Dec 7 2010 1:42pm
The Wheel of Time Re-read: Crossroads of Twilight, Part 7

Crossroads of Twilight by Robert JordanI can see you’re out of aces, Wheel of Time Re-read, but ya gotta learn to play the game right!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 6 and 7 of Crossroads of Twilight, in which you gotta know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away, and know when to run—away from your ridiculous extended metaphors. Or not.

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, ante up, deal out, and settle in for a post!

Chapter 6: The Scent of a Dream

What Happens
Perrin gallops through the woods until he realizes how dangerous that is and slows down. Aram catches up to him, smelling angry and suspicious. The horses suddenly shy in fear, and Perrin catches a trace of burned sulphur in the air, about an hour old. He recognizes the smell, and not just from his dream earlier. He follows the scent to a stone outcropping in the woods.

The snow all around was smooth and unmarked, but dog tracks covered the tilted span of stone, as though a pack had scrambled over it as they ran. Dimness and shadows or no, they were plain to Perrin’s eyes. Footprints larger than the palm of his hand, pressed into the stone as though it had been mud.

Perrin tells Aram to go back to camp and alert them, especially the Aes Sedai and Wise Ones and Asha’man, that Darkhounds had been here. Aram asks how you kill them, and Perrin thinks that the only reliable method he’d seen was forbidden balefire, but hopes the channelers know another way. He sends Aram off and follows the trail alone, not willing to believe the pack had passed by so close to his own camp by chance. He thinks of ways you are supposedly able to fend off Darkhounds but knows his previous encounters have already proven some of those false. He quickly sees from the profusion of tracks that this pack is much larger than the ten that had been in Illian; he then finds evidence that they had arrived via Gateway, and concludes from the way they’d circled his camp that he was not their target.

Darkhounds could run faster than horses, and for longer, and the stench of them hardly seemed to have faded more in one place than another. At two points in that circuit he had picked up a forking in the trail, but that was only the pack coming from the north and departing south. Once around the camp, and then on their way after whatever or whoever they were hunting.

Continuing on, he comes upon a large mounted party which includes Aram, the Wise Ones, Masuri, Annoura, and Berelain; he wants to ride away and avoid Berelain, but she heads toward him alone, carrying a basket, and gets to him before he can either leave or join the company. She laughs that his scowl is “quite fierce,” tells him to smile and pretend they are flirting, and offers him the basket, which has food in it. Perrin is confused by her scent, which is both fearful and amused, but snaps back that the last thing he wants is for people to think they are flirting. Irritated, she chastises him for letting his appearance go.

“People expect a noble to look like a noble, Perrin, and that includes being presentable, even when it takes extra effort. It’s a bargain between you and them. You must give them what they expect as well as what they need or want, or they lose respect and start resenting you for making them lose it. Frankly, none of us can afford for you to let that happen. We’re all far from our homes, surrounded by enemies, and I very much believe that you, Lord Perrin Goldeneyes, may be our only chance of living to reach our homes again. Without you, everything falls apart. Now smile, because if we’re flirting, then we aren’t talking about something else.”

Perrin bared his teeth. The Mayeners and the Wise Ones were watching, but at fifty paces, in this gloom, it would be taken for a smile. Lose respect? Berelain had helped strip him of any respect he once had from the Two Rivers folk, not to mention Faile’s servants. Worse, Faile had given him some version of that lecture about a noble’s duty to give people what they expected more than once. What he resented was hearing this woman, of all people, echo his wife.

Berelain tells him one of her thief-catchers, Santes, found a document in Masema’s camp in a locked box and took it, and it’s in the basket now. Under the pretense of eating, Perrin takes a look at it:

The bearer of this stands under my personal protection. In the name of the Empress, may she live forever, give him whatever aid he requires in service to the Empire and speak of it to none but me.

    By her seal
    Suroth Sabelle Meldarath
    of Asinbayar and Barsabba
    High Lady

Perrin comments that this will finish Masema once it gets out; Masema knows Rand fought the Seanchan, and this makes him a traitor. Berelain forces a laugh and comments that after delivering this, Santes and Gendar went back the Masema’s camp, and have not returned though they were due back hours ago. She adds that Annoura wanted Berelain to give the letter to her to destroy. Perrin wants to know if Annoura said she would destroy it in so many words, which Berelain confirms, adding that Annoura could have no other use for it, as Masema is hardly likely to be suspectible to blackmail from an Aes Sedai. Perrin considers, and then tells her about Masuri and Annoura meeting with Masema in secret. Berelain smells alarmed; she plays the news down, but promises to find out what Annoura is up to as they head back to the group. Berelain then makes fun of Aram for his wild tales of Darkhounds until Perrin shows them the tracks in the stone slab.

Ah, yes, the giant Darkhound pack. Which, unless I’m vastly mistaken (and that is entirely possible) we never hear from again after this book. So…okay then.

Presumably, then, as of ToM they’ve never found whoever they’re hunting—or if they have we’ve never gotten to hear about it. One of the more reasonable suppositions to make, then (especially based on what Masuri says about them in the next chapter), is that they’re hunting Rand. Which makes sense as far as it goes, because Perrin observes that they’re traveling north to south, and we later find out that Rand (at the time) is south of Perrin, hiding out in Tear. And considering he’s been jumping all over the damn place via gateways since, well, ever since he learned how to use them, really, it wouldn’t be surprising that the pack hasn’t been able to catch up to him.

Although that does bring up the obvious question of why, if this pack is hunting Rand, why they (or, really, whoever loosed them) are trying to follow Rand on foot when it appears to be a completely stupid way to hunt him. Especially when you consider that if Perrin’s right, they were initially brought in via gateway anyway, so why then leave them to track a guy who can run circles around them, spatially if not literally?

Actually that also brings up a separate but related question, which is how the Darkhounds were able to use the gateways in the first place, since we’ve been told that Shadowspawn can’t use gateways. Maybe Darkhounds are a special exception? But if so, why haven’t they been used more extensively?

I have more thoughts on this, but I’ll come back to them later in favor of giving my patented Death Glare™ to fucking Berelain, who really needs to be glad she’s slandering emo Perrin by omission and not me, because I might really have ripped her a new one (verbally, at least) if she told me to “act flirty” right after ruining my reputation with half my followers. I’m not saying this would be either the right or the smart thing to do, in fact it’s pretty obvious that it would have been disastrous under the circumstances, but maaaaan.

It is so annoying that she is also useful, and smarter than Perrin in many ways. It would really be much less stressful if I could just hate her with abandon. Bah.

And Masema is conspiring with Suroth, sort of. Oh, the irony. And he’s lost his plot point, woe! Except, not. Not that it was rocket science anyway, but I’m pretty sure I instantly knew how Suroth’s little carte blanche was going to end up being usedin the general if not the specific sense, really. I just didn’t know it was going to take two more goddamn books to happen. Rrggh.


Chapter 7: Blacksmith’s Puzzle

What Happens
Aram is smug to be vindicated re: Darkhounds, but everyone ignores him. Masuri dismounts to take a closer look, but hesitates and looks to the Wise Ones (Carelle, Nevarin, and Marline) for permission, to the discomfort of Annoura and several of the rest of the party. Finally Nevarin nods with an approving smile, and Masuri goes to the tracks and begins doing something Perrin presumes is channeling. Gallenne mutters about “fireside stories walking,” and tries to convince Berelain to change her plans, but Berelain tells him (loudly) that she intends to see the Lady Faile rescued if they must fight a thousand Darkhounds. The Mayeners cheer her raucously, and Perrin is astounded to realized that she smells just as determined as she sounds. Berelain asks Masuri for her conclusions, and Masuri again looks to the Wise Ones; Nevarin tells her sharply to get on with it, and Masuri is embarrassed, but speaks immediately. She tells them she has personally crossed the paths of seven Darkhound packs; no one knows how many there are, but this pack’s “signature” is not like any of those, so there are at least eight.

“[…]tales of Darkhounds are much more common than Darkhounds themselves, and they are extremely rare this far south of the Blight. A second rarity: there may have been as many as fifty in this pack. Ten or twelve is the usual limit. […] There is always a feel of urgency about Darkhounds’ trails, but it varies according to a number of factors, not all of which I can be certain of. This one has an intense admixture of… I suppose you could call it impatience. That isn’t really strong enough, by far—as well call a stab wound a pinprick—but it will do. I would say their hunt has been going on for some time, and their prey is eluding them somehow.”

She concludes that whatever they were after, it wasn’t here, and therefore they are unlikely to return. The Wise Ones nod their approval, and Perrin smells that Masuri is upset at how pleased that makes her. Perrin catches the sound of scouts’ calls that indicate Masema is approaching in force; when he tells the party, Berelain announces that she will not run from him. As Gallenne deploys his men, Masuri calls Annoura to the Wise Ones; Perrin sees that Annoura is trying to refuse what the Wise Ones are telling her, but Masuri says something to her, and her shoulders slump. They all array themselves on the opposite side of Berelain, and Perrin asks suspiciously what they’re planning; Nevarin only answers that they intend to protect him and Berelain, and Perrin somewhat over-optomistically orders them to do nothing without his say-so. Masema enters the clearing, at least two or three hundred heavily-armed fanatics at his back, and Perrin thinks he might have made a mistake in not overruling Berelain’s desire to confront the man. The two parties face off a moment before Masema rides forward.

At his back, Nengar and Bartu held a fever in their eyes, but Masema’s deep-set, almost black eyes seemed as hot as coals in a forge, as though the breezes must soon fan them to a glow, and his smell was the jangled, darting sharpness of pure insanity.

Masema asks if they are on a picnic, and Perrin is furious at the implication, but only answers that there were Darkhounds here in the night, but they are gone now and probably won’t be back. Masema answers that the Shadow is everywhere, but no one need fear it who follows the Lord Dragon Reborn. Masuri answers coolly:

“Fear is a useful spur to the wits, and to determination, when well controlled. If we have no fear of our enemies, that leaves only contempt, and contempt leads to the enemy’s victory.”

Masema sneers and ignores her, telling Perrin instead that his men have found a town to the southwest called So Habor, which has apparently had a good crop this year but lost the opportunity to sell their produce, with all the unrest in Amadicia and Ebou Dar. He suspects they will sell cheaply now. Perrin is immediately sure this is a trap, since Masema’s followers surely needed fodder as badly as his, and yet had not pillaged the place already. He answers that perhaps they will visit it once his wife is freed. Perrin’s reinforcements arrive then, summoned by the messenger Gallenne had sent earlier. Masema shows no reaction.

“What is done to serve the Light, must be done,” he said when the newcomers halted, some two hundred paces away. That was easy range for a Two Rivers bowman, and Masema had seen demonstrations, but he gave no sign that broadhead shafts might be aimed at his heart. “All else is dross and trash. Remember that, Lord Perrin Goldeneyes. Everything else is dross and trash!”

He heads off, his men following, and Annoura wonders aloud where Masema’s belief leads him; Perrin considers calling her on her secret visits, but decides to let Berelain handle her instead. From the reinforcements, Gerard Arganda (First Captain of Alliandre’s bodyguard) bursts forward, and Perrin sees he heading toward a man on horseback and an Aiel in snowshoes approaching them.

Man, but zealots are boring conversationalists.

Seriously, how does anyone buy into any level of fanaticism that makes you talk like that in all sincerity? Maybe I just have an over-developed sense of irony, but I honestly cannot picture myself ever reacting to statements like the kind Masema spews nonstop with anything but a major eyebrow-raising.

Well, no, actually my response would be to run away and hide, fast, but you know what I mean.

Berelain: continues to be irritatingly noble and shit. Though I’m not sure whether we get an explanation from her as to why she’s so determined to rescue Faile, even if it’s a bitchy reason it’s still pretty cool of her to take such risks for it. I think. Maybe. Argh, this character conflictifies me!

(Yeah, well, now it IS a word. Shaddup.)

Query: so is the implication here that Annoura and Masuri (or any Oath-sworn Aes Sedai) can participate in a circle which attacks non-Darkfriends (which I suppose we must technically consider Masema’s rabble to be), as long as the Aes Sedai are not the ones leading the circle?

‘Cause, uh, that’s kind of a major 3rd Oath loophole there, if so. Food for thought!

And… yeah. The only other interesting thing in this chapter (since I’ve covered the Darkhounds as much as I’m gonna this round) is Masuri, who is apparently finally starting to drink the Wise One Apprentice Kool-Aid. I’m kind of divided on how I feel about thisas is Masuri herself, actually.

On the one hand, Verin was perfectly right when she pointed out to herself in TPOD that trying to fight the Wise Ones on the apprentice thing was an exercise in futility, and that all things being equal, the quickest way out is through. And I suppose Masuri et al are going to learn humility and be better people and better Aes Sedai for it in the end or whatever. At the very least, it’s good in the sense that Masuri is finally actually getting to do worthwhile stuff instead of just being relegated to beating rugs all the time.

