Fri
Dec 3 2010 1:07pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Crossroads of Twilight, Part 6

Crossroads of Twilight by Robert JordanHail WOT fellows, and well met! Welcome back to the Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 4 and 5 of Crossroads of Twilight, in which we have adorable assassination stories, tinfoil hattery (medieval style!), and a lesson in how when you think you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

A DREARY, RUSTY, ANGSTY NAIL. Sheesh.

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, the post!

Chapter 4: The Tale of a Doll

What Happens
Banner-General Furyk Karede of the Deathwatch Guard sits in his room at the Wandering Woman and stares at nothing, while his servant Ajimbura kills a rat with his knife; Karede reminds him not to clean or eat it in front of anyone else. Karede has never figured out why Ajimbura left his hill tribe to follow him, especially considering Karede had tried to kill him three times before that. His desk is littered with requests for advice on the forces arrayed against them in Illian, but Karede knows that war is a secondary concern for him.

Oh, the Guards were always there whenever a major battle was fought, the swordhand of the Empress, might she live forever, to strike at her enemies whether or not she herself was present, always to lead the way where the fight was hottest, but their first calling was to protect the lives and persons of the Imperial family. With their own lives, when necessary, and willingly given. And nine nights past, the High Lady Tuon had vanished as if swallowed by the storm.

The city was being exhaustively searched for her. Even though Karede knows that Tuon has engineered her own disappearance on two prior occasions, his duty is to find and protect her regardless, or avenge her if she is dead. A slender blond man enters his room without knocking and shows his Seeker’s badge. The Seeker tells Ajimbura to leave, and is surprised that Ajimbura fails to obey until Karede repeats the order.

“A precious thing, loyalty,” the pale-haired man said, eyeing the tabletop, after Ajimbura pulled the door shut behind himself. “You are involved in Lord Yulan’s plans, Banner-General Karede? I would not have expected the Deathwatch Guard to be part of that.”

Karede moved two bronze map-weights shaped like lions and let the map of Tar Valon roll up on itself. The other had not been unrolled, yet. “You must ask Lord Yulan, Seeker. Loyalty to the Crystal Throne is precious above the breath of life, followed closely by knowing when to keep silent. The more who speak of a thing, the more will learn of it who should not.”

The Seeker surprisingly ignores the rebuke, and comments that Karede must be proud of his sons. Karede knows they are in no trouble (otherwise the Seeker wouldn’t have mentioned them so quickly) and only asks for the Seeker’s name. After a pause, the Seeker gives it as Almurat Mor, and Karede asks what he wants. Mor tells him that the Seekers have heard rumors from the locals that a girl with a Seandar accent has been seen extorting gold and jewels from merchants in the city, and “the title Daughter of the Nine Moons was mentioned.” He adds that the descriptions of her were very accurate. Flatly, Karede asks what the reaction is from the Palace, and Mor says that Suroth is extremely on edge and Anath has “taken to seclusion,” but otherwise are carrying on like usual, though some of the Blood have made quiet funeral arrangements. Infuriated, Karede deduces that Mor is implying that the Deathwatch Guards are involved in the charade, and says as much, demanding to know why Mor came to him, then.

The effort of keeping his voice level almost strangled him. Since the first Deathwatch Guards swore on the corpse of Luthair Paendrag to defend his son, there had never been treason among the Guards! Never!

Sweating, Mor asks for a drink, and to unnerve him more, Karede makes himself drink from Ajimbura’s cup, which is made out of a human skull. Mor gives Karede a rundown of his own career, noting that Karede had asked three times to be assigned to Tuon’s bodyguard even when his accomplishments rated a higher station. He also notes that after the second time Karede saved Tuon from assassins, she gave him her most precious possession, a doll, which Karede kept until it was lost in a fire ten years later.

Not for the first time, Karede was glad of the training that allowed him to maintain a smooth face no matter what. Careless expressions gave away too much to an opponent. He remembered the face of the small girl who had laid that doll on his litter. He could hear her still. You have protected my life, so you must take Emela to watch over you in turn, she said. She can’t really protect you, of course; she’s only a doll. But keep her to remind you that I will always hear if you speak my name. If I’m still alive, of course.

Karede asks again why Mor came to him. Mor tells him that on the same night Tylin was murdered, two damane were taken from the kennels, both former Aes Sedai, and several others also left the Palace: a young man who was Tylin’s pet, four armsmen, and an older man calling himself Thom Merrilin who was supposedly a servant but had too much education to be one. Mor suspects he was a courtier in disguise, and theorizes Tylin may have been murdered because she learned too much about him.

“If the White Tower had certain plans in Ebou Dar, they might send such a man to carry them out.”

Mor goes on that the damane were taken by the Lady Egeanin Tamarath, and the sul’dam she used had close connections with Suroth; he assumes that Egeanin released the other damane to cover her escape with them from the city. He adds that all of these people – Merrilin, the boy, Egeanin, and Suroth – have had “close dealings” with Aes Sedai in the past. Mor further implies that the reason he came to Karede is because he suspects his own superiors to be complicit in the conspiracy.

So. Suroth plotted with Aes Sedai and had corrupted at least some of the Seekers above Mor, and the White Tower had placed men under one of their best to carry out certain actions. It was all believable. When Karede was sent with the Forerunners, he had been tasked to watch the Blood for over-ambition. There had always been a possibility, this far from the Empire, that they would try to set up their own kingdoms. And he himself had sent men into a city he knew would fall whatever was done to defend it, so they could harm the enemy from within.

Mor says Egeanin’s party went north, but is sure they have changed direction by now. Karede is non-committal, and Mor casually adds that the fake Tuon was accompanied by soldiers wearing the uniform of the Deathwatch Guard. Then he leaves. Karede knows this could all be lies, but decides he cannot afford to ignore it, and sends Ajimbura with a note to Captain Musenge. The next day, Karede rides out of the city dressed as a civilian and meets Ajimbura in the woods, who leads him to a clearing where Musenge has gathered a hundred of the Guard, twenty Ogier Gardeners, and all six of the damane and sul’dam assigned to Tuon. Karede notes in particular the damane with the ageless Aes Sedai face. The der’sul’dam, Melitene, tells him that none of them would be left behind.

“As for Mylen…” That must be the former Aes Sedai. “After we left the city, we told the damane why we were going. It’s always best if they know what’s expected. We’ve been calming Mylen ever since. She loves the High Lady. They all do, but Mylen worships her as though she already sat on the Crystal Throne. If Mylen gets her hands on one of these ‘Aes Sedai,’ ” she chuckled, “we’ll have to be quick to keep the woman from being too battered to be worth leashing.”

Hartha, the First Gardener, doesn’t see what’s so funny considering they are trying to “catch the wind in a net,” and Karede replies that therefore they must spread their nets finely.

Musenge and Hartha nodded. For the Deathwatch Guard, what must be done, would be done. Even to catching the wind.

Commentary
Skull cup = NASTY. Them wacky primitive types.

Tuon + doll + Karede = DAWWWW.

Well, “Dawwww” in a particularly creepy Seanchan way, natch. Assassination attempts on small children: not something I ever expected to elict warm fuzzy feelings, really! (Lord.)

So, I really really tried not to let the terminology I was using in the recap here slide too far into Tom Clancy-ese, but it was damn hard, y’all. I’m pretty sure that this entire scene could be redone with minimal effort to be a conversation between an NSA operative and a Secret Service guy who’s just lost track of the President’s daughter. Or something; it’s not a one-to-one correspondence, exactly, but still.

The comparison inevitably brings up a topic I’ve been rather reluctant to get into overmuch (though I think I’ve discussed it at least a little prior to this), which is the undeniable but (I emphatically add) also not perfectly aligned parallels the Seanchan have with the United States.

I am reluctant to get into this not because I am unwilling to criticize my native country, because God and Usenet know that I am not exactly prone to reticence when it comes to Stupid Shit America Does, but because it is virtually a certainty that any discussion of the U.S.’s flaws (or virtues, for that matter) on the internet is doomed to devolve from intelligent constructive discussion into wild-eyed poo-flinging America-bashing almost instantly, in which no one listens to anyone and soapboxes are literally raining from the sky and blah blah blah shootmenowcakes. Some people might enjoy slamming their head repeatedly into metaphorical walls, but personally I prefer to do something more useful with my time.

In terms of WOT specifically, there seems to be a contingent of the fandom that blithely chooses to ignore the fact that some aspects of Seanchan culture could have been constructed to reflect on America’s without implying that America shares all of the traits of Seanchan society, particularly the negative ones. This I have to regard as people just being dicks, really, because it is screamingly obvious that Jordan drew from a huge number of historical and cultural sources to build the Seanchan culture, and the parallels to America specifically are by far in the minority overall. Not to mention there is not a single nation in Randland that draws all its cultural flavorings from only one source, so why should the Seanchan be any different?

All that being said, though, there are certain aspects of Seanchan culture which definitely smack of American influence. The most obvious is America’s (thankfully now historical) association with the institution of slavery, but the relevant one for this chapter is the decidedly non-historical phenomenon of the U.S.’s ever-increasing expansion of and reliance upon clandestine intelligence agencies to police both its affairs abroad and its citizens at home.

Again, I’m not going to get into this too much for reasons which should be apparent, but in my opinion the Seekers provide a pretty pointed example of what happens should you let your Big Brother tendencies run too far amok. Not to mention a fairly sharp criticism of the issues involved with intelligence gathering in general, as demonstrated by the way Mor has continually constructed hilariously almost-right-but-oh-so-wrong conclusions from the information he gathers—which is, again, part and parcel of Jordan’s larger theme about how nobody knows anything, ever.

But, er, it’s still kind of cool to read about spy stuff, ain’t it?

Anyway. The “fake Tuon” thing confused the hell out of me on first reading, because I was all, come on, they just happened to have Tuon’s stunt double hanging around on the off chance she got abducted? Are we in a Star Wars prequel or something?

(Obvious: Can’t be, the dialogue doesn’t suck enough! *runs*)

Later, of course, I got to kick myself for being a giant moron, for not remembering about Illusion disguises, and not picking up on the HUGE-ASS CLUE Mor drops here about Anath/Semirhage. I mean, duh, Leigh.

One thing I noticed about this chapter which I am now deeply puzzled by is two offhand comments Karede makes, which I am entirely unable to remember whether (a) it turned out they were connected and (b) whether anything ever came of them at all. Perhaps you can help!

The first statement is when Mor first enters and asks Karede about his involvement in “Lord Yulan’s plans” on seeing the map of Tar Valon, which Karede then rolls up. Now, that part is has been de-puzzled since Yulan’s Sooper Sekrit Sneak Attack on Tar Valon went awesomely toe up in TGS, yay, but then Karede comments that “the other had not been unrolled, yet.” By “other,” he means “other map,” I’m assuming.

Other map of what?

Then there is the comment further on:

When Karede was sent with the Forerunners, he had been tasked to watch the Blood for over-ambition. There had always been a possibility, this far from the Empire, that they would try to set up their own kingdoms. And he himself had sent men into a city he knew would fall whatever was done to defend it, so they could harm the enemy from within.

What city is he talking about? And is this city’s fall something that’s already happened, or something that hasn’t happened yet? And if the latter, is that what the unrolled map is about? Is this Yet Another Nefarious Plot? Do I need to bust out a “DUN” here? Or is Karede just reminiscing about that one time back in Seandar when he totally undermined Random Seanchan City X from within, and it was awesome and stuff, and it’s a city we’ve never heard of and never need to, and I’m just reading way too much into this?

This is what happens when your memory goes foom, I swear.

The Mylen thing, I’m not even touching. I feel so bad for her it makes my heart hurt.

 

Chapter 5: The Forging of a Hammer

What Happens

He ran easily through the night in spite of the snow that covered the ground. He was one with the shadows, slipping through the forest, the moonlight almost as clear to his eyes as the light of the sun. A cold wind ruffled his thick fur, and suddenly brought a scent that made his hackles stand and his heart race with a hatred greater than that for the Neverborn. Hatred, and a sure knowledge of death coming. There were no choices to be made, not now. He ran harder, toward death.

Perrin wakes, freezing and exhausted, and wishes he could talk to Elyas like he can the wolves, to hear if he’s found anything yet. The dream is not nearly as upsetting to him as the ones he has about finding Faile dead, but he senses there is something urgent about it, and seeks out the wolves. He thinks it’s strange that the nearest pack is so far away. The pack is eager to meet Young Bull, but when he asks them what a wolf could hate more than a Neverborn, they fall silent, and Perrin is shocked that the question fills them with terror and dread. They fade from his mind without answering except for their leader Leafhunter, who only tells him The Last Hunt is coming. He sends that he did not mean to offend, but the wolves do not answer.

The Last Hunt is coming. That was what wolves called the Last Battle, Tarmon Gai’don. They knew they would be there, at the final confrontation between the Light and the Shadow, though why was something they could not explain. Some things were fated, as sure as the rise and fall of the sun and the moon, and it was fated that many wolves would die in the Last Hunt. What they feared was something else. Perrin had a strong sense that he also had to be there, was meant to be at least, but if the Last Battle came soon, he would not be. He had a job of work in front of him that he could not shirk—would not!—even for Tarmon Gai’don.

He makes a twenty-second knot in the cord he’s using to track the number of days since Faile was taken, and curses himself for letting his anger make him sloppy; he had been in such a frenzy to find Faile that he had had the Asha’man jump them too far ahead via Gateways, and ended up wasting days backtracking and relocating the Shaido’s trail. Since then, though, he had been slowly but surely cutting down their lead on him, and now he estimates he is only two days behind. The trail indicates that the Shaido’s numbers have swelled considerably as they traveled, and they have left carnage in their wake, but Perrin doesn’t care.

He would find Faile and free her. That came before anything, even living, so long as he lived long enough to accomplish it, yet he was a hammer, now, and if there was any way to accomplish it, any way at all, he intended to hammer these Shaido into scrap.

