Jan 14 2011 2:41pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Crossroads of Twilight, Part 14

Crossroads of Twilight by Robert JordanTop o’ the morning to ye, WOTers! Sure, and this is a Wheel of Time Re-read here, dontcha know!

Today’s entry covers Chapter 20 of Crossroads of Twilight, in which dreams may come, finally. We’re keeping to one chapter today because of Unexpected Events, and also because the next few sets of chapters pair up much more nicely this way.

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 that’s today’s load of blarney, so relax the cax, gargle an Arthurs, and click on for the post!

Chapter 20: In The Night

What Happens
Since this discussion has nothing to do with the war, Egwene knows the Hall will let her take no part in it. Egwene could leave, but she decides to stay anyway as the Sitters wrangle for hours over every last detail of how to approach the Black Tower. Varilin, Takima, Magla, Faiselle and Saroiya continue to try and derail progress as much as they can without blatantly being hindrances, but the other Sitters can’t agree on anything anyway, with each Ajah being determined that one of theirs should lead the embassy (with side arguments over whether it should even be considered an “embassy” in the first place). It’s well after dark before everyone finally gives up, with very little having been decided, and Egwene sends a very grateful Sheriam to bed before heading to her own tent. She is smiling despite her weariness, though.

Somewhere in all that argument, her headache had gone away entirely. She would have no difficulty at all going to sleep this night. Halima always remedied that, yet her dreams were always troubled after one of Halima’s massages. Well, few of her dreams were light, but these were darker than any others, and, strangely, she could never remember anything except that they were dark and troubled. Doubtless both things came from some remnant of the pains that Halima’s fingers would not reach, yet the last was disturbing in itself. She had learned to remember every dream. She had to remember every dream.

Inside her tent she expects to find Halima, but only finds Chesa, who scolds Egwene for not eating all day and fusses over her like she’s been Egwene’s servant forever. Egwene thanks Chesa for her tea, claiming it got rid of her headache. Chesa speaks of Halima with scorn, and Egwene asks if she really thinks Halima is more than just a flirt.

For a moment Chesa was silent, pursing her lips. “She makes me… uneasy, Mother,” she said finally. “There’s something just not right about that Halima. I feel it every time she’s around. It’s like feeling somebody sneaking up behind me, or realizing there’s a man watching me bathe, or… ” She laughed, but it was an uncomfortable sound. “I don’t know how to describe it. Just, not right.”

Egwene sighs and sends Chesa away, and quickly falls asleep, putting herself in the space where she can see other people’s dreams. She runs away from Gawyn’s, and is briefly tempted to find Nynaeve’s and yank the “fool woman” into Tel’aran’rhiod to give her what for, but instead finds Elayne’s dream and gives her a message to meet her in “the usual place.” Then she steps fully into the Dreamworld and waits for Elayne to meet her at the reflection of the old Amyrlin’s study in Salidar. To her surprise, though, Aviendha meets her there instead, and explains Elayne couldn’t make the weaves work to use the dream ter’angreal.

“It is the babes.” Suddenly, she grinned. Her emerald eyes seemed almost to shine. “She has a wonderful temper, sometimes. She threw the ring down and jumped up and down on it.”

Egwene sniffed. Babes? So there was to be more than one. Oddly, Aviendha took it in stride that Elayne was with child, though Egwene was convinced the woman loved Rand, too. Aiel ways were peculiar, to say the least. Egwene would not have thought it of Elayne, though! And Rand! No one had actually said he was the father, and she could hardly ask something like that, but she could count, and she very much doubted that Elayne would lie with another man.

Egwene tells herself to stop being disapproving, and asks if they have heard from Rand or Nynaeve. Aviendha answers that they have not, but Egwene wonders if she is holding something back. She tells Aviendha about the recent developments in the Rebel Hall, and Aviendha marvels that they would go so far just because they assume this “beacon” to be a new Forsaken weapon. Alerted, Egwene asks what else it could be, but Aviendha is evasive in answer, and Egwene realizes she is behaving more and more like a Wise One; while she is proud of Aviendha’s maturing, she is also sad to acknowledge that their goals are no longer necessarily the same. Aviendha is relieved when Egwene lets it go, but becomes agitated when Egwene points out that the other consequence of the Hall’s decision is that they will soon decide the Black Tower is no longer a reason to stay clear of Caemlyn, so she and Elayne had better prepare for visits. Egwene worries that they have matters in hand, but decides not to pry and let Aviendha and Elayne handle their own affairs. She and Aviendha say good night, and Egwene returns to real sleep, but keeps herself aware enough to catalogue her dreams. Most are either of Gawyn or anxiety dreams, of no significance, but a few are not.

Mat stood on a village green, playing at bowls. […] Rubbing the ball between his hands, he took a short run and casually rolled it across the smooth grass. All nine pins fell, scattered as if they had been kicked. Mat turned and picked up another ball, and the pins were back upright. No, there was a fresh set of pins. The old still lay where they had fallen. He hurled the ball again, a lazy underhanded bowl. And Egwene wanted to scream. The pins were not turned pieces of wood. They were men, standing there watching the ball roll toward them. None moved until the ball sent them flying. Mat turned to pick up another ball, and there were more new pins, new men, standing in orderly formation among the men lying sprawled on the ground as if dead. No, they were dead. Unconcerned, Mat bowled.

Egwene knows each of the pins had represented thousands of men, and that an Illuminator was involved somehow; she also knows that it is still only a possible future, but she’s Dreamed about the same thing at least twice. She has another Dream where she almost falls off a cliff, but is rescued by a Seanchan woman whose face is indistinct but whose sword is the most solid thing about her.

Egwene pushed the dream away as she would have a viper. She felt her body thrash, heard herself groan in her sleep, but for a moment she could do nothing. She had dreamed of the Seanchan before, of a Seanchan woman somehow tied to her, but this was a Seanchan who would save her. No! They had put a leash on her, made her damane. She would as soon die as be saved by a Seanchan!

She has a third Dream, in which she climbs to the top of a spire to find a clear glass lamp burning with a white flame on top of a plinth.

Suddenly a pair of birds flashed out of the mist, two ravens black as night. Streaking across the spire-top, they struck the lamp and flew on without so much as a pause. The lamp spun and wobbled, dancing around atop the plinth, flinging off droplets of oil. Some of those drops caught fire in midair and vanished. Others fell around the short column, each supporting a tiny, flickering white flame. And the lamp continued to wobble on the edge of falling.

Egwene woke in darkness with a jolt. She knew. For the first time, she knew exactly what a dream meant. But why would she dream of a Seanchan woman saving her, and then of the Seanchan attacking the White Tower? An attack that would shake the Aes Sedai to their core and threaten the Tower itself.

Egwene hears Halima enter the tent, and pretends to be asleep while the other woman gets in her cot, disappointed that Halima seemed to have been playing the flipskirt after all. The next morning, an agitated Nisao enters the tent and kicks Chesa and Halima out before weaving a ward against eavesdropping and telling Egwene that Anaiya and her Warder Setagana are dead.

Egwene sat down slowly on her chair, which did not feel particularly comfortable at the moment. Anaiya, dead. She had had no beauty except her smile, but when she smiled, it warmed everything around her. A plain-faced woman who loved lace on her robes.

Egwene asks how, and Nisao says everyone thinks they ate bad mushrooms from the way they died, but on a hunch Nisao tested for resonance, and is sure they were both killed with saidin, probably by being smothered in flows of Air. Egwene knows they will have to warn the camp about a man who could channel in their midst, but charges Nisao to find out in secret what Anaiya and her Warder had been doing that could have led to their murder. Nisao asks if she thinks this will affect the Hall’s decision to approach the Black Tower; Egwene doubts it, but is wearily sure this is going to be another very long day.

So here’s where we get our first confirmation that Halima is actually doing anything other than just giving Egwene migraines and breaking the arms of random guys. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating that I think Halima was strangely wasted, both as a mole in the Rebel camp and as a character in general, and I continue to not understand why she only ever did so little with so much.

That said, however, a commenter on the newsgroup (David Ulaeto) once made a remark about the situation back in the day which gave me quite the “huh” reaction, enough that it got into the FAQ: “This implies […] that the Darkside actually recognizes that Dreaming is one of the major tools of the Lightside/Pattern/Creator for guiding events/characters.”

Which made me blink, because for some reason I had just never really thought of it that way–that Egwene’s Dreams are not just these things that happen to happen to her, but might be actual messages from…someone. Or something. That they could be, in fact, deliberate attempts to help the Light, however obliquely. It’s a subtle distinction, maybe, but I was startled to think of the Dreams’ source as sending them with intent, if that makes any sense. Because as you know, Bob, intent implies sentience.

Mind you, I don’t know if any of that is right. But whether it is or it isn’t, it’s always interesting to run across an unexpected perspective on a thing you thought you had nailed down, viewpoint-wise. And additionally, it suggests a slightly less condemnatory perspective on Halima as well, by implying that blocking Egwene’s Dreams was of such importance to the Shadow that it precluded all of the other things Halima might have otherwise been doing.

…Although I can’t help pointing out that simply killing Egwene would have stopped the Dreams, too—and done it much more efficiently, too, as this chapter proves. But, whatever, I guess. Maybe they were worried she was going to pull a Doyle and pass them on to someone else if she croaked? *shrug*

Speaking of which, I’m not sure whether to make anything of the fact that all three of these Dreams are much more elaborate than any Egwene’s had before, at least in terms of length. Most of her earlier Dreams took only a sentence or two to describe at most, whereas all three of these took several paragraphs each. I suppose it’s a matter of opinion to decide whether that’s an indication that Egwene’s Dreams are getting more accurate and/or detailed, or just Jordan getting increasingly verbose.

I think the thing that disturbs me the most about her Dream of Mat is not the death toll part, but the fact that she describes Mat as “unconcerned” about it. Any idiot with even the vaguest grasp of history would know without being told that the invention of gunpowder weapons automatically equates to an astronomical rise in the casualty rate; it’s terrible, and all, but not particularly shocking, is what I’m saying. But Mat not caring about it, well, that is shocking. To me, anyway. It doesn’t sound anything like him, so I really don’t know what to make of it.

The third Dream, of course, came to pass in TGS—awesomely. In light of that, I have to assume that the second Dream, about a Seanchan saving Egwene, is something that’s going to happen in AMoL, which should be…interesting for everyone involved. I remember there was a lot of argument among the fans over whether the Seanchan woman was Tuon or Egeanin, or (later) Tylee, the Seanchan general who allies with Perrin in KOD. Any of those are possible, I guess, but personally my interest was piqued by the fact that the description suggests that the most important thing about the Seanchan woman was not her identity (her face), but her weapon—her sword.

For my money, then, the Seanchan woman represents not an individual, but something more abstract. Specifically, the Seanchan army itself—which is, after all, led by a woman. Based on this, I Foretell that the Seanchan armed forces’ entry into the fray is going to be a deciding factor on whether the Aes Sedai get their asses kicked or not in Tarmon Gai’don. You heard it here first, kids. Let’s see if I’m right!

Chesa: Not a Darkfriend. Sorry!

Aviendha: I don’t really have anything to say about her meeting with Egwene, because nothing much really happened. The image of Elayne jumping up and down on a ter’angreal in a fit of fury was kind of completely hilarious, though. Heh.


Man. She’s the nicest Aes Sedai we’ve ever met, so of course she has to bite it. Dang it, I really liked her, too. Grumblemumbleblah. Also, death by asphyxiation? Really not a fun way to die. Not that there are many fun ways to die, I suppose, but some are definitely less fun than others.

Her murder, though, lends credence to the theory that Dream-blocking is Halima’s top priority, since it’s specifically mentioned somewhere that Anaiya was one of the only Aes Sedai who really believed that Egwene’s prophetic dreams were real. We’ll get to see later what the loss of her support means when Egwene tries to tell everyone of her Dream about the Seanchan attack.

And now it’s time for me to take a legger, so away with ye! Have a grand weekend, and I’ll see you lot again on Tuesday!

Lancer Colina
1. Lancer Colina
Thanks Leigh
Brandon Daggerhart
2. TankSpill
Good post. Awesome Angel reference!

I still stand by the old (and possibly disproved?) theory that Halima's main purpose was to use Compulsion on Egwene, and possibly get her to go all bendy on the whole Oath Rod philosophy.

Also, I like the idea that the dream of the Seanchan represents many more than just one seanchan woman.

As far as the Seanchan Tower Attack Dream goes, yes something like that happened in TGS, but I don't think that was the dream. Something about it seems like the attack in TGS was too weak to be the one foretold in Egwene's Dream, which was "An attack that would shake the Aes Sedai to their core and threaten the Tower itself."

Thanks for the read!
Tyler Will
3. Willard17
That's a very interesting take on Halima's purpose that given her actions (or lack thereof) also makes a lot of sense. It certainly is good to find a coherent purpose or motive for a character after spending a long time scratching my head and feeling confused by her deeds!
Lancer Colina
4. JJcauthon
Thanks Leigh. Awesome as always. Love the Angel reference.
Lynn McDonald
5. meal6225
I think Mat's flatness in Eg's dream is more a reflection of how other people appear in our dreams in general. Her Talent allows the dream to have meaning that most normal dreams lack but the substance it is made of is still "dream like" not "movie" quality. When I remember a dream well enough to retell it, if someone I know is in it they always seem off/flat in their behavoir in the "now that I look back at it". We know Mat mourns the loss of everyone of his men.
I remember really wishing Egwene would have listened to Chesa.
Ben Frey
6. BenPatient
I think the "fuller" dreams are an indication of Halima's impact on Eggy. Her ability was probably maturing, or trying to, the whole time she was getting brain-farked. The minute she gets a free shot at Dreaming, unmolested, it comes to her like the parking brake has been taken off, making up for all the pent-up Dreameryness since Halima's arrival.

Halima was clearly using some kind of Compulsion on her. Jordan used the same kind of internal justification language with others who have been Compelled (Morgase, for example). One big difference: where Rahvin was using a club, Halima was using a feather duster.
Daniel Goss
7. Beren
Loved the post as usual, Leigh!