On the other hand, the whole thing still just bugs on some levelthat the sisters’ own standing and hierarchy is just tossed aside for the, duh, clearly superior Aiel system, and no substitutions, extensions, or refunds allowed. I mean, I know I’m being a little hypocritical here, considering how often I’ve declared the Aes Sedai ranking system Dumb, but just imagine if someone came in to your, I dunno, your poker game one day and was all, yeah, no, this is no longer your game, you are now playing bridge.

And no, you have no choice, and no, you may not keep any of your previous poker winnings, because your poker winnings are now magically crap and worth nothing in Bridge World. And the cards are all different values (go with me here) and the scoring is incomprehensible and we will barely even explain the basic gameplay to you, but you will play bridge anyway and you will play it all day AND YOU WILL LIKE IT, because this is how we roll in Bridge World, beeyotch, so suck it up.

And…yeah, I’d really just rather play Texas Hold ‘Em. And if that’s a stupid game, one clearly inferior to the wonder that is bridge, well, fine, but you know what, at least no one forced me to play it.

Aaand that was either the most pathetically over-extended metaphor that ever totally got away from the point, or a not-so-subtle recrimination against my mother for trying to making me learn that evil, evil game when I was a wee lass. (Seriously, I’m a smart girl, but bridge? Yargle blarg brain freeze no. Go Fish!)

Or it could have been both, why not? Either way, it’s a pretty good sign that I should cash in my chips and get out while the gettin’s good, eh? Smoke if ya got ‘em, and see you Friday!

Marcus W
1. toryx
Thanks for getting Kenny Rogers stuck in my head for the next six years!
Abdel Masdoua
2. TheDarkOne
Re: Darkhounds

Gotta say I don't know what to make of them.
Who sent them, how ( as Leigh mentioned, Gateways + Shadowspawn don't go well together!) and who are they after?

COT is kinda blurry in my mind but I really got nothing here.

Theories anyone?
Little help from you guys would be much appreciated.
Pretty please!

Kenny Rogers! Of course!
Thanks toryx, I was on my way to check that.
I love this song, 'cause it reminds of Blackpool (which is awesome BTW), but I couldn't remember him.
john massey
3. subwoofer
I am going to be putting Brandon to the question about the pack, and hopefully he will not RAFO me. I think I pondered this on another thread but can the wolves fight the darkhounds in the Dream? And will they stand a better chance? Do Darkhounds appear in the Wolf Dream? It bothers me that soo many wolves have to die to take down one darkhound and that darkhounds are supposed to be the twisted souls of wolves. There has to be a way to deal with them.

Sorry- being who I am I have a vested interest in these things.

4. DavidW
I'm guessing that Perrin's awesome hammer can kill darkhounds. He is just that awesome and a darkhound pack could rip an army line to shreds.
James Jones
5. jamesedjones
Thank you, Leigh. This is further proof that Bridge should never be introduced to children. I had a buddy encourage me to look up the rules online a few years back, and it's not that bad. But when your 7 or 8, all you want to do is play Kings on Corners or Gin Rummy (which your grandparents let you win).

Question: would a wolf be able to get all of the information that Masuri got with saidar just by sniffin' the stone? Because I was wondering if she was going to start naming them and telling us what they had for breakfast before she was done.
Sean Banawnie
7. Seanie
I looked at Berelain two ways here. First , she was figuring Perrin is too obsessed with Faile as a prisoner for her to make any "progress" with him. Maybe the reality of Faile would be easier to compete with? On another level, maybe she is showing some growth herself here. A little. Reluctantly.
I am interested to see what role the Darkhounds play as well.
The wolf dream , the Last Hunt gathering etc. seem to forebode a special role for the wolves to me as well. I liked those scenes in TOM. Missed those wolves. Boo Slayer .
Edit for reading posts that posted while I wrote my postest.
DavidW@4 . Good point , forgot the hammer of A.
Marcus W
8. toryx
TheDarkOne @ 2: You're welcome. :)

Subwoofer @ 3: I suspect the Hounds can't get into the Wolf dream. Being twisted away from their original wolfishness probably denies them access forever.

Berelain's Motivations:

Berelain wanted to get Faile back so badly because there's no point in driving a man's spouse into a murderous rage if she's isn't there.

Seriously, she couldn't have a victory without Faile present to witness it, and the victory was what she wanted more than anything.
TW Grace
9. TWGrace
The gateway/shadowspawn thing...

Maybe darkhounds arent "artificial" like Trollocs and Myrdraal (and dra-whateverits)...maybe they are something totally different.

Or maybe someone used a different kind of gateway...

Or maybe it was a goof...
Rajesh Vaidya
10. Buddhacat
It just seems odd that the hounds have been looking for a long time and found nothing. Based on what we know of all the human characters, they should be easy (or at least easier) to find. So it must be non-human , or at least off-human (sub-human? super-human? supra-human?) - i.e., Padan Fain.
john massey
11. subwoofer
Sorry- when my grandparents were around I played bridge with them every week. Half the battle was in the bidding. And my Gramps would sometimes fall asleep in either the playing or the bidding. Fun stuff. Especially cut-throat.

Masuri- how convenient that we have a DH expert when the biggest pack ever shows up on Perrin's doorstep. I do like what Elayas has to say about them tho'.

Suroth's letter comes in handy at the end of the day too. Masema or no, all these things line up nicely for Perrin's ta'vereness.

Edit-@Seanie- there is a third way to look at Berelain;)
::whistles innocently::

12. av willis
RE the comment about getting around the third oath by being a passive participant in a circle, we may have seen this already. We already know that an a'dam works by creating an involuntary circle between the two parties. Although I can't specifically recall an example of a former Aes Sedai Damane being used in battle, but considering thats their primary function in Seanchan culture it stands to reason that we would have heard something by about the Marath'damane on this side of the pond if the third oath was inhibbiting them on the battlefield
Noneo Yourbusiness
13. Longtimefan
It may not be a gateway but the way Rand traveled into the World of Dreams and then exited out in another location.

If they are traveling in T'A'R the pack leader (maybe Slayer) can check the surroundings for campsites and then break out of T'A'R to investigate the camp in the physical world.

However, where have all these dark hounds gone? if there are 50 or so running around tracking someone (perhaps Rand, perhaps Padan Fain) are they still tracking which is why they are not being used by Slayer to kill wolves/Perrin in Towers of Midnight?

I would think it is possible that they are off to hunt Fain because is is also on the Dark One's top ten most wanted. He has been seen in book in campsites. (unlike Rand who hides in cites and palaces) If they were/are hunting Fain then that would explain why they are having a difficult time finding him (he can use the Ways) and he is chasing Rand so his travel pattern will be as erractic as Rand's

It would also explain why they have not been seen since because they may not be seen again until they catch him. Or are called off. There is a plan for them. But like all things at this end of the series the plans take several books to unfold. Often entire books dedicated to ignoring them.

That is my quick two cents. Spelling errors and gaps in reasoning applicable where available. :)
14. birgit
Especially when you consider that if Perrin’s right, they were initially brought in via gateway anyway, so why then leave them to track a guy who can run circles around them, spatially if not literally?

I don't think they were brought with gateways. Perrin finds the two places where the pack came and left in the circle around his camp. The Darkhounds passed the place where Perrin's Asha'man made gateways and showed no interest in it.

On the other hand, the whole thing still just bugs on some level—that the sisters’ own standing and hierarchy is just tossed aside for the, duh, clearly superior Aiel system, and no substitutions, extensions, or refunds allowed.

They were Rand's prisoners after Dumai's Wells and were given to the Wise Ones. Why should they not integrate their prisoners in their own social structure?

Although I can't specifically recall an example of a former Aes Sedai Damane being used in battle, but considering thats their primary function in Seanchan culture it stands to reason that we would have heard something by about the Marath'damane on this side of the pond if the third oath was inhibbiting them on the battlefield

Some Seanchan did comment on that, and Mylen was unhappy about being useless in battle.

It may not be a gateway but the way Rand traveled into the World of Dreams and then exited out in another location.

Rand does use gateways to enter TAR.
Kent Aron Vabø
15. sotgnomen
I always figured it was Fain they were after, as darkhounds have been tried with rand before, and its not like he has less balefire to throw around this time. And darkhounds seem like the next logical thing to send after Fain, when Slayer failed. Just give them the scent, let them go and put it out of your mind.

As for the gateways, it seems clear to me they are Perrin's, how the army got to the campsite. He calls them Ashaman's gates, there are two of them, and he comments that the Hounds dont seem interested in evidence of the one power. Looks like they just ran past the camp's gateway-site.
The Hounds simply ran across the camp. They came from the north, circled the camp once, then continued south.
Brandon Daggerhart
16. BDaggerhart
Does anyone else ever see or hear of this darkhound pack again?

Also, do we ever really find out why Massuri and Annoura are meeting with Masema? And why Masema is meeting with the Seanchan? I really don't remember this book very well.
17. DevilSquirrel456
So I've been lurking for a while now, but having just read these chapters yesterday, I've got some ideas about the gateways and the 3rd oath loophole.

I think the spot with the gateways was where Perrin brought his army through. Mainly because it mentions the Shadowbrother's trail running through the area where gateways had been opened. Also, Perrin can smell the trail extending north and south, meaning the trail doesn't just magically start and end at the gateway trees.

Now, about the 3rd oath loophole, Aes Sedai-turned-damane still can't use the One Power as a weapon. I forget exactly where, but an earlier book mentions one of the former Aes Sedai being upset about still being held by the Oaths, even though she's really good at Sky Lights (I can't remember what book/chapter, but I'd bet money that it's in there). That said, I don't think the 3rd Oath would hold in a circle if it was led by a woman who wasn't Oath-bound. Stick with me for a bit longer, and I'll explain.

The a'dam creates an involuntary circle, true, but the Power is still coming from and being shaped by the damane. The sul'dam is just forcing her to do it. In a circle, each woman is essentially just a human an'greal, and all of the weaving is done by the leader. I think the 3rd oath holds damane because they're the ones attempting to form harmful weaves, but wouldn't hold Aes Sedai in a circle because they're not making any weaves themselves.

Anyway, that's just what's been rattling around in my head for a while. Love the reread!
Sean Banawnie
18. Seanie
TW@9 : I like the nonartificial theory....goof has plausibility too tho.....'twisted' by the shadow (isnt that what wolves call Trollocs? Twisted Ones ) but not so much that they are 'unnatural'
Wooooohoooo!! ....me ?.........


F Shelley
19. FSS
Re: 3rd oath in battle in circles. In KoD, CH 36, Karede thinks about how useless Mylen is in battle, due to the three oaths.

I think this is because with the Adam, the suldam makes the damane use her own power, whereas in a circle, whoever leads melds the flows.
Ron Garrison
20. Man-0-Manetheran
"Yargle blarg brain freeze no. Go Fish!" - my sentiments exactly!
21. AndrewB
Leigh, you said: "Not that it was rocket science anyway, but I’m pretty sure I instantly knew how Suroth’s little carte blanche was going to end up being used—in the general if not the specific sense, really."

Did you mean that you knew how Perrin would use Suroth's note once he had it in his possession? Or did you mean that you knew how Masema would use the note if Berelain's agent did not steal it? If the latter, then can you specify your theory? I cannot think of what Masema would use the note for.

Berelain's actions while Faile was kidnapped. I think she explained herself fairly well in ToM. She wanted to play nice with Perrin in his time of need. If Faile in fact does die, Berelain believes that her attitude during this period will help Perrin be more receptive to replacing Faile with herself.

If Faile did die, I do not think this plan would have been successful. Perrin already disliked Berelain. He would not have gone to her after Faile's death. In his mind, Berelain is not compatible with him. (Which, is kind of ironic; since, IMO, Berelain and Faile both have a huge manipulative streak in their personalities.)

Jamesdjones: you must have had grandparents who were not competative. My grandfather never intentionally let me win a hand of gin rummy when we played. He did not like it when I one a hand, let alone the game.

Thanks for reading my musings.
Maiane Bakroeva
22. Isilel
So, umm, almost totally pointless couple of chapters. Ultimately as of ToM: Darkhounds had no import, Annoura's machinations, whatever they were had no import or explanation, the whole apprenticeship thing had no import since in ToM the WOs still consider the AS to be hopeless fools, Berelein is just continuing the same irritating crap that we have previously seen...
Yea, Perrin got his carte blanche with Seanchan and Masema got to demonstrate his scary fanaticism, but on the whole these chapters are a waste of time, IMHO. Why, oh why couldn't we get some Black Tower instead?

And of course it makes me mad that supposedly the FS want to kill Perrin, but here a huge Darkhound pack just avoids his camp instead of spreading a little terror and chaos at least.
Oh, and why didn't Graendal include some Darkhounds in her attack on Perrin? Right, because it would have made too much sense. Sigh.
23. Freelancer
Hi Leigh.

Conflictifies? Well, I had pegged you as one who would have gloried in bashing someone else (say, a former President) for such a pseudoterm. Clearly I misunderestimated you.
And Bridge makes perfect sense, but in a completely different way than Hold-em. I figure that anyone who is excellent at one would naturally suck at the other, because in the one game you play the cards, while in the other game you play the players.

