Dec 28 2010 2:35pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Crossroads of Twilight, Part 11

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? The Wheel of Time Re-read doesn’t think so!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 14 and 15 of Crossroads of Twilight, in which there is a distinct lack of cups of kindness. Or champagne. Not that I was really expecting the latter, of course. But that’s okay, I’m going to have my own shortly!

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 now, take a right good-will draught, skip through the daisies or confetti or whatever, and have a post!

Chapter 14: What Wise Ones Know

What Happens
Reene Harfor and Halwin Norry enter, and Aviendha weaves a ward against eavesdropping; neither are very happy about being made to let the other overhear their reports. Reene tells Elayne that she has uncovered another spy, and this one works for the Brown Ajah. This is the first spy they’ve discovered for an Ajah other than the Red (legacy of Elaida’s stay in Caemlyn); Elayne thinks it is a pity that both Ajahs must perforce know about the Kin by now, but there’s nothing she can do about it, and instructs Reene to have the spy watched. Dyelin sarcastically wants to know if there’s anyone in the Palace who isn’t a spy; Elayne points out that they haven’t found any from the Asha’man, and Dyelin shivers. Reene opines that the only reason they haven’t is because the Asha’man haven’t had time to set any up yet, and Elayne agrees unhappily. Reene goes on that she has convinced a spy for Arymilla named Jon Skellit to turn double agent for them; Dyelin and Birgitte are appalled that she took such a risk, but Reene is sure she read the man right. Elayne ends their debate by declaring that if Skellit can tell them which camp Arymilla, Elenia and Naean will be in and when, she’ll reward the man herself, and moves on to Norry. He reports that arson attempts on their food storehouses in the city continue to occur, and he suspects they are coordinated; Elayne asks Birgitte to do what she can to see that the warehouses are better watched.

Knuckling his long nose, [Norry] avoided her gaze. “It has… uh… come to my attention,” he said hesitantly, “that Marne, Arawn and Sarand have all recently taken very large loans against the revenues of their estates.” Mistress Harfor’s eyebrows climbed before she got them under control. […] “It seems they may have borrowed against the same revenues twice or even three times. The bankers, of course, are… unaware… of this, as yet.”

Elayne prudently doesn’t ask how he got this information. Dyelin is bitterly sure that the funds are meant to bribe the mercenaries in Caemlyn (the hiring of whom she had been against from the beginning) to turn on Elayne; Birgitte points out that any company who flipped like that would never find work again, but the sheer amount of money involved makes her uncertain. Elayne says they’ll have to be watched too, and thanks Norry and Reene, dismissing them. After they leave, Aviendha tells her that someone tried to listen in; Dyelin is convinced it was the Sea Folk, but Elayne knows there’s no way to know.

There was very little hesitant about Dyelin, yet she hesitated now, rolling her winecup between her palms. “Are you certain this… this beacon… can’t harm us, Elayne?”

“As certain as I can be, Dyelin. If it was going to crack open the world, I think it would have by now.” Aviendha laughed, but Dyelin turned quite pale. Really! Sometimes you had to laugh if only to keep from crying.

They discuss the Borderlanders; Birgitte reports that they are moving slowly, and will likely take over a month to get closer to Caemlyn, but Elayne thinks that will be enough to get the rumors she wants circulating about them started. She asks about the six remaining uncommitted Houses. Birgitte reports that Luan, Abelle and Ellorien are in the wind, and evidently going to great lengths to keep themselves and their forces hidden. Arathelle, Aemlyn and Pelivar’s forces have crossed the border back into Andor from Murandy, but not together, and they didn’t bring any Murandians with them. Dyelin says hopefully that perhaps they are going home, but Aviendha thinks they should plan for the worst scenario, which is that they are converging on Caemlyn to try and force their suit for Dyelin. Dyelin says heavily that they may be hoping Luan, Abelle and Ellorien will join them, in that case.

“Then we must figure out how to stop them reaching Caemlyn before our plans come to fruit, without making them permanent enemies.” Elayne worked to make her voice as sure and firm as Dyelin’s was dull. “And we must plan what to do in case they arrive here too early. If that happens, Dyelin, you will have to convince them the choice is between me and Arymilla. Otherwise, we’ll be in a tangle we may never straighten out, and all of Andor in it with us.”

Dyelin grunted as if she had been punched. The last time the great Houses split evenly among three claimants for the Lion Throne had been nearly five hundred years ago, and seven years of open war followed before a queen was crowned. The original claimants were all dead by that point.

One of the Guard interrupts to announce that the Wise One Monaelle and Kinswoman Sumeko Karistovan are here to see them; Elayne has them admitted immediately, and curtsies with respect to Monaelle (to Dyelin’s disapproval). Monaelle announces she is here to check on Elayne’s condition, and Sumeko (who is here to watch) unceremoniously kicks out Birgitte and Dyelin; Dyelin is displeased, but goes with Birgitte. Monaelle is displeased in turn about Aviendha’s clothes, and tells her from now on she will spend every third day and night in the tents; neither she nor Elayne are happy at the prospect of being separated even that much, but accept it. Monaelle begins checking Elayne with a weave the Wise Ones call Caressing the Child; she explains it is similar to Delving and/or Healing, but can only be used on pregnant women. Elayne asks if her own channeling can hurt her child, but Monaelle says not.

Monaelle let the weave vanish with a grin. “You have two. It is too early to say whether they are girls or boys, but they are healthy, and so are you.”

Two! Elayne shared a wide smile with Aviendha. She could almost feel her sister’s delight. She was going to have twins. Rand’s babies. A boy and a girl, she hoped, or two boys. Twin girls would present all manner of difficulties for the succession.

Sumeko tries the weave out while Monaelle warns Elayne that as her pregnancy progresses she will have increasing difficulty in channeling, but her ability will go back to normal after the children are born. Aviendha goes to try it, but everyone is distracted when the beacon to the west suddenly vanishes.

Sumeko’s massive bosom heaved as she drew a deep breath. “I think something very wonderful or very terrible has happened today,” she said softly. “And I think I am afraid to learn which.”

“Wonderful,” Elayne said. It was done, whatever it was, and Rand was alive. That was wonderful enough.

Caseille interrupts them to report that the Sea Folk are in an uproar; one of their apprentices has gone missing. She further reports that Merilille Sedai was seen leaving the Palace about three hours earlier, accompanied by a hooded woman with tattoos on her hands. Elayne thinks taking either Talaan or Metarra to be a novice must have been Merilille’s rationale for getting out of her promise to teach the Windfinders, and knows Zaida et al are going to blame everyone in sight for it. She begins issuing orders to get a search going for Merilille, even though it is likely too late to catch her; she hopes Rand did do something wonderful, but she doesn’t have time to think about it for now.

Something I’ve been doing a lot more recently that I’ve noticed, and am not sure whether to try to stop doing or not, is that when I am condensing the information in these chapters, I’m starting to tend toward a very modern and vaguely military/covert ops/bad spy movie vernacular in rendering the events within.

This is especially true when the characters are, well, talking about espionage and/or military stuff, which they are doing a fair amount of the time these days. “In the wind” was a particularly egregious example in this chapter’s recap, which I really probably should go back and rewrite, but since I’m talking about this now I’ll leave it in for illustrative purposes.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it’s obviously rather inappropriate to the general style of the series, and from a certain point of view could be seen as somewhat cheapening. On the other hand, though, the reason that kind of jargon exists in the first place is because it’s shorthand—a way of rendering complex concepts in as succinct a manner as possible—which is appropriate to the whole “condensing” thing I’m theoretically supposed to be doing here. It means I can take what Reene needed three or four paragraphs to explain in the text, and boil it down to “she got a guy to turn double agent,” and everybody gets it and we can all move on. But it also means I’m unquestionably altering the tone of events in the story much more significantly than perhaps I used to do, which maybe isn’t cool.

So, it’s a thing, is what I’m saying. That I’m unsure about. There, glad I could clear that up for you.

I find it rather hilarious that per Norry’s information, the machinations of the Andoran Succession are kind of setting up their very own version of a subprime mortgage crisis. That’s highly amusing to me, probably for no good reason, since our current economic crisis wasn’t even a twinkle in Wall Street’s eye when COT actually came out, so it’s not like Jordan could realistically have been making any sly parallel there. However, any time I start thinking about economics in WOT on more than a superficial level my eye starts twitching, so I’m not going to go any further with the observation than that.

The thing with the war between the three evenly split claimants for the throne Elayne and Dyelin talk about tickles my memory for some reason, like it’s a reference to a real-world historical event and I just can’t quite dredge up what it might be. Or possibly I’m just imagining it, since there never was a real life monarchy (that I’m aware of) that had quite such a vaguely cockamamie hybrid heredity/electoral system of succession as Andor does.

However, that doesn’t mean something similar never happened for different reasons. History buffs are cheerfully invited to explain how I clearly have no clue what I’m talking about.

Borderlanders, blah. Also, I accidentally first typed that as “Borederlanders,” and then giggled for five minutes at the unintentional pun. It’s possible that I need to get more sleep.

More Pregnancy Shenanigans: I’ve always been rather on the fence about whether to be annoyed that pregnancy shorts out channeling ability in WOT. On the one hand, pregnancy is a major physiological change in the body, so okay, but on the other, even so I really don’t see a logical connection between the two things. I mean, if you look at channeling as being just one more way for a person to manipulate her environment, it actually makes no more sense to suppose pregnancy makes you lose the ability to channel than it does to suppose getting pregnant makes you lose hand-eye coordination, or your sense of balance. Which, waddling aside, it really doesn’t; pregnancy can have all kinds of other less-than-fun side effects, but skewing your basic ability to interact with the world is not one of them as far as I am aware.

Of course, one tries to apply real-world logic to fictional magic systems at one’s very nerdy peril, but still. It always rather smacked to me of just one more plot-induced roadblock thrown in Elayne’s way for no purpose other than to be one.

Merilille: So, I know she broke the contract and is running away and that’s not cool and all, but I have to say my honest reaction to the news that she’d gone on the lam (see, there I go again with the slang) was along the lines of “You go, girl.”

Because, well. In my day I have held down one or two of the most epically shitty jobs possible in a First World country (aside from jobs which literally involve shit, perhaps), and if there’s one thing I would have gone back and done differently on at least two occasions, it’s that I would have had the courage to say “You know what? Fuck this,” stand up, and walk the hell out before I let myself almost be driven into a nervous (and, in one case, physical) breakdown, instead of hanging on in utter misery, out of some deranged sense of obligation, or adherence to some winners never quit line of complete bullshit. Because really, if you’re lucky, at some point you’ll realize that life is just too short to put up with things that don’t make it worth living.

And, given that, that some promises are worth breaking.

Maybe that makes me a dishonorable person or something, but, well, whatever. Who is going to take care of me if I don’t take care of me? Nobody, that’s who.

And yes, I recognize that Merilille’s situation is not precisely analogous to me telling certain psychopaths to Take This Job And Shove It, but all I’m saying is, I feel her on just wanting the bloody hell out, already, and am not personally prepared to blame her for it.


Chapter 15: Gathering Darkness

What Happens
Elenia Sarand rides through camp, pretending to be nice to the commoner soldiers as part of her plan to undermine Arymilla. She wonders where she’s going to be sleeping tonight, and thinks resentfully of “that young chit” Elayne safe and snug in the Palace. Elenia considers Dyelin’s presence to be the real danger there, much more so than Elayne being Aes Sedai; though she knows the Tower would love to see an Aes Sedai on the throne, Elenia believes the Tower is too practical to sever relations with Andor no matter who wins the crown. She sees Naean Arawn further on, and to her fury Naean hastens to speak with her, even though Arymilla would not like it if she found out they had been meeting without her there. Naean comments that she saw Elenia’s husband Jarid the day before, and bets he’s planning a way to break Elenia out; she says that she’s sure Elenia can see it would be best to let Naean in on any escape plans they might have. Elenia reminds Naean that Jarid signed the same pledge of loyalty to House Marne that Naean did, and that there are no escape plans, and furthermore she has no reason to include Naean in them even if she did.

“Because if I am not included in those plans,” Naean said bluntly, “Arymilla might learn of them. She may be a blind fool, but she’ll see once she’s told where to look. And you might find yourself sharing a tent with your betrothed every night, not to mention protected by his armsmen.”

Elenia’s smile melted, but her voice turned to ice, matching the frozen ball that abruptly filled her stomach. “You want to be careful what you say, or Arymilla may ask her Taraboner to play cat’s cradle with you again. In truth, I think I can guarantee as much.”

It seemed impossible that Naean’s face could grow any whiter, yet it did. She actually swayed in her saddle, and caught Elenia’s arm as if to keep from falling.

Naean then outright begs to be included, and swears to pledge her House’s support to Elenia in return. Elenia tells Naean that if and when she escapes, she will take Naean with her—but only if Naean gives her a signed letter repudiating House Marne and pledging support to Sarand. They both know such a letter would destroy Naean and her House as well if it were ever made common knowledge. Naean doesn’t answer at first, and Elenia makes to go, but Naean calls her back, and finally agrees. Much cheered by her improved position, Elenia heads off to find Arymilla, idly planning how to arrange accidents for her opponents after she gains the crown. She is joined suddenly, though, by crazy Nasin Caeren, who has twigs in his hair and tries to give her flowery talk. She yells at him that she is not his betrothed, she’s already married, but this only induces Nasin to declare that he will challenge Jarid for her. She talks him out of this idea with difficulty, and then Arymilla joins them, accompanied by her retinue, which includes a Taraboner named Jaq Lounalt, who Elenia thinks hardly looks like someone who could reduce someone to begging with “just a few cords,” and Sylvase, Nasin’s granddaughter, who Elenia believes must be slow-witted owing to her lack of reaction to anything. Arymilla casually appoints one of her maids to accompany Nasin back to his tent and “fix him some wine.”

A slim woman in her entourage gave a violent twitch, then rode forward slowly, pushing back the hood of her plain blue cloak to reveal a pretty face and a tremulous smile. Suddenly all lickspittles and toad-eaters were adjusting their cloaks against the wind or snugging their gloves, looking anywhere except at Arymilla’s maid. Especially the women. One of them could have been chosen as easily, and they knew it. Oddly, Sylvase did not look away. It was impossible to see her face in the shadows of her hood, but the opening turned to follow the slender woman.

Nasin grins disgustingly and heads off with the maid, and Elenia reminds Arymilla that Arymilla had promised to keep Nasin away from her. Arymilla answers sullenly that she can’t help it if Elenia attracts men, and she ought to stay close to Arymilla if she wants to be safe. Elenia grits her teeth at having to go along with the pretense that she supports Arymilla of her own free will, but bends her neck and thanks Arymilla for rescuing her before. Pleased, Arymilla has Elenia and Naean join her to ride to the mess tent, and shocks them both by suggesting they share a tent for the night. Elenia tries to figure out why she would give them such an opportunity to plot together, and concludes that Arymilla must think them both tamed and no danger to her. Elenia pretends to simper at Arymilla’s inane conversation, and thinks about whether to kill her or Nasin first.

Daved Hanlon aka Doilin Mellar slips through a less savory part of Caemlyn. He is careful to avoid a pair of women in the streets, sure that they are either Aes Sedai or some of those other strange women filling the Palace. He is disturbed by the impression he has that some of those women can channel, maybe all of them, and more disturbed that the Aes Sedai in the Palace don’t seem to care. He senses someone following him, ducks into an alley, and kills his tail swiftly and silently; he notes that the man had already drawn his knife before rounding the corner. He muses on who might have sent the man; he considers Birgitte a “silly bint” and a strumpet to boot, but thinks she is also cold enough to order his throat slit.

The last possibility was the one that worried him most, though. His own masters were not the most trusting of people, and not always the most trustworthy. And the Lady Shiaine Avarhin, who currently gave him his orders, was the one who had sent a summons that had pulled him into the night. Where a fellow just happened to be waiting to follow him, knife in hand. He did not believe in coincidence, no matter what people said about this al’Thor.