Perrin rolls out from the cart he’d been sleeping under to find Aram waiting for him. Aram indicates Balwer and Selande are waiting to speak to Perrin, and Perrin sends him off to get his horse ready before going over to them. Selande has news from Haviar and Nerion (two of Faile’s eyes-and-ears, or “young fools” in Perrin’s estimation), whom he had sent to join Masema’s camp as spies. They reported to Selande that Masema had sent another rider back toward Amadicia the day before; Perrin is incensed to learn that Nerion had also tried to follow the rider. Selande is wary of his anger, but goes on that there are Altarans among Masema’s followers, and supplies marked from that nation, but Perrin dismisses that as the result of Masema’s so-called “recruitment efforts” which are no more than an excuse for pillage, coercion and murder as far as Perrin is concerned. Perrin knows he could shatter Masema’s army even though he has three times Perrin’s numbers using the Asha’man, Wise Ones, and Aes Sedai with him, but also knows that would only result in hundreds of smaller bands scattered everywhere and doing the same thing.

Breaking the Shaido will do the same thing, he thought, and pushed the thought away. Stopping Masema would take time he did not have. The man would have to keep until Faile was safe.

Then Selande tells him (warily) that Haviar has told her that he’s seen Masuri Sedai visiting Masema’s camp several times, accompanied by her Warder Rovair and sometimes another woman Haviar thinks is Annoura Sedai. Perrin doesn’t understand this at all, considering Masema loathes Aes Sedai and Masuri had told him flat out that Masema needed to be “put down like a rabid dog,” but forces himself to calm down, and answers only that Selande should tell Haviar and Nerion to try and eavesdrop on her next visit if possible. He tells her gruffly that she has done well, and to his surprise she lights up with pride and thanks him. She adds that she thinks grace has favored the Lady Faile in him, and leaves; Perrin doesn’t necessarily agree. Surprisingly, Balwer compliments Selande’s instincts, but says he has some points to add. Aram walks up with Stepper, and Perrin humors Balwer by telling Aram to fall behind while he talks with Balwer in private. Aram smells jealous, but obeys. They walk through camp, which is laid out defensively; Perrin suspects but cannot prove that Masema’s people are responsible for various disappearances of some of his forces. He forces himself to walk through the Two Rivers section, where the men avoid his gaze and Jori Congar actually spits when he walks by. Lini, Gill, and Breane are no better.

Perrin walked through his friends and neighbors and servants and felt alone. A man could only proclaim his faithfulness so long before he just gave up. The heart of his life lay somewhere to the northeast. Everything would return to normal once he had her back.

Balwer and Perrin have a discussion about the riders Masema is sending out; Balwer thinks he is conspiring with the Whitecloaks, as usual, but Perrin counters it could just as easily be the Seanchan, since Masema has treated with them before. Perrin asks his opinion on why Masuri is meeting with Masema, and Balwer comments that for some, whatever is not specifically forbidden is allowed, while others take actions they believe will help without asking permission first. Perrin supposes he could just ask, but Balwer doesn’t think that will do much good, and might do harm if it gets back to Masema. Aram butts in to say he told Perrin not to trust the Aes Sedai; Perrin silences him, and Aram reeks of fury. Perrin studies Balwer, and then suggests that they could send some of Selande’s friends to the Aiel camp, and some to befriend Berelain and, by extension, Annoura; Balwer approves of the idea. Perrin then tells him that rather than trying to guide him to things, Balwer should just make the suggestion himself.

“I’m not a clever man, but I’m willing to listen to people who are, and I think you are. Just don’t try poking me in the direction you want me to go. I don’t like that, Master Balwer.”

Balwer blinked, then of all things, bowed with his hands folded at his waist. He smelled surprised. And gratified. Gratified? “As you say, my Lord. My previous employer disliked me suggesting actions unless I was asked. I won’t make the same mistake again, I assure you.” Eyeing Perrin, he seemed to reach a decision. “If I may say so,” he said carefully, “I have found serving you… pleasant… in ways I did not expect. You are what you seem, my Lord, with no poisoned needles hidden away to catch the unwary. My previous employer was known widely for cleverness, but I believe you are equally clever, in a different way. I believe I would regret leaving your service. Any man might say these things to keep his place, but I mean them.”

Bemused at the “poison needles” remark, Perrin supposes Murandy must be a rougher place than he’d thought, and tells Balwer he needn’t worry about his job, and to “forget the flattery.” Balwer answers that he never flatters, and takes himself off. Aram mutters that he doesn’t trust him, or Selande and Co. either, and Perrin snaps back that you have to trust someone. To himself, he thinks the question is who.

Commentary
HOLY LORD, THE EMO.

You guys. YOU GUYS. You have no idea of the epic level of self-flagellating angst I just mostly elided for you. I deserve like a medal or something. Meritorious Service for Development of Emo-Filtering System. Yeah.

That, and I also cut out a metric buttload of extraneous recapping of The Perrin Sitch, which was just totally unnecessary, because obviously everyone rereads this series multiple times and knows exactly who what where when and how, right? And then has a blog where they comment extensively on it, and can practically quote entire passages of it from memory, right? So we don’t need your stinkin’ exposition, man, right? Right?

(Hello?)

And re: emo, look, I’m not saying a man whose wife has been abducted by a bunch of pillaging nutbar loonies doesn’t deserve to be upset about it. And I’m not saying that having your most loyal followers sneer at you because of FUCKING BERELAIN and her back-stabbing, lying-by-implication, eminently punchable self doesn’t most egregiously suck. And I’m not saying that having Mr. Ray O’ Sunshine, Psychotic Break In Waiting, Little Ex-Tinker Who Couldn’t following you around 24/7 wouldn’t bring down the general tone a tad.

I’m not saying any of that. But Jesus jumping floppy-haired Jehoshaphat writing crap poetry in a Goth club, y’all. IN THE DARK. I’m dying over here.

Well, at least we know now that all Perrin’s angsting about being a hammer here or whatever is all bullshit. The REAL hammer comes later. Aw, yeah.

That…sounded a lot dirtier than I meant it to. Er.

ANYhoo. At least Balwer’s here to be awesome, and tell Perrin he’s awesome when no one else will. Even if Perrin doesn’t even really get the compliment. Because yeah, I rag on Perrin a lot, and I’m cringing a little at how much emo we have to get through before Perrin finally gets his shit together, but honestly I wouldn’t bother to be this annoyed with him if I didn’t care about his character.

I mock because I care, people. And also because I can. But mostly because I care. Trufax.

Well, Selande also tells him he’s awesome, in her own way. Which, not coincidentally, marks the first time I’ve really liked her. So, two people out of five thousand or so. Yay?

As to what little actually happens in this chapter, as far as I can recall absolutely nothing ever comes of Masuri and Annoura’s secret meetings with Masema. I’m not even sure that we ever even get an explanation of what was said, or what the purpose was, on either side. There was more than one way Masema’s death in TGS was something of a cheap shortcut, narratively. One I was grateful for, as I’ve said, but still.

The only other thing worth mentioning in this chapter, since we’ve covered the emo bits more adequately than they really deserved, is the foul stench dream Perrin has, and the wolves’ reaction to his query about it. However, that’s about to be expounded upon much more in the next chapter, so I will put off commenting on it till then.


And that’s the sign for quittin’ time, methinks! Have a lovely and rusty-nail-free weekend, chirren, and I’ll see you next week!

144 comments
F Shelley
1. FSS
Thanks for the recap minus Perrin's self-loathing. He's almost as bad as Anikin in the Star Wars Prequels...
Chin Bawambi
2. bawambi
Thanks again Leigh for continuing to make our obsession vibrant and hale.
David Platt
3. The Not So Dark One
The secret police thing could be a reference to many societies from history (or present day) Cant say Ive ever thought that Senchean screams America but I guess there are some similarities.
Poohblah
4. Poohblah
Hey, I finally caught up with you. Yay!
I've been reading these for a month now and I'm finally up to date. I just wanted to jump in here and tell you how awesome I find this blog. I've been reading these blasted books (and I mean that in the most loving way, of course) for the last 20 years and it's great to get a new viewpoint on what has kind of become old material for me. Also, I think we could be best friends. :)
Ok, sorry, too creepy. Anyway, keep up the good work. I can't wait for more.
Suzanne Clewley
5. Sue#11
Thanks, Leigh.

Reading your recap I thought that "And he himself had sent men into a city he knew would fall whatever was done to defend it, so they could harm the enemy from within." was a reference to the White Tower sending Thom Merrillin to Ebu Dar. Of course that's giving Elaida a lot more credit than she deserves.

For an expansionist empire with secret police and slaves (including an enslaved native population) you only have to look at the Spartans. Their citizens were all soldiers (or wives/mothers of soldiers) serving the city.
Poohblah
6. jelsel
thanks again, leigh!!!

as to your query, i think it must be some Seanchan city Karede is reminiscing about, since i don't recall Rand taking back any Seanchan occupied cities, and neither is he about to...
Joseph Blaidd
7. SteelBlaidd
RE:NSDO@3 Soviet Rusia and Nazi Germany Spring to Mind.

The tale of a doll has always been one of my favorite chapters. Aside from The Awsome that is Karde and The Funny that is Mor's wild conspericy theory I love how it shows just how seriously Tuon takes the idea of doing her job well, for the good of her people. (What actualy constitutes the "good" of her people is up for debate of course)
Stefan Mitev
8. Bergmaniac
Excellent stuff as usual, Leigh. Hilarious once again.

The Seanchan secret police is much more reminiscent of something like KGB to me, with the fear they strike in everyone and the wide spread network of informants.

Chapter 4 is one of the better ones in CoT, quite a few interesting bits. Karede is a really cool guy, and the chapter shows a lot about the cutthroat and paranoid way of life of the Seanchan High Blood and those close to them. I was also quite puzzled by the fake Tuon on my first read.

Reading Chapter 5's summary I realised how completely I had blocked out all of this from my memory because I disliked it so much. I've reread everything in the series multiple times, but Perrin's parts in WH and CoT are probably the ones I've reread the least and have actively tried to forget, they are that bad. So much EMO, so much whining, and the plot makes no sense to me.

Even with Traveling it's taken them weeks to find the 100 000 Shaido and their captives? And can anyone explain to me why Perrin didn't try to find Rand and request help for battling the Shaido? This has always puzzled me.
Dorothy Johnston
9. CloudMist
Re the "other" map: could it be a future attack on the Black Tower? That's what I've always assumed. And BTW, ninth!
Daniel Smith
10. Smittyphi
Leigh, your comments rock.
Nuff said about that

I nominate Furyk Karede as having one of the THE coolest WoT names and one of the likeable Seanchan characters.

I had to skim Perrin's chapters here myself or I would have fallen asleep reading them. Perrin chapters aside, still a good book

Edit: Poohblah, welcome to the bunker. Someone should be by with cookies, sooner or later.
Melissa Shumake
11. cherie_2137
is the city he sent people into possibly caemlyn? after all, at the end of ToM, all hell was breaking loose there...
Leigh Butler
12. leighdb
Bergmaniac @ 8:
Even with Traveling it's taken them weeks to find the 100000 Shaido and their captives?

I left it out of the summary, but Perrin can't jump ahead on the trail because the Shaido are zigzagging back and forth erratically instead of following a steady path. That's also why he lost them in the first place.
Poohblah
13. Browncoat Jayson
When I re-read these sections, I find it a lot easier to read around Perrin's internal diatribe and look at what the other characters would see. You know, what you would get if this was a movie. Cuz then, Perrin is still made of awesome.

Seriously, if the only internal Perrin time we had was in the World of Dreams, I'd be a happy camper. Still angsty, but cut down A LOT.
Lannis .
14. Lannis
The more who speak of a thing, the more will learn of it who should not.

I love the little life-lesson truths that Jordan occasionally highlights. Say what you will about some misbegotten or illogical advice scattered throughout the series, some things are just real.

Leigh, the medal is on the table in the bunker. Next to the cookies. And the bottle of wine. Pick it up any time--we're not ones for pomp and circumstance around here... And THANK YOU for rescuing us from the emo, it is greatly appreciated! :)

And have a great weekend!
Poohblah
15. Blargh
...and these... are not the hammer...
Steven Pattingale
16. Pattingale
I liked the Ajimbura character, I wonder if we will see him again? Then again if every minor (or very minor) character gets screen time in AMoL it may end up being three more books! :D

IMO the best thing about this part of Perrin plotline is that it does (eventually in a few books) lead to ToM and the awesomesauce there.

@Browncoat Jayson
Good point about the movie. It is one way this would be a much less painful chapter!
Sanctume Spiritstone
17. Sanctume
I like the emo Perrin. The prolonged procrastination to step up and find one's self-(worth, confidence, esteem) could be a personal reflection of RJ on how he relate to his own struggles from young adult to adult. Not a midlife crisis, but more of a quarter-life crisis. If not a crisis, then a transition.
Poohblah
18. KiManiak
I like this arc and the focus on Karede, because it helps me to see the Seanchan in a different way than we’ve previously viewed them. With the exception of Egeanin’s actions in TDR, the Seanchan are usually portrayed quite negatively. I like Karede’s loyalty, dedication and sense of honor. It continues to be displayed as this storyline progresses, and it led to Karede being one of my favorite secondary/tertiary characters. I hope he does good things in AMoL.

As for Mor, he’s proof that no matter the society, conspiracy theories will always be present. I kind of like that they have paranoid, secret police types. It makes sense for an Empire such as this..

As for the comparison between the Seanchan empire and the good ol’ U S of A, well I’ll sidestep that for now (I hope for the intelligent, non-partisan discussion, but I’ll have my slingshot full of poo at the ready, if necessary). Leigh, I do appreciate the attempt at comparing/contrasting certain aspects of each “empire,” specifically the clandestine enforcement agencies. You made some interesting observations…

Oh, and I thought for awhile that the “other” map was for the Black Tower. Actually, I guess I still think that, even though there has been no movement whatsoever in that direction. I think this may just end up being one of those dangling plot threads that’s never explained.

And… Perrin obsesses about rescuing Faile. Thanks for sparing us from the worst of it, Leigh. You had me cracking up. “Jesus jumping floppy-haired Jehoshaphat.” That was priceless.
Sara H
19. LadyBelaine
Leigh,

I always thought that the city "that would fall" was Tanchico, since we see lotsa Seanchan operatives skulking about before it was conquered (off camera), but then again, he seems to think about a city that was conquered by them (Seanchan) but would fall "no matter what was done to defend it (by the Seanchan)" so I have no idea.