@6 BenPatient

That made me think this:
"Halima, in Egwene's Tent, with a Feather Duster."

I can't decide if that's a reference to Clue, or something far more prurient.

Tricia Irish
8. Tektonica
Thanks Leigh!

So Egwene acknowledges to herself, that her dreams are darker and she can't really remember them, after her headache is cured by Halima. Sounds to me like her dreams are being either blocked, or influenced, or both.

Mat not caring about his men is totally out of character. Does this mean that Egwene is completely out of touch with who he is? Or has she been influenced against our Heros by an outside force (Halima) throughout these weeks of headaches and massages?

An interesting observation, Leigh, about the Dreamworld having sentience, perhaps. It is somehow a part of the Pattern, I would assume. (unlike TAR, which is outside the Pattern, iirc.) It would make Halima look more competent if keeping Eggy out of Dreamland and away from messages was indeed her assignment.
(Still lame, imho.)

And....Elayne jumping up and down on the ring is so totally in character!
Michael McCarthy
9. KilMichaelMcC
The reason for Anaiya's murder actually doesn't seem to have anything to do with Egwene's dreams, but rather with the fact that she was close friends with Cabriana Mecandes (which I don't think had been mentioned yet at this point) and thus a potential threat to Halima'gar's cover story.
James Jones
10. jamesedjones
I'm going to agree with TankSpill that the Seanchan attack dream has not entirely been fulfilled.

We know they're planning another assault (this one much greater than the the initial raid). And there were two ravens in the dream. Which might have been the number of attacks, or simply the number of icons necessary for Seanchan representation.

While the damage to the physical tower, and the leashing of AS, might have been all that the dream represented, Egghead's dreans have been a much simpler tool for telling the future than any of Jordan's other methods. This is not to say that her interpretations are right or any more accurate than anyone else's. It's just a lot easier to read about her dreams and know what they'll mean than, say, Min's visions or ancient AS foretelling. So, it could have been fulfilled, but I just don't believe it.
Lancer Colina
11. Hammerlock
@2 TankSpill
The attack definitely shook the Tower to its core--literally, even. It would have been far more devastating had Egwene not been there, or had she not expected it. As it stands, her strenuous and self-sacrificing efforts to unify the tower were the only reasons the tower rift was able to be healed expeditiously (and not "fall over the edge").

The Black Ajah Purge would account for many of the droplets--droplets that didn't fall out of the lamp but were cast out. Bad oil, if you will. The captives would account for the rest...and it remains to be seen how that plays out.
Birgit F
12. birgit
As far as the Seanchan Tower Attack Dream goes, yes something like that happened in TGS, but I don't think that was the dream.

The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Borders Dallas 14 November 2009 - Matoyak reporting
Mato: Have the visions and other such prophecies about Egwene and the Seanchan (such as the running one and the one with the sword) have they been fulfilled yet?
Sanderson: No, none of those have been fulfilled other than the attack on the White Tower. She still has more to go.

The prophecy about the attack in this chapter has been fulfilled in TGS.
Is the sword Rand's new one (Hawkwing's sword) that he will give to the Seanchan to make them work with the AS?

Mat not caring about his men is totally out of character.

The dragons kill his enemies who don't have cannons yet.

Eg is always complaining about the collapsing folding chair in her study, but she has a normal chair in her sleeping tent. Why doesn't she just use that one in her study?
Sean Banawnie
13. Seanie
Tek @8:
I think she is referring to Mat being unconcerned about the victims of cannonfire moreso than his men. Mat takes his violence in stride IMHO more than Rand or Perrin, but he is not cold about it. My coupla pennies FWIW.
John Pigott
14. AbEnd
Suddenly a pair of birds flashed out of the mist, two ravens black as night. Streaking across the spire-top, they struck the lamp and flew on without so much as a pause.

I've been playing Angry Birds too much 'cause I immediately thought of the game. Of course the ravens should have turned red and exploded for maximum points.
Jason Kuhlmann
15. BrowncoatJayson
I don't think the dream with Mat being unconcerned is literal; he seems unconcerned because he doesn't realize the repercussions that his acts will bring.

The way I look at it, is that each bowl he takes is a step toward the construction of the dragons. The pins are men, but not; he sees them as pins, the goal of the step, but they turn out to be thousands of men in the grand scheme of things. So, not literally Mat killing thousands and being unconcerned by it, but Mat's actions eventually bringing modern warfare to the world, killing thousands, but at this point he isn't aware of that eventuality.

Not sure if that all came across correctly or not.
Lancer Colina
16. Ryanus
A few people have already commented on Mat's lack of concern, but I'll add to it. It's been mentioned in the books (I think by Bashere) as well as in other books and other real life sources. A good general has to care for the living, not the dead.

I don't for a moment think Mat wishes death and destruction on anyone save maybe shadowspawn. But when it comes time to field the Dragons, he can't let himself care about the opposing forces. Other than doing his best to save as many as he can he can't truly care about his own forces as much as he or we may want him to. If you stop in a battle to care for a downed friend you put both them and yourself at risk. If you keep fighting you keep risk from yourself and others you help and hopefully can go back for the injured after.

And on Halima and Anaiya's murder. I always got the feeling that Halima knew about the Heartstone Harbor Chain. Maybe not that specifically, but that Egwene was plotting something involving Heartstone. The Aes Sedai taken out by Halima were all strong with Earth, which lead to Egwene going out on her own and getting captured.
Drew Holton
17. Dholton
Re: The purpose of Dreaming

I long ago came to the conclusion that Dreaming, along with Foretelling, Min's Viewings, ta'veren, Perrin's visions in T'A'R, Need in T'A'R, et al were all tools in the toolbox that the Wheel of Time uses to weave the Pattern, and keep everything in line. Oh yeah, and the Heroes bound to the Wheel too. They are all ways that the Wheel interacts with the world, and influences it.

However, I don't think that it means a sentience is behind these instructions. RJ has always said that the Wheel isn't sentient, but (too use our terms) operating under very sophisticated and complicated programming.
Lancer Colina
18. ScoundrelTheToy
Heh, how convenient...I come up with my first theory today that I feel pretty confident about and it happens in this very chapter. Although it's not mentioned.

Gonna take the Dream sentence by sentence. So first sentence = Dream, rest = musings.

She was struggling up a narrow, rocky path along the face of a towering cliff - Confronting Rand and options are 'narrow'; tread carefully. The towering cliff would be Rand. She's struggling up the cliff due to his supporters that back him as well.

Clouds surrounds her, hiding the ground below and the crest above, yet she knew that the ground below and the crest above, yet she knew that both were very far away. I take this to represent the rift in those in favor of breaking the seals, and those that do not. She knows both of these grounds because she knows her side. As well as knowing those on the other side (Rand, Perrin, Nynaeve (probably) etc.)) They are far away because one side is: Go break the seals and the other side is, do not break those seals.

She had to place her feet very farefully. She's in a tenous postion.

The path was a cracked ledge barely wide enough for her to stand on with one shoulder pressed against the cliff, a ledge littered with stones as large as her fist that could turn under a misplaced step and send her hurtling over the edge. The path is cracked because Egwene's encountered more opposition, possibly due to Rand's speach and it puts her into a corner. The ledge is littered with stones because these are all the people that could sway the meeting in Rand's favor. Back against the wall and one wrong move will send the 'littered stones' as large as a fist into Egwene failing in convincing of the Seals being broken.

It almost seemed this was like the dreams of pushing millstones and pulling carts, yet she knew it was a true dream. This is probably meaning that the two sides are entrenched and won't be budged.

Abruptly, the ledge dropped away from under her with the crack of crumbling stone, and she caught frantically at the cliff, fingers scrabbling to find a hold. This is incredibly interesting I think. I think this represents Moiraine's arrival at the meeting and her support of Rand. Notice the words "abruptly" and Egwene's in shock and she falls and "scrabbles" to find her center (so to speak).

Her fingertips slid into a tiny crevice and her fall stopped with a jolt that wrenched her arms. Again, Moiraine's arrival and Egwene trying to find her center desperately.

Feet dangling into the clouds, she listened to the falling stone crash against the cliff until the sound faded to nothing without the stone ever hitting the ground. Moiraine's arrival and prompt support of breaking the seals leaves Egwene reeling and her support, possibly crumbling - next line of dream supports this.

Dimly, she could see the broken ledge to her left, Ten feet away, it might as well been a mile off for all the chance she had of reaching it. Again very interesting one I think. This " broken ledge" would seem to be Aes Sedai unity fracturing as she sees "dimly to her left" her support of not breaking the seals faltering. "It might as well..." because their opposition to breaking the seals has been crushed, most likely due to Moiraine. Her "chance of reaching it" (Moiraine's reputation). She's standing on that precipice now that Moiraine's voiced support for the Dragon.

In the other direction, the mists hid whatever remained of the path, but she thought it had to be farther away still. "The other direction" is Rands side and the mist are hiding the path because she doesn't know what happens if the seals are broke. She thinks it's further away still because it's not in line with not breaking the seals. Another possibility is Egwene has failed. She can't see the 'path' (not break the seals) anymore. Indeed, the 'path' is further away now.

There was no strength in her arms. Despair, loss of hope perhaps - the end if the seals are broke.

She could not pull herself up, only hang there by her fingertips until she fell. Her efforts to convince Rand have failed. She can only wait until the seals are broke and the world ends. Perhaps she can't pull herself up because her "don't make me force my hand" didn't work.

The edge of the crevice seemed as sharp as a knife under fingers. Multiple interpertations possibly. Most likely referring to how rough this meetings going to be for her. As well as her despair at failing to convince Rand not to break the seals.

Suddenly a woman appeared, clambering down the sheer side of the cliff out of the clouds, making her way as deftly as if she were walking down stairs. This is Tuon coming down to Egwene. Down representing Tuon going to Egwene, the Amyrlin of the White Tower. Deftly as if they were stairs because she's sure in here purpose to ally with Egwene. Also deftly could be refuring to Tuon's political acumen in making this decision of an alliance.

There was a sword strapped to her back. This could be a few things I admit. I favor the sword either represents Mat and/or Seanchan Empire. It either represents Matrim being 'tied around her finger' or Jordan's WOT prose, "Strapped to her back".

Her face wavered, never settling clearly, but the sword seemed as solid as the stone. Tuon's face wavers due to Seanchan's ingrained cultural attitude towards collaring channelers. If the sword represents Matrim, then it's solid as stone because hell or high water he will save Egwene.

The woman reached Egwene's level and held out one hand. "We can reach the top together,". She said in a familar drawling accent. Reaching her level means they agree on opposing Rand and his insistence on breaking the seals. Together, Egwene's supporters and Tuon's Empire can reach the top together, above the clouds to the Light.


Further musings and I'll disapear, but I would love to hear comments and thoughts etc. If you think the gist of this is right, then think about this. Would the 'gist' of this Dream ever been understood if we had the KOD --> AMOL structure as Robert Jordan was firm about. Naw. TOM gave this Dream to us on a silver platter is my feeling - knowledge of FOM meeting. Egwene's vehemence about not breaking the seals and Rand's insistence on breaking the seals yadda yadda yadda. Anyways, cherios. Thanks for reading!
Stefan Mitev
19. Bergmaniac
Something which bugged me a bit when I was reread this chapter - when did Egwene learned Aviendha was in love in Rand? I thought she had no clue about this.

Interesting that Aviendha didn't tell Egwene what she knew about the "beacon" - that Rand was there for hours and so it's just as likely he was the one channelling the huge amount of saidin, not the Forsaken. She didn't lie, just kept silent.

Egwene's Dreams - I still think the Seanchan woman with the sword is Egeanin, she has to play some important role, she's just been tagging along for too many books in a row.
Lancer Colina
20. hamstercheeks

Lanfear stepped out into stunned silence except for the moans and screams of the injured, something limp and pale and red-streaked hanging from her hand, dragging behind her as she walked down invisible steps. Her face was a mask carved of ice. “He told me, Lews Therin,” she almost screamed, flinging the pale thing into the air. Something caught it, inflated it for a moment into a bloody, transparent, statue of Hadnan Kadere; his skin, removed whole. The figure collapsed and fell as Lanfear’s voice rose to a screech. “You let another woman touch you! Again!”
“One of them?” Lanfear snarled. “Which is Aviendha?” Egwene threw her head back and wailed, eyes bulging, the world’s agony shrieking from her mouth. “Which?” Aviendha rose on tiptoes, shuddering, howls chasing Egwene’s as they climbed higher and higher.

I think that might have been Egwene's first (very painful) clue that a little something-something was going on with Rand and Avi. There might have been earlier signs, but this would've made the lasting impression.
Lancer Colina
21. ScoundrelTheToy
One more nugget and a testament to Robert Jordan's superb foreshadowing. Thanks goes to Moratcolm for picking up on it.

Mat's thoughts as he's having his nightly ventures into Tuon's wagon from KOD chapter 8 are this: "You played very poorly toward the end.” Tuon murmured, frowning thoughtfully at the board, now divided evenly between the control of black stones and white. He could all but see her start trying to work out what they had been talking about when his poor play began. Talking with her was like walking a crumbling ledge across the face of a cliff. One misstep, and Mat Cauthon would be as dead as last year's mutton. Only, he had to walk that ledge.

Thoughts following an interrogation by Tuon about the Dragon Reborn and the Horn of Valere no less. Sounds a lot like Egwene's Dream that occurs in this chapter. If you thought the foreshadowing of Semirhage when Mat meets Tuon was good...
andrew smith
22. sillyslovene
I think that it is fairly clear that Halima's killing of Anaiya is not only about silencing someone that could give her away, but also an attempt to raise fears and sow discord, especially RE the proposed plan to contact the Black Tower to also keep his/her presence under wraps. If the Rebel AS are freaked out because someone is killing their number with Saidin, it would be logical to think that they would be less and less likely to enter into an alliance with them, and more and more likely to be incensed against them. Considering this comes directly after the discussion in the hall, it seems rather cause and effect: Hall starts talking about having other Saidin users around, Halima must do something to stop that from happening so s/he isn't discovered.