He briefly considers going on the run, but doesn’t think he’ll last long if he does, and so continues on to Shiaine’s house, where Falion lets him in. He goes to grope her, until she tells him that Shiaine is closeted with a visitor and Marillin is out, whereupon he drops the pretense immediately. They’ve reached an accommodation; he only pretends to molest her as part of her punishment, and instead they exchange information. They settle in the kitchen, and Hanlon asks who Shiaine’s visitor is; Falion doesn’t have a name, but thinks he is an Andoran soldier by his bearing, possibly a noble. She goes on that Shiaine had two other visitors the day before, both of whom were careless enough to show their House sigils, one from Sarand, the other from Marne. Hanlon scowls.

He had been sure that the plan was for Elayne to take the throne, though what came after remained a mystery. She had been promised to him as a queen. Whether or not she wore a crown when he took her mattered not a whit to him except for the spice it added—breaking that long-legged bit to saddle would be pure pleasure if she had been a farmer’s daughter, especially after the chit cut a slice off him today in front of all those other women!—but dealings with Sarand and Marne said maybe Elayne was meant to die uncrowned.

Hanlon is troubled by this, as it implies to him that his own position is expendable. He and Falion are interrupted by the return of Shiaine’s thug Murellin, who mentions casually to Hanlon that Shiaine was giving Falion to Murellin when Hanlon wasn’t around. Shiaine then yells for Falion to bring Hanlon up; on the way Hanlon wants to know if he should be worried that Shiaine thinks he’s not punishing Falion assiduously enough. Falion reveals to him that she is now allowed to use the Power (by nearly strangling him), but that Shiaine won’t lessen her punishment even so; Hanlon decides to “gut her like a goose” the first chance he gets. They enter Shiaine’s sitting room, where she’s sitting in a chair and her visitor is in a bloody heap on the floor; Shiaine sends Falion to get Murellin to clean it up. Hanlon asks casually who the man was, but Shiaine only asks whether Elayne’s child is really his.

“I don’t know who fathered the whelp,” he said wryly. “Why, my Lady? Do you think I’d go soft? The last chit who claimed I’d gotten a child on her, I stuffed her down a well to cool her head and made sure she stayed there.”

She shocks him by knowing the name of that “chit,” and then asks if he can arrange for some of the Seanchan sul’dam and damane to escape, and also if he can get the guards away from the warehouses so the arson fires will be successful. Hanlon thinks he might be able to do the former, but tells her he wouldn’t be able to move the guards on the storehouses without getting caught. Shiaine asks how close he is to sharing Elayne’s bed; Hanlon tells her he’s closer than the day he arrived, but he has to go slowly. Shiaine is amused by this, which infuriates Hanlon. He tells her he might be able to help better if he knew more about what she’s after in Caemlyn, but she only asks why he has fresh blood on him.

He smiled back. “A footpad who got unlucky, my Lady.” Maybe she had sent the man and maybe not, but he added her throat to the list of those he intended to slit. And he might as well add Marillin Gemalphin, too. After all, a lone survivor was the only one who could tell the tale of what had happened.

 Wow, this is just a lovely chapter filled with lovely people doing lovely things, innit? Jeez.

But, it was fairly interesting, which more than I can say for some of the chapters I’ve recapped recently, so.

I remember in the wake of COT’s release there was quite the flurry of speculation on Arymilla’s Taraboner, Jaq Lounalt, and who he really was. I think the (fairly reasonable) assumption was that the Shadow had a plant in just about every other even vaguely Lightside faction of anything anywhere, so logically there had to be one in Elayne’s opponents’ camp, too, and Lounalt seemed like an obvious candidate to be Someone In Disguise.

However, as far as I know Lounalt has never to date been revealed as anything other than exactly what he appears to be: a creepy guy who’s good at torturing/interrogating people. Which doesn’t really set him apart from the rest of the stellar brand of human this chapter’s positively dripping with, but it is kind of bizarrely refreshing from a conspiracy theory overload viewpoint.

It’s kind of amusing, though, that Jordan had us all trained so well by this point to see misdirection and subterfuge around every corner that a character who hasn’t even had a line of dialogue thus far can set off hours’ worth of online speculation over his “real” identity, just because he’s there. Well-played.

Unless it turns out later that he’s Demandred or something, of course, in which case I’ve got an eye-roll or two on standby. I like to be prepared for these things, you understand.

I can’t decide if I’m just being overly picky at this point, but I couldn’t help feeling that it might be nice if all of Elayne’s opponents weren’t so obviously horrendous choices for queendom. If for no other reason than that it might introduce at least a little more narrative tension re: who’s going to win this thing. (Although, who am I kidding on that score.)

But, maybe on balance it’s a good thing Elenia and Naean and Arymilla all so obviously deserve each other, because otherwise I would have to be really upset with all the casual sexual assault going on here… but hell, I’m upset with it anyway. Like I’ve said before, it’s very difficult for me to be… detached on certain issues no matter how vile the parties involved happen to be. Not to mention the more-or-less innocent bystanders; I found myself really wishing that that maid of Arymilla’s would turn out to have murdered her mistress in her sleep later on. Ugh.

Which is probably also why I found myself having sympathy for Falion regardless of how little she deserves it, too, given the Murellin thing, which yeargh. I even caught myself subconsciously awarding points to Mellar for backing off her, and that is so messed up I can’t even explain it, because that is totally undeserved, as Mellar is without a doubt one of the single most creep-inducing, needs-to-die-in-a-fire characters in WOT as far as I am concerned, with the possible exception of Semirhage and a couple of other people. This is the problem with trigger issues. But hey, at least I’m aware of it.

As a somewhat relevant side note, this is the chapter where I realized that “chit” is the WOT-ty euphemism for “bitch”—and considering who the characters that tend to use the term are, it’s also a delightfully pointed indictment of same. Just tossing that out there.

The mysteries of Shiaine’s visitors, I find, leaves me fairly disinterested even though I have no memory of what if anything comes of it all. I’m pretty sure, though, that this is because nothing does come of it; even if we ever find out who the guy was she murdered in this chapter, I’m fairly sure it’s not very relevant to anything, and that makes it difficult to, you know, give a crap about it.

But at least this pick-up chapter finally allows us to quit the Caemlyn storyline and move on to other plots, yes? Yes!

Which we will pick up in the following calendar year, my chirren! Have a wonderful and safe New Year’s, people, and I will see you in 2011!

Robert Hargesheimer
1. hargy

Sydo Zandstra
2. Fiddler
@Leigh, Re: 3 claimants for a throne...

Perhaps you are referring to/reminded of the Great Schism in the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages? There were 3 popes/antipopes at the same time at some point.

And popes were considered to be rulers still, back then.

Edit: I am referring to the Western Schism, not the one where The Roman Catholic Church and The Eastern Orthodox Church separated.

Or you are reminded of GRRM's A Clash of Kings. ;-)
3. dchambers59
Happy New Year! Thanks for the post, Leigh - celebrate well, and we'll see you next year!
4. Dank1234
I thought Jaq was a darkfriend, and freed some Black Ajah in TOM?
5. rsmillard
Thanks, Leigh.

Re Jaq Lounalt, didn't he bite the dust in TOM? I think he was the "Secretary" who aided Mellar in the Black Ajah escape attempt, and ended up knifed in the back for his pains. Unlikely that he's going to turn out to be Demandred!
6. MarcA567
I believe that Lounalt was revealed to be a DF in ToM, since it was him that released Mellar and the other Aes Sedai while Elayne was alone questioning Marillin (or whatever AS it was). Then he got skewered by Mellar accidentally, I think.
Karen Jacobs
7. KJacobs
Still playing catch up on the older posts, and just wanted to add my congratulations to Subwoofer and his ever patient (with us, at least!) wife. Hope you'll share some pictures of little Gabriella - I'm sure she's as beautiful as her name! What a wonderful way to ring in the New Year!
8. Qurtyslyn
I think the reason pregnancy screws up channeling is her emotions. Elayne has to be calm and in control to channel, and being pregnant is going to play with her emotions.

At least that's how I always figured it.
Tess Laird
9. thewindrose
hmmm. I can't wait to see the kitty picture Torrie is going to put on number one:)

Totally with Leigh on the awful people in Arymilla's camp. I am just saying that I hope there is some plot resolution on how Arymilla became an actual contender. And that maid, yeesh. Terrible things must happen to Arymilla!

More later:)

Donna Harvey
10. snaggletoothedwoman
Hanlon Mellar is a scum bucket, pretty cagie though. DF to the core. I think the dark ones have spies in every faction of the Andor succession, they need to know who is who and how and when to strike. Congratulations Woofer and Mrs. Woofer (who did ALL the work!) :) Gabriella is a beautiful moniker, may she grow to be as beautiful as her name! Thank you Leigh for the post and a safe Happy New Year to all!
Donna Harvey
11. snaggletoothedwoman
I too can't wait to see what kind of kitty Torrie put's up! lol
12. MasterAlThor
Brother Woof and Missus,

Congrats. I know that she will have you wrapped around her finger soon enough. Just like her mom. I also expect her to be able to handle her own by the time she is two. Don't let me down.

Seriously, have a Happy New Year and much love and prayers from mine to yours. Gabriella will be the star of your life.

Just keep her away from the iced tea
Alice Arneson
13. Wetlandernw
Random thoughts in no particular order...

I never really blamed Merilille for bugging out either; she's gotten the absolute worst of a bad bargain that she didn't even make. The fact that the Sea Folk are interpreting it their way doesn't make it right; Elayne & Nynaeve should have stepped in and said "Sorry, you can't interpret it that way, or we'll be doing some interpreting of our own. You will treat your teachers with respect and courtesy, and you will learn the lessons they set out to teach you. If you want to learn something in particular, you ask for it, and your teacher will teach it if she is able." So for Merilille to walk out... I dunno. What actual promise had she herself made? (I haven't gone back and looked that up. Does anyone know, right off?)

"Borederlanders" - Okay, it made me giggle too, although with possibly more sleep than Leigh, it was only a few seconds. That, and I didn't write it. :) Yeah, at this point they are this big heavy threat that's been hanging there so long you almost don't notice it any more. (Speaking of which, I never did go back and read their dialogues with the ToM reveal in mind, to see if there were more hints from Paitar & Kiruna that would foreshadow it... KiManiak, did you have any luck with that?)

Pregnancy shenanigans - I always figured "well, why not?" Pregnancy can do strange things to your sense of smell, so why not your ability to channel? They both seem about equally relevant to the baby-growing process. There are plenty of RL side effects (varying for different women, of course) that seem to have nothing to do with it, so... yeah. Also... does anyone besides me recall the "pregnancy brain" effect, wherein your mind simply doesn't behave normally, and things that used to be easy to think through suddenly become vastly complex? It goes away, mostly, and you can once again (for an example) do math in your head, but for the duration a calculator was a vital appendage. So, yeah, channelling difficulties during pregnancy seemed pretty probable to me.

The three-way tie mostly made me think of a certain Presidential election, in which the presence (and absence, and returned presence) of a third strong contender effectively divided a large segment of the voters so that the winning candidate collected significantly less than a majority of the popular vote. ::shrug:: I think there must be something more interesting - and accurate - in terms of historical parallels, but I can't recall it at the moment. Fiddler's three Popes seems a likely candidate, although the two-popes thing has already been used in the WT schism.

Chapter 15 - mostly makes me disgusted with everyone in Arymilla's entourage. What a bunch of unsavory twerps. And Hanlon still gives me the creeps. Okay, I should pay more attention to the machinations and maneuvering, but... meh.

Jaq Lounalt got picked up by Sylvase after Arymilla's collapse, was loaned to Elayne to "question" the BA, turned out to be a DF himself, and then ended up dead with a knife in the back after the BA breakout mess. I assume that means he's not Demandred... Oh, and I don't think he was "accidentally skewered" by Hanlon - a knife in the back looks pretty deliberate, and Hanlon had just got done deliberately killing Eldrith & Temaile so they wouldn't be alive in captivity to give anything away.
14. Lsana
I seem to recall that there was an event in France called "War of the 3 Henrys." I don't remember if all 3 were claimants to the throne or if this could be a historical parallel to Andor, but I thought I would toss it out there as an idea in case someone knows more than I.
Stefan Mitev
15. Bergmaniac
Not the most action packed chapters...wait, this is CoT, so this goes without saying.

One thing I found interesting in Chapter 14 which wasn't mention by Leigh was this bit:

“I’d think you’ve let a man cause you all
the trouble he could, Elayne,” Sumeko said primly. The Kin’s Rule followed the rules for novices and Accepted, forbidding not only children but anything that might lead to them, and they held to it strictly."
So these women live for hundreds of years yet are forbidden to have sex at all? Seems like a rule this should get broken all the time. Or are they all pillowfriends for the long term?

Agreed that it would've been for the story better if Elayne's opponents weren't such a bunch of unlikeable simpletons, this way there was just not much tension in this plotline and there was never the slightest doubt that Elayne will the Queen. Of course, we already knew that Min saw a viewing that Elayne would be the Queen as Andor as early as TGH, so there wasn't much tension to begin with. But having more competent opponents would've been nice. Too often the opposition for our heroes in WoT behave like idiots to let them beat them easily.
Alice Arneson
16. Wetlandernw
Lsana - Well, two of the three ended up dead in that case, with the third winning by default. All three were, apparently, claimants to the throne, but their solutions were less civilized than the nominal Andoran approach. They went straight for war, apparently, where Andor at least pretends to look for support while posturing for a time before they actually start throwing things. :) Not sure there's much real difference.
Thomas Keith
17. insectoid
Thanks for the new post, Leigh! Still recovering from Christmas, but your ever-amusing commentary makes my day.

As for the chapters: mostly blah. Although, a favorite line here:

Sumeko’s massive bosom heaved as she drew a deep breath. “I think something very wonderful or very terrible has happened today,” she said softly. “And I think I am afraid to learn which.”
I'll add my support for a kitty from Torie. :)

18. Lsana
@16 Wetlandernw,

Thanks. All I could remember about that was that no one in my class could keep track of which Henry was which.

So...3 claimants to the throne, serious war, 2 of the 3 ended up dead before it was all over. Not a perfect parallel to "seven years of open war.... The original claimants were all dead," but close. It could be that was what was twinging in Leigh's brain.
19. Danimal
First time posting! I feel like the pregnancy/channelling problem could be unrelated to bodily functions but maybe more related to the soul. Who knows what the idea is here but Jordan obviously has some sort of save/reinstall function going on here with the Forsaken (can you tell I've worked in IT?) so there seems to be associations with the soul and channelling (Aran'gar remained a Saidin channeler instead of switching to Saidar with the new body), so maybe the production of children has elements of the soul involved and thus has an effect on channelling. That was a long sentence. Um, just an idea I thought was interesting, I'm not throwing it out there as truth or anything. I love your work Leigh, thank you!
Nathan Martin
20. lerris
I'm with Danimal@ 19 on the pregnancy and channeling issue.

Channeling is tied to the soul rather than to the body, so perhaps the presence of a second developing soul intertwined with the channeler's soul is what causes the difficulty in channeling.
21. imagen247
hmmm...'Pregnancy brain' is a real thing. I assume there is a more scientific name for it, but even my doctor called it pregnancy brain. You literaly cannot think/remember as well as you used to, and nobody is quite sure why. Now the "center" for channeling is in the brain, as Nynaeve demonstrated when she healed Logain. So some kind of chemical/hormone overload in the brain that affects her ability to access the channeling "center"?
I also like the emotional idea. Since her emotions are out of whack she can't channel. 'Cause the emotional thing is hormonal too.
I have to say, having been pregnant recently and often in the last 5 years, Elayne's pregnancy rings fairly true, for at least some pregnancies. My second one was alot like Elayne's, except for the fact that I was sick for ten straight months. Lucky chit.
22. Pazygozo
And NOW I am finally caught up with you all! This ReRead has been fantastic. Many thanks! Except, now I will have to join the ranks and wait for each post instead of just clicking the next link. Boo.

In all three of my pregnancies my hand-eye coordination was affected, but especially in the first. All the joints get loosened in preparation for birth, and so when I thought I'd used sufficient strength in grasping things (based on a lifetime of experience), suddenly everything I picked up was literally slipping through my fingers. Disconcerting. And messy. So although the notion of channeling difficulties while pregnant felt contrived to me at first, it made sense pretty quickly, including the emotional issues and the reduced concentration referred to above.

