Dec 14 2010 1:31pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Crossroads of Twilight, Part 9

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, Wheel of Time Re-read! Because it is, right now. Snowing, I mean. I’m not so much a fan of the ass-biting cold, but snow? Still kind of neat to this Southern girl.

Anyway. Today’s entry covers Chapters 10 and 11 of Crossroads of Twilight, in which a vase obstinately will not become two faces no matter how I squint. Woe.

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

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

And now, the objective-reality-challenged post!

Chapter 10: A Blazing Beacon

What Happens
In the manor of House Matherin, near the border of Murandy, Elayne waits impatiently as a maid nervously helps her dress. Since the siege of Caemlyn began she has been visiting numerous estates of minor Houses throughout Andor; she chafes at the time wasted, but knows it is necessary. The maid, Elsie, finally finishes and precedes Elayne out into the corridor, where she shrieks in horror. Embracing saidar, Elayne dashes out after her and demands to know what happened; Elsie tells her she saw a ghost.

“Lady Nelein, as was Lord Aedmun’s grandmother. She died when I was little, but I remember even Lord Aedmun tiptoed around her temper, and the maids used to jump if she looked at them, and other ladies who visited, too, and the lords, as well. Everybody was afraid of her. She was right there in front of me, and she scowled so furious—” She broke off, blushing, when Elayne laughed.

Elayne, relieved that there were no assassins or Black Ajah, tells Elsie gently that the dead cannot harm the living, dismissing her fears as hysteria, and sends her off to bring porters for her luggage. She meets Aviendha further on, who immediately begins inquiring after Elayne’s health worriedly; Elayne makes fun of her for being a mother hen. She thinks the mood swings and fatigue of pregnancy are annoying, but the coddling was the worst part of it.

She just wished every woman she knew did not believe that pregnancy had made her brainless. Nearly every woman she knew. Those who had never borne a child themselves were the worst.

She wishes that Aviendha and Birgitte hadn’t been so drunk that night as to be unable to remember whether Min had said her baby was a boy or girl. Through the bond she knows that Rand had suddenly jumped to the west that morning after being south of her for quite some time, but nothing more than that. Aviendha guesses what she is thinking, and reassures her Rand is well, and that if he allows himself to be killed she will “cut off his ears.” They both start laughing, and they hug for comfort. Elayne tries not to let laughter become tears.

Life was very strange. Had anyone told her a few years ago that she would share a man with another woman—with two other women!—she would have called them mad. The very idea would have been indecent. But she loved Aviendha every bit as much as she did Rand, only in a different way, and Aviendha loved Rand as much as she did.

Denying that meant denying Aviendha, and she could as easily step out of her skin. Aiel women, sisters or close friends, often married the same man, and seldom gave him any say in the matter. She was going to marry Rand, and so was Aviendha, and so was Min. Whatever anyone said or thought, that was all there was to it. If he lived long enough.

Elayne hastens to appear calm again as Fridwyn Ros, the manager of Lord Aedmun’s estate, enters to tell her her escort (of which he seems doubtful) is ready, and the men he is sending with her are mounted as well as he could manage. He apologizes that Matherin couldn’t send more, and Elayne answers that Trakand has always valued Matherin’s loyalty, subtly assuring him that their allegiance will be rewarded. In the courtyard Elayne contemplates her escort of the Queen’s Guard, knowing that their ceremonial appearance as well as the fact that they are all women is the cause of Ros’s uncertainty.

She hoped people would think them an affectation on her part, and largely decorative with all the lace and silk. Men tended to underestimate a woman carrying weapons until they faced one, and even most other women tended to think her a brainless fool. […] A bodyguard her enemies would dismiss until it was too late for more than regrets was her aim. She intended to make their uniforms more elaborate, partly to feed those misconceptions and partly to feed the women’s pride as soldiers marked out from the rest, but she herself had no doubts. Every one of them, from merchants’ guards to Hunters of the Horn, had been carefully chosen for her skills, experience and courage. She was ready to put her life in their hands. She already had.

The Guard lieutenant, Caseille Raskovni, salutes Elayne and tells her they are ready, and Matherin’s men are “as ready as they’ll ever be”; Elayne surveys the eleven men Ros had scraped together, all either past retirement age or too young to shave, and agrees with her assessment. Aviendha observes quietly to her that all the two hundred-plus men Elayne has gathered on these trips have been the same, and asks if this really worth the time; Elayne tells her it is worth it, in terms of how talk of her will spread throughout the countryside. She says support for her claim in the rural areas may not help in Caemlyn, but it will make all the difference after she wins.

“Most Queens in our history spent the first years of their rule gathering the people solidly behind them, Aviendha, and some never did, but harder times than these are coming. I may not have one year before I need every Andoran to stand behind me. I can’t wait until I have the throne. Harder times are coming, and I have to be ready. Andor has to be ready, and I must make it so,” she finished firmly.

Aviendha comments that she will learn much about being a Wise One from Elayne; Elayne blushes furiously, and tries not to resent Rand for putting her in this condition where she can swing “from giddy to weepy” on no notice. They head out, and Elayne tries not to react to the families weeping to see their sons go off to war. Aviendha is about to weave the gateway to take them back to Caemlyn when Elayne feels someone channeling saidar far to the west, “a beacon blazing on a far mountaintop in the night,” and cannot imagine how much must be being channeled for her to feel it at this distance. Nothing changes in the bond with Rand, but Elayne knows immediately he is involved, and tells Aviendha that they must go to him. Aviendha says they must not, to Elayne’s astonishment. She tells Elayne that they know nothing of the situation, and rushing headlong into it might bring nothing but disaster. Elayne insists they could be careful, and that Min’s viewing about her baby being born healthy means nothing will happen to her, Elayne, before she is born (she hopes for a daughter). Aviendha asks her if she remembers what Aviendha told her about the rings in Rhuidean, and what they show.

“No one can remember all of that, Elayne, only bits and pieces. I knew I would love Rand al’Thor… ” she was still uncomfortable sometimes about using just his first name in front of others, “and that I would find sister-wives. For most things, all you retain is a vague impression at best. A hint of warning, sometimes. I think if we go to him now, something very bad will happen. Maybe one of us will die, maybe both in spite of what Min said. […] Perhaps he will die. Perhaps something else. I do not know for sure—maybe we will all survive, and we will sit around a fire with him roasting pecara when we find him—but the glimmer of a warning is there in my head.”

Elayne wants to argue, but then gives in, and tells Aviendha she needs to learn nothing from Elayne, as she is already wiser and more coolheaded. Aviendha flushes, and makes the gateway to Caemlyn. Elayne tries not to feel anguish at leaving Rand to take care of himself, but thinks it must be done; her duty to Andor comes first.

So, the non-infants in the audience probably remember those Magic Eye things that infected the world back in the nineties—because it wasn’t bad enough that the nineties gave us stirrup pants, the fanny pack, and the Backstreet Boys, it also had to make a fad out of giving people migraines for fun.

The nineties were kind of evil, you guys.

Anyway, I always hated those things, mostly because of the aforementioned migraines, but also because I never could figure out whether I was seeing what I was supposed to be seeing because I actually saw it, or because people said that was what was there to see. It was all very psychological and I didn’t like it AT ALL, because I did not appreciate being told by a big eye-searing square of squiggles that I just wasn’t perceptive enough to see that the big splodge of exploding neon chickens was actually the Taj Mahal, or whatever. I do not need a bunch of cheap manipulative headachy doodles lowering my self-esteem, is what I’m saying, y’all.

Er. I had a point here… oh yeah. So my point is, I’m having a rather unfortunate flashback to those halcyon days of flannel and Hanson and it being socially acceptable to squash your face against head-splitting scribble-art, because I totally cannot figure out whether the prose in this chapter is actually moving as glacially slowly as I think it is, or I’m just perceiving it that way because so many other people have complained about COT in general being slow that the suggestion is winning over the reality.

But, honestly, I’m sort of thinking it’s not just me. Remember how I used to complain, back around LOC, about plotty plotty Chatty McExposition chapters that just—wouldn’t—condense? Well, I am kind of missing those, now.

Not that things don’t happen in this chapter. Well, okay, two things happen in this chapter: we see a ghost, and the Cleansing starts. Again.

…I’m not really sure that helped my counterargument, there.

I think, though I’m not sure, that on first reading it was right about here, when the Cleansing started for the fourth time in a row, that I first thought to myself, wait, is he going to do this for every plotline in WOT? Because, um.

Right, see, because on the one hand, this was the first time in quite a while that I was completely clear about where everyone else was in relation to each other chronologically without having to resort to online resources, which was kind of nice, but on the other, I was like, holy crap, how long is it going to take us to get through this one day? And…well, yeah.

Although, I do grok Elayne’s reasoning about making a preemptive strike in getting the countryside behind her for Tarmon Gai’don purposes. I just don’t know that I need to get this much detail about it.

Elayne’s Guard: I really don’t have anything much to say about the quote on her trust in them, I just really liked it. Being underestimated is frequently extremely annoying, but taking sneaky advantage of being underestimated? AWESOME. Like I’ve said many times, Jordan sometimes fails at avoiding sexist tropes, but I will never let it be said that he didn’t far more often win at same. There is more than one reason I’m a fan of this series, after all.

Also, props to Aviendha for reining Elayne in and not letting her go haring off and screwing everything up re: the Cleansing. Though now I am kind of morbidly curious to know what would have happened had they tried. Their exchange on this is also notable for being the first time (that I recall) of Elayne using Min’s viewing as an excuse to do whatever the hell she wants, which I seem to remember becoming very annoying after a while. More on that later.

Pregnancy coddling: Dude, the thing about women who’ve never had babies being the worst about getting all drive-by advice-y on you? SO TRUE. I know, because I was completely kind of guilty of this. I’ve never had kids, nor am I typically around them as a general thing. I freely and cheerfully admit, therefore, to knowing fuck-all about kids or babies or pregnancy or any of it, and yet while my sister was pregnant I had to like physically clamp my mouth shut sometimes to keep myself from pestering her about did she feel okay and has she been taking her vitamins and maybe she should lie down and smother yadda blah cloy. It was really pathetic, you guys.

Fortunately I was also living 1,400 miles from her for most of her pregnancy, so it was easier to stomp on the impulse than it otherwise might have been, but seriously, suppadat? I guess something that major happening to a loved one, that you haven’t experienced yourself, is scarier to think about. And of course it’s easier to be convinced you know the right way to do something when you haven’t had the opportunity to screw it up personally, as well.


Chapter 11: Talk of Debts

What Happens
As they emerge from the gateway into the stableyard, Elayne notes that she cannot sense a single woman channeling in the Palace even though there are more than a hundred and fifty channelers inside, and thinks that even the Windfinders must be “walking small” in the face of the phenomenon they are all sensing. A hungover Birgitte enters the courtyard and goes straight to Aviendha, and Elayne approaches in time to overhear her asking Aviendha if Elayne drank her goat’s milk and such. Elayne answers that she did, and asks irritably if there is anything else Birgitte wants to ask her, but knows that Birgitte knows how tired she is. Elayne is further annoyed that the “mirroring” effect of their bond means that she is now experiencing Birgitte’s hangover, and asks sharply if Dyelin is back from approaching the Houses which have not yet thrown their support behind either Elayne or Arymilla. Birgitte tells her Dyelin is not back yet, and grumbles as they enter the Palace about the fresh contingent of useless armsmen Elayne has brought back with her; Elayne reminds her that they aren’t there to fight. Then Birgitte pulls her aside and tells her something very strange is going on with the Kin and Windfinders—Sumeko had fainted while Birgitte was asking her to Heal her hangover—but no one will tell her what the problem is. Elayne explains as much as she knows, and adds that it has nothing to do with them, but both Aviendha and Birgitte offer her sympathy.

It was more than commiseration; it was the shared feeling of a woman who had already suffered the loss she herself feared and more. Gaidal Cain was lost to Birgitte as surely as if he were dead, and on top of that, her memories of her past lives were fading. She remembered almost nothing clearly before the founding of the WhiteTower, and not all of that. Some nights, the fear that Gaidal would fade from her memory, too, that she would lose any remembrance of actually having known and loved him, left her unable to sleep until she drank as much brandy as she could hold. That was a poor solution, and Elayne wished she could offer a better, yet she knew her own memories of Rand would not die until she did, and she could not imagine the horror of knowing those memories might leave her.

Birgitte stoically laughs it off as they come upon Vandene, Merilille, Sareitha and Careane in the corridor; the last three are conversing urgently, but Vandene is ignoring them. Elayne notes how gaunt Vandene is, and thinks she is wearing Adeleas’s clothes. Vandene moves on, barely acknowledging Elayne, but the other three stop and curtsy, Merilille as deeply as a novice. Elayne tells them she doesn’t know what it is, but there is nothing they can do about it, and they have other matters to attend to. Sareitha and Careane accept this without an (outward) quibble, but Merilille still looks unnerved. Careane elbows Aviendha aside as they walk on (she hates wilders), and asks if they shouldn’t be ready to flee if it approaches; she and Sareitha agree that they would have to take the Kin with them if so. Incensed that they are talking so openly about fleeing, which could induce panic in the city if rumors got out, Elayne snaps that they aren’t going anywhere until the Amyrlin commands otherwise. Careane hastily agrees, and moves on to asking if Elayne couldn’t get Vandene to take some of the lessons with the Windfinders.

“She says she’s too busy with those two runaways, but she finds enough time to keep me talking some nights until I’m half asleep. That pair is already so cowed they wouldn’t squeak if their dresses caught fire. They don’t need her attention. She could take her portion of teaching those cursed wilders. Vandene needs to start behaving as an Aes Sedai, too!”

Elayne (who half-suspects Nynaeve left just to avoid the Windfinders) doesn’t answer, and Sareitha cuts in to opine that Zarya and Kirstian help distract Vandene from her grief over Adeleas, but also wonders if maybe she could spare an hour or so for lessons too. Elayne refuses the request, and Sareitha and Careane both sigh; Merilille doesn’t bother to react.

Vandene was not only grieving for a sister, she was searching for Adeleas’s murderer, and there could be no doubt that the killer was Merilille Ceandevin, Careane Fransi or Sareitha Tomares. One of them, or worse, more than one. The charge was hard to believe of Merilille, in her present condition, but it was not easy to believe of any sister. As Birgitte had pointed out, one of the worst Darkfriends she had ever met, during the Trolloc Wars, was a mild-as-milk lad who jumped at loud noises. And poisoned an entire city’s water supply.

Sareitha brightens to see Captain Mellar approach, and comments he was a hero again while Elayne was gone; her reaction to his presence is in marked contrast to everyone else’s open dislike. Mellar bows ostentatiously to Elayne and replies that it was only his duty to his Queen. Birgitte tells Elayne coldly that Mellar led a sortie without orders the day before, the fighting from which almost spilled back into the city. Sareitha protests that he had rescued a party of Lord Luan’s men from ambush by the besiegers, and added eighty to Elayne’s numbers by doing so. Quietly, Elayne asks how Mellar knew they were Luan’s, and Mellar answers smugly that he recognized one of Luan’s men. Elayne asks if this man brought any message from House Norwelyn, seeing as Luan has not declared for her.

Mellar’s smile faded somewhat. He was unused to being cut short. “But, my Queen, Lady Dyelin says that Luan is as good as in your camp right now. Accan showing up is proof of—”

“Of nothing, Captain,” Elayne said coldly. “Perhaps Lord Luan will be in my camp eventually, Captain, but until he declares, you’ve given me eighty men who need to be watched.” Eighty out of a hundred. And how many of hers had he lost? And he had risked Caemlyn doing it, burn him!

She continues that since he created the problem, he can be responsible for arranging their surveillance, and dismisses him coldly. Stunned and then furious, Mellar jerks a bow and leaves. Sareitha asks if that was necessary, seeing that Mellar had saved Elayne’s life; Elayne squeezes Birgitte and Aviendha’s hands, and answers that she always pays her debts.

Birgitte: One of my deeper irrational fears about growing old is the idea that I could go senile and forget everything before I die. It’s irrational mainly because there is (thankfully) very little tendency toward that in my family, and the phenomenon definitely tends to be genetic, but still the notion gives me shivers on occasion. To have that happen as a (relatively) young person, though—to actually feel it happening, and wonder how much was going to go… Man.*shudder*

There really wasn’t much need for me to quote the bit about Adeleas’s murder, since we know whodunit at this point, but for some reason the description of the jumpy kid who poisoned an entire city jumped out at me, because yikes. Also, it’s extremely obvious in retrospect (but nicely camouflaged at the time) what Careane’s request here was about, trying to divert Vandene away from investigating her sister’s murder.

Also also, poor Vandene. Another thing that’s completely obvious in retrospect here is that the only reason Vandene’s even bothering to hold on is because she’s waiting to take down whoever killed Adeleas. Talk about bleak.


Also, now that Sareitha’s bizarre cheerleading for Mellar is no longer useful as a red herring directing us away from Careanedunit, I would really like to know what the hell is wrong with her, that she doesn’t see what a total slime he is. I’m kind of scornful of the idea of female intuition as a general thing, but come on. What more does she need here, a notarized Certificate of Ew Bad Touch in triplicate? Ugh.

And… um. Yeah, I really don’t have anything else to say about this chapter, and therefore have nothing else to say in this post. Fortunately I think we have a bath coming up on Friday; ORANGE YOU EXCITED? Of course you are. Cheers till then!

1. notBrennan
FFS.. the 2 chapter bath scene... I hated this book so much, and this part is the main reason why.
Lannis .
2. Lannis
Leigh: re: snow... come and take it. Please. ::sigh::

A friendly FYI for typos/spacing issues in the recap: Randhad, Randas, Randal'Thor, WhiteTower, Randwould. :)

re: Magic eye art... um... with you on the migraines, Leigh, and for whatever reason I always saw shit backwards... as in, the background popped out at me and the picture itself receded... that's some weird shit, and just compounds the awkward when discussing with others...

I'm totally hiding in the bunker until spring. Cheers and thanks for the post! :)
Rob Munnelly
3. RobMRobM
Thanks for the post Leigh. Agree that there is not much action but it does show that Elayne is a kick butt strategic thinker as a putative Queen - I enjoyed that aspect of her plot line - while a miserable decisionmaker when personal danger is potentially involved - hate that part of her plotline. Very interesting to see Careane's various suggestions in light of the later reveal. Very cagey, that.

James Jones
4. jamesedjones
I LOVED the 3D pictures in the 90's! If you're not sure you're seeing it, then you're not seeing it.

I'm pretty sure we only got the viewpoints of the folks that knew it was Rand, plus a few extras for effect (like the SF Tinkers/Jonestowners). But, yeah, couldn't stand the repetition. Waaaaaaaayyyy too many renditions of, "Holy crap, we need to get away!" "No we don't. Just calm down and deal with it." We get to see this almost as many times as we get to see Elayne take a multi-chapter bath. Yay! (OK, maybe not)
5. trench
Great post as usual.

Extreme feminisim rants aside, I generally am in lockstep agreement with you Leigh, but c'mon 3D pictures are awesome! Im gonna go find me one and stare at it from multiple angle's right now.
Maggie K
6. SneakyVerin
I HATED 3-D pics :| Makes me crabby thinking about it.
So, I like reading Elayne. I like how her mind works. Except when she tries to chase people who are trying to kill her
But these chapters show some perceptive thinking re strategy about the coming war.
And Mellar! Hate him! Could never figure out how he fooled so many peeps.
Kerwin Miller
7. tamyrlink
Re: Sareitha - she's a fairly young AS so i'd chalk it up to inexperience in the real world.

my coworker who's my lunch buddy is pregnant and i'm always telling her to stop getting salt, or less ranch, or drink water lol. and someone actually asked us today why she lets me tell her what to eat (not that she always listens).
(im a guy)

i never really paid much attention chronologically to things in the series(especially not on the first couple of re/reads) unless the characters themselves did. so i was surprised when someone finally told me about the chronoweirdness in this book and in umm aCoS i think it was. *shrugs*

love the reread Leigh!
Douglas Miller
8. douglas
My guess for what would have happened if Elayne and Aviendha had gone to the Cleansing is something like this:

1. They Travel to somewhere nearby
2. Cadsuane detects the Gateway and directs the Callandor circle to bombard it.
2a. Alternatively, one of the Forsaken stumbles on the girls and attacks them.
3. Elayne and/or Aviendha die.
4. Rand senses the event through his Warder bond(s).
5. Rand loses control in the shock of Broken-Warder-Bond Syndrome.
6. The Cleansing backfires rather spectacularly.

So, definitely something worthy of a warning note from the Rings.
Heidi Byrd
9. sweetlilflower
So, I have an observation to make. During the discussion in the prolouge, weren't most people complaining that they were really looking forward to seeing the fall-out of the Cleasing? The last two posts have given us the perspects of two of the main characters, and we are complaining? I think there is perhaps no way to make you people happy. You want "slice of life" scenes, but when we get almost a whole book of them, everyone complains that the plot moved too slowly. You want to see everyone's reaction to the coolest moment of channeling thus far, and when you get it, you're unsatisfied. I posit that if we had not gotten all of this detail, then you would have complained that the endings to these plots "were not properly set-up" or something like that. Really! make up your minds! :-)


Also, totally agree that people want to give too much advice to the pregnant ladies. When I was pregnant with my son, random strangers would try to give me advice. Really annoying.

I quite like CoT, and it makes it more real to me that these otherwise intelligent charcters make really, mind-blowingly stupid decisions sometimes. Plus, I like the chronology catch-up.

Thanks for the re-read, Leigh!
10. joe heron
leigh, do you play maplestory?

its weird, i remember vaguely reading this book mainly because i was forcing myself to read through it getting the tinniest bit of story from each chapter. now that we have a condense version, i still find myself skimming through even that =T.
11. KiManiak
Thanks for the new post Leigh. Anything to move us away from Faile, Rolan, et al.

