Jan 18 2011 2:39pm
The Wheel of Time Re-read: Crossroads of Twilight, Part 15

Crossroads of Twilight by Robert JordanGreetings on this absolutely gorgeous Tuesday, Wheel of Timers! I love freezing rain, don’t you? It is just my FAVORITE. Especially when I get to walk six blocks in it! Nevertheless, the Wheel of Time Re-read soldiers on.

Today’s entry covers Chapters 21 and 22 of Crossroads of Twilight, in which math is hard! Let’s go shopping! And also shift some fundamental power dynamics in the local political structure!

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

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

And now, the post!

Chapter 21: A Mark

What Happens
Alviarin reenters the Tower via gateway into a disused storage room, and channels to remove the reddish mud from her clothes that marks her as having come from Tremalking, the Sea Folk’s island. She makes her way cautiously to the inhabited parts of the Tower, thinking irritably about Mesaana and her refusal to teach Alviarin hardly anything worth while, and her insistence on making Alviarin deal with inferior non-channelers just because they were also Darkfriends, and to be nice to them too, just in case they were working for another Chosen. Alviarin is slightly worried about Elaida, seeing as Alviarin’s been gone for almost a month this time, but reassures herself that she cowed Elaida sufficiently last time to not have to worry.

Nothing moved except for a rat that went scuttling away with a faint click of claws on the floorstones. That almost made her smile. Almost. The Great Lord’s eyes riddled the Tower, now, though no one seemed to have noticed that the wardings had failed. She did not think it was anything Mesaana had done; the wards simply no longer worked as they were supposed to. There were… gaps.

She debates whether she can ask Mesaana about that “impossible flare” in the Power without revealing that she had gone to visit the site afterwards on her own. She steps into the Ninth Depository of the library, which no one ever seems to use (it concerns arithmetic), but then is suddenly met by Zemaille (Brown), who asks if she can help her. Alviarin lies that she was just taking a stroll through the library.

Tall and very lean, Zemaille always held that outer mask of reserve and distance, but Alviarin suspected she was less shy than she pretended, and less pleasant. “That’s quite understandable. The Library is restful, and it’s a sad time for us all. And sadder still for you, of course.”

“Of course,” Alviarin repeated as if by rote. A sad time? For her in particular? She considered drawing the woman to some secluded corner where she could be questioned and disposed of, but then she noticed another Brown, a round woman even darker than Zemaille, watching them from farther down the hall. Aiden and Zemaille were weak in the Power, yet overcoming both at once would be difficult if it was possible at all. Why were they both down here on the ground floor? The pair was seldom seen, shuttling between the rooms on the upper levels they shared with Nyein, the third Sea Folk sister, and the so-called Thirteenth Depository, where the secret records were kept. All three worked there, willingly immersed to their necks in their labors. She walked on and tried to tell herself she was being skittish without reason, but that did nothing to soothe the prickling between her shoulder blades.

She becomes worried, then, of the total lack of people about, and hurries up to Elaida’s apartments. When she enters, though, she finds Elaida with more than half of the Sitters. Elaida almost smiles when she sees Alviarin, and orders her to stand in the corner until she has “time to deal with [her].” Alviarin is astounded, considering what she has on Elaida, but is suddenly terrified that Elaida has found out somehow that she is Black Ajah, and obeys. Suana (who Alviarin knows is also the Head of the Yellow Ajah as well as a sitter) returns to their earlier discussion, which is the subject of opening talks with the Rebel army. Ferane (White, and also the Head of the Ajah) speaks for it, as does Andaya (Gray), who points out that the Rebels must have rediscovered Traveling, and thinks they should open negotiations before they use it to invade the city itself. This is all very distressing news to Alviarin; Elaida scowls and asks if the Brown and Green also support talks. Shevan (Brown) points out that the histories prove that whenever the Tower is divided, disaster follows. Alviarin is surprised that Talene does not speak for the Green, but Rubinde instead, who states that Tarmon Gai’don is coming, and the Tower can no longer afford to be divided. Strangely, Elaida is not outraged, and agrees to the talks, but warns them that her edicts must stand: the Blue Ajah is dissolved, and every sister who follows “that child” Egwene al’Vere must serve penance before she can be readmitted to any Ajah. It’s clear they want to protest, but Elaida kicks them out, and they go. Alviarin begins talking immediately, reminding Elaida of the blackmail material she has on her, but Elaida only smiles and remarks that she is surprised Alviarin came back at all. She opines that Coiren and Toveine will take any blame from the disasters of al’Thor’s kidnapping and the assault on the Black Tower, respectively, and shields Alviarin before giving her a full-armed slap.