Profanities aside, Berelain also makes perfect sense. She wants to survive this mess. Being pragmatic about certain activities is necessary, and she is a politician.
Marcus W
24. toryx
Freelancer @ 23:

Conflictifies? Well, I had pegged you as one who would have gloried in bashing someone else (say, a former President) for such a pseudoterm. Clearly I misunderestimated you.

There are some rather obvious differences. For one, Leigh's aware that she made the word up. For another, she pretty obviously intended to be funny (and was successfully so). For a third, she's not the President of the United States (or, for that matter, a former half-term governor).

I'm one of those who has always believed that the Darkhounds were seeking out Fain. And yeah, they left Perrin's camp alone because they're single-minded in their pursuit as canines on a hunt tend to be.

But yeah, I always thought that the Darkhounds were too powered up and consequently, had to be rarely used.
25. MasterAlThor

Pinochle is better. Much easier to understand if you have played Uchre.

Kurt Lorey
26. Shimrod
Pretty sure Berelain explained this to Faile in ToM. Something about wanting to "win" Perrin with Faile there. No fun "winning" him without any competition.

Something like that.
Tricia Irish
27. Tektonica
Thanks again Leigh.

I thought the Dark hounds were after either Fain or Rand, both of whom are terribly hard to find/follow. Can't they move through T'AR with Slayer, their nominal boss? (Fiddler thinks so too.)

Berelain is a constant mystery. Glad I'm not Perrin having to deal with her...very confusing.

I thought this passage put Annoura and Masuri in the DF camp, perhaps in cahoots with Suroth, manipulating Masema? Thoughts?

And please don't ever make me play cards. Black jack is the only card game I can stand. I'd so much rather read a book!
Janet Hopkins
28. JanDSedai
re: dark hounds

I vaguely thought that the hounds were drawn to Perrin because he is ta'veren, and Perrin was 'protected' because of the Wolf Dream. But the thought that they were chasing Fain is much better. However, if the Dark Hounds caught up to Fain-plus, what are they changed into?!

The game around my house was double Pinochle. Memories of holidays at my house would not be complete without hearing my dad announce "I'm the best Pinochle player in the house!" to get a game going.
j p
29. sps49
Yep, never seen a carte blanche like that in literature before.

"It is by my order and for the good of the State that the bearer of this has done what has been done.


subwoofer @12- Innocently? Wolfishly!
Valentin M
30. ValMar
TheDarkOne @ 2
If you don't know anything of them Darkhounds, who would?!
F Shelley
31. FSS
@24 - I beleive the former president in question goes by Dubya...
32. gabemar
Please correct me if I am wrong but I thought that the DHs that attack Rand in TFOH at the maiden's "roof" had gotten into the building via gateway or skimming. Or did they just walk in through the door? Which I found near impossible without causing a raucous since Rand was, I believe, on the fifth floor and all the floors below were full of maidens.
Ron Garrison
33. Man-0-Manetheran
@25 MasterAlThor: I rarely meet anyone who has heard of Uchre (aka Euchre) outside of Indiana and Illinois. And Pinocle was my dad's favorite game.
34. Hammerlock
Got an interesting thought here:

Sammael's darkhound pack was small, and he was a Forsaken. This is the Ur-Pack of darkhounds, apparently.

So what if they're Moridin/Ishy's? That opens up a new angle: what if Shadowspawn can't go through OP gateways, but CAN go through gates made with the DO's True Power?

No other Forsaken seemed willing to use the TP (when they had access) to do more than the smallest thing, at great need. Opening a gateway for a large amount of troops would be insane for them. Moridin is less restrained, however...and up until around this point he's had no pressing need to do so. Darkhounds can't navigate the Ways, so its either hoof (well, paw) it overland or use an exerting shortcut.

Chris Chaplain
36. chaplainchris1
Thanks again for another reread post Leigh! And I'm pleased that my holiday schedule has (at least temporarily) slowed enough for me to join the discussion while the post is still active...

DevilSquirrel @17 - excellent job explaining the fact that Aes Sedai in a circle with non-Aes Sedai can contribute to attacks on non-Shadowspawn (probably) but cannot be forced to do so via the a'dam. (I like the term human angreals too.) Just what I was going to suggest but done much more clearly and succinctly (the latter being a skill I have not mastered).

On Darkhounds: I think these chapters are justified in existing just for what we learn about the Darkhounds, which is creep-inducingly interesting.

Subwoofer and others – we’ve no evidence that Darkhounds can use Tel’aran’rhiod, and MAN I hope they can’t. (Although it would be interesting! And might explain why wolves HAVE to be at the Last Battle.)

Like others, I don't think the Darkhounds came in by gateway – I’d never had that thought before and appreciate others’ clarification, so I don’t have to go reread myself! (I’m in book 3 right now, so…).

I have always assumed - though with a lot of uncertainty - that the Darkhounds were hunting Fain, and not doing a very good job of it. Leigh's suggestion of Rand may make more sense, and the explanation of why they are traveling south. "Poor" Darkhounds may've been travelling for months now trying to catch Rand up.

Re: Darkhounds and Shadowspawn in general, btw, TOM helped me see Shadowspawn as threatening again. After the big OP fight in Knife of Dreams, with Rand spinning Blossoms of Fire and Deathgates and 30-odd Ashaman and Aes Sedai taking down 100,000 Shadowspawn without any advance notice and practically zero troop support...well, I was starting to wonder how threatening the Shadowspawn would really be. But Trollocs, Myrdraal, and especially Draghkar were used to great effect against Ituralde's forces in TOM. Add in Darkhounds (Perrin wondering if channelers could take them out without balefire suddenly becomes really important!), Gray Men, Jumara/Worms, Slayer, Dreadlords/Black Asha'man/Black Ajah, and a few odd Forsaken, with Moridin's cache of previously unguessed *greal...yikes.

Not to mention red-veiled non-Aiel. And the Seanchan empire. And the Sharans, maybe? And wherever Demandred’s kingdom is? Yikes3.

Re: Masuri - I've always kind of liked her. Her mysterious unexplained behavior re: Masema is bothersome. Still, I like her - iirc she shows compassion to Perrin when the assault on Malden's about to begin (or is that Seonid?), as well as concern for the people of So Harbor (or is *that* Seonid?), but most of all I like her for this chapter. I like that she's beginning to be susceptible to Wise One Kool-Aid. (There's a big difference between the Wise Ones treatment of non-dat'sang apprentices like Masuri, and the Seanchan's treatment of damane, for example. Mostly the difference that they treat their apprentices just like apprentices from their own people, with the very treatment they received as apprentices. They don't have the raging hypocrisy of Renna, Bethamin, Seta, and even Tuon.) It signals maturity.

But I REALLY like how knowledgeable she is about Darkhounds, and that she shares the info. Ok, there's the niggling concern about whether she herself is a Darkfriend (I've always thought Annoura was and Masuri wasn't - though after TOM I suspect neither is b/c it seems those plot threads have been trimmed). But if she's not, it means that she has made a study of Darkhounds. Which means she's had to be thinking about the Shadow and how to combat it. Which means, Brown Ajah or not, she's not useless. She's cognizant of the White Tower's supposed reason for existence, and of the reasons the Browns exist - battling the Shadow, gathering information to serve humanity.

In other words, she's an example of a non-useless Aes Sedai. So I like her, as I like Pevara, poor 13x13’d Tarna, the other Black Ajah hunters, Meidani, etc.

Thanks toryx for your comments @24 re: Leigh and conflictifies.

My folks taught me “honeymoon” i.e. two-person bridge, which is obviously much less complicated than playing partners. I’ve never had opportunity to play with 4 people, and reading the rules does make my eyes cross. I prefer Hearts and especially Spades. And a family favorite card game called simply “Oh Hell” for reasons you can readily guess.
Jonah Feldman
37. relogical
This Darkhound thing never made any sense to me, and I doubt it ever will. I'm just going to assume it's just something unimportant that Jordan threw in to signify incoming darkness and doomful ominousness. I never even caught the part about them being sent by gateway, which makes the whole thing even more nonsensical. It doesn't make sense as a means to track down Rand, and it doesn't seem to have caught anyone else. If it were part of the order to kill Perrin and Mat, it would have done something by now. The only other loose target of the Shadow is Fain, and he's not nearby. I'm not saying the Darkhounds have no role to play in AMoL, but their appearance here looks pretty pointless.
Chris Chaplain
38. chaplainchris1
Hammerlock @34 - very interesting/scary thought, on whether Shadowspawn can use TP-created gateways. Off-hand I'd say no still, but it's possible....

Btw, can anyone explain the conceptual difference between TP-created gateways and OP-created ones? Saidar creates gateways by making a similarity between two places within the Pattern, while saidin pokes a hole through the Pattern from one place to another. How is the hole-poking of saidin any better than the TP ripping the Pattern?
40. DevilSquirrel456
Chaplainchris1 @38 - Thanks! It's gratifying to know that others are thinking along the same lines. As far as the OP/TP dilemma, could it be as simple as saidin being 'better' because it's 'part' of the Pattern, while the TP stands outside and in opposition to it? Or perhaps it's more that saidin takes advantage of existing gaps in the lace/mesh of the Pattern to take you from point A to B, while the TP rips the Pattern to make a hole. Just sort of thinking out loud here. Also, comment threads are fun!
Thomas Keith
41. insectoid
Great post, Leigh!

I do like that word you invented! A lot of amusing words can be made just by adding -ify to the end... conflictify... confusify... wolfify... Woofify. ;)

I do hope we find out (from Brandon or otherwise) who/what the massive pack of Darkhounds is hunting. As our hostess might say, 'tis a puzzle!

I've never played bridge, or pinochle, or even rummy... never learned them. (I have a rule book, so I could.) With my family I usually wind up playing 5-card draw poker or blackjack. But when we play the latter I usually wind up hearing, "You got blackjack again?" Blame the silly cards... I'm just being ta'veren... ;)

Marcus W
42. toryx
Man-O @ 33:

Eucre is also really popular in Michigan. I've been taught to play it three or four times and always forget as soon as a night of playing it is over.

Thankfully, since leaving Michigan I haven't had any reason to learn again.
43. Hammerlock

From the context of what I've read:
Saidar brings the two points together, like folding the lace/pattern briefly.
Saidin burrows throught the pattern, pins the lace together.
True Power rips a hole in the pattern to step outside it, and then enter in a hole on the other side.

The OP methods work with and through the pattern. It's possible that because you're passing through the "Fabric" the DO-twisted parts of Shadowspawn get rejected/filtered and the experience is fatal--this wouldn't be a problem for darkfriends since they're part of the pattern naturally. Moridin and other heavy TP users might be an exception since they get pretty badly corrupted/physically changed with the TP use, but I doubt it.

A TP gateway, however, may allow Shadowspawn to pass through since its a tear in the pattern--you're not passing through it but "over" or outside it.
44. c4and13r
Greatly prefer Poker and Blackjack to bridge, Tks for the Re-read Leigh.

insectoid @41

I now have the thoughts of Sea folk casinos floating down the River Erinin, and throwing Matt into the sea as quick as possible.
Brian Vrolyk
45. vyskol
Regarding circling around the oaths, I seem to recall someone at some point saying that this didn't work. But didn't they do pretty much the same thing in forging a weapon with the one power when they forged Perrin's Hammer of A?
Grainne McGuire
46. helen79
IIRC that circle was Asha'man+Wise Ones. No Aes Sedai. Hence no oath circling needed.
Ron Garrison
47. Man-0-Manetheran
@45 vyskol: Ahh. But Perrin's hammer is a tool, not a weapon. How's that for an aes sedai answer?
48. Jonellin Stonebreaker
chaplainchris@38- The One Power, by its very nature, is part of the Pattern, and is therefore non-inimical to it. While my belief is not necessarily canon, I think that creating a gateway via saidin is like using the OP to create a wormhole, while creating a gateway using saidar is like folding spacetime.
TP created gateways it would be like breaking down spacetime, which is an altogther different matter.
Bill Stusser
49. billiam
Because of the large size of this darkhound pack I always thought that it was the 'Wild Hunt' we heard about back in TDR. As to who they are hunting I always assumed it was Rand.
I still think we will find out more about this pack in the last book, I can't see RJ writing about it here without some kind of pay off later.
Stefan Mitev
50. Bergmaniac
The fact that this Darkhound superpack disappeared without a trace was quite disappointing to me when i read the book for the first time. I was thinking "Finally some action..." and then nothing, back to Perrin being Emo and pointless subplots like what's up with Masuri and Annoura. And more Berelain related headdesk inducing stuff....The series would've been so much better if Faile had kept her temper in check back in TSR and this whole love triangle had never been created.

Thank God Berelain was finally over Perrin in ToM. She found the perfect match for her - most handsome guy in the world, in charge of a powerful military order, who also happen to be a close relative in some way to the Dragon Reborn, the Queen of Andor and Cairhien, the Amyrlin and the King of Tear.
john massey
51. subwoofer
Ahem- I firmly maintain my innocent whistling with Berelain... er... that may have been a poor choice of words... awwww you know what I meant.