It’s not just you Leigh. The Perrin, Faile and (early) Elayne chapters especially move oh-so-slow, and I am pondering nominating you for sainthood for reading these (so that we don’t have to), summarizing them, and then trying to find anything of interest to say about them.

Anyway, thus begins Elayne’s blaming of Rand for her condition. I assume its always half in jest, but it grows kind of annoying. To be fair, Rand didn’t pry his hands and mouth away from Elayne to stop and drink/take/use whatever male contraceptive exists in Randland. But come on. Elayne had planned to (and does) jump Rand’s bones, rejected using the heartleaf tea (or whatever their contraception is called), they get pregnant and now we must suffer (often) by hearing her complain and blame Rand for doing this to her multiple times each novel. Yes, he's not there to share in her discomfort. But, isn't that kind of her decision (and don't get me wrong; it's a wise one)?

Also, we are introduced to the beginning of Elayne using Min’s vision as an excuse for her stupidity, recklessness, rash decisions. I respect courage, honor and bravery. But be smart about exercising them, when possible.

Elayne’s good for charging into a situation without thinking about any possible negative consequences at least once per each novel, from now on as well. And then she gets upset when she’s scolded by Birgitte, or made to pay the consequences for her actions by someone like Melfane. I really wish the Wise Ones would have stayed, so that she learned what they taught Egwene: Take what you want, and pay for it (at least, I think this was taught by the Wise Ones to Egwene; now I’ve got to doublecheck). Thankfully, Aviendha was here this time to dissuade her. Unfortunately, that doesn’t last long…

As for comments on Chapter 11, well… it happened. Ok, I don’t get Sareitha’s fascination with Mellar either; in hindsight Careane’s request to Elayne for Vandene to teach the Windfinders makes sense, and her desire to “prepare to flee” Caemlyn and therefore lead to panic and cause Chaos with Elayne’s efforts also makes sense; I also think the only thing that was getting Vandene through the day was vengeance.

Oh, and Mellar was, is and (apparently) will continue to be slimy, sleazy scum of the earth foisted upon us before one of our heroes finally dispatches him, hopefully in a way that is painful, prolonged and extremely humiliating for Mellar.

As for the Magic Eye – I could hardly ever see what folks claimed to see. Half the time, I think my friends and/or family members were lying when they said they could see it.
Ken Ray
12. Maclir
Why is it that Elaine can be so astute as a queen, knowing just how to play the game of houses, and not putting a foot wrong politically, but the rushes like a bull at a gate, and puts herself in considerable personal peril at the drop of a hat?
James Jones
14. jamesedjones
11 KiManiak
I really wish the Wise Ones would have stayed, so that she learned what they taught Egwene: Take what you want, and pay for it (at least, I think this was taught by the Wise Ones to Egwene; now I’ve got to doublecheck).

It's a Cairhienin thing. I'm not sure which character's POV gave it to us.
Marcus W
15. toryx

She just wished every woman she knew did not believe that pregnancy had made her brainless. Nearly every woman she knew. Those who had never borne a child themselves were the worst.

It's not the pregnancy that made her brainless. It's the decision to get pregnant in the first place, at the worst possible time, that makes everyone think (rightfully so) that she's got no marbles.
And, of course, it's chapters like this one that makes me wish I'd never heard of Elayne of Andor. Brainless twit.

Personally, I'd rather read about Faile and Perrin than Elayne's political machinations. Blegh.

Mellar was really the icing on the cake. Nothing like reading about a misogynistic pig strutting around the palace and Elayne rationalizing to herself why it's a good idea to let people think that he was the father of her child. *shudder* Triple blegh!

Anyway, on a separate note: I liked the 90's! Just because almost everything you mentioned was nasty as hell (though I did like Magic Eye art) doesn't diminish the good parts like everyone being employed, no Mid East quagmire and easy security at airports, not to mention gasoline highs of $1.35 a gallon and affordable college education.

*sigh* Man, those were the good ol' days.
Damon Garner
16. IrishOmalley
@11 KiManiak
The success of Mellar just gives some competency to team dark. I think Taim and Mellar are two of the main "team dark" players to achieve a consistent amount of success.
Damon Garner
17. IrishOmalley
The 90's - I liked the early 90's, musically. Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, STP, etc.. The mid and late 90's not so much.

The magic eye art....Was never any good at it. I always remember the movie Mall Rats by Kevin Smith with the dude staring at the piece of art all movie long. He couldn't ever see it and finally screamed in anger towards the end when a little kid saw it.
18. hamstercheeks
toryx@15: In the New Spring novel, a character (an Aes Sedai, IIRC) said that when there's impending doom, that's precisely the right time to conceive -- the man wants to leave something to remember him by, and the woman wants to be left something to remember him by. I think this applies in Elayne's case. Also, Aviendha was feeding her all these stories about what a sex god Rand is, so as soon as she got him in home court, she pounced! "Come into the royal bedchamber! Prepare the royal aphrodisiacs!"

Leigh, I'm sorry you feel that way about Elayne's political machinations. I enjoyed reading them, but I'd have to agree that they took up too much of the books. Also agree about having the Cleansing happen every chapter was not effective as a narrative device. Or maybe it would have been if everything had been compressed.

Also, Mellar is a hideous slimeball. He and Lady Shiaine/Mili Skane make a pretty good team, for non-channeling DFs.

No snow here yet!
Tricia Irish
19. Tektonica
Thank you again Leigh, for doing the heavy lifting. Yawn.

I do like seeing Elayne become an astute politician, but the rest...argh. I can't keep all the AS and Windfinders etc, wandering the (moving) halls of the Palace straight. And Meller is such a scum bag....at least Elayne has his measure.

And I agree, KiManiak, why does she keep blaming Rand for her pregnancy? Takes two to tango. I assumed she was half joking too, but please....

Adelas is tragic indeed. She's wasting away but hanging on for vengence.

The minutia in this book drives me crazy. So, thanks leigh....for summarizing and discussing.
Daniel Smith
20. Smittyphi
I loved the 3-D things. All I had to do was unfocus my eyes and I got it.
The 80's can't be more evil than the 90's. NKOTB, big, crimped hair, spandex, SIKE! 'Nuff said.
Pregnancy - ::Shudder:: We are expecting again and I have learned just to ask my wife what she needs and leave it there.

Great post Leigh.
Rajesh Vaidya
21. Buddhacat
@Leigh and toryx:

Also don't forget the best thing about the 90's: The newsgroup!
j p
22. sps49
Magic Eye- yes, if you weren't sure, then you didn't- were much ado about nothing much. The most reliable way to see them, for me, was to look at something far enough behind the picture, let my eyes get more parallel, and it would show.

You didn't miss much- visualize a white sculpture against a white background, then imagine the white replaced by the weird color patterns on the sculpture and wall. Big whoop.

And this book? Way too long to tell not much.

sweetlilflower @9- The emoticons do not make up for what you wrote. >:|
23. Delafina
@5 "Extreme feminisim rants aside, I generally am in lockstep agreement with you Leigh, but c'mon 3D pictures are awesome!"

Le sigh.

I guess, since most of the men in my life are normal, rational, moral people who could be just as likely to deliver one of Leigh's rants as she is (and get angrier about misogyny in our workplace than I do), it's good to be reminded of how far the world in general has to go.

I'm unclear as to what about Leigh's occasional rants qualifies as "extreme feminism." Last I checked, most of them were either objecting to double standards or objecting to coercive, infantilizing behavior that no adult has a right to inflict on another adult, regardless of gender (e.g. spanking). You know, common sense for anyone not laboring under the delusion that it's okay to treat people as inferior just because one of their chromosomes is different from yours.

It's not like she's suggesting all heterosexual sex is rape, men shouldn't be allowed in power, the only safe family for children is one with no men in it, or any *actual* extreme feminist positions.

Leigh's feminism is basic sense for any reasonable, ethical person: the idea that people should have the choice to do whatever they can based on their capabilities, and not be limited by their gender; that similarly, they should be judged on their actions and capabilities, and not their gender; and finally that everyone is entitled to their own bodily autonomy -- no rape, no spanking, no kidnapping -- and having one set of genitals rather than another doesn't change your right to that.

How in Shayol Ghul is that "extreme"?
Marcus W
24. toryx
hamstercheeks @ 18:

Yeah, that's how we got saddled with the Baby Boom in the 40's. But logically, it makes absolutely no sense. All it amounts to is emotional selfishness without any degree of rational thought or responsibility.

So I guess it's plain that I strongly disagree with the Aes Sedai and with Elayne being foolish enough not to take the morning after tea.

Oh, and don't get me wrong. I don't have any problem with Elayne getting ahold of Rand for a tumble when she had her chance. But getting pregnant when the world is coming to the end, while she's trying to win a succession? That's looney tunes. Of course, it's also extremely appropriate of Elayne.

Edit to add:
Delafina @ 23: Well said.

Edit a second time: I just realized that given the way the world is and the things people do when times are bad that I not only insulted my grandparents but perhaps others in the present who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere throughout the world. So I apologize. I stand by my opinion, but I realize that my comment was insensitive and I probably should have thought before I typed.
Skip Ives
25. Skip
Smittyphi @20 - Congrats to you and the wife.

Magic Eye - usually doesn't work if you are color-blind like me.
26. gadget
I'll still take this storyline over Perrin's emo arc though.
Chin Bawambi
27. bawambi
How in Shayol Ghul is that "extreme"?
Well said.
BTW, my comment about the 19yrold dating the 15yrold creepiness from last chapter was RL example and when I objected two of my friends told me that my Victorian morals were way out of touch. At least one other of my friends agreed with me so maybe the entire world hasn't gone to Shayol Ghulbut damn I cant imagine raising kids in today's world...anyway back to RJ this is the book where I lost my buddy (who introduced me to WoT) to the flashbackwards and the 700 pages of nothingness. I still love the series but this book even got me snoozing while reading - Leigh is my heroine for dealing with WH,COT and KOD at all.
Ron Garrison
28. Man-0-Manetheran
@24 toryx: The baby boom happened after WW2, and while still the second half of the '40s, it's not the same thing as what hamstercheeks was referring to re. New Spring.

Other than that, all I have to say is goat's milk, goat's milk, goat's milk, goat's milk, goat's milk, goat's milk, goat's milk, goat's milk, goat's milk...
Joe Terrenzio
29. Terren
Sweetlilflower @ 9 (and in general)

I enjoyed getting to see the various reactions to the Cleansing. First, it did nicely remind us of where everyone's plotline is in relation to one another. I can't think off hand of another event since Flame that manages to do that so effectively. Second, the actual Cleansing scene itself was of course super awesome, but I feel some of its monumentous imporance was lost on first reading it. The fact that it is the climax of the novel and that we know what is happening and how it is being done (strongest sa'angreal ever used by strongest male ever and near the top female while linked) diminishes just how amazing and overwhelming the event was.
By seeing all these slive of life scenes interupted by the Cleansing, we get a better perspective on what may be the single greatest use of the power ever. (I don't really have any idea how much power Lews Therin and the Hundred Companions used, but they counldn't link and didn't have the Choedan Kal).
30. chosen
If you look at Leigh's post just right while squinting you can see Rand cleansing the source. Trust me its there.
Scott Terrio
31. Renegade248
I also kind of like seeing all the pov's dealing with the cleansing. It brings all the plotlines together on the same day and lets you see where they are in relation to each other. Also, it sets up KoD nicely. Yes, the action in this book is kind of lacking, at least until we get to the end with Egwene, but we do get up close and personal with each of our main characters especially Elayne with her two bath chapters. :) This book isn't half as bad as some people make it out to be. Just my opinion though.

Regarding these chapters: Yes, Elayne is too gun-ho and wants to step into danger whenever it is present. Good thing this time Aviendha talked her out of it. Though we will see this in Elayne too often coming up without Avi there to stop her. This is the part of Elayne that drives me nuts. She is very astute politically and has a very strategic way of looking at things, except when it comes to her trouncing off to who knows where at the first sign of trouble without a care to who gets killed or what the consequences will be.

Yes, Mellar is bad. I do not get how he wasnt caught by now to be a DF. I guess saving Elayne's life counts as to not anyone seeing how bad he is.

Not much else to say on these chapters.
32. KiManiak
jamesedjones@14 – are you sure it’s a Cairhienin thing? I could’ve sworn I read that Egwene reflected on this saying. Or are you saying that she picked this up from the Wise Ones while they were camped outside of Cairhien?

toryx@15&24 and hamstercheeks@18 – re: the “right” time to conceive – Ideally, I have no problem with people choosing to conceive whenever they so desire, as long as they are willing to accept (and hopefully rejoice in) the consequences of their actions. Otherwise, it could be somewhat selfish… Loved the “Prepare the Royal Aphrodisiacs” line, btw :-)

(Oh, and toryx, I didn’t see/read your comment as the “offensive” type. I saw what (I thought) you were trying to say)

irishomalley@16 – re: Fain – hmm, can all of his competency be attributed to the Dark? :) I think he got a major upgrade via Shadar Logoth

chosen@30 – I’m trying…I think I see it… nope, missed it. :)

Oh, and the 90’s were pretty good, music and pop-culture wise. Lotta good movies, tv shows and recording artists in multiple genres. Well, until the mid-late 90s, when Sean Combs became Puff Daddy and unfortunately gave America the idea that any nimwit could rap and, as long as they had a nice beat and a catchy hook, could sell millions of records. And, unfortunately, America did not disappoint…
Stefan Mitev
33. Bergmaniac
One of the major things in these two chapters which I found interesting, but was not mentioned by Leigh, is that we learned the way the Andoran Queen is chosen - she needs to get the support of 10 out of the 19 major Houses. I think this is a case of Jordan changing his mind in the middle of the series and retconing a a bit in order to have more of a political conflict here instead of simply fighting between the armies of the rightful heir and the pretender.

Nothing in the early books indicate that the Andoran queen has to get elected by the High Seats and is not just the closest female relative of the previous queen getting the throne authomatically. It was always a given that she will be the Queen after her mother dies, as in a more typical monarchy.

Even Basel Gill, someone who clearly knew quite a bit about the way things work in Andor, told Mat in TDR
“Andor has a queen, lad. Always a queen. If Morgase and Elayne both died—the Light send it not so!—then Morgase’s nearest female relative would take the throne. At least there’s no question of who that is this time—a cousin, the Lady Dyelin—not like the Succession, after Tigraine vanished."

As simple as that. Nothing about the successor being chosen by the High Seats, Ishara lines and all that stuff. Even Thom was listening to that and he didn't correct Basel Gill, and he should certainly know all about these things work.

Apart from that, not much of an interest. I actually find them moderately enjoyable though, since I happen to like Elayne. And at least those chapters are a big improvement over the Emo Perrin in the previous few.
Elena Vaccaro
34. EarthandIce
Hello all. Been a while since I posted but have been trying to keep up with the re-reads.

Torax, Yes there was some increase in the birth and marriage rate during WW II, but the really big increase was after in the 'Golden Age of Prosperity' where the Leave it to Beaver mind-set sprang to life.
The 90's, well sort of good and sort of bad for me.
Bawmbi- I agree with the dating idea. Especially if the older one is male. In many states if there is ‘hanky panky’ happening, he can be charged with statutory rape, with all of the sex offender registry stuff if he is convicted. Not sure about situation if the older one is female.

In some ways I look at these chapters as Jordan showing how everyone is moving into the positions where they can support Rand.

And yes, Egwene did have the thought about taking something and paying for it (figuring out how to enter Tel 'aran' rhiod) during period of time between when the Little Tower called her and the Wise One’s came to see her off. Just before she decided to accept her toh.
Has anyone made the connection between her figuring out Tel’aran’rhiod and her figuring out how to make a Gateway? I cannot remember back that far.
Scott Terrio
35. Renegade248
@33 Bergmaniac: I believe that Basil was right in that Elayne would be queen after her mother, but in the current situation Morgase fled and Caemlyn had no queen in the 3 or so months before Elayne got there. In that case, the sucession already started and Elayne had to go along with it. If Morgase died in office and Elayne was there to take over right away, I believe there would not have been a need to go through a sucession.
Stefan Mitev
36. Bergmaniac
Renegade 248 @35 - Maybe, though given the way Rahvin forced Morgase to alienate most of the High Seats, I doubt it would've ben that simple. But the the point of the quote was that Gill claimed that if both Morgase and Elayne died, it's a simple case of Dyelin being their closest female relative and she gets the Lion Throne. Nothing about Dyelin having to get the support of the High Seats.
William Fettes
37. Wolfmage
Thanks Leigh. I can sympathise with your irritation at the whole Magic Eye craze. I could never consistently see those pesky 3D images myself, and I'm pretty sure I ended up pretending a couple of times just to avoid the literal headache as well as the social one. Ha! (For those of us who couldn’t see the image, it was seriously annoying as they would inevitably populate the walls of most friends’ houses.)

Re: extreme feminism - I just don't see it. Leigh’s social views strike me as straightforwardly middle-of-the-road progressive, and her feminism is decidedly mainline and not much different from mine (I’m a guy). I don’t necessarily agree with everything she says, but I’ve certainly never read anything that I would equate with radical feminists in the vein of Dworkin or MacKinnon.

Honestly, I think much of this criticism comes down to confusion between frequency or saturation and moderation. Leigh talks a lot about gender politics. In my experience, she doesn’t actually say much that isn’t carefully worded and appropriately qualified – she just thinks and writes a lot about the subject. I think it’s this saturation of the topic that some people find off-putting rather than the extremity of any particular claim Leigh makes.

Personally, I think it has become a bit unfashionable and daggy these days to be a self-identifying, self-conscious feminist. The contrast about what mainline liberal feminism actually says and the warped feminazi caricature of popular culture and reactionary politics hasn’t helped. So it’s hardly surprising that such a prolonged and astute treatment of these themes, sits uncomfortably with the current cultural pressure to treat feminism as a monument in the rear-view mirror. Leigh’s approach reminds us that the project is very much alive and kicking, and her usage of the normative and linguistic toolkit of gender politics can be alienating for some.

It’s been said many times already, but it’s worth repeating - WoT really does lends itself to Leigh’s observations. I think we're very luck to have such a guide.
Scott Terrio
38. Renegade248
36@ Bergmaniac: Sorry if I misunderstood what you were saying. I thought you meant specifically that Elayne should not have to have gone through the sucession. I see what you mean now, and yes that has no clear answer. If Morgase and Elayne died in office, would it automatically go to Dyelin or would there be a sucession? I was under the impression that if there is no heir (daughter), then there would have to be a sucession. But Basil does say what you quoted, so who knows.
39. Syman
KiManiak@11, jamesedjones@14,

Egwene hears it from Moiraine in TFoH -- IIRC, the chapter where she tells Moiraine that Elaida is Amyrlin.   Moiraine answers that she an Siuan did what they wanted, and are paying for it.   I'll look up the reference later.

Edit: Chappers@40 beat me to it.
Richard Chapling
40. Chappers
@11. KiManiak, etc

"There is a saying in Cairhien, though I have heard it as far away as Tarabon and Saldaea. 'Take what you want and pay for it.' Siuan and I took the path we wanted, and we knew we would have to pay for it eventually."

So says Moiraine in TFoH ch15.

Now, anyone up for some overanalysis? How does a channeller tell a large amount of channelling a long way away apart from a small amount of channelling at a lower distance? A related question is, is there anything that blocks the detection of channelling other than weaving reversed in the first place? Or is there anything that impairs the detection of channelling?

I'm tempted to go with a "channelling radiation" theory, where the channeller emits some sort of waves which other channellers can sense (and stronger channellers are more sensitive to it).

One could ask similar questions about how saidar channellers can detect each other.
41. hamstercheeks
Chappers@40: We know that visually, saidar channelers see a light around the woman channeling. The amount of light increases with the amount of saidar being used (c.f. Nynaeve, Lanfear, TFoH). For non-visual sensing, it's probably like Nynaeve's weather sense -- they just know. It might be an extra sensory organ or something, since we know channelers have physiological differences (c.f. forkroot, not getting sick, tendency toward obnoxiousness). Could be a good thing to ask Brandon the next time there's a call for questions.
Kimani Rogers
42. KiManiak
Syman@39 and Chappers@40 – thanks for the clarification. I could’ve sworn that I heard Egwene say this and give credit to the Wise Ones. Darn faulty memory. And so…
Jamesedjones@14 – Sorry. Good call…

EarthandIce@34 – re: Egwene and Gateways - I think that Egwene worked out Traveling when she confronted Moghedien, who was on the leash and held by Elayne and Nynaeve in LoC. To my recollection (caution: my memory has already been proven faulty re: Egwene’s saying) she used her experience entering T’A’R as a guide to work out Traveling.
Roger Powell
43. forkroot

One of my deeper irrational fears about growing old is the idea that I could go senile and forget everything before I die. It’s irrational mainly because there is (thankfully) very little tendency toward that in my family, and the phenomenon definitely tends to be genetic, but still the notion gives me shivers on occasion.

Not to be a wet blanket ... but don't count on your genetics sparing you. My mother had no one in her family tree with dementia (as far back as we know) - but unfortunately she suffers with Alzheimers - which sucks in so many ways I cannot describe them all.
Rob Munnelly
44. RobMRobM
@42 - Eg did.

@43 - Bummer, Fork. Hope all is well otherwise. Both of us seem to be posting less at the moment.

Scientist, Father
45. Silvertip
@ delafina, @wolfmage -- what you guys said, which is said better than I could have said it. Thanks, Leigh.