Huh.
Sara H
20. LadyBelaine
oh, and FWIW, I also loved the idea of what became "Cha Faile" when it seemed to be all women, mostly the pampered daughters of the nobility who must have felt somewhat vulnerable/helpless/useless as their nations (Cairhien/Tear) were conquered/overrun, etc... and saw the Maidens of the Spear and how they were confident and not vulnerable and decided to emulate them.... I thought it was cool, and it made sense to me that their activities made them something of a gaggle social freaks, and thus joining Faile's entourage made sense as she showed them some patronage.

It made sense, for example, how Selande seems to have been their founder, as she was used as a pawn by Colavaere and then had the shit scared out of her by Rand.... she must have decided that was "Enough. Of. That." and decided to take some agency in her own life. I like that about her.

I didn't get, and don't get still, why young *noblemen* ended up in her little femme warrior society, though.
Ron Garrison
21. Man-0-Manetheran
As a wise man once said, "There's a Seeker born every minute." Who knows who?

Seekers = Questioners = KGB = SS = Stasi = CIA, etc. All have been assigned the job of intelligence, and the power that comes with it will always be subject to misuse and corruption.
Bill Reamy
22. BillinHI
Leigh: Awesome as always! I generally don't think too deeply about whatever I'm reading at the time of the reading, so I never would have twigged to the fake Tuon being Semirhage. Semi obviously saw this as an opportunity to further her own plans for sowing chaos and set this plan in motion. I wonder if Suroth was brought into the plan from the beginning or after the fact?

Pattingale @ 16: I believe Ajimbura is still with Karede when he (finally!) catches up with Mat & co and takes Tuon back to Ebou Dar.
Heidi Byrd
23. sweetlilflower
Isn't there another Seanchan character that has a sidekick helper from the hills? Is it another General? I always wondered what that was about. For some reason I was thinking it was Mor, but now I think it is a general that Karede runs into during his search for Tuon. BTW, excellent job Leigh!
Thomas Keith
24. insectoid
Great post as always, Leigh—really brightens up my day!

Usually, when I re-read this book, the only way to get through it in any sort of timely manner is to gloss over Ch. 4: "Furyk Karede blah blah Seanchan blah Tuon blah blah may she live forever blah blah Seeker blah blah doll. Or something like that! (I try not to think too hard about the historical similarities, either.)

I pay a little more attention to Perrin's chapters. Not because I particularly enjoy them (they're boring), but because they are not about the Seanchan. ;)

Bzzz™.
F Shelley
25. FSS
@23 - yes, the general Karede runs into while looking for Tuon (who serves him coffee and is thankful he's not in charge of trying to deal with Arad Doman) also has a hill-tribesman who attached himself to the general.

Makes me wonder if the hill tribes have a prophecy telling them to get close to the Raven's neck or something, then they all kill their masters all at once.
James Jones
26. jamesedjones
23 sweetlilflower

You'll find the other example of a crazy, clingy, skull-drinkin' manservant in 'A Cup of Kaf' in KOD. It was the other Banner-General that Karede met with to discover what Mat was planning. It's one of my favorite examples of "Holy Crapcakes! This opponet is crazy good at what he does." Followed by the requisite misinterpretation of the situation and who's behind all of the awesomesauce.
Heidi Byrd
27. sweetlilflower
@FSS: yeah, I always wondered what was up with the hill tribesmen attaching themselves to others. Doesn't someone, maybe Karede, have a POV where he says the hill tribes hardly ever interacted with others? Ah, well, it will probably be another dangling thread that never gets tied up.
Brandon Daggerhart
28. BDaggerhart
but the relevant one for this chapter is the decidedly non-historical phenomenon of the U.S.’s ever-increasing expansion of and reliance upon clandestine intelligence agencies to police both its affairs abroad and its citizens at home.

Not to stir up something crazy here, but in case it hasn't been mentioned yet (I haven't read all the comments), this statement above could also be used to very effectively describe China, North Korea, Russia, Iraq, and many other countries that have either a fascist, theocratic, or a communist bent. I'm not trying to bash either of those things (in case you're a person who likes fascism, theocracism, or communinism), but just to point out that it's not just America that uses the c.i.a.'s to cause all sorts of mischief.

Maybe the 'other city' is Caemlyn?

As far as Perrin goes, not much to say, but in terms of things that happen later, I wonder if Perrin has really helped to nail closed the coffin on the whole Seanchan slavery thing with his temporary alliance with Tylee? I would have to re-read those sections to beef up enough to be able to defend my position (which I'm probably not going to do anytime soon), but I remember getting the feeling that it was heavily implied that Perrin's truce with Tylee was Very Important to future dealings with the Seanchan. Just sayin'

Also, something Leigh forgot to mention (and she usually does in these circumstances) is that the conversation between Perrin and Balwer is another great example of the good that comes when the (very rare) instances arrive in which people trust and relate honestly with each other.

Oh, and btw, dear gods I forgot how much I had blocked out of the Perrin chapters. This is tortuous. But the Karede chapter was actually pretty good, I thought, and introduced us to yet another not-so-bad Seanchan dude.
Damon Garner
29. IrishOmalley
I always felt Seanchan most closely resembled Rome. The way both nations devoured others, yet let them keep their traditions and leadership. (Under ultimate Seanchen control, however)
Noneo Yourbusiness
30. Longtimefan
"He makes a twenty-second knot in the cord he’s using to track the number of days since Faile was taken"

I know Perrin is not too swift but it took him twenty seconds to make a knot? Geez, how complicated are the knots he uses?

As for American Parallels in the Cultures in the Wheel of Time good or bad I never really thought about them because the time frame sets the general culture in a moderate 1400s or so. Because that is pre America the country I have not really associated the slavery or spying as reflective of the 1900s or the twentieth century (or knot)

I realize that the connections can be made but if there was a vowel conspiracy all words would be suspect even if they were not involved. Sometimes the ideas are just there but not intended to reflect they way they can if you hold the mirror ever so carefully this way...

And in the world of warped mirrors the Seeker's concocted conspiracy is a great moment of in world error in thinking because of limited information and a showcase for the reader how the characters can speak what they "know" while not giving correct information. And it is funny.

Hooray for the recap. Hooray for Liegh and her mighty typewritey.
Evan Langlinais
31. Skwid
@30 Longtimefan - That's sarcasm on the knot thing, right? Because "twenty-second" and "twenty second" are two different things...

I actually always liked Selande! For much the same reason as LadyBelaine at 20. It takes a lot to go through something like she did with Rand and decide "Fuck my way of life, I need something where I'm nobody's plaything" instead of just running away.
Janet Hopkins
32. JanDSedai
re: The other map

I always assumed that the other map is of Camelyn. One the Aes Sedai are "neutralized", the plan is to take the most central capitol of the land.

And yes, the re-establishment of some characters is painful, but a "what -has-gone-before" summary would not be able to tell us enough to remember what is going on without leaving clue-bats galore. So, we get chapters like this and Mat's (forty pages of Mat thinking how all women are out ot get him).

Some time-line references: Faile is abducted on Feb. 15. This is the morning of March 8. So Perrin's group has been chasing the Shaido for 20 days (two weeks).
F Shelley
33. FSS
Funny how we see other countries when discussing the Seanchan. I always thought of it as mostly Imperial China.

And I always thought of Andor as America, with teh Two Rivers subbing in as the Deep South.

As far as the slavery goes, I'm from the Deep South, and white, and the actual, no-kidding descendent of slave owners (dirt poor slave owners, but slave owners nontheless), so I feel an acute sense of shame on the subject. But to fair to the South, we were neither the first or last slave owners, so pointing at the Seanchan and saying they represent America because of the slavery issue seems a bit...too-easy on the rest of the world's collective history.
Tricia Irish
34. Tektonica
Thanks again Leigh, for saving us from Emo Perrin and for being hilarious. You make my Tuesdays and Fridays!

Love Karade, not his culture, but his devotion and intelligence. And the Doll story. Awwwwww.

I just can not bring myself to reread these chapters with emo Perrin again. It kind of ticks me off that so much time, and so many chapters/books are spent meandering in and around Perrin's camp, with many odd apparent clues being dropped, like Masuri and Annoura, with no payoff in sight.

Oh, I could go on and on about this, but we already have, so I'll just say thank you for the condensation.
Vincent Lane
35. Aegnor
Similarities between the Seanchan and the U.S.A. had never occured to me before reading your comments Leigh, and afterwords I'm even more baffled. Slavery? Well, yeah the U.S. used slavery 150 years ago, but the U.S. is unfortunately far from the only civilization or country to do so. Many many many civilizations throughout history used slave labor. It is hardly a defining characteristic of the U.S..

Then you go on to say "the relevant one for this chapter is the decidedly non-historical phenomenon of the U.S.’s ever-increasing expansion of and reliance upon clandestine intelligence agencies to police both its affairs abroad and its citizens at home."

Intelligence agency use against citizens at home is extremely limited. Unless you are talking about court ordered wiretaps for criminal investigations done by the FBI, state, and local governments? As far as CIA stuff, look at what a furer there was over the warrentless wiretaps, and that was listening in on conversations of people calling from the U.S. to overseas to known terrorists. Pretty much every country has intelligence services to one extent or another, and as far as using intelligence services to police its own citezens, there are so many countries ahead of the U.S. when it come to doing that that is would be difficult to list them all. If these are the examples you give for similarities between the U.S. and the Seanchan, the I don't really know what to say. Read about some real police states I guess, and maybe you'll have a better perspective (I recommend the movie "The Lives of Others" for one small example).

As IrishOmalley mentioned, the Seanchan match much more closely with the Roman Empire, as well as some Ancient Egypt thrown in as well.
Poohblah
36. pwl
Count me in when it comes to the second map being Caemlyn. It's the only other place with heavy foreshadowing of a Seanchan attack.

As for the Seekers and the "secretive international agencies", I find it funny that some people are talking about how they are corrupt. I mean, I agree, but note that in this chapter we have an example of a Seeker who is trying to do what is right, to actually seek out corruption and dangers to the Throne while his bosses are (apparently) corrupt. I mean, he's hilariously wrong, and he's been the villain to the reader since something like tDR, but here he's one of the Untouchables of the Empire.
Poohblah
37. hamstercheeks
Oooh, perfect! So if the other map was for Caemlyn, the Seanchan can ride in for conquest and end up saving the city from Shadowspawn! And then maybe a Seanchan officer will notice Olver's stunning resemblance to Hawkwing's right elbow, and forge an alliance with him on the spot!

In other news: Curious as to what Ajah "Mylen" was. Previous discussions had pegged Yellows as being generally tougher against the leash (Ryma and Edesina as proof). But it sounds like Mylen -- IIRC she was dragged half-dead from the sea -- was in Seanchan for quite some time. Maybe if it was for that length of time, and being in the Empire itself to boot, your Ajah wouldn't matter, or more accurately, who you used to be wouldn't matter at all, especially if Tuon's breaking you and you're surrounded by an entire society built on the damane principle. Poor Mylen!

Mor: wrong, wrong, and wrong. Amusingly so, but not for any of the Seanchan he meets.

Happy weekend, everyone!
Ron Garrison
38. Man-0-Manetheran
@30 Longtimefan: "I know Perrin is not too swift but it took him twenty seconds to make a knot? Geez, how complicated are the knots he uses?"
Well, if he was in the Wolf Dream he might have had to pause.

@31 Skwid: "to pause" - "two paws" wink. wink.
Maiane Bakroeva
39. Isilel
Yes, a very interesting Seanchan chapter. OTOH, while Karede is awesome, Mor is a creepy KGB/gestapo-dude who drove several people into treason just because he was gearing to throw them into the mills of his hilariously misinterpreted paranoia fantasy.

Also, not mentioned in the re-cap is that rebellions happen regularly enough in Seanchan for Karede having been able to distinguish himself quelling a few of them. I.e. it is not true that Seanchan are more peaceful that Randlandians, despite being officially one state.
It took them 7-800 years to subdue the whole continent - does this mean that some of those so-called AS rulers weren't that awful, after all?

Oh, and yet another reminder of Semi's complete ineptness here - despite Tuon's propensity to vanish, she didn't manage to abduct and re-model her in the 2 years that they were together? _And_ Semi was so incompetent that she didn't put finder weaves on Tuon's jewelry? And now she is just writing all that time-investment off? Sigh.
After her truly frightening debut with poor Cabriana, that is a sign of huge disappointments to come.

IMHO, it would have been much more interesting if Mat and Co. had to fend off angry Semiraghe and that provided the basis for reprochment between him and Tuon rather than the marking of time in the circus, surrounded by supremely irritating women + some contrived and ultimately meaningless battles.
Attack on TV still could have gone forward on Suroth's orders in her absence, even if Tuon was moved to question her convictions as a result of her stint with Mat.

Perrin - ugh. His snail-pace crawling feels so utterly contrived and is a huge pain for relatively meager gain IMHO. As of ToM I still don't see why we had to suffer Faile's captivity, Sevanna, Therava and Co. in such detail. For that matter, I don't even see why we were subjected to the travails of Morgase. IMHO, Perrin's problems with the Whitecloaks could have been easily resolved in some other way. Their accepting a "witch" Morgase as an impartial arbiter wasn't very convincing anyway.

Re: Masuri + Annoura - I will be deeply irritated if it turns out that one or both of them are DFs now, because shouldn't Graendal have included them in her poor excuse of an anti-Perrin plan in such a case?! And if not her, then orders to kill Perrin should have reached them from other sources.
I guess that we'll never learn what their sneaking into Masema's camp was all about, now. As we'll never learn about the purpose of Noal's suspicious sneaking either.
Jay Dauro
40. J.Dauro
Myelin was Sheraine Caminelle. We do not know her Ajah.
Rajesh Vaidya
41. Buddhacat
@FSS:

I would have pegged the TR as quite opposed to the Deep South as I understand it. The TR has had no history of slavery - in fact they have a rather opposite view toward it and in general feudal society.
Valentin M
42. ValMar
In parts of the books such as this is where Leigh well and trully deserves our gratitude!