@Tek& ChaplainChris- now that is an interesting thought. Well, what if the darkhounds are chasing Fain? Several things occur to me:

-Fain is always on the move, whether it is stalking Rand or laying a trap for him or whatever, Fain is always bouncing around. At some point I figure Fain knows where Rand will be eventually so it is not like the Gholam following Mat- Fain actually has a master plan so either Fain is running from something or he is moving towards something else.

- It is entirely possible that other packs have been sent after Fain. We know his dagger kills all- maybe Fain had a close encounter of the third kind with a pack of darkhounds and kacked them all, thus the biggest pack ever on his tail.

- Back in the day, Fain was a darkfriend. Something got a hold of him and twisted him, even before he went to Aridhol. Maybe that same something either wants him back or knows what Fain has become and is sent to get him.

&once and for all Grainster has it, Hammer no made using Aes Sedai, Hammer made using people not oath bound. Fini.

As far as cards, Free has it right- with bridge there is a point system and a bidding system and it is fairly regimented, usually at the end of the bidding, we are close to knowing what everyone has. I am playing my geek card here folks, back in the day I used one of my yearbook pages as scrap paper to score a round of Hearts. Yay:)

52. hamstercheeks
My money's on huge packs of Darkhounds ripping into the Light forces trying to protect Rand. Probably means Maidens. *wince* Or they might try to go after Mat and Perrin. Someone important, anyway.

chaplainchris@36: That was Seonid. But both she and Masuri are pretty effective. I really do think Aes Sedai work best individually or in very, very small groups. Like, two sisters.

Hammerlock@43: Great explanation of how the TP might be used to transport Shadowspawn via gateways.

Thanks for the re-read, Leigh! Even though you and I disagree over Berelain (I love her. There, I said it.)...
William Fettes
53. Wolfmage
"Query: so is the implication here that Annoura and Masuri (or any Oath-sworn Aes Sedai) can participate in a circle which attacks non-Darkfriends (which I suppose we must technically consider Masema’s rabble to be), as long as the Aes Sedai are not the ones leading the circle?"

The initiation of a circle is the only part that's voluntary, so it follows that the 3 Oaths could only interfere if the Aes Sedai in question could reasonably foresee the circle leader using the power in contravention of the Oaths. Short of killing the circle channeller, I don't think there is any way to terminate the circle outside the leader ceding control, so I can't see a mechanism for preventing this loophole.

Of course, that begs the question whether any prudent Aes Sedai could ever really let themselves enter a circle led by non-Oath-bound channellers without some nigh-absolute level trust involved. However, I don't think we have textual support for such a high standard applying in practice. Although, it's possible they just haven't thought enough about the full implications due to their historical monopoly on channelling and circle-work.

"I’m kind of divided on how I feel about this—as is Masuri herself, actually."

Me too. On one hand, it's hard to avoid the impression that with few exceptions the WT and Aes Sedai in general are seriously lackluster agents for the light. Their institutions and conventions of leadership are non-meritocratic and prone to political instability, and their whole process of training, progressing and raising new recruits does little to ensure any basic competence or wisdom. Beyond some limited technocratic mastery in the art of channelling, and some not terribly impressive imperative about maintaining composure, whether you get Moiraine or Elaida at the end of the day is almost a coin toss. The Aiel certainly do better at instilling wisdom than that, Therava and her odious Shaido-ilk notwithstanding.

However, I think the books can sometimes carry the noble savage thing a bit far in this respect. The Aiel certainly aren't perfect - they are still a primitive, pre-modern group in some ways, and they have their own blind spots and arbitrary cultural hangups. Too often the Aiel Wise Ones are presented as a kind of borg-like cultural meatgrinder unless you happen to be a Formidable Character (TM) like Moiraine or Cadsuane, or any of the Super Girls for that matter.

I personally don't think that's particularly realistic for a centuries-old institution like the WT. Even if it's just by the sheer probabilities of Aes Sedai longjevity, and the collective wisdom contained in the WT library, they should have more competent, sophisticated Aes Sedai who aren't unhinged by the Wise Ones' game. Verin's path of least resistence is a nice exception to the general rule, but it would have been good to see some other Aes Sedai holding their own occassionally.
Roger Powell
54. forkroot
Re: Bridge and Poker (skip now if you don't care)

I don't do this much, but gonna drop a couple of names by way of asserting that I know a bit about the subjects. In my mis-spent youth I achieved a pretty high-level of competence in both poker and bridge. I used to play poker to supplement my income and participated in a number of games including a game that included people like Dan Harrington. Played bridge (also for money) with a crowd that included Chip Martel. Of course those guys were better than me, but I held my own and have some scalps (and stories.)

If you are still with me (and if you care), let me assure you that contract bridge at the highest levels is an order of magnitude more difficult than poker.


And Bridge makes perfect sense, but in a completely different way than Hold-em. I figure that anyone who is excellent at one would naturally suck at the other, because in the one game you play the cards, while in the other game you play the players.

I know quite a few world-champion bridge players and without exception they are also fairly good at poker. Interestingly enough, the converse is not necessarily true (although Dan Harrington is good at just about everything, including chess.)
One of the reasons for this (and the reason that I was pretty good at poker) is that good bridge players remember all the cards that have been played, are decent at doing probabilities, and constantly infer what their opponents hold based on clues in the bidding and play. These skills are essential in bridge - you can't be any good without them.

If you can do these skills for bridge you have more than enough technical skill to be a world-class poker player. In fact, if you have these skills you can be a pretty good poker player in limit raise games without any psychological skills.

With all that said - if you want to play poker at the highest levels, you must indeed "play the man" as Freelancer suggested, mainly because all world-class poker players do the technical part flawlessly.

What's also interesting is that at the highest levels of contract bridge, there is also a little bit of the "play the man" that goes on. Superstars like Zia Mahmood weave spectacular deceptions at the highest level of play - precisely because their opponents are good enough to draw inferences from (false) cards played. Most of what Zia does goes over the head of the average tournament player.
Roger Powell
55. forkroot
Back to WOT stuff - Leigh wrote:

I’m pretty sure I instantly knew how Suroth’s little carte blanche was going to end up being used—in the general if not the specific sense, really. I just didn’t know it was going to take two more goddamn books to happen. Rrggh.

Nope, just one more book - it gets used in KoD which is next.
Regarding Darkhounds - IIRC, RJ's stated reason that Shadowspawn cannot pass through gateways is that they are artificial constructs without souls. He said that Nym couldn't go through gateways either. Since Darkhounds are made from the twisted souls of wolves, I guess technically speaking they really aren't Shadowspawn, and hence should be able to use gateways.
56. Freelancer
M-o-M @33

Euchre was the game of choice aboard ship for many years. You have to be more clever than for Spades or Hearts, and games are quick enough that you're more likely to finish in case of a drill or other interruption. Mind if I cut the deck?
57. MasterAlThor

Spades, Hearts, Euchre, Pinochle, and Poker all good games. Thoough I do not play poker. And yep we play double deck pinochle over here.

Michigan is notorious for playing Euchre, it is like the state game over here. If you don't know how to play then you are from off.

Hearts and Spades are great games too. Shoot the Moon if you can, if not play smart.

And Free it is always custom to offer the person to the right a cut before you deal.

Now I am going to go Partners Best alone.

Mikey Bennett
58. EvilMonkey
Fork @56

Stole my thunder. Unlike most shadowspawn, I do not think DarkHounds are constructs and thus can pass through gateways. Also, now that I heard the theory that the hounds were looking for Fain I thought that it makes way more sense than Rand. Rand can travel, channel, and up until TOM he hasn't been in a real live campsite since TFoH. If someone was directing the hounds to find Rand they would be sending the beasts to Carhein, Tear, Illian, mebbe Andor or even Ruidean. Why would the director of hounds be sending them to Gheldan, a place Rand walked through almost 2 years ago book time?
Fain OTOH does all his traveling on foot. He moves pretty quick and is unpredictable in his movements. He has evaded Forsaken and the DR. Since Falme, he has been able to get all around Randland, and is the ultimate in being uncaught. In the span of 13 books he's been in The Two Rivers, Caemlyn, Sheinar, Falme, Amadacia, The Two Rivers again, Tar Valon, Carhein, Far Madding, and the Blight. The only people in this series who have gone more places than him in the last two years book time have access to Traveling, either in themselves (Guardians and Servants) or those who have business with them (the non-saidin enhanced ta'veren and the Light Side Armies). And even some with access haven't gone to as many places as him. Hounds looking for Fain are certainly going to have a time on their hands.
As for cards, Spades and Hearts are my fav's. I also like Hold 'em, I-declare-WAR, Egyptian Ratscrew, and Uno.

Alice Arneson
59. Wetlandernw
I must admit, I didn't expect Kenny Rogers!

Berelain in this chapter: GRRRR. How can somebody so smart be so stupid? I guess we got that answered firmly, eventually, but still. She's so intelligent, and yet she can't catch on that Perrin really intends to be faithful to his wife and doesn't understand - nor wish to understand - her little games. Argh. Oh, and the complete lack of comprehension of how her little rumor made the TR folks feel about Perrin. Eurgh. Makes me want to slap her upside the head. Several times.

Yeah, the Darkhound pack that apparently vanishes. I keep hoping we'll find out what happened to them, and really expected to see it in ToM, but... AMoL, maybe? I'm with birgit @14 (and several others) on the gateway question; I don't think they Travelled to get here. Given the frustration Masuri senses from this bunch, I think that they were chasing Rand, who was driving them completely spare by hopping all over Randland; every time they thought they were getting close, they'd find out they were hundreds of miles off, and going in the wrong direction again. Could be Fain, I suppose, but I'm sticking with Rand as probable target #1.

Regardless of their particular prey, I've always assumed that they had some sort of "target radar" thing, where they could sense the location of their prey but had to run cross-country to follow. Thus, being in Ghealdan wouldn't mean that they cared about anything in Ghealdan, just that it was between where they had been and where their latest target-locator-beacon was sending them. FWIW, I don't know that Rand has been in Ebou Dar lately; Far Madding is nearly due east of where Perrin is, so I'm not sure what that says. Then again, we have no clue what their "beacon" is or how it works. But I'm sticking with the cross-country chase, anyway.

You know, I never caught that bit about the circle with Wise Ones and Aes Sedai. It was one of those things I would read and think "Hey, what's that about? I'll have to come back and think about that." and then I never would. Makes sense, in context, that they were preparing to link and defend. Quite a concept, that AS could contribute to an assault circle as long as they weren't directing the flows. Loophole big enough to drive a steam wagon through!

Love the cards metaphor. :) It's a pretty good explanation of how I felt about the Masuri thing, too. I don't like the AS attitude, and their heirarchy is rather irrelevant to actual functioning, but I still cringe when Masuri starts looking to the Wise Ones for permission, etc. Partly because I empathize with characters too much, and she obviously cringes too, but partly... I don't know. It just doesn't seem entirely appropriate, somehow. Hmm. I never felt that way about Kiruna and Bera, though... Maybe it just grates when someone who is clearly the local expert on the subject at hand has to be given permission to examine or speak about it? Hmm. Bridge is okay, except that for some reason everyone who plays it seems to take it so seriously that learning is a very joyless experience. Nigh chop off your head for a minor mistake in bidding even when you don't understand the basics, much less the finer nuances. If I ever found someone who played it for actual fun, I might try it again!

Re: comments...

av willis @12 - We have heard about former AS damane - they are useless in battle. The third Oath holds them, even with the a'dam.

TankSpill @16 - No, no, and... no. No clues on any of those, that I can recall.

toryx @24 - I think you forgot to put on your sense of humor first. Just saying.
Jonathan Levy
60. JonathanLevy
I just wanted to point out that this is the second post in a row to contain the words "fucking Berelain". Freudian slip? :)

6. subwoofer
3 NT!

Re: How to kill darkhounds.

In TFOH Rand cuts up a few darkhounds, but they sort of merge together and attack him again. He has to use balefire to get rid of them permanently.

We've also seen Moiraine kill darkhounds with balefire.

However - in TDR, in Illian, Moiraine wanders off alone, and Lan goes after her after he and Perrin detect the prints of a darkhound. When she gets back she says that Sammael will discover that one of his darkhounds is dead, and he knows that means a Warder. The inference is that a warder can kill a darkhound.

Well - how? Rand can't kill one just with his saidin sword. How is a Warder going to do it? Maybe he has a power-wrought blade? That could be it, but not all warders do, do they? Also, if a power-wrought blade can kill them, why can't a sword of fire? Wouldn't he be more likely to assume an Aes Sedai killed it herself, rather than assume a warder did it, and from that infer the presence of an Aes Sedai?

Just thinking...
Thomas Keith
61. insectoid
JLevy @60: Good thinking! Also convenient, now that Perrin has a Power-wrought hammer... ;)

62. birgit
The wolves say that wolves killed by the Shadow can be turned into Darkhounds. Slayer is always hunting wolves and might be turning them into Darkhounds. Maybe the pack is unusually big because Slayer made so many new Darkhounds.