Not to mention the haunting sense of vulnerability I felt during pregnancy. I suspect part of Elayne's rash trust in the protection of Min's Viewing is a compensation for her extra vulnerability of inconsistent channeling.

Or I'm just projecting. It happens, especially when you swoop up heavyish objects with pregnant fingers.
Tricia Irish
23. Tektonica
Hi Leigh, Happy New Year's to you....have a fun one!

The other claimants to the throne are so foul and disgusting, and it is a total foregone conclusion that Elayne will be queen, which makes all these machinations really just boring rather than illuminating. Not much of hoop for Elayne to jump through to prove herself. The contrast between bad and good here is just too obvious. It could've been much more intriguing, imho....or just A Lot Shorter!!

I certainly don't blame Merilille for bugging out either. She was really stuck with the short end of the stick in the SeaFolk bargain. Argh. And I've always wondered why Nynaeve or Elayne didn't stand up to them and demand a better attitude. Why did they let the SeaFolk dictate the terms? A reinterpretation of Said Bargain could've easily been mentioned.

As for the first chapter with baby delving...meh. Old news. Min told Us, the readers, long ago it was twins!

Sumeko and her massive heaving bosom....oh RJ....LOL.
Alice Arneson
24. Wetlandernw
Re: Elayne vs. the other foul claimants... Part of the point (of history, as well!) is that, foul and disgusting or clean and charismatic, a lot of rulers get there on sheer power/military strength rather than their actual virtues. Not saying that there was any real question (duh! - this is a fantasy!) but the fact that the other claimants are foul, disgusting, or even stupid isn't what precludes them from winning this kind of setup. Arymilla had a much bigger army than Elayne, and all other things being equal she probably would have won. With Elayne dead or imprisoned, Arymilla might actually have gotten the support of others. More likely, of course, if Elayne were dead, Dyelin would make a claim, and she'd have eleven Houses before the ink on the proclamations was dry. Unless, of course, Arymilla could imprison/kill Dyelin as well; in that case, it's a toss-up whether the others would support her or all throw their support to Ellorien or one of that crew. If they had any sense, they wouldn't go to Arymilla (we think), but power and money can go a long way to modify "sense."

Thing is, Elayne has Travelling to keep the city supplied and to bring in what troops and supporters she can find (given all the snow and the large area to be searched). Without that, Arymilla would have the upper hand, and even though she's fairly stupid, she's also cunning enough that she might have pulled it off. It wasn't written to make us think that another contender might be more likeable; we all know that of course Elayne will be Queen, the question is how difficult will it be for her to get there? RJ could, of course, have made them smarter as well as giving them the larger army, but then we'd have people complaining that Elayne shouldn't have been able to win against those odds. We were never intended to like them, in any case.

IMO, Hanlon brings up a much better question: What kind of master plan, if any, does Team Dark have for Andor? Are they simply trying to keep Andor from being united at all, for as long as possible? Was the promise that he would have a Queen to play with just an "easily made, easily broken" kind of thing? Are there several different plans in conflict? Who, if anyone, is coordinating this? Where does the Trolloc invasion fit in? Not that we learn about that until ToM, but do they already know?
25. Wrenza
The three way thing could be 1066 - 3 claiments to English throne - 2 died. William Conqueror suceeded, Harold was killed at Hastings, and Harald Hardrada killed at Stanford Bridge. England was then subject to a period of waste with the harrowing of the north. Previously the sucession in England was partly decided by the Witan, a council of nobles, from amongst the members of the royal family. Sucession usually followed the rule of primogeniture but occasionally a young child was passed over and the sucession given to another member of the family.

Or War of the Roses with devastation involved there and rival claiments to the throne. Or the last UK election!
Richard Boye
26. sarcastro
Ha, as I was reading I thought "'in the wind,' Leigh? watching a lot of cop shows lately?" but then you hit your own nail on the head later - funny.

A few things:

"Sumeko’s massive bosom heaved as she drew a deep breath. “I think something very wonderful or very terrible has happened today,” she said softly. “And I think I am afraid to learn which.”

What the hell is she talking about?

Re: Elayne and her concerns about twin girls funking up the Succession.

Yet again, the system in Andor is really absurd. If the Succession goes to the eldest daughter, then it ... would go to the eldest daughter. Presumably they would note which baby was born first and that would be that - it sucks and is really arbitrary, but that's an inherited monarchy for ya.

Re: The Other Contenders for the Rose Crown

Admittedly, I just speed-read through Leigh's thankfully briefrecap, but in all honestly, I never thought that Lady Elenia was all that heinous, really. She's not so two-dimensionally virtuous and benign as Morgase was portrayed .. as queen (she's gorgeous and wise and prudent and compassionate, likes to take fact finding missions in disguise, plays stones well and can think militarily...). Elenia, from what we know is just ambitious and has the effrontery to challenge Trakand primacy. On the plus side, she's certainly educated.

Lady Naean, aside from her annoying name, just sneers a lot. Nothing about her being too vile either.

Lady Arymilla annoyed me then and she annoys me now. One of the things I so loved about RJ was his ability to plant characters early on in ways that make sense for them to have some importance later (c.f. Mazrim Taim and Logain in the early series.. why are these random False Dragons getting so much page space?), plus he really does a wonderful job of giving all these characters a plausible back-story as to how they all know each other and such (like the complicated knot that is the White Tower).

All of which is rambling way of saying that I thought it was very clever on RJ's part for Rahvin to have packed his court with the nobles who opposed Morgase (thus giving us a slew of potential antagonists who have reason to vie with Elayne eventually). I know the Elayne: The Encrownening was seen by some (including me) as a really unnecessary plot complication, but back when it reared its ugly head, we didn't know that it was going be an ugly head, or how ugly it was going to be.

Anyway, this could just be me, but it seems that Lady Naean and Lady Elenia were meant to be the serious anti-Elayne candidates. Arymilla was portrayed as a dolt who faints and had weak support, yet all of sudden she starts acting from strength and achieves several coups (she "abducts" the other two and forces them to throw behind her?). I just was annoyed by her.

Oh, by the way, do we ever learn if Lady Dyelin has any children? Is she even married?
27. peachy
The 3 Henrys episode was actually worse than the Andoran Succession, I think, because everyone and their uncle outside of France got involved too. (In that respect it was more like the civil war in Cairhien.) And of course there was the religious strife angle, which doesn't really exist in any comparable form in WoT-land. So, yeah, as complicated and confusing as the Succession was, it could have been worse. :)

As for the screwiness of the succession procedure... meh, elective set-ups tend to be messy. Really, pretty much any system in which the heir isn't designated before the death of the reigning monarch is likely to be messy, regardless of how the new ruler is chosen. For example, the Seanchan seem to run a variant on the Ottoman "murder all your brothers before they can murder you" scheme, which isn't really conducive to stability in the transitional phase, you know? (And at least Andor has an established system - even the famously legalistic Romans never managed it.)
28. D-Luxxx
I caught up with these shortly after finishing TOM, but this is the first I've posted. Great Re-read overall.

My take on the pregnant channeling would be this: for a woman to channel, she must surrender to the power. Now I'm not a woman and have never been pregnant, but I think there may be a "block" (similar to Nynaeve's) caused by a mother's protective instinct. Just my (uninformed) opinion.
Maiane Bakroeva
29. Isilel
I remember not liking pregnancy channeling shenangians, because it seemed to be yet another area in which female channelers suck compared to male ones... sigh. I never understood why Elayne had to be so hobbled on the eve of LB, either.

Also, these chapters seem to be filled with hints of false significance - ties to the DFs among Elayne's opponents, vague sisnister plans of the Shadow re: Elayne herself, Merillile's escape... As of ToM none of it has come to fruition and as regards the former, it has all become irrelevant.
And ya, tons of unpleasantness. And sexual assault innuendo. Ugh.

Congrats to Subwoofer and family!
Roger Powell
30. forkroot

"Sumeko’s massive bosom heaved as she drew a deep breath. “I think something very wonderful or very terrible has happened today,” she said softly. “And I think I am afraid to learn which.”
What the hell is she talking about?

Well the massive channeling (from the Cleansing) just stopped, so Sumeko is referencing that. Or am I missing something deeper?
Alice Arneson
31. Wetlandernw
sarcastro @26 - What the hell is she talking about? You're joking, right? You've been around this stuff far too long for me to quite accept that... Are you just checking to see if anyone will fall for it?

Isilel @29 - I never understood why Elayne had to be so hobbled on the eve of LB, either. Presumably, plot necessity - possibly to keep her absent from Shayol Ghul and present elsewhere (where she'll have some significant task to perform, hopefully an actual MOA). Think about it - if she could channel reliably, you know she'd insist on going with Rand; as it is, she has to admit she could be a liability to him if channeling were needed. (This may also explain why she had to try that last "adventure" in ToM - so she would admit that she can't do everything and must accept her limitations.) My guess is that RJ wanted her to do something major (probably in Andor, possibly to do with the Trolloc invasion), and he needed a reason to make her willingly stay behind. The something else will probably involve channeling anyway, since she has demonstrated that sometimes she can.

Also note that, as mentioned above, Arymilla's "secretary" is a DF and was the one to let the DF/BA contingent loose in ToM, interrupting Elayne's Forsaken impression and stopping her from learning any more about the upcoming invasion. So far, we've learned nothing more about Merilille, and not much about Shadow plans for Elayne.

forkroot @30 - That was also my assumption - that much channeling, for that long, had to have accomplished something significant, but unlike us (or Elayne or Aviendha) Sumeko has no way of knowing who was doing all the channeling.
32. alreadymadwithpregnancy
Fiddler @2
Popes ARE still considered rulers. They are the sovereign rulers of the Vatican City. Granted of course this is a much smaller sphere of influence compared to what they had at the height of Roman Catholicism.

Bergmaniac @15
It's not that sex was prohibited, just unprotected sex.

On the pregnancy thingy.....
Hormones, and emotional instability, is my bet
Jay Dauro
33. J.Dauro
So is it a bad thing that I really want someone to do the I got first thing, just to see Torie's Cat picture?

No, as best I can remember we are not told if Dyelin is married or has progeny. I infer that she does not, or we would see them.
34. Hawkido
Okay the preggers/channeling issue:
Here is my take, if you have ever been in the delivery room with a woman who is giving birth with out drugs, and you happen to be the person who made her that way, there is no way in hell you would want her channeling... I would dare say it would be more than just the child getting its umbilical cord cut. *Nudge**Nudge**Wink**Wink* Know what I mean!?! Know what I mean!?!

I would think it is a preservation of the enviroment thing, plus under that much duress the mother could accidentally draw too much of the power and burn herself out or the whole place down... Remember the ruins of Manetherin??? Oh, that's right there aren't any... And that was only the husband dieing grief, not the rage anger that scares the ever lovin bejesus out of the husband!
Julian Augustus
35. Alisonwonderland
The image that stuck in my mind with respect to the three claimants for the throne of Andor was not anything historical, but the 3-way gunfight at the end of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Jonathan Levy
36. JonathanLevy
15. Bergmaniac
So these women live for hundreds of years yet are forbidden to have sex at all? Seems like a rule this should get broken all the time. Or are they all pillowfriends for the long term?
Oh God no please no let's not get started with this...
19. Danimal
I think you're right, but I'd put it another way. This is WoT - we're not dealing with souls, we're dealing with threads in the pattern. Mommy thread is doing some fancy needlework here, introducing Baby thread into the pattern, thereby interfereing with access to the True Source.

And others:
Re: 3-way thing.

(No, not that kind of 3-way thing.)

Seriously now, what jumped into my mind (Apart from GRRM) is the Year of Four Emperors (69 AD). IIRC The Senate calls Galba from Spain to become Emperor, but Otho subverts the Praetorian Guard had has him killed. Vitellius raises an army in Gaul, and he and Otho have a big battle, with Vitellius winning. However, Vespasian leaves his son to finish up suppressing the Judean revolt, and marches on Rome, defeating Vitellius and founding the Flavian dynasty.

Oh and there was also a revolt of Civilis in Gaul at some point.

If it's not good enough we can move to the 3rd century AD with about 50 years of anarchy and two dozen claimants.

Either that or GRRM.

31. Wetlandernw
Isilel @29 - I never understood why Elayne had to be so hobbled on the eve of LB, either.

If Elayne wasn't abed with twins at the last battle, she'd be rushing by herself at the army of dreadlors, imagining herself as Queen Arycrazyllellin-something-or-other who single-handedly defeated an army of Trollocs by dragging them back to the blight by their nose-hairs - and everyone would die trying to rescue her. I say, good planning on Jordan's part, keeping her out of the way.

34. Hawkido
Say no more! Say no more!
Alice Arneson
37. Wetlandernw
Jonathan Levy @36 - That was more or less part of my point - the bit you quoted was me quoting Isilel. Were you agreeing with me, or...what? I'm confused.

As I said, I think Elayne needs (from the author's perspective) to be in a particular place at the time of the LB, and it's a place she will only be if she thinks there's a reason for her NOT to be other places, such as Shayol Ghul or the Blight. Hence, if her ability to channel is (partially) impaired, she can't put herself on the front lines (or anywhere else) where she will risk not only herself but those who would need reliable channeling from her. Now (as of ToM) that she's realized that not only is her channeling unreliable, but she is NOT invincible, she's pretty well set up to locate herself where her leadership will be necessary, but not (in theory) her ability to channel.
Birgit F
38. birgit
Where does the Trolloc invasion fit in? Not that we learn about that until ToM, but do they already know?

When Mellar asks Shiaine what the Shadow's plans for Andor are she asks how he would like seeing Caemlyn looted. That might be a hint of the planned invasion.
Tricia Irish
39. Tektonica
Torie: That is one great cat picture@1!!! What a tolerant cat! Unbelievable. And thank you.

In ToM we come to see that Sylvase is under some DF influence, compelled or possessed in some way, if she hasn't become a DF on her own. Any thoughts out there on what might have happened to her or who might have gotten to her?

She didn't seem evil at first introduction traipsing around with Aramilla....a bit odd and sullen, but comes through for Elayne after inheriting her title and shocks Aramilla by going against her, iirc.
Tess Laird
40. thewindrose
First off, Torie - great cat and sorry for the extra r! With that picture in mind, anyone think about mice and figs?:)

Jonathan Levy - How can I not go there with your track record;)

Tektonica - I had this really great theory that Cynfear was chilling out as Sylvase - that was unfortunatly debunked by Brandon. I mean think about the fallout when she finds out who helped Elayne get with babes and that there is a love connection as well!
But, now that we are in a new book, I can bring that out again can't I! What fun:) I will have to think on this some more...

41. AndrewB
Tektonica @39 re Slyvase.

I do not think that Slyvase is a Darkfriend. IMO, she is a very intelligent and political astute (sp?) noble. While in Arymilla's camp, she is surrounded by Arymilla's supporters. Further, her grandfather, who is senile, is the head of her house. Pretending to be a simpleton is her best means of assuring that an assassin will not kill her. It also allows her to be overlooked. Her character understands that Arymilla is a bafoon, who if were queen, would ruin Andor. Once Arymilla makes her final assault, she arranges for the death of her grandfather. Thus, she is in position to support Elayne, is clearly the victor (at that point in time).

She saw that Lounalt was not a simple secretary. Lounalt was initially employed by Arymilla. It was only after the final assualt that Sylvase took over the employ of Lounalt. Heck, it would not have surprised me to find out that Slvase was sleeping with Lounalt. Just because Slyvase knew what Lounalt was (an interrigator, not a Darkfriend) and may have been sleeping with him, does not make her a Darkfriend herself.

It just makes her a cunning politician. Her actions are akin to something that Berelain may have done in similar situations.

Remember, Elayne used Mellar even though she was highly suspicious of him. By KoD, I beleive that she was convinced that he was a Darkfriend. Elayne is not a Darkfriend, despite using one to her advantage. Neither is Sylvase.

I challenge anybody to find textual support to demonstrate that Slyvase is more probable than not a Darkfriend.

p.s. congratulations to Subwoofer and his wife. I am glad that Mrs. subwoofer and baby are healthy. But Subwoofer, how are you doing? In shock, perhaps.