Re: RL comparisons to WOT-lands, the US should only come to mind to someone who actually lives there. For me personally as European, and the quasi-medieval setting of WOT the RL comparisons are different. Andor appears to be generally speaking England, Tear- Spain, Illian- Italian mercantile state like Venice, Cairhien- looks like 17th Cent France/Borgia Italy, etc. All of these are generalisations of course. Linda has this covered to an absolute and total exhaustion in the 13th Depository. Or maybe not. Just looked and couldn't see it. Maybe I'm wrong about it.

Re the Listeners. Intelligence/secret services have to thread very fine line. IMO in the US it is done reasonably well, given the circumstances. In the Seanchan, they are a bit off, closer to the Iron Curtain-style orgs, but not there. Yet. But they've had a long time.
So far we haven't seen the Listeners move away from their core purpose. Haven't seen a Listener trying to get himself a nice lucrative shipping contract.

One last point. About the skull-cup. An East Roman (Byzantine) emperor got killed, with most of his army, by the Bulgarians in the 9th century. The Bulgarian King had a cup made out of the head of Nikephoros I to toast his victories.
F Shelley
43. FSS
@41 - I could see where you'd think that, if you're not from the south. it's funny when I read "sting" accounts from notherners or west coast people who come to the south to verify how racist we all are, only to discover that they can't find a single racist. I'm not saying they're not there, but even here they don't get very loud or visible about it.

I guess the TR would remind anyone from a small town at the tail end of nowhere of their home. It really does remind me of small-town southern life in a big way.
Rajesh Vaidya
44. Buddhacat
@43:

I don't see it. The TR is more like a New England small town than anything resembling the Deep South. As for not finding a single racist in the Deep South, I can probably name a half-dozen elected officials (*elected*) off the top of my head who fit the bill nicely.

Not sure if this particular conversation needs to continue anymore, though. No good has ever come from it in my past experience on usenet.
Bill Stusser
45. billiam
Wasn't there a quote from RJ saying he based the TR on his home town in the south? Does anyone else remember this?
Abdel Masdoua
47. TheDarkOne
Great Scott!

That's great:

I never ever saw the anvilicious clue about "decoy Tuon" and Semirhage, so thanks for that Leigh. It's amazing to see that after all these years and many many re-reads, you can, still, discover some tibits like that.

I guess that's why we love the series and keep on reading it!

It's just awesome!
Poohblah
48. Paralis Net
While TR might be based on a southern small town, to me it seems to be just generally a small town -- any small town. I grew up in western New York and Emond's Field doesn't seem too foreign to me. I don't see anything in the people of Emond's Field that couldn't be from my hometown any less than South Carolina or wherever.

I think Karede just means that he had also sent men to defend a town he knew would fall -- as he sees Tar Valon doing with Thom.
Poohblah
49. TimBuktu
"Jim once told me that he lived in the Two Rivers and suggested I check a map. I never had his mailing address though, and I couldn't exactly Google it, could I? But now, having been there, I can tell you that he wasn't kidding. He lives in the Two Rivers! Charleston proper is situated on a peninsula. The two bodies of water on either side of the peninsula are rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper. Jim and Harriet are very near the tip of the peninsula where these two rivers collide. They're deep in the Two Rivers. You might say they live as deep into
their Two Rivers district as Emond's Field is in its own."


Southerners write about the South. Sorry, Yanks and limeys.
john mullen
50. johntheirishmongol
I thought more of the Seanchan as a mix of Japanese and Chinese than anything else. The elaborate dresswear, the formality of the court was all very eastern in origin. The secret police thing I figured was cadged from a number of sources but the CIA falls way down on that list.

Having lived in the north, south and west, I pretty much figured the Two Rivers was in the south. Their cash crop is tobacco!

Emo Perrin sucks
Noneo Yourbusiness
51. Longtimefan
@ 38 Man-o-Manetheran

you made me laugh-o-laughetheran.
Poohblah
52. alreadymadwith2ndmap
Isilel @39
I've long theorized that Pre-Consolidation Seanchan was actually closer to the AoL model where Aes Sedai were closely integrated into their local communities. With their longer lifespans, it is not surprising they would gain positions of leadership or at least influence. Given the anti-Aes Sedai bias of Luthair and his men, they might have easily misinterpreted it as the Aes Sedai lording it over everyone much as the White Tower tried with Hawkwing. His historians and chroniclers might have gotten creative with the historical accounts in order to justify Luthair's invasion.

As for the second map:
I don't recall reading about it, but if I was to guess, Tear is the only city outside the Seanchan occupation zone where we found Seanchan agents. It would make sense. Their drive so far has been west into Illian. Perhaps Illian just happens to be in the way, and their true target is the Stone of Tear.
William Fettes
53. Wolfmage
Aegnor@35

"As far as CIA stuff, look at what a furer there was over the
warrentless wiretaps, and that was listening in on conversations of people calling from the U.S. to overseas to known terrorists."

That's quite wrong. The illegal warrantless wiretapping program was conducted under the auspices of the NSA not the CIA, and it certainly wasn't dealing exclusively with surveilance of terrorists. Bush officials defended the program as only surveiling American citizens in so far as they were associated with overseas terrorists. However, like many opaque, kneejerk bellicose programs that are not subject to proper judicial review, it had considerable scope creep. There are several examples of surveilance of American citizens without any evidence of terror association beyond communications overseas, such as the US lawyers who were representing that Saudi Arabian charity.

Even the much improved oversight afforded under the traditional FISA system, which has replaced warrantless wiretapping, is only dealing with a probable cause standard of the target being a terrorist -and that is considerably less than an objective standard of knownledge.
j p
54. sps49
Arg, Man-o-Manetheran @21, the CIA is the only agency in your list that is supposed to be For External Use Only, not a secret police against your own citizens.

IRL, though, intelligence gathering and estimate- making can get that bad.

FSS @33- I always felt T2R = Appalachia, with less religion and more education. Maybe New England; all that Yankee-style practicality.
craig thrift
55. gagecreedlives
"And he himself had sent men into a city he knew would fall whatever was done to defend it, so they could harm the enemy from within."

Could this be a hint that Karede and the Deathwatch Guards have some sort of working relation with the Blood Knives?

Would love to see Hartha, the first Gardener meet up with Loial or Elder Haman.

MoM@38

Lol good one
Birgit
56. birgit
Karede had never puzzled out exactly why Ajimbura had left his hill fort home to follow one of the Deathwatch Guard. It was a much more circumscribed life than the man had known before, and besides, Karede had nearly killed him three times before he made that choice.


Ajimbura probably follows Karede because he nearly killed him three times (something like Aiel gai'shain).

Re: Masuri + Annoura - I will be deeply irritated if it turns out that one or both of them are DFs now, because shouldn't Graendal have included them in her poor excuse of an anti-Perrin plan in such a case?!

Only if she knew they were BA. Alviarin once thinks that Mesaana doesn't know all BA, why should Graendal know more?
Tricia Irish
57. Tektonica
RJ no doubt did live in the Two Rivers! He obviously loved the place from the way he wrote it, almost idealizing small town life.

When I first started the series, I didn't know anything about RJ or where he was from. I am from the midwest, and it seemed exactly like an isolated town out in the rural hinterlands where I grew up. That we can all identify with it, from the North, South, and Midwest, at least, certainly speaks to RJ's appeal.
Poohblah
58. Loghain's Brother
Actually, there are a few parallels between the Seanchan and the US that all of you Americans seem to miss, and I think they are more evident for someone who knows the US from outside:

These have sprang into my attention around the prologue of KOD, in the aftermath of Rodel Ituralde's attack on the Seanchan.

The americans are a very business like and
bureaucratical people. Especially the US army and intelligence services. Strict hierarchy, chain of command and specialization.
This structure allows less oportunities for creativity or individuality, but also allows efficient management and constant improvement.

As Rodel Ituralde comments, and as seen later on several occasions (especially Aviendha's future vision), the Seanchan are very strict and effienct administrators.
Also, they never make the same mistake twice. Every time an enemy presents a new tactic, they draw conclusions and improve their tactics.
Much like the US. Commities, reports, instruction manuals and discipline.

That's what allowed the US to become the only super power in the world, and that's what allows the Seanchan to be this unstoppable war machine and efficient government.

I'm curious to see how far the analogy will go. Since history shows us that no empire managed to survive forever, and it seems that the US might be starting down the same path many have went before: Comfort, decadence, corruption and stagnation.
On the other hand, the Seanchan are also an oppresive government that doesn't seem to let it's minions set into decadence, though it could be argued that they haven't actually finished their period of wars yet.
Boquaz
59. boquaz
RE: The South

I wonder if RJ was a fan of the legend that settlers in the southern US were descended from the Norman cavaliers (in contrast to the "Saxon" north). It was a popular legend at one time, full of dashing romance and a "we conquered you a thousand years ago in England, so we deserve to be in charge here too" vibe.
Rahul Luhar
60. Gerontius
"And I’m not saying that having your most loyal followers sneer at you because of FUCKING BERELAIN"


Ha! Nice pun.
John Massey
61. subwoofer
@MoM- heh:)

@Leigh- You wanna medal? You could have just skipped over these chapters like the rest of us, summed it up with- Perrin is all sappy and irrational like and left it at that.... Ooh yeah, and maybe throw in a "Berelain hobags out" line there somewhere. Not that there is anything wrong with that. As for making a movie about this- it was called Twilight. It sucked so much they made it into a trilogy because apparently American Teens identify so much with it they can't get enough.

We don't have to talk or lament about America's past here, the present day crap that is Twilight is all to real. Honestly, when crap like that is released, and folks- read America's youth- are so into crap writing and pretty boys that they warrant a second and third movie?! Methinks of Rome just before it went sideways. To think, these kids are going to run this place some day. Hope they come to their senses before.

You think I used the world "crap" too much? It is hard to find something that describes that kind of... crap... as well as that word. Well, maybe I coulda used the word "guano". Sorry, just suffered through that drek babysitting a couple of tweens. I honestly came this close to giving them some of my ice tea. Gah!

Woof™.
John Massey
62. subwoofer
Hmmmm.... about the chapters- is there any wonder why when we had the cage matches I protested that we did not include any of the Deathwatch Guard. One word Badasssss! Love Hartha.

Balwer- bummer of a name, really dude.

Karede- that kind of loyalty cannot be bought. One of the few bright spots of the Seanchan empire. Pity his empress is such a tit.

Okay TOR- last year I didn't get my dingle ball, so this year I wanna skull cup. Keep it festive for the holiday season:)

Woof™.
F Shelley
63. FSS
@59 - that's very interesting. I've never even heard of that. Of course, the South that I'm from isn't the Virgina/Carolina brand of South that springs to mind for most. I'm more Georgia/Mississippi/Tennessee (lord I hope I have all the s's, i's, and e's halfway correct there), where most of the people are descended from the Scotch Irish or English. By and large, we're against the notion of one set of people being "better" than another.

Of course, RJ being from Charleston and educated at the Citadel (no girls allowed!), he may well have been familiar with that idea...
Valentin M
64. ValMar
Sub @ 62
All it took to buy Karede's loyalty was a doll and tatoo ;)
Joking aside, the Deathwatch devotion seems to be bourn out of sheer zeal, bred for centuries. This reduces it's awesomeness, IMO.
Poohblah
65. elliesaurus
The only obviously American parallel I can draw between the Seanchan and the US is the accent: somewhere in the WOTFAQ it is said that the "slow drawl" sounds Texan. I'm not too concerned about it, honestly. America has its great things and its flaws, and if the country is drawn upon as one of the sources of a fictional society where influences are thrown in a blender and frappe'd, then that's fine with me!

Also, coffee. But I don't think we were the first to discover that, just the first to consume so much of it. .___.;

-elliesaurus
j p
66. sps49
subwoofer and Ajimbura-

http://oglaf.com/skulls/

(This one's OK, but not all are SFW)
craig thrift
67. gagecreedlives
Sub@62

Im sure you can make a cup out of this mate. Its even got attached dingle balls

Poohblah
68. KutuluMike
subwoofer @61:

Hate to ruin your week, but: Twilight is a tetrology. And from what I read of Breaking Dawn (perhaps the only book I have ever refused to finish) it's easily the stupidest of the lot. Considering the emo-fest that is New Moon, that's saying a lot.
Ron Garrison
69. Man-0-Manetheran
Longtimefan: Thanks. I loved your original joke, but then I get Gaul's jokes too.

@54 sps49: You are right. I added it as an afterthought, but it was more of an afterNOthought.

@58 Loghain's Brother: Now if we could only get that efficient government thing down...

@61 Woofer: Yeah. "Crap" pretty much sums it up. It's descriptive and onomatopoeic... Unless it is hitting a fan. "Balwer-bummer of a name, really dude" - still giggling.

ooo, ooo, sixty-nine!
John Massey
70. subwoofer
@GCL- ::sniff sniff dabs tear::
It's so beautiful. And it has a handle:)

@KutuluMike- How is that possible?! That it made it past book 1 and the author hasn't either been put out of his misery or done the honorable thing and ended it... Gahhhh!

@SPS- nice:)

Here's a question- the wolves call Tarmon Gai'don the Last Hunt, and the wolves are going to die- but are they going to fight this battle in the RW or in the Wolf Dream? For that matter, is it possible to kill Darkhounds in the Dream? Do the Hounds appear in the Dream?

Woof™.
Alice Arneson
71. Wetlandernw
Bergmaniac @8 - " And can anyone explain to me why Perrin didn't try to find Rand and request help for battling the Shaido?" What, you want it to last even longer while he waits for somebody to try - unsuccessfully - to figure out where Rand has been for the last couple of (WoT) weeks? During the time span we're talking about - Perrin's 22 days - Rand has been hopping all over Randland, and the only way anyone was able to find and catch up to him was through Alanna's bond. Not saying he shouldn't have considered it, but I'm glad he didn't waste time trying it. As it turns out, he did just fine without Rand's help, it just took a while. And it wouldn't have produced the necessary character development, if Perrin went running to Rand for help every time things went sideways. He needed to learn that he could do things himself, he could come up with good plans, he could lead effectively, and all that good stuff. The result of all this stuff in ToM is a man who's finally ready to be a major help to Rand in the Last Battle, instead of a wimp who can't do anything without Rand's guidance.