Now, I know that Egwene doesn't think it will affect the plan, but that seems to have been the intent of Halima, and since Nisao asked about it, you can be sure other people are thinking about it too.
Thomas Keith
23. insectoid
Yay, a new post... great job Leigh!

Speaking of which... has everyone taken a look at the ToM eBook cover? It's wicked awesome!

As for the chapter:

Egwene: You should listen to Chesa... she's not too far off in her assessment of Halima!
“She has a wonderful temper, sometimes. She threw the ring down and jumped up and down on it.”

That actually made me LOL. Agree with Tektonica that that's totally in-character for Elayne. XD

Seanchan dreams: Dun-dun-DUUUN!

Anaiya: Dammit... she was one of the NICE ones! Bad Halima!

Scoundrel @18: Nice analysis!

Lancer Colina
24. D-Luxxx
I think that Halima's "purpose" WAS to block Egwene's dreams. It never really occurred to me before, but it makes sense (and makes her purpose in this story line a little more palatable). One thought on why she didn't just kill Egwene is this:

The dark has its own prophesies, and I think Egwene is involved in them. Halima can't simply kill Egwene, because she still has a part to play (my take is she is supposed to convince Rand not to break the seals, thus making the DO's prison flawed). If Rand breaks the seal, and Egwene pulls the WT's support from the plan, then the DO will be able to taint saidin again, as it will take both halves of the power to properly seal him without any kind of backlash or “counter stroke”.

In other words, they want Egwene to be "blind" but not dead.
Lancer Colina
25. VoxOrange
I alway thought Mat's "lack of caring" commenced when he declined to offer aid after his crossbow decimated a seachan force. Mat state "it's a new kind of war".
Richard Chapling
26. Chappers
We need a name for the space with all the points of light that are dreams... any suggestions? Dreamspace?

Egwene seems dangerously close to turning into this Age's Latra Posae... she needs to remember that Rand has done this once before...
Lancer Colina
27. ScoundrelTheToy
I like to think Matrim appears unconcerned is because he's blowing up Trollocs and Shadowspawn.
Tricia Irish
28. Tektonica
Seanie@13: You are probably right about the Mat reference being about his enemies casualties as a necessity of war, but I don't think he takes it lightly. He is a very moral man, imho.

ScoundeltheToy: What an interesting dissection of Egs dream! Very symbolic.

D-Luxx@24: Off topic question...are you a photographer? Because I have a camera with your "handle" on it.
Tomas Gerst
29. IamnotSpam
I wonder if Halima was doing more then blocking her dreams but was trying to intercept them. I mean he was already getting priceless info being at the center of AS power out side of the tower but if he could intercept Egs dreams then he could really know what was coming.
John Massey
30. subwoofer
Since this discussion has nothing to do with the war, Egwene knows the Hall will let her take no part in it.

Egwene shoulda stuck around long enough to pants Romanda, then go running off into the night laughing.

Just a thought.

Wha? Still nobody comments on Eggy's huge honkin' blind spot with Hali? Geeze, Elvira is not around and Eggy's headache's magically disappear... hmmmmm. Folks all 'round camp have had encounters with the douche earthy farmgirl, and Eggy chalks it up to her being rustic and refreshingly er... open. I wonder if there are any lasting effects to Hali's putzing around with Eggy's carton.

Chesa- she's a keeper- Egwene take note of the good people on your side and stop treating 'em like roadkill.

Mat- if Egwene doesn't know Matster by now, and let's face it, he is not the same guy that left TR, well, at heart Mat still cares, so at least rest assured on that count.

john mullen
31. johntheirishmongol
Somehow I find it a little hard to be concerned about trollocs and shadowspawn too. I am not even sure their mothers care about them (fi they even have mothers). I don't think Mat will be too concerned about them too.

My theory on Halima has always been that she/he was just there as a spy and the headaches were just a petty way she got her pleasure for being assigned to such a boring job. My question has always been was Halima having sex with men or women, or I suppose both. Did her sex change re-orient her? I have seen indications both ways.

As for all the dreams, its fun to speculate but I find it more interesting to see how much planning ahead was done rather than try to figure out precisely what they mean.
Lancer Colina
32. tuathededannan
Thanks for the "oirshy " bits at the start leigh- made me fell right at home. Oh and err...... the rest of the day to you, wish wirra wirra
Rob Munnelly
33. RobMRobM
Sorry I've been out of pocket today. Had one of the longest days of my life.

My wife took my 11 year old daughter for an ultrasound re gynecological issues and in passing it uncovered a clementine orange-sized tumor on one of her adrenal glands. After getting an MRI today, the treating oncologist (one of the leading lights in the cancer field in Boston) said he was confident (at least 90 percent confident) that my daughter's tumor is benign. The tumor will have to be taken out soon, but it should be able to be done laproscopically, with minimal surgery. he doesn't expect a need for chemo or radiation. My wife and I are so relieved and are thanking all possible gods for our good fortune. On top of my son's big issues, which are getting worse, it would have been too much to take. We are happy and drinking wine tonight - so, cheers!

In terms of WoT, not much to say, really. I like the chapter (and I am more an Eg fan than most here) but I'm struggling coming up with commentable material. Bring on KoD, stat!

Tess Laird
34. thewindrose
Suddenly a pair of birds flashed out of the mist, two ravens black as night. Streaking across the spire-top, they struck the lamp and flew on without so much as a pause. The lamp spun and wobbled, dancing around atop the plinth, flinging off droplets of oil. Some of those drops caught fire in midair and vanished. Others fell around the short column, each supporting a tiny, flickering white flame. And the lamp continued to wobble on the edge of falling.

I thought this one was well done in tGS. The drops that caught fire in mid air being the raken with passangers that Egwene blew up with Vora's sa'angreal. Also remember the great destruction that Gareth and Siuan witnessed in rescuing Egwene. And if Egwene hadn't been there, the Tower would have fallen I believe - the wobbling on edge.

Interesting observation on how detailed her dreams have become - is it because she had them suppressed for awhile by Halima. And with how shrewd she usually is, it is hard to see how she can continue on thinking that Halima is a simple country woman with so much evidence to the contrary. I feel that there is a good reason why some of us think Halima is using some delicate nudges of compulsion with Egwene.

Lancer Colina
35. AndrewB
I agree with those above who said that Halima killed Anaiya because she was close with Cabriana Mecandes. We learn in NS (and reiterated in KoD) that Cabriana, Anaiya and Kairen were very close. They were referred to as the Three.

Later in this book or in KoD, we get a PoV from Halima. She thinks to herself that her task would be easier of she was better in the World of Dreams. She stated that she had to be near Egwene to manipulate Egwene. I think this is more evidence that

IMO, Halima was tasked to watch Egwene and make sure the Tower division continued. She learned through Deleana and/or Sheriam that Egwene (and other SAS) were meeting in the World of Dreams. Thus, she had to attempt to stop Egwene from being a strong Amyrlin. Halima used the power to give her headaches.

Egwene gets one right after she sends Halima out of her tent. Had Halima been a more competent Forsaken, then she may have caused more damage.

I may be in the minority, but I do not think that Halima left any ticking time bombs. She is not that effective. (Graendal, OTOH, I would expect to have left behind numerous surprises.) Halima/Balthamel struck me as one of the more inept/weaker Forsaken (possibly only behind Asmodean).

I appologize for inartfully expressing my opinion (I just reread it and I ramble on a bit. Oh well. Hopefully, my musings will spark enough interest to keep this topic moving forward. Otherwise, some of the more eloquent posters will have to keep this topic moving forward.)

Thanks for reading my musings.
Lancer Colina
36. AndrewB

Hopefully the doctor's initial diagnosis will turn out to be accurate. I pray everything works out for the best.

-- AndrewB

p.s. Your Pats better win this weekend. Otherwise, Jets fans will be even more obnoxious. And that is saying something as Jets fans (IMO) are the second most obnoxious fans in any sport.

(Only Dallas Cowboys fans are worse. -- err, I can not stand Cowboy fans. I would rather be married to a Sea Folk Windfinder than listen to Cowboy fans)
Ron Garrison
37. Man-0-Manetheran
New Spring: Someone mentioned New Spring, and that reminded me that I saw a stack of hardcover copies at the local Borders yesterday for $4.99 each. Good deal if you don't have a copy.
Rob Munnelly
38. RobMRobM
Andrew - Thanks for the kind words and, yes, I have both co-workers and clients that are Jets fans so, yes, Patriots need to win. I'm with you, bro.
Suzanne Clewley
39. Sue#11
Anaiya and Leane were also the two best at making cuendillar. So killing Anaiya disrupted that plan as well as protecting Halima. Unless Anaiya had starting asking questions about Cabriana, there was no need until then for Halima to risk her cover by harming her.
j p
40. sps49
I recall thinking early on that the Dreams and other prophecies were very similar to the "dry voice" in Garion's head (and other's, notably the Mrin Codex "author"). His was very much the enabler of the good version Prophecies, and the Sardion was the enabler/ promoter of the eeeevil Prophecies and purposes. The prophecies in the Belgariad and Malloreon were designed to influence peoples' actions to fulfill them (self fulfilling prophecies); the "good" set won because of better long range planning and better people working to keep the world, shall we say, in the Light.

I know it is some people's thing to bash these works lately, but the Belgariad featured funny but realistic smartasses before Married... with Children or Roseanne earned top ratings with similar families, had a well thought out world, and was a fun read. I apologize to no one for liking those works!
Theresa Gray
41. Terez27
1. I think the sword is Justice.

2. My first two or so reads of the series, I thought Anaiya was a Darkfriend for some reason.
Alice Arneson
42. Wetlandernw
Truly entertaining, isn't it, the different conclusions people come to? Many people concluded that Halima was ineffective because they couldn't see much by way of results, while others concluded that blocking Egwene's dreams was such a significant accomplishment that a Forsaken was dedicated to that primary purpose. At the time I first read this, I wasn't really thinking in terms of "What is Halima's main goal?" I was just enjoying the story. Since getting more into the whys and wherefores, though, I seem to have automatically gone to the latter viewpoint: Halima's primary goal was to block Egwene's Dreaming and generally influence her, and secondarily to mess with the SAS per whatever general orders stood regarding the situation. That would fit with her giving Egwene reasonably good advice; from a Forsaken perspective, having two fairly strong Amyrlins opposing one another, neither with the full strength of her Hall behind her, looks like a prime method of keeping the Aes Sedai ineffective. They're so busy playing politics and power games that they don't have time to study up on, much less prepare for, the Last Battle. Oh, and having one of those Amyrlin's think you're good company and completely non-threatening never hurts, right?::shrug:: Makes sense to me.

Oddly, I never connected the disruption of Egwene's Dreaming with the murder of Anaiya (I just stuck with the Cabriana's buddies thing) but it might be quite relevant. How 'bout that. You learn something new every day if you aren't careful. It could still be just the buddies thing, especially when the second one - or rather the third - is murdered. All the same, it's mighty convenient for Team Dark that Anaiya is the only one who really believes Egwene is a Dreamer, and Kairen is the next best behind Egwene and Leane at making cuendillar. In any case, I was really bummed when Anaiya was killed. Putting that together with Halima's tone of excitement when she came in (which Egwene put down to "finding herself some company" but is obviously from killing Anaiya & her Warder) was really creepy. So we knew Balthamel was a creep, but... EEEWWWWWWW. Makes my skin crawl.

I can't honestly see why Egwene "should" be able to figure out that Halima is doing something to her dreams. She's clearly not a channeler by all known rules, and she's not the one fixing Egwene's tea and all that. She just comes along and massages away these horrible headaches, which can easily be written off as the result of all the pressure Egwene is under. Egwene even gives us the logic here - obviously, the dreaming is disrupted by the residual pain that even Halima can't get rid of. Why should she look further than that? It's obvious to us, and probably would be even if we didn't already know who Halima was, but then we know we're reading a story. Egwene doesn't know that.

The dream about Mat... Considering what he's going to be doing with his "dragons" I don't think he would be all that concerned about the casualties. Those aren't his men dying from the cannonballs (a.k.a. dragon eggs), those are the opposition. So yeah, he's unconcerned. Or more likely, relieved to see that with every shot, there are that many less enemy fighters available to kill his men. The problem for Egwene is that she hasn't a clue what's going on, just that Mat will do something that results in killing thousands of men, so it seems horrific to her that he's doing it so cheerfully. When it really happens, if Egwene is around to see it I'll be she'll be pretty "unconcerned" as well. Especially if the opposition is made of Shadowspawn and Darkfriends.

Tektonica @8 - I'm with "both" - true Dreaming blocked and general dreaming influenced to make Egwene more tired and dependent on the only one who seems to be able to help at all. Oh, yeah, and I'm thinking that it's the Pattern that sends Egwene the Dreams - that spun her out as a Dreamer in the first place, in fact.

RobM @33 - Good news re: daughter (although you had me scared there!), not so good re: son... I'm sorry you've had to go through so much lately. Kids can give you a lot of gray hair, in more ways than one. You'll all be in my prayers.

Sue#11 @39 - Anaiya did not make cuendillar; that was Kairen, who will also be killed in about 10 chapters, and it definitely will disrupt the harbor-chain plan.

sps49 @40 - I'm with you. I thoroughly enjoy the Belgariad etc., and do not apologize for enjoying them. The character interactions were a lot of fun, and the one-liners absolutely outstanding. Good stuff.
Barry T
43. blindillusion
Cue trumpets

Somewhat back from my rather long sojourn. Work has been hectic. Two (intra post) moves within one month. New responsibilities. New people to meet. All that blah-da.

Anyway, I'm now on A Crown of Swords on my first Relisten of WoT. And I must say, if one is looking for a rejuvenation of the series, the Audio books are the way to go. Why, I'm even picking up on things I missed over the course of 12 rereads.