Funny that magic eyes and pregnancy should come up together -- reading ultrasounds in real time (on the scope) is a lot like magic eyes. Blobs ... blobs ... if you wonder if you're seeing it you're not seeing it ... then BAM it's a baby! --whoops, blobs again. My wife is really good at reading them (veterinarian, makes it a specialty), it was fascinating to be with her for those when she was expecting.

And as for everybody and their brother thinking it's OK to tell pregnant women what to do -- oh yeah. Oh yeah. Bloody obnoxious, especially since much of the conventional wisdom is b.s.

@forkroot -- sorry to hear it, friend. Nothing to say except, it sucks. But boy oh boy, does it suck. Hang in there.

Stay warm y'all!


p.s. Nothing to say about the chapters. Is it time for KoD yet?
46. Viddles
@23 Delafina

I think I have discovered the source of the confusion.

Leigh often talks about feminismish things, and while not a member of the ultrafeminist movement, is certainly EXTREEEEEEEME (as we used to say in the early nineties) in almost every other way. This is why we love her :-)

btw I found the lack of Rand and forward motion in CoT to be disappointing on first read, but in rereading I have always enjoyed it. I already know the story, so it is a chance to get further into the world.

Just my tenth of a dime.
John Massey
47. subwoofer
@Leigh- you were not alone. I never saw squat. I have this conspiracy theory involving one of my former competitors for world domination. Glad it resulted in those things being a passing fad. Dang puzzly dohickys.

Other than that, am up to my nipples in snow and cold. I am looking around for this global warming phenomenon, but so far any evidence seems to be frozen... am considering being evil just to visit a warm location;)

48. alreadymadwithhouses
Bergmaniac @33
Nearest female relative does also directly relate to lines to Ishara. Nominally Trakand currently has the most lines to Ishara. Their closest female relative would then theoretically have just as many or close. Then there's the bit about being cousins as far as lines to Ishara are concerned. All of the Houses of Andor intermarry in order to increase their chances. It just so happened that at the time Gill made his statement, Trakand's rule was stable enough that none of the Houses was expected to get ambitious and challenge the line of succession to Dyelin. Also it's not like the High Seats formally elect the Queen. It's more like the ruling house intimidating the others into supp0rting it.

Chappers @40
Dead reckoning. They can just tell. It's like being able to see the difference between a match struck in your vicinity and a huge forest fire far off. Men are a bit more esoteric, since they feel it rather than see anything as women do. But at a guess it's a lot like weight. A pebble in your hand will weigh less than a boulder. Now imagine feeling the weight w/o holding it in your hand.

KiManiak @42
Egwene unwittingly discovered Travelling when she entered Tel'Aran'Rhiod in the flesh for the journey to Salidar. It was only when Moghedien described the basic principle behind women's Travelling that she realized she could use the weave or a close variation of it to skip Tel'Aran'Rhiod entirely and open a Gateway directly to her intended destination.

OH and yeah... Never did get the deal with magic eyes either.
Alice Arneson
49. Wetlandernw
Okay, I had to laugh out loud at the quote from Elayne about how people treat pregnant women. Oh, too sadly true! And those who've never been there, the worst. *sigh* That is totally true to life. FWIW, though, I got a little annoyed with Elayne's repeated (and it gets much worse in the next books) blaming Rand for how pregnancy affects her moods. As far as I know, that's totally an urban legend, or old wives tale, or something; how on earth any woman who made her choices can then decide to blame the whole thing on the man just boggles my mind. I know, it's one of those goofy myths associated with pregnancy, but... then again, I didn't have any wierd food cravings either, so maybe I'm the odd one. Whatever.

Oh, and she hasn't seen anything yest. You know what they say: the only person who gets more unwanted advice than a pregnant woman is a woman with a newborn...

Sure was a good thing Aviendha went through those rings and knew it would be a bad idea to go to Rand here. I enjoyed the way all the people who had any business going, somehow knew better than to go or let anyone else go, and everyone else was just a little too nervous to get that close. Good thing, too, or they'd have been fried at their gateways. Incidentally, I may have mentioned it before, but my latest time through this book I started noticing stuff like this: similarities and differences in the situations and reactions to the Cleansing. This time, finally, I actually enjoyed seeing the multiple perspectives of the same day.

And... the commentary cracked me up. Yup, the nineties were not good to us in many ways. And much more good stuff. And:

And of course it’s easier to be convinced you know the right way to do something when you haven’t had the opportunity to screw it up personally, as well.

LOL!! Also too sadly true! And also, no magic eyes here either.

sweetlilflower @9 - YAY! I totally agree. :)

Smittyphi @20 - "I have learned just to ask my wife what she needs and leave it there." Smart man!! There's also a certain thing about knowing when to ask, but it's definitely the right way to go. Especially if (as in your case) she's been through it before! And Congratulations!!

Man-o-Manetheran - And you remind me of something... I sure am glad no one tried to make me drink goat's milk when I was pregnant. If anything would have made me nauseous, that would! Yuck.

Bergmaniac @33 - It's quite clear throughout the series that most of the time, when there is a clear Daughter-Heir or a very near relative, there's not much argument about who becomes the next Queen. This case is particularly bizarre because 1) Morgase alienated half the Houses of Andor under Gaebril's influence; 2) the Daughter-Heir was nowhere to be found when the Queen disappeared and 3) there is a deliberate attempt by Team Dark to destabilize Andor, at least in terms of Team Light.

ditto @36 - Also in this case, Dyelin refused to take the Lion Throne even though she'd easily have had the support of enough Houses to do so. In fact, several of them actively solicited her announcement for the throne. She held them off until it could be determined whether Elayne was still alive; when she proved to be so, Dyelin refused to make a claim. I'm sure if Elayne had been proved dead, Dyelin would have taken the throne in leiu of letting someone incompetent (and with less claim) do so.

EarthandIce - I'll say it's been a while! Where have you been hiding? Incidentally, in at least some states a woman can be charged with statutory rape if she's the older one in a major/minor situation.
Heidi Byrd
50. sweetlilflower
EDIT: apparently Wetlander posted while I was typing.

Since Wetlandernw is not going to jump in and defend Elayne, I will try to make sense of her actions. From what we have heard of prior Queens, they were all very brave and some of them even rode with the army. I *think* that Elayne is trying to be like those Queens. She wants to be thought of as brave and fearless, and because she is such a strong channeller, she just jumps into situations. One of the most telling scenes for me is when Nyneave first visits the Royal Palace and realizes how Elayne grew up.

Adding to her preconceptions of her own awesomeness is the fact that everytime she has gotten into trouble, nothing really bad has happened. She was not captured by the Seanchan, even after she snuck out of the Tower. She was captured in Tear, but that led to a lot of canoodleing with Rand. Over and over through the story, she is almost rewarded for her poor judgement as far as she knows. Yes, her bad judgement led to Gawyn being a complete Ass, but she doesn't know that.

So, when you look at her track record, why wouldn't she throw herself into danger? She helped get rid of the Seanchan from Falme, find some BA, get rid of the sad bracelets (as far as she knows), find and use the Kin, cooperate with the Sea Folk, fix the weather, get keep a piece of Rand for the future, find more BA, and win the throne. All of the above actions came from her making stupid decisions and rushing head-long into danger.

Not that I am advocating this behavior, but from her point of view, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Also, I apologize if my post at #9 offended anyone. I just get a little tired of reading one complaint after another, but that is not an excuse to be rude.
Alice Arneson
51. Wetlandernw
sweetlilflower @50 - Sorry to make you do all the work tonight; RL is a bit tiring and time-consuming, and I don't seem to have the wherewithall to do a proper defense of anything tonight. Fortunately, you're doing an admirable job! :) Most of the time I can't resist playing advocate for whomever is being hated on at the moment, but there are times (rare, mostly) where it's just too much work to point out the (to me, obvious) mitigating factors to someone who is determined to despise the character, plot arc, or what-have-you. When people are that convinced, sometimes I just shrug and walk away.

Then again, sometimes I don't, and now subwoofer is defending Cadsuane against all comers! Go figure. :) And doing a mighty fine job of it, I might add. I have to say that I appreciate the efforts to really see, and help others see, that from the character's perspective, they are doing the right thing no matter how stupid it looks to us.
Birgit F
52. birgit
Nothing in the early books indicate that the Andoran queen has to get elected by the High Seats and is not just the closest female relative of the previous queen getting the throne authomatically. It was always a given that she will be the Queen after her mother dies, as in a more typical monarchy.

Choosing who would be Queen of Andor was quite simple, boiled down to essentials. There were over four hundred Houses in the realm, but only nineteen strong enough that others would follow where they led. Usually, all nineteen stood behind the Daughter-Heir, or most of them, unless she was plainly incompetent. House Mantear had lost the throne to Trakand when Mordrellen died only because Tigraine, the Daughter-Heir, had vanished and Mantear had begun running heavily to boy children. And because Morgase Trakand had gathered thirteen Houses in her support. Only ten of the nineteen were necessary to ascend the throne, by law and custom. Even claimants who still thought they should have the throne themselves usually fell in with the rest, or at least fell silent and gave up their pursuit, once another woman had ten Houses at her back.

CoT ch. 11
When Gill explained things to Rand and Mat there was a Daughter-Heir and Rahvin hadn't yet made Morgase turn everybody against Trakand. There was no reason why Elayne shouldn't inherit the throne. The precedence rules by relationship to Ishara only matter when there is no clear heir or the heir is incompetent and the Houses refuse to accept her.
Captain Hammer
53. Randalator
re: hangover

So the girl-girl warderbond has positive side effects, too. At least when you're pregnant and have to lay off the booze. You just drag your warder along to the party, drink water all night and order her to get piss drunk...hilarity ensues.

Granted, the hangover by proxy is kind of a downside but it's not like you wouldn't have a major headache if you'd done all the drinking yourself. But this way your kids stay out of harms way...
54. endertek
Regarding the fading memories ... do you think it would be more like Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates in that her mind works fine - she just forgets the important relationship. She could keep a journal with every detail she can remember and then all she'd have to do is read it once the memories fade - since her mind still would be able to retain the memories of reading it, she'd know it was her and who her soulmate is. Does that make sense?
It's not like her memory is erased every night or that she can't organize her thoughts in a rational way. If she wrote the memories down and then read them once, everything could be restored potentially as good as possible.Thoughts?
55. hamstercheeks
endertek@54: Is Birgitte the writing type? IIRC she was pissy when she had to deal with reports, and she was probably only reading them. BUT, it would be awesome if she wrote down her memories! Then Elayne can get even more money for Andor by sponsoring her and publishing them. Then after TG, Birgitte will go on tour as her own historical researcher, when she's not babysitting the twins. "Prepare for the royal book tour!"
56. Halibulu
I don't know if anyone has guessed, surmised, mentioned already or simply picked up on it, but I'm fairly certain we've *seen*(mention) of Gaidal Cain's new incarnation finally in ToM. No I'm not talking about Olver, but I am talking about the very young son Grady mentions to Perrin as being "ugly as a stump" and who also just so happens to be named Gadren. If that's not as close a hint without actually naming him Gaidal I don't know what is.
Plus the ages matchup because this means he was likely conceived and born somewhere in books 4-6, same time he went missing from TAR.
I know a lot readers expected him to be older like Olver, but that wouldn't make any sense unless his soul simply replaced an existing one within a body.
But maaaaan, when Min said she saw Birgitte with a younger man she really meant younger!
Bill Reamy
57. BillinHI
EarthandIce @ 34: Definitely wonder about the hanky-panky if the female is the older. What ever happened to all those female schoolteachers having sex with their under-age students? Are they now registered sex offenders? If not ... hello, double standard. Not saying that male sex offenders should not be registered - they certainly should be, unless and until a way is found to cure them.

On Egwene's figuring out the gateway: didn't the wise ones show her how to enter TAR in the flesh? Even though they thought it was a very bad thing to do.

And the rest has been covered by others (KiManiak, alreadymad, I see what you did ;)

Halibulu @ 56 re Gadren/Gaidal: I had the very same thought when I hit that part of my re-listen to ToM. Everything certainly seems to match!
Tina Pierce
58. scissorrunner
BillinHI - IIRC Egewne showed the Wise Ones that she had figured that out herself. They were VERY unhappy, said it was dangerous, but they wouldn't stop her as she was able to deceide that for herself.
(sorry, no books here for the reference)
Damon Garner
59. IrishOmalley
@57 As the father of soon to be 3 children, I have a few ideas in mind on how to "Cure" sex offenders....
Captain Hammer
60. Randalator
scissorrunner @58

Sheriam exchanged glances with the others. Her dress went from pale blue silk to dark gray, with divided skirts. "We are sure there is a way to make the journey quickly. If the Wise Ones will help. Siuan is sure it will require no more than a day or two if you enter Tel'aran'rhiod physically —"
"No," Bair snapped at the same instant Amys said, "We will not teach her such a thing. It was used for evil, it is evil, and whoever does it loses part of themselves."

(LoC, ch. 32)

Egwene stared from one to another, especially Amys and Bair. "But you told me how wrong you think what I'm going to do is; you said I must not even think about it. I said I wouldn't, and then I went ahead and worked out how to do it."
(LoC, ch. 33)
Genevieve Williams
61. welltemperedwriter
You know, that's interesting, Randalator. It means that Siuan came pretty close to rediscovering Traveling herself...
Eric Hughes
63. CireNaes

When Gill explained things to Rand and Mat there was a Daughter-Heir and Rahvin hadn't yet made Morgase turn everybody against Trakand. There was no reason why Elayne shouldn't inherit the throne. The precedence rules by relationship to Ishara only matter when there is no clear heir or the heir is incompetent and the Houses refuse to accept her.

Which is why I think Rahvin via Morgase didn't completely wreck the situation, but what Rand did was enough to push most of the major houses over the edge. I'm not saying that Rand shouldn't have gone in and cleaned house, but the best thing he could have done was pulled an Uncle Sam/Smokey the Bear with the other major houses, "Took care of your infestation, but remember: Only you can prevent Dark Friends. Now get this place running again, because I want you at the Last Battle. Go light!" Then with a flourish he jumps out of a window, Elayne gates in and is seen as much more viable candidate. Instead, Rand handed her a political quagmire by not taking the more servant leader approach.
So the house's who thought that there was still a chance with the daughter heir now that Morgase was gone were immediately adverse to Rand "placing/securing" her on the throne. This is what made her come off as being a puppet ruler to the other major players, put Andor's national soveriegnty at stake, and sparked rebellion against her.

As the reader's inside Rand's head we know his intentions were altruistic, but boy did his behavior look bad from the outside. Imagine the difference if Rand had integrated before he attacked Rahvin.

Edit: To clear up a misunderstanding. Sorry birgit.
64. alreadymadwithandorissue
CireNaes @63
Wouldn't have made any difference.
The main problem with Andor was that there was a vacuum of leadership right after Rand killed Rahvin. Rand did the best he could by effectively declaring Marshal Law and setting Aiel and Saldaean patrols in the city. Even then the most powerful contenders were already jockeying for position. Ready to make their move as soon as Rand loosened his grip. The Succession crisis might have been averted if Elayne had been immediately on hand as soon as Rahvin was killed. Even then her position would have been weakened by being indebted to a foreign power (Rand and the Aiel/Saldaeans) even though Rahvin was also an outsider.
Eric Hughes
65. CireNaes

I don't agree. The situation was made worse by Rand sticking around and instituting martial law, not better. By bringing in an occupying force and announcing that Elayne should have the throne he messed up big time. When there is a clear successor then you don't need to do what he did. He should have Errol Flynned right out of there.
66. normalphil
@65 CireNaes

You can't underestimate how important Elayne not being there and not getting there any time @#!#@!! soon is. She didn't realize just how bad the situation had become; she was going on obselete information, where she was the daughter heir in good standing, and not the scion of the late mad queen Morgase, complete with the storied Trakandi temperment, who nobody was even sure was alive...
Stefan Mitev
67. Bergmaniac
The Succession war was almost inevitable since Morgase alienated most of House Trakand's supporters among the major Andoran Nobles. Even if Elayne was back in Caemlyn immediately after Rahvin's death, she stil wouldn't have gotten the necessary support to just take over the throne. Of course, being away for so long made the situation worse and allowed the opposition to gather their forces and gain an advantage on her.

Rand did the best he could under the circumstances. At least at first. If he had left immediately with his forces, this would've probably started a civil war earlier and in a more serious form due to the power vacuum. House Trakand had lost most of his supporters among the High Seats and there were plenty of candidates ready to claim the Lion Throne.

Rand's first mistake was that he didn't instruct Mat when he sent him to Salidar to tell Elayne how serious the situation is in Caemlyn and how much she's need there ASAP. All he told Mat was "Get her back to Caemlyn alive". I guess Jordan wrote it that way to allow Elayne to be one of the participants in the Bowl hunt.

One thing I am wondering about the whole Andoran Succession plot is that none of the Elayne's political opponents and allies seem to care at all that she's not just the Daugher-Heir, but an Aes Sedai. After all the talk of how there hasn't been an Aes Sedai Queen for a thousand years, I expected to see at least a few nobles opposing her for this reason. But all of them, from what they've seen, base their decisions whether to support her or not, on other factors, mostly what Morgase did to them.
Thomas Keith
68. insectoid
Better late than never... great post as always, Leigh!

Elayne: Yeah, the thing with her using Min's viewing as excuse to do 9 kinds of stupid is pretty annoying. Especially when it leads to that CMoS in ToM...

Mellar: Jeez, GO AWAY already! Eurgh.

Magic Eye: Never could do them, for a very good reason (no binocular vision to speak of). Oh, and I haven't been able to focus naturally for the last decade. (Artificial lenses from cataract surgery.) Can't see 3-D either; those silly movie producers need to quit it already!

Fading memories: ::shiver::

Random WoT-related thought: I recently skimmed through TEotW for fun, and had a random inquiry: wasn't it mentioned somewhere that cats could sense Aes Sedai? So I looked on IdealSeek, and found the relevant book and chapter (LoC ch. 46):

Cats seemed to sense something about Aes Sedai; had never heard of an Aes Sedai being scratched by even the most feral cat.

Smittyphi @20: Congrats to you and yours!

chosen @30: LOL! I can almost make it out... no wait, that's an ad banner.

Woof @47: Glad to hear your first report from the Blight tundra! ;)

Birgit @52: Well, Elayne was missing and presumed dead for most of 5-6 books... and as AMW @64 points out, had she been there from the get-go, this whole plotline may have been avoided...

IrishOmalley @59: So did George Carlin... XD

john mullen
69. johntheirishmongol
@56 I had exactly the same thought about Gaidel Cain

I feel the same about these chapters as most, anything is an improvement after the Perrin chapters. But I rather like Elayne, have since the early books because although she was nobility, she was never really stuck up about it, or she would never have considered Rand romantically.

Not everyone gives advice to the pregnant. I wouldn't presume to do it. And having gone thru it twice with my wife, I quickly learned to keep my mouth shut at strategic times.

Finally, the 90's was all been there, done that to me. 65 to 75 was a much better decade. Oh yea, gas was 17 cents a gallon for a lot of that
William Fettes
70. Wolfmage
I can't agree with any suggestion Rand made matters worse in Andor. IMO that depends on a highly exaggerated reading of Elayne's personal umbrage at the Lion Throne pedestal trophy rather than a close reading of Rand’s effect on Andorian politics.

Fact is, it was only the combination of Rand’s military security guarantee, his reaching out to Houses that had been alienated by Rahvin, and his specific undertaking to give the throne to Elayne, that prevented an immediate succession war. But for Rand, a new geopolitical dynamic would have quickly taken hold with House Trakand diminished beyond recovery.

Dyelin’s uncertainty about Elayne’s fate might have forestalled her own claim for a while, but that claim would not have stayed in abeyance for long without Rand’s surety that Elayne was alive and that he intended to relinquish Caemlyn to her as soon as possible.

In any counter-factual timeline, where Rand leaves a power vacuum in Andor, there would have been greater instability amongst the major Houses, with more noses still out of joint from the mess left by Rahvin, and claimants to the throne would have been emerging out of the woodwork quickly and in greater numbers than the canon timeline. Rand's presence prevented any open mobilisation and united traditional Trakand supporters. Without Rand, the Houses would be free to consolidate their power bases openly, and traditional Trakand supporters would be in disarray.

Sure, we know many factions would have rallied behind Dyelin, but in the absence of a firm reassurance from Rand she likely would have asserted her claim and fermented war that way. Except this time her opponents would be starting from much stronger position than anything Elayne faced.

Alternatively, if Dyelin still refused to press her own claim, that very hesitancy would have further split Trakand loyalists, and encouraged other bolder ambitions. Lacking a dominant player, it would have been a messier, protracted affair.

A political settlement would have emerged eventually but it would be more costly and it would mean the end of House Trakand on the Lion Throne.
janet vaughn
71. geochic1
So glad I can read this post and not the book. I actually do not think I have read the book all the way through for years. I usually skim this book on re-reads.
72. alreadymadwithandor
CireNaes @65
Morgase's actions before her disappearance not only discredited her but her line and her House as well. Even with Rand there it didn't take long for some of the major contenders to get over their skittishness and drop hints about their own suitability for the throne.
If Rand had removed his forces from Caemlyn the situation that would have developed would not have been far different from what happened in Cairhien. Pretenders prematurely declaring themselves and waging war on each other. As it was, that nearly happened when Rand was kidnapped and word reached Andor of Colavaere's coronation.
The only way Elayne could have gained the throne uncontested was if she'd Travelled in with Vora's sa'angreal and a detachment of Tower Guard to challenge Rahvin herself. A tour de force to prove her ability to right Morgase's "wrongs". Any other way would have ended up with a succession crisis. Rand did the best he could by keeping Sarand and the others off-balance and pacifying Dyelin and her supporters, shoring up support for Elayne for when she finally arrived.
Any other way that involved Rand would have ended up in a Succession. The only real question was how good Elayne's chances were. Even when Elayne was already there not all of Dyelin's supporters wanted to side with Trakand. As Wolfmage noted Rand staying gave Dyelin and her supporters time to prepare.
Alice Arneson
73. Wetlandernw
Halibulu @56 - I'm sorry, but the ages actually don't match up. Jur Grady's son was four years old when their family arrived at the Black Tower. Given the chronology, Gaidal Cain would be between newborn (if the soul is assumed to enter at conception) and 10 months old (if the soul is assumed to enter at birth). Gadren is much too old, even if he is younger than Olver.