Seriously, folks, when AMoL comes along, I don't think Rand can afford to be the one directing all the traffic. He's got a big enough job to do on his own. Mat and Perrin are critical to the survival of Randland in other ways, and they both needed the events of these books to mature into men of responsibility, character, and confidence. At most, Rand needs to be able to tell them what needs to be done, give them free rein with the resources, and let them figure out how to do it. There are others who will carry a great deal of the effort as well, but these are the three ta'veren the Pattern spun out to do the job as best it can be done, and they need to grow into the part.

While I'll admit that it's not terribly fun reading, I don't dislike this plot line nearly as much as others do. I actually enjoy seeing Perrin change throughout these upcoming books. Of course, the payoff in ToM has increased my enjoyment; I'd have been frustrated if Perrin had gotten all the way to the end (or died) still fretting about his perceived inability to lead, but then I never expected that to happen. And it didn't, of course.

Incidentally, I loved the solution of the "sleeping in Berelain's tent" problem in ToM. It was totally sweet. (In the saaa-WEEET! sense, not the kittens-hugging-puppies sense.)

Longtimefan @30 - I see what you did there. Complicated knots, indeed. :)

JanDSedai @32 - Well, actually it's the 22nd day... But yeah, two WoTweeks.

FSS @33 - I agree whole-heartedly. While it is indeed a shame-inducing issue, it's hardly ours alone. It goes far, far back in history, and is not completely rooted out even in our time, though the institution as an acceptable part of a "civilized" (whatever that means) country is mostly gone. Yes, pointing at a slave culture and saying that it therefore represents America is being far, far too easy on the rest of history. Which I'm sure Leigh knows, but it's well worth the pointing out.

About Masuri & Annoura... are we sure we're done with that? Yes, Masema is out of the picture, but given Aes Sedai, he might well have been only a means to an end. They may still sneak in and attempt to bite Perrin. Or... something else.

Aegnor @35 - Very good points re: intelligence services. I must admit that I, like many others, thought first of the Nazi SS and the KGB, where innocent civilians did have cause to worry about simply being noticed by them. I may be sheltered, but I don't have any fear of the FBI or CIA; my life is pretty open, and I don't worry that some innocent action will be interpreted as a conspiracy. As far as I know, this is not something we as Americans have ever had to fear, so the whole Seeker/Listener business doesn't make me think "parallel to America" at all. ::shrug::

hamstercheeks @37 - I like the theory! Not sure about the Olver part, but it would sure do a bunch of the Seanchan some good to come up against real Shadowspawn. They might get over "The Return" and get serious about the Last Battle, finally.

FSS & Buddhacat, et al - Here you go (from RJ's blog, 2 Oct 2005):

I don't think there is any similarity between Hobbits and the Two Rivers folk. The Two Rivers people are based on a lot of country people I have known, and among whom I did a lot of my growing up. I did try to make the first roughly 100 pages of EYE seem somewhat Tolkienesque. I wanted to say, "This is the place you know, guys. Now we're going somewhere else." And then the Trolloc kicked in the farmhouse door. But I didn't take it to the point of trying to make the Two Rivers folk seem like Hobbits. I mean, I love The Lord of the Rings and have read it at least a dozen times, but when you have too many Hobbits together, they can be so bloody cute that I need a stiff drink.


I left that last in just for the grins.
Attila Toth
72. thadson
I wish I was still a few months behind...
As much as I enjoy the new posts, I totally hate waiting for them...

On TV, I even record many episodes of a show, and I watch them in marathons... So, when i started reading the re-read, I was sooo happy to see that it would take forever to get to the "present"...

Fat chance... a few sleeples nights and here I'm... AGGGhhhh...

So back to the subject matter: EMO and Perrin...
Why can't he just get with the program, like Galad (and he is a Whitecloak..., I mean, seriously...) Galad's approach is that "shit happenned, but I have to do the right thing and take responsibility". I know, I know, Perrin has to develop as a character and so on and so on... But I always thought that his mental whining was a bit overdone... How much soul searching one would need to start recognizing the need to take responsibility (yeah, sometimes he does take responsibility, he just does not recognize that he is doing it.) I was so glad to see him getting over his "Why me? Why me?" phase in TOM.

Sometimes, like in these chapters, he really pissed me off, even with all his awesomeness...

Karede: I always liked the dude... I can't feel but respect for someone who would choose to lay down their life to protect someone, and he is smart as well...

Seanchan: The more I think of them, the more "terror" and infuriation I feel... they seem like an indestructible force, that completely set in their crazy, alien, disgusting, conquering, slave keeping, all humiliating ways that would make me want to hide in a very tiny hole, where no one could ever find me... very well written... ...and of course (and luckily) I have no idea how that whole mess will be solved. Because, for me, it seems completely unsolvable at the moment. I hope I will not get cheated with some offhand solution like "...and suddenly all the Seanchan just died with no explanation... end of story..., lets get back to Tarmon Gai’don..."
That would be pretty bad...
Jonathan Levy
73. JonathanLevy
20. LadyBelaine
I didn't get, and don't get still, why young *noblemen* ended up in her little femme warrior society, though.
Let's think about that. A group consisting entirely of young, unmarried women. What possible incentive could there be for a man to join? It's as crazy as a guy trying to join a cheerleader squad.

30. Longtimefan
Re: Knots
Har Har Har

@Several
Re: Seanchan and USA.

I'll open this can of worms, though I fear that despite my best efforts, someone will think this a personal comment upon themselves, and take offense. But I feel I must address some of the ideas expressed here, which echo a general malaise which has gripped our culture.

We Americans are *****. After a century which saw the USSR with millions of innocent people sent to the gulag (not to mention collectivization-induced starvation), East Germany (where about a third of the population were informers for the Stasi), North Korea with hundreds of thousands of stunted, malnourished people forced to dance in squares to the glory of Kim Jong Il - not to mention Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Communist Albania, Romania, China, etc etc etc we read about a fictional totalitarian state and say - "hmmmm, the parallels with the USA are unmistakeable."

It's *****. I really really really think it's *****. And that clever, well-read, coherent thinkers who express themselves intelligently on so many other subjects can say such a thing with a straight face fills me with despair.

Even with no knowledge of history, the fact that you can publicly utter such a statement proves that it is false. If the US had anything remotely like the Seanchan Seekers, would be too terrified to criticize them in public. Nobody in Seanchan ever had a blog (or stuck a poster on his home, which I guess is the equivalent) saying "Down with the Seekers".

For all its faults, the USA is the free-est country in the world, the envy and aspiration of billions - who revile and abuse her even as they flock to her shores. Yes, we must keep an eye on our government, and limit its powers to prevent abuse. Yes, power corrupts, and we must guard against that corruption. But we must not pretend that we're just one step away from the last extreme of tyranny. If we are to prevent the decay of our freedoms, we must strive for clarity and precision of thought and word. To say that Seanchan (a totalitarian monarchy in which a citizen can be arrested, tortured and enslaved or executed on the word of an individual, with no appeal or due process) is an obvious parallel with the USA (with its Constitution, bill of rights, elections, trial by jury with counsel, right of appeal, and supreme court) is to make a mockery of those who suffer under Seanchan-like governments, and to deprecate the value of our institutions which save us from such a fate. I do not consider this a correct comparison at all. The fact that this has become the politically correct sort of thing to say just shows how much self-loathing has replaced real analysis in our society.

There it is.

It had to be said.

Where's that bunker door....

:: flees ::

(BTW, the '*****' are my own choice)
Valentin M
74. ValMar
J Levy @ 73
Very well put on the Seanchan vs US comparison. There might be some issues or not in the US but to put them ahead of states like the Soviets, GDR, N Korea, Nazi Germany...
As for the free-est country in the world, I'm pretty sure that most western style democracies are on par with each other.
Tricia Irish
75. Tektonica
JonothanLevy@73: Bravo and thank you. Well said.

I'll be happy to join you in the bunker.
Bill Reamy
76. BillinHI
Jonathan Levy @ 73: Let me add my kudos and a "Well said and done!" I will also join you in the bunker although I don't think we really need to hide from anyone who would massively attack us for our views.
Tess Laird
77. thewindrose
I never cottoned on to Semi disguised as Tuon here either!

Jonathan Levy - I agree. Also - this bunker seems to be getting low on food and drink! I have left over turkey and am making some Turkey Tetrazzini today - I will bring some to the bunker as well.

I like Karede as well - and hope to see him in aMoL. All it took was a doll and tatoo - very funny ValMar:)

tempest™
Jonathan Levy
78. JonathanLevy
@several
I appreciate the company in the bunker. Drinks are on me! :)
Marita Maskulin
79. Marita
Umm.. This is totally unrelated to anything in those chapters or in the comments, but I just thought of something and I need to spill it out before I forget. Also I don't know if this has been discussed in the spoiler threads, so sorry if it has already been brought up.

I remember vaguely that the Aes Sedai travelling with Mat were amazed and horrified by the fact that the suldam knew ALL the weaves taught to damane, including the deadly ones. So crazy thought here.. Now that the remaining two are on their way to the White Tower to become Aes Sedai too, could it be possible that the Aes Sedai (or Egwene) would be so smart that they would let them teach them (esp. the Green Ajah) those weaves? You know, in preparation for the Tarmon Gaidon.
Thomas Keith
80. insectoid
JLevy @73: ::applauds:: Bravo sir!!

Bzzz™.
Poohblah
81. ONEwithPOWER
JLevy @73: Well Done Sir! (And thanks for the drinks)
And while I heartily agree with the ridiculousness of some of the suggested parrallels (or the fact that there are even enough to merit a comprison) between the U.S. and Seanchan, my affinity for instigating debateish scenarios just for the sheer fun of arguing, as well as an overabundnce of time on my hands has inspired me to present an argument that with things like say, the patriot act, we are well on our way to being worthy of a choice for comparison... FWIW
(After all, the average citizen can now legally be searched without warrent, arrested without charge, detained indefinitely, and tortured, all just under a "suspicion" that needs no specifying other than the utterance of "terrorist")
(or an enemy of the Crystal Throne..?)
Heidi Byrd
82. sweetlilflower
@OnewithPower:
While your claims may have some basis, if I go on a rant about how awful the government is, and post it all over the web to really rub some noses into the dirt, I am still not a terrorist. No one is going to bust down my door and haul me off to some secret military jail and torture me for saying, "Our government officials need to pull their heads out of their rears and get something accomplished with these tax cuts!"
However, I think Jonathon's point is that there are several gov'ts in this world that would haul me off for saying anything so critical in a forum where anyone could read it. And, I assume, the Seanchan probably work the same way what with the whole, "may she live forever" thing.
John Massey
83. subwoofer
Well then... I see the flag waving has begun...

We always seem to go there- le sigh.

For me I always thought of the comparison of America to Seanchan just because I always viewed Randland as Europe. RJ has always talked about an empire with Hawkwing. I am sure that one of the sites- 13D or Theoryland or something makes comparisons with the way that England or Persia or something that conquered most of Europe. So with this in mind, said ruler of an empire sends out troops to explore and conquer the rest of the world... Boom we have the new world- America/ Seanchan. Grows to this massive world dominating empire in its own right. There is a succession from European rule- Seanchan no longer has a connection with Hawkwing. Big war happens in Randland... much like WWI or WWII. Who comes to the rescue...hmmm.

Well, I'm sure you can see where I'm coming from. No flag waving. RJ, like Tolkien was just world building from what he knew. I dunno why folks have to go to the dark side talking about the "bad stuff" about Seanchan and making comparisons to the "bad stuff" in America. What's the point? And is it necessary? From a simple world and war perspective, the comparison is obvious, and for all the right reasons- not all the wrong ones.

Edit- if we really want to talk about the American invasion of Europe, I would be referring to the beach head established in Zaandam that would later spread to the rest of Europe.

Woof™.
Alice Arneson
84. Wetlandernw
I'll contribute peanut brittle and Irish Cream fudge to the bunker doings. Nothing else to say tonight. Thanks, JL. :)
Jonathan Levy
85. JonathanLevy
83. subwoofer
I say, better a moderate and judicious amount of flag-waving than an equal amount of flag-burning! :) Though of course, both are a source of evil when carried to extremes.

As for the similarities you point out, they are undoubtedly true, but I think they are so vastly outweighed by the differences that we cannot consider them parallel events.

In WoT, the king's son went with his army to carve out a kingdom. In our world, the American colonies were founded by men and women fleeing poverty and persecution - not by regiments of redcoats under the Prince of Wales.

In WoT, all contact with Seanchan is lost - their independence is gained by default. In our world, there is a bloody war for freedom from foreign control.

In WoT, the armies return a millenium later in order to reconquer and resettle, and are the cause of major wars. In our world, the US entered existing wars and brought them to an end - and then withdrew. The only lands possessed in France by America are the war cemeteries for the graves of her soldiers.

The only true parallel I see between Seanchan and the USA is one of geography. The symbols of Seanchan do not echo the symbols of the USA (unlike Andor, for example, which is similar to England), nor does its history, nor does its culture.

If I had to look for a parallel to the Hawkwing's expedition, I would nominate the first crusade, or the Sicilian expedition in the peloponnesian war, or perhaps the viking expeditions which colonized Normandy. Maybe also Hernan Cortes' expedition, or the Norman Conquest.

If I had to look for a parallel for Seanchan culture and politics, I would look in the far east, between ancient Persia/China/Japan. Specific examples should be left to someone more knowledgeable than I am.
John Massey
86. subwoofer
@JL- well geeze, if you wanna pick nits give 'er:) I like the broad strokes of the comparisons I made. I was looking at the geography of it all. Yeah the nails, the hair, the bowing and scraping and concept of "lowering eyes" all reminds me of the Hidden Kingdom, but whatev. The dancing around with swords has a very distinct Asian influence, I don't see the broad swords or rapiers of Europe- but I am no sword dude myself so meh. I could wiki it tho'.

As for flag waving- sure why not- but then, everyone should participate in showing national pride. Of their own countries. Or we could all just happily know what is, is. Cause I am pretty fierce about my country as well ;)

Woof™.
Matthew Smith
87. blocksmith
JonathanLevy@73

Thank you for that...much better than I would have said.