As for this chapter of CoT...

I was always sad to see Anaiya murdered. It ranks right up there with Reanne Corly in the, “Why did that have to happen,” list for WoT.

As for Egwene's Dreams:

In regards to Mat – Well, we've seen the concern Mat feels for those around him. Perhaps the look of “unconcern” comes from the fact that he will usher in artillery/firearms because he feels he has to in order to combat the Seanchan, come what may.

Leigh, I like your thought regarding the second Dream. It seems likely that the “sword” represents the Seanchan army and that the woman who will save Egwene is the leader of that army. Now, will Egwene allow the Seanchan to come to her rescue in Tarmon Gaidon?

As for the third Dream? Well, if one is to think that the Seanchan army will show up and save Egwene and the White Tower in AMoL, then this Dream must have been the attack which occurred in TGS. Unless the Seanchan go to the Tower, rock it and then save it? (God, I hope not, because that could take up a good portion of AMoL...and I'm hoping the vast majority of the word count in the final book goes towards some serious Shadow ass-kicking, not more Light vs Light humdrum.)
Thomas Keith
44. insectoid
I notice no one else has mentioned this, so... There's something I find puzzling about the exchange between Avi and Egwene regarding Elayne:

"She could not make this work," Aviendha said, the ivory bracelet sliding on her wrist as she touched the twisted ring that still hung from its strip of leather, above the necklace now. "The flows kept slipping away from her. It is the babes."

I'm pretty sure the twisted ring ter'angreal, even the copies, do not require channeling to use. So why would Elayne be weaving any flows at all? Is this a gaffe, or is there a better explanation?

::Waves at Blind::

Alice Arneson
45. Wetlandernw
insectoid @44 - Hmm. Went and looked. Right you are! The twisted ring does not require channeling; any woman - and perhaps a man - can use it. So... oops. I'd say it's a gaffe.
Barry T
46. blindillusion
Good eye, Bug (waves):

And to put a nice cap on that poor nail, from LoC - Chapter 7 ~ A Matter of Thought:

They were as misty as Nynaeve or Leane. Sheriam and the others put more faith in dream ter’angreal that required channeling than in the rings. They just did not seem willing to believe that Tel’aran’rhiod had nothing to do with the One Power. At least Elayne could not tell which were using her copies. Somewhere about them three would have a small disc of what had once been iron, scribed on both sides with a tight spiral and powered by a flow of Spirit, the only one of the Five Powers that could be channeled in your sleep. Except here, anyway. The other three would be carrying small plaques once amber, with a sleeping woman worked inside each. Even if she had all six ter’angreal in front of her, Elayne would not have been able to pick out the two originals; those copies had gone very well. Just the same, it was still copying.

Theresa Gray
47. Terez27
insectoid@44 - I pointed that out years ago. Pretty sure it was fixed in later editions.
Lancer Colina
48. Gorbag
Sorry to butt in, but it's something I've noticed in histories of recent wars - people talk about being concerned about the deaths suffered in the use of various weapon systems. The example that stands out to me is Sir Barnes Wallis, the inventor of several rather nasty bombs used by the RAF during the Second Phase of the European Nationalist Civil War, expressing his sorrow at the deaths of the RAF aircrews shot down during the Dambuster missions.

The Dambuster missions also killed a sizeable fraction of the civilian population in the Ruhr Valley downstream from the dams busted by the RAF. He seemed to miss the significance of that fact.

Ditto for the rabid ravings of Pentagonals about the US troops killed in Vietnam, or the USAF planes shot down while trying to kill Vietnamese ... let alone the whinings of the troops caught in the deadly chemical weapon Agent Orange, which just happen to forget that the chemical weapon was used against a civilian population that had no defense except the Viet Cong against the US use of it against them ...

Mat is like other good military commanders - he's responsible for his command, and the men under him, not the enemy, whoever they are. That the use of gunpowder is going to slaughter his enemies is par for the course; whether they be his wife Tuon's troops, or Darkfriends, is immaterial. As long as his troops come out on top in terms of battles won and soldiers surviving ...
Stefan Mitev
49. Bergmaniac
instectoid @44 - "I'm pretty sure the twisted ring ter'angreal, even the copies, do not require channeling to use. So why would Elayne be weaving any flows at all? Is this a gaffe, or is there a better explanation?"

It's fixed in the later editions. "The flows kept slipping away from her" sentence was removed and it was additionally explained in KoD that Elayne can't use the twisted ring at all due to the pregnancy. Which seems somewhat illogical to me, since she can enter TAR using the ter'angreals which require channelling when she's able to control the flows, and also the pregnant Melaine was able to enter TAR using her Dreamwalking Talent.
Rob Munnelly
50. RobMRobM
Re the Dream - I remain of the belief there will be a Seanchan attack against the WT in AMOL that will capture Egwene, who will be saved by a Seanchan woman with a sword (either Tylee - who will be with the invading army - or Egeanin, who will be in Tar Valon, who will convince Tuon that she needs to support the Light forces and not enslave them). I am also concerned it will take up too much of AMOL but that's prophecy. It is an interesting thought, however, that this Dream could be metaphorical with the Seanchan (metphorically, Tuon and her sword) saving the WT. I doubt it's going to happen but it is more than plausible and I almost wish it would in order to avoid yet another Tower battle scene.

Wet - yes, my son has been falling apart lately and this cancer threat in the midst of it is driving my spouse the over the edge (she didn't sleep a wink Thursday night). He is fallen far enough that his current excellent special needs school just scheduled a meeting at which they are going to tell us they can't meet his needs. We are changing his meds to to something that should work better but has more side effects (e.g., he'll need to get weekly blood draws) but that's not going to stop the upcoming change to some other schooling arrangement. top it off, also yesterday my sister in law and husband told my nephew - and one of my kids' best friends - that they are getting divorced. Appreciate all the thoughts and prayers. We'll take them.

Andrew Chute
51. AlmenBunt
Just a thought, if the Seanchan attack the WT again, and this time Egwene's not Oathless to blast Seanchan from the sky with her righteous fury, what then? I'm not convinced, though, that there will be another attack, I can definitely see the possibility, but unless aMoL is a few thousand pages long, already a lot has to happen to make it all come together.

I may be alone here, but I think the Seanchan in the dream is Egeanin. The multiple faces may be representative of her multiple identities and her conflicting loyalties. I had seen her as being a bridge between the Seanchan and the rest of Randland. Rand has yet to bind the Daughter of the Nine Moons to serve him, and that's gotta happen soon. Mat's on his way to rejoin everyone else, and Egeanin can tie him to Tuon, and Nynaeve or Elayne can introduce Egeanin to Egwene. Keep in mind too, that in Aviendha's mega-bummer visions of tomorrow that it is mentioned that 'If only the Empress...' may have made peace and happy-la-la land, but Tuon somehow failed. Aviendha, Mat, Tuon, and I think the other Seanchan-arc characters (Tylee, Egeanin, Domon, Karede, Thom, Egwene, etc.) are going to have to bust a serious move to keep the Fourth age from sucking serious dookie.

As for Mat, I think there is a possibility he may turn away from the dragons. Hear me out. All of the fireworks dreams and predictions have been pretty grim. Maybe it is inevitable, but I keep getting the sneaking suspicion that Mat is going to do something drastic that will put an end to Aludra's plans. So far as I can tell, she's still the only one who knows the formula for the gunpowder, and for all intents and purposes is the last Illuminator. Perhaps in the battle for Caemlyn, when Mat finds out how many civilians are killed alongside shadowspawn, he realises what the dragons could mean, and puts a halt to it. Maybe he kills Aludra (moral quandry!), or maybe he somehow lets Tuon destroy her....I don't know. I agree that Mat doesn't care during the bowling dream because he doesn't realise the consequences of his actions, but perhaps that is just a prolepsis of how he fixes the situation.
Tricia Irish
52. Tektonica

We've been missing you and I hope all turns out as predicted (well) for your daughter. So sorry to hear your son's having more problems too. I don't think there's anything harder than watching your kids hurt. Being a parent is so hard, as well as wonderful. Sending prayers your way.
Tess Laird
53. thewindrose
AlmenBunt - Elayne and Birgitte and more than a dozen craftspeople know Aludra's plans now. They are being produced in mass quantities - I am afraid progress(if that it is) will not put this back into Pandora's box. If not Aludra and Mat, someone at one of the schools would eventually 'discover' this. So I don't think it is going away.

Anyone find Egwene's discomfort at Elayne's condition amusing? She thinks to herself that she needs to be more understanding of the world and not so judgemental(I am sure she would still box in Rands ears though;)

RobM - You and your family are in my prayers as well.

Stefan Mitev
54. Bergmaniac
"Anyone find Egwene's discomfort at Elayne's condition amusing? She thinks to herself that she needs to be more understanding of the world and not so judgemental"

Yes, it was quite funny, mostly the way that despite her Dreamwalker skill her clothes in TAR changed to "stout woolens, dark and heavy, and a shawl much thicker than Aviendha’s. Good Two Rivers garments. The sort of clothes a woman would wear to sit in the Women’s Circle. Say, when some fool woman had let herself get with child and showed no sign of marrying."

She's still a prude at heart in the Two Rivers tradition despite how much she has changed in other areas. She just hides it from others better than Nynaeve. ;)
Lancer Colina
55. archaeo
Really enjoying this re-read series; I just blew through the books twice in the last month and I've been enjoying the various commentary I can find.

Calling Halima/Aran'gar ineffectual doesn't seem to be entirely fair. She had a pretty good plan going on, really; get involved with the SAS, see that they remain powerless, and sow chaos. When it turns out that the new Amyrlin is actually pretty competent, Halima switches gears to take away Egwene's most outstanding Talent and positions herself to influence events. Indeed, things are going great (the siege, murders, etc.) until Egwene gets captured and Halima herself is forced to run away, which wouldn't have happened if Moridin hadn't told all the Forsaken to attack Rand at the end of WH.

As for the importance of Egwene's dreams, I think it's really interesting how prophesy is dealt with in WoT. It's mentioned almost constantly from the first book on, but it never really gets explored in detail. We also never really get a good grasp on how the Shadow sees Lightside prophesies; the scene where Moridin shows Graendal the Dark prophesy is really the only time it gets heavily discussed, and Be'lal is the only one who tries to manipulate events to take advantage of prophesy. Halima's suppression of Egwene's dreams is really one of the only points in the series where the Dark One's forces take action on this front, and that alone makes it important.

I also just thought that, since the Wise Ones are the real Dreamers in this series, it's a bit disappointing that we never get any really good Aiel Darkfriends. Did anyone ever ask RJ any questions about why the Aiel seem to be relatively Darkfriend free? The problem with attaching importance to Halima's actions ultimately has to do with the rarity of her method; since we never see anyone else in the series trying to manipulate prophets themselves, we can't really get a grasp on the technique's efficacy.

Anyway, maybe trite thoughts, but it's been on my mind.
Julian Augustus
56. Alisonwonderland

My thoughts and prayers are with you, man. I wish you strength and courage and a large helping of good luck. Nothing is ever as bad as we imagine it. You'll find the strength to cope with it.


Sue#11 @39 - Anaiya did not make cuendillar; that was Kairen, who will also be killed in about 10 chapters, and it definitely will disrupt the
harbor-chain plan.

Funny how things turn out though, isn't it? Halima killing Kairen did disrupt the harbor-chain plan, but the result of that was Egwene herself taking on the task Kairen would have performed, which resulted in Egwene being captured, which in turn resulted in Egwene undermining Elaida from within and establishing herself as an acceptable Amyrlin to the Tower AS, and which finally resulted in the Tower being re-united under her without bloodshed, the exact result the shadow had been working to prevent all along!
Lancer Colina
57. Lsana
@ 55 archaeo,

Melindhra was an Aiel Darkfriend, so they do exist. I doubt she was alone. True, we haven't gotten a PoV from any of them, but honestly I can't remember if we have had a PoV from any Aiel except Aviendha.
Thomas Keith
58. insectoid
Terez @47: Erm, well, I wasn't reading WoT (or participating in the fandom) quite that long ago, so.

Bergmaniac @49: That seems illogical to me, too!

Theresa Gray
59. Terez27
lol, I know. I was just saying. It's fixed now.
Lancer Colina
60. CraigValentine
Somewhere I read about Napoleon reading casulaty lists with great causualness. It is one of the hallmarks of great generals. You gain your objective and you don't let yourself get concerned about the cost. However, you can't let this get too out of hand. After Napoleon (and Robert E. Lee for that matter) destroyed 25% of the men in their homeland they were finished.
Chris Chaplain
61. chaplainchris1
Only have time for a second - but I think there's a widespread misinterpretation of Mat "not caring" about the deaths, starting with Egwene and continuing to Leigh and others. I think Mat's "casualness" is evidence of the fact that he's not thinking through the larger implications for what the introduction of gunpowder will lead to. He's looking at the need for weapons against the Shadow and the Seanchan, not at the many deaths that will follow in years to come. I *certainly* don't take it to mean that Mat doesn't care abot his casualties.
John Massey
62. subwoofer
@RobM- awww crap buddy, I'm sorry so many things are going on in your world. I'm new to the parenting game, but it sucks to when you are the parent, the "go to" person for all that is wrong in your kid's life, and there is nothing you can do to make a situation better. Poopy. I am sending my thoughts and prayers your way and hoping that things do improve. This too shall pass.

63. Shadow_Jak
RobMRobM @ 33
Sorry man. Hang in there.
May the Blessings of the Light shine on you and yours.

On the Re-read, I agree...
"Bring on KoD, stat!"
My Favo-Rite book coming up next!
Alice Arneson
64. Wetlandernw
Just posted a thought over on the ToM thread - more appropriate there than here - about what's likely happening with all these novices. In case you care.
65. Shadow_Jak
On the discussion of Halima's purpose. I don't really think it had much to do with Eggy's dreams. Or at least not directly.
Her job, as I see it, was to assist in breaking the White Tower. Or at least with weakening it to the point of eventual failure.