Incidentally, the Olver theory has been vigorously debunked and stomped on by the author, so no one here holds to it, unless they're completely new and haven't read past discussions. The same reasons Jordan gave for Olver being too old apply to Gadren.

BillinHI @57 - As noted above, at least in some states (WA being one) female schoolteachers having sex with their under-age students are registered sex offenders, and do their jail time just the same.

CireNaes @63 - I think you misread birgit's comment. Her point was that, at the time when Gill was explaining the succession rules to Rand and Mat, Rahvin wasn't on the scene yet. Later events, when "Gaebril" showed up and Compelled Morgase into turning everyone against her House, changed the rules and set the stage for the Succession Elayne had to go through. This has nothing to do with the discussion of whether Rand made it better or worse, etc. Just wanted to point out that birgit's comments were directed to the contrast between Gill's explanation and the events as they happened.
Jonathan Levy
74. JonathanLevy
Magic Eye
Loved them, but never heard of this term for them. It was always RDS (Random Dot Stereogram) for me.

32. KiManiak
Re: 'Take what you want and pay for it'
The phrase is used in the bonding scene in WH:12:
Elayne did not need to think of the price. She had known it from the beginning, had discussed it with Aviendha to make sure she understand, too. She had explained it to Min. Take what you want, and pay for it, the old saying went. None of them had to think about the price; they knew, and they were willing to pay.
A similar one is used in LoC:33 just before Egwene meets her toh to the Wise Ones:
Egwene lowered her eyes and stared at the colorful layered carpets, her mouth twisting with scorn. Scorn for that small voice. And shame that it could speak in her head, that she could think it. She was going away, but before she did, she had to put matters right. It was possible, under ji’e’toh. You did what you had to do, then paid the cost. Long months ago, in the Waste, Aviendha had showed her how a lie was paid for.
A variant is mentioned by Leane in TFOH:1
"But I am out of practice, and I think he is the kind of man who might hear more promises than you meant to offer, and expect to have them fulfilled." A small smile suddenly appeared on her lips. "My mother always said if that happened, you had miscalculated badly; if there was no back way out, you had to either abandon dignity and run, or pay the price and consider it a lesson." The smile took on a roguish cast. "My Aunt Resara said you paid the price and enjoyed it."
It's a very Aiel way of thinking. I don't remember anything connecting it to Cairhien.

But I see 40. Chappers has brought the Cairhienin link.

Re: "Prepare the Royal Aphrodisiacs"
I think we can count Elayne herself as a 'Royal Aphrodisiac', no?

43. forkroot
My sympathies. In family there are two members who suffered debilitating strokes.

49. Wetlandernw
I got a little annoyed with Elayne's repeated (and it gets much worse in the next books) blaming Rand for how pregnancy affects her moods. As far as I know, that's totally an urban legend, or old wives tale, or something; how on earth any woman who made her choices can then decide to blame the whole thing on the man just boggles my mind.
Let's have a little poll, then, of all the (married) fathers here. During the pregnancy, labor, and first month of the baby's life, did your wife ever say to you "Look what you did to me!!!" or similar?
My answer:
Father's Poll: YES SHE DID.

59. IrishOmalley
@57 As the father of soon to be 3 children, I have a few ideas in mind on how to "Cure" sex offenders....
Is it anything like curing a side of beef?

66. normalphil
You can't underestimate how important Elayne not being there and not getting there any time @#!#@!! soon is. She didn't realize just how bad the situation had become; she was going on obselete information...
Without getting into the Elayne/succession debate, or espousing one view or another, there's a short scene in TFOH:50 which beautifully illustrates the point you're making:
Elayne smiled, nodding graciously. A far cry from her astonished stares, coming into Salidar, when she had first recognized him at the length of the street. “I will not say it is entirely good to see you, Lord Gareth. I have heard of some difficulty between Mother and you, but I am sure it can be mended. You know Mother is hasty sometimes. She will come ’round, and ask you back to your proper place in Caemlyn, you may be certain of it.”
“Done is done, Elayne.” Ignoring her astonishment—Nynaeve doubted anyone who knew Elayne’s rank had ever been so curt to her—he turned to Uno. “Have you thought on what I said? Shienarans are the finest heavy cavalry in the world, and I have lads who are just right for proper training.”.... “He practically ignored me,” Elayne said incredulously. “I don’t care what the trouble is between him and Mother, he has no right . . . Well, I will tend to Lord Gareth Bryne later. I have to talk to Min, Nynaeve.”

Wesley Parish
75. Aladdin_Sane
Firstly - about Leigh and her feminism - personally, at times it irritates me, but I can see where she's coming from. And no, she's not extreme. I met a number of somewhat extreme young feminists during my attempts to acquire a degree at my local Uni in the early 90s, and it proved that a woman can use her personality as an aural contraceptive. I'm proudly celibate, now.

About pregnant women blaming their men for the trials of pregnancy? See above, "using personality as an aural contraceptive". Thankfully I never got that close to any of the (nameless) women I refer to. :)
Jay Dauro
76. J.Dauro
OK, no kids (skip them. I went straight to grandkids, much more fun.) But I will relate the story of a good friend.

He and his wife had decided no kids. Without telling him, his wife decided to stop using birth control, and did get pregnant (great son, we all love him.) But during her term, she screamed at him "You did this to me!!"  So, I found Elayne quite believable.

I don't know if this counts in the poll.
James Jones
77. jamesedjones
74 JL

Re: Take what you want and pay for it

I don't believe the Domani phrase qualifies as a variant. Moiraine's is a philosophy. Leane's is more of a life lesson.

The life lesson actually doesn't offend me, since it is a view of how to deal with a mistake.

The philosophy, however, strongly offends me, as there is no error implied and that smacks of rationalizing doing something that you know you shouldn't. It tries to gloss over all of Egghead's offenses by saying, "It's okay to be a liar, bully, and a tyrant, as long as you have some weird-ass, self-serving system of honor behind it."

It offends me when anyone in the series uses it. It offends me when anyone in real life uses it (and it is very common in real life). And it has been my biggest grief with the series, as a strongly implied reflection of RJ's own philosophies. But that's just my issue, and does not detract from the skill of the writing (it does the opposite, in fact).
78. endertek
55 - hamstercheeks - LOL - Aviendha could be the press agent - no one would be able to say no to her and she'd negotiate a sweet contract with the publisher!
Birgit F
79. birgit
I recently skimmed through TEotW for fun, and had a random inquiry: wasn't it mentioned somewhere that cats could sense Aes Sedai?

Cats like Aes Sedai and don't like Asha'man while dogs like Asha'man and hate Aes Sedai. Wolves can also recognize Aes Sedai and are surprised that Perrin can't.
Tess Laird
80. thewindrose
jamesedjones - I am with you on when people rationalize doing something and paying for it later as usually not being a great model to follow. Although I do approve the way Elayne, Min and Aviendha use it to bond Rand. They know he is doomed to die and and has a ton of powerful enemies, but they still want to bond him(for loves sake)(and they also ask). This doesn't mean I agree with what Alanna did.

I can understand what Elayne is going through with everyone pestering her about her pregancy. It does seem that people think you can't think for yourself. It does get worse once you have the first child too. But after that first one, people tend to leave you alone(I guess they can see that you already brought one into the world that is still living.)

Interesting thoughts on Jur Grady's son. Is Sora pregnant again?(Do I remember reading that in ToM??) - That would work better with Wetlandernw's time line.

My thoughts on the Andoran succession. I think Elayne would have had some trouble if she showed up right away after Morgase's disapperance and Rand showing up. Not as much as she did have after showing up when she did. This extra time made other Houses bolder and doubts about the Trakand line more prevelent. That she was able to succeed should confirm to us that she is politically astute(of course the many Elayne bashers will take umbarge with that thought). But what is up with the reckless behavoir? I grimace when ever she says - Min saw my healthy babes.... Bad things usually happen to people in Randland when they think like that.

Damon Garner
81. IrishOmalley
@69 LOL, good ol' George Carlin.

@74 Good Idea! Now I have a few more ideas...XD

Poll - Oh yeah, my wife used all of the above phrases lol. Usually those were the nights that I stayed up watching really random movies with the bebbe'.

As for the chapter by chapter recognition of something huge going on with saidin/saidar; I wish more aes sadai took Rand and the Ashaman's claim that Saidin was cleansed more seriously. But that has been a reoccurring theme throughout this series...
82. hamstercheeks
@Jonathan Levy

Re: "Prepare the royal aphrodisiacs!" I'm suggesting that Elayne needed them after that butt-ugly disguise Rand used to sneak into the Palace. The aphrodisiac is for her. But yes, I do see your point.
83. pwl
The philosophy, however, strongly offends me, as there is no error implied and that smacks of rationalizing doing something that you know you shouldn't.

It's not rationalizing anything, it's simply a recognition of how things work. It doesn't refer just to errors. In life, you do what you want. And you pay for it. That's just the way of things, and recognizing it is just a sign of maturity. Want a pet? You're cleaning up after them, finding appropriate care when you want to take an extended trip, etc. Want to help a stranger? Recognize they may really be Dahmer. Want to start a war? Recognize that many people will die, right or wrong, innocent or not.
Whether the act is worth the payment is something entirely different.
James Jones
84. jamesedjones
83 pwl
It's not rationalizing anything, it's simply a recognition of how things work.

That's an opinion, which you're totally entitled to. I'm simply sharing my view. The saying is Cairhienin, which, in the beginning of the 5th book, was always written as dodgy and manipulative. By chapter 15 we hadn't met Dobraine or Talmanes or any decent Cairhien native aside from Moiraine. Don't read it as a piece of wisdom from RJ about how the world works. See it as a comment from the source material: the Game of Houses. Is that where RJ was trying to direct your attention? Later use of the phrase indicates that it's not. By the twentieth time we've seen it, yes, RJ is trying to beat you over the head with why the characters do something difficult, instead of taking the easy path or trying to get out of dealing with (paying for) the consequences. But my mind always goes back to the source, and I'm always affected by that.
Matthew Smith
85. blocksmith
Leigh- Thanks for the post...broke up a long day on Tuesday.

Made it through most of the comments...like others, the season has me busy in more ways than I care to consider.


I tried and tried to see something in Leigh's post and finally I did. It was a random male Randlander being spanked by a random female Randlander. The hand even moved when I twisted my screen back and forth.

*running full speed with a dive to the bunker.
Karen Jacobs
86. KJacobs
Blocksmith@ 85: LMAO! From the varied comments above, it sounds like several of us are having a . . . challenging . . . holiday season. Thanks for the much needed giggle!
Matthew Smith
87. blocksmith
And with regards to the poll prompted by JohathanLevy@74...

Not so much "YOU DID THIS TO ME!". It was more of a "THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!". But it didn't happen with the first or second, it happened with the twins during pregnancy #3.
Eric Hughes
88. CireNaes
I know. Elayne's still in daugther heir mode with a secure outlook when she should be in the I'm about to lose my ability to inhereit the throne mode.

Duly noted and corrected.


The only way Elayne could have gained the throne uncontested was if she'd Travelled in with Vora's sa'angreal and a detachment of Tower Guard to challenge Rahvin herself. A tour de force to prove her ability to right Morgase's "wrongs". Any other way would have ended up with a succession crisis

Nah, I think a more timely arrival after Rahvin's death would have done the trick. Not saying she still wouldn't have had to do some quick manuvering, but Dyelin still would have declared for her after a conversation and the other houses wouldn't have had the Rand ammunition to use against her to firm up their own claims.
Allow me to be more plain about Rand's performance though. I think he does a real decent job up until TGS. Not stellar due to his pride, anger, and forgiveness issues. But decent. However, his big mistake here after he nuked Rahvin was thinking, "I've got to move in and fix this myself." Rather than take the time to Skim around, find Elayne, and say, "Please come and fix your country, because it's not mine and Rahvin has redecorated it personally. I would be happy to support you in any way possible. I was thinking of occupying it myself due to the instability left by the power vaccum, but if you can get here in the next few weeks then I can avoid that undisirable solution." Instead, he treats her like a sack of potatos for Mat to collect, deliver, and present the throne to. We all know Mat's talent to make the more refined ladies bristle. Anyway, we can always blame Egwene for not telling Rand where Elayne was in the first place.

As far as the poll, I was blamed, both times. To which I proudly replied, "Yes I did!"

Edit: To climb aboard the blame train.
Thomas Keith
89. insectoid
Birgit @79: Ahhh. Thanks.

IrishOmalley @81: 68. Yes, good ol' George had some rather hilarious ideas of what to do with criminals of all sorts—including fencing off the four biggest groups in their own rectangular states...

Blocksmith @85: ROFL!! That made my day. XD

90. hamstercheeks
I squinted really hard at Leigh's post and saw the profile of Elayne's pregnant belly. It might have been a vase, though.
William Fettes
91. Wolfmage
pwl @83
”It's not rationalizing anything, it's simply a recognition of how things work. It doesn't refer just to errors. In life, you do what you want. And you pay for it. That's just the way of things, and recognizing it is just a sign of maturity. Want a pet? You're cleaning up after them, finding appropriate care when you want to take an extended trip, etc. Want to help a stranger? Recognize they may really be Dahmer. Want to start a war? Recognize that many people will die, right or wrong, innocent or not.
Whether the act is worth the payment is something entirely different.”

The problem with your analogies is that they’re too safe and generic to expose the real tensions in this approach. For example, traffic offences are mostly fine-based. Do you really think there’s nothing wrong with a rich person illegally parking and speeding like it’s nothing simply because the legally mandated fines are well within their means. These people are technically paying the cost of their offences, but due to their financial means the cost is not prohibitive in any meaningful sense so essentially they can do as they like. Most people would regard that as a morally problematic.

But there are more fundamental flaws at work than those on the cost-side. For instance, many of the issues involved in friendships such as trust, promise keeping and respect are not suitably enforced via a tit-for-tat penal system. For example, if someone breaks a promise to me or betrays my trust, I’m not just interested in setting an appropriate penalty. That might be part of it, but what’s more important is the issue of whether the person has demonstrated true contrition and the integrity to start re-earning my trust. If someone simply regards my penalties as the cost of doing business, because their trespasses are worth it, then that relationship is never going to be more than a crude facsimile of a real friendship and I could never repose real trust in such a person.

That’s why the Aiel hey-presto spanko-matic system of honour is pretty silly. It might look like it works if the cost is suitably onerous and the victim is prepared to pretend the wrong has been wiped out. But it's still crude, deeply vulnerable to exploitation from nefarious parties, and can't properly deal with non-fungible wrongs and virtues. Some things are wrong regardless of the cost you might be prepared to wear doing them, and somethings, like integrity, cannot be substituted for shame and a stiff upper lip Aiel heart in the face of corporal punishment.
Matthew Smith
92. blocksmith
KJacobs and Insectoid

Muchos Gracias! Its been awhile since I commented and it just felt right. That and every now and then a blind squirrel finds a nut.
Tricia Irish
93. Tektonica
Windrose@80: I do think Sora was pregnant again....I think there is a new babe there that fits the time line...Gursomething....

I think the succession problem created by Rand in Andor was a matter of semantics...He kept saying he was "giving" the throne to Elayne....that would certainly raise the hackles of the Andoran Nobles and create great doubt about Elayne's autonomy, even with Dyelin. His intentions were laudable and his and the Aiel's presence kept the peace.

Pregnancy poll: I never said that. No, I didn't. Really. Never.
Valentin M
94. ValMar
Hi All, a bit late but an earlier post of mine was foiled by my own stupidity.
Now, about advice to pregnant women, maybe some people give it just to be polite? E.g. when someone tells me that they have a cold I often mumble back that they should drink something hot. I'm sure some "advisors" are very ernest and pesky.

About the Andoran Succession. Many good points have been made. I'll add one of my own.
I think that whatever Morgase, Rand, etc, did there was only one candidate with real chance- Dyelin. Or should have been only her. Thanks to the DF the no-hoper Aramylla (sp?) turned up and united behind her the other challengers.
Only thanks to the efforts of these naughty Friends of the Dark that the usual maneuverings of the various candidates led to a real siege of Caemlyn and all the associated complications. Otherwise Dyelin would've been able to keep the smaller fishes at bay whilst the bigger ones sat on the Murandy border facing off the SAS.
Even if you don't agree of the extent of the DF influence in the Succession, you should factor it in, IMO.
95. pwl
Do you really think there’s nothing wrong with a rich person illegally parking and speeding like it’s nothing simply because the legally mandated fines are well within their means.

You completely miss my point. The whole point of the "philosophy" (really more of a profound thought, not a philosophy as we normally use the word) espoused is that it's amoral. It's the way things are. You take things, and you pay for them. Moral sentiments are most likely part of the payment for any neurotypical person. I wasn't trying to reduce the world to financial interactions (payment was not meant in a purely monetary matter, by me nor by the source material under discussion). Part of paying for an act is being able to live with yourself having done it. The "philosophy" doesn't espouse acting as if morals are meaningless. It just recognizes that whatever you do/take, there is a cost that will be paid.
For the example above, do you think there is nothing wrong with it? If you think there is, why are you not doing anything about it? Part of their payment is people thinking they're a dick. That, and an elevated risk of traffic related death. I don't think it's an ideal situation, personally, but that is the way the world currently works. They are free to act dickishly as long as they stay out of more trouble than they can pay their way out of. I'm free to think of them as manchildren with no sense of social responsibility. The world turns.

In your friend example, part of the "payment" for a person deciding to break your trust or betray you is indeed whether what they gain from it (not necessarily in a selfish manner, perhaps they are betraying you in the short term by getting you stuck in rehab because of a horrible drug addiction, risking permanent alienation to get you help) is worth you no longer seeing them as a friend or a trustworthy acquaintance. There is a cost associated with everything we do, and one should never "take" something they cannot "pay" for.

I just thought it was odd to see someone railing against "take what you want and pay for it" as "no error implied" and as "rationalizing doing something you know you're not supposed to". I mean, to me the statement was consummate responsibility (not something you expect from an Aes Sedai), since the alternatives are "take what you want and weasel your way out of any responsibility" or "take what you want and blame (hated group X) for anything bad that comes of it". One should always recognize the impact and effect of their actions, as well as their responsibilities as a result of such ("pay for it"). The statement as written doesn't just cover "things you know you're not supposed to do", as my examples were meant to point out. They weren't supposed to represent profound truth, just easily to conceptualize situations where actions (good or bad or neutral) can result in "paying for it", where any mature person is expected to be prepared for the payment before taking said actions.
James Jones
96. jamesedjones
95 pwl

Wow. You actually assigned transactions and corresponding values to everything in your world. First off, that is just about the most sad and terrible thing I have ever heard in any of these posts. Your world is colorless and devoid of true emotion, since every emotion must be paid for or owed. Second, your world is incredibly naive and 2 dimensional. No value that you put on anything will be exactly the same as the value anyone else would put on it. It might be approximate, or really close, but there will be differences. 'Take what you want and pay for it' is not about ultimate responsibility. It's about minimum responsibility. Again, see the source material as the Game of Houses. When we hear the same from the Aiel, who we know are honorable, it sounds a lot better. But it's still a matter of doing something that's going to suck at some point, and being willing to deal with it. That doesn't specify anywhere that dealing with it means paying full value as agreed upon by everyone. So far, Rand has been the only one who is willing to truly pay for what he's doing. And that's only after his apotheosis.

I take solace in the fact that I know you're view would never work when I see the world, and you wouldn't be able to deal with the added dimensions of mine or especially the depth of wolfmage's. So we're both fine with the situation. :D

Your little drug user implication was cute. This is the polite request not to do it again.
Alice Arneson
97. Wetlandernw
thewindrose @80 Re: Grady's son - you have my thought exactly. I should go look it up and see how long ago he left the BT, to see if Sora could have been pregnant but not realized it yet when he left.

Okay, so I went and looked. It appears he last left the Black Tower to go to Rand's aid at Dumai's Wells (Day 649, or Jan 1, 1000 NE). Gaidal Cain disappeared from TAR somewhere around Day 512 (mid-August 999 NE). So if the soul leaves TAR when the rebirth body is concieved, Sora could have been pregnant with him, but she should have known by the time Jur left. It's possible she chose not to tell him; not too likely he wouldn't mention it to Perrin in that conversation if he knew. OTOH, if the soul leaves TAR when the rebirth body is actually born, Jur would have known his baby already and would have mentioned two boys, not one. So... make of it what you will. It's possible, for a certain definition of possible, that Sora has a baby Gaidal, but we can't quite prove it. All of which proved exactly nothing... except that maybe we can't prove anything either way.

Re: the poll... Okay, I guess I'm just wierd. It never occured to me to blame my husband for the side effects of pregnancy. Still don't understand it.

Finally, I would like to enter the discussion on "take what you want and pay for it" but I'm afraid my mind isn't quite up to it tonight; stating my perspective on it would take a fair amount of profound thought and word-smithing, neither of which I have the capacity for tonight. And that sentence is grammatically off, and I don't have the mental capacity to figure out how to correct it. Very sad.
98. ClintACK
Re: Andoran Succession mess...

Don't forget the Aes Sedai.