I always equated the Seanchan culture as a mix of the Soviet Union, Imperial China, and Rome. The cyclic purges done by the Soviet government and secret police are too reminiscent of the behaviors of the Seekers. Anyone interested should check out the Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn...great read. On top of that, Elaborate, imperial ruling system similar to China.

Anyway, otherwise great re-read again, Leigh. Looking forward to Tuesday.
Poohblah
88. normalphil
The cackling beauty of it is there there is a conspiracy. Actually, two conspiracies, the millenium-cult Dark one, and the slapped-together-with-whoever-was-there-at-the-time-and-still-breathing Light one. The Seeker just conflated the two, and assumed uniform competance.

And with the Light one, what's funnier is their institutional generations. Mat and Thom are the sharp tip of a spear that goes all the way back to Gitara Moreso, but in some cases the various steps had all of half a minute of meaningful contact with eachother, and nobody was anyone's intended successor.
John Massey
89. subwoofer
@Normalphil- good point:) Of all the people in the galaxy to attribute to the marshalling of the troops opposing the Seanchan they come up with Thom- a gleeman/ court bard etc. I read that and I am thinking- well, it's remarkable how a little mis-information can really get blown out of proportion. By that same token, it doesn't surprise me that no one wants to attribute Tylin's "Toy" with any kind of intelligence, and a good thing for Mat too. Heck, even Tuon doesn't give Mat any kind of credit until the last moment.

That was actually a big pay off for me. Tuon actually seeing that Mat is not just a gigalo. For that matter, what was Tuon thinking capering off with Mat just because she saw his ring? If her opinion of Mat was so low, she was giving him an aweful lot of leeway to kidnap her and stuff, I really do not get her thought process on that one.

In the end it is the simple guys- the Thoms and Noals, Karedes and Tylee's of the world that keep things turning without the reach of the big titles. Yay for them. Hope Tuon comes to appreciate the other normal people she has surrounding her. Great things come from the most humble of people. Rand was just a sheppard after all.

Woof™.
Stefan Mitev
90. Bergmaniac
Wetlandernw @71

"Bergmaniac @8 - " And can anyone explain to me why Perrin didn't try to find Rand and request help for battling the Shaido?" What, you want it to last even longer while he waits for somebody to try - unsuccessfully - to figure out where Rand has been for the last couple of (WoT) weeks?
During the time span we're talking about - Perrin's 22 days - Rand has been hopping all over Randland, and the only way anyone was able to find and catch up to him was through Alanna's bond. Not saying he shouldn't have considered it, but I'm glad he didn't waste time trying it."

Perrin had his visions of Rand to help him locate him. And if he had found him, this whole plotline might've taken way less space and time, for the relief of 95 % of the readers. Rand gives him 100 Asha'man to locate the Shaido quicker and help in the battle and 200 000 Aiel fighters too. After all getting rid of the Shaido was one of Rand's priorities too.

But that's not really the point. Perrin should've at least consider trying to find Rand and asking for help. I'd have accepted some plot convenient excuse for not being able to find him if he had tried, for example that the visions show Rand in some country manor in an unknown part of the world.

But not even trying this really made Perrin look like an idiot in my eyes. He said so many time he's ready to do anything to save Faile, yet don't even consider the most obvious course for action. I know the reason was plot convenience, but it's still annoying. Especially when I remember than this led to 400 or so Shaido Wise Ones turned into a damane, a fate I consider much worse than death.
Ron Garrison
91. Man-0-Manetheran
@89 subwoofer: "Of all the people in the galaxy to attribute to the marshalling of the troops opposing the Seanchan they come up with Thom- a gleeman/ court bard etc."

That made me think. Have we seen any equivalent of a gleeman or court bard in the Seanchan culture? Maybe they found Thom suspicious because he is a person of knowledge and not of nobility - and people listen to him. Sounds subversive to a culture that's all shut-up-and-go-about-your-job-and-don't-look-at-me.
Maiane Bakroeva
92. Isilel
Birgit @56:

Only if she knew they were BA. Alviarin once thinks that Mesaana doesn't know all BA, why should Graendal know more?

She was preparing plans re: Perrin before she talked with Moridin. Surely, the first step should have been to check on the DFs in his entourage?
Lanfear and Asmo had no problems with finding and comandeering DFs on a very short notice and neither did Sammael, Moghedien and Moridin.
The whole purpose of secret signs, etc. is to be able to find DFs in a hurry. And FS may have some additional assissts in finding DFs too.
Tess Laird
93. thewindrose
Graendal doesn't like to use friends of the dark though. (If she had, her plan may have worked much better.)

tempest
John Massey
94. subwoofer
@90 Berg-couple a points to make of it- and kinda handy since the flag waving began;)

When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.

The best executive is one who has sense enough to
pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
-Theodore Roosevelt


Rand sent Perrin on a mission- he delegated to Perrin. When I was a boss, I gave tasks to my trusted employees and then never gave a second thought to it. That way I knew the job would get done and that I could do other stuff. Yeah, I might have done the job easier or quicker, but if I had to do everything myself I would get nowhere fast. Same logic applies to Rand. At some point he realized that he cannot be everything to everyone, so he picks his battles, does what he can and trusts others to do the same.

Also, at that particular time, Rand had not yet had his epiphany on Dragonmount, so I dunno if I'd feel comfortable going to him for help. Heck, I dunno if I'd feel comfortable trusting Rand with Playdough scissors. Also, this was supposed to be done on the DL. There was the mock fight between Rand and Perrin and nobody was supposed to suspect or know what Perrin was really doing.

@ManO- well, I'm glad I made anybody think;) Honestly though, I think the nearest thing to a gleeman in the Seanchan culture would be an esthetician/ hairdresser. Somebody to deal with the funky haircuts and manicures required to be a Blood. They could be gossip queens and have an esteemed position in the courts.

Woof™.
Vincent Lane
96. Aegnor
Bah...wrote a post and when I submitted it, it said it was flagged as spam and sent to a moderator. Wonder what that is about.
Jonathan Levy
97. JonathanLevy
86. subwoofer
'Tis true, picking nits is an unfortunate weakness of mine.
And I will make no mention of the dreadful secret your link revealed!

87. blocksmith
I've actually just ordered the first part of the Gulag Archipelago from amazon - still waiting for it to arrive. I had a tough time picking it out, since there seem to be many editions, with different numbers of volumes - and some of them abridged.

90. Bergmaniac
I dunno how obvious it would be for Perrin to look for Rand. The visions don't help much at all, except if Rand happens to be standing next to a very obvious landmark (as Perrin was with the statue with the sword). I could email you a photograph of myself and my surroundings every day and you'd still never find out where I am.

We're too used to a world of instantaneous communication. Rand and Perrin are still in the middle ages - they've barely had time to get used to Travelling.

Also, keep in mind that Perrin's departure involved an elaborate charade to make everyone think they had a fight. Contacting him might destroy the benefits of that, if anyone can remember what they were.

91. Man-0-Manetheran
Interesting points. I was thinking, in a King's court, the court jester sometimes had an important role - to speak truths no-one else was willing to utter, either from fear or considerations of honor. In this particular role (and only in this one), there is a parallel role in Seanchan - the truthspeaker.
Stefan Mitev
98. Bergmaniac
I get that Rand would've been hard to find even with the visions. The point is Perrin didn't even consider the possibility of trying to do that. Surely this was the most obvious course of action, given how much smaller Perrin's army was compared to the Shaido's and that the Shaido are enemies of Rand. And as far as Perrin knew, when he left Rand, he wasn't hiding and could easily have been found.

Even Faile thought at some point during her captivity that if she managed to escape, she would make Perrin go to Rand and ask for his help to beat the Shaido and release the other Shaido captives.

It just bugs me that Perrin never even thought of that and instead made a deal with the Seanchan.
Ron Garrison
99. Man-0-Manetheran
@97 Jonathan Levy: Ah, yes, the truthspeaker. Definitely someone to beware of. That would elevate their suspicion of Thom for sure.
Marcus W
100. toryx
Tektonica @ 57:

That we can all identify with it, from the North, South, and Midwest, at least, certainly speaks to RJ's appeal.

That's what I was thinking too. When you get right down to it, the Two Rivers is pretty much any small town or city district where people generally know each other fairly well.

I was living in the southern mountains of Colorado at the time that EotW was published and so I totally imagined the Two Rivers as being set out there, with one of the rivers being the Rio Grande and the second just a tributary. But the TR really is transplantable to just about anywhere.

Jonathan Levy @ 73:

All I was going to say was: Japanese Internment Camps. But then I got to thinking, well that was decades ago! So, of course, I just have to mention the Patriot Act in which you don't have to actually be a terrorist to have your rights taken away as though you are one.

I've alluded to this event several times before and I'll probably continue to do so from time to time because it's my favorite RJ related memory. In 2001 I was at a Con in which RJ was a guest of honor at. There was a big mix up with the schedule and panel locations that pretty much left RJ and Harriet alone in a room wondering where everyone was at.

I'm the one who found them and took them to where they needed to be. That led to my being able to hang out with them for several hours and talk to them both at great length.

One of the panels that was led by RJ later on that night was on the difference between Patriotism and Jingoism. RJ ended up being the only author on the panel and he basically got up in front of the room and led a discussion on the matter. During that discussion he paralleled a lot of the recent events surrounding 9/11 (which had literally happened only weeks before) and the US response to it with the Seanchan nation.

Now Winter's Heart had just come out the year before. So he'd already given us a lot about Seanchan society. But I've always wondered ever since if some of what we've learned about Seanchan in the books since 9/11 weren't sort of a cautionary tale. In my mind, the similarities between the US and Seanchan aren't so much due to action as much as viewpoint. The Seanchan are supremely confident in their place in the world, their inheritance from Hawkwing and the rights they have to return to Randland and impress their way of living on the inhabitants there. Because the Seanchan way is clearly the best way for everyone. Look at how much better life is in Ebou Dar!

Now maybe it's just me but that really does strike me as remarkably familiar.
Ron Garrison
101. Man-0-Manetheran
toryx - That sounds like you might have lived in South Fork.
Tess Laird
102. thewindrose
Another thing to consider with Perrin going to Rand: does Rand care about Faile that much? Where he would drop what ever he was doing and help Perrin. Yes - Rand has the list, but Faile is not neccessarily under threat of death - and Rand is in his Dark Rand mode at the moment. As several have pointed out - he is hiding and focused on killing the renagade Asha'man, and then getting rid of the taint - which he hopes gets rid of his sickness when using saiden.
As readers we know that the three ta'veren can locate each other, but at this point whenever the colors start for Perrin, he smashes the colors before they even resolve into a picture.
Also, while the fight between Rand and Perrin was staged, it almost turned into Rand killing Perrin, and Perrin knows this.

So there are many real reasons why Perrin didn't reach out to Rand, and I am sure that everyone can come up with many reasons why he should have tried. But even Perrin has told us in his PoV's that he is very one track when dealing with a problem - especially Faile!

tempest™
Vincent Lane
103. Aegnor
I'd respond to your post Toryx, but I don't want to spend another 20 minutes typing up a reply, only to have it be marked as spam before its posted.
Poohblah
104. hamstercheeks
toryx@100: Hmmm. I see what you're getting at, but it makes me wonder -- is life really that good under the Seanchan? Every society has its subclass, and, omitting the giant fire-throwing elephant in the room that is the damane, there has to be another group that isn't getting full benefits under Seanchan rule. Maybe the non-sworn ones? But how could the Seanchan tell? The Tinkers? Mark me, where there's authority, there's someone getting smooshed. Many someones.
Heidi Byrd
105. sweetlilflower
@many, regarding Perrin looking for Faile
Perrin knows that he should not ignore his other responsibilities and just focus on Faile. He knows, subconciously, that there is a good chance Rand would just want Perrin to accomplish the job he was sent out to do, ie: bring back the prophet. Perrin has no guarantee that Rand will assist him. Yes, Rand would want to destroy the Shaido, but Perrin can't count on that. Or, he could count on that which would not give his wife a good chance of survival. So, perhaps he is refusing to reason it out b/c he subconciously thinks that Rand would not give him the help Perrin wants.
Plus, Tylee now thinks very highly of Perrin, which is bound to be helpful in the future.
Damon Garner
106. IrishOmalley
Keep in mind, as Leigh pointed out, that RJ combines cultures and nations into his.... nations.
Roger Powell
107. forkroot
Good grief! I never expected to find myself in the role of Devil's Advocate, defending the Seanchan, yet .....

In the USA we have a tradition of individual rights, including the right to speak freely, assemble, worship, own property, petition the government for grievances, own firearms, and so forth. We also admit to limitations, including prior restraint. For example, ardent defenders of free speech do not assert a right to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre (It's a somewhat hackneyed example.)

Similarly, defenders of the right to bear arms generally do not defend the right of someone to assemble a nuclear weapon in their back yard. This is a case of prior restraint - the rationale being that punishing someone for detonating a nuclear weapon is just a little bit too late (assuming there was someone left to punish.)

Now lets just imagine that there were certain Americans that were invested with magical powers, including the ability to alter our minds and control us. It would certainly stress the American ideals of "innocent until proven guilty" and sanctity of individual freedom if there were people that could control you without your consent. I could well imagine calls for some sort of prior restraint of such individuals.

In this entirely fictional scenario, if we had a device to "control" these people that would otherwise possess this unstoppable power, would we then degenerate to the Seanchan example of completely dehumanizing the controlled "dangerous" people?
Noneo Yourbusiness
108. Longtimefan
@ 90 Bergmaniac

I was thinking about the 400 or so Wise One who were leashed just after the Escape.

In the Escape it is hinted at but not specifically documented that hundreds of people died, many of whom may have been windfinders or other channeling women.

This is a considerable loss to a group that is moraly unpleasant but generally assumed to be on Team Light and if not exactly on Team Light then most assuredly on Team Staying Alive and not having the Universe Unmade.

They fight with the power of the Power. It is who they are and what they do. If they are to be involved in the Last Battle then they are going to be there with damane.