Remember, Egwene was actually chosen ("Chosen!") for the job by the agents of the Shadow. They thought she would be easy to manipulate. As long as the Tower was split, their plan was working just fine. Only open warfare between them would maybe have been better. I say 'maybe" because open war might lead to an earlier reconciliation.

It was a huge blow to Halima (and to Mesaana) when she was captured. They feared she'd break and the Tower would re-unite.

It's a theme throughout the series for the Shadow to attempt to break every form of order across the lands. And they had been doing pretty damn well at it!
Scott Terrio
66. Renegade248

May the Blessing of the Mother watch over you. I am sure all of us following this re-read have our thoughts and prayers with you and your family.

Lancer Colina
67. AndrewB
AlmenBunt @51 opined "if the Seanchan attack the WT again, and this time Egwene's not Oathless to blast Seanchan from the sky with her righteous fury, what then"

I disagree with your basic premise that "blasting Seanchan from the sky" would violate the 3rd Oath. In her mind, Egwene views being collared as a death sentence. Egwene is sure that any Tower intiate who is collared will be unable to resist for long. Eventually, the collared initiate will accept herself as a damanae.

Therefore, any future killing of suldamanae and damanae wis necessary to prevent the death of a Tower initiate. This is why I think that Egwene would be able to blast Seanchan out of the air "with her righteous fury."

Thanks for reading my musings.
Lancer Colina
68. AndrewB
Shadow_Jak @65 stated "Egwene was actually chosen ("Chosen!") for the job by the agents of the Shadow."

I believe you are mistaken. Egwene was actually chosen by Suian and Leane. They manipulated the Salidar ruling council (which contained Sheriam), who in turn manipulated the Salidar Hall (who did have Black Sisters). Nevertheless, it was ultimately Suian whho built up any possible candidate and then tore her down. Suian made it so that Egwene was the only choice.

Everybody wanted her to be the Amyrlin bacuse they thought that she would be easily to manipulate. Even Suian thought she could manipulate Egwene. Nobody, including Suian, believed that Egwene could hold her own.

Suian and Leane are noy Darkfriends.

Thanks for reading my musings,
69. Shadow_Jak
Interesting analysis. Very well thought out and expressed, although I can't really agree with much of it.
(which is actually a strong point in it's favor! My track record on predictions is 0 for all)

But how about this. Just thought of it while re-reading ToM (again)
I think he "sword" represents the power and strength of the Seanchan army... ie sul'dam/damane.
As Jolene and the others set out for the WT, Bethamin speaks with Mat.
He tells her (and Seta)...

"Go with the Aes Sedai. I'll give you your own horses so you don't have to rely on them. Learn to channel. That'll be more use than dying. Maybe some day you two can convince Tuon of the truth. Help me find a way to fix this without causing the Empire to collapse."

So maybe that solution is the "Sword" that helps them reach the top together.
70. Shadow_Jak
@ 68
Yeah. I think you are correct. The initial choice probably was by Suian. (I'll have to go back and re-read that).
But Black Sheriam was the initial power among the Rebels. She was the one who actually made it happen.
Andrew Chute
71. AlmenBunt
re AndrewB@67 - I am dubious as to whether or not Egwene would be allowed by the Oaths to destroy Seanchan. The problem would be that she Knows that they are not shadowspawn. She also Knows that any captured Aes Sedai is not in any mortal danger. Therefore, no matter that she thinks that life in a collar is a fate worse than death, she Knows it is not death. She cannot use the power as a weapon except against shadowspawn, or in the last defense of her life, that of her warder, or another sister. I think she may want desperately to find a way to get around the Oaths and smite some Seanchan, but she knows too much about them for 'oh-you're-not-a-shadowspawn-sorry-I-turned-you-into-BBQ' mistakes, and even shooting raken down from the sky would kill any on board.
Alice Arneson
72. Wetlandernw
AlmenBunt & AndrewB - not really weighing in with an opinion, but wanted to suggest that in Egwene's mind, when you accept being a damane, you ARE dead. Everything that you were is subsumed by what you have been made; everything that made you you has been forcibly removed. Your body lives, but your personality has died.

I'm not saying I believe this is Egwene's perspective, nor am I saying I personally find it adequate to get past the Oath. I don't really have an opinion on it yet, but thought I'd throw in a little more fuel for the debate.

From another angle, it may not matter. If the Seanchan attack the WT while Egwene & co. are at the Fields of Merrilor, the defense of the Tower could well depend on Sharina Melloy and her fellow Accepted/novices. What do you think? Are there any sul'dam out there tough enough to take on Sharina? They aren't bound by any Oaths, and a lot of them are no-nonsense, grown, opinionated women who gave up full lives for the chance to become Aes Sedai. I don't think they'd like the idea of being made damane instead, myself. :>
Marianne Bohnlein
73. shrewgoddess
There was a very good reason for not killing Egwene. The Foresaken were to spread chaos and discord among those who would fight against him. (If I were a Dark Lord, those would be my commands, too.) However, as a person who is close to Egwene (Amyrilin), Sheriam (Keeper), and Delana (sitter), and the soldiers since she's smexy, s/he has the means to find out exactly what is going on throughout the entire camp. She is granted access to Egwene's tent, letting her find out what Egwene is planning but not telling the other sisters or Sheriam. She knows all of the plans Sheriam is making, all of the plans in the Hall and, of course, all of the gossip in the army camp (since men gossip more than women).

That being said, she likely knows that Byrne has pledged himself to Egwene - not the tower. With Egwene gone, so goes the army. With the end of the army, the rebellion ends. With the end of the rebeillion, the sisters will return to the Tower. So what? The Tower would still be irreparably damaged which is probably the main concern.

Even if the tower were reunited under Egwene, she would want to take Halima with her. At that point, Aran`gar would take the place of Mesaana as he would have higher connections than her.

We have to remember that not only are the Foresaken working toward the ends of the Dark One, but also their own. Each wants to rise high in his esteem. Without the rebel army, Aran`gar loses his own little base of control and, along with it, any source of influence he might have with the others.

It isn't that the Dark One wants all opposition erradicated, yet. Egwene is still a powerful channeler with a great deal of influence. If the dark side is willing to prolong the confusion and strife in the world by prolonging the split in the tower, why not take advantage of it? And, in the end, if he can force a change on Egwene, why not take advantage of that.

I get the feeling that he doesn't care how his orders are carried out as long as they are. And, as long as Aran`gar was able to continue the schism, he was allowed to pursue his own desires as well.

As far as not telling all the dark friends in the tower what the other wants, why? First of all, why would the evil characters have better communication skills than the good characters? Second, why lose that opportunity to cause more damage? If the hall is too busy fighting about "little" things, then they won't be bothered to move ahead with more important decisions. This bogs down the Rebel faction and prolongs the split.
Sandy Brewer
74. ShaggyBella
Perhaps Halima used just a little compulsion on Egwene. Just enough for a girl crush and elimination of any suspicion of her/him.
Also Two Rivers moral Egwene is a little hypocritical in regards to Gawyn.....

There were plenty of those (ordinary dreams), often featuring Gawyn , a tall beautiful man who took her in his arms and danced with her and made love with her. Once, even in her dreams, she had shied away from thoughts of making love with him. She had blushed to think about it awake. That seemed so foolish, now so childish. She would bond him as her warder one day, somehow and she would marry him, and make love to him until he cried for mercy. Even in her sleep, she giggled at that.

Lancer Colina
75. D-Luxxx
Tektonica @28 - Nope, not a photographer, although I did do a little photo journalism in college. Nope, just a guy with a D name that got the nickname.

@RobMRobM hope you're holding in there. My thoughts are with you.
Jonathan Levy
76. JonathanLevy
20. hamstercheeks

Re: Halima's purpose
It's very interesting to think that blocking Egwene's dreams was one of her primary purposes. However, killing her off would defeat another purpose: Keep the tower strife going. The SAS faction would tear itself apart trying to choose a new leader.

33. RobMRobM
Ouch. Best wishes for a complete recovery for all of your family.

60. CraigValentine
Napoleon also abandoned his army in Egypt after losing all his ships in the Battle of Aboukir Bay.
It was easier for him to raise another army than to save an existing one.

A comment by Leigh got me thinking.

"the invention of gunpowder weapons automatically equates to an astronomical rise in the casualty rate"
I'd like to throw an open question out to the military history buffs: Is this true?

There is no doubt that modern wars kill many more people than ancient wars. But this is also because modern states can bring millions of men into battle over several years, whereas ancient battles usually had a few tens of thousands all together. Now this is perhaps an indirect result of firearms, because it's much easier to teach a man to shoot a rifle than to charge with a horse and lance. Also, this affects the total number of casualties, not necessarily the casualty rate.

But the syllogism:
1) A man with a rifle is more dangerous than a man with a sword
2) Wars fought with rifles will have a higher casualty rate than wars fought with swords

seems to me to be false. The reasons are:

1) Both sides adapt their tactics to the new weapons. When both sides just have swords, the soldiers wear bright uniforms and stand in squares. When both sides have rifles, they wear camouflage, and lie on the ground or stand in trenches.

2) Until the mid-19th century (well into the age of firearms) the average army lost more men to disease than to actual battle. Napoleon's retreat through Russia is an extreme example. Valley Forge may be more familiar.

3) While battles like Verdun seem to be a conclusive argument, it's worth remembering that in ancient battles when one side broke and ran they would usually get slaughtered during their retreat; also, that much of medieval warfare involved slaughtering peasants and burning villages.

Mind you, I'm not arguing that casualty rates are lower, or the same, but I don't think the issue is quite so definitely settled as Leigh described it. I'm not sure there's an astronomical difference between survival rates of British archers signing up for the Agincourt campaign and American Marines shipping out to Vietnam. And even if it's true for some wars/battles, I'm not sure it's true of all of them once firearms become common.

Perhaps the question hasn't been defined precisely enough.
But I think I've rambled enough already.
Andrew Chute
77. AlmenBunt
re CraigValentine @60- You are generally right in that tactics did change eventually after the adoption of gunpowder into military service, though infantry tactics were one of the last things to change. Cannons radically changed seiges, almost from the start, with the development of the mortar which slowly but surely made city/castle walls and fortifications obsolete, or at least less effective. Cannons were also adopted quickly into Navies, making sailing vessels into incredibly powerful war machines, no longer limited to how many ballista or catapults could be mounted on deck. Naval warfare changed from rams and troop transport to offshore bobardments and open sea armadas. On land, cannons were heavy and hard to move, largely used in fortifications until Napoleon really got em mobile. One of his reasons for success was his ability to get field cannons into position quickly and effectively, and get them to the battlefield in time to use them.
Infantry tactics took longer to catch up. Though the technology was around before, back in the 1600's infantry had large, unwieldy arquebuses which were highly inaccurate, took a long time to reload, and weighed a lot. Pistols caught on at around the same time, during the 30 Years War, but were really a one-shot deal, which would be followed up with sabres or bayonets. By the 1700's, muskets were still slow, a little more accurate, but the flintlock mechanism had made them effective for multiple volleys. Two armies would line up across from each other, usually in a phalanx formation, and shoot at each other until they were bored or thought the other side weakened, then charge with bayonets. Napoleon arguably lost the battle of Waterloo because he kept doing this well into the 19th century. The Brits figured out that a firing line was a far more useful way to have all of your soldiers able to shoot at once, the problem with the phalanx being that the guys in the middle just have to wait for the guys on the outside to die before they can get a shot off. Good for melee, bad for gunshots. It wasn't until the American Civil War that armies started to figure out that they could take cover and pick off any advancing troops from relative shelter. The South started it, even though they were still primarily using inaccurate musket-type weapons. Eventually the North, armed with very accurate rifles, and able to fire more quickly, caught on at Gettysburg, and the age of concealed entrenched warfare began.
The great change brought about by gunpowder was that war was no longer a trained specialized skill. With a rifle and a few hours worth of training, a conscript could kill an armoured officer from the length of the battlefield. Wounds that before mainly consisted of fatal injuries, broken bones, and/or missing limbs were changed to small metal fragments as well, usually lead, which penetrated into deep tissue bringing diseases, gangrene, and surgeries before the great revolutions of modern medicine that came about in the late 1800's - early 1900's. Casualty rates increased in that war was no longer resolved in a matter of a few hours on a battlefield. Medieval weaponry simply did not allow an army to keep at it for more than a few hours before exhaustion wore everyone down. Modern warfare became far more protracted, some battles often lasting continuous days, and often with kill rates far exceeding anything achievable before. It takes time and energy to bury an axe in someone's skull, less to shoot them from across a field.
In the 20th century, kill rates became astronomical with the advent of long range artillery, air bombardment, and the will to attack civilians (sorry, industrial infrastructure) with weapons that previously were only trained on soldiers. The modern war saw the end of the days when two armies would line up and shoot at each other. The weapons of the day were too effective to allow that. Now, despite constantly making better weapons, wars are fought by 'civilians' who can stand up to armies because the army simply can't find them. The US military killed millions of Veitnamese, losing thousands and thousands of their own troops because they were trying to conquer a population that never wanted them there. Every time they napalmed another village, the locals would get pissed off, pick up an AK, and become another soldier. Instantly. You cannot win against that, no matter how many bombs you drop. Case in point Afghanistan and Iraq.

I'm sorry for the tirade/lecture. I highly recommend to anyone who has made it this far to read Gwynne Dyer's book, War. It looks at all of these points, and without my personal rage at the silliness of organized violence. I was thinking of deleting this post without sending it, but I'm going to inflict it upon you all anyway. I do not mean to offend.
Rob Munnelly
78. RobMRobM
Thanks to all for the kind wishes. Taking it very easy this weekend. My son is having a sleepover with his favorite uncle and aunt (who took him to see the Green Hornet movie) and my daughter got her choice of dinner options last night - a Japanese steakhouse with flying knife action. Good times. Today we're hanging out, going to church (spouse and daughter both thought that would be a good idea) and then going to a friend's house to see the Patriots-Jets football playoff game. Still feeling a bit PTSD after the 24 hours of panic earlier but better.