Reminds me of a great email I once received. The wife of a boss whom I once worked for successfully gave birth to a child. His secretary sent an email to employees with the subject line akin to the following: "Mom and baby are donig well; Dad still in shock."

Thanks for reading my musings,
42. alreadymadwithsylvase
No, Sylvase isn't necessarily a darkfriend. Although she does come off as particularly cold blooded compared to the other High Seats allied with Elayne.
Ron Garrison
43. Man-0-Manetheran
re. Sylvase: She may not be a darkfriend, but I'm inclined to agree with Master Norry: "Few people keep a private questioner, my lady. It suggests...um...a dark side" (KoD, Ch. 35)
Joe Terrenzio
44. Terren
Re: Mellar

He is one of my favorite dark characters. Don't get me wrong, he is truely unlikeable on a personal level, but he is an excellent villian to love to hate. I like him because he is effective! Outside of Demandred's possible plans wherever he is, and possibly Moridin, Mellar is the only DF we see with any page time who's evil schemes actually work. Plus I love that he is just a normal guy. Granted he is fast and skilled with a blade, but he isn't in the running for Greatest Blade Master of All Time (like Galad, Gawyn, Rand avec deux mains, Lan, Mat if he ever picked up a sword, etc.). He isn't an uber powerful channeler either. He is just scum of the earth and is good at what he does. I know the team Dark is largely winning at this point, but if they had more solid First-Team All Americans like Mellar, rather than bumbling idiots like Liandrin, Carridin, and Moghedien, Team Light wouldn't stand a chance.
Tricia Irish
45. Tektonica
I really liked Sylvase as we got to know her in Arymilla's camp. She is cunning and smart and made her move to head her house most astutely.

However, I felt she was very different in ToM, and I don't think it was just because Brandon was writing this book....although that could certainly play a part. She seemed oddly vacant, almost possessed. Ch.23, Foxheads, p. 365 there is an exchange with Elayne and Sylvase...I'll just cite a few sentences, you can read it in full yourselves if you like:

"The girl might have been pretty, save for that expressionless look on her face. Not emotionless, like an AS. Completely expressionless.".....

p.366....."She will not support you, Your Majesty, ( speaking of Ellorian) Sylvase said, her voice still too calm."

Elayne,"Sylvase seemed to believe in only two things: power and vengeance."

"Excuse me, Sylvase, Elayne said. I just recalled something that I absolutely must do."
" Of course, your Majesty," the girl said in a flat, almost inhuman voice."

Sylvase was never warm and fuzzy, but these three statements made me think that something had been done to Sylvase....obviously she can't be 13x13ed, as she can't channel, but someone could have compelled her or perhaps possessed her? I did not think her a DF in CoT, but she is decidedly different in ToM.
Daniel Smith
46. Smittyphi
Great recap!

As for Mellar, he's lovably unlikeable. ::Scratch head:: He's so effective at being utterly evil that we actually are scared of what he might do next because he's SO efficient. He's done better than some of the Forsaken in quality of work.

I can see how pregnancy can affect the ability to touch the power as my wife is currently pregnant, it's harder for her to do stuff, concentrate on things. I can totally get it (from a guys perspective).
Damon Garner
49. IrishOmalley
@44&46 Yeah, I definitely agree with the assessment that Mellar is a "good" villain as well. You need at least a few competent bad guys to make their comeuppance that much sweeter. :)
Daniel Goss
50. Beren
Nothing much to say about the chapters except to agree that Mellar would certainly deserve his position on the list of top ten most effective villians in WoT.

Which gave me an idea. Just about everywhere you look people are doing their 'top ten X of 2010,' This started me thinking. We should do something like that, with our 'top ten re-read comment moments.'

At the very least it would pass the time until next Tuesday. Might even be a fun nostalgia trip through the past year.

To start with, I'd like to nominate the Blackberry Bush discussion from TPoD part 9 (May 21st) for pure nit-picking absurdity.
James Jones
51. jamesedjones
50 Beren

Best of 2010: My favorite would be the Shayol Ghul Customer Support thread we enjoyed a few months ago.
Ron Garrison
52. Man-0-Manetheran
Loved the limericks and Samadi's and Wetlandernw's fan fiction.
Sam Mickel
53. Samadai
M-O-M, I just have two questions. Who is this Samadi, and why haven't I seen any of his fan fiction? ;P
Daniel Goss
54. Beren
@41 JamesDJones
YES! That one was hilarious. For those that may have missed it, it was in the Winter's Heart #14 (Aug 31st) and started around # 114


I haven't been able to find the limericks or any of the fanfic yet. Can anyone help with that? Samadai, Wetlandernw, can you provide a reference or two?

Ron Garrison
55. Man-0-Manetheran
Sam! I knew I was spelling it wrong! I scrolled up and down and didn't find you. Sorry.

Beren - I'm terrible at remembering where and when - - - and Samadai's name.
Sam Mickel
56. Samadai

Wetlandernw was PoD part 19 #276.
My fanfics that I did in 2010 are from ACoS part 10 #140, part 15 #153, and part 14 #351. From PoD, part8 #151, part 13 #123. from WH part 9 # 188.

Edit for,
M-o-M at 55. No problem I knew what you meant
Lynn McDonald
57. meal6225
My top 10 nomination would be Torie for putting an end to the
"hey I got #1" with her cat bomb pics! Love them.
Jonathan Levy
58. JonathanLevy
The Limericks were fun! They're sitting in Winter's Heart #20, starting at post 251. A while back I collected them and grouped them by author, if anyone wants I can post them when I get home. It'll be a pretty long post, though.

Edit 2: I remembered a few more Limericks at CoT Prologue #2 starting from comment #151.

There was also the endless lack-of-male-pillow-friends-and-spankings discussion. I remember I posted a few satirical interviews during that debate, before I went gray... TPOD #16 and #17 if I'm not mistaken.

Edit: Ok, I looked them up. TPOD #16 comments 117 and 199, TPOD #17 comment 133.

One day we're going to have to troll through all these threads and collect the highlights - both the insightful discussions, and the fun posts. We could probably make a book out of it, and get it published. Once AMoL is out, and the encyclopedia of notes, TOR will be desperate for a new way to milk a few more dollars out of the WoT franchise.
Kimani Rogers
59. KiManiak
New post! (Well for me, as I couldn’t get to this for a couple of days. I was going through a little withdrawal – had the shakes and everything) It’s like a combo belated Christmas present/ early New Years gift! As always Leigh, this is much appreciated.

Oh, and let me just say that Torie’s cat pic selection @1 was great! Those mice aren’t photoshopped in, right? Hopefully not. That is an incredibly cute pic. I’d never encourage any other morons to plant their “First!” flag on future posts, but this pic definitely made dealing with whomever@1’s lamebrain effort worth it (and I see that J.Dauro@33 already voiced a similar opinion). Torie, can cat pics be used to reward, as well as punish? Any way to reward the group for, let’s say, something like 10 consecutive “First”-free posts with other cool cat pics?

Anyway, back to Leigh’s post...

My own 2 cents on your writing style: Leigh, I’m comfortable with you recapping the events however the spirit moves you. Part of what makes this reread and the comments so entertaining is reading others perspective of the various events in each chapter. Your presentation of the material, especially, makes revisiting each of the chapters in all of the books incredibly fun. Even with regard to the times when I may not fully agree with your analysis or focus on particular parts of some chapters, I still respect your ability to communicate what your perspective is. And even when you yourself are unsure whether or not you are fully comfortable with your opinion/analysis, your presentation of that opinion or the conclusions you’ve developed is also something that I enjoy reading. In other words, keep the military/covert-ops/bad spy movie vernacular coming for as long as you’d like!

Wetlandernw@13 – re: Borderlander’s dialogue – I admit I didn’t fully scrutinize any potential foreshadowing by Kiruna/Paitar from LoC - TGS like I initially meant to. The holidays have kept me busy and all that, but that’s no excuse :( I did check the prologue in TPoD and there didn’t appear to be anything foreshadowing any ulterior motives by Paitar. Also, nothing when Elayne, Avi and Birgitte meet the 4 Borderlanders in WH. Only an offhand mention that,

“It very much seemed that however much (the Borderlander Monarchs) wanted to find the Dragon Reborn, they were not looking forward to meeting him.” (WH, To Surprise Kings and Queens)

The few times I’ve checked chapters with Kiruna dialogue, there also didn't appear to be any mention of her looking forward to (or dreading) seeing if Rand passes/fails any kind of test. If anyone else found something (Birgit? Terez27? or other WoT scholars), I’d appreciate it if you’d let us know…

Multiple folks commented on Mr. Lounalt, so all I’ll add is that for those who thought that Sylvase may be a Darkfriend due to the fact that she “appropriated” Mr. Lounalt to her staff, nothing in this chapter seems (to me anyway) to directly deny or support that possibility. She is often shown as quite strange/odd/peculiar, but that could just be because Nasin was crazy and she had to suffer his paranoia-induced behavior (I think he would chase any potential suitors away from her, and the like).

I see that some of you have been debating whether/not she is a DF. I personally am leaning towards “not a DF,” but I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other on this one. Another thing we'll find out in AMoL. Elayne took all of the High seats with her to the Fields of Merrilor, right? I can't recall if ToM explicitly spells that out for us, but I got that impression.

A huge Thanks! to many for guiding us to the various fanfics and other great comment threads… I missed a lot of these in my rush to catch up with you guys, as I would usually go about 50-75 comments deep per post. Fortunately, I was able to enjoy the ones in WH.

Jonathan Levy @58 – I like the idea of gathering the highlights from this thread. Maybe Harriet could allow Leigh to add a section to the WoT encyclopedia where Leigh can provide an abridged version of her re-read impressions/analysis, and maybe also include some of the more “creative” comments from this re-read. :-) Hahaha…

Since that would be extremely unlikely though, maybe Leigh/TOR could compile Leigh’s re-reads and some of the comments as something separate.

Hmm, does TOR “own” what we write on their website? They would have to at least reference the author of any excerpt from the comments section, right?

Probably a pipe dream, anyway. I just hope that when the re-read is finished (pause as I hope that dreaded day remains far, far in the future, even while realizing that the day comes that much closer with each new post), TOR archives this on their site for as long as possible.
John Massey
60. subwoofer
Whew! This baby thing is exhausting, babies are mechanically simple- stuff goes in one end, comes out the other- but still. I am rapidly loosing track of whole chunks of time.

WoTish... I am liking the ripples of the fall out from Rand's massive bout of channeling- wow, I can't even remember if that happened in the last book. Elayne's comment hits close to the mark though. If the DO or the Forsaken had a hand in it, the world would be SOL by now, so it had to be something good. Very similar to the Bowl incident- huge channeling and everyone is like "wha?" or "the sky is falling!". Somebody in Rand's school needs to invent the phone. This pigeon thing sucks. Maybe Rand should have sky wrote- "It's okay- it was just me, the Dragon- I had a little gas. It is over now." I dunno, something, anything.

Pregnancy. I am living that dream first hand, and lemme tell you, there is spin off and all sorts of things that go haywire. I had a case of baby brain myself. For no apparent reason I washed my perfectly good cell phone. It was clean, didn't work worth a darn after, but it was clean... maybe if I put it in the dryer... I do get where Elayne is coming from anyways. And I am not sure about keeping her away from Shayol Ghul. If we put her, Gawyn and Caddy all in the same place, in very close proximity to annoying the DO, maybe he will seal himself shut just for the peace and quiet.

Just a thought.

Happy Woof Year™.
Karen Jacobs
61. KJacobs
Sub @ 60: I've heard that sealing the cell phone in a ziploc with (uncooked) rice for a few days will dry it out. Worth a shot!

Happy New Year Everyone!
James Jones
62. jamesedjones
Best of 2010: Weren't the cage matches earlier this year?

60 Subwoofer

Take advantage of it. A spiffy new phone with all the bells and whistles will probably be the last thing you get to buy for yourself for a while.
63. pwl

If you do submit material, and unless we indicate otherwise, you grant Macmillan and its affiliates a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable and fully sublicensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute and display such content throughout the world in any media now known or hereafter invented. You grant Macmillan and its affiliates the right to use the name you submit in connection with such content, if they so choose. All personal information provided via this website will be handled in accordance with the site’s online Privacy Notice.

So pretty much yes. You can use what you post to write a book (although you'd need permission to use other people's comments I suppose), but so can they.
Damon Garner
64. IrishOmalley
Sub @60- Oh, just wait till they start teething!

As far as information passing... With traveling they should have set up a newspaper service or some such. "You Ashaman! deliver this bag o' newspapers and be quick about it!" - Headline: Dragon cleanses Saidin. First hand account from Cadsuane. -

However, I could see multiple factions turning this into a WWI / WWII propaganda war.
Heidi Byrd
65. sweetlilflower
Not much to say about these chapters, but I wanted to log on send my congrats to Sub and his new little bundle of spit-up joy! Enjoy the heck out of these moments and pass on our congrats to your wife. She probably desesrves a medal for not killing you in the delivery room. After some of the comments you've posted on here, I'm guessing you're particular brand of humor was infuriating interesting to hear at that particular time. ;-)
Sam Mickel
66. Samadai
I can see the rest of the headlines for the newspaper

One Armed Shepperd Confesses: Why I prefer Sheep to Women

Travel Section: 101 Ways to avoid being killed, maimed or driven mad in the Ways.
Travel Lost and Found: Various toes, fingers, and one nose.

Beauty Section: 20 Best Places for Baths in the Palace at Caemlyn.
15 Ways to Raise Chin For Maximum Effect(also Pinching Cheeks as an Art)

Sports Section: The Top Ten Blade Masters Poses Calendar.
Kurt Lorey
67. Shimrod
@66 Samadai.


edited for "fat finger" syndrome.
Tess Laird
68. thewindrose
Actually, I could see that there would be a BladeMaster contender page - of course Lan would always be #1:)

Ms Manners would be covered by Cadsuane aka Wetlandernw;)

Who has the best buns - Wetlanders vs Aiel(imagine the the different interprtations that would happen with that one!)

I really have enjoyed many of the different coversations we have had this last year. I will have to go back and think about it. The cage matches were so fun. Interviews by Mr. Levy always fun. Fan fiction from Samadai and others good as well. Like I said, I will have to go back - there was a lot!

Ron Garrison
69. Man-0-Manetheran
@58 Jonathan Levy: I'm with you. I think an indexed collection of highlights would be wonderful!
70. Freelancer
Hi Leigh. Sure glad the Global Warming in the northeast hasn't melted your interwebs connection.

Hi all. See, as much of a geek as I am, there are seasons where family trumps all. While I'm sure a temporary absence on my part is just booze for the eggnog to some, the thought never occurred to me in such altruistic terms as a Christmas gift for any in the bunker. Still, hope you enjoyed it.

Subwoofer, welcome to the jungle! Congratulations, Daddy. The Lord prepare a hedge around your new bundle of joy, and bring her to His knowledge at an early age. Prayers for health and happiness all around.

Leigh, about the economic business, I quite agree with you that Jordan wasn't making reference to any contemporary political-economic circumstances. However, to be consisted I have to say that the current problems have their foundation in the 1977 House of Representatives, not Wall Street, and the U.S. narrowly avoided a meltdown such as began in July 2008 because of very timely and massive deregulation. This is not meant to be a political comment, just a statement of historical reference. To the text...

Jordan loved his intrigue, didn't he? Clearly more than many of his readers, since the chapters with the most interesting twists of activity between a myriad of factions (Kin, seafolk, TAS, SAS, Andoran Houses, Borderlanders, Team Dark, etc) are those also considered most tedious to read/re-read. For myself, I have never expected an author to write what I was hoping to read, and take what's given me with as much immersion as I can manage. Hence, I love the bits with folks like Jon Skellit, Norry pretending not to turn into a spy-master, and all that. Elayne is forced to juggle more balls, of different sizes and colors, than any other character in the script, does so with fairly excellent success, and is only remarked about for the length of her bath. The haters win again.