In Lord of Chaos, when the Forsaken are everywhere trying to spread chaos, and Rand is frantically trying to hold things together, the Aes Sedai who come to Rand in Caemlyn and Cairhien each independently decide to foment civil wars, in order to "bring al'Thor to heel."

It's not terribly surprising that Elaida's emissaries do this in Cairhien (leading to Colaevere's death), but I've always been surprised by the fact that the Salidar emissaries do exactly the same, undercutting Elayne's claim to the throne.

It's in the last few paragraphs of Chapter 43 of Lord of Chaos -- Merana sends Aes Sedai to speak to a number of houses. We're shown tiny snippets of conversations with Dyelin, Luan, and Ellorien. Exactly what the Aes Sedai are plotting is never spelled out, but Luan and Ellorien lead up the six traditionally pro-Trakand houses that refuse to support Elayne, insisting right up until the end that Dyelin should be Queen. If they'd supported Elayne from the start there would have been no Succession at all, just an easy coronation without any of the death and chaos and burning warehouses and small battles.

It's always seemed to me that the Salidar Aes Sedai had decided to rally support to Dyelin so that Dyelin could take over in Caemlyn and displace Rand for them. Perhaps it's not too surprising that they lost track of their plans for Andor after Dumai's Wells.
Tricia Irish
100. Tektonica
Wetlander@97: Re: The Poll.

When accusing one's husband of causing pregnancy misery, especially when this was a condition that was desired and planned, one's tongue must be firmly planted in one's cheek. I think it's just the woman's way of saying, " I'm not feeling very good and you need to suffer with me, da*nit. We're in this together!" Humor, fwiw.

JEJ and pwl:

I haven't had my coffee yet, so forgive me if I'm misinterpreting what you are discussing, but I think you agree.

Clintack@98: Good thought!

**And we have a spammer @99!!!**

OK, I have to say it, because I've never gotten to...I got One Hunny!
Valentin M
101. ValMar
Clint @ 98
Ah yes, I forgot about the AS meddling. So fixated at Rand that it seems that every AS out there is trying to undermine his positions without any regard. Like Sumeko (?) in Cairhien.
Stefan Mitev
102. Bergmaniac
Don't forget that the Aes Sedai kept Elayne in Salidar for more than a month while she wanted to go to Caemlyn, before she discovered the Bowl in TAR. They thought that if Rand had her at Caemlyn, he'd get too powerful, which somehow was a bad thing from their point of view.
Valentin M
103. ValMar
Yep. Basically the AS view is that Rand, the DR, is a tool to be used/wielded by the WT to defeat the DO. A very dangerous tool which only the AS can ensure does its job. They are looking through the prism of this outlook at everything Rand does. And they act accordingly.

Moiraine had similar view but direct experience, intelligence above the average for AS, and the sheer time she considered the issue made her change her view. Most of the other AS still act on default setting.

All this is, of course, IMO.
Torie Atkinson
104. Torie
@ 95 and @96

Oh armchair philosophy. Please remember that describing a philosophy doesn't necessarily mean one is espousing it. In any case, let's move on now.
John Massey
105. subwoofer
Well.... things have gotten... interesting while I have been shovelling snow for the past few days...

As far as the poll goes, I am on the brink of it myself so I dunno, but I briefly toyed with the response, " be quiet and push, fatty"... then I came to my senses, wife has a wicked right hook;)

John Massey
106. subwoofer
Well.... things have gotten... interesting while I have been shovelling snow for the past few days...

As far as the poll goes, I am on the brink of it myself so I dunno, but I briefly toyed with the response, " be quiet and push, fatty"... then I came to my senses, wife has a wicked right hook;)

Heidi Byrd
107. sweetlilflower
@subwoofer: HAHAHAHA, I'm trying to picture what would have happened if my husband had said that to me. I'm pretty sure it would not have been pretty. I agree with Wetlander concerning assigning blame to the husband. I don't *think* I ever said that to my hubby, but in the throws of labor, who knows what came out of my mouth? Plus, I am pretty sure that anything I might of said cannot leaglly be held against me in a court of law.
Tess Laird
108. thewindrose
subwoofer - looks like she might have aready given you the right hook(I am sure you will edit one of the dupes and no one will know what I am taling about;)

The Poll - I am with Wetlandermw, for both children I never yelled at my husband. He did almost faint when he found out about the second one - "What have you done". Turned out I was on a very low dose pill after our first child - so surpise!

Yay Tek -You got one hunny!! Party at the bunker, warning some people may be having deeply philosophical debates;)

Matthew Smith
109. blocksmith

Good to see you back...hope you enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.

Keep up the good work!
110. AndrewB
I am hesitant to write this post at this time. (Most of you probably will not read it as Leigh will post (hopefully) the next re-read shortly. But here I go anyways.

Re Elayne's recklessness:
Elayne is somewhere between 19 and 21 years old. How many of us (speaking to those of us who ar at least somewhat older than that age) were reckless when we we 19-21 years old. At that age, I lived for the moment. I thought I was invincible. Looking back, I probably should not have done some of what I did. But I did back then, because I thought I was invincible.

Elayne is a head-strong individual; always has been. See for example, her support of Rand when shew met him and her decision to work with Egwene and Nyn as the Black Ajah hunters in TDR. With her knowledge of Min's viewing, she thinks nothing can stop her. She is going in with guns blazing, and no thought of any harm that might come to her allies.

This is a typical attitude of people her age.

Thanks for reading my musings.
Chin Bawambi
111. bawambi
@ AndrewB I have made the same point in other re-read posts. Some of the character traits of our heroes should be filtered through the lens of the growing up arc that most of the major characters are experiencing.

Bawambi of the get off my lawn you whippersnappers Aiel
112. KiManiak
AndrewB@110 – I’m still hanging out here, but am also eagerly awaiting Leigh’s new post.

In regards to Elayne, I do understand that she is in her late teens/early 20s, and individuals (including myself, not that long ago) at that age have a sense of invincibility and recklessness that can sometimes even be enviable to us older fogies.

But (hopefully) most kids that age who find themselves on the battlefield, in covert ops situations, or in positions of leadership/authority in the middle of a war, learn rather quickly that acting on impulse without reflecting on the consequences may lead to catastrophe (like the death of 3 AS (even if one is BA) and the possible loss of your throne due to being captured by 7 BA, as an extreme example). Those who don’t, usually end up seriously injured, captured, dead, or responsible for the deaths of others. Which (again, hopefully) should then lead to them learning to be more careful, plan, or just think before acting. Elayne doesn’t seem to learn from her mistakes, ever. Even after her she was stabbed (and, to be fair, then healed) in her most recent bungled attempt, she still acts like a child when she’s told by her midwife that there are consequences to her actions (“Bed rest for a week? That’s not fair!!”). She feels she should be able to do what she wants, when she wants.

Also, she knows on some level that she shouldn’t be doing some of these things, as she tries to hide her actions from Birgitte and from Rand (although, there are other potentially good reasons why she doesn’t want him to know).

I think it’s completely fair to be hard on Elayne for being in a position of power and continuously acting irresponsibly, never learning from her mistakes. Especially when she’s also responsible for two young lives.
113. hamstercheeks
Elayne's character has been slipping downhill. She used to be the mature one who even slapped Egwene when she snipped at Nynaeve in TDR. Nynaeve admired her diplomacy in TSR, and, okay, they both became comic relief in TFoH, but Elayne was pretty decent right up to WH. It's like she got brattier under stress. The pregnancy didn't help, either.

Valmar@101: It's Samitsu.
Noneo Yourbusiness
114. Longtimefan
My apologies to anyone who is done with the "Take what you want and pay for it".

I have noticed that sometimes there is a confusion with the above comment and the qoute from Pirates of the Carribean "Take what you want, give nothing back".

Not here on the board but in general and mayhaps subconciously. In general the term "take" can set people on edge. It is an action without consent, implying that someone else may be affected by this action.

I work with people who "take". I facilitate a court appointed counseling session for people accused of stealing.

There is a difference between taking with a foreknowledge that there are consequenses for such actions and being prepared to atone for any and all consequenses and taking with the idea something might happen but the person hopes to avoid any negative consequenses to themself.

I wrestle with the ideas various people bring to the arena and try to reveal some new angles they may not have taken into consideration.

But that is neither here nor there when dealing with the book Series.

My opinion on the fictional character Moiraine using the statement on Take and Pay indicates that she is not just thinking about it in a finacial sense. The character understands (no quotes, just general impression from having read the series a few times. my apologies to the quote needers) that the other Aes Sedai may bring penalties against her for aiding the Dragon Reborn. She may be (and was (not in the way she thought)) imprisoned and removed from Sadair. Terrible penalties for trying to save the world by aiding a man the world was convinced by rumor would destroy the world. It is a noble example of the axiom but that is the joy of fiction. It is not just trying to show something in a broad sense. It can focus its attention to refined examples which carry an unspoken morality adjucnt to the ideas.

Blah blah blah.

I am not sure I made my point as well as I would like but I just have this little break to type in and I wanted to pitch my two pennies in the well even at this late date.

The new post should be up any minute. :)
Valentin M
115. ValMar
hamster @ 113

Thanks, I dare say I'm not the only one who gets them confused.
Karen Jacobs
116. KJacobs
@ several regarding the 'Grady's son/Gaidal' debate....

All I really have to ad is that I had the dubious honor of being the very first person to ask this question of Brandon & Harriet during the ToM tour (Boston). It was met with a surprised raise of the eyebrows and a pause. When I asked if that meant I got a RAFO, Brandon smiled and called it a "Smirk and a RAFO". That was when he told me no one else had asked him that question. Yes ... I will admit to some poorly restrained squee-ing :)

Not that this really helps sway the debate in either direction, but I couldn't resist the chance to share! :)
Leigh Butler
117. leighdb
Hey guys,

Sorry, everyone, but I am currently half-dead with the flu, and so there will be no new Re-read post today. Next one should go up on Tuesday. Have a good weekend.
118. jfh
So sorry to hear you are ill. Hope you feel much better soon!
119. hamstercheeks
Get well soon, Leigh!
Daniel Goss
120. Beren
Re: Take what you want and pay.

Wow, is this really the topic I'm going to come back from my hiatus on?

The biggest problem with this philosophy, as I see it, is that it assumes that one has the ability to personally pay for any action that they commit. For example, Egwene knew that the penalty for lying was to be whipped. Fine, if that's the penalty, and she was willing to take it, then so be it. However, there are some crimes/actions which no penalty can adequately 'repay.' Let's take as an example Mangin's murder of a wetlander sporting a dragon tattoo. Mangin mistakenly believed that his duty, now that he had killed the man, was to follow Rand's edict and be hanged. Rand corrected him, saying that his duty was to his fellow man and that his punishment was hanging.
The fallacy that this philosophy promotes is that any action is justifiable as long as one is willing to pay the price, but this does not take into account the things that you can 'take' which are priceless, and which render meaningless any attempt to repay them. I'm sure the family of the man that he killed would agree that Mangin could not repay the life he took, even by giving his own.
As many have noted, this is a character's philosophy, and not necessarily one that RJ or BWS are espousing, but enough reward is attached to following the philosophy in the book that it bears scrutiny.

p.s. Get well soon, Leigh!
Damon Garner
121. IrishOmalley
Hope you feel better Leigh! Drink plenty o' fluids, and flush that bugger out!
Brandon Daggerhart
122. BDaggerhart
@Leight #117 - is that like being only mostly dead? :)

Hope you're feeling better soon, looking forward to having you help us through this book next Tuesday (assuming you post that close to X-mas)
124. KiManiak
Take care of yourself Leigh. I hope you have a very restful and recuperative weekend.

So...since we were discussing the whole etiquette and basic faux pas in giving pregnant women advice... I hope the same doesn't apply to you when you're sick with the flu and that you don't mind the suggestion...but my mother was always a strong proponent for hot water, with lemon and honey as a remedy. It usually helped me feel better (but she was also anti-store-bought-medicine, so feel free to take the suggestion for whatever it's worth).

Anyway, really hope you feel better soon!
Stefan Mitev
126. Bergmaniac
Damn, I was right on the edge of my seat the whole day waiting for the summary of the the infamous "Elayne taking a bath" scene, now I'll have to wait a few more days. ;)

Get well soon, Leigh.
Tricia Irish
127. Tektonica
Leigh: Feel better. You certainly have been suffering lately. :-(

Personally, I like Bourbon therapy. Works for colds, flu, aching backs. All purpose! Drink enough and you stop caring. Promotes that healing sleep too! Good for a cough.
( I really am serious.)

Sub, wouldn't you agree?
128. Delafina
@37. Wolfmage: Good point on the frequency thing vs. the actual "extremism" or lack thereof in the content.

I guess the quantity doesn't trip my radar because if you're going to engage in criticism of Robert Jordan (and what Leigh does is criticism in its higher form -- not tastemaking or pure critique, but helping the audience to connect with the work at a deeper level than they might without the insight of the critic), the gender issues are the most obvious theme to poke at. I mean, practically every single review talks about them, and there's a lot there to dissect. So the volume of Leigh's discussion of gender relations in WOT seems balanced, to me, with their prominence in the books.

(And as a side note, MAN, do I hate the term "feminazi." I got called a feminazi by a guy I work with because I brought up the fact that the game I was working on, for which the intended audience was overwhelmingly female, had a male default avatar, and I thought that was a bit strange. Common sense, to me -- I wouldn't even say that it was a feminist objection -- dictates that the default representation of the player should do its best to represent who that player is most likely to be. And yet, apparently, suggesting that the default in this case be female was radically feminist.

I object to the "nazi" part of that particular epithet. I have never invaded Poland. Not even once. Never even considered it.)
Matthew Smith
129. blocksmith

Following the path started by Tektonica@127...

Big proponent of bourbon (Woodford please) and/or scotch (Lagavulin 16 perhaps) as the cure all. And if you are not up for one, I'll have one for both of us.

Hope you feel better very soon.
Daniel Goss
130. Beren
On the subject of advice . . .

Theraflu (Hereaflu, theraflu, everywherea fluflu) is wondrously helpful for controling symptoms. That is, if you can choke it down. @Tektonica and @Blocksmith's suggestions sound infinitely more enjoyable. Either way, hope you feel better soon!
Jonathan Levy
131. JonathanLevy
77. jamesedjones
Re: Take what you want and pay for it
I don't believe the Domani phrase qualifies as a variant. Moiraine's is a philosophy. Leane's is more of a life lesson. The life lesson actually doesn't offend me, since it is a view of how to deal with a mistake. The philosophy, however, strongly offends me, as there is no error implied and that smacks of rationalizing doing something that you know you shouldn't.

Yeah, the Domani variant is far-fetched - more of an analogous statement than an exemplar of this one.
Your criticism of the philosophy is quite thought-provoking. There is something a little bit rotten with it, isn't there? 'Take what you want and pay for it' empties a person's actions from any moral meaning. It's like saying "It's not that murdering someone is wrong, wicked, or evil, it just happens to have a price tag of 20 years in jail attached to it. If you're willing to lose 20 years, there's no particular reason you shouldn't kill anyone you like. Once you've paid the price, there will be no particular opprobium associated with you, any more than with a person who took a shirt from a store and left $10 at the till".

Mangin killed a man for earing tatooed dragons, and willingly went to be scaffold. The Aiel see him as blameless, even virtuous. We don't.

(I see 120. Beren has already discussed this example.)

84. jamesedjones
I think the phrase occurs enough times that we can assume that it reflects one of Jordan's beliefs. That it was first introduced in one context or another is, I believe, of little significance.

91. Wolfmage
Two good points on this topic.

95. pwl responding to Wolfmage
The whole point of the "philosophy" (really more of a profound thought, not a philosophy as we normally use the word) espoused is that it's amoral. It's the way things are.

The problem is this expression lends itself to a normative interpretation rather than a descriptive one. It implies that it is OK to take what you want, if you pay for it. It's also bad because 'take what you want' implies theft. It also implies that you should not restrain your appetites. It implies 'if you want something you should take it - and then pay the price'. A happier phrasing might have been 'If you take something, you must pay the price' - or better yet, avoid the word 'take' and its association with theft: "Make your choices - then pay the price".

82. hamstercheeks
Ha! Elayne is so self-centered that all she needed was a glance in the mirror to undo the effect of Rand's disguise.

87. blocksmith
Twins! I salute your heroism.

93. Tektonica
Pregnancy poll: I never said that. No, I didn't. Really. Never.

I'm sure my wife would say the same thing. This is why I asked the MEN!

97. Wetlandernw
See my reply to Tektonica :) :) :)

105. subwoofer
LOL! That's almost exactly what the doctor told my wife just before the last contraction!

126. Bergmaniac
Damn, I was right on the edge of my seat the whole day waiting for the summary of the the infamous "Elayne taking a bath" scene, now I'll have to wait a few more days. ;)

Ha! Wait until they make a movie out of CoT, then it WILL be the most exciting scene in the book - and a lot of teenaged boys will be exceedingly grateful it took 2 chapters!
Roger Powell
132. forkroot
Re the "poll" - reminded me of a story...

Years ago I worked with a nice young man whose wife had a difficult birthing experience. He said that she repeatedly cursed him out during labor. Variations on "You bastard! You did this to me!" and so forth.

The result of the labor was a good one though - an absolutely adorable daughter. Unfortunately, the wife had real issues and ended up abandoning the young man and his daughter. He was heartbroken, but set about doing all the things that a responsible single dad should do.

The reason I share this is this - some years later, the daughter was in second grade. She loved her second grade teacher. The dad ended up meeting the teacher at PTA - turns out that the teacher was single and sparks flew and soon the teacher became stepmom. When I last heard of them, they were a very happy family.
133. pwl
No value that you put on anything will be exactly the same as the value anyone else would put on it.

Where did I ever say otherwise? Honestly, at this point you're deliberately misreading what I'm saying (or reading things into it that aren't even implied), so I'm done after this post.

I take solace in the fact that I know you're view would never work when I see the world, and you wouldn't be able to deal with the added dimensions of mine or especially the depth of wolfmage's.

You honestly think your world has more dimensions than mine, simply because I make the trivial point that anything you do or "take" has a "cost" associated and you shouldn't perform said action unless you can pay for and otherwise deal with the "cost" (I was clear in multiple posts that I'm not talking just about such trivial issues as fines. Issues of conscience also figure in, for any neurotypical)? Just because you pretend that there exist inviolable ideals that somehow are beyond our ability for comprehension or discussion doesn't mean such things exist. Yet this constrained world has "more dimensions" that I would be unable to deal with. You appear unable to cope with a world where morals and values are not simply handed down from on high, where people recognize tradeoffs and the actual reason certain rules and social norms are a good idea. /eyeroll

Can't wait until another Leigh post. At least she's worth reading. I suppose I should refrain from posting on anything that's not WoT book trivia so as not to rile up the regulars, it seems rather pointless (some of you seem great, but I don't want to taint the threads with garbage like this with people deliberately misrepresenting and insulting for the attack).
134. pwl
The problem is this expression lends itself to a normative interpretation rather than a descriptive one. It implies that it is OK to take what you want, if you pay for it.
Fair point. I did not read it this way, but it's definitely a viable interpretation.

It's also bad because 'take what you want' implies theft.

This I disagree with. At least in the situations where it is mentioned in the books, it did not imply theft and did not deal with situations where the label of "theft" would be a reasonable one.

A happier phrasing might have been 'If you take something, you must pay the price' - or better yet, avoid the word 'take' and its association with theft: "Make your choices - then pay the price".

I do like your phrasings better. But they are what I took the phrase to mean, given the context that the actual characters in the book use it in. I still disagree that taking implies theft. One doesn't steal a walk, and one doesn't steal the interstate. These are the most direct analogies to the use in the books:

'Take what you want and pay for it.' Siuan and I took the path we wanted, and we knew we would have to pay for it eventually. (The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 15)
IMO people are pre-emptively choosing to read it as a theivish saying because it's Cairhienin. Just because they scheme doesn't mean they can't be profound at times. Anyway, out for real. I just hate not responding to people who directly address me, it feels awfully rude.

Thomas Keith
135. insectoid
Leigh: Get well soon!! :)

Tek @100: Yay, another new 1-hunnier! ::waves::
What? It's a word now. ;)

Sub @105: ROFL!!

TankSpill @122: Princess Bride ref FTW!

Alice Arneson
136. Wetlandernw
forkroot @132 - When you said "she loved her second grade teacher" I expected the next bit to be that when Dad met teacher, it turned out to be her mom. Guess I've been reading too much fiction and "expecting" plot turns like that!

pwl @134 - Please, calm down. As you have both said, and others as well, it's a knotty question and one not easily resolved. See also Torie @104 and take her seriously. She can... do things.... when we get out of control.

jamesedjones @several - Hey, dude. Where's the joker? Been missing him lately...

So here are my (hopefully more coherent than what I didn't say last night!) thoughts re: "take what you want..." The problem with this kind of "philosophy of life" is that it can be applied indiscriminately and result in issues for which you cannot pay. (E.g. Mangin) When you take almost any philosophy to the extreme, absent common sense and moral evaluation, it can be abused. If you take that philosophy and assume the corollary that you and only you must be the one to pay (i.e. no harm may come to another), it's not a bad approach. In most cases in WoT, we haven't seen it abused: for example, Egwene "took" extra steps in Dreamwalking and "paid" by losing the privilege of future teaching from Amys. So far as we know, no one else was harmed by her action. She also "took" the unearned title of Aes Sedai among the Aiel, and "paid" by getting thoroughly strapped by everyone to whom she had lied. Again, so far as we know, no one was harmed.