Re WOT, I'm really having problems getting motivated about CoT. It's well written but plot just doesn't advance enough to get me sufficiently excited to comment. I should also confess I'm all caught up in the upcoming Game of Thrones mini-series, and all the accompanying clips, interviews and speculation re how it will be televised; read and loved Connie Willis' excellent but massive Blackout/All Clear duology; and I'm pretty much addicted to all of the Vorkosigan stories by Bujold, which are all free on line (except for one -Memory), so I'm being pulled in other directions. I'm awaiting KoD which I love and expect to be sucked back into the dialogue here.

John Massey
79. subwoofer
@Almen- interesting none the less. British tactics favored firing in volleys and while one line reloads the other shoots and they usually did this in a 3 line succession so by the time the third line fired, the first was done reloading. Fairly effective, despite the bright red coats.

I don't want to make this a big political thing, so I'll skip some of my commentary about Native American's being great guerrilla fighters, but anyways, there are other views to look at here.

Edit- Good to hear Rob:)

WoT wise, yeah, CoT grinds for a bit. Waiting for KoD where things really took off and has my favorite- Golden Crane chapter. Incidentally, methinks that was RJ's last book that he wrote himself and am surprised to see it so low on the list for best schtuff to come outta the last decade.

Jay Dauro
80. J.Dauro
IIRC, we are actually going from COT to New Spring (publication order.) Which is OK by me, since I discovered WOT from the New Spring audiobook. But if so, some of you may be disappointed. However, one of my favorite scenes is in NS, something about a pond.
Tess Laird
81. thewindrose
It will be nice to do New Spring, I think I have only done one reread of it, and that was a while back. There is some good stuff in there, so I am looking forward to seeing what we may dig up. And it is quite short, so we will get to KoD soon enough;)

Tricia Irish
82. Tektonica
RobM, et al: Glad things are calming down for you this weekend. And......Go Patriots!!!

Sorry all you Jets fans, but you gotta go down!

Apologies to the Europeans, etc. who have no idea what we're talking about. It's the football playoffs.
83. Shadow_Jak
AlmenBunt @ 77
Thanks for the post. Glad you decided to post it instead of delete. Has some good info, although some specifics I might question. Especially this...

Now, despite constantly making better weapons, wars are fought by 'civilians' who can stand up to armies because the army simply can't find them. The US military killed millions of Veitnamese, losing
thousands and thousands of their own troops because they were trying to
conquer a population that never wanted them there. Every time they
napalmed another village, the locals would get pissed off, pick up an
AK, and become another soldier. Instantly. You cannot win against
that, no matter how many bombs you drop. Case in point Afghanistan and

Actually I think the total deaths in Vietnam, North and South, were well under a million. (Still horrible though of course)But mainly I differ on the conclusion. The weapons are available for killing millions and millions of civilians.
And wars can certainly be won by killing enough civilians. WWII deaths were about 60 to 80 million total, I believe.
And is is certainly possible to win wars where the "population never wanted them there". I mean, that's pretty much a given during a war.
With enough firepower and will, conquering a population (or destroying it) are pretty simple. ("Liberating" a population is another matter entirely)
John Massey
84. subwoofer
Um.... while you are appologizing to the Europeans lemme just put in that it is the NFL playoffs... football playoffs may mean Premiere League or Euro Futsal 2012 or something completely different.

I'll just be happy if the Steelers bite it at some point. I have an axe to grind with Big Ben, the guy's a douche and a Player (note the capital). I do like Rex tho' but it is all moot to me as the Giants didn't make it. My only solace is that Dallas did not live up to all the hype, heh:P

New Spring? There is awesome sauce all over those pages as well. Lan in his formative years, our first real scoop at Malkieri, Mo and Siuan in pig tails and our "first" meeting with Caddy.

Edit- @Shadow Jak- you seem to have missed my post about how cut and paste blows on this site. When you go to "preview comment" that's where the fix comes in or you get the wonky quote format you got;)

. Estimates as to the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from less than one to more than three million. Some 200,000–300,000 Cambodians, 20,000–200,000 Laotians, and 58,159 U.S. servicemembers also died in the conflict.

And for the morbidly curious...

85. Shadow_Jak
Thanks Sub.
So what's the secret? Delete the spaces and then 'post' without another 'preview'?
John Massey
86. subwoofer
Pretty much:) No secret there. I emailed Torie and she said she would pass it along to the tech wizards but this may need big juju. Maybe even a sacrificial chicken.

Kimani Rogers
87. KiManiak
Coming late to the party; bummer as always. A cool, somewhat transitional chapter, switching from the pro-Ashaman decision to Egwene’s Dreaming and leading into activity in the White Tower (we get to check into Aliviarin and the BA Hunters in the Tower next time, so that should hopefully lead to some more interesting discussions). Also, it’s unfortunate about Anaiya. However, this death of a tertiary character bothered me less than Nicola’s. Maybe it’s due to the amount of attention it received from Egwene and some of the other tertiary characters. Then again, that may be because Anaiya was well liked and Nicola... wasn't.

RobMRobM@33 – I can’t even pretend to imagine what your family is going through. You all are definitely in my thoughts and prayers.
Lancer Colina
88. tommymac
Not the correct forum, so apologies to all. However, Bargain Bookstore in N. Ireland are selling HB version of WINTERS HEART for £3.99. Yes, less than 4 pounds sterling. There is a store in Foyleside, Derry and the Castle Court, Belfast. Hope this is of some use to all you WOTers.
Lancer Colina
89. tommymac
Correction to previous post. The Bargain Bookshop is in the Richmond Centre, Derry.
John Massey
90. subwoofer
Pro Asha'man discussion? When did that happen?


I thought we all agreed that Taim was a douche and the whole Black Tower needed a flea bath before you could trust any one of 'em with a 10ft pole.

Edit- oh yeah- the Salidar ladies decided to give the Asha'man a collective bath. Something about making circles bigger and jumping to conclusions about who caused the little lake where Shadar Logoth was.

Edit some more- the Aes Sedai that hold to this one are gonna get worked like a rented mule if they don't figure out the bad boys from the nice guys.

Andrew Chute
91. AlmenBunt
re subwoofer- You are absolutely correct, of course. The 'rolling reload' was a favoured tactic of the British, French, and Americans. I was speaking more in generalizations about organized classical warfare, Native populations and frontier skirmishes notwithstanding. In fact, one of the most successful tactics of the American Revolution was a form of ambush and guerilla style warfare. I was more commenting on the fact that it took the better part of 500 years after gunpowder was brought to Europe to innovate those types of infantry tactics.
I appreciate that no one has thought that I was out of line with my last post, as yet. I will refrain from commenting further along the conditions of modern warfare, however, as it is a topic about which I am very opinionated, and there are other forums for that type of discussion.

re RobMRobM @78 - You have my sympathies, I wish well for you and yours.

You are not the first person I've heard say that CoT was slow and non-plot-productive. I can see where you're coming from, but I think it is fitting for the book. The title declares it right off- the Crossroads. The book is the transition point before the denouement. As much as it seems to go nowhere in particular (yes, things happen, important things even, but nothing monumental short of Egwene's capture), it sets up all of the major story arcs of the following books. As much as I was cheesed to have to wait for KoD to come out, I think that trying to extend the story arcs of CoT to make more happen in the book would detract from all of the events of KoD, and would break the unity of time (not that RJ hasn't done that before, but the end is drawing nigh, and he needed to bring everything back together to focus back to the final moment). So as much as I agree that CoT feels like an unimportant book, it fulfills a role as a pivot point in the series, and so I'm willing to forgive it. Also, I've re-read the series each time a new book comes out, and with KoD to follow right after, I don't really notice the lack of story progression.
Lancer Colina
92. StonyRoy
(I am a newby... first time in more than a few categories, BUT I am a longtime fan of WoT since its beginnings and I was over thirty then. AND now I am a fan of Leigh Butler (just had to Google you after the ToM acknowledgement.)

Jonathan Levy@76: Re:

" 'the invention of gunpowder weapons automatically equates to an astronomical rise in the casualty rate'. I'd like to throw an open question out to the military history buffs: Is this true?"

No, in part, it is false. (I am a military school grad and former Marine.) But there are other factors in warfare that contribute to military effectiveness (or the ability to destroy your adversaries): logistics, communications, tactics, technology (airplanes, missiles, lasers, satellites...). And population changes allow for larger armies, therefore more casualties. (Although a visualization of ten thousand men with swords and spears clashing is a fearsome thought.)

RJ was also a military school graduate, a veteran and historian. The gunpowder/ grenade / cannon storyline parallels the history of western civilization's discovery of Chinese fireworks and its evolution into car-sized shells booming from the broadsides of the USS Missouri.

"Is this true?".

Yes, Leigh's point is noteworthy, but not so much in total numbers as to how well an individual can cause destruction and death with a single press of a button. So BS writing a dream scene for Egwene of Mat bowling over tens of men, without concern is actually what comes to fruition in KoD and foreshadows Mat's presence in AMoL. Mat as the "Lord of Battle" cannot fulfill his part without taking advantage of technology. He is the antethesis of the OP. He is one of the stakeholders in Aludra's project.

Off-topic comment: (Taking advantage as a newby.) What I admire most about WoT is RJ's and now BS's balancing of opposites throughout the series: Light vs Dark, M vs F, dry vs wet, domination vs acquiesence, royalty vs commoner and magic vs technology. And I have even more of an admiration as to how these opposites will resolve themselves. (I'll find the more appropriate blog.)

Alice Arneson
93. Wetlandernw
StonyRoy @92 - Welcome to the bunker! (Also known as the madhouse, from time to time...) Thanks for the input - we always love to get good stuff like that. Informed opinions are the best kind. :)

Never fear about off-topic comments; they're almost always acceptable. Anything WoT-related is close enough, and as you can see (if you've read many of the comments on this thread) we even go into completely non-WoT-related and personal things occasionally. This is a great discussion, and I think you'll enjoy it. Stick around! And if you do, I'd urge you to create an account (free, only takes a minute, no personal info needed unless you want, and it gives you the ability to track what you've done as well as go in and edit what you've written in case you find a typo) by going to the "log in or register now" box in the upper right corner of the screen. Again, welcome!
James Hogan
94. Sonofthunder
I have pretty much nothing to say...Egwene, dreams, yay, Anaiya, nooo!! But I just had to post to say how much I enjoyed the Pats getting taken down by the Jets. Sorry, Tek, can't resist. (Of course, being in a time zone five hours ahead of the game makes for a late night...)

Oh and StonyRoy..welcome!!
Rob Munnelly
95. RobMRobM
@AlmenB 91. To clarify, I like CoT but, due to its structure, I'm having trouble finding things that excite me enough to post here on the blog.

Re Patriots - congrats to the Jets but furthermore this deponent sayeth not.
Kurt Lorey
96. Shimrod
I see that I am late to the games (life intrudes).

RobMRobM. You and your family are in my prayers.

@82 Tek. Patri-who-its? Guess somebodys' trash talk, wasn't just all talk?

@48 Gorbag. Well, nice name, as I've always liked that name.
But, ...? "
Second Phase of the European Nationalist Civil War"? That's a new one. Can't keep track of all revisionist "stuff", I suppose. I do take exception to your depiction of the dambusters mission as a horror to civilians, though. While current estimates range above 1600, two-thirds were POWs and foreign conscript labourers. Hardly a dent in the local population.

@ Any. As to the invention of gunpowder changing the face of warfare, I would have to challenge that concept as well. It took hundreds of years for gunpowder driven weapons to have a serious effect upon increasing casualties significantly, and that was more because an inertia against changing tactics more than anything else.
In the West, I suppose the first big success for gunpowder (and cannon) was in reducing the fortifications of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. Still, most casualties were still achieved the old-fashioned way. Hand-held gunpowder weapons took until the 18th century to become portable (and reliable) enough to use in large numbers. But, I really don't think that casualties increased significantly, because at range, it was much easier for a defeated force to successfully withdraw, than it had been while using close ranged weaponry. Six up, half a dozen down.
Not until the 19th century did gunpowder weapons begin to come into their own. Even so, modified tactics could ameliorate the effectiveness of such waepons. But, widespread tactical change was rare until the "
Second Phase of the European Nationalist Civil War".
Tricia Irish
97. Tektonica
Yeah...too bad about the Pats. They didn't look good. I wouldn't mind the Jets if they weren't so nasty?? I mean, I used to live there, but it's hard to get behind the trash talk. *shrug*
Now I'll just have to root for the Bears and Steelers. ;-)

Welcome StonyRoy! I am loving this military history lesson tangent!
James Jones
98. jamesedjones
Thoughts and prayers going out to RobM and family.

Spent a great weekend watching the NFL. I think there's a rule somewhere that you can get away with trash talk, as long as you spend the same amount of time bawling about your team. Also, as a type I diabetic, I'm a big Jay Cutler fan, regardless of his personality. So, I couldn't have asked for better NFC/AFC championship matchups.

Oh yeah, the chapter! ...It was boring. Dreams were a let down. Blah, blah, blah.
Chris R
99. up2stuff
Here in Colts country, we DON'T LIKE THE PATRIOTS! That being said, I think a surprising number of people here were secretly hoping they would beat the Jets. Can't count on them for NOTHIN'!

RobM, good luck with all that scary stuff. Best Wishes.
Chris R
100. up2stuff
Just noticed I posted at 99. Will I get in trouble for a "Hunny"? It's my first. Won't do it again!
Maiane Bakroeva
101. Isilel
Sillyslovene @ 22:

If the Rebel AS are freaked out because someone is killing their number with Saidin, it would be logical to think that they would be less and less likely to enter into an alliance with them

This is a great observation - personally I've been wondering why Halima was so blatant about killing the 2 AS, when she was so careful with her murders of Egwene's 2 maids.
OTOH, it was a really dumb move, that only worked to the extent it did because the AS were similarly cretinistic and it didn't occur to them to test for residues of saidin in organized and methodical manner, which would have eventually let them to track Halima to her lair. In fact, with their long-standing fears of Rand and the Asha'man it is ridiculous that said testing wasn't a standard security precaution at their camps and even to the greater extent at the WT.