Shouldn't a discussion of card games be in a Mat chapter? Or will we discuss dice games in the next Mat chapter?
Jay Dauro
63. J.Dauro

Quite a concept, that AS could contribute to an assault circle as long as they weren't directing the flows. Loophole big enough to drive a steam wagon through!

Now maybe. But up until recently the AS would never of thought of this as a loophole, because they would not expect anyone who has not sworn the Oaths to be able to lead a circle. Besides, no AS would link with one of those folks if they did exist.  ;^)
64. alreadymadwithdarkhounds
subwoofer @51
I'll call your innocent whistling and raise you with a thumbing of my ear...
65. normalphil
@Wolfmage 53

The collective wisdom of the Tower Library is for the vast majority of Aes Sedai worse than useless; they've been editting or removing anything that made the Tower look bad. It's impossible to learn from mistakes if you never acknowledge them, and people learning from you don't know they could possibly exist. It's just as bad for Aes Sedai in their daily lives- their standing amoung their fellows cannot survive any admission or perception of failure. Look what happenned to Merana- she put herself on the learning curve and just like that became omega wolf and Bera and Kiruna took over. Not because they were any good, because they were what Aes Sedai need to be and act like to do well among Aes Sedai. Which is to say they were ego-blinded ignorant fools who none the less acted as if they had all answers even when they knew they didn't and feared catastrophe because of it- because to do otherwise would be to go around with a "DEVOUR ME" sign, as far as their Sisters are concerned.

(Nyneave, walk away from these people. You can't change them, only lose yourself to them.)
Antoni Ivanov
66. tonka

they've been editting or removing anything that made the Tower look bad

That's certainly not true. There are many records about the Tower failures in the Tower Library. They are all in the 13th depositry of the library which only Sitters and the Amyrlin are allowed to see.
67. normalphil
@66 tonka

Those not having access to the 13th Depository being "the vast majority of Aes Sedai".
68. normalphil
@67 normalphil

...and I can't recognize sarcasm without afterthought.
James Hogan
69. Sonofthunder
@68 normalphil, You're not alone - I was about to reply to tonka, before I caught the sarcasm. Very nice, tonka. ;)
Tess Laird
70. thewindrose
It is sad that only the Sitters and Amyrlin can read from the 13th Depository(and the few lucky Browns who mantain it.) It is sad because it shows how these ladies have been hording knowlegde, and not being Servants of All.
This hording of knowldge is prevelent at all levels of the Aes Sedai - Ajah's have their own secret weaves, individual sisters have their own weaves they don't share either.

I was so hopeful when Egwene shared Traveling with all the Salidar sisters. It showed that one can buck the trend and start on the path of becoming a true Aes Sedai = Servant of All. Look at what Elaida did when Beonin showed her all the new weaves(that all the Salidar sisters were encouraged to learn) - she made Beonin swear not to show any other sister at the Tower with out Elaida's approval.

But back to the 13th Depository. If all the initiates of the Tower learned of the mistakes that have been made - think how stronger they would be. We know that the Oaths the sisters take, are done on a Binder from the AoL - an item that was only used on criminals in the AoL. While the Aes Seai of today say they take the Oath's to help with how they are precieved to the outside - they are not trusted by each other until theytake the Oaths. How sad is that? That they can't even trust each other without taking these Oaths.

I am also scared for Team Light if these Aes Sedai don't get rid of the Oath against making weapons. That one shoud have been dropped when Siuan became Amyrlin and knew the Dragon was reborn and TG was on the way. It was so cool to read the scene in ToM where the Asha'man and Aiel Wise Ones worked together and helped to make the powerful hammer for Perrin.

As to these chapters, Dark Hounds are scary - and it is tragic how they are made. One thing I did want to put out there was when we see Slayer killing wolves in T'AR, we usually see him skinning them/ cutting them up after he kills them. When Hopper dies we didn't see this. Is there any hope that he didn't die the final death? (I am thinking of something akin to Obi Wan Kenobi.)

john massey
71. subwoofer
And I'm back in the game! Weeeeeee!

Well then, Wetlander, your post is a virtual playland of commentary:) First off, I call "dibs" on any corporal punishment of Berelain. She has been a bad, bad First! Go to my room!

Bridge no fun? Depends on who you play with and how sober you are. Perhaps trying some of my "ice tea"? Its always good for breaking the tension. Avoid tourneys tho', the fun police always show up there.

@JL- Double!

Sharing of knowledge- good and bad. On the one side, it would help if some of the Healing weaves were not lost. But the superstar that shared Travelling with the Seanchan- not cool. Balefire is a weave that I would want to keep under wraps too. Knowledge can be dangerous too. Sharing that the Aiel followed the Way of the Leaf had to be done, but it broke a people. Ripped the bandage off right fast in that case.

The Tower is awash with political factions. Caddy had the right of it in leaving to get away from the mire. Giving the political infighters fodder for their Ajahs may not be the best of things. Sharing of knowledge is a good theory, but the reality of such things smacks of wikileaks. Do the Aes Sedai really need to know everything? I think the teamwork aspect and the getting off their duffs and doing things are more important.

Amir Noam
72. Amir
tonka @66:

There are many records about the Tower failures in the Tower Library. They are all in the 13th depositry of the library which only Sitters and the Amyrlin are allowed to see.

"But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months."

"Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."

"But the plans were on display ..."

"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

"That's the display department."

"With a flashlight."

"Ah, well the lights had probably gone."

"So had the stairs."

"But look, you found the notice didn't you?"

"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused
lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'."
Antoni Ivanov
74. tonka
Amir @72 and @73
Haha, that book is on my To Read List since a long time. Maybe I should bump it up a few places.
75. MasterAlThor

Of course we can play dice in a Mat chapter. As for the cards, you have to blame Leigh.

Chin Bawambi
76. bawambi
I bid 4 cluebats ... I mean clubs. This is one of the parts that led me to state my yet as unproven looney theory that Annoura was black and purposely leading Berelain via Compulsion to interfere with Perrin/Faile to sow chaos.
john massey
77. subwoofer
And yes, end result- Berelain is misbehaving- sounds like she needs some er... correction.

@MAT- well, what is option "c"? We break out the game cards and colored dobbers and go for a rousing round of "BINGO"?

78. DavidW
@ 60. Jonathan Levy

Concerning Lan killing a darkhound. I've thought about this quite a bit and my conclusion is that if you are able to keep the separate parts of the Darkhound from merging back together then it is "dead".

So if my theory is correct, an easy way to kill a darkhound would be to cut off its head and then carry it with a flow of air away from the body and then bury it.

And yes, Lan does have a power-wrought blade.
Mike McCaffrey
79. earlgrey
re: Lan and the DH vs Rand and the DH

Rand slashed and dimembered the DHs he faced and they reformed. It is possible that all warders, best swordsman in the world, are taught the critical hit locations on DH, allowing Lan to kill where Rand could not.
Don Barkauskas
80. bad_platypus
Knife of Dreams book tour 30 Ovtober 2005 - Seri reporting
Q: Would an Aes Sedai who has sworn the Three Oaths be able to link into a circle, but not lead it, that would be used to kill someone (not Shadowsworn or attacking)?

RJ: No, an Aes Sedai wouldn't be able to join the circle or participate in any way with anything that was against the Oaths.

The exact mechanics of this never made sense to me, but there you have it...
Thomas Keith
81. insectoid
AMW @64: I'll see your ear-thumbing and raise you a tuneless humming... ;)

normalhphil @65 & Wind @70: Good points! The AS really do need to learn from their past mistakes, not hide them.

Amir @72: ROFL!!

bad_platypus @80: ...Huh. Well, that's kind of a letdown.

William Fettes
82. Wolfmage

Yes, that's a good point about the 13th Depository interfering with the institutional memory of the WT. Obviously it's very hard to have a frank appraisal of your organisation and the need for reform if you only have a selective history available to the majority of members. Moreover, even those who do have a glimpse of the truth are basically enjoined from discussing it meaningfully or explicitly using it as a public justification for reform. That’s a fatal flaw.

That said, I still think that the WT library being the most extensive in the world - covering the full gamut of classical education: history, philosophy, mathematics, politics, etc - ought to engender more wisdom in its iniates. Of course, a huge part of the problem is that the Tower has too much of a pedagogical focus on learning the One Power; progression through the ranks is almost solely predicated on strength and skill in the power. The ironic thing about this is that only initiates with moderate-to-little strength, or Wilder blocks get to receive a full education. So unless you happen to be a noble or the daughter of a wealthy family, the extent of your education is generally going to count against your status as full sister. Talk about stupid!


"Giving the political infighters fodder for their Ajahs may not be the best of things. Sharing of knowledge is a good theory, but the reality of such things smacks of wikileaks."

Can't say I really agree with this. There's a pretty clear difference between the offensively broad ambit of the 13th Depository and the specific imperatives of controlling the dissemination of weaves and operational secrets. The latter matters are a perfectly legitimate enterprise for Aes Sedai with a clear public interest justification. After all, Tar Valon is a powerful city-state and it must maintain the tools of statecraft and try to ensure its monopoly on supernatural violence.

The 13th Depository isn't like that. It’s just a general dump of all the embarrassing parts of the WT’s history – many relating to events and times about which Randland historians know little. There is no sunset clause or presidential seal expiry that will beget some scrutiny when these secrets are no longer so politicalised and too damaging to face. It’s an entirely arbitrary permanent excision of events from the history record. It serves no public interest justification beyond the tritely false conceit that anything that could be embarrassing to the mystique of perfection surrounding the WT must be bad.

Of course, given the dysfunction of the WT, we know this mystique has been deeply harmful to Aes Sedai wisdom, WT institutions and their relationship to broader Randland society.
john massey
83. subwoofer
@Wolfmage- but that is exactly what I was talking about. Has nothing to do with sex scandals. What if some Red learns that in history it was the Greens that had the biggest disaster in Tower history. Or if one of the Amrylin's strings were being pulled by the Blues or.... point is, the Sisters being who they are- the knowledge of the 13D would not be used for the intent of bringing harmony to the Tower, it would be highly devisive. As far as I know there are no secret weaves or anything useful in the 13D, just the sordid history of the Tower. Is that really something everyone needs to know?

Heidi Byrd
84. sweetlilflower
@sub: well, Egwene uses a lot of that knowledge to help bring the TAS to her side. Perhaps if they already knew all of the times there had been mutinies, or some of the other stuff, then Elaida may not have stayed in power so long. You never really know what will happen. If all of that information were part of the Accepted's education, then it would just be general knowlegde and not fuel for discord and petty disagreements. However, if every AS were to learn it all, right now, then yes, some of them probably would use it for personal grudges and vendettas.
Also, if their sense of entitlement and feelings of absolute perfection were abated by learning all of this knowlegde upon being raised, then perhaps not so many would be Black Ajah.
Mikey Bennett
85. EvilMonkey
Well, those who do not pay attention to history are doomed to repeat it. In the case of the Aes Sedai formerly known as Elaida, the biggest douchebag in Randland, sometimes those that know history are still doomed to repeat it. It is so crazy that the only 2 Reds to gain the Amrylin Seat had a siege of Tar Valon on their watch.

86. normalphil
@85 EvilMonkey

I think one of the points raised about Elaida was that she didn't know history. She literally didn't know what an Amrylin Seat actually was, mainly because she had just become a Sitter herself when she staged her coup.
Mikey Bennett
87. EvilMonkey
I was speaking in terms of one of her first acts in office was to have the servants bring that tryptich from the basement depicting the last Red Amrylin, supposedly to remind her of the price of failure. Presumably she knew of the mistakes that made her such a horrible Amrylin that the most powerful monarch in history laid a 20 year siege on her seat of power. And yet Elaida made many of the same mistakes; kidnapping rulers is hardly any way to conduct business. Elaida did the shyt 2wice! Not to mention attempting to kidnap the most powerful sitting monarch in her time and the hope for the entire world. Because of their initial similarities it stands to reason that Elaida knew her history in that particular incidence but still was so stoopid she decided to fall into the same pitfalls and quagmires that the last Red got into.
88. normalphil
@EvilMonkey 87

Well, by available lights, their only mistake was failure. She would never fail. Problem solved.
Kimani Rogers
89. KiManiak
JonathanLevy@60 – re: killing Darkhounds – In TDR, in addition to killing a Darkhound in Illian, Lan also mentions (while Moiraine, Perrin, Lan, Loial and Zarine were fleeing from the pack of Darkhounds in Illian) that,

“Always you must face them and defeat them, or they will pull you down.”

This implies/states that Aes Sedai and Warders know of ways to defeat Darkhounds other than forbidden Balefire. And later, when Perrin pulls out his bow to shoot at the Darkhounds, Lan:

“Try if you wish blacksmith…They do not die easily. Perhaps you will kill one.”