(FWIW, none of the supergirls really "paid" anything for lying to anyone else; they pretty much used it for what they could and hoped no one would find out. Recall that Nicola attempted to blackmail Egwene, Elayne & Nynaeve, and got set down hard for it. So it's not like everyone's actions are pure as the driven snow (subwoofer, how pure is that snow, anyway?), but IIRC most of the times we see someone consciously use the "take/pay" line, they are talking about something that, as far as they can see, will not harm others. (Mangin is an exception, but then for the Aiel, life is a dream yada yada, so killing someone isn't viewed quite the same as 21st century Earth. From his POV, he did what needed doing, and accepted that it clashed with Rand's orders.)) Nested parentheses FTW.

Which, of course, brings up the major problem: even if you accept the corollary, far too often you simply can't know what all the consequences will be and someone else ends up hurt in spite of your best intentions. On the other hand, this is true of every choice you make in life whether you're thinking of "take/pay" or not. So... the good thing about this idea is that you consciously accept the consequences, insofar as you are able, with the intent of bearing them all yourself, rather than assuming you'll try to weasel out of them if at all possible. In that way, it is admirable. The bad thing is that, if you can't read the future with precision, you may find that you are unable to bear all the consequences - someone else may be hurt or killed, and even if the injury is physical and can be Healed, you can't take away the fact that it happened.

In a sense, Moiraine is a good example of this. She saw the future in the Rhuidean Rings, but she didn't see all of it. She did the thing that seemed best according to the information she had, accepting the consequences for herself. What she didn't know was what the consequences would be for Rand. It's not the best example, because she didn't have any perfect options, but if she had realized that her "death" might be the starting point for The List and a major factor in Rand's downward plunge, would she have been so ready to accept the consequences? (And of course there was the consequence for Lan, which she did her best to mitigate but knew would be excruciatingly painful for him. And she didn't tell him.)

So... all that long-windednes to say it's not bad as a general philosophy (with the corollary), but it's fallible even with the most careful interpretation. That's what happens with humans. We're fallible.

Can the long-windedness be forgiven in light of the lack of new-post today? Leigh, hope you kick it soon and feel MUCH better in time for whatever holiday plans you had!
F Shelley
137. FSS
@leigh - flu shot next year!!! the flu damned near kills me. flu shot NOT optional for me...
F Shelley
138. FSS
@leigh - flu shot next year!!! the flu damned near kills me. flu shot NOT optional for me...
Chin Bawambi
139. bawambi
Bourbon - I like Eagle Rare and 1791 both excellent
Irish - Tyrconnell, Redbreast
Scotch - Ledaig, Glenkinchie

Any one of which while not easily found are excellent additions to your tea/coffee or chasers to your alkaseltzer/theraflu
Feel Better Leigh - Merry Xmas
140. Freelancer
Answering Jonathan Levy @74

Never once. We have this really strange condition in our relationship, my bride and I. We love each other.


Vitamins, my girl, lots of vitamins. Nobody in my house has had a flu shot in 8 years, and nobody in my house has had the flu in 10 years. The last time I had the flu I was still in the Navy, and it was five weeks after being threatened into taking the "mandatory" shot, which I had successfully dodged most of my career. A strong immune system beats "vaccines" every day of the week.
Daniel Goss
141. Beren
@140 Freelancer
Amen preach it. This year, everyone in my house got the flu shot but me. And everyone in the house got the flu but me. Vaccination is awesome for some things (mumps, etc) but for as many strains of 'the flu' as there actually are, I consider the shot to be less than useless. Worse, it may inspire false confidence in those who really should be more careful.
Just my opinion, for what it's worth.
Damon Garner
142. IrishOmalley
@141 LOL, like Elayne and her Min "Viewing Flu Shot o' Can't Die."
Ron Garrison
143. Man-0-Manetheran
"A strong immune system beats 'vaccines' every day of the week."
A strong immune system is absolutely the best protection against illness, infection, etc. No argument there, but a vaccine works by strengthening the immune system. Giving the body a dead or weakened pathogen causes the immune system to kick into gear and create antibodies for that pathogen. So, I'd never say no to a vaccine. If you ever had hepatitis A for example, I'm sure in the middle of your misery you would probably say "why the h*** didn't somebody tell me I could avoid this with a vaccination?" Seriously.
144. AndrewB
First, feel better Leigh.

KeManiak @112 said:
"I think it’s completely fair to be hard on Elayne for being in a
position of power and continuously acting irresponsibly, never learning from her mistakes. Especially when she’s also responsible for two young lives."

Just to clarify a possible misconception about my comments above @110. I do not think that criticism of Elayne is unjustified (despite the fact that she is my 3rd favorite WoT character -- behind Egwene & Mat). She has done some very reckless and irresponsible things.

For example, channeling while hiding in Falme, channeling while hiding from Mogi when she performed in the circus, and her attempts to question the Black Ajah prisoners alone in ToM.

My post regarding her age was meant to be a possible explanation for her actions; not a defense.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Alice Arneson
145. Wetlandernw
AndrewB - Rats. I meant to comment on this earlier. I agree very much. Sadly, most of us don't learn from our mistakes right away, every time, even when we're older. We may have a higher percentage than the average 20-year-old, but... there it is. Kids think they're invincible. Did Elayne do some foolish things? Sure she did.

The funny thing is, she's gotten away with it for the most part. It's easy to say she should learn from her mistakes, but frankly, her mistakes haven't had really terrible consequences very often. They could have, but they didn't for a long time (series-wise). The first two examples you just gave (channeling in Falme and the circus) could have had disastrous results, but she got away with it. Having someone point out the possible consequence doesn't provide quite the same kind of life lesson as having the worst possible outcome result from your impulsive action. We can see how stupid some of her decisions were, but since they didn't have terrible results, she didn't really have much cause to learn from them.

The first disastrous one came in TPoD, when she tried unraveling her gateway. It was a mess, but even so, it was better than the consequences she had feared that made her try it. So... sobered, but there was no real evidence that it wasn't the right decision. The next one that went bad was the raid on the BA house; it really did backfire badly in many ways, but the end result was (along with too many dead people) the capture of most of the BA in that group, her victory over Arymilla and her acceptance as Queen. Again, she probably should have learned more from this, but a whole lot of stuff happened in short order and she "won" in the big ways. So... the lesson kinda got lost in the noise. The attempt to question the BA prisoners alone was flat stupid, but her previous experiences had not really contained the kind of lesson that would make her realize just how stupid it was. There was a certain amount of evidence in ToM that maybe this time she had learned more - which is reasonable, considering that the end result was pretty much unmitigated disaster. Well, I guess maybe not quite, since three of the BA died, but two more got away along with two of the most dangerous non-channeling DFs we've seen. (But I'm really glad Chesmal is dead. She was a nasty piece of work. DIAF, anyone?)

Anyway, all that to say that, while Elayne has been rash and foolish, and should have learned better, there hasn't really been the kind of consequential impact that would drill home such lessons. At least, that's my take on it. The lack of disastrous results can reinforce the invincibility complex rather than inducing someone like Elayne to consider possibilities. Hopefully in AMoL we'll see more of her thinking the way she spoke to Gawyn in ToM.

As with AndrewB, this is more in the nature of explanation than defense. Foolishness can't really be defended, but it can be understood.
Lynn McDonald
146. meal6225
Oh Leigh the flu sucks! Dont mess around with dehydration get to a
medical facility if fluids wont stay down.
(Thought I'd give some unasked for advice since this chapter was a little about that.)
While I'm at it-- Sub I dont think I'd pack the "fatty" jokes to the delivery room if I were you.
I took The Great Hunt to the hospital for the delivery of my first in 1990 and never accused my husband of being the sole cause of all the ruccus. I was glad he was by my side for all of it--even the C- section. I suffered, he suffered.
Janet Hopkins
147. JanDSedai
re: take what you want, and pay for it

As other commenters have said, a better way to say this would be "make your choices" rather than "take" anything. But by "paying for it", I think RJ wanted people to realize that they are responsible for those choices.

So many people in RL are not willing to take resposibility for the choices they have made. I personally am tired of people I know who blame all their problems on everybody else, as if they had nothing to do with it. Say what you will, I have great respect for people who are willing to take responsibilty and pay the consequenses for the choices they make.

As for the Father Poll, I never *seriously* blamed my husband for my state; if he remembers differently, then I was just voicing the joke, as Wetlander stated.

And I will bring Basil and Lemon Chicken with Asparagus to the bunker. If we eat real food, we won't be hungry for junk food!
Thomas Keith
148. insectoid
Slightly off-topic: Just for fun and laughs, I went back to ACoS part 4 to read all the wonderful carol parodies we did last December.

I was thinking... maybe we should think up some more of those, to cheer Leigh up?

William Fettes
149. Wolfmage
Well said Jonathan Levy@131. As you said, the difference between a normative and descriptive context is huge. It is only the prescriptive context that is suspect.

Being prepared to pay the cost your choices is laudable. Nobody could seriously deny that. It's one of the essential organising principles of a just political system and economy which helps to foster personal responsibility as well as reduce moral hazard and externalities.

The principle itself isn't in dispute, but we're talking about its application via a rule-guiding maxim. The danger is if you apply such a maxim crudely, promoting a rigidly transactional view of morality, then you end up with a hollow, overly permissive and exploitation-prone system that cannot adequately deal with non-fungible matters.

And no @pwl, that doesn't mean denying that we sometimes have to think in terms of tradeoffs. Transactional-based thinking, appropriately applied, can be extremely useful and it would be foolish to deny ourselves such a tool. I mean, look at modern economics. We couldn't get very far if we objected to the very process of monetising things, or the (empirically false) homo economicus profile of human psychology. Elaborate utility functions and economic modelling would be nigh impossible unless we accept a simplified framework where many things are monetised (sometimes problematically), to avoid commensurability problems, and human beings are painted as utility-maximising sociopaths. Behavioural economics and finance are helping to correct these simplifications where they matter for policy makers, but the point still stands.

However, when you're dealing with moral issues of life and death, and not just typical economic behaviour, transactional thinking is not up to the task. It simply cannot provide an exhaustive treatment of the issues as it doesn't have the moral vocabulary. Its power comes from being able to deal with commensurable items. But most moral problems, and particularly those at the heavy end of the spectrum, are not so easily soluble. Indeed, they frequently involve deep incommensurability such as weighing certain rights (and types of rights) against other rights, dealing with peremptory norms, virtue ethics, and acts of wrongdoing that cannot have real curative solutions. A purely transactional system is manifestly inadequate for this task which is why we need to use the broader vocabulary of moral philosophy and ethics which can deal with incommensurability.

The maxim seems to feature in WoT a few times, which tends to make me think RJ saw it favourably. As mentioned, Moiraine mentions something similar, however, I don't really see that case as an invocation of a general principle. She is really just trying to explain to Egwene her own composure and fatalism about Siuan's deposing and stilling, as part of their embrace of such a dangerous path with all the attending consequences. She isn't rationalising anything and nor is she teaching Egwene a transactional view of morality.

Mainly, we only see the maxim in a general, transactionalist and prescriptive form espoused by Egwene and the Wise Ones - and that is where it has the potential to be problematic. Indeed, I do not think Egwene has paid the full cost for some of her actions, and I don't particularly rate ji'e'toh as a moral system.

Anyway, this post is getting longer than I intended, so I think I'll end it here. I'll have to save my top ten ways ji'e'toh can fail or be exploited for another post.
Tricia Irish
150. Tektonica
I've found this whole take/pay discussion really interesting....pwl, JEJ, Wetlander, Wolfmage, etc.
Good stuff, when we are all playing respectfully.

I think decisions/consequences is a more accurate way to portray the meaning of the phrase in WoT....and in RL.

BTW: I said @100 That accusing one's husband of "doing this to us" was a form of HUMOR....inclusive humor....just wanting to share the pain!!

pwl...don't go away....you had good things to say!
We're usually a very kind, respectful, fun group. Really.

I made Special K Gooeys for the bunker. Yes, they are junk food sweets, but that's what cyber food is for! Live out your fantasies! And Maker's Mark for me, on the Bourbon poll.
John Massey
151. subwoofer
Leigh? You sick? Well that blows goats. I'm with Free on this one, sleep right, eat right, and you'll be all right.

Ahem- perhaps "fatty" can be a term of love;)

@Tek- ahhhh memories... Maker's takes me back 20 years ago... Always been a simple guy, Jim Beam for me, but there is a spot in my heart for Maker's too.

Take v pay. Meh. Much ado... I'm surprised folks didn't get their panties in a bunch over death/feather/duty/mountain. That has bags of controversy written all over it too. Words are words, how an individual interprets them is another matter altogether.

Jonathan Levy
152. JonathanLevy
134. pwl
JL: It's also bad because 'take what you want' implies theft.
This I disagree with. At least in the situations where it is mentioned in the books, it did not imply theft and did not deal with situations where the label of "theft" would be a reasonable one.

(also to 149. Wolfmage )

I agree that the context does not imply theft. But the phrase itself, out of context, does imply theft. I don't think Jordan himself was thinking of theft when he wrote that saying, because it is consistently used in un-theft-like contexts. This is why I think that this is a case of a poor choice of words for a laudable sentiment.

IMO people are pre-emptively choosing to read it as a theivish saying because it's Cairhienin.

I think most of the commentators here formed their opinion of the phrase before they knew that it was first attributed to Cairhien. That's certainly the case for me. Even now I don't consider it to be typically Cairhienin, since it is so prevalent.

145. Wetlandernw
Anyway, all that to say that, while Elayne has been rash and foolish, and should have learned better, there hasn't really been the kind of consequential impact that would drill home such lessons. At least, that's my take on it.

Well, yes and no. Her foolishness got Vandene and the other Aes Sedai (name escapes me... Sareitha??) killed in the house on Full Moon street in KoD, along with a few dozen guardsmen (at least) who died to balefire while rescuing her. Not to mention the poor Warders. You'd think she'd be waking up in the middle of the night from guilt-nightmares. But she doesn't. She doesn't see it as a learning experience at all. Her behavior doesn't change, and we don't even see her thinking about it.

Rand has Ye Olde Liste of Women I Got Killed, Mat feels horrible for having killed a few strangers and darkfriends because they were female, and Perrin had an angst attack when his Trolloc ambush was turned and some of his villagemates were killed, and feels regret even for the enemies he kills at Dumai's Wells.

But Elayne? Her rashness got two friends killed, and she breezes on to the next blunder. It has no 'consequential impact' on her, and it did not 'drill home' any lesson. But that's because of a flaw in her character, not because she's been lucky enough to avoid ill consequences.

147. JanDSedai
As for the Father Poll, I never *seriously* blamed my husband for my state; if he remembers differently, then I was just voicing the joke, as Wetlander stated.

It never occurred to me that anyone might interpret that other than as a joke. Perhaps I should have been more explicit.
Alice Arneson
153. Wetlandernw
Jonathan Levy @152 - Yes, Elayne should - and may, despite your assumption that if we haven't seen her thoughts, she didn't have them - have learned huge lessons from the Full Moon Street incident. But my point was that a) it was only the second time her impulsive behavior had shown seriously negative results, and even the first one still looked justifiable; b) it was followed immediately by her capture, rescue, battle with Arymilla, and acknowledgement by the other houses, with very little time for reflection or mourning; c) her only badly impulsive behavior since then was when she went to question the BA, in which she was only endangering herself. The fact that someone else was in the process of breaking them loose at the same time, and her own miscalculations re: saidar, resulted in her own injury. The fact that those freed may have been responsible for removing the guard & barricade on the Waygate can hardly be blamed on her; at least they were down 3 BA because of her actions. They would presumably have gotten free anyway if she hadn't been there, but with all 5 BA instead of only 2.

I'm not saying this as fact, but I wonder if Elayne's upbringing as Queen-in-training has something to do with her (apparent) lack of anguishing over the deaths of Vandene and Sareitha. The others you cite as "better examples" are boys who grew up in the Two Rivers, never expecting to be responsible for the lives of others. Elayne grew up knowing that, as Queen, people would sometimes give their lives in the process of following her orders. It's one of the burdens of leadership, but one she was trained to accept. As far as "breezing on to the next blunder" - as I mentioned above, her "next blunder" involved only herself and, on the whole, might still be counted on the positive side of the ledger.

Incidentally, I find it really funny that, after all the complaining people have done about Rand's List and Perrin's angst, someone is being annoyed by a character's lack of obsessing over their responsibility for someone's death. Elayne didn't presume to take responsibility for someone else's choices, so she's flawed; when Rand and Perrin take responsibility for other people's choices, they're failing to respect individuality.
Stefan Mitev
154. Bergmaniac
Every main character in this series keeps rushing recklessly into danger all the time. It's par for the course. Except Perrin maybe, but even he has his moments of unnecessary recklessness like in the battle of Malden when he rushed on his own with only Aram with him and left his army behind. No matter how close they got to dying the previous time, they never learn. Rand barely survived his reckless "I feel ta'veren today" visit to the rebels camp in ACOS. Yet 15 minutes after he woke up from being Healed from the deadly wound he got, he rushed to attack Sammael, even though he wasn't at his best. Not surpisingly, he got beaten and only Moridin's help saved him.

I really don't see what makes Elayne worse in that respect than the others. It can even be argued that she's risking less, since she's not one of the 3 ta'veren who are absolutely necessary for winning the Last Battle. If she dies, it will be a problem for the Light side, but it won't mean literally the end of the world, unlike the ta'veren trio.

I still don't get why Elayne's interrogation of the Black Ajah in ToM is supposed to be a blunder, BTW. They were shielded and guarded, so under ordinary cirrcumstances it's no risk at all. There was a bigger chance of her being assasinated in her bedorom by a Forsaken Traveling there than a jailbreak attempt coinciding with her interrogation of Chesmal.
Kimani Rogers
155. KiManiak
Wall of Text Warning (sigh), again

AndrewB@144 – Let me start off by saying that I enjoy reading your musings. I also appreciate reading everyone’s opinion/perspective on these books. They help me in refining (or sometimes, adjusting) my interpretation of these chapters. Plus, its always fun to see what other people think about this. Anyway, my intent was to respond to some valid points that I thought you raised by trying to allow for some of the factors that may impact why Elayne acts the way (I think) she acts. I was trying to show that I was attempting to be fair in considering her youth or another possible justification for her actions; and then, still expressed my issues with them after factoring in those considerations. However, if I gave you the impression that I was responding to your comments with an overaggressive-like zeal, or something like that, then that was definitely not my intent. :) I look forward to your next musings.

Wetlandernw@145, I actually was kind of surprised that you hadn’t responded to this yet. :) Always glad to read your take on things.

As for Elayne, well I can appreciate trying to explain her actions. I can see the rationalization behind the behavior, and can even see how some of the behavior could be realistic to a person who was raised the way that RJ had written her upbringing. All that I can say is that, me being me, I would be just as hard on a real life person who acted the same, even controlling for their age, upbringing and experiences.

Including the experiences that you, AndrewB and I previously listed, I would include:
-the capture in Tear (joint experience with Egwene & Nynaeve) in TDR that should have taught caution;
-the experience in Tanchico (joint experience with Nynaeve) that should have taught that she can’t just trust to her (and Nynaeve’s) power, and that she does need bodyguards/other people/non-saidar powered assistance sometimes;
-the riot in Amadicia (or maybe Ghealdan, I forget exactly where right now) with Nynaeve re: Galad and the prophet and the boat, which wasn’t directly her fault but should have taught her that there are always both direct and indirect consequences (and sometimes these are quite lethal) to actions resulting from hastily made decisions;
-the time she and Aviendha were set upon by thugs in her own city of Caemlyn, which should've taught her that even in simple acts there are always dangerous possible outcomes that she needs to account for, especially as she is Queen/Aes Sedai/and mother, all in one; and I’m sure there are others I’m not recalling right now.

Did she “get away” with all of these? In the fact that she or immediate friends weren't directly and permanently injured, sure. If she was (and she does appear to be) oblivious to the fact that her actions caused great harm to others (excluding the capture in Tear), then I’d take her to task for that. If she was aware of the repercussions and then still tried to act like it couldn’t happen again, then I’d take her to task for that.

Let me put it another way: What if a contemporary 20 year old Elayne-like girl drove drunk, caused an accident where others got hurt, personally got away scott free and then the next weekend was about to go partying and drinking without a designated driver or alternate form of transportation again, because she believed she personally wouldn’t be hurt, again. I’d argue most of us would have a serious problem with that, and would express that concern. Not the most comparable example, I know, and you could probably tear the comparison apart (Feel free; I like to read your guys perspective on things. An easy rebuttal I can come up with off the top of my head is that in WoT she’s not partying, she’s fighting against the Shadow).

(EDIT: The example has too many holes. I think my point is fine without it)

But my point is that yes, kids are known to be reckless and act like they’re invincible, which is fine, we’ve all done it. However (okay, I guess this is actually my point), if the kid continues to act that way without regard to the consistent damage that their actions have caused and doesn’t even understand that a change in behavior, or a pause for reflection, needs to be considered (which Elayne has shown she is consistently resistant to), well then I would probably always take issue with that, and would take them to task.

So, that’s why I tend to come down hard on Elayne for running off half-cocked, and even moreso for using Min’s viewing of her kids' (and apparently to Elayne’s mind, her own personal) safety as justification, without thinking of any other potential consequences…

I see JonathonLevy@152 discussed how some of the other characters have factored in the consequences of their actions. However, I do see Wetlandernw@153’s points in response. Anyway, just sharing where I was coming from…

Tektonica@150 – yeah, I’ve found the philosophical discussion pretty interesting as well. When I was referencing the saying with relation to Elayne way back in my post at 11, my intent was to focus on her lack of foresight of (and awareness of) the concept of dealing with the consequences of her actions. Anyway, it grew into a really cool philosophical debate, so thanks to all of the participants.