Re: Moria, her name notwithstanding, I hated her and Nacelle's (?!!) outing as BAs. Theirs was a very rare case of run-of-the-mill AS doing something productive and then it was all a sham? I really want Wetlander to be right about the AS becoming the spearhead of "Lightlords", but IMHO the authors have dangerously overdone their incompetence, so that it would be difficult to make it believable now. And apparent lack of sensible on-screen preparationsof the WT for the TG in ToM doesn't help matters.

Now the whole mess with Moria/Nacelle hints at much more than just lack of coordination among the Shadow, IMHO. Moria's actions could be barely interpreted that way, but are we really supposed to believe that an otherwise unremarkable BA such as Nacelle would have been able to invent a weave to detect flows of saidin (without access to male channelers, BTW) _and_ for some reason would have given away such a big personal advantage away for no gain? It is fairly clear that somebody had to teach her the weave and order her to publicize it, expressly to undermine Halima.
Like so many things in CoT and KoD, this hints at intrigue that will never have a pay-off.

Re: Halima finding BAs, Lanfear and Asmo managed to track DFs who were in the specific line of work that they needed for cover in the Waste (!) on a very short notice.
Also, Halima knew BA secret signs and showed them to Delana. So, if she had been a little less stupid/ more dilligent, she had the means to discover more BAs. But clearly, she didn't.

Speaking of possible Compulsion of Egwene, haven't we forgotten that she is extremely strong-willed and likely would be difficult/impossible to Compel by anything less than Greandal's mind-destroying levels? What is more, it does seem that Compulsion probably does require a modicum of Talent, too or the FS would have used it more widely. OTOH only Graendal, Rahvin, Mogedhien and Ishamael - what were all those hidden instructions that he implanted at DF social back in TGH were, if not Compulsion? - appeared to use it extensively. Lanfear said that she could, but we didn't actually see it, IIRC. Given how much of an easy short-cut Compulsion could be, I don't buy it that FS would consistently refuse to use it if "doesn't suit their style".
Alice Arneson
102. Wetlandernw
Isilel @101 - There you are! Been missing your insights. Re: Halima, I tend to agree that she was not the brightest light on the tree. Very clever in some ways, and very stupid in others. Much of her stupidity, I suspect, could be traced back to that "We AOL channelers are so much smarter & better than these children" attitude; she gets cocky and underestimates them. Which, of course, is stupid in itself. OTOH, the AS have some serious short-sightedness issues themselves, in failing to consider that Asha'man might be disguising themselves to get easier access into/around the SAS camp. They (the Asha'man) aren't, of course, but as you say, considering the possibility might have led the SAS to outing Halima a lot earlier. I think RJ did too frustratingly good a job of portraying the kind of assumptions people make, not realizing that those assumptions are like putting on dark glasses in a cave. Sadly, it's all too true IRL, as well; people assume that things must be a certain way, and all the possibilities that don't fit just... don't fit. This is a great example of things that are not just "dismissed without due consideration," but don't even cross anyone's mind to consider in the first place, just because they are so far outside the assumed parameters.

As far as the AS being the spearhead of "Lightlords" - I, too, wonder if they can pull it off believably. This may be where those novices that learn so fast* and haven't yet picked up all the standard AS assumptions come into play. Or more AS we haven't really met yet because they aren't involved in the politics, who might turn out to be competent. Hey, it's a fantasy... it could happen... :) Back to what I meant to say - I was putting myself in Egwene's shoes and trying to think the way she'd think, which is that the WT is the logical spearhead. The way Randland is set up, I think it should be - whether it can is another question.

Moria & Nacelle, and "Was Nacelle supposed to be undermining Halima?" - as you say, it hints at FS intrigue, which we know happened. They weren't exactly a bunch of team players, especially if one saw a way to take another out without danger to self. Will we ever know? Maybe, maybe not. If Mesaana was trying to undermine Halima, probably not since they're both done for. If it was Graendal or Demandred, who knows? I would think Graendal would have given it passing thought in ToM, but you never know.

I agree with your assessment of Compulsion on Egwene; I cannot see her accepting it for this long with no signs of struggle. It may be that Halima tried it (can't give any suggested possibilities without going back to look for subtle clues) and Egwene threw the Compulsion off almost without noticing it. If Halima a) wasn't very good at the more subtle versions and b) realized that Egwene was too strong-willed to Compel without noticable outward side effects, she may have decided that Compulsion wasn't going to work and went for other methods instead. (Competence and insight??!) Obviously she was capable of it, given the Ramshalan episode, but in that case they didn't care if it wasn't subtle, and he was a mental wimp anyway.

* I posted on the ToM spoiler thread about something I noticed in KoD: many of the novices, the older ones in particular, have that same ability Nynaeve has - they see a weave done once, and they can repeat it. They have become quite skilled in Healing (Nynaeve's new method) already, and Tiana thinks many of them are ready to test for Accepted. I'm now making the assumption that such testing is going ahead as appropriate in the WT, and we don't see it in ToM because it's being handled competently (?!) by the Mistress of Novices instead of the Amyrlin having to make a big deal of it. In fact, one of the reasons I think the assumption may be justified is that Egwene isn't fretting about it, indicating that it's going okay.

Incidentally, I've chosen to make the same assumption about the TG preparations in general, at least the army/battle kinds of things. Egwene had been doing something; we didn't hear specifically what, but she felt it was taking too much of her time when there were other things she should focus on. So she turned it over to the Hall, and I choose (until proven otherwise) to accept that her subsequent lack of concern is due to observation (off screen) that such effort is proceeding appropriately. Since these things have been of concern in the past, it seems reasonable that she would continue to be bothered only if they weren't happening.

FWIW, I do not necessarily apply that to questions of sealing the DO's prison. Egwene has been busy with TG preparations in other ways (uniting the Tower, cleansing the BA, preparing the army) but hasn't, that we've seen, ever given thought to how the DO could be resealed. My guess is that BWS/Team Jordan chose not to spend pages having her (or the AS in general) agonize over that question when Rand (with his advisory council of Cadsuane, Min, Nynaeve and a few others) are the ones who will come up with the solution. I have high hopes that Cadsuane and Min will pool their researches, make the right leaps of logic and figure out the whole business with Callandor, the Seals, and what-has-to-happen-at-Shayol-Ghul. For completeness (or character competence) sake, it might be nice to have Egwene's AS at least making some attempt to work it out, but we're running out of pages.

And... that whole footnote thing probably belongs over on the ToM spoiler thread... Oh well. I needed it here.
Lancer Colina
103. WeavingAtWill

I long ago came to the conclusion that Dreaming, along with Foretelling, Min's Viewings, ta'veren, Perrin's visions in T'A'R, Need
in T'A'R, et al were all tools in the toolbox that the Wheel of Time
uses to weave the Pattern, and keep everything in line. Oh yeah, and the
Heroes bound to the Wheel too. They are all ways that the Wheel
interacts with the world, and influences it.

However, I don't think that it means a sentience is behind these
instructions. RJ has always said that the Wheel isn't sentient, but (too
use our terms) operating under very sophisticated and complicated programming.

There has been considerable discussion over the years about the role of the Creator in the events of this series. In particular, while the Dark One appears to be an actual entity bent on world domination if not downright annihalation, the Creator does not interact with mortal folk so directly. In fact, he/she/it doesn't seem to interact much at all. This has led some to hypothesize that there is no Creator or, at least, that the Creator cannot or will not interfere.

For what it's worth, my personal opinion is that (for whatever reason) the Creator cannot act overtly. Perhaps he simply doesn't have a mortal-world avatar like the Dark One does. In any event, I think he does act, but in an Oz-ish, behind-the-current sort of way. He nudges people and attitudes and events just enough to influence behavior and to set things in motion (things that will eventually be needed to defeat the Dark One).

The things you mention -- Foretelling, Min's viewings, etc. -- are, I believe, an indication of this. Note that many of these powers were either lost or had not ever been discovered until the rise of the new Dragon. Foretelling was all but unheard of. Outside of the Aiel, Dreaming was lost. Min's viewings appear to be a new thing. It seems a little too coincidental that all of these things would be (re)discovered at this particular point in time.

The fact that stronger and stronger power users are being uncovered points to this, too.

The same can be said of ta'veren. The books have held that ta'veren, while rare, are not unheard of. The mechanism of ta'veren does, indeed, seem to be a tool of the Wheel itself. However, it has been remarked upon a number of times that a ta'veren as strong as any of the Three Amigos is extremely unusual. And for three to show up at the same time, at the same village -- with one being the Dragon Reborn, himself! -- again bends coincidence a little too far.

My conclusion is that the Creator is working just as hard to defeat the DO as the DO is to destroy the world; he just works much more on the down low. That is, he works by influencing that very sophisticated machinery you talked about.

Is it really a coincidence that the Horn of Valere has been unearthed just in time for this?

So, yeah, I do put sentience behind the actions, and I do believe Dreaming in one of the Creator's most powerful tools. I don't think the Wheel itslef is sentient, but I do believe a sentience is influencing the Wheel up to the limits of the thing's operating capacity (lo, but the next bar of Balefire could very well overload its circuits).
Rob Munnelly
104. RobMRobM
I should note, on the good news front, we got word earlier today that my son was accepted into another school - a good one for him. So we shouldn't be dumped out on the street from his present one.

Tricia Irish
105. Tektonica
Yeah Rob! Another door opens.....

Weavingatwill@103: Some good thoughts, and welcome! I too think there is some sentience behind the Pattern, or it wouldn't keep trying to Balance itself. Not direct, but a directive, perhaps?
William Fettes
106. Wolfmage
Isilel @101

"Speaking of possible Compulsion of Egwene, haven't we forgotten that she is extremely strong-willed and likely would be difficult/impossible to Compel by anything less than Greandal's mind-destroying levels?"

Anyone can be compelled. There is no such thing as an immunity to compulsion based on a strong will. A strong will simply helps the mind find an escape route from compulsion's stranglehold given enough time or some kind of trigger event.

For example, it was only after several days had elapsed and Nynaeve saw Moghedien in the museum of the Panarch's Palace in TAR that she was able to remember Moghedien's visit. And it's not particularly clear that Mogedian put any real effort into the forget-me effect other than a generic obey-me compulsion and an order. Clearly at that stage she was still underestimating the SGs. Even so, that was enough to bind Elayne with impunity, who is certainly strong willed herself. Nynaeve was held in main as well, and but for seeing Moghedien in TAR she probably would not have remembered either.

With Morgase, the same is true. She only got away from Rahvin because he became distracted by his other sexual liasons enough that she was able to basically walk off the reservation and start puzzling the erractic nature of her emotional wellbeing. That breathing space led to an encounter with Lini who was able to deliver enough facts that Morgase was forced to scrutinise matters further. True, Rahvin did need to keep reapplying the weave, but it worked perfectly well for long stretches of time and could have done so indefinitely as long as Morgase's health held up. Also, I would argue reapplication was more necessary than usual in this context because he was sexually molesting her, flaunting his other sexual conquests in court, ordering her around, banishing her allies, stacking the court and the guard with cronies and dark friends, and usurping her sovereign prerogative. These are all very momentus and flagrant acts, and with Rahvin's constant presence they would naturally be harder for the subject to accept than subtler forms of manipulation which the subject could internalise without constant reminders. Remember, even long after she had escaped and come to terms with matters, Morgase was still affected by Rahvin's will.

"What is more, it does seem that Compulsion probably does require a modicum of Talent"

Using compulsion deftly to access the inner-most depths of the mind, achieving the most subtle kind of effects, or laying a weave that will evade all but the most keen delving is certainly a rare skill equivilent to exceptional healing, yes. But just using the basics of the weave? No. There's really no evidence that it's a particularly rare skill. I discuss this here.

I fear this is just another one of dozens of examples of the Forsaken being lazily arrogant about their predicament, and not employing their full powers.
John Massey
107. subwoofer
@Wet & Isilel- well then. Y'know, this reminds me of a big debate I got into on Theoryland about the very topic of how useless the Aes Sedai were.

Several things- the discussion came about because I felt the Tower is letter the Borderlands hanging out to dry. The Borderlanders are all happy to see any Aes Sedai, Anglemar felt Moiraine was worth 1000 lances. So why the deuce doesn't the Tower have Sisters stationed up their on a revolving basis? If not to fight then perhaps to advise or even to heal. The Greens should have at least a couple of Sisters up there for each country. This is why the "residency" idea resonates strongly with me. I feel that the Sisters have lost touch with the "Servants of All" aspect of their titles, not to mention one of their founding duties should be to fight the Shadow and aid other countries in doing just that.

The argument was a) the Sisters are kinda clueless and b) the general sentiment of the people and nations do not want or welcome Aes Sedai help. I reasoned that yeah, maybe some countries and people have issues, but the Borderlanders are the exception to that. If anyone needed help, it's them.

Anyways, the point is, if the Sisters were up North helping out that would be more than enough RL training any Aes Sedai would need. It would also prove that Aes Sedai do care beyond dabbling in political intrigue and getting lost in personal advancement or experiments or whatever they seem to be doing that does not involve going out into the world.

I am hoping that there are some gooders in the bunch. Maybe Caddy could lay the smack down on the Sisters and lead a crash course on surviving TG. Maybe the linking idea will work and the Asha'man will use their skills and boosted power to fight the Dreadlords. I dunno. Something has to give here.

James Whitehead
108. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
Hello all. New to this WOT re-read - a big thanks to Leigh for taking the time; great insight & humour in your commentaries. ;-)

I am with Subwoofer @ 107 as to being confused as to why AS aren't more plentiful along the border if they would be that valuable - in Lord Agelmar's (sp?) estimation anyway. I guess the easiest answer is that there are AS on the Borderlands, we just don't meet them. Otherwise the AS aren't there in big numbers preferring to continue their subtle & not so subtle plans for the world.