RE: Pregnancy disturbing channeling ability. Well, this one is tricky. I could have thought that hormones had some amount of catalytic impact on channeling, but Aran'Gar throws that one in the wind, channeling saidar in a male body, and with no reported reduction in power. So that means it's all mental. When a woman is pregnant, the chemical changes affect her brain as well as all other organs, so an "unexplainable" inability to properly surrender to/contain saidar must be happening. I'll just go with that. Remember how recently we were asking if expectant ladies did indeed curse the child's father? I rest my case.

Rand. Was mentioned in these chapters. In a random POV thought by Hanlon about luck.

Shiaine's unfortunate visitor is a representative of Arawn. This deduced from the info Falion provides to Hanlon. When he asks who Shiaine's visitor is, she doesn't know, other than an Andoran solder, likely a noble (good choice for a high-level secret envoy), and that she
previously had a similar visitor from each of the other two interested houses (Sarand and Marne). QED

Alisonwonderland @35

And that scene was torture to watch as a youngster in the theater. Snapping from one face to another, then spinning from the central viewpoint, but nobody moving a muscle for what seemed like 15 minutes...

Tektonica @39

I can't find anything at the moment, but didn't Brandon deny that Sylvase was a DF? Or just that she was a forsaken/DF channeler in disguise, maybe. ::blink:: Never mind, thewindrose has it @40.

Jonathan Levy @58

Have you read The Way of Kings yet? No worries for Tor about milking anything, they have a new cash cow, and his name is Brandon. Only nine more volumes to come.

subwoofer @60

I think Elayne's comment of "Wonderful" is only that Rand is still alive when it's done, so it can't have been too terrible.

Cage Matches? What cage matches? How can a battle of any significance end at a Starbucks? Also, I never drink latte.

Happy New Year everyone.
Henrique Ferreira
71. SiamKor
Bergmaniac @15:

So these women live for hundreds of years yet are forbidden tohave sex at all? Seems like a rule this should get broken all the time. Or are they all pillowfriends for the long term?

They worship(ped) Aes Sedai, so it makes sense that they'd self-impose that rule.
Also, it doesn't mean "no sex." They know herbs. Min has a tea for that, so they should have too.

If 1,000+ channellers were having babies in Altara, I have a feeling that the Tower wouldn't be dwindling and there would be a lot more false Dragons in the history books.

sarcastro @26:

Yet again, the system in Andor is really absurd. If the Succession goes to the eldest daughter, then it ... would go to the eldest daughter.
Presumably they would note which baby was born first and that would be that - it sucks and is really arbitrary, but that's an inherited monarchy for ya.

It's hard to count the crises in monarchies that occured over the last two millenia in Europe alone. From what I remember in history classes, there was always someone who wanted to be King, or rule in the King's place. When a non-linear succession started, it usually got real messy.
Alice Arneson
72. Wetlandernw
Freelancer!!! Been missing you, but assumed you were either spending time with your family, or working like mad to get some year-end stuff done at work. Or both. Glad you're back. And with timely comments, as always.

Americano? Straight espresso? Breve? ;)

Oh, and thanks for capturing what I enjoy about these chapters, and why it's not a problem that 5 pages go into the bath prep & bathing. There's a lot more there than water. Incidentally, I thought it was kind of cool that the maids get to be "real people" instead of just featureless maids, along with giving another subtle depth to the caution Elayne has to take with everyone around her. It points up (for those who look) the few people in Caemlyn that she can really trust: Birgitte, Aviendha, Reene, Norry, and very few others. No wonder she's so bummed about Monaelle's edict that Aviendha will spend more of her time in the Aiel tents.

Well, life calls. More later.
John Massey
73. subwoofer
@KJacobs- well then, as I found out, that little pearl of wisdom only has a chance of working if you do that before you try to turn your cell phone on. If you don't bzzzzzzzzzzzt- fried. Woulda been nice as all my contacts and everything were dialed in perfect on my phone. And I am old fashion, I love flip phones. Don't like bricks, don't like sliders. I like the idea that you open the phone, you are talking, close it, talking over.

Plan B is JEJ's idea of a new phone- sans bells and whistles 'cause that would just look funny hanging off a phone. Got a slider but the screen guard is already ratched from a few days of use. I miss my flip.

Best part of this year had to be bar none the book ToM. The lead up, the chapters being leaked, the teasers and then the spoiler thread. I was bouncing off the walls before the book came out and I was on a high after the book came out. Brandon did a good job and an improvement over the last outting. Makes the wait for the last book worth it as I know the series is in good hands.

@Free- thank you:) Though Arag-something was a woman channeling Saidin, cause the DO had a cracked sense of humor and brought a man back in a woman's body.

@Sweetlilflower- shucks, thanks;) I try. I do remember telling my wife- "the nurse said push not pull! What are you doing?" I think my wife channelled the energy of her anger into the child birth process. There were a few touch and go moments, where I suggested that "I wait out in the lobby, call me when you're done"... but that didn't fly with her either. At the end I remember looking at the baby and asking "is that kid mine? She looks nothing like me- honey, is there something you want to tell me?" Yeah, sometimes I think my best material is wasted on my wife.

Happy Woof Year™.
Kimani Rogers
74. KiManiak
Subwoofer@73 - Hilarious! That was some good material you were putting out there in the birthing room. It seems that your wife didn't fully appreciate it. Such a shame ;)

Seriously, let me just say that your wife will probably be deserving of nomination for sainthood after enduring all of the fun and not subjecting you to any major physical harm. :) But I guess you were both blessed with little Gabriella (really beautiful name). Although, I think when you speak with your wife about the best part of this year, you might want to switch the delivery of a brand new ToM with the delivery of a brand new Gabriella! :)

Anyway, it's been a pleasure to read about your incredible good fortune in the delivery of your beautiful baby girl and of your hilarious material in the delivery room!

Happy New Year to you and yours!
Sandy Brewer
75. ShaggyBella
I think in a later book Elayne had thoughts of starting a postal service in Andor. I don't remember for sure, though.
76. Freelancer

Yeah, mostly family, not so much work. Yearend stuff got finished in time to take the last two works weeks "off", though I still have to watch email for crises in the other continents who don't take time off. Asia always gives me end-of-quarter headaches, tomorrow will tell much. Such is life.

Edit to add: Espresso, Americano, anything as long as it's black. No foo-foo drinks for this sailor.


RE: Aran'gar...
As Gene Wilder said, "Strike that, reverse it". Of course I meant saidin and female body, everybody knew that.
Tricia Irish
77. Tektonica
Subwoofer: Love your observations on parenthood! Keep 'em coming. Gabriella is indeed a beautiful name.

Free: Nice to see you again! I assumed you were immersed in family and the Christmas celebration. Enjoy your peaceful break from work. (I'm with you, coffee black. Don't mess with good coffee!)

WoT: I'm not accusing Sylvase of being a DF necessarily, just of being decidedly different in ToM than she is in this book. Why? I don't know, but three quick mentions of the blank/flat look in her eyes seemed like some sort of cluebat to me. RAFO, I guess.

And.....Happy New Year to all my friends here on the thread!! It was a hard year in many ways, and having the company of all your great thoughts and humor has been a big highlight. Thank you all.
James Hogan
78. Sonofthunder
Sylvase always has creeped me out. That's all there is to it. She may be a DF, she may not be. Nonetheless, she's creepy. I'm with you, Tek, in that there seems to be something weird going on in ToM. Compulsion seems possible, but we shall see.

And I agree with the sentiments on Hanlon/Mellar - I hate him but I do admire his competency! And I agree with Leigh...RJ had me liking him for a second upon reading that he wasn't taking advantage of Falion. Of course, that was only in his own self-interest of course, but still. I actually liked Daved for a second there. Ugh is right.

As for Elayne and her Cabinet meetings...I actually love the scenes with Elayne and Birgitte and Dyelin and Harfor and Norry; we get a nice little behind-the-scenes peek into how Andor is ruled. All those people are quite competent and I like seeing competent people make (mostly) good decisions.

And to all of you, Happy New Year!!! It's been good, y'all, and like Tek, I appreciate you all a lot. Even if real life has kept me from posting as much as I'd like, I still manage to read mostly everything. And put me up for nominating the SG customer service emails as some of my favorite moments of this past year!! (Along with some simply lovely stories and interviews...!!)
Valentin M
79. ValMar
Like Sonofthunder I also enjoy the minutiae of the Andoran politics in these chapters. My only problem is with the unnecessary bloating in places- descriptions mainly.

Re: Sylvase in ToM. It could just be BS's interpretation to her coldness/oddness. But BS use of words in her exchange with Elayne seems too deliberate (thanks for the quotes Tek @ 45). The obvious thing would be Compulsion, but WOT doesn't do obvious that often...

Re: the Andoran succession. It is not that different than RL Medieval monarchies. Basically there is clearly established heiress- as in RL. If there isn't appropriate one (due to death, lack of, unsuitable canditate, reputation, etc) the major nobles choose another- as in RL.
In Andor the system of "declaring" seems designed to avoid actuall armed conflict- most of the time. If one candidate wins, one way or the other, the majority of the country's power the other candidates stand down. Power in term of both steel and gold (I enjoyed these details too Mr Norry).
Did I mention that I like the details of the Andoran succession? :)

Happy New Year everyone! I'm looking forward to the fireworks in London. Lets hope the Illuminators win vs the bloody fog tonight.
andrew smith
80. sillyslovene
Since I've never seen this before, and it might be a bit loony, but this could be where it's going because of the cour'souvra Checkov's gun-ness:

Sylvase was trapped by a mindtrap, which was subsequently crushed. She is now the mindless automaton of someone, probably whoever is putting together the whole intricate Andor plan for the Dark (Moridin of course is overall, but it would be a fitting plot for Demandred to be in direct command of). She could have been a darkfriend who screwed up real bad/was chosen as a sacrifice. Or she could have been a nice happy girl, a little screwy from abuse, but whose situation (soon to be High Seat) would make her a good target. Also, this would only work if she was an unknown wilder. But considering she's been closetted away for a lot her whole life, not exactly out of the question...

Again, no proof for this beyond her being completely emotionless. And I don't remember if it was exactly ever described how it (the crushing of a mindtrap) would work or what it would do exactly (I think "mindless puppet" are the only words used to describe it; there could be more somewhere though). Just something that occured to me as a possibility (however faint) while reading all y'all's comments...
Tricia Irish
81. Tektonica
I don't think there's any indication in the books that Sylvase can channel. Imho, that would be a big leap. If she can't channel, I don't think she can be mind-trapped. But good thoughts, sillyslovene....somethin's going on!

I don't know what's wrong with her, but possession or compulsion seem the most likely? I know Brandon said there was no Forsaken possession of her....someone said that, didn't they? And I don't think she's a Dark Friend....it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma.....
Daniel Goss
82. Beren
Re: Sylvase.

I could be remembering incorrectly, but wasn't it implied that there was some sort of abuse in her past? If so, I don't think it is too much of a stretch to think that she may have simply emotionally deadened herself to distance herself from the pain of those events. Unfortunately, there are perfectly mundane events (as opposed to supernatural, I mean) that can render someone an emotionless husk.
Alice Arneson
83. Wetlandernw
Freelancer @76 - Ever had cafezinho? Brazilian coffee... makes straight espresso look pretty wimpy. Good stuff. Does require sugar, though. Generally, I do my coffee unpolluted, but at Starbucks I always get a latte; it's the only thing to do with overroasted coffee if you can't get the chocolate balance right for a good mocha.

Tektonica @77 - "Coffee black. Don't mess with good coffee!" I agree, when it's good coffee. We get ours from a friend with a roastery, who is very particular about giving each batch just the right roast to bring out the best of its flavor. Yummy! But now I'm spoiled. If you want to try it, check out caffelusso.com.

@ many re: Sylvase... Yeah, the jury is still out. The only thing we know for sure is that she's not a Forsaken in disguise. AFAIK, we don't even know if she has any ability to channel; it's not unknown in the Andoran Great Houses, obviously. So... as you say, we'll probably RAFO. I didn't really see her as being that much different in ToM, just that we had an actual conversation involving her - a little more direct look at her. From what little we know, she could be anything from a tone-deaf, introverted, intelligent young heroine-in-waiting to a 13x13-turned channeler ready to lead the Trollocs in sacking Caemlyn.

Or she could be sillyslovene's mindtrapped automaton. Yikes! What a thought.

And, of course, now that I've read all the comments, you hit most of what I just said, but I'll leave it. Now I wonder if we'll actually learn more about her or not!


The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Powell's Books, Portland, OR 19 November 2009 - Samadai reporting

TheWindRose: Are there any Forsaken around Elayne?

Brandon: So many people are trying to figure out where Demandred is, I am not sure I can answer that.

Forkroot and Samadai: No, not Demandred; we were talking Cyndane or Moghedien. For example, some postulate that Sylvase is Cyndane.

Brandon: No, Sylvase is not a Forsaken and was never intended to be.

84. Freelancer
RE: Coffee. I'm quite into the Turkish ultra-fine grind espresso. So, anything else seems a bit wimpy in contrast. For "normal" grinds, I like Trader Joe's Pure Sumatra. I'm not really finicky, having ingested many gallons of U.S. Navy brand drek, but I do stick to black regardless of grind or blend. On a rare occasion I'll get a mocha at Gloria Jeans. I no longer patronize any Seattle-based coffee franchises.

sillyslovene @80

Sylvase is NOT completely emotionless. She's shrewd. Whether a DF or not, she was playing the part of a semi-mindless gurl while under Arymilla's thumb. Still, there were moments when an observant party would notice that her stare wasn't quite as blank as she'd have them believe. And once her House's patron died, she took her place with distinction.

Beren @82

I don't recall anything to suggest that she was emotionally cripple due to past abuse. Reference the above.
Thomas Keith
85. insectoid
HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my friends here at Tor.com!!

And may there be many more Re-reads here in 2011!

::raises glass of cider::

Alice Arneson
86. Wetlandernw
::raises glass of port::

And to you as well! Here's to the re-read!
Thomas Keith
88. insectoid
Wetlander @86: ::puzzled look:: The port of what? Townsend? :)

Kimani Rogers
89. KiManiak
Happy New Year everyone!!! Here's to a happy, numerous re-read filled 2011!
90. alreadymadwithsylvase
No, Sylvase isn't dumb. She was obviously playing the clueless pawn given her ... unstable... grandfather and his choice of allies. But on her own she hasn't done so badly. I doubt she's really evil. The jury's out on that, but taking on Master Lounault as a questioner so soon after Arymilla's downfall suggests a certain hardness to her.

I'll call your port and raise you a snifter of brandy!

Cheers you all!!
Tricia Irish
91. Tektonica
Happy New Year W0Ters! And may we all be blessed with numerous reread filled weeks, much discussion, and good humor! (And parenting updates from the happy Woofer.)

Prosecco toast to all!
Lannis .
92. Lannis
Ah, yes! Happy New Year everyone! Lifting my mug of tea! The pinot noir was last night... Cheers! :D
Tess Laird
93. thewindrose
Happy New Year All!!! I look forward to spending another year with all of you.

Sounds like some here would enjoy kaf:)

Heidi Byrd
94. sweetlilflower
Whooppee! Its a New Year! I hope everyone is not too hungover and that we all have happy and fruitful years! (gratuitous use of exclamation points, FTW!!!!)

Karen Jacobs
95. KJacobs
Happy New Year Everyone! I raise a toast to you all for continually filling my lunch breaks with enlightening discussions, witty limericks, and interesting glimpses into the lives of others out in WOT-World. Thank you All!
John Massey
96. subwoofer
Weee! Glorious start to a glorious year:) Hope you folks all had a happy and safe time. For myself it was fairly low key affair with my new pack and a wee bit o howling at the moon.

This year is gonna be fun:)

Happy Woof Year™.
Rob S
97. RobSS
It was the best of times...It was the worst of times...

2011... is the year that there will be an ending...

Happy New Year
Valentin M
98. ValMar
RobSS, I suspect the ending you mean is to come in the Spring of 2012.
Rob S
99. RobSS
I guess I missed something again. I thought MOL was to be out this year.
Valentin M
100. ValMar
Apparently there will be a delay of a few months. BS will do a re-read of the whole series before starting to write AMOL.