Oh, and Tektonica congrats on scoring both post One Hunny and One Fiddy!!
Joseph Blaidd
156. SteelBlaidd
A couple of things to think about in the evaluation of the Take/Pay maxim. One of the applictions of it that we see is Egwene's respose to Suian when she proposes killing Nicola and Ariana because they tried blackmailing Egwene about pretending to be AS before time. Egwene accepts posible discovery and the political fallout as the price of her actions and rejects as imoral killing just to make her life easier and thereby tring to avoid "paying" for her previous choice.

When contimplating finding Nicola and Ariana's drams latter and useing proscribed techniques to scare them into nt revealing anything she gives it the formulation "Do what you must, then pay the price for it. ... It was refusal to admit the debt, refusal to pay, that often turned necessity into evil." So in Egwene's mind the priniple is an a understanding that no mater how important or benifiial some forbiden action is for "the greater good" it does not absolve one of moral responsibility for the conciquenes of ones actions.

This , I think, also relates to the penultimate test for becoming a Wise One. Learnig the yo must make the decisions about what is right and wrong and neccesary for the good of your stewardship and that no matter how small your hold or how mutch more honor and respect the Wise Ones who my disagree with you have You must not back down if you think you are in the right. Even if that means argueing with Sorelia.

Ass a side note I always found Elayne's blith disregard for physical danger compleatly beliveable, fustrating but beliveable, It helps keep her from being a Sue.
Eric Hughes
157. CireNaes

It never occurred to me that anyone might interpret that other than as a joke. Perhaps I should have been more explicit.

RJ did so enjoy pointing out the vast spectrum of how folks interpret humor. However, judging by the tone of your previous posts I would have thought it obvious. Connect the dots...
Jonathan Levy
158. JonathanLevy
153. Wetlandernw
Yes, Elayne should - and may, despite your assumption that if we haven't seen her thoughts, she didn't have them - have learned huge lessons from the Full Moon Street incident. But my point was that a) it was only the second time her impulsive behavior had shown seriously negative results, and even the first one still looked justifiable; b) it was followed immediately by her capture, rescue, battle with Arymilla, and acknowledgement by the other houses, with very little time for reflection or mourning; c) her only badly impulsive behavior since then was when she went to question the BA, in which she was only endangering herself.

Ummmm.... (a) and (b) strike me as slightly hollow excuses. Other characters don't require them. Remember when Birgitte got ripped out of T'A'R? Nynaeve's reaction was to burst into tears and blame her foolish pride. She didn't require very much time for reflection, or a repetition of her failure to realize she should be more careful. True, she overreacted, but that is beside the point. It took her several weeks to work up the courage to go back into T'A'R. If Nynaeve had just gone 'ho, hum, time for a nap and then I'll go hunting Moghedien again', we would think less of her as a character.

As for point (c), Elayne should know by now that she is also endangering Rand and Birgitte via the Bonds, her soldiers who will die trying to rescue her, and a lot of other people if she is taken captive and tortured/turned/compulsed, not to mention the possibility of another war of succession in Andor if she disappears.
I'm not saying this as fact, but I wonder if Elayne's upbringing as Queen-in-training has something to do with her (apparent) lack of anguishing over the deaths of Vandene and Sareitha.
This is spot on, I think. But even a strategist who has no problem sacrificing pawns to achieve a check-mate is still expected to learn from his mistakes!
Incidentally, I find it really funny that, after all the complaining people have done about Rand's List and Perrin's angst, someone is being annoyed by a character's lack of obsessing over their responsibility for someone's death. Elayne didn't presume to take responsibility for someone else's choices, so she's flawed; when Rand and Perrin take responsibility for other people's choices, they're failing to respect individuality.

I wasn't quite rooting for a Perrin-like crisis of confidence, you know. Just not to repeat a foolish mistake. As for the comparisons, I don't think they are valid. Elayne is a leader making an impulsive and careless decision, getting people killed. This is not a question of whether she is or is not taking responsibility for someone else's choices, like Nynaeve did with Birgitte or Rand does with his Maidens. She is negligent of her responsibility as a leader to be careful with the lives of her subordinates.

155. KiManiak
Yeah, I also tend to come down hard on Elayne. I wonder, though if Aviendha is perhaps a bad influence. Aviendha is used to rushing into danger, and admires Elayne for her courage. Perhaps Elayne believes she is emulating her sister.

157. CireNaes
True, so true!
Antoni Ivanov
159. tonka
Re: Elayne:
I really disagree that Elayne made bad decision with the Full Moon Street incident. It was risky no doubt, but she didn't have much time. She had to strike fast and she couldn't ask anyone else for help - Nyn and Rand and the Aiel were far off and hardly available and Egwene was captured and the Kin were to be preserved innocent (which I totally disagree with but that's whole another issue). Actually the plan was very good. Both Vandene and Elayne leading the two circles that way negating the Black Sister and overpowering them. She was unlucky that the other four sisters arrived at that moment. If they had arrived only 1 hour later she would be successful.

As for the second accident in TOM. It was brilllant idea. And they were her captives. How was she supposed to know that they were planning escape that very night. If they were not she would have totally succeeded again. Very bad luck. She is definitely not ta'veren.

There is only one thing that bothered me about Elayne and that is she decided not to tell Brigitte. She is her Warder and the only reason she didn't tell her is because she didn't want to argue with her. If she had told her Brigitte would have positioned guards and herself close enough in case something went wrong (even if the chance of something going wrong was virtually zero, Wow Elayne is really unlucky). I totally felt for Brigitte when she asked Elayne if she trusts her (or something like that after the incident). That's the only thing you could blame Elayne for, but her decisions to go for the Black in KOD and TOM were the right ones.

Yes the results of the first one were pretty disastrous, but unlike Nynaeve and Rand she has been trained to take such decisions and to live with the consequences of them that's why she doesn't seem to take it as badly as Rand and Ny.

*KOD- Knife of Dreams.
*TOM- Towers of Midnight.
Jonathan Levy
160. JonathanLevy
159. tonka
Two words: NO BACKUP.

She went in with NO BACKUP. (The warders on Full Moon St. don't count - you need a channeling backup to deal with channelers.) The reason you always have a backup is that something unexpected will always happen, and you need the backup to deal with it.

Going in with no backup, hoping that everything will go according to your plan is foolhardy.
Antoni Ivanov
161. tonka
@160. Jonathan Levy

Was it necessary to shout that loud. Both big and bold from you. :)

Yes that was my complain that she didn't have backup (e.i. she didn't tell her Warder) the second time. But the first time the plan was perfect. And the Warders do count. It was because of Brigitte that she was eventually saved. What other backup could she get? Egwene was locked up? Hunting and Ny or the Aiel ?? And the Kin is out of a question (Yes I don't agree with their decision to preserve the Kin as I said but they took it and there is that). I forgot the Windfinders but they were so reluctant to help even when scores of people were dying in front of them, they were definitely out of question. And that leaves no one. She didn't have time to search, she had to act quickly in case they (the Blacks) decide to get out from the city.
Amir Noam
162. Amir
tonka @159:

was unlucky that the other four sisters arrived at that moment.

As far as I can remember, Elayne actually dismissed the possibility that there might be more BA sisters there (also partly because of her reliance on Min's viewing).
And since that incident we've had plenty of Elayne POVs. I don't remember any instance in which she thought to herself that this incident has taught her to be careful because she got people killed.

In fact, I distinctly remember her thinking something along the line of: "It was too bad that Vandene and others had died but there was no way she could have foreseen this so it's not her fault" (I have no direct quote, but it was when she was thinking on Birgitte criticizing her rushness and she was trying to justify to herself that since Min's viewing means she can come to no harm then all the consequences to her actions aren't her fault).
Alice Arneson
163. Wetlandernw
tonka - well said.

All: let me give you this quote and see if it makes you feel any better. This is while Elayne is imprisoned in the wagon; she's just felt Birgitte jump from miles behind to a mile ahead, and wanted to laugh for the joy of it. Then she feels channeling on either side of her, and...
Men would be dying out there. Instead of laughing, Elyane wanted to weep for them. They deserved someone to weep for them, and they were dying for her. As Vandene and Sareitha had died. Sadness for them welled up in her again. No guilt, though. Only by letting Falion and Marillin walk free could they have been spared, and neither would have countenanced that. There had been no way to anticipate the arrival of the others, or that strange weapon Asne had.
Jonathan @158 - Don't forget that Nynaeve has 8 years on Elayne - and those particular years can be significant in terms of maturing. I've never said that she shouldn't have learned more. However, I stand by my points. Her only other really disastrous decision - hers and hers alone - in choosing to unravel her gateway resulted in personal injury for herself, Aviendha and Birgitte, and the death of her beloved horse Lioness. Yes, painful, but considering her overall goal, it could well be considered worth the price. She ensured that the Seanchan could neither follow them nor learn Travelling from their departure.

The second point also stands, IMO: she chose to go to Full Moon Street, with three other sisters who also chose to go there. They all knew they were going to find BA there, but they chose to go. In one sense, maybe she should have waited to put together reinforcements, since she knew that one of her three was quite possibly Black as well. On the other hand, given that one of them might be Black, too much waiting could have lost her the opportunity. I'm not saying it was a totally great decision, but there was reason for it, and the other options were not very good either. And she did have Birgitte's aid in planning it. Their information said that there were three BA plus two DFs and a guard at the house; they were going with four Aes Sedai, (though one was BA - and they knew it, so at least she and Vandene were prepared), five Warders and fifty Guardswomen. It should have been enough. The fact that four more BA with a nasty ter'angreal showed up unexpectedly (and note that it was unexpected by those already there, as well; they'd apparently just arrived in Caemlyn) was very unfortunate indeed. As tonka pointed out, if Asne, Chesmal et al had reached Caemlyn an hour later, it would have been a very different story.

But back to the main point I was making with b)... they went, Vandene got her revenge, Vandene and Sareitha were killed, Elayne was shielded and stuffed in a wagon; after some jolting and jouncing (the only rest she got in all this!) and a battle over her head, Birgitte & co. rescue her, and she with said company immediately proceed to sandwich Arymilla's army between them and Dyelin's hard-pressed forces who were valiantly trying to stave off the attack. Dude, that's a full and crazy day, with far too many things going on in rapid succession to process any of them. And all before lunch. As quoted above (and another time that I didn't quote), Elayne does feel grief for not only Vandene and Sareitha, but also the many soldiers who died for her that day. But the alternatives were worse, and she (rightly, IMO) refuses to feel guilt for the decisions made by others.

I apologize for the run-on sentences, but I can't keep editing forever...
Alice Arneson
164. Wetlandernw
Incidentally, if you want to know what the book says and don't have your copy handy, you can always go to books.google.com and see if it's got a preview. Then, in most cases, you can find out what was actually written, and refrain from misquoting the characters by the light of your own preconceptions. Who knows - you might even learn something in the process.
Kimani Rogers
165. KiManiak
Re: Elayne’s actions (This turned out to be real long, so I broke it up into 2 posts)

Wall of Text, part 1

Were Elayne’s 2 most recent efforts in confronting the Black Ajah “bad decisions?” Obviously, that’s open to interpretation and opinion. To me, they were both clearly poor, rushed, bad decisions. Time was not known to be such an important factor, in either situation. Yet, she rushes in to both situations without contingency plans, and with somewhat disastrous results. The first incident happens immediately after she has her position threatened by Duhara in front of the Kin, and she is initially irritated, grumpy and weary, which changes to an adrenaline rush when she hears Master Norry is there and she infers that Hark will lead her to the Black Ajah. The second incident happens while Birgitte is out drinking with Mat.

For the first incident there was always the possibility that the Black sisters could have been planning something pretty evil for that particular night, but there was also a good chance that they weren’t. It would have been as wise a decision to attempt to gather more information, plan for unexpected surprises (what if more Dark sisters appear), and arrange for backup.

Elayne mentions that both she and Gawyn were trained in strategy and tactics by Gareth Bryne. When you have a dangerous enemy with unaccounted for reinforcements in an uncertain/unsecure location, you don’t go rushing in (I would assume; I’m no military strategist or anything, but to me that just seems like common sense). Where were the eyes on all known entrances and exits, so that the strike party wasn’t surprised (and before someone suggests the Warders and soldiers left outside, clearly they were not keeping an eye on them as the other Black sisters were able to sneak in)? Where was the contingency planning? As Birgitte said,

“It isn’t a plan, it’s bloody madness…The four of you enter the house alone. Alone! That isn’t a plan. It’s flaming insanity!” (KoD, The House on Full Moon Street)

And Birgitte gave the plan far more ridicule before Vandene, Sareitha and Careane even were informed they were going to capture the Black Sisters.

And, to echo JL@160, there was no capable backup. The Warders and soldiers don’t count, not against channelers. Elayne says as such “We can watch our own backs. And sisters do not ask their Warders to face other sisters. (TGS, The House on Full Moon Street). Elayne knew that 13 Black AS escaped from the Tower, and she also knew that there were more than 2 or 3 remaining. She didn’t account for the possibility that her original intelligence was outdated and that more Dark Sisters may appear. Elayne was under the tutelage of one of the 6 Great Captains and almost assuredly was trained better than that.

She doesn’t care to consider whether there may be collateral damage , and (thanks to the quote that Wetlandernw@163 supplied) it appears that even after her actions she feels grief, but no guilt; and (it could be argued, by extension of her sentiments expressed in that quote ) therefore little if any accountability for those actions. But she feels “sadness”, so that’s supposed to make it better? That’s supposed to make her plans good ones? I strongly disagree.

Oh, and her rationalization in the quote Wetlandernw supplied that neither Vandene nor Sareitha would have “countenanced” letting Falion and Marillin "walk free," doesn’t mean that they would ultimately be okay with her actions or “chose” to go. She was the strongest in saidar. They were supposed to defer to her. Sareitha and Careane both raised objections (Even mentioning that there may be more than 2 sisters, and that the BA have ter’angreal that could be used against them, btw. Also, Vandene wanted revenge for her sister, so she may have gone along with any plan that allowed for that.)

Actually, Elayne orders Vandene, Sareitha and Careane to go,

“In any case, this isn’t a discussion. Fallion and Marillin won’t know we are coming until it’s too late…we are going.”

Since Aes Sedai are taught to defer and obey, there was no choice (Unless you’re suggesting they go against AS custom, and refuse? Which could lead to the perception that maybe they were Darkfriends, too.)

This was incredibly poor planning, and it resulted in the deaths of 2 good Aes Sedai.
Kimani Rogers
166. KiManiak
Re: Elayne’s Unwise Actions with the Darkfriends in her Dungeons

Wall of Text, Part 2

As for the 2nd incident, the event in her dungeons, I don’t even need to really discuss specifics about how/why it was a poor plan (although I can, if you’d like). It’s clear that Elayne knew it wasn’t a smart idea, because she rushed to do it when Birgitte (her Warder, bodyguard, and her current voice of reason) wasn’t around:

“Birgitte couldn’t object to Elayne’s plan for the Black Ajah if she was out with Mat. Elayne found herself smiling.” (ToM, Foxheads)

Elayne was giddy with the idea, no matter whether it was reckless or rushed. And why?

“She wasn’t worried. She’d be safe. Min’s viewing promised that.” (ToM, Foxheads)

Again, this is a brave, but reckless and somewhat foolish young lady who believes she can continuously put herself in harm’s way because she has been promised that her unborn kids will be born healthy and strong; and, by extension, she thinks that means she’ll be safe too. Again, potential collateral damage rarely enters her mind.

Oh, and there was potential long term damage as a result of her rushed and bungled mishap with the Darkfriends in her dungeon. A copy of Mat’s foxhead is now in possession of the Shadow. We have yet to see how bad that will be. Oh, and does Elayne admit to her mistake to the owner of the Foxhead (good ol' Mat, to whom she told what happened in the dungeon was "none of his concern," ToM To Make a Stand) and explain that she almost lost the original, too? Nope. She doesn’t act as if she believes this plan was a good one. Just that she thinks she was right to try it, and shouldn’t have to suffer any consequences for her action (the aforementioned “What do you mean bed rest for a week? That’s so unfair!).” To be fair, Elayne does tell Birgitte that, "I intend to be more careful."

Anyway, those who wish to can rationalize away her actions if they like. Folks can even apply the whole “The ends justifies the means” approach for her actions in KoD (that involved the death of Vandene, Sareitha and hundreds of Guardsman, but did ultimately lead to her acquiring the throne) if that’s what they want do. I won’t even really argue with the fact that Elayne doesn’t really think she’s done anything wrong (only that she needs to be more careful), or that folks can understand her acting reckless and acting like she’s invincible because she’s young. That’s likely, and that has not been my point. I think a strong case can be made for the argument that Elayne continuously exercises poor judgment and rash/reckless behavior that leads to catastrophe. And that also leads to many of us coming down pretty hard on her, and in my opinion, rightfully so…
Ben Kane
167. NerveAgent
Re: House on Full Moon Street.
Elayne should have flattened the building with the Power from a safe distance. What good is capturing the darkfriends alive if you're not going to put them to the question?
Jonathan Levy
168. JonathanLevy
161. tonka
Sorry about the bold. I did overdo it a bit, didn't I? My mistake :)

Pretty much everything I was going to say has already been said by KiManiak, so instead of repeating his arguments poorly, I'll try to see if I can find one or two small points to add.

163. Wetlandernw

It's nice that Elayne feels sorry for the people who got killed because of her foolishness. That means she's not a monster. But it's not the same as learning from her mistakes. Instead of thinking how she could have been more careful - after being warned by Birgitte - she rationalizes away her mistakes, convincing herself that their consequences were inevitable.

Well, they weren't. Why should she not conscript the kin to fight against the Black Ajah? Link with them if you don't trust their nerve in a fight. She could have gone in with four kin linked to her, and left Vandene with 2 more as backup. If she doesn't have sufficient forces, why not wait, and keep them under observation? Yes, it's a risk, but barging in with no backup is also a risk. Can't she use some subtlety? Bait one of them to leave the house. Stick them with an inverted finder so she can track them later. Bah. Elayne didn't even consider any of these options. She pretends to herself that she had no choices, but that's not quite true. She got fixated on one course of action, and wouldn't listen to advice.

As for the gateway unravelling, it's another example of jumping before looking.
“I suppose I should have started with something simpler,” Elayne said. “I have a habit of leaping in over my head.” Over her head? She had leaped before looking to see whether there was water! She stifled a chuckle, but not before it sent a stab through her side. So instead of chuckling, she moaned through her teeth. She thought some of them might be loose. “At least we’ve found a new weapon. Perhaps I should not be happy about that, but with the Seanchan back again, I am.”
“You do not understand, Elayne.” Aviendha gestured toward the center of the meadow, where the gateway had been. “That could have been no more than a flash of light, or even less. You cannot tell until it happens. Is a flash of light worth the risk of burning out yourself and every woman closer to you than a hundred paces or more?”
Elayne stared at her. She had stayed, knowing that? To risk your life was one thing, but to risk losing the ability to channel . . .

But she doesn't learn from it. She could have let Aviendha make the gateway. They could have linked, and Elayne would have woven it and Aviendha unravelled it. But again Elayne just ran ahead without thinking of the consequences. She could have achieved everything she wanted with no risk, if only she had thought one step ahead, and asked for advice.

Elayne has had plenty of opportunities to learn to be careful - far more than other characters - but each time she rationalizes away the obvious lesson and convinces herself that she had no choice.

167. NerveAgent
True enough. Or killed them as soon as she saw them instead of just shielding them. If I recall correctly.
Amir Noam
169. Amir
Wetlandernw @163:

Thanks for the quote:

No guilt, though. Only by letting Falion and Marillin walk free could they have been spared, and neither would have countenanced that. There had been no way to anticipate the arrival of the others, or that strange weapon Asne had.

This is actually what I was referring to: Elayne is sorry for the deaths (since she is a moral person) but she accepts no guilt over it despite it being her plan that backfired. Since there are several BA sisters unaccounted for, of course she had reason to anticipate that more are lurking nearby.
And just in case this simply didn't occur to her, Birgitte, Sareitha and Careane do warn her of the dangers in her plan, including mentioning that the BA have ter'angrealthat they can use.

Elayne had actually known about the balrefire ter'angreal when she, Egewene and Nynaeve read the list of ter'angreals stolen by the BA, way back in TDR:

"It was almost a relief to read of a fluted rod of black stone, a full pace in length, that produced balefire, with the notation DANGEROUS AND ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTROL writ so strong in Verin’s hand that it tore the paper in two places."

KiManiak @166:
I agree completely with what you said. I'll just add that Elayne only promises to be more careful after getting stabbed in the dungeon incident. This was the first time that, depite Min's viewing, she felt fear for her unborn children (and herself). Until that point she felt invincible (and, like you said, never even thought of possible collateral damage).

NerveAgent @167:
I think she had to capture the BA sisters alive because they needed to be put on trial in the Tower before being stilled and executed following due process of the law. It's only after Egwene exposes the BA in fornt of the Rebel Hall that BA sisters are being legally executed left and right.

Edit: Fixing stupid spaces inserted by the edit box. Sigh...
Bill Reamy
170. BillinHI
I like Elayne, I really do. She is a very astute person, has been trained well to fulfill her role as Queen of Andor, etc, etc. However, in some ways, she has shown less character growth than most (if not all) of the other major characters. As for the House on Full Moon Street episode: Elayne most certainly could (and SHOULD) have gathered more intelligence about what was going on. Now that Hark has found where Mellar was going, they should have watched the house for at least a short while to find out for sure if there were any more BA or other baddies hanging around and planned acordingly. I like the idea of having the Kin link with Elayne and Vandene to provide more power.

I guess RJ had his reasons for wanting Elayne to continue to be essentially the same person throughout the series, but it is a little disappointing to me. Obviously he had to have a way to reveal Careane as the BA with Elayne, but I wish he could have come up with a better way to do it.