In losing so many to the Escape it may be that the Wheel, which weaves as it will and not as people fictional or reading would want, chose to weave a new supply of damane for the Seanchan. Women who would be channeling for the Light. Unless there are Team Dark Sul'dam which while possible (I recall Suroth finding it difficult to find one for Liandrin) is not generally probable with the information we currently have from the books.

This would mean that any woman leashed would have to channel against the forces of the Dark One and if not directly able to do that then provide healing and support for the members of Team Light even if they were Chaotic Evil.

In some ways the loss and the gain were both through Ta'veren (Mat started the Escape, Perrin finished the Rescue) and while they did not happen at the same time they happened at the instigation of two of the three major Ta'veren running around in the story.

It could be in some way that the Escape is also one of the ways that Mat gives up half the Light to save the Light.

In giving up the Seafolk he not only had a number of them killed but there was a renewed interest amongst the Seanchan to gain more damane in a land rich with marath'damane. The motivation is wrong but the end result is clear.

Damane will be at the Last Battle. Sent by the Empress and probably guided by battle plans Mat has suggested to her.

Will they be released later? That is speculation on fiction even if Aveindha had her terrible future vision.

The Wheel uses what tools it has to set the stage. The Last Battle is coming and what people agree with is irrelevant in the face of winning the battle to keep the Universe from being unmade. In Theory.
Tricia Irish
109. Tektonica
Bergmaniac@98:

It just bugs me that Perrin never even thought of that and instead made a deal with the Seanchan.

Of course now we know (or think we know) that it was a plot necessary development. Perrin had to make a deal with Tylee, so she could see how good he is, how civilized the AS are, and create a potential ally in her, when negociations start for a truce/alliance between Rand and Tuon for TG, and a solution to the Seanchan invasion of Randland......maybe.....

I think Tylee will have a role to play in Tuon's education about the reality of trollocs and shadowspawn, as well, and perhaps shatter some of her tightly held myths/omens about Randland and TG.

Toryx@100:

Looks like I'll have to add West to my list of areas that are similar to the Two Rivers. ;-)
Chin Bawambi
110. bawambi
@ forkroot - Yes, without question - we dehumanize the enemy without and within and have always done so.
Vincent Lane
111. Aegnor
Ok, luckly I copy my posts before posting them. I was waiting for whatever moderator my post was apparently sent to for approval to approve it, but apparently that isn't happening any time soon. So I'm reposting it. I'm modifying some words that I'm guessing might have triggered it (talk about the 1939 German secret police maybe? Or maybe it was the link that was copied from the original post?).

Note that this post was originally posted @95

Wolfmage@53,


That's quite wrong. The illegal warrantless wiretapping program was conducted under the auspices of the NSA not the CIA, and it certainly wasn't dealing exclusively withsurveilance of terrorists.Bush officials defended the program as only surveiling American citizens in so far as they were associated withoverseas terrorists. However, like many opaque, kneejerk bellicose programs that are not subject to proper judicial review, it had considerable scope creep. There are several examples of surveilance of American citizens without any evidence of terror association beyond communications overseas, such as the US lawyers who were representing that Saudi Arabian charity.


You are right that it was the NSA, not the CIA. I meant U.S. intelligence agencies actions in general. Regarding
surveillance of lawyers conversations with a Saudi charity, you are aware that many middle east charities (including some Saudi charities) were found to be funneling money to terrorist organizations? I don't want to get into a debate about the legality of the surveillance program, as that wasn't really my point.

My point, is that even that furthest encroachment is an incredibly far cry from actions by the Ges tapo, KGB, Stazi, SB, Securitate, NK's State Security Dept., etc. The Seekers have much more in common with these organizations than with any U.S. intelligence organization.

And back to Leigh's comment in the original post...


In terms of WOT specifically, there seems to be a contingent of the fandom that blithely chooses to ignore the fact that some aspects of Seanchan culture could have been constructed to reflect on America’s without implying that America shares all of the traits of Seanchan society, particularly the negative ones.

This comment really bugs me. Leigh, you seem to be saying that those that don't agree with your contention, do so because they are flag wavers who refuse to see anything wrong with America. That just isn't the case. The similarities that I've seen suggested are just way to strained to be considered. Culturally they are so wildly different from American culture, that somehow saying that the Seanchan are even partially based on the U.S. leads me to believe you aren't paying attention. Either to history, or to the WoT. In fact, in almost every meaningful way, they are nearly the opposite of U.S. culture.

If someone wants to make a better argument, I'd certainly be willing to listen to it, but currently I can think of very few
similarities (other than the geography one mentioned earlier), and those mentioned so far (slavery and the CIA) are just plain ridiculous.
John Massey
112. subwoofer
You should all be more sensative to Insectoid's feeling when you go on the "this bugs me" tear. Sorry buddy, just looking out for you:)

Er... I think I saw a fetlock twitching, so the horse is not entirely dead, so I might as well make one tiny point about the Seanchan Empire. When whatsherpickle- the Empress Tuon, calls Belsan to account for his plots of treason, she rattles off a list of positives and stuff about why joining her side would be good for his kingdom. The Tinkers talk about it too, and so do most of the merchants that trade with the Seanchan. After you take your oaths and do the prerequisit bowing and scraping, you are free to go about your business as before. You aquire the protection of the Seanchan army and most of your history and culture are left relatively intact.

What this reminded me of was the Ottoman Empire. I recalled reading somewheres that the problem with some empires is the sacking and the looting and the destruction of all the knowledge a culture had accumulated over time. The plus about the Moores, er Turks, er Otto-people is that they respected the knowledge and stuff gained by certain cultures and by and large, left it intact. This is only a precursory thing but it is on the tip of my brain so I thought I'd put it out there and see what folks come up with.

Woof™.
John Massey
113. subwoofer
@Aegnor- I hear what you are saying, but you forgot about Amway. Those buggers are into everything and affect people's personal freedoms... and they stand directly in my way when it comes to one of my plans for taking over the world;)

Woof™.
Leigh Butler
114. leighdb
Aegnor @ 111:

I think a number of people have misunderstood what I was saying, and have in fact completely turned it around. The contention that the Seanchan are just like the U.S. is not mine at all, and in fact what I was saying there is that I almost completely disagree with the assertion that they are alike.

I acknowledge that there are definitely some surface similarities, and I think the intelligence agency thing is probably the strongest one (and I certainly view it as an authorial admoinishment regarding the slippery slope of over-reliance on such entities), but I also most decidedly agree that neither that nor a historical association with slavery is unique to the United States at all. Nor was I trying to claim it was, or that Jordan was only drawing from the U.S. for inspiration on those counts. I said as much in my post; in fact that was pretty much my point.

What I was saying is that the obvious evidence against claiming an overidentification between the Seanchan and the U.S. has not stopped some people from making the claim, usually in an attempt to make the argument that America = Seanchan, ergo = Eeeevil Imperialist Empire, and that all the freedom and stuff is just a front.

These people, in my opinion, are Silly, and I'm a little boggled to find that I am somehow being lumped in with them.
Valentin M
115. ValMar
Sub @ 112
As a member of one of the nations that had the pleasure of having their Middle Ages extended for another 3 centuries under the benevolent rule of the Ottomans I had to pipe in.

It is a fact that the Turks were far more tolerant to other peoples than the Christian nations at the time. Nations on the periphery of the empire were left to themselves, to an extent. Reasons being lack of importance, inefficient central admin, and that the far-off provinces prefered a far-away master than near-by one (e.g. Transylvania prefered to be Turkish vassal than the next door Habsburgs).

Not everyone was so lucky. Bulgaria was right on Istanbul's doorstep. After the initial massacres and enslavement the culture and leadership were obliterated. It took the research of a monk in the late 18th century to "rediscover" that there was once a state called Bulgaria, not just a rabble of peasants.

There was also the "Blood Tax". Now that smacks of Seanchan. Western sources put a positive spin on it. Maybe due to a guilt for keeping the corpse of the Empire animated for an extra 250 or so years.

The Seanchan is efficient amalgamation the size of both Americas. The Ottomans are far from it in any level. The Romans, IMO, are much more alike.

PS Didn't mean to go for so long. I'm just tired of reading:
1- from Balkan sources that the Ottomans were the root of all evil.
2- from western sources that the Otts were the best thing that happened to the Balkans.

Thanks for reading.
Thomas Keith
116. insectoid
Sub @112: BAHAHAhahaha!! Thanks for thinking of me. :D

Leigh @114: You're right, of course. For all of those who've tried equating America to an Evil Empire... well, as Bill Engvall might say, "Even Evel Knievel couldn't have made that leap!" So let's give poor Bela a rest, huh? ;)

Bzzz™.
TW L
117. Shadow_Jak
Thanks Leigh. Always fun (despite a little bit of trolling there)

"The Tale of a Doll" is one of my favorite chapters.
Banner-General Furyk Karede is pretty damn awesome.
Love the comparison of his response to Mor vs. that of Bethamin in WH and Egeanin in TSR. They are both on the verge of wetting their pants.
Karede just decides the best way to kill him if needed.
Although he admits to himslef, killing a Seeker is "frowned upon".
John Massey
118. subwoofer
@Valmar- I did say it was not fully thought out but I was putting it out there and seeing what folks come up with;) Anyways am still confused. Are you saying the Otts are not like the Seanchan because they are douche bags or are you saying that the Seanchan are douche bags that do not deserve the comparison of the Otts?

Mind you, the comparison with the Roman Empire is a fair one too. Barring that brief spat with Christianity and er... Caligula that works for me as well. Granted, most of what I can recall of Rome I learned from Asterix.

Hi Leigh:)

@Insectoid- always got your back.

Woof™.
Jonathan Levy
119. JonathanLevy
98. Bergmaniac
Well, possibly. But it is human nature not to try, once you're certain of your failure. Also, our Ta'veren are still freaked out a bit by the Ta'veren Telepathy in Technicolor, and haven't gotten used to it yet. They see it as something scary to be quickly suppressed, not as a tool which might be useful.

That said, I can see where you're coming from. A page in which Perrin and his Asha'man attempt to contact Rand and fail (or even just one line recalling a failed attempt) would not have been out of place.

Ugh, after reading thewindrose @ 102 I may have to reconsider this.

100. toryx
Even with the Patriot Act, the US is no worse than Andor, which has a system of justice (e.g. Bryne's trial of Siuan/Leane/Min), but in which the Queen still has the power to imprison a man just to see if her Aes Sedai advisor might have another foretelling (even though Morgase chose not to exercise that power). The Seanchan are miles away.
In my mind, the similarities between the US and Seanchan aren't so much due to action as much as viewpoint. The Seanchan are supremely confident in their place in the world, their inheritance from Hawkwing and the rights they have to return to Randland and impress their way of living on the inhabitants there. Because the Seanchan way is clearly the best way for everyone. Look at how much better life is in Ebou Dar!
The viewpoint argument is a new one (for me, at least), and definitely worth considering. But I think it has several weaknesses:

1) The US is not 'returning' anywhere in order to 'exercise their rights', nor has it done so in the past.

2) The US is not 'impressing their way of living' on anyone. US culture (for better or for worse) is voluntarily adopted by people all over the world (TV, movies, Jeans, pop music, etc). If you are referring to the attempts to impose democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan (as distinct from the invasion of those countries), then I do agree with you. But there is still a big difference between 'we have democracy, now you must have democracy whether you like it or not' (US) and 'bow down before the High Blood and kiss the ground and swear to obey us or you will die'

3) Until 1945, almost every single nation in the world behaved with the confidence you attribute to the Seanchan. The European colonization of the New World, the scramble for Africa, the British in their Empire, Ottoman expansion in the Balkans, Russian expansion everywhere, China, Normans in England, the crusades, Vikings everywhere they settled, Arab conquests, Romans in their empire, Antiochus in Judea, Alexander the Great in the near East. But late in the 20th century the Western nations have begun to lose their self-confidence, and this includes the United States. The only difference is that Europe has gone down the drain much faster than the US, so by comparison the US seems overly self-confident.

102. thewindrose
Good point. Rand might see Perrin's detour to rescue Faile as a betrayal of their plan, and not just not provide help, but actually tell Perrin to stop. I like this explanation better than the others.

107. forkroot
Let me give you another scenario.
Imagine an American society (individual rights, innocent until proven guilty, etc) consisting entirely of women. They reproduce asexually, giving birth only to female babies. Suddenly something changes, and there are some male babies. They grow up into men - invested with magically strong muscles, able to alter people's minds (by pounding them with their fists until they change them) and control them (by threatening to inflict pain). Would this stress the sanctity of individual freedom? If you had a device to "control" these people (say, by removing the testicles) that would otherwise possess this unstoppable power, would we degenerate as you said?
I'm not sure if we're agreeing or disagreeing. I guess what I'm saying is that the same situation can appear completely normal to one person, and so-dangerous-as-to-require-a-radical-solution to another.

111. Aegnor
In fact, in almost every meaningful way, they are nearly the opposite of U.S. culture.
I agree completely.

112. subwoofer
When whatsherpickle- the Empress Tuon, calls Belsan to account for his plots of treason, she rattles off a list of positives and stuff about why joining her side would be good for his kingdom. The Tinkers talk about it too, and so do most of the merchants that trade with the Seanchan.

All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

112. subwoofer
115. ValMar
Are these the same Ottomans that would kidnap Christian children and impress them into military service as Janissaries?

114. Leighdb
I think what may have lead to a misunderstanding of your position is the paragraph beginning with "All that being said".

But that being said, I don't think the US is Jordan's source for the Seanchan institution of Slavery. A better source is ancient Rome, or Greece. US slavery was race-based. Seanchan slavery is not. Upon winning a battle, Rome made slaves of the survivors, and the Seanchan do the same (Gai'shain make wonderful da'covale). American slaves were imported by trade from abroad. In America, a free man could never be reduced to slavery. In Seanchan, they can. As for ancient times, I am not sure that a Roman Citizen could be reduced to slavery as quickly as a Seanchan can be made da'covale.
Thomas Keith
120. insectoid
Sub @118: Maybe I'll find you a nice dingle ball. ;)

On a slightly unrelated note, my mom and I finally received the rest of our order (from Ages ago) of the WoT comics (NS #8 and TEotW #2-6). Has anyone else here read them?