I missed you (one) hunny:)
Rob S
101. RobSS
Got it.
I hope it is a far better thing that he has ever done before. :}
Ron Garrison
102. Man-0-Manetheran
@83 Wetlandernw: Starbuck's "overroasted coffee" Amen and thank you.
@77 Tektonica: "Don't mess with good coffee!" Amen again. Black it is.

I love Cafe Britt. It is a Costa Rican company that harvests, roasts and ships directly to the consumer. It is wonderful, and I've been buying it ever since I first drank it at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. They also carry some Peruvian coffees as well as Costa Rican. During it's banana republic days, the only coffee Costa Ricans could get was the dregs. Cafe Britt set out 25 years ago to change things, and they did.
Tricia Irish
103. Tektonica
Happy New Year! That is good coffee from Costa Rica....we brought some back from their airport too.

I'm going to try your roaster....looks yummy! Thanks.

I know it's very cool to hate Starbucks, but I must say,
I love it...... and I appreciate the great service that they, and other Seattle companies have done for the state of coffee in this country, which used to be pathetic swill.....and I love all the coffee shops everywhere now!

When we were roaming Texas this past September, I would fire up my Starbucks App to find intersections likely to have hotels and services....it was a great help!
Ron Garrison
104. Man-0-Manetheran
Tek, I don't hate Starbuck's, but I don't like their coffee. Like wetlandernw, I think it tastes overroasted.
Tricia Irish
105. Tektonica

I've heard that complaint from several of my friends, but I really like it. It's kind of like a large cup of espresso! I like some of their blends better than others (Love Verona!) and must admit I've never tried any of their blends that weren't "Bold" or "Extra-Bold", so I don't know if they're dark roast or not. Maybe they're milder.....or maybe not?
John Massey
106. subwoofer
Sorry folks- but I have had a bone to pick with Starbucks ever since they came out... even when I was working in oil I wasn't making enough to justify paying $5 for a flippin' cup of coffee... About 5 years ago a Canadian comedian weighed in on the subject and I find myself nodding my head with much of what he has to say. Mind you, I've stopped downing coffee as much as I have since my university days. More of a beer person myself these days- well, since the kid came along it has been more tea than beer. Ahhhh! Can't believe I said that!

Heidi Byrd
107. sweetlilflower
@sub: you know the best thing about clicking on your links? I love to read the commentary that people feel the need to write about youtube videos. It just cracks me up! The way someone will write the following and not understand the irony: your so stupid. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Then, when I call them on it, they still don't understand why I am laughing! Also, don't forget that your wifey doesn't get to drink any alcohol for months, at least until Gabriella gets some teeth :-) anyway. Suffer with her, it shows good character and that you are truly sorry for all of the horrible things you said during labor.
108. Freelancer
Starbucks' coffee is ok, if overpriced. Seattle's Best is more reasonably priced, if no better. It's their politics I don't like. If it were simply BDS, it wouldn't mean a thing to me, but anti-military and pro-socialist statements from corporate leadership keeps you from getting any of my money.
Rob Munnelly
109. RobMRobM
I go away on vacation for a few days and Crossroads of Twilight turns into Coffees of Tektonica. I guess it's better than more talk about whether Sylvase is a Foresaken and why Elayne didn't channel the bathwater.

So, on the coffee front, in the early 90s there was a boston-based company called Coffee Connection - pretty much same approach as Starbucks but much lighter roasting. Very very nice coffee. But then Starbucks bought them out. Oh well. I like Starbucks but don't love them. I favor the Peet's Sumatra blend if I'm going for a treat or just stick with our own, MA-based, Dunkin Donuts blend.

Happy New Year to all and to all a good night. Talk to you more in the days to come.

Theresa Gray
110. Terez27
Starbucks is awesome but ridiculously expensive.

That is all.
a a-p
111. lostinshadow
I too find Starbucks coffees overroasted. But for those who think Starbucks is expensive...not sure how it is in the US (since I've never seen one anywhere in the US though someone ?Freelancer maybe? mentioned it) but where I am, Gloria Jeans is wayyy more expensive (but better coffee, especially their mochas-frozen and hot).

More of a Turkish coffee person myself of course.
Tricia Irish
112. Tektonica
A plain tall (meaning the smallest size) Starbucks coffee is $1.50. That and a pound bag is all I ever buy, so I have no clue what the fancy schmancy mochachino, non-fat, soy, carmelita, frozen, blah blah, cost. If you buy a pound, the tall coffee is free. Doesn't seem too onerous to me??

btw, RobM...I didn't start this discussion.....I'm blaming Free@79 and Wetlander (I just barged right in)....and the fact that we dont' have anything else to discuss....and it's early AM and I'm drinking my......coffee.

Ummm...Lost....love Turkish coffee!! You lucky girl!
John Massey
113. subwoofer
@Sweetlilflower- wha? I have to wait until my daughter is old enough to drink? And what does my daughter having teeth have to do with her drinking? Crazy talk... unless I start her going at an early age...

What horrible things did I say?- I never mentioned her mother or mine for that matter.

Sorry, but I still remember when coffee used to cost 50 cents and it came with refills. It seemed more realistic back then cause those poor friends of Juan Valdez who are up on those mountains picking coffee don't reap the benefits of a $5 cup. Like I said, I don't really drink coffee anymore, but a large cup at Timmy's cost $1.64 and that includes the nicotine for free;)

Bottom line, I'm a cheap bugger for things I believe should be cheap but for "boutique" reasons are not. -Don't even get me started on this trendy garbage I call "sweats" but some folks call "yoga wear" that people have the nerve- gah!- SUVs- gah!-crossovers- gah! price of gas-gah!-Anyways. To me Starbucks is what started the upwardly spiralling prices of coffee that makes me grumble on my lawn chair these days. And keep off my grass! Young whippersnappers!

Rob Munnelly
114. RobMRobM
Tek - I know that but a reference to CoW or CoF wouldn't have been as funny.

By the way, the movie LA Story back in the 90s is moderately funny and not all that memorable...but there is one great scene where Steve Martin goes to an LA coffee bar and everyone around a table makes a different one of those foo-foo one of a kind coffee orders we love so well (half-caf, half-soy, nonfat, no whip, etc). Waaaay ahead of the curve on this proto-Starbuckian trend.

Rob (non fat for me, please)
Tricia Irish
115. Tektonica

Loved LA Story, and the ongoing fancy water gag too....everyone orders a different kind of "designer" water at lunch...LOL. Hopefully, THAT trend has run it's course.
John Massey
116. subwoofer
@Rob- I remember that because I was that guy... Y'know- all those experts around you wanting half this, non that, no the other, and then I come up and just ask for a cup of coffee... er... large... that's it, no cream, no sugar, black-like, I almost feel like I should be asking for something special.

Sandy Brewer
117. ShaggyBella
Starbucks brewed coffee, with a small pump of sugar free vanilla or whatever. It is way strong enough for me and much cheaper than expresso kind. Also a flavor is free if you use a gift card, which I got from useless airline miles, since there is never enough for a flight.
Interesting that Elayne thought the bankers would probably want overextended Arymilla to get the throne so she could repay her debts. And that the bankers could influence events. Too big to fail, maybe?
Daniel Goss
118. Beren
I'm sure most here already know this, but for any that don't . . .

Brandon Sanderson is doing a re-read through the books in preperation for writing AMoL, and he's putting thoughts on what he's reading up on Twitter. So, if you have delayed following him up to this point, now might be a good time to start.
Roger Powell
119. forkroot
I think I was the original guilty party re the coffee ... I had suggested that a "cage match" twixt self, Leigh, Freelancer, and Wetlandernw (not my idea BTW) would morph quickly into a discussion over lattes at the local Starbucks :-) All of that was several months ago.

Freelancer@770 was having some fun making an oblique reference to that. It's his fault we're back on coffee.

And having assigned blame... I will now chime in and admit that I don't drink latte's either, except by accident when the ditz at Starbucks makes the cappuccino way too wet.

Wife and I both enjoy Starbuck's cappuccinos to the extent that we actually bought a super-automatic machine and often make them at home (still using Starbuck's beans). Saves a lot of money and is sure nice after dinner (don't have to leave the house.)

As for really good coffee, we love 100% Kona and treat ourselves to a pound every month - it's our weekend treat. Fear not Tek, nothing else goes into that cup!
Tricia Irish
120. Tektonica

LOL. Full disclosure, eh? You have your Kaf anyway you like it!

You are so right, Kona is a great bean. I've never found good Kona here on the mainland. (If you have a reliable source, I'd love to know it.) The really good stuff comes from that little plantation just south of the village of Kona. I've never tasted better coffee. All that volcanic dirt makes a pretty powerful cup.

About that potential cage match......THAT could be interesting!

And....a new post tomorrow?
Theresa Gray
121. Terez27
This re-read has been going on a while now...but if anyone wants to do a (semi) turbo-read, then read along with Brandon as he prepares to write the final book. Use the #wotrr hashtag on Twitter to follow Brandon and post your own observations - things you noticed for the first time, etc. - as you read. He plans to be done some time in April, so that gives an idea of pace.
Thomas Keith
122. insectoid
How in the world did this post go sideways over coffee of all things?

I prefer sweetened or milk-chocolate cocoa, like Swiss Miss. (The kind from... uh, Seattle always seems to need a few sugars. And is scalding hot; my tongue can attest to that!) Of course, cocoa is the only hot drink I've ever tried (and I usually let it cool off to a reasonable temperature anyway), so I can't really offer an opinion on anything else.

Re: me @88 responding to Wetlander: I sort of know what you were referring to, but had to ask the answer person (mom) for clarification. :) Besides, I couldn't pass up an opportunity for a terrible northwestern US joke. (I've actually been through Port Townsend; it was over 12 years ago on our car trip up the coast to Oak Harbor and back.)

And that was sparkling apple cider. No alcohol for me, thanks. :)

Tricia Irish
123. Tektonica
I hope someone here will fill those of us not twittering in on any important tweets from Brandon.

A Tweet of the day or something.....Thanks!
James Jones
124. jamesedjones
112 Tektonica
A plain tall (meaning the smallest size) Starbucks coffee is $1.50.

Little known fact: they actually have a "small". It's just a little bigger than a dixie cup. As a diabetic, I always select this size for my caramel apple ciders. Anything else would require another shot of insulin. :(
Kimani Rogers
125. KiManiak
Is anyone aware of whether/not Tor.com has released anywhere on its site when it expects Brandon Sanderson to possibly respond to the questions some of us submitted in early December?

If he will soon be beginning this turbo-reread that Beren@118 and Terez27@121 mentioned, I'm curious as to when he may have a chance to answer some of the 100+ posts/questions from that thread.

On his site, he mentions he will respond to questions at Tor.com and at Fantasy Readers.com (I think, or something like that), and he answered (some of) the questions at Fantasy Readers in mid/late December.

I understand the man is human and I'm not trying to rush him; just wondering if we were given an ETA.

Has anyone heard/read anything about this?
Alice Arneson
126. Wetlandernw
Tektonica @123 - you can also follow on facebook. If you go to Brandon's wall, that's pretty much what's there. You get all of his comments, but not the various tweets other people are posting. (This can be good or bad, depending...) Or you can go to his web page and take the link to twitter to read even if you don't twitter yourself.

I'm scanning it as I have time, but... not much of that, with school back in swing, so I'm not a good reporter!

insectoid @ 122 - I did catch the joke, even if I couldn't think of a clever rejoinder. :)

As for the coffee discussion... well, those who love coffee seem to love to talk about it occasionally too! And I just did you all a favor and deleted about two pages of ramblings on the subject. New year, new Wetlander?
John Massey
127. subwoofer
@Insectoid- I could start a jonesing for some cider... cocoa I usually snag the Costco Land-o-lakes packs and go to town. mmmmm good.

I like the idea of coffee. Back in the day, when I was hooked I blame three things- really, really long hours having to be awake on duty, the freezing cold weather where I was, and oddly enough external influence from Agent Dale Cooper.

It was more the idea of the donuts and pie that drew me to it though, coffee just came along for the ride, highly addictive tho'. Mmmmmm pie....

WOT wise- Brandon wants to hammer out a reread by April? Man! Warp speed Mr. Scott!

Heidi Byrd
128. sweetlilflower
So... will you all think I am horribly crass if I admit that I only like the cheap cappuccinos from the gas station? Well, I also like the Folgers' brand instant cappuccino. Ahhh... nothing like powdered expresso to start the morning.

@sub... are you purposely misreading what I wrote? I meant your wife could not drink alcohol until after she finished nursing. Hopefully, the little one won't have her first sip for many, many years. I guess attempting to be delicate just leads to misunderstandings. Of course, there were many times in the first few months of my son's life that I ordered my husband to go drink a beer. An anxious, hovering husband is almost never a good thing :-)
John Massey
129. subwoofer
Moi? Purposely misread something? Perish the thought. Musta been the booze talkin':P

Theresa Gray
130. Terez27
I am posting summaries in the Future Books category (it's slow going because the doc is crashing on me and I'm going to have to make a new one). This time (unlike last time) I'm keeping the entire conversation pretty much intact, including what various others are saying. There are some things that are sort of non sequitur type things that have gone in other categories (some people are known for these).

Quotes of the day:

Brandon on Twitter - 3 January 2011
Man, I love the EotW prologue. Some of my favorite writing in the entire series. Great insight into Ishy's personality pre-madness.
People like to talk of Rand's character development. Elan-> Ishy ->Moridin is almost as interesting to me. His outlook has evolved so much.
Jason Denzel
How would you compare Ishy's motivations from when he was Elan vs when he was Moridin?
Elan actually more selfish. He still thinks he will rule, that the Dark One will take over the world and create a new one.
Moridin has been through madness and touched the mind of the Dark One. He is far more fatalistic, and actually less selfish.
And therefore...less predictable? :)
I was wondering if anyone would pick up on that quote1 in relation to my tweet.

Justin Lee
Has it really evolved? he's still the megalomanical favorite/topdog he's always seen himself to be.
No, he's really changed a lot. He's a fatalist now, as I mentioned to @dragonmount. He knows far more.

Austin Moore
One thing I'm a little confused about, if someone kills Rand, would that majorly affect Moridin because of the connection?
Everything about the connection, or supposed connection, is a RAFO, I'm afraid.

Jeff Edde
Interesting. In EotW, Rand uses Light & Power. Is it significant that he uses Light & Power again in ToM?

Can Rand get the most POVs in AMoL, please? (bambi eyes, clasped hands) We were severely deprived in ToM :'(. (grovels)
There will be more Rand VPs in the last book, I promise.
Theresa Gray
131. Terez27
Kimaniac@125 - Brandon actually tweeted about that today. I passed it over because I couldn't decide where to post it. But this thread works of course.

HBFFerreira on Twitter 3 January 2011
I was wondering: did I miss the replies of your Tor Q&A, or are they not out yet? (The Tor site is not very user-friendly.)
I sent in replies, but they may not have posted them yet.

Edit: As for Tor being user-friendly...just wanted to say that I've noticed the constant improvements, and personally I'm pretty impressed. I like that the copy/paste thing seems to have been fixed. The WYSIWYG stuff is awesome. Now if only the threads could be made wider so that we didn't have to scroll so much! An option to hide the sidebars might do the trick.
Kimani Rogers
132. KiManiak
Thanks Terez27! Glad to hear Brandon was able to get to the questions before immersing himself in the "turbo reread."

Here's hoping Tor.com is able to post them soon.
Tricia Irish
133. Tektonica
Thanks Terez! I do appreciate the Tweet update.

And thank you Wetlander for pointing me to FB and his site. Nice to know there's a similar summary there. I'm wasting spending too much time on this stuff already, if I started Tweeting too, I might as well pack the day in!
Jason Kuhlmann
134. BrowncoatJayson
If you are like me, and you can't get to Twitter or Facebook at work, I found you can subscribe to twitter feeds on Google Reader. Add http://twitter.com/BrandonSandrson as the feed. Like most readers, you only get his posts, but thats enough to get through the day...
Heidi Byrd
135. sweetlilflower
Ahh...finally, we're off the coffee discussion. We had pretty much ground it to dust. I guess now we are frothing at the mouth for a new post today. I'm sure we will all gulp it down before it even cools. I guess we need some new material to help our brains percolate.