Edit: I agree that Elayne could not have just killed everyone in the house without a trial, that would have bee totally out of character for her.

I haven't reached the BA in the dungeon episode in my re-listen of ToM, so I won't comment on that one.
Stefan Mitev
171. Bergmaniac
I used to be quite annoyed when the characters did something really stupid and reckless (and getting hurt or captured as a result), but I've gotten over it. I realised this was Jordan's favourite method to move the plot along, even if it often made his characters look bad and stupid.

I can just see his mind working - "How do I resolve the Tower conflict? I 'll just have Egwene captured again, even if it means risking her life uncessary and recklessly".

Earlier - "How do I get Rand not to trust the Aes Sedai at all and going almost psycho? Oh, right, I'll get him captured by having him behave like an idiot and not have anyone of his huge army and all those Wise Ones guarding him".

Andoran Succession - "How do I resolve it? It's been going on for so long, readers are complaining, and the political intrigues, while complicated, aren't anywhere near close to resolving it. I know, I'll have Elayne captured by behaving recklessly and stupidly."

Examples are endless. RJ was a firm believer in moving the plot by having his main character being stupidly reckless. Had Elayne learned? No, but neither had the others. Did Dumai's Wells teach Rand caution - no, the next book he was back to "Let's leave my guards behind most of the time" and "Let's attack a Forsaken 15 minutes after I woke up from being Healed from a mortal wound and while I am barely able to stand".

Did getting captured at the end of CoT teach Egwene that an Amyrlin doesn't have to risk herself recklessly? No, as we saw in ToM.

Did the previous many times he was attacked by thugs made Mat take some of the soldiers of the Band with him as guards? No, he was still walking alone through Caemlyn at night even in ToM and despite Verin's warning that the Shadow was stepping up the effort to kill him.
Alice Arneson
172. Wetlandernw
Bergmaniac - good points all. And of course you can't really get angry at a character for behaving the way the author wrote him or her. Not like they have a choice!

@many - When we start using the same text to support opposing viewpoints based on our assumptions about the character's attitude, any further discussion is pointless. We all think what we think, and I for one shan't spend any further time trying to point out alternate interpretations.
Birgit F
173. birgit
It was a tiny force, but she'd have gone without those hundred if she'd been able to get away with it. She couldn't afford to be seen as a conqueror. "I don't like this," Birgitte said.
"You don't like anything, lately," Elayne said. "I swear, you're becoming more irritable by the day."
"It's because you're becoming more foolhardy by the day."
"Oh, come now. This is hardly the most foolhardy thing I've done."
"Only because you've set a very high benchmark for yourself, Elayne."
"It will be fine," Elayne said

ToM ch. 52
I just read that in ToM. It fits the discussion in this thread.
Ron Garrison
174. Man-0-Manetheran
@165 KiManiak: "This was incredibly poor planning, and it resulted in the deaths of 2 good Aes Sedai." And don't forget the deaths of 500-600 soldiers who participated in her rescue. She may feel invincible because of Min's viewing, but she rarely considers the others that will be put in harm's way. When she headed for the dungeon in ToM, I remember rolling my eyes and thinking, "Here we go again. This is going to turn out badly."

Yes, you can't get angry at a character for behaving the way the author wrote her. Or, as Jessica Rabbit said: "I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."
Roger Powell
175. forkroot

This was incredibly poor planning, and it resulted in the deaths of 2 good Aes Sedai.
I don't really want to jump into the debate on whether Elayne's actions were advisable, but I want to point out that the results of the raid (on balance) were ovewhelmingly positive.

First off - I doubt Vandene would have a problem with her own death, because she accomplished her mission of finding (and killing) Adeleas' killer. So I'd suspect a posthumous "thumbs-up" from her.

It's a little bit tougher for Jaem - although we know he was old he might not have abandoned all of his taste for life like Vandene had.

As for Careane's three warders: We'll never know if some of them were Darkfriends themselves. If they weren't, they were living on borrowed time anyway as Careane would eventually need to dispose of them come TG.

Now admittedly, Sareitha's death was a loss (even though she was a bit of a twit), but balance her death against some number of other channelers lives saved. Remember that Careane was steadily bumping off the Kin, and that stopped with her exposure.

Please also note that the eventual result was more BA killed and captured than expected. If the original plan had gone on - they would have caught a couple of BA, but Careane would have remained undetected and the other 4 BA would still be at large.

As for the troops lost to Asne - It could be argued that that many lives might have been lost in the succession war without Elayne's quick move to surround Arymilla's forces.

Even if you don't buy that, consider that a Dreadlord with the fluted rod would kill at least that many troops (probably more) at TG. Their loss was an inevitable expensive recovery of a devastating weapon.

So lets do the final totals:

The bad: Sareitha and her warder killed, Jaem killed, troops lost

The unknown: Careane's three warders died

The (probably) good: Vandene killed but dies fulfilled

The good: Careane exposed (stopping Kin murders) and killed.
Asne killed
Marillin, Faolain, Chesmal, Eldrith, and Temaile (all BA) captured, as well as Mili Skane and Mellar.
Fluted rod recovered.
Arymilla's army defeated.

Argue all you want about the tactics, whether Elayne was lucky, etc. but don't argue about the results. It was a big win for Team Light.
Valentin M
176. ValMar
Very good discussion going on Elayne's actions. As Wetlander said it looks like it is in the eye of the beholder whether one would condemn her or not.
The fact is that nearly all of the main characters have acted recklessly a number of times each. Rand, Nyn, Eg being rather prominent. Folk above me listed a few occasions. There's no need to single out El.
In fact from the Supergirls El is my most liked (or maybe least frustrating) even though I do acknowledge her flaws.
Still, the way she turned the disaster from her latest kidnapping to a great victory over the besiegers was brilliant. Yes I know that Birgitte unwittingly laid the conditions for it.

Second edit: forkroot @ 175
Very nicely set out. But should've done it 100 posts ago :) Yes, the balance of the situation is very neatly analyzed, indeed.
177. Shadow_Jak
Jumping on the Elayne thang.
Just a couple of points that I don't think have been mentioned. (Not this go 'round, at least)

Wetlandernw's quote @163

...No guilt, though. Only by letting Falion and Marillin walk free could they have been spared, and neither would have countenanced that. There had been no way to anticipate the arrival of the others, or that strange weapon Asne had.

I always read that in the same way we have to read many of the Mat and Nyn POV thought's...Like Mat's, "I'm no hero" thoughts and Nyn's, "it's not really a lie", sort of thoughts, among many, many others and other characters as well.
RJ's characters, just like real people, are very capable of deceiving themselves, or at least trying to.
In this case, I took it as Elayne's way of coping with the fact that her decision had catastrophic results as well as some good results.

I think it is a good contrast to Perin's thoughts after the Trolloc ambush that went wrong in TSR. He was (initially) totally devestated. A Queen can't afford that luxury.

Done is done. All leaders make mistakes. You can't go back and change it. You just have to find a way to live with it and continue to function.
178. Shadow_Jak
BTW, Elayne, Mat, and others are in for lot's more opportunity for recriminations after TOM.
Whoops, my bad, I let them burn down Caemlyn.

(What do you mean I set my bed on fire? Honey, I swear, it was on fire when I lay down)
John Massey
179. subwoofer
I have a plan for Elayne... Birgitte stands by her side with a cudgel, everytime Elayne comes up with a hairbrained scheme, Birgitte bashes her on the head with said cudgel. If Elayne protests that the blows to the head may damage her, Birgitte could shrug and say "it makes no difference as far as I can see, and besides, don't forget Min's viewing..." Cuts out all the drama and the middle men, and the innocent bystanders.

180. Shadow_Jak
Or maybe Egwene could introduce Elayne to Mesaana and let her watch her drool and soil herself for a while...
then say, oh BTW, she's preggers...
Might drive home the point... then again, likely not.
(Perrin's Hammer couldn't drive a point home in her brain)
181. Shadow_Jak
Just came to me...
WOT is all about Peter, Paul, and Mary.

Now Perrin has a Hammer,
And Mat has a Bell.
And the Tinker's have a song.. to.. sing..
all over Randland.

OK, too much flu medication (done in honor of Leigh)
Kimani Rogers
182. KiManiak
Bergmaniac@171 – re: various characters in WoT acting stupid and reckless, sometimes resulting in capture or injury – I agree that authors use various methods to move the story along, and it could be argued that RJ uses the aforementioned character actions and consequences to move the plot along.

I respect that you are no longer affected when characters act recklessly, but I would respectfully respond that others have the right to be affected by that behavior (in a blog that discusses what fans of the series feel/observe/theorize, no less) if they want. I would also suggest that most characters actually learn from their previous reckless actions that you mention, and/or change their behavior accordingly. Character growth is another standard of authors as they craft their stories. Of your list (Elayne, Rand, Egwene and Mat), I would argue that you’ve seen clear character growth, maturity and an adjustment of their rash, “rushing-into-things-without-thinking-them-through” type behavior in regards to factoring in their personal safety in their overall plans , with one exception. Elayne.

Egwene- after being captured by the TAS in CoT, chastises herself for not hiding her ability to channel like Leane in KoD. The next time she is about to lead the SAS against the TAS (near the end of TGS the day after the Tower was attacked by the Seanchan), she remarks, “…But expectations like that one-assuming that she was safe- were what had gotten Egwene captured in the first place. She was Amyrlin. She couldn’t risk herself.” Lesson learned. No rationalization of her actions which led to her capture.

Rand – Dumai’s Wells wasn’t the result of Rand acting rashly. The TAS kidnapped him. However, if you remember the genesis of Rand’s plan for dealing with Sammael, it begins in TFoH. Sammael attacked Rand, Egwene and Aviendha while they were on the log tower, using the OP to fight the Shaido. Rand immediately wants to counterattack Sammael, but Egwene and Aviendha told him to not be a fool; to not rush off. And Rand listens. He, Bashere and Mat devise the “bait and switch” type plan to attack Sammael (Rand mentions it often in LoC and ACoS, btw) and an Ashaman was to be sent to him when everything was ready. That Ashaman just happens to appear 15 minutes after Rand recovers from being healed from Padan Fain’s dagger. This was planned by 2 of the greatest military minds of their time, and Rand also has a weird access to LTT (who was also considered a master strategist, while also being a kinda mad voice in Rand’s head). He didn’t rush in blindly. He had 4 or 5 Ashaman, soldiers and Bashere on his side. Again, he listens to the advice of others and plans.

Mat – I respectfully disagree with your presentation of Mat’s actions in Caemlyn. He changes the location of where he sleeps from night to night and he wears his scarf as a type of disguise when he travels around Caemlyn. Actually, the one night where he does blatantly walk down the middle of the street as himself, its when he’s trying to draw out the Gholam. Oh, and even then he has Talmanes and members of the Band there to take care of the miscellaneous thugs who are after him. Finally, your example is actually a good example for one of my main points of factoring in potential collateral damage. Mat changes his sleeping behavior because he’s worried that the Gholam may not just hurt him, but Olver and others who are around him. Something that I have argued multiple times that Elayne does not do.

Anyway, I’m cool with an author writing conflict, suspense and tension in order to move their plots along. But my point continues to be that Elayne tends to rush in to danger without thinking, planning or considering the consequences of her actions. She is either incapable of learning from her previous negative experiences I and others mentioned in previous posts above (Falme, Tear, Tanchico, Amadicia/Ghealdan, Caemlyn, etc.), or she refuses to learn from her behavior (as evidenced by her constant derision of Birgitte’s raised concerns on multiple occasions; and her decision to confront the BA in her dungeon while Birgitte is out so that Birgitte won’t have the opportunity to stop her). The second part of my point is that I have no problem with folks coming down hard on her, because of her actions.
Kimani Rogers
183. KiManiak
birgit@173 – thanks for the quote. I think it definitely fits this discussion thread. I think it supports my point, but if others feel it supports points counter to mine, I would still be willing to discuss it. :)

forkroot@175 – thanks for the comparison. I won’t say that I 100% agree with your analysis, but my point has never been about the balance of outcomes tipping on the side of the positive. My issue has always been the method, not the end result.

I have no problem with folks who want to approach this as an “End justifies the Means” type of action. If that’s your approach to life, then that’s your prerogative. Personally, I’m always concerned when the focus is predominately on the “What ultimately happened,” and less on “How things happened.” History has a tendency to show us that “The Ends justifies the Means” at its worst can lead to abuses of power, atrocities and disaster. Add that approach to someone who usually doesn’t consult/plan with her trusted advisors (and bodyguard); doesn’t dwell much on the potential direct and indirect consequences of their actions; and rules one (two, after ToM) of the most powerful nations in the land. That causes me concern. When that person is either incapable of, or chooses not to, learn from multiple experiences and mistakes -both shared and solely their own- then I feel it appropriate to express my concern.

So again, I take issue with Elayne’s tendency to engage in reckless behavior and her inability/reluctance to learn from her experiences or think about the direct and indirect consequences of her actions. I think that those who do take issue are completely justified to do so…

Oh, and I always thought that good authors want their readers to care, like/dislike and be emotionally moved by their characters. I always thought it was a testament to the author if readers are saddened by the action of character X, or rejoice in the success of character Y, or even get frustrated/annoyed by the repeated recklessness of character Trakand. :)
Heidi Byrd
184. sweetlilflower
I think the point behind discussing the outcomes of Elayne's idiocy, is that it shows a reason why she herself has not learned more from these behaviors. If you keep making completely stupid decisions, but get good results from those decisions, why would you change your behavior? Yes, there are casulties, but the incident in the dungeons in ToM is really the first time she doesn't get a positive payoff from her stupid decisions. So, I ask you, why should Elayne, from Elayne's POV, change her behavior patterns?

The other characters had real and clear no-win situations that caused them to learn more, plus they were not brought up knowing that people would die for them. In Elayne's case, she has not had that complete and total failure fall-out that makes a person really sit down and look at her behaviors, really until ToM. Hopefully, we will see some caution and restraint in AMoL.
Jonathan Levy
185. JonathanLevy
171. Bergmaniac
I used to be quite annoyed when the characters did something really stupid and reckless (and getting hurt or captured as a result), but I've gotten over it. I realised this was Jordan's favourite method to move the plot along, even if it often made his characters look bad and stupid.

Sad, but true!
As for the examples you quoted, I have but one quibble - Mat doesn't take Redarms along with him because they'd be easy prey for the gholam - no?

175. forkroot
(This is also relevant to 184. sweetlilflower )

Simply because an encounter ended with a positive outcome doesn't mean it was wise. Every day we learn from events which did not end in disaster. For example, a woman takes a shortcut alone at night through a bad neighborhood, and notices that she is being followed by a suspicious man. She runs in terror and outpaces him. Nothing bad happened, and she got home 30 minutes early. Net result: positive. Does she learn nothing from the experience?

The same logic goes with Elayne on Full Moon St. I'll grant you that the final balance was in favor of team light. But it does not follow from this that Elayne's behavior was not reckless, because it could easily have ended much worse: Compulsed, 13x13'd, stilled, or with a dozen Good Aes Sedai/kin/windfinders killed trying to rescue her. And she knows all this. There is no excuse for her not to realize her mistake.

Why do we excuse Elayne's stubborn carelessness by saying that she cannot be expected to learn anything from an event unless it has an unqualified negative outcome, and she has plenty of time to think it over?

177. Shadow_Jak
I think it is a good contrast to Perin's thoughts after the Trolloc ambush that went wrong in TSR. He was (initially) totally devestated. A Queen can't afford that luxury.

There is a substantial difference, though. Perrin took due care to gather intelligence, get advice from experienced men, and deploy his troops properly. His angst was not justified because anyone can be surprised in battle. Perrin was unlucky, but Elayne was reckless, and it was her recklessness that got her troops killed. It is her duty to learn from this mistake, but she does not.

179. subwoofer
LOL! Here's another idea: Lini turns out to be able to learn to channel, Birgitte gets an A'dam and hooks Elayne to her.
Alice Arneson
186. Wetlandernw
Jonathan - no one is "excusing" anything. Some of us are merely attempting to point out some of the reasons, from Elayne's point of view, that she responds the way she does instead of the way we might wish her to. There's a reason (or many) for everything we do, even when there's no excuse. I for one enjoy these books precisely because the characters make understandable errors in judgement, as well as showing periodic insight and wisdom. A character who learned every lesson perfectly and never made a mistake, or even sometimes made the same mistake twice, would be two-dimensional - flat and dull. It's the realistic characters that make the story what it is.
James Hogan
187. Sonofthunder
I'm far too late to the party here - as I was reading through the posts, I thought of responses...but lo, some ten comments later, one of you would post my thoughts. You all are far too insightful, by half! Nothing left for me to say!

I do want to echo Wetlander's last post though: we can debate the merits of the characters all day long, but in the end, it's their flaws and blemishes that make them human and relateable. The fact that Elayne makes idiotic decisions increases my empathy for her, because I commit some equally bone-headed blunders(again and again...). She's so real! The fact that Perrin mopes and can't simply squash his emotions over losing Faile to the Shaido...well, it may be annoying to read about, but it's so true to life and makes me like him all the more! (I may be alone in that, though) If these characters were like the characters in Dune, super-calculating and inhuman(sorry, all you Dune fans!), I wouldn't love the world of Randland as much as I do. So I may gripe about Elayne's idiocies, but secretly(or not so secretly!), I'm quite glad that we have characters we can relate with. Go Jordan!
188. hamstercheeks
Sonofthunder@187: I feel the same way. We all want to root for our heroes, because we're living vicariously through them, and Jordan knows that and chooses to write them as incredibly flawed. The genius in his writing is that we like them anyway. Or care, at least. Would we debate this much about Elayne if we didn't care?

Having said that, I really do think Elayne's character development took a turn for the worse after she gets preggers, c.f. posts above.

Also, a confession: I liked the detailed descriptions of what everyone was wearing and the kind of chair they sat on and the way their hair was arranged etc. I can has moar?
Maiane Bakroeva
189. Isilel
Eh, not a fan of Elayne or her storyline, but she isn't any more reckless than the other Duopotamians and less than some. Contingency plans? When do any of them have those, except for Mat during the escape from Ebou Dar? I mean, even the supposed careful thinker Perrin doesn't have them.
They also all throw themselves into the thick of battle with little thought for the consequences. They also all try to ditch/evade the guards who try to keep them safe.
I mean, there were more attempts on Mat just in Ebou Dar than on Elayne during the whole series and he still waltzes around without guards. Funnily enough, nobody chastises him for it, even though his disguises are lousy.

And characters are consistently rewarded in TWoT for jumping into dangerous things that they don't understand. Why did SGs and Asha'man invent so much so quickly? Why is Perrin so good in TAR? Because they just tried out things discounting any dangers - and it never turned out badly for them, despite what the supposed experts, both AoLite and 3rd Age thought about the risks.
It is just how Jordan liked to write things - the only area where experience and knowledge actually somewhat matter in the series is warfare. The Great Captains et al. are actually good.
Evereybody else and particularly channelers/dreamwalkers are just narrow-minded foggies.

So, yea, funnily enough Elayne gets singled out because she actually gets away with _less_ than other characters.
Tess Laird
190. thewindrose
hamstercheeks - Ask and you shall receive;) I believe the next two chapters that Leigh will be reviewing(today hopefully!) have just what you like - baths, clothing, hair....

Stefan Mitev
191. Bergmaniac
Jonathan Levy - "As for the examples you quoted, I have but one quibble - Mat doesn't take Redarms along with him because they'd be easy prey for the gholam - no?"
But he didn't take them before he knew the gholam was in Caemlyn either. Chapter 8 of ToM.

KiManiac - "Egwene- after being captured by the TAS in CoT, chastises herself for not hiding her ability to channel like Leane in KoD. The next time she is about to lead the SAS against the TAS (near the end of TGS the day after the Tower was attacked by the Seanchan), she remarks, “…But expectations like that one-assuming that she was safe- were what had gotten Egwene captured in the first place. She was Amyrlin. She couldn’t risk herself.” Lesson learned. No rationalization of her actions which led to her capture. "

Lesson learned? Did you not read ToM? She risked herself recklessly a number of times. The lack of guards in her rooms, the TAR expeditions in which she intentionally baited Mesaana and the BA into attacking her, sending Gawyn away instead of using him as additional protection, etc. She should've died twice except that she got really lucky that Mesaana didn't kill her outright when she had at her mercy and that Gawyn came back in time and ignored her order not to protect her.

As for Rand - sure, he usually plans. But quite often he does something reckless because he feels invincible that day or his emotions got the better of him. Like his visit to the rebels camp alone in ACOS. His plan for Sammael didn't require him to go fight him 15 minutes after he was Healed from a near mortal wound and had to sleep for 2 straight days. There was nothing stopping him from waiting a day to get a bit better.

Dumai's Wells wasn't a result of a rash decision by him, but it was a result of his reckless refusal to let anyone guard him while meeting with a party he had plenty of reasosn to be cautious about. Did he learn from that and kept guards with him at all times? Hell no - he left the Maidens behind numerous times after that and almost died because of it in PoD during the Seanchan campaign. He even intended to cleanse Saidin with nobody guarding him and Nynaeve except Lan. Even in TGS he went alone to Ituralde's army in a stedding, leaving himself completely at the mercy of a guy he's never meet before.

It's just the way things work in this series. Taking huge risks, even reckless ones, usually works for the main characters, that's why they keep doing it. Worst case scenario, they survive after a brief captivity. If there was even a bit of realism in their close encounters with death of all kinds, all of them would have been dead long ago.
192. VuKaDr
Reading your comments on Birgitte's memories, I thoerized that she will lose most or all of her memories by Tarmon Gai'don, die early in the battle, and return when the Horn is blown, restored.

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