Bzzz™.
Amir Noam
121. Amir
Jonathan Levy @119:

All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

Brought peace?
Captain Hammer
122. Randalator
Jonathan Levy @119

in which the Queen still has the power to imprison a man just to see if her Aes Sedai advisor might have another foretelling (even though Morgase chose not to exercise that power).

Uh, if Morgase had imprisoned Rand then she'd have done so on the grounds that Rand had been trespassing and was a potential assassin. Just think what would happen to you if you fell into the the frontyard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. and claimed that you just wanted to watch the 4th of july parade and fireworks from the top of the fence.

You'd be imprisoned for at least a couple of days until the "Aes Sedai" (CIA, FBI, NSA) had determined that they wouldn't have another "viewing" on you. And that would be completely justified and legal, just as Rand's imprisonment would have been...


Amir @121

What?! Oh...peace, yes. SHUT UP!
Jonathan Levy
123. JonathanLevy
122. Randalator
True, Morgase could have used the Trespassing charge despite the fact that Elayne declared Rand her guest to negate it. But it was after Elaida's foretelling that Morgase seriously considered arresting Rand.

Regardless, my point was that no matter how bad you make out the Patriot Act to be, there are still many countries in WoT which are far more like the USA than Seanchan. If this example of the Queen of Andor's arbitrary power is in dispute, it's much easier to find other examples than to split hairs. Say, the Queen's ability to issue a warrant for the arrest of her boyfriend because he pissed her off.

121. Amir
122. Randalator
Och, Randalator beat me to it! :)
F Shelley
124. FSS
@122
Uh, if Morgase had imprisoned Rand then she'd have done so on the grounds that Rand had been trespassing and was a potential assassin. Just think what would happen to you if you fell into the the frontyard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. and claimed that you just wanted to watch the 4th of july parade and fireworks from the top of the fence.

You'd be imprisoned for at least a couple of days until the "Aes Sedai" (CIA, FBI, NSA) had determined that they wouldn't have another "viewing" on you. And that would be completely justified and legal, just as Rand's imprisonment would have been...



I agree, and for those of you trying to America-bash today, please tell us the country where this wouldn't happen...




Gerd K
126. Kah-thurak
Actually, while I saw a lot of references to all kinds of cultures in WoT, I never had the feeling anything resembled the US. You have a US reference in the Empire of Lether in Erikson's MBotF, but in the WoT? Dont see it...
Valentin M
127. ValMar
Sub @ 118
To clarify, I am saying that the Seanchan are far superior.
Their army appears to be professional and vert well organised, relying on quality. Initially the Otts might've seemed better organised than their enemies but ultimately they tended to exhaust them with waves of inferior troops before the Janissaries and Spahis moved in.
And of course the state admin of the Seanchan is excellent for the times, unlike the Otts.
Basically, most of the positive or superior qualities which the Ottoman Empire had, compared with their contemporaries, had erroded within a 1-2 centuries. I doubt there is a state in human history that has managed to lose as many wars as the Ottomans.
The Romans, OTOH, were much more akin to the Seanchan both militarily and in terms of organisation. And outlook, slavery, etc.

Last point ;) The succession politics of the Otts and Seanchan are remarkably similar. The Sultan had a number of sons and the last one standing was the new Sultan. E.g. after the Battle of Kosovo, on the field itself, Bayezid strangled his brother to become the Sultan, after their father was killed.

J Levy @ 119
Yes, the Blood Tax is the forceful taking of young Christian boys to join the Janissaries.
By the way, the ISBN of Lost Victories here is the same you've got.
Maiane Bakroeva
128. Isilel
JL @119:

IIRC Roman citizens couldn't be judicially enslaved for crimes, only fined, flogged, executed, etc. They also could be stripped of citizenship and banned from Roman-controlled territory under the pain of death. I think that they could sell their children into slavery, though.

@123:

Thom wasn't just a Queen's advisor who vanished without explanation or permission, he also grabbed Morgase and sho0k her during his tempestous return, so she had the legal grounds to arrest him.

And yes, IMHO Seanchan are most comparable with Imperial Rome... where slaves were quite plentiful and generally badly treated, even though there were the very rare very powerful exceptions.
Anybody who thinks that Roman slavery was less brutal than the US one should bear in mind that Romans perpetually needed to get slaves from outside because those they already had weren't replenishing themselves in the natural way, which points at terrible conditions indeed.
John Massey
129. subwoofer
@JL119- What else did the Romans do?
-They killed Jesus. That is why I will always root for a little tiny village in Gaul that held out against them.
-and I also believe I said stuff in 118.
-Here's something for your Patriot Act.

As for Romans, well Italians in general, they are a bugbeer of mine. Folks talk about fine handcrafted Italian made stuff- well geeze! It too 'em 2000 years to build a road, how well made can their stuff be?

-Just sayin'.

Woof™.
Poohblah
130. miasmaP
Leigh,
What is all of this "EMO, EMO,EMO" stuff? You are very intelligent and your vocabulary is extensive enough to express yourself better than this.
Jonathan Levy
131. JonathanLevy
127. ValMar
I hope you enjoy Lost Victories - and let me know how you liked it!

128. Isilel
Grabbed and shook? Only thing I remembered was that he 'said some things he shouldn't have'. Got a reference? My memory needs refreshing sometimes.

Re: Roman Slavery
Everything you said about Roman slavery is quite true and quite relevant. However, apart from the mine-workers and galley-slaves, there were also educated and valuable slaves and freedmen who helped run the estates of the nobles. They remind me a bit of the so'jin, though they were not in any sense a class. The emperor Claudius was pretty much a tool in the hands of his slaves, freedmen, and wives.

129. subwoofer
That was a quote from a particular film - highly recommended (The Life of Brian). The Romans were organized and orderly and technologically advanced, but the Italians are a different story. I love Italy, and I love Italian food, and I love Italian (the language)... but I don't think I'd buy an Italian car, or clock.

But as for tiny villages in Gaul... Uxellodunum is history, Asterix is fiction.

130. miasmaP
Sometimes, abridgements are not such a bad idea.
Maiane Bakroeva
132. Isilel
JL @131:

However, apart from the mine-workers and galley-slaves, there were also educated and valuable slaves and freedmen who helped run the estates of the nobles.

Don't forget the agricultural slaves, who actually constituted the majority of Roman slave force. No wonder that they had to import grain, eh?

Anyway, yes, there were educated slaves and skilled artisans who got preferential treatment, were allowed to keep back part of what they earned to motivate them and even sometimes got opportunities to buy themselves free, etc. These chances were limited only to men, of course.
What you have to remember is that they were a tiny minority of all slaves and that their situation in no way reflected that of a normal, run-of-the-mill slave, who didn't have it any better than their US counter-parts and likely worse, since they couldn't even replenish their numbers.

What is more, when Ottomans et al. are brought up, one has to consider - what kind of culture is it that prefers _slaves_ - i.e. people with no legal rights and no dignity, who can be theoretically removed at a whim, to occupy high govenmental positions? What does it say about the relations between the governers and the governed?
John Massey
133. subwoofer
@JL- Reaaaally? Never heard of it;)

And I'm still jonesing for some of that magic potion too.

Woof™.
Vincent Lane
134. Aegnor
Leigh,

Sorry about that, I guess I misunderstood your comments.
Poohblah
135. Darth Touma
I would say that the Seekers are almost a direct parallel to the Gestapo in Hitler's Germany (Don't get me started on the Black Tower under the M'Hael aka Fuhrer). Gestapo agents had instant authority to arrest anyone without judicial oversight in their "investigations" of treason and espionage, same as the Seekers in Seanchan. Another similarity was the plaque Egainin had Mor show her in Tarabon during TSR. This is taken almost directly from the "warrant disk" Gestapo agents used as ID.

NSA and other agencies here have great powers and do a lot of shady stuff behind closed doors, but an agency with that kind of unrestricted power is definitely a parallel to the Gestapo
Gerd K
136. Kah-thurak
@Darth Touma
Or the Inqusisition or the KGB or the Securitate or... there were a lot of such "agencies" in human history. They are all of the same "flavour" (or better stink) that Jordan used here... there is nothing gained or lost by naming or not naming one of them as the "definite" origin.
Marcus W
137. toryx
Man-O @ 101:

Close! Actually it was Monte Vista.

104: Hamstercheeks:

It doesn't matter if life's really all that good or not for the Seanchan. The point isn't the reality of the situation, it's that the Seanchan all believe (even the poor damane) that their way is the best way.

That's the parallel, in my mind.

Jonathan Levy @ 119:

Remember, I'm talking about viewpoints not action (as you quoted). I'm not saying that the US is returning to any homelands and taking back what they claim to be rightfully theirs. I'm not claiming the US is subjugating anyone as the Seanchan did. I'm simply saying that in terms of attitude there are some similarities between Seanchan and American nationalism.

As for the attitudes of other countries in previous decades and centuries, I'm not disagreeing. But that doesn't diminish that similarities between American jingoistic attitudes and that of the Seanchans can be noted. Based on the panel that RJ conducted in 2001 I wrote of earlier, I'm inclined to think that the idealistic parallels were intended as a precautionary tale.

For the record I'm not in any way suggesting that the US has anything like the Seekers or the Seanchan methods of enslavement or their class hierarchy. But RJ is very well known for incorporating numerous cultures into his nations (as both Leigh and several other commentors have illustrated) and it's to be expected that the US was included in several Randland nations and even the Seanchan society. This is especially likely when you consider that the United States as a whole is such a mismash of cultures that life varies considerably between one state and another, not to mention between rural and urban centers, or various sides of the tracks.

FSS @ 124:

I agree, and for those of you trying to America-bash today, please tell us the country where this wouldn't happen...


That's exactly the kind of nationalistic pride that I'm referring to. Criticism and analysis isn't bashing America. But construing criticism as an assault...well that's representative of a certain degree of national fervor. You can be proud of your country and still disagree with certain policies and popular opinions.

In Seanchan not to follow speaking of the Empress with "may she live forever" seems to invite condemnation. In the US, speaking anything that might be construed as negative invites the accusation of America-bashing or Un-American attitudes.

See? Parallels.
John Massey
138. subwoofer
@Toryx- you make a valid point. IIRC in recent history- the Dixie Chicks voiced their opinions and they were branded pariahs. Toby Keith and a bunch of other folks burned those ladies at the stake for voicing their opinions in a "free" country where freedom of expression and freedom of speech is supposed to be cherished. They were branded un-American. Heck, they made a movie about it.

That being said, I have fought beside and done some joint training exercises with American troops. Love those guys. People are people, politicians are politicians, there is a difference.

Edit- How did we get on this topic? How did I get on this topic? Gahhhhh- going to happy place- let's talk about something happy- like a cure for gout. Ooooo- maybe we could discuss alternate careers for WoT folk- like if Rand didn't have to fight in the Last Battle, would he have stayed a sheppard? Would Mat take up drinking and gambling? Would Perrin be a blacksmith? Well.... the last one is a gimme, but he would not have met Faile, and would have a lot more piece of mind.... Ohh look- a pterodactyl-

Woof™.
Suzanne Clewley
139. Sue#11
WOT doesn't have the concept of government made legitimate by the consent of the governed - except in TR and to a certain extent among the Aiel. This was made really clear to me in Elayne's reaction to Perrin's lordship of the Two Rivers. She (and Morgase) thinks he's a rebel and usurper. She has no idea that he was elected by his people during a crisis when Andor couldn't respond.
Eric Hughes
140. CireNaes
sub@138
That being said, I have fought beside and done some joint training exercises with American troops. Love those guys. People are people, politicians are politicians, there is a difference.
Right back at you, but you all are a little crazy. Still remember driving along the perimeter fence at Bagrim and seeing the Canadian EOD guy combing one of the minefields with just his dog...dig the beards though.
TW L
141. Shadow_Jak
@ 137



In Seanchan not to follow speaking of the Empress with "may she live forever" seems to invite condemnation. In the US, speaking anything that might be construed as negative invites the accusation of America-bashing or Un-American attitudes.See? Parallels.




Well, you have a point...if being impaled on a pointy stick is parallel with being accussed of America-bashing.

@138


@Toryx- you make a valid point. IIRC in recent history- the Dixie Chicks voiced their opinions and they were branded pariahs. Toby Keith and a bunch of other folks burned those ladies at the stake for voicing their
opinions in a "free" country where freedom of expression and freedom of
speech is supposed to be cherished. They were branded un-American. Heck,
they made a movie about it.



"burned at the stake"
Difference is that in Seanchan or several current countries in the real world (Burma maybe?) that would not have been a figure of speech.
John Massey
142. subwoofer
@140CireNaes-

::blinks::

Well- what did you expect? Have you seen the equipment they give us to deal with mines? It probably safer doing what he did. We're highly trained you know;)



Good doggie:)

Woof™.
Vincent Lane
143. Aegnor
toryx,

Freedom of speech doesn't mean other people can't criticize you for your speech. Those responding to speech have the right to free speech too.

"In the US, speaking anything that might be construed as negative invites the accusation of America-bashing or Un-American attitudes.

See? Parallels."

Ummm... No.

In Seanchan if you disagree with the Empress, and you state so publicly or in the hearing of Seekers, you have your head cut off and stuck on a pike. In the U.S. if you disagree with the President, you may have other people that may disagree with you. Heck, they might even call you mean names.
Poohblah
144. JimF
125. tonka
"...@124. FSS Andor..."

Tonka, that is DROLL! Luv it!

And Leigh, thanks for clarifying @114. It would appear that many here do not agree with those that would scroll a dragon's tooth on one's door, like, say, Wit Congar.

In fact, your comment really brings back some of the context of early passages of tEotW: there exists some group of ne'er-do-wells who calumniate their betters and present a foreboding aspect to the scene.

Damn. Now I not only have to reread KOD to TOM, but I now have to go back and savor tEotW. Is there any escape from this?
Edward Phippen
145. Grimwanderer
I have it on good authority that Almurat Mor now works for Fox news. It appears that he fits in well there. His boss, Roger Ailes, said that he respects Mor's ability to easily understand and accurately interpret any situation.

Sorry. I had to. Could help myself.

Subscribe to this thread

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