikely that none of them would be able to make it.
In fact ... I don't have the full text with me, but the WOT encyclopedia says in CoT Chapter 7 that Egwene figured out the weave to make cuendillar with faint hints from Moghedien.
Antoni Ivanov
125. tonka
Well, in fair honesty, the last time anyone saw the seal (given by Taim) was when Rand gave it to Bashere to guard it (I saw people quoting only a few paragraphs above this):

Hurriedly rewrapping the seal, he handed it to Bashere. "Guard this carefully." Break it! He squashed the voice hard. "Nothing must happen to it."Bashere took the bundle reverently in both hands. Rand was unsure whether the man’s bow was for him or the seal. "For ten hours or ten years, it will be safe until you require it."

Now I don't remember if Rand took back the seal before this prologue, but I am fairly certain that if he had only Bashere and Rand would know about it. Which means that as far as anyone is aware (including the Shadow) the seal is in Bashere's hands. Now why the tent? Well they have to begin from somewhere, while unlikely it might be to be there, I think it's worth a shot checking, in the very least that could get clues to where it might be.
128. Gabster
One more nitpick for Leigh: that should have been "raises the question of whether..." Begging the question is a complete phrase in itself, and describes a type of logical fallacy.
Other than that, a marvelous come tar as always!

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