This brings me to a thought I had having just finished TOM last night, and which has been touched on slightly here before. Mainly, is Egwene's devotion to the WT complete or is her opinion of it still changing?

While with the WO in the Three-Fold Land, Egwene notes somewhat sadly how the WO, who are not bound by the three oaths, are more trusted than the AS are - I think she includes the Windfinders, but am not sure, sorry. She feels this is something to think on but by TOM, Egwene not only feels that the AS cannot exist without the oaths but that the world needs the WT; that everything will fail without the WT.

Now, I'm not saying that the AS aren't important or needed as obviously they are in both cases. They, and their tower, are important especially what with that spot of bother called Tarmon Gai'don that's looming on the horizon. ;-)

I just think Egwene has this huge blind spot for the tower & AS now. The fact that people distrust AS despite the oaths doesn't phase her at all. Shrugs this distrust off as superstition or men just being 'woolheads.'

Jordan, and now Sanderson, set up our heroes & heroines to learn & grow & to have their cherished beliefs challenged, if not completely shattered. Rand, Mat, Perrin, Nynaeve, & even Elayne all go through this. I have a feeling that Egwene, for all that she has gone through, especially recently, still has to learn something regarding the AS.

Anyway, thanks for the patience sorry for the rambling first post.

PS - Don't forget that the British wore those redcoats so that they could see each other, and especially their line, through all that smoke from the rifles.
William Fettes
109. Wolfmage
KatoCrossesTheCourtyard @ 108

Well said. Yes, you're certainly not alone in seeing a gap between Egwene's puffed up rhetoric about the Tower and the reality.

Unfortunately, the rites of passage that Egwene has gone through in the series have tended to be confined to certain aspects of leadership, rather than wisdom more broadly. The exigencies of the moment have also enabled her to take lots of shortcuts, and be rewarded at every turn, whilst being spared any serious challenge.

Even just using one early book example: whereas Nynaeve and Elayne do eventually meet their toh to Mat over the Stone rescue, Egwene -- ironically the one SG most alleged imbued with an "Aiel heart" -- has never accounted for her conduct (or even thought about it). Indeed, it may very well be forgotten in the sea of unresolved plot points.

That's unfortunate because I think it robs some of her clear moments of awesome of as the triumphant Amyrlin of their full potential shine. As a consequence, many of her rhetorical flourishes and moments of magnamity -- that might have otherwise succeeded as more or less unqualified expressions of her virtue as a leader -- can instead come off as a little grandiose, and a little ostentatious and big-headed.
Thomas Keith
110. insectoid
RobM²: I do hope things turn out all right for you.

StonyRoy, KatoCrossesTheCourtyard: Welcome to the Bunker, we've got fun and games. And a buffet, a home theater, a few mad people... ;)

By the way Kato, that has to be the longest username I've seen since alreadymad*! Clever pun, too.

Don't forget that the British wore those redcoats so that they could see each other, and especially their line, through all that smoke from the rifles.

Oh. I thought it was because they lost the coin toss. XD

Re: Jets... The only reason I'm rooting for them is because LaDanian Tomlinson is on their team. I don't necessarily approve of Ryan and Cromartie shooting their mouths off.

Alice Arneson
111. Wetlandernw
KatoCrossesTheCourtyard @108 - Mainly, is Egwene's devotion to the WT complete or is her opinion of it still changing? IMO, yes and yes, as the question is written. If you mean by the first part "has she committed herself to the WT and all its current rules, laws and traditions?" though, I'd say no and yes.

As we all know, Egwene gives herself heart & soul to whatever she's doing at the moment. Now, and for the rest of her life (or until she's removed as Amyrlin), she's Aes Sedai. She will no longer play at Tinker, or Wise One, or any other role she might like, because she has taken on the role of Amyrlin, and that leaves no room for other roles. So yes, she's "devoted" to the WT. I don't think that means she now accepts every tenet of the current structure. As of ToM, we still see her considering how to release AS from the Oaths to retire to the Kin, finding ways to negotiate agreements and exchanges with other channeling groups, etc. We also see her deliberately working the system to change long-standing traditions that are getting in the way of effective cooperation. So, no, she doesn't accept all the current ways and means.

As for the second part of your question, "is her opinion still changing?" Well, given that she's only 19 (maybe 20 now), of course her opinion is changing. She's not dead; she'll continue to change her opinions as she learns new things about the Tower. If you mean the Oaths in particular, we'll have to wait and see if "new" information comes to light, such as the original use of the Oath Rod and the realization that it's the number of Oaths that restrict lifespan so much. If you mean her belief that the WT is vital to the defeat of the Shadow, I don't really see that changing in the short time remaining before Tarmon Gai'don. Dysfunctional as it is, it's the only single, relatively unified group of channelers who specifically sees its role as A Force Against the Shadow. As noted above (@102), the WT should be the logical spearhead of Team Light channelers in TG; whether it will be, or whether some other coalition will have to be formed, remains to be seen. Given the effort Egwene has already spent to forge agreements between the Wise Ones, the Windfinders and the WT, I think it will be, although I would be unsurprised to find that it looks a lot different than she thought it would.
John Massey
112. subwoofer
Insectoid- and the Settlers choose to wear dark colors and shoot from the rocks and the trees and the bushes;)

Yeah, I hear you about the Jets- Jason Taylor is also on that team. I'd like to see him and Ladanian go out on a high note. Both are elder statemen of the sport and both were put out to pasture by their former teams. I always root for the Vets.

Chris R
113. up2stuff
Something interesting to me is the, I guess you would call it the "Ratio" of Balefire, to its effects on the pattern when I was thinking about why Ramshalan was released from Compulsion and Morgase wasn't.

Depending on the power of the weave, it burns a thread out of the pattern further and further back. Rand used enough on Rahvin to undo, what, an hour or two and bring Avi, Mat, and everyone else back to life, right? That was unaided, but it only took Rahvin out of the pattern for a few hours. It seemed a little odd that Morgase's compulsion was still effective but everyone else was brought back to life until it occurred to me he had compelled her much earlier.

The thing that bothered me, was why did Ramshalan's Compulsion vanish, when the Barrow was destroyed. Until I realized his Compulsion was very recent. It was not only undone, but NEVER done.

What I am kind of curious about though, is how far back in time would that weave actually reach? Days, weeks, months, YEARS? Could someone actually be burned out of the pattern before they were born? The average Joes that were all there were normal aged people and everything they had done wouldn't have happened because they had not existed to do it. At 3000 years old Greandal would not have been burned out THAT far back, but it seems like her actions for a number of years would have been undone, i.e. the candle maker's apprentice would not have been compelled and sent to poison the Bandar Eban Merchant Lady, so she should be miraculously better. The King's messenger might be alive again. How long have Graendal and the FS been free? 2-3 years, I thought.

The only thing I can think of that explains this is a metaphor for the Taint Madness I seem to remember. Once you kill the Termites, the holes are still there. But, the reason Balefire usage was ceased during the war of power was because, city wide, one person was ERASED, his actions never happened, the reactions of every one they met never happened, etc, etc. In other words, NO HOLES.

Rand used the compulsion on Ramshalan disappearing, as proof that Greandal was dead, because she was dead before he was compelled. It seems like he should have looked for those other things to be undone, too. If they aren't undone, that should have clued Rand in that something was wrong here.

I know the Balefire effects have been discussed somewhere, even recently on what happens to inanimate objects versus people, but I can't remember which thread. The whole discussion here about Eg's vs Morgase's situations got me started, and my addled brain led me to THAT puzzle. Frankly, my head hurts now, and I am sooo cross-eyed, my little eye balls have done a complete 360 and I can see straight again.

Let me know what you think.

Daniel Goss
114. Beren
@up2stuff 113

The other thing to remember in the Rahvin vs. Graendal (but not really Graendal) balefire situation is this: in Rahvin's case, Rand was pulling all of the power he could through his angreal to burn a single person (thread) out of the pattern, and he only got a few hours. At Natrin's Barrow, Rand burned away dozens (hundreds?) of threads, so you have to wonder how much more Power, proportionally, he had to use and how much less time he burned out of the pattern per person. Or does balefire even work that way? That'd be a good question for the author, I guess.

Janet Hopkins
115. JanDSedai
re: Balefire
I can't refer you to the appropriate quotes, but any balefire necessary to burn something back more that a few hours would unravel the Pattern completely.
Chris R
116. up2stuff

I DID wonder if the effect was diffused when spread over many people/things/etc.

That being said though, why did Delana and Halima get balefired, when Rand hit the fortress and not them directly. Seems more like it would be a rug pulled from under them suddenly. Standing around at the top of the tower, being all dark-friend-y. Suddenly the floor below them isn't there anymore. Seems like kind of a Wil-e-coyote moment of looking down, flapping their arms in mid-air kind of scene before plummeting.

'Course, I guess, the wall was hit with BF, then wasn't ever there, so the BF hit the next thing, which was not ever there, and so on.

I guess the easiest explanation is... Maaagiiiic.

Douglas Miller
117. douglas
It takes more balefire than that to unravel the Pattern. Multiple entire cities were hit by enough balefire to undo 2 or 3 days during the War of Power, and the Pattern survived. It did start getting a bit frayed after enough of them, and that's why both sides stopped using balefire, but it survived.

The one suggestion I've seen that definitely would unravel the Pattern is balefiring Lanfear back 3000 years so she never drilled the Bore. I don't know if even both Choedan Kal together would be enough power to do that, but if it were done it would rip out the basis of 3000 years worth of world-changing events, including a full Age transition, and I think that's pretty solidly on the side of too big a change for the Wheel to compensate.
Lynn McDonald
118. meal6225
Maybe at some point in AMoL Nyn can give Eg a little mental checkup and see if Halima left a little black shadow behind in the old gray matter.
Daniel Goss
119. Beren
Oh, I can't wait to see that scene.

Nynaeve: "Egwene, you've got a little something in your medula oblongota. There, that should fix it."

Egwene: "Hey, that feels a lot better. You know what? The oaths are a really bad idea, what was I thinking? Oh, and why did you let me talk you into going through the testing? And I'm suddenly feeling much more humble and much less like I'm the moral, ethical and intellectual superior of everyone in the world. Umm . . . can you put that back?"

Stefan Mitev
120. Bergmaniac
  Come on, Egwene was feeling superior to everyone else long before she met Halima. ;)

 As for balefire - Moiraine told Rand that with using all of her power, she can only erase several seconds. Rand is way stronger, and he used Choedan Kal on the fortress, but still I don't think he could've erased more than a few days.
Thomas Keith
121. insectoid
Sub @112: Good catch! ;)

Beren @119: BAHAHAhahaha!!

Off to the new post...

Roger Powell
122. forkroot
Rand used enough on Rahvin to undo, what, an hour or two and bring Avi, Mat, and everyone else back to life, right?

I've made this point before: If Rand had battled and then balefired Rahvin in RL, there's no way he would have been able to erase Rahvin's actions back far enough to save Avi and Mat.

What saved them was that shortly after the lightning attack, Rand and Rahvin entered T'AR (where time runs differently, but still monotonically). So in real time, only a few minutes had passed. This is the only explanation consistent with the other uses of balefire we've seen.
James Whitehead
123. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@109 Wolfmage: Thanks for that. I think you make some good points that I hadn't thought of regarding Egwene & her pronouncements. 'Course that might just be 'our' perception as we can see everything that has gone on whereas the people Egwene is talking to don't have that benefit.

@110 Insectoid: Thanks for the welcome. I was Kato in high school - still am to some people & I remembered that sword stance Lan taught Rand & it just clicked. ;-) Also, the loss of the coin toss meant that the British had to march in straight lines whereas the American could hide behind rocks & walls.

@111 Wetlandernw: Thanks for the time. I agree that Egwene puts everything into whatever task she's given; which is quite admirable actually.

It just struck me that many of the other main characters have had their world view challenged & turned on its head so that they can grow. Just idle speculation if something is still looming in the not so distant future for her or has everything that she has gone through brought her to her current mindset (not including the normal changes she will go through as she gets older).

Again, thanks for the warm welcome.


PS - Don't even go there about those Jets...oy vey!
Terry McNamee
124. macster
I'm surprised Leigh didn't catch this, but I had always thought that the reason Egwene's Dreams in this chapter are so detailed isn't because of Jordan's propensity for verbiage (though it's that too) or Egwene's Dreaming ability and interpretation thereof getting stronger, but precisely because of Halima, and also tied into Leigh's understanding that the Pattern is actively sending these Dreams to aid the Light. Namely, that all this time Halima has been blocking the Dreams, but for the first time she doesn't do so--because Egwene sent her away, because she was busy off killing Anaiya (*sob*), and because Chesa's tea helped get rid of the headache. So now after so long of the Dreams being held back, they're suddenly able to get through again--and thus explode with detail and portent because of it.

Or another way to look at it (something else I think Leigh would appreciate), the whole idea of the Dreams being a way for the Pattern to actively aid the Light is that this is yet another form of communication and the theme of how important it is in WOT. That what Halima was doing by holding the Dreams back was yet another form of miscommunication. And that them being able to get through again this time, and thus being so complex and elaborate, parallels the rewards that honest communication always receives in the series. It's more subtle, but it's a nice symbolic parallel, and I like it even if it just remains a theory.

Also Chesa's insight into Halima is particularly interesting, since she's absolutely right that "a man is watching her" whenever Halima is around. Apparently being a "silly" lady's maid doesn't stop one's intuition from being right on the money!

And yes, I always thought Halima's murders of Anaiya and Kairen were a case of killing two birds with one stone--she got rid of Cabriana's friends who could out her as a mole, but she also got rid of the only Aes Sedai who believed Egwene was a Dreamer and one of the cuendillar makers.

Finally: love the Belgariad/Malloreon, always have! And the Elenium and Tamuli too, if not as much.

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