Sorry, I love horrible puns.

@terez: thanks for the twitter updates!
Ron Garrison
136. Man-0-Manetheran
Terez - Thanks for that string of quotes about Moridin. I've had this feeling for a long time that when push comes to shove, he will betray the Dark One. Even for bad guys, fatalism is not a happy place. A "Memory of Light" will do the trick. That's my theory, and I'm stickin' to it.
Roger Powell
137. forkroot
You may well be right. Certainly we get a more nuanced look at Moridin in the "fireside chat" sequence in TGS. He's way more interesting than the half-crazy Baalzamon of the early novels and even beyond the "Bwah-hah-hah" villain we see in the prologue of TPoD.
Theresa Gray
138. Terez27
I think I fixed the problem. In the Future Books category there is now a link to another page that will follow Brandon through the AMOL writing process. I'm now going through and copying stuff to other relevant categories in the database.
Brandon Daggerhart
139. TankSpill
Any word yet on whether or not we're getting a post today? I can't find anything, but it seems a bit late now.
140. jfh
I keep waiting also & was hoping someone could give you an answer. This is Tuesday, no? I need my WoT fix!
Matthew Smith
141. blocksmith
Oh the holidays and vacation...no time til now for rereads and comments.

Thanks Leigh for the pre-New Year goodness even though I enjoyed it post festivities.

Subwoofer....WOW...Congratulations on a healthy baby girl. Keep her close...they grow up way way too fast. Oh, and while in college I learned that involving girls in sports (yes a few years away I know) statistically provides great self-confidence and they are much less likely to be involved in abusive relationships, use drugs, etc. All in all, it was a no brainer to encourage my daughters to get involved. And of course coaching them is fun too.

On the reread...there were some interesting nuggets in both the summary and the comments. I never gleaned (that I recall) to Sylvase acting odd, although I do recall thinking that she may be a darkfriend after her inherited torturer was exposed.

Personally, I like Elayne as a character. Sure she has some flaws but overall, do any of us truly think we would be a better 18-21 year old queen (or almost) of anything but homecoming? And that's obviously for the ladies out there...no way I could be homecoming king that's for sure.

Regarding Hanlon...he is despicable scum. But I agree, an effective darkfriend. I still think treating him as the German snipers in the concrete bunker were treated in Saving Private Ryan would be too nice.

After the fireside chat with Moridin, count me in as one of those that suspects he will likely, somehow/someway, help Team Light. Maybe even by trying to kill Rand and then Padan Fain offs him for trying to kill Rand. Can't wait for TOM.

And thanks for the Tweet posts...those were great.

And finally, regarding coffee.

Black, black, black. Although a couple of ice cubes to take the heat off a cup of DD is always welcome.

Happy New Year all!
Theresa Gray
142. Terez27
Quote of the day (or of the moment rather):

WoT Easter Egg: there's an easily overlooked line in the EotW prologue which gives huge foreshadowing of things Rand can do in TofM.
I always thought the fact that Lews Therin could sense that there were no people around for miles was interesting.
I should have guessed that you'd be the only one who would pick out the right line, Terez.
The Easter egg in the prologue has to do with Lews Therin sensing the lack of people around him for miles and miles.
Tricia Irish
143. Tektonica
Terez: Now why will that be important??????
Thoughts? Theories?

Where's our blasted post. I've lurked around here all day. *Harumph.* Crosses arms under bosom* Sniffs*
*Smoothes yoga pants.*
Thomas Keith
145. insectoid
Terez @142: That's really interesting. I don't recall why that is significant to ToM? Is it something to do with his badassery in Saldaea, or the meeting at the Field of Cormallen Pelennor Merillor?


Theresa Gray
146. Terez27
My theory was always that this was the reason why Rand and the Forsaken could Travel directly to a place without harming anyone - like Rand in Mat's tent in LOC, or any of the Forsaken who show up in whoever's lair to chat. As for TOM...I dunno. I seem to remember him Traveling more freely in TOM than he did before, but I can't say for sure. Brandon is keeping me busy at the moment (yay!) or I would scour the book. I did scour most of it already and no sign of Rand Traveling directly to anywhere except a room that the Maidens were guarding because all sorts of people were using it as a Traveling spot.
147. Freelancer
I did not start the caffeine war. All I said was that I never drink latte. How it snowballed from there is on others' heads.

Of course, pure Kona is a most amazing bean. But it's so rare to find it here on the mainland (don't make the mistake of saying "here in the States"). Usually all you can find is that 10% stuff sold by the makers of macadamia nut cookies. Meh.

The last couple of weeks I've been brewing from a bag I bought my last trip to N'awlins. French Market Roast w/Chickory. Most folks think it's horrible, but I love it. After that I'll get into a mild-roasted breakfast blend from Cafe DuMond. They know more than jazz on that delta...
148. jonasc
I read that as indicating that LTT had a connection to the land, and to living creatures around him. Part of the whole 'Dragon' thing and the surrounding prophecies and stories has always been about the connection to the land, and how the land influences the Dragon and vice-versa. So, in ToM, when Rand is walking around making trees fruit and everything all happy and sunny, he's just using the same connection that let LTT sense the living beings in his general area.
Theresa Gray
149. Terez27
Quote of the moment:

Yes, early WoT is very Tolkien influenced. But several original things really stood out to me when I was younger.
1) The magic. 2) Strong female protagonists. 3) A woman 'wizard' figure who was far more human than others I'd seen. 4) Tam lives.
Though I like Gandalf, Dumbledore, Belgarath, & Allanon, I prefer Moiraine as a character. (Actually, Allanon always just annoyed me.)
Bryce Nielsen
What about Polgara? :P
Polgara was awesome. Belgarath was pretty cool too, but Moiraine always feels slightly more real than either one to me.
But that's modern Brandon. Teenage Brandon might have thought differently.
Chris Wood
But which of those early wizards was your favorite? I liked Belgarath, but Eddings was one of my first series.
The WoT names always annoyed me because they're so close to real names. Any chance of dropping a Blixbop into AMOL?
Mr. Jordan did this intentionally, to hint that the WoT world was our world in the future (and the past.)
It's part of the 'feel' of the world. They are close to real names because they ARE real names, just many years removed.
John Stockton
I was thrown by your "when I was younger" remark until I remembered this series started 20 years ago. Wow.
I started when I was 14 or 15...
The females in The Wheel of Time are among the most two dimensional in the history of fantasy.
I disagree. Case in point: Tolkien's female protagonists. (Which was the comparison I was making.)
But even beyond that, you have to remember, this is a society with some skewed gender relationships because of the way magic works.
But Moiraine is hardly 2-d. Neither is Nynaeve. They can be annoying, yes, but that's not the same as 2-d.
They scheme, they argue, they tug on their skirts and stamp their feet, or they fall at Rand's feet. Really?
Aviendha is very distinctive. Tuon is very distinctive. Min is very distinctive. Many of the Aes Sedai act as you say, but...
...I see this as an intentional effect of the society they live in.
Zeerak Waseem
Don't you get annoyed with the females in WoT? The female lead I prefer is Aviendha, the rest are full of themselves.
Oh, I didn't say they didn't annoy me at times. I said they were strong, and I'll add that they are interesting.
WoT females are caricaturish, sometimes stereotypical, but not 2-d. (This from a female.)
Yes, caricatures. A better description than 2-d.
@tadbo Well, different people read things differently. If WoT's women didn't work for you, I understand why, though I don't feel the same.
You're not the only one to feel that way.
@Terez I view them more of products of a society where social norms are different, and women have something 'machismo'-like.
It makes them act similar in places, even though when you see into their souls, there is something deeper.
IMO this is also true, but the caricature part is an important aspect of accepting ALL WoT characters as they are.
They, like the story itself, are ubertropes. There is more to them than that, just as there is more to the story.
I mean, have you SEEN the map of Tar Valon? It's supposed to be funny, people. And serious at the same time, of course.
I've wondered about the map for Tar Valon. That..well, that can't be an accident. I've never asked Team Jordan, though.
James Furlong
Haha! Just clicked on, never noticed THAT before. Hoho!
Needless to say, it wasn't something I noticed when I was a teen.
Someone asked RJ about it. Sort of. His answer was hilarious. http://bit.ly/g9vV0O
KOD book tour, Jarrod reporting:
Eventually Mr. Jordan turned to his quest of finding females that wanted some questions answered and got a good one when a lady asked why the most powerful women in the world get their power in a pale, white shaft. The answer was “If you can’t grasp the symbolism, my dear… Because I thought about having them have their center of power be a hole in the ground and I thought it wasn’t really going to be as significant. It wasn’t going to stand out and have people say ‘Wow, Gee…look at that on the horizon’ You sorta have to walk to the edge and say ‘Welp, don’t wanna fall off into that, now do you?”
Richard Fife
Ya know, for some odd reason, I never really /saw/ the map of Tar Valon. Now I'll never unsee it...

Brandon never replied again. But I did get an email right after that notifying me that he is now following me on Twitter. Got one right after that re: Richard Fife. lol.
Thomas Keith
150. insectoid
Terez @149: Re: Tar Valon map... OMG. o_O Thanks for the mental image RJ!

Still no post? And no sign of Leigh saying there isn't one? Hope she's all right...

Kimani Rogers
151. KiManiak
Terez27@149 - re:Tar Valon map - My God! Add me to the list of folks who saw the Tar Valon map but never saw the map.

Thanks for the "Tweets of the day" posting from Brandon's reread.

I also hope Leigh is okay..
Theresa Gray
152. Terez27
I seem to have killed the Twitter convo for the moment. Maybe it's just that Brandon figured that was a good time to get back to reading, LOL.
John Massey
153. subwoofer
Wow, things are humming today:)

@Blocksmith- thank you:) My original plan all along was should the baby be a boy- have him grip a baseball in his left hand as soon as possible and teach him how to throw a curve ball. I am waiting to see how big Gabriella is going to be, but either figure skating or road/ mountain biking will be looming in her future. I am also going to be training her in the art of self defense myself. No boy shall sully my daughter unscathed.

Mellar/ Hanlon- methinks he makes a good baddie. And has quick hands to boot. Am waiting for a Mat moment with him.

Edit- barked so nice I did it twice :D

Karen Jacobs
154. KJacobs
Sub @ 153: I pity the first boy she brings home to meet daddy! I can picture it now - you, sitting at the table, sharpening your knives and putting new broadheads on your arrows.... :)
John Massey
155. subwoofer
I use expandable broadheads. Tempermental, but makes a big hole on impact and flys nice.

Er... anybody in the NY area wanna check in on Leigh and make sure she is not trapped under something heavy- furniture wise or anything? Or maybe Leigh *headdesked* one too many times and has given herself a concussion or rendered herself unconscious? Maybe she has fallen and cannot get up? Maybe Leigh fell down a well? Lassie- go get help!

Edit- does Leigh have a dog? Maybe she needs one for just this type of thing... or maybe a medic alert thingy... maybe we should start a pool to get Leigh a St. Bernard? I am sure one would fit in her apartment...

Wiebke Brammer
156. bluecap
terez @ 142: Re Lews Therin sensing people
Now that you mentioned that I just remembered a moment in the first chapter when Rand was surprised to find Almen there. Apparently Rand didn't know that Almen was there until the man spoke to him.
So when we believe that Rand can also sense the living and I think he maybe used that ability to kill all the Shadowspawn in Saldaea without damaging the fortress they were in, why didn't he spot Almen
Is there something about Almen we don't know? I can't think of nothing.

Also is there a difference between Shadowspawn and Non-Shadowspawn for the sensing-ability? There should be some I believe, but since they also live there could be non.
Maybe Rand had this ability already when he was for the first time in the Stone of Tear and used it unconciously to only kill the Shadowspawn and no human with Callandor.
At least, that's one possible explanation.

@ 155: I fear I'm to far away.

(I'm no native speaker and I apologize for my mistakes.)
Ron Garrison
157. Man-0-Manetheran
"Leiiiiiiigh. Leiiiiiiigh. Leiiiiiiigh."

"What is it Flipper?"
"I think he's trying to tell us something."
"What is it Flipper? Has something happened to Leigh?"
Daniel Goss
158. Beren
No, that can't be it.

Flipper died a natural death
He caught a nasy virus.

Yes, I am that bored.
Jim T
159. nabcif
Leigh did say in part 10 (search for "Scheduling note:") that there might not be a post on Tuesday the 3rd4th. So I don't believe there's cause to worry.
Sam Mickel
160. Samadai
Well the only Tuesday the 3rd is in May this year, so where the heck is our new post. ;P
John Massey
161. subwoofer
Maybe we should send up a signal?

Jim T
162. nabcif
Samadai@160: I have no idea what you're talking about. My comment clearly says Tuesday the 4th.

Daniel Goss
163. Beren
There once was a man from Far Madding
Whose pants had unusual padding.
He wore plate and chain mail
'Cause his wife used a flail
When he made a mistake in his adding.

Janet Hopkins
164. JanDSedai
Oh, no!
You know it's really slow when the limericks start showing up!
Sam Mickel
165. Samadai
I can't let Beren hang so,

There once was an Asha'man from Murandy
Who affected the airs of a dandy
He went to Far madding with the rest
But Kisman stabbed him in the chest
Too bad with the sword he weren't handy

Sam Mickel
166. Samadai
and just because I can,

There once was a Queen of Manetheren
Whose husband bore a sword with a Heron
In a huge battle was tested his gage
When he died she flew into rage
And now they live on in a legen..
Ron Garrison
167. Man-0-Manetheran
There once was a poster so witty,
To cure boredom, he posted a ditty.
'You're kidding me Sam!"
He replied, "Yes I am."
And we all giggled just a bitty.
Roger Powell
168. forkroot
With Leigh skipping another post ... out of curiosity, I decided to "do the math" to see if we are on pace to finish the reread (up through ToM) before AMoL comes out.

With AMoL projected to be out in March 2012, I went ahead and assumed that the reread could go up through the end of February 2012. Assuming that we resume Friday and continue to get two posts a week, we still have 103 posts left in 2011, and 17 more in 2012. A total of 120 posts.

Here's what's left to do:

Crossroads of Twilight has 15 chapters left.

New Spring has 26 chapters (Leigh has previously stated that NS would be included and would be re-read in publication order.)

Knife of Dreams has a prologue and 37 chapters

Gathering Storm has a prologue and 50 chapters

Towers of Midnight has a prologue and 57 chapters (and a non-trivial epilogue.)

This works out to 185 chapters, plus three fairly large prologues. Assuming that each prologue will take two posts, we are still left with 112 posts to cover the 185 chapters.

Since Leigh usually does two chapters per post, it looks good. There's even some room to miss a post here and there when life rains on Leigh's parade.
Sam Mickel
169. Samadai
There exists a poster named Sam
He posted short stories on the lam
He posted one too quick
It made most everyone sick
And the moderator canned it as spam
170. Freelancer
Sideways yet again
Sam limericks us anon
The Butler did it
Daniel Goss
171. Beren
A saldaean farmgirl named Fran
Tried a new way of catching a man.
So she danced the Sa'Sara
For almost an hour
Now she owns the band of the Red Hand!

(with apologies)
172. BenM
There once was a lady named Leigh,
Who worked hard on the WOT re-read,
The last one was great,
We can hardly wait,
Maybe we can find her with NEED.