And before Moiraine kills 9 of the 10 Darkhounds following (by using forbidden Balefire), Perrin is able to shoot down (and presumably kill) one of them. Maybe Perrin shot one through the eye and into the brain (purely speculation on my part).
(All references from Hunted, TDR)

So, it appears that there are multiple ways for Warders and non-Warders to kill a Darkhound. We just haven’t seen one up close (other than Balefire) onscreen.
90. Gorbag
"like a bridge over troubled pokers, I will erase your mind ..."

I think the Darkhounds are probably after Fain, though being opportunistic hunters, they're probably also after Rand.

The reason why I think Fain is probably the more important target - Fain has suborned a Myrdraal, after all.

So while the DO takes no offense at his subverting Trollocs - they're one-a-penny, two-a-penny, and he can always make more of them - Myrdraal are his commanders and if they can be terrorised into following someone else, the DO not only stands to lose a large percentage of his army, he would also lose some of his terror for his ordinary rank-and-file followers.

Question though - why would Fain be bothering with following one of Rand's subordinates, even though he is also one of his oldest friends?
Jonathan Levy
91. JonathanLevy
89. KiManiak
Yes, all the examples you quoted reinforce the idea that Darkhounds can be killed in the same way that a Trolloc can be killed, but are more deadly and more difficult. They are dangerous, but just flesh and blood. These examples and previously quoted ones make a very consistent and clear picture.

What Rand sees in the waste is different. They don't behave like flesh-and-blood creatures at all. Their dismembered corpses ooze together and they get up again. This is like a scene from Terminator II. Here they seem more like a Gholam than a Trolloc.

I think this is an inconsistency which can't be harmonized away. We may get an explanation for it later. But if we don't, I'd say the scene in the waste is an authorial error. Nowhere else do we see this ability, or hear of it - even in cases when we would expect to. If Lan knew about this he wouldn't just say "They do not die easily". He'd say "Aim for the eye, or they won't die. Break the skull or they'll get up again". Like Selene told Rand about the Grolm. Perrin has some contact with the wolves about the darkhounds. We don't hear anything about oozing-together-corpses. Masuri talks about them quite a bit without mentioning this ability.

Maybe the nature of Darkhounds wasn't completely fleshed out in RJ's mind that early (book 5!) in the series, and the scene didn't feel dramatic enough without their getting up on their feet again.
john massey
92. subwoofer
Right- good thoughts all:) I edited my questions to Brandon to account for this, hopefully he answers and does not RAFO. From my understanding of the creatures, they just keep coming. I think the hard part about them is that their saliva kills, like the acid of an Alien. And they are really fast. I don't know, balefire is probably the safest way to deal with them, but if Lan says he can kill on, I believe him. Then again, apparently Lan can take on a pack of Worms so we all know he is special.

Like JL, I do feel the inconsistancies of the way they were written, but if the core of them is a wolf, they they should be able to die.

john massey
93. subwoofer
As far as what the pack is after, two questions have to be asked:-who sent the pack? Sammael has at least one pack, but was it as large as this one? There seems to be something unique in terms of the amount of Darkhounds comprising this pack. The idea of Slayer has been posed- but from all appearances, he is a guy that works solo. Slayer may create them, but I am not sure about that, but I do not think he controls them.

The other thing is what is the purpose of the pack? The darkhounds are known not to give up until they find their prey. I am not sure that Rand is that prey because for whatever reason, Moridin wants him alive, he wants to deal with Rand himself. As Moridin is Nae'blis, all the other forsaken have to listen to him- at least on the surface, and sending a darkhound pack against Rand would be like waving a big "I don't have to listen to you" flag. That might honk Moridin off. Fain seems to be the more likely of targets for this reason.

Edit- much to be said. My hat is off to Linda. We are not worthy.

Tess Laird
94. thewindrose
I think this pack of dark hounds is after Fain as well. Can you imagine what they will be like if Fain is able to change them like he did the Trollocs in the Prologue of ToM? Zombie dark hounds!

Elaida did start with not wanting to make the same mistakes that the other Red Amyrlins made(although that thought does need to be tempered with how she got the position), but then she was in contact with Fain, and after that she went off the deep end into megalomania.

95. AndrewB
I agree with thewindrose @94. IMO, most, if not all, of Elaida's despotic character failings as Amyrlin Seat were because of the influence of Fain. In our dealings with Elaida before she became Amyrlin Seat, I never got the impression that Elaida was that much of a tyrant.

While I do not want to sugercaot Elaida's failings, her tenure of Amyrlin Seat was doomed alomst from the start. First, she was being manipulated by Alviarin and Fain. Almost from the beginning, she realized that Alviarin was trying to undermine her. It is this suspicion that lead Elaida to unwittingly begin the Black Ajah witch hunt.

In addition, she was influenced by Fain. I believe that Elaida did not have the mental makeup to resist Fain's influence. It was this influence that multiplied her despotic tendancies. I also believe that it was Fain's influence that lead Eladia to be suspicious of Alviarin undermining Elaida.

What I am trying to say (and not very eloquently), is that Elaida's failure as Amyrlin Seat was tied primarily to Fain's influence. She had the inherent character that would magnify Fain's influence. I do not doubt that Elaida was always a power hungry influence. IMO, this is why she sought to tie herself to the Andor throne and not tell anybody about her foretelling. Elaida wanted to go down in history as the Aes Sedai who lead the White Tower (and thus the world) to victory in the Last Battle.

Fain's influence merely increased her despotic nature. What it added, however (IMO), was a mistrust of everybody. Thus, she became our beloved despot.

Well, I appear to be rambling (much more than usual). I guess that I should end this post before you all have to suffer any more.

Thank you for reading my musings.
john massey
96. subwoofer
Elaida is also a Red. Being a Red in an era where you have to deal with the Dragon is paved with disaster.

Roger Powell
97. forkroot
Thought for today (retcon special):

Since we're theorizing that Darkhounds can go through a gateway because they have (twisted) souls ... perhaps a gholam is made from something (or someone) with a soul? That would explain how the gholam was able to pass through the gateway to the skimming space.
Ron Garrison
98. Man-0-Manetheran
@94 the windrose: I'd rather see this huge pack of Darkhounds attack Fain and his creatures! Now that would be something.
Tess Laird
99. thewindrose
Man-0-Manetheran - I am hearing Thriller in my head after your comment at 98!

Maiane Bakroeva
100. Isilel
Wolfmage @ 82:

So unless you happen to be a noble or the daughter of a wealthy family, the extent of your education is generally going to count against your status as full sister. Talk about stupid!

Indeed. This gives me a forlorn hope that the WT can yet be rendered competent for TG if the power hierarchy gets overturned ASAP and more educated/capable sisters get a chance to leave the shadows and take over.
But I am not holding my breath - education was never a particular asset for the important characters in WoT... quite the opposite, for the most part. RJ really loved people flying by the seat of their pants.

Anyway, I never liked the massive dumbage that the AS were collectively subjected to after TFoH - they have become something to kick on the way up, a cheap short-cut for showing empowerment of characters.
That puts the value of the whole lengthy and mostly relatively interesting Tower schism plot-line in question, among other things. Because really, if the AS are _still_ so contentious, useless and inept then why bother?

Re: Elaida, yes indeed. OTOH, didn't Fain think that he would have had much harder time and possibly would have failed with Siuan? So, yes, Elaida always had personality flaws that made her unfit. And of course, a Red at the time of DRs coming? What where they thinking?!

One of the really unbelievable things IMHO is that every Sitter complicit in Elaida's coup wasn't summarily unchaired and punished by their Ajahs after reunification. I guess, RJ/Sanderson didn't want to lose the relatively developed characters, but it makes zero sense, given that they are pretty much responsible for breaking of the Tower.

BTW, I never understood why an ambitious woman would join the Red given that they almost never became Amyrlins, Keepers or MoNs.
In fact, the Blue should have been an ambitious politician's paradise, given how they were relatively small, but very influential and the most likely to be tapped for Amyrlin.

Chaplainchris1 @35:

Which means, Brown Ajah or not, she's not useless.

Heh, never felt that Browns were useless as opposed to say... mostly idiotic and inept Greens.
I am not sure about WO Kool-Aid - for one thing, apart from the more sensible hierarchy, the WOs strike me as pretty narrow-minded and myopic in many respects and as convinced that their way is the only right one, so IMHO itsn't much of an improvement. But of course for a Brown opportunity to study a new culture would sweeten the pill in any case.

OTOH, I was quite disappointed that in ToM Masuri and Seonid were relegated to totally insignificant roles when Perrin was fighting Shadowspawn. It seems to be Masuri's area of expertise, after all, and yet another missed oppportunity for the Green to slightly redeem themselves.
Sydo Zandstra
101. Fiddler
Gorbag@90, Re: Darkhound pack after Fain

The reason why I think Fain is probably the more important target - Fain has suborned a Myrdraal, after all.

I doubt the DO cares about one less Myrddraal. ;)
There is a clear standing order for Slayer as of tSR to hunt down Fain. Slayer, supposedly, is instrumental in creating Darkhounds from wolves, or at least has a strong connection to them...

Orders about Rand have been less clear...
Theresa Gray
102. Terez27
The Darkhounds were certainly hunting Fain. Moridin said so in the previous book. A lot of people didn't catch that, but Brandon took it for granted that we knew they were hunting Fain:

Towers of Midnight Book Tour, Midnight release, Provo, UT 2 November 2010 - Tamyrlin reporting

Matt: What happened to the large packs of Darkhounds that were patrolling Altara back in Crossroads of Twilight?
Brandon: We already know, don't we?
Matt: Honest, can't remember.
Brandon: Well, I know, but I think we do know.

Also, bridge is awesome.
Roger Powell
103. forkroot
If the Darkhounds are hunting Fain ...based on what he did to the allegedly deadly Worm in the blight, I'd like to see what happens if the Darkhounds do "catch" him :-)

Sometimes it's not a good idea if you get what you want.

EDIT: Or is Brandon implying that they did "catch up" with him? Heh - heh.
Eric Hughes
104. CireNaes

Just a few possibilities. This first one I like the best. There was likely a bubble of evil involved that "upgraded" the Darkhounds upon their death. That to me is the easiest explanation.

It could also be that during their creation, Slayer can add certain properties that make the odds of killing their target more likely. A pinch of cumen and voila! This one is a strong possibility since Darkhounds existed before Slayer came about (I think).

A final option is a twist on the second. Team Dark is getting better at making the things as time goes by. I do recall that Aginor struck upon accidental genius every now and again in his creative endeavors (e.g., Myrdraal) and that pack had a certain j'en sais quois.
Tess Laird
105. thewindrose
I think my linking problems have been fixed. I wanted to link to the wonderful write-up that Linda did on Dark Hounds from the Thirteenth Depository web-site.
It puts together alot of the idea's I have seen posted here.

106. BenM
Didn't Elyas say something to this effect: "you'd have to go some ways to encounter that many different packs of dark hounds." Which begs the question, how the heck DID Masuri wind up doing that? Don't think we ever found out. The obvious answer would be that she traveled a lot, I suppose. But there are a lot of well-travelled AS, and most of them haven't enountered so many different packs, I'd bet. She almost HAS to be a darkfriend to manage it. I know not every BA was mentioned by name in TGS, so I don't think it's out of the question.
William Fettes
107. Wolfmage
Isilel @ 100

“But I am not holding my breath - education was never a particular asset for the important characters in WoT... quite the opposite, for the most part. RJ really loved people flying by the seat of their pants.”

I would agree education is downplayed much to my chagrin. There are a few exceptions such as Moiraine, Siuan, Thom, Verin, Fel, Cadsuane and Min who all put their erudition or reading to good use at various stages. And I guess you could also count the schools that Rand sets up, and Rand himself reading up on the prophesies. But overall, yes, the series rewards good instincts, cunning and values over education.

“Anyway, I never liked the massive dumbage that the AS were collectively subjected to after TFoH - they have become something to kick on the way up, a cheap short-cut for showing empowerment of characters.”

Agreed. Too often the Aes Sedai are used as a foil for the aggrandisement of other groups. The micro version of this is the dumbing down of Nynaeve that occurs during the middle sequence of books, to build up Egwene and other Formidable Women (ie. Cadsuane, Reanne & Alise). But at least Nynaeve gets compensated with a pretty cool rite of passage and plenty of Crowning Moments of Awesome. The Aes Sedai just end up looking increasingly irrelevant and incompetent.

“That puts the value of the whole lengthy and mostly relatively interesting Tower schism plot-line in question, among other things. Because really, if the AS are _still_ so contentious, useless and inept then why bother?”

Exactly. As you say, this is a problem because the schism and Egwene’s reunification plot take up significant chapter ink. We obviously know, if only meta-textually, that the WT needs to be fixed with every sister helping during the Last Battle, however, the stakes are lowered significantly by the frequency with which Aes Sedai are used as a punch line, and anchoring Egwene so singularly to restoring their ascendency.

This still works whenever Egwene is overturning dysfunction within the WT to create a new order, but it strains our sympathies when she is merely representing continuity with the old status quo, or when she is invoking some schtik about the higher calling of Aes Sedai or the Amyrlin’s majesty in fairly grandiose terms.

“Re: Elaida, yes indeed. OTOH, didn't Fain think that he would have had much harder time and possibly would have failed with Siuan? So, yes, Elaida always had personality flaws that made her unfit. And of course, a Red at the time of DRs coming? What where they thinking?!”

Oh absolutely. Pre-taint Elaida is much better than her caricatured taint-affected personality, but she is still a crypto-authoritarian megalomaniac. Have people forgotten what she was like in New Spring or what she almost did to Rand in Caemlyn?

“One of the really unbelievable things IMHO is that every Sitter complicit in Elaida's coup wasn't summarily unchaired and punished by their Ajahs after reunification. I guess, RJ/Sanderson didn't want to lose the relatively developed characters, but it makes zero sense, given that they are pretty much responsible for breaking of the Tower.”

Yep, I’m not sure I needed executions, but I did dislike how this was handled. It certainly wasn’t particularly realistic, and I don’t think it was actually morally defensible either. Obviously it was meant to show Egwene as this benevolent, post-partisan leader, but it really didn’t work for me. I found her magnamity grating, especially given that she was so quick to blacklist Siuan for her rescue action that had no notable consequences, and even forced an apology out of the SAS of all people. In many ways she was tougher on her own people than the idiot TAS, and, of course, she exempted herself from most of the criticism.

I didn't have a problem with her choosing Silviana as Keeper, but it should have been entirely based on her individual merit. The Reds at this stage are entirely discredited and so the idea that she would give them such a big concession to heal the Tower is basically preposterous.
108. buddhacat
I am surprised to see dictatorial suggestions for how Egwene should have handled the Aes Sedai. So she should have lined up the Sitters against the metaphorical wall and shot them dead. That's satisfying? The same could have applied to Elaida's raising - line all the rebels up and shoot 'em - wait, that's what she tried to do with her decrees, especially for the Blues.

Admitting wrong-doing, accepting guilt/blame, working towards reconciliation and unity through persuasion and compromise - these are slow and hard and boring. But they are also the right things to do for a political entity like the White Tower (closest to a world "government" in Randland). And that's what Egwene is doing with the AS, especially the hundreds of Red sisters.
William Fettes
109. Wolfmage
Buddhacat@ 108

“I am surprised to see dictatorial suggestions for how Egwene should have handled the Aes Sedai. So she should have lined up the Sitters against the metaphorical wall and shot them dead.”

Who said anything dictatorial? We’re talking about some nominal accountability for those who are seriously culpable in an epic ongoing debacle, not just punishment for the sake of pique or victor’s justice.

“That's satisfying? The same could have applied to Elaida's raising - line all the rebels up and shoot 'em - wait, that's what she tried to do with her decrees, especially for the Blues.”

Um, Elaida and her enablers did torture and still Siuan and Lelaine, thus passing a virtual death sentence on them and their warders. They also abolished the Blue Ajah and committed all manner of other travesties. But nobody suggested anything like that.

Personally, I think some specific verbal censure was the minimum of what was appropriate for being complicit in the coup itself and allowing Elaida to bring the Tower so close to utter ruination. Perhaps also some ceremonial dressing down and penance. Isilel would have taken it a bit further by stripping the Sitters of their positions – but neither of us endorsed executions or torture.

The problem is that instead of being firmly judicious, Egwene indulges an ostentatious show of 'fairness' by meting out more umbrage at the SAS than the TAS, and proclaiming a wishy washy equivalency that everyone is to blame.

Sorry, that’s not remotely accurate or fair - and it's certainly not justice. Admittedly, the SAS haven’t always covered themselves in glory but they're clearly more in the right than the TAS. To unseat Siuan, the coup-plotters met in secret, with only the bare minimum of sitters voting (and remembering that Elaida did not abstain in her own election), they allowed the Black Ajah to suffuse their numbers and even gain the Keeper position in the bargain. That in itself is basically treasonable, and on top of that they simply allowed Elaida to commit countless acts of monumental stupidity and vandalism without unseating her. Under any reasonable standard, they actively abetted a tyrant who would have doomed the world but for the rebellion.

“Admitting wrong-doing, accepting guilt/blame, working towards reconciliation and unity through persuasion and compromise - these are slow and hard and boring.”

I don’t disagree with what you’ve said, I just fail to see how that applies here. This wasn’t a Truth and Reconciliation Commission -- much less a proper Nuremberg moment -- it was a self-indulgent equivalency-happy blame party where the transgressions of the SAS, committed in the name of preserving the Blue Ajah, rejecting the dubious usurpation, and out of loyalty to the previous legitimate regime were labelled more offensive than the dubious coup and all the collective lunacy of what happened in the WT afterwards. I'm all for speeding up the transition, and helping jump-start the healing process, but there's a big difference between being inclusive and non-vindicative and simply ignoring the trangressions and errors of judgement of one side.
Antoni Ivanov
110. tonka
@Wolfmage and @Isilel who think that punishing those Sitters loyal to Elaida would have been good idea thus Egwene stripping herself of her greatest supporters in Hall (if you haven't noticed all of her supporters in the Hall were Sitter loyal to Elaida- e.i. the Black Ajah Hunters) . Not mentioning it would have been completely unfair.

After all Elaida was raised in accordance to every law in the Tower as much as Egwene's raising was according to the "letter of the Law".

They BOTH had keeper who was of the Black Ajah but Elaida get rid of her (though she didn't know Aliviarin was Black) before Egwene did and a large pile of the shit the Tower was in could be blamed on Aliviarin (not everything alas).

They BOTH had Forsaken in their midst. Egwene was lucky that Jahar arrived to chase her off or who knows what more damage Halima could have done.

Actually Jordan created very nice juxtaposition betwen Tower AS and Salidar AS and they have many common grounds and he shows us how much more competent Egwene is because how more progressive Egwene is, able to see past the limitation the Aes Sedai had put themselves (alas not in everything). But at the end of the day the Salidar AS rebelled against the Tower unlike those loyal to Elaida that in itself is a serious crime they are never goin to be hold accounted for. It is very poor judgement to punish loyalty.

It would have been pure foolishness to punish people in the wake of the Last Battle as she said it is time for healing, mending the two halves into one and not for dividing the Tower further. She needs to make them as one even the Reds and those who supported Elaida.
William Fettes
111. Wolfmage

"@Wolfmage and @Isilel who think that punishing those Sitters loyal to Elaida would have been good idea thus Egwene stripping herself of her greatest supporters in Hall (if you haven't noticed all of her supporters in the Hall were Sitter loyal to Elaida- e.i. the Black Ajah Hunters) . Not mentioning it would have been completely unfair."

I'm not disputing the fact that it benefits Egwene politically to consolidate her power base. That doesn't bear on their culpability though. I would argue it is most assuredly unfair to whitewash one side.

"After all Elaida was raised in accordance to every law in the Tower as much as Egwene's raising was according to the "letter of the Law"."

A couple of points: Elaida was raised with the bare minimum of Sitters attending a Hall session in secret. Black Ajah support helped orchestrate both the critical votes. Incidentally, we also have reason to suspect Elaida did not recuse herself from her election. So that may make Siuan's deposing legal, but Elaida's raising illegal.

If it was lawful, it was nonetheless dubious beyond the inherent folly of electing someone as unsuitable for power as Elaida.

Of course, using obligation to the law as an excuse would only exculpate those TAS-loyal bystanders for a small duration. As it quickly became apparent to any thoughtful observer that Elaida was out of control, ongoing consent to such a regime must be regarded as independently repugnant.

"They BOTH had keeper who was of the Black Ajah but Elaida get rid of her (though she didn't know Aliviarin was Black) before Egwene did and a large pile of the shit the Tower was in could be blamed on Aliviarin (not everything alas)."They BOTH had Forsaken in their midst. Egwene was lucky that Jahar arrived to chase her off or who knows what more damage Halima could have done. "

Yes. That's true. But it doesn't mean they're equally guilty. If we're talking about the split itself, I think fleeing the Tower was a principled course to take after such a coup. Even if it was just out of uncertainty or fear, the key act was the diaspora. The events of Elaida abolishing the Blue Ajah, mishandling so many events and escalatings things made proportionate responses from the SAS group justified. What were the SAS supposed to do? Come crawling back to what they consider a deeply illegimate regime (some without Ajah, many possibly facing execution) like lambs to the slaughter? The Blues particularly would be validly wanting assylum. They really had little alternative to eventually declare civil war.

"Actually Jordan created very nice juxtaposition betwen Tower AS and Salidar AS and they have many common grounds and he shows us how much more competent Egwene is because how more progressive Egwene is, able to see past the limitation the Aes Sedai had put themselves (alas not in everything). But at the end of the day the Salidar AS rebelled against the Tower unlike those loyal to Elaida that in itself is a serious crime they are never goin to be hold accounted for. It is very poor judgement to punish loyalty."

Sure, there are blunders and acts of good on both sides. Egwene certainly shines through here in manoeuvring these treacherous waters with ample help from Siuan, Lelaine, Verin and the SGs. Of course, it's exactly this contrast in competence which underscores just how bad it was to have Elaida in charge as Amyrlin and to keep her there.

As above, I'm definitely not arguing anyone should be punished for loyalty or fidelity to the law. I don't think Egwene should alienate anyone who is a good potential ally or any Sitter who cannot be removed unless she has the numbers anyway.

As for the rest, responsibility for the civil war isn't what I'm saying is the pertinent failing. It's the harm that is done. Objectively the TAS with Elaida in charge have caused a lot more harm than the SAS.
Mikey Bennett
112. EvilMonkey
I just finished TGS and I gotta make a couple points regarding the Tower reintergration. First, Elaida's Hall didn't get off scot free with Eggy. She outright calls them an embarrasment and that they should have unchaired Elaida three or four times over for the stupid shyt she allowed to go down. But Eggy learned another lesson from the way she was raised and re enforced by Siuan, that no Amrylin has absolute power. Say she went on a rampage and started unchairing Sitters on her first day. Depending on how their Ajah's felt about them they would probably get their seat back and in one stroke decrease the power of the Amrylin. It is the same reason she didn't unchair Lelaine right after she got the Law of War vote.
Now I'll be the first to admit that dayum near all the Aes Sedai up to this point have been dingbats. I understand that the dumbing down of these powerful world leaders have some people thinking Why Bother? . But you have to look at it from another angle. Who has been punking these Aes Sedai in the books? It sure ain't normal people; they are other channeller groups. Wise Ones, Windfinders, Kin, Forsaken, Asha'man. No one who is not power enhanced is getting the upper hand on the Aes Sedai as a group. And all the channelers of the world only make up 1-3% of the population of Randland. That means that the weakest Aes Sedai, the one who fetches tea for more powerful sisters in the WT, is still a huge factor, a really big deal, to about 97% of Randland proper.
I say all that to say this. Say Eggy comes in busting heads from the get go. Not with stern lectures and jestures of supplication, but actual blows to authority on the eve of the Last Battle. For instance, say she pulled an Elaida and disbanded the Red Ajah. These are powerful women, some of them quite intellegent and/or full of ambition. Some, if not most of these women are just not going to sit there and take it on the nose. They're going to undermine some efforts and initiatives just to fuck wit Eggy at best, flock to the refuge of the Forsaken and the Black Ajah at worst. I say Team Shadow has enough dreadlords on the front considering that mess at the Black Tower without adding a good percentage of the 100 or so women in the Red Ajah to the mix. Unification is a good thing, the more united the Tower is the less chance for the Shadow to infiltrate the ranks again. Each one of these women is the equivilent of a 500 pound bomb. Any channeller is a force multiplier. Team Light and specifically the SuperGirl currently holding the Amrylin Seat wants to keep every living weapon of mass destruction in the fold, one way or the other.
Oh and BTW, three months of of daily (sometimes 2 or 3 times daily) beatings is not exactly getting off scott free. In effect, Eggy already recieved her punishment for the tower break before the rebels she led did. It certainly wasn't a tongue lashing from a 21 year old.

Shadowkiller of the IcanwriteenormouswallsoftexttooAiel
113. birgit
Um, Elaida and her enablers did torture and still Siuan and Lelaine

That was Leanne, not Lelaine. Eg might like to get rid of Romanda and Lelaine, but Elaida has nothing to do with them.
Maiane Bakroeva
114. Isilel
I never said that _Egwene_ should have unchaired and punished the Sitters complicit in Elaida's coup. I said their Ajahs should have.

The Sitters were elected to represent their Ajahs and they dropped the ball big time, causing deaths of AS and warders, the Tower shism and the disastrous tyranny of Elaida's. They are directly responsible for all of this. Yes, they were manipulated, but in the end they were the ones who cast the votes or even participated in the whole conspiracy on deeper levels.

It is completely implausible that after such a huge and costly error of judgement the Ajahs would still trust these women to represent them. IMHO both TAS and SAS factions of their Ajahs should have rightly wanted to have them unchaired and punished.
Jonathan Levy
115. JonathanLevy
104. CireNaes

1) A bubble of evil coming at the precise moment the darkhounds died, and affecting only them? That's quite a coincidence.