Sandy Brewer
173. ShaggyBella
I got a nice Kindle for my birthday last month, and now the Tower of Midnight will magically show up on 1/31/2011, (since I preordered it!) How fun is that. I can find out what I missed by listening to the audiobook, like maps & glossery.
Sam Mickel
174. Samadai
Jaric darted in between the two buildings as he caught a glimpse of Rahvin. He ran down the alley and emerged in front of what at one time was a great palace. Here sat one of the greatest of the nine rods Stevan Ralon Therinal. He was Jaric and Lews cousin, dead these last seven years, killed when Ishamael proclaimed himself serving the Dark One. Shi'san had survived the last three years of the war, but now was under major assault by Rahvins forces. The gates of the city were still holding, though they could not expect any help. One of the Forsaken had placed a dream spike over the city and it was Jarics job to find, and some how destroy it. He had entered Tel'aranrhiod and had spent the last couple hours searching for the hiding place. He wasn't the strongest in the dream world, but both Lews and Latra were in charge of other defenses. He had not been one of the Aes Sedai that had come up with the plans to alter the buildings with the power to create traps and mazes out of the buildings and so far had no luck finding the center. He knew that whichever Forsaken it was would have set up traps around the spike just waiting to be released, so he could not just travel directly to it. Jaric moved up into the palace and and climbed to the top of the tower. Hoping to catch another glimpse of Rahvin, he wrapped his fancloth tight around his body and peered down upon the grounds. He felt someone weave Saidin seconds before a beam of fire erupted towards him. Weaving spirit he cut the weave as he split his own flow to make a gateway to the corridor he had just entered. As soon as he exited that one he created another one and opened one in the next street over from his target. Running down the street to get get away from the other channeler, he pushed into the back of an abandoned store front. Waiting quietly, he remembered Lews instructions. "Jaric, I need you to go into Shi'san, find the dreamspike and destroy it. One of our last Sedai with the ablitity to produce Ter'angreal is in the city and we need him to be freed. Rumor has it he is working on one that will stop flows spun at the wearer, if we are going to have any chance at winning this war we need him brought to Paaran Disen." "As soon as you have destroyed the spike, Haindar will travel in with his group, secure the area while you search for Joe'l Sedai. All I know of him is he is very weak in the power, but has great ability with Ter'angreal. We have his picture in the Hall of Servants, so go there, get a good look at him, then get going to Shi'san."

Part 2 tomorrow. Sorry I ran out of time
Alice Arneson
176. Wetlandernw
At this rate, I'm going to have to stop reading in public. There I sat this afternoon, in the pediatric dentist's waiting room, tears running down my cheeks as I read "The Golden Crane flies for Tarmon Gai'don!"


Incidentally, I noticed something about that chapter today. I'd never thought about it before, but the discussions here made it more obvious to me. Nynaeve's behavior in that chapter, which many say made them begin to like her for the first time (or at least ratcheted her way up on their "like" list) is, IMO, completely consistent with her character all the way through the series. This would explain why I never noticed it before, because to my reading it all "fit" the woman I already knew. It also makes me chuckle a little, because it's so true to life; often the same traits in an individual will cause both their worst problems and their greatest MOAs.


Sure is nice to hang out here with people who love this stuff as much as I do. :)
Alice Arneson
177. Wetlandernw
Even if you are awfully quiet lately, except for a few snippets of poetry...
Thomas Keith
178. insectoid
So, am I the only person who noticed that Tor's SQL server went boom last night? ;) JanDSedai and Free've got it right... we've gone sideways.

Sub continues to be hilarious. XD

BenM @170: That's pretty good! Fits in with our twitching nicely!

Sam @174: Oh boy, a fiction fiction! Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Kimani Rogers
179. KiManiak
A week+ without a post? My God!!! The humanity!!! Need a diversion; need a diversion…

The Top 10 Maybe-in-an-Alternate-WOTverse perfect matches:

10. Logain and Moiraine (Min foresees they will play major roles in AMoL, why not together? Plus, their names rhyme)

9. Galina and Arangar (both enjoy hitting on a pretty girl...where's Erian or Delana to help pass the time?)

8. Moghedien and Asmodean (Cowards united in love forever. Who would make the first move?)

7. Perrin and Egwene (2 incredibly stubborn masters of T’A’R find each other in the World of Dreams)

6. Cenn Buie and Elaida (does anyone in the 2R or White Tower, respectively, still respect either?)

5. Tam and Cadsuane (the only man who Cadsuane might actually respect; even if only a little)

4. Gawyn and Kiruna (“I am a monarch’s sibling and I can act out if I want to!”)

3. Therava and Semirhage (Who would scare the other more? Fear can be one hell of an aphrodisiac...)

2. Lan and Aviendha (two badass warriors who come together through their understanding of duty and honor)

and the Number 1 Maybe-in-an-Alternate-WOTverse perfect match is...

1. Mat and Leane (2 roguishly charming individuals (who really enjoy checking out members of the opposite sex, a little dancing, and maybe a little something extra) finally meet their match)
Kimani Rogers
180. KiManiak
What Ajah would they have been in?

(Classic sitcom version):
Golden Girls
Blanche – Green
Dorothy – Gray
Sophia – Blue
Rose – Brown

Brady Bunch
Carol – Yellow
Marsha – Green
Jan – Red
Cindy – Blue
Alice - Brown

The Facts of Life
Blair – Green
Jo – Red
Mrs. Garrett – Gray
Natalie – Brown
Tootie – Blue

Scooby Doo
Velma – White
Daphne – Green

(and one from a TV program from this century)

Sex and The City
Carrie – Green
Charlotte – Blue
Miranda – Gray
Samantha – Come on!

Hmm... not a lot of Reds or Whites to be found...
Kimani Rogers
181. KiManiak
And now, the guy version of
What Ajah Would They Have Been in:

Star Trek
Kirk – Come on! He'd probably be Captain General.
Spock – White
Bones – Yellow
Checkov – Curiously, I get a Brown vibe (although the joke would be "Red")
Sulu – Blue
Scotty - Brown "My specimen boxes cannae take the strain!"

Brady Bunch
Mike – White (he’s an architect)
Greg – I get a Red vibe
Peter – Brown (my memories fuzzy, but weren't he and Jan the brainy ones?)
Bobby - Blue
Sam – Yellow

Scooby Doo
Fred - Red
Shaggy - Brown

Night Court
Judge Harry – Gray, of course
Dan Fielding – Green
Bull Shannon – I get a Yellow vibe
Mac - Brown

and from a gone-but-not-forgotten TV program from this century:

Captain Reynolds - Blue (serious thing for (lost) causes)
Jayne - Green
Shepherd Book - Brown
Simon - Yellow
Wash - this one was hard. I'm gonna go with Blue

Edit - to correctly spell Jayne's name (thanks for the reminder, Sub! What was I thinking?) and avoid being thumped by the chayne of command (or being shot by Vera).
Grainne McGuire
182. helen79
Insectoid@178: No you're not (Tor SQL outage yesterday) as I noticed it and prob others did too. Probably just a timezone thing - in my case I'm on GMT so yesterday was notable in its absense of posts to read during teabreaks.
Tricia Irish
183. Tektonica
Kimaniak@179, etc:

ROFLOL. Very very good! And you sir, have WAAAAY too much time on your hands.


Very nice! More please. I love the scene/world/situation you've created.

Power outage. I couldn't get on for about 4 hours yesterday morning. I was hoping it was upgrade time, as promised, but alas, not yet.....We didn't do that, did we??

Going sideways is more fun than these chapters are!
John Massey
184. subwoofer

@KiManiak-Just about fell outta bed when I read the list of alternative matchups. Tam and Caddy. Yeeee! What did Tam ever do to you? Not that there is anything wrong with Caddy... other than being 300+ years old and not good at suffering anybody else with a pulse. And I think she's an alky- that's not tea she's drinking all the time. I speak from experience.

And I always pictured Lan with Sulin- both are er... aged and crusty veteran warriors.

Just an aside, but Jayne would thump you with the chain of command if he saw his name spelled that way.

@Sam- good times:)

Edit- because Wetlander would thump me if she saw my spelling;)

Rob Munnelly
185. RobMRobM
What a great idea. How about the two most gorgeous people in the series getting together - Berelain and Galad? How about it? Oh shucks, no doubt it's too implausible....
Jonathan Levy
186. JonathanLevy
178. insectoid
I also noticed tor.com was down. It was down for a few hours at least, I think.

I was expecting a post from tor services, but nothing... ;)
Heidi Byrd
187. sweetlilflower
So, I hate to put us back into limerick zone, but I thought of one last night as I was falling asleep.

There once was a reader of WOT
Everyday she went to Tor Dot
But then one day
Leigh was away
and to read, there was not squat

*No offense to Sam. I really want to read the rest of your story! Post it soon, please.
Thomas Keith
188. insectoid
KiManiak @179 et al: ROFL... you're killin' me! XD

Outages are annoying, but luckily for me it was overnight, so I didn't mind much. ;)

New Spring graphic novel comes out on the 18th. (I have all 8 issues already, so I'm not too worried about it.)

189. hamstercheeks
Where can I get the graphic novel? All I have nearby is Newbury Comics...

Happy new year, everyone!
Roger Powell
190. forkroot
Geez, I must be a dirty old man. When I heard the term "graphic novel" and I remembered some of what Lan does off-screen in New Spring I just assumed .....
Tess Laird
191. thewindrose
forkroot - What about the wonderful marriage night for Nynaeve and Lan ::giggle::

I do want to get the New Spring graphic novel, I remember subwoofer putting some of the pictures up and it looked well done. I miss Leigh, I hope that none of her New Years resolutions was to stop putting so much time into WoT. (My husband said that was one I should do - and of course I did not.)
I have been under the weather lately, so it was nice not to having to catch up on 500 comments, but I do miss this - Levy its about time for an interview.

Samadai - great stuff. Limericks and a haiku - no cinquain or acrostic yet?

Sharon E.
192. Sulin
Samadai- Yay! It's been too long since we've had a story from you. Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed it and can't wait for Part 2. :)
Tricia Irish
193. Tektonica

Feel better! Are you snowed in? My husband thinks I spend too much time on here too....too bad!!
Alice Arneson
194. Wetlandernw
thewindrose @191 and Tektonica @193 - my husband also thinks this... What's wrong with these guys? He keeps wanting to know if there's a group for WoT-widowers.

Kimaniak @ several - LOL!! Good ones! Liked the Firefly set especially. Here's my lame contribution.

Babylon 5
Sinclair - Blue
Sheridan - Green
Ivanova - Green
Franklin - Yellow
Garibaldi - Red? Green? Blue?
Delenn - Gray
G'Kar - Green (or later, Brown)
Londo - definitely Purple

You know, some of those are hard to decide.
John Massey
195. subwoofer
Meh- I'm not scared of my wife... I just er... have a small bladder so I post from the safety convenience of the bathroom on occasion. Yeah- that's right, that's my story, I'm sticking with it.

Alice Arneson
196. Wetlandernw
Oh, and a very very happy birthday to Maria Simons - "without whom these books would not be possible!"
Theresa Gray
197. Terez27
Quote of the day:

Austin Moore on Twitter - 6 January 2011Who was the Lord of Chaos that Demandred and Taim both mention? There has been tons of debate.Brandon
Really? I thought that one was obvious. What's the debate about?
It's Rand. Look in the BWB re: Feast of Fools.
Why was Demandred and Taim saying, "Let the Lord of Chaos rule" if it was Rand? Sorry just read through series once so far :(
Here's a quote for you: The Feast of Fools
Celebrated in Tammaz (in Arad Doman and the Borderlands) or Saven (everywhere else), the exact day varying according to locality. A day in which all order is deliberately inverted; the high perform lowly tasks (running errands, serving at table, etc.) while the low do no work and give orders to their usual superiors. In many villages and towns the most foolish person is given a title such as the Lord/Lady of Unreason/Misrule/Chaos or the King/Queen of Fools. Not an honor sought, but for that one day everyone has to obey whatever orders, however foolish, are given by the chosen one. (Called the Festival of Unreason in Saldaea; the Festival of Fools in Kandor; Foolday in Baerlon and the Two Rivers.)
Matt Hatch
I've always enjoyed this theory about the Lord of Chaos. It's fun. http://bit.ly/fghYSz
That is a good theory for people to be reading.
YAY. OMG, that theory has been on the rocks for years because of contradicting tour reports.
Also, your tour quotes were vague enough to allow it but most people didn't see it that way.
I didn't say the theory was true, just that you should study it. :) But I would like to see those tour reports.
Yes, yes. :) Also, your vague(ish) wording: http://bit.ly/gbMIP1 And the contradicting RJ reports: http://bit.ly/fsDp5q

Anyway, I have been hoping the balefire theory would turn out to be true. It's way more logical than the Dark One having that much direct power over the Pattern. Now we can safely say that most of it is due to the Fisher King stuff (food spoilage) and balefire.
Dorothy Johnston
198. CloudMist
I've got an alternative to "What Ajah would your favorite show's character be in?". Take your favorite show and cast, not the actors, but their characters in WOT roles. Since I came up with this by imagining Thomas Gibson from "Criminal Minds" as the perfect Carridin, here's my list from that show:

Agent Hotchner -- Jaichim Carridin
Agent Morgan -- Galad
Spencer Reed -- Loial
Agent Jareau -- Elayne
Section Chief Strauss -- Elaida
Penelope Garcia -- Verin
Agent Rossi -- Tam al'Thor
Leigh Butler
199. leighdb
Hi guys,

Sorry, I meant to comment and tell you there would be no post on Tuesday and it completely slipped my mind. Mea maxima culpa.

But no worries; I'm fine, completely not trapped under anything heavy, and there is a post scheduled to go up today.
200. jfh
Glad to hear that all is well & we can get our WoT fix today! That must have been some good New Year's Eve party!
James Hogan
201. Sonofthunder
Hurrah Hurrah!! Leigh, you're awesome...and yep, we did understand. I had my New Year's holidays on Monday and Tuesday myself, so I guess I can't grudge you a day off.

Can't wait for the next post...in about...*checks time*...2 hours or so? YES.

202. KiManiak
Leigh's okay
New post today

Yup, that's the extent of my rhyming skills, so much respect to Samadai, Beren, MoM, Ben, Freelancer, sweetlilflower and everyone else for the various ditties. And Sam, I'm anxiously awaiting part 2 of the story.

Re: Post 179 -181's the Top 10 list and "What Ajah...", I'm glad folks found it entertaining. Amazing what you can come up with in the middle of the night when nothing good is on TV and you're going through reread post withdrawal.

subwoofer@184 – re: Cadsuane, Tam and love – I bet that “love” looks at Cadsuane’s age and has a similar motto to the Horn of Valere “(One foot in) The grave is no bar to my call.” Oh, and I thought you had become a Cadsuane supporter recently? :)

Wetlandernw@194 – I like your additions, and its always great to run into a fellow B5 fan. I think we’re slowly fading out (and unfortunately, the special effects do not stand the test of time as my past week's rewatch of a few eps from Season 4 showed). I’m curious as to which Ajah you would have selected for Vir, Lenier and Lyta.

Oh, and when I reread my “What Ajah…” heading, I thought, “That was so grammatically incorrect. I’m sure Wetlander and a few others are probably just shaking their heads :) I admit to being a little unsure of the correct alternative; should it have been “In Which Ajah Would They Have Been?

Cloudmist@198 – I like your alternative but I admit I don’t know the cast of “Criminal Minds” that well…

New Leigh post coming soon….
Alice Arneson
203. Wetlandernw
KiManiak @202 - There's a reason I didn't include everyone.... :) Still,

Vir - Blue, I think
Lennier - Brown
Lyta - Blue

While it's true that the special effects are beginning to show their age, I still consider B5 the best SF show ever to hit television, (with Firefly right next to it - I sure wish they hadn't cancelled that). The only thing that really bothers me about it is wondering just how much better it would have been if they'd had guaranteed funding for the full five years from the start.
204. HebertLynne
Different people in every country get the credit loans from different banks, just because that is simple and comfortable.
205. Shobbs
So far as invoking the DIAF curse goes... I recall a conversation between
Amyrlin Siuan Sanche and young Matrim Cauthon about her no-good Uncle's heroic end. Everytime I read DIAF now, well, it doesn't come across as insulting to the party in question as to the memory of a man saving children.
William McDaniel
206. willmcd
I really like sarcastro @26's analysis of the succession situation, but would make one additional comment. To say Elenia is simply "ambitious and has the effrontery to challenge Trakand primacy" overlooks the casual way in which she thinks about assassinating her political rivals. Now granted, this is probably not atypical for political scheming (even in a contemporary sense), but it does shift her a little closer to the "heinous" end of things.

And I also have to say that that Jaq Lounalt is one mean son of a chit.
207. Gabster
"Chit" isn't quite the same as "bitch" - according to my dictionary it means "an arrogant or impudent young woman." So you have to be immature to be a chit, but you don't necessarily grow out of being a bitch.

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