2) If Slayer can make them harder to kill, wouldn't he do it to all of them? Why make second-rate darkhounds? It's fairly well established that Slayer is the one who started creating the current batch of darkhounds (see the dark prophecy in TGH). There were certainly darkhounds in other ages, and perhaps earlier in this age, but none recently until Slayer showed up.

3) We haven't seen any sign of Team Dark improving their creations. Myrdraal are randomly spawned genetic throwbacks, whose abilities even the Forsaken can't explain.
john massey
116. subwoofer
Right, now to get back to it. Sorry folks, I have been on a tear in Theoryland about a similar topic- are the Aes Sedai giving the Borderlanders the short end of the stick- or are they helping out at all.

Anyways... thanks Terez- first of all for dragging me over there, you have inflicted your Theoryland brethern with me now. Second thing, thanks for confirming my thoughts about the darkhounds, it has really been time consuming dregging up quotes and trying to remember where I saw stuff in a series with thirteen books.

@Tonka- Wolfmage had it right and I'm gonna put a stop to any further thoughts that it was legit for Elaida being raised lawfully-

Egwene shook her head. "She was 'raised' after a shameful and unorthodox removal of Siuan Saunche from the seat. How can you call Elaida's position 'proper' in the face of that?" Something occured to her, a gamble, but it felt right. "Tell me this. Have you interrogated any women who are currently Sitters? Have you found any Blacks among them?"When Saerin's eyes remained even, Seine glanced away. There! Egwene thought.
"You have,"Egwene said. "It makes sense. If I were a member of the Black, I'd try very hard to get one of my fellow Darkfriends as a Sitter. From there they can manipulate the Tower best. Now tell me this. Were any of these Black Sitters among those who raised Elaida? Did any of them stand to depose Siuan?"
There was silence.
"Answer me," Egwene said.
"We found a Black among the Sitters," Doesine finally said." And... yes, she was one of those who stood to depose Siuan Sanche." Her voice was somber. She'd realized what Egwene was getting at.
"Siuan was deposed by the bare minimum number of Sitter required." Egwene said. " One of them was Black, making her vote invalid. You stilled and deposed your Amrylin, murdering her Warder, and you did it unlawfully."
"By the Light," Seaine whispered. "She's right."

I just wanted to put that out there because it drives me nuts every time I see otherwise.
And Elaida is a douche. I'da elected a lamp stand over her. Less harm done.

Wow. Sorry for the length. It is what Theoryland has done to me;)

Theresa Gray
117. Terez27
@subwoofer - It's been nice having you over there. :)

Ben@106 - It's certainly possible that Masuri is a Darkfriend; Luckers wrote a theory on that. It's like Sheriam, explaining 13x13 to Egwene, I think. A clue.
Chris Chaplain
118. chaplainchris1
Re: Elaida and illegality. Well, of course I think Elaida was an illegitimate Amyrlin. But given that the Tower has generally denied the very existence of the Black Ajah, is it in Tower Law that being Black makes you non-Aes Sedai? Well, probably it is. But not necessarily. Even so, sans trial and conviction, it is probably legally suspect to declare that the Black Sitters votes were retroactively invalid. (By the way, though, I'll point out that we now know that *more* than one of the Sitters who voted for Elaida were Black.)

But from a strict legal construction, only, what is it, 9 of the Sitters who raised Egwene to the Amyrlin Seat in Salidar were legally Sitters? The 5 sent out by the Ajah heads, plus Janya, right? Plus the three Blues, each properly chosen by their Ajah (whether pre or post Schism). The other Sitters weren't "real" Sitters, so their votes are invalid; and of the 9 real Sitters who raised Egwene, one (Moria) was Black Ajah, making her vote "invalid" by the same reasoning Egwene uses.

My only point is that the legal arguments can go both ways endlessly. This is why I'm glad, in retrospect, that the post-Schism Hall from Salidar *and* the post-Schism Tower Hall *both* end up raising Egwene as Amyrlin. That's really the only way she could legitimately and unquestionably claim to be an Amyrlin and expect acceptance/obedience from all. That's why her time as a captive in the Tower was so important, winning the Tower over rather than taking it by force. Because, as others have said (including Egwene), the real crime (apart from the murder of Siuan's Warder) is that Elaida's disasters didn't have her deposed long ago. (Even granted that some of those disasters were concealed for a considerable time.)

It's also why we should be grateful to the Seanchan for getting Suffa out of the way. (Hm...Egwene's dream about a Seanchan woman saying "we can reach the top together" - has that been fulfilled by Tuon sending the raid that removed Elaida, thus allowing Egwene to "reach the top" as sole and undisputed Amyrlin?)

On other points:

1) Egwene rebuked both sides of the Split, and also rebuked herself as bearing some responsibility.
2) Egwene was right, after having rebuked and expected apologies from both sides, to then move forward without reprisals.
3) It is a little surprising that some of the pre-Split leadership haven't lost their places from within their own Ajahs. But here, I'm more surprised about the Ajah heads keeping their spots than the Sitters. The Ajah heads really messed things up, choosing to capitalize on the split to seek their own self-aggrandizement, weakening both the Amyrlin and the Hall so they could (try to) rule from the shadows (without the checks and balances of Tower law, I might add). Those ladies need some setting down, I'd say.
Kurt Lorey
119. Shimrod
Here's my theory of the day. Myrddraal aren't "genetic throwbacks" (to what exactly?) like Aginor believed, but are actually some kind of crossover lifeform from the DO's universe (or where ever it is, he is). It's not like the Forsaken are always right, or anything. And, interestingly enough, Shaidar Haran is a form of Myrddraal, not Trolloc. Why would the Hand of the Dark take the form of a 'throwback' of something?
john massey
120. subwoofer
Right- seems we have drifted from the direction of talking about CoT but meh, if that's the way the flames are burning, I'll go with it.

What should Eggy have done?- well, I dunno if she did anything wrong, but the question of accountability still looms large IMHO. I dunno if months of spankings is the answer, I dunno if unchairing the Sitters by their Ajahs is the answer either. Bottom line, Egwene did call everyone to account, but the SAS ladies did okay. The Blue's had no choice but to leave, the others? I dunno. Should they have left? Should they have tried to do stuff from within the Tower as Egwene? Dunno.

For the Sitters responsible for the rift in the Tower, my personal thought is that they should spend 4 years watching the Blight. Set up camp in one of the Borderland kingdoms, maybe hang out at the Gap, and if they see any baddies- roast them. Others could Heal the borderlanders that get hurt keeping the Blight back. In the end, everyone is going to do penance as they are facing the Last Battle now. Let the ladies deal with that now, afterwards, start doling out the punishment to whomever survives. Hopefully at that point it will not be necessary as they will all be heros.

Gonna post this on the open thread also as this one will probably die soon.

Chris Chaplain
121. chaplainchris1
As for Egwene rebuking the SAS and the Blues - she acknowledges that they were right, but they still led a rebellion and broke the Tower, and that requires acknowledging a wrong done, even if it was necessary. This has been Egwene's philosophy for awhile now, learned from the Wise Ones - take what you want, then pay for it.

In other words, they were right to rebel, but there should still be consequences. Similarly, the Black Ajah hunters thought several times that they would face judgement for the laws they broke in their hunt.

I tend to think this is a pretty good moral rule - if you must break the law, do so knowingly, willing to accept the consequences.
122. hamstercheeks
Shimrod @ 119: Because Myrddraal are actually en evolutionary step up from Trollocs, and Shaidar Haran is another step up from Myrddraal, thereby its genetic makeup is ideal for housing the essence of the Dark One without melting? Look for the outrigger novel: An Interview with a Shadowspawn, out on Christmas day! But not really!
john massey
123. subwoofer
@ChaplainChris- nope, not feeling it. Not only did the current Amrylin say it was illegal, it was confirmed by other Sisters. I'm siding with them. It is the poison tree argument I was talking about in recent discussions. Everything the BA does is tainted so Siuan's stilling, deposing, murder of her Warder and Elaida's raising is all tainted by their touch. Icky.

That and I do believe that Egwene has made ammendments now so that there is no half assed Hall sittings and momentous changes being made without the Amrylin being present and all Sitters being present. That way, if there is any more putzing, it is on all their heads with everyone in full knowledge of the decisions being made... At least I think that is what Egwene did in ToM... I could be wrong but that is what should be done anyways IMHO.

Rajesh Vaidya
124. Buddhacat
Egwene was impartial in chastising the two factions, so I don't see an imbalance there. For Ajahs t o punish their Sitters, you'd need the Ajah leadership to do that - and it was precisely these Ajah Heads who thought they could gain more power by exploiting the schism. Their powers are now curtailed, but I don't see how they can be punished any further, without massive changes to the way the AS hierarchy/the White Tower work. It's all in character (of the WOTverse), is what I'm saying. A cautionary (rebukery?) tale in the 13th Depository for future generations, perhaps.
Bill Reamy
125. BillinHI
I was mildly disappointed in the way Egwene privately chastised the TAS (Sitters only?) and publicly chastised the SAS (and made them apologize, too!) but I tend to agree that unchairing the Sitters would have been counter-productive. I also fault Egwene for her rejection of Siuan for her role in Egwene's rescue. I think Egwene being out of the WT after the attack and abduction of Suffa was the best thing that could have happened. It allowed the SAS to see publicly that Egwene was being called to the Amyrlin Seat by the ones they had rebelled against and I think this made the reunification much easier.
126. hamstercheeks
BillinHI@125: Yes, all easy to see in hindsight, but from Egwene's POV, she needed to be inside the Tower after her role in successfully repelling the Seanchan raid. She was probably disappointed that Siuan disobeyed her after her repeated injunctions to not stage a rescue, and did so right after she'd kicked serious ass.

Re: chastising the SAS, she was probably just trying to ensure that no WT division happens in the future. Very conventional of her, in that your typical sister would never think of rebelling. (Of course, Sheriam led the way...)
Eric Hughes
127. CireNaes

1) We don't know if a possible bubble event was confined to just the puppies that attacked Rand because he immediately balefired the one after Mat. And it also fits that only the Ta'veren were involved in the attack as the bubbles are strongly drawn to them. This one just fits for me. I'm not saying this disproves authorial error, it's just a strong possibility.

2) Only if he's around to do it, which is why I think number one is a better contender to explain these strange goings on.

3) Seems to me as the DO gets stronger, his minions do as well (Shadar Haran). This could be a side effect of that at the least. And Aginor was their main man as far as Shadow Spawn in the first place. If he did some collaborating with Slayer when he was first regurgitated then that's still a possibility. Sort of links into the logistical issues raised in the second point. Not to mention BWS's recent info on the gholam as being 'more perfect' Shadow Spawn. This could point that the Shadow is up to its old tricks again by creating new and improved puppies.
Jonathan Levy
128. JonathanLevy
127. CireNaes

1) We'll have to disagree on this one, I guess. Bubbles of evil are usually instantly recognizable for what they are, and we've never seen them do anything like raise the dead.

3) Shaidar Haran is an exception which proves the rule. He differs from other shadowspawn in almost every way: He smiles when Myrdraal don't, he stands above the chosen and punishes them, he can stop their channeling, he has a name. Even Aginor who created them doesn't know what the deal is. As for the gholam, it was created along with all the others in the Age of Legends. While it's certainly possible that there were improvements at that time, when the knowledge and tools were available, it's much less likely that there are improvements now.
Eric Hughes
129. CireNaes

1) I agree.

2) I'm sure Darkhounds existed long before Slayer. This makes me think that he could have had a hand in the newer T1000 models as one of my many hounding proposals.

3) Ahhhh, but as of ToM we had no idea that the Shadow had quite a storehouse of goodies. If Aginor needed access to a certain ter'angreal then Ishydin might have had it on hand and could have given him permission to utilize said item when he was initially brought back. So I'm reaching on this one, but stranger things have happened. And for all we know it's likely that Agin'gar only needs a comfortable workroom, labcoat, livestock, the Source (or perhaps access to the TP), and Emeril Lagasse. Bam! Let's kick those Darkhounds up a notch! Still think number 1 is a better explanation, though. Or is it...

4) Lightning just struck my brain (kind of like Smee in Hook). In TDR Chpt. 44 Perrin kills one Darkhound in the pursuit pack with an arrow after loosing a total of three. I don't recall where they hit, but if someone can look it up (my copy fell apart years ago, cursed paperback glue!!!) then we might have the key to exterminating them the good 'ol fashioned way. If this way is particularly difficult, like say, you have to put an arrow through the eye or directly into the heart otherwise they'll just keep coming and might even reform then we both have an answer that can satisfy this minor dispute (as well as a run on sentence). This would also work in that many of our own made up horrors will keep on coming unless killed a certain way (Zombies: headshot, Vampires: Stake in heart, Werewolves: Silver). RJ might have decided to create a Shadow Spawn with a similar unique way to kill characteristic. So if I were to look at when Rand carved his Darkhounds up like Anakin did the Younglings, then that means the weakness lies more in the direction of a Vampire and sunlight. Like say...they can only be killed naturally when touched by water. I do recall Perrin shot his down like a dog in the rain...

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