“I look forward to seeing your neck stretched on the headsman’s block for treason, Alviarin, but until I have the proof I need, there are still a few things I can do. Do you remember how many times you had Silviana come to give me private penance? I hope you do, because you are going to take ten for every day I suffered. And, oh, yes.” With a jerk, she pulled the Keeper’s stole roughly from Alviarin’s neck. “Since no one could find you when the rebels arrived, I asked the Hall to remove you as Keeper. Not the full Hall, of course. You may still have a little influence there. But it was surprisingly easy to gain the consensus from those who were sitting that day. A Keeper is supposed to be with her Amyrlin, not wandering off on her own.”

She dismisses Alviarin contemptuously, and Alviarin flees back to her own apartments in terror, convinced that Elaida knows she is Black Ajah and is only waiting for proof before arresting her. She pulls out a ter’angreal Mesaana had given her and warned her to use only in the direst emergency, and activates it to summon Mesaana to her. When an Illusion-disguised Mesaana arrives, very displeased, she tells Alviarin that she hopes Alviarin doesn’t think she can get the Keeper’s stole back for her, as in her opinion it was Alviarin’s fault for pushing Elaida too hard. Alviarin tells Mesaana that Elaida knows she is Black Ajah, and therefore the entire organization is at risk, but Mesaana thinks that is ridiculous, and is about to begin punishing Alviarin for her presumption when:

Abruptly, the shadows in the room lurched. Everything seemed to shift sideways as the darkness thickened in midnight lumps. And then the darkness was gone. Startled, Alviarin found herself with her begging hands stretched up toward a blue-eyed woman of flesh and blood, garbed in bronze-embroidered green. A tantalizingly familiar woman who looked just short of her middle years. She had known Mesaana walked the Tower disguised as one of the sisters, though no Chosen she had met showed any sign of agelessness, but she could not match that face to any name. And she realized something else, as well. That face was afraid. Hiding it, but afraid.

Alviarin sees a black-armored Myrddraal like no other she’s ever seen in the room with them, and almost screams when she realizes the One Power seems to be gone from the room. The Fade smiles and remarks that he would not like to see the Black Ajah destroyed. Mesaana demands to know how he dares to challenge one of the Chosen.

“Do you think Hand of the Shadow is just a name?” The Myrddraal’s voice no longer grated. Hollow, it seemed to boom down caverns from some unimaginable distance. The creature grew as it spoke, swelling in size till its head brushed the ceiling, over two spans up. “You were summoned, and you did not come. My hand reaches far, Mesaana.”

Mesaana screams as her clothes are torn off and she is bound in “black flame.” The Fade asks Alviarin if she wants to watch a Chosen be punished, and Alviarin answers no, frozen in terror. She is suddenly convinced that it is not a Fade before her, but the Great Lord himself. It comes to her and presses a thumb to her forehead, and the touch burns.

“You are marked as mine,” the Great Lord rasped. “Mesaana will not harm you, now. Unless I give her permission. You will find who threatens my creatures here and deliver them to me.” He turned away from her, and the dark armor fell from his body. She was startled when it hit the carpeted floor tiles with a crash of steel rather than simply vanishing. He was clothed in black, and she could not have said whether it was silk or leather or something else. The darkness of it seemed to drink the light from the room. Mesaana began to thrash in her bonds, keening shrilly past the gag in her mouth. “Go now,” he said, “if you wish to live another hour.” The sound coming from Mesaana rose to a despairing scream.

Alviarin runs from the room and dashes through the halls, stopping herself before she tumbles down a staircase in a fall that would have killed her. Trying to distract herself from feeling her forehead, she decides the only way to save herself from Elaida is to implicate Elaida herself in any hunt that may be going on, and that Talene may be a place to start. But she keeps thinking of how the Great Lord had marked her.

So, today’s lesson is: don’t miss your appointments with Dr. Shaidar Haran, kids. Or you will not like the lollipop you get AT ALL. Check.

I have to say, I didn’t remember the armor bit before, and I’m slightly befuddled by it. Why is Shaidar Haran wearing armor, and why does it fall off him? I’m… just not clear on what the point was of all that. Dramatic effect? Because that’s kind of hilarious, if so.

I’m kind of possibly disappointed by all this “mark” business, though. When I first read this chapter I was all excited because I thought the marking meant Alviarin was getting a promotion of sorts, perhaps even to “new Forsaken” status, but instead it really seems to have been nothing more than a cattle-brand type deal, like “this is mine, keep your mitts off or I will fuck you up.” Granted, in light of the fact that Alviarin had just majorly screwed up the Keeper thing, supposing she’d gotten a promotion doesn’t make much sense in retrospect, but hey, it’s not like they don’t have a few vacant spots to fill at the executive level, here. And I’ve said before that Alviarin has consistently shown more evil moxie than some of the actual Forsaken ever did.

That said, this is kind of where Alviarin’s character arc started to go on a kind of weird trajectory, in my opinion. My memory for KOD and onward isn’t the best, but I don’t recall Alviarin doing much of anything from here on out except get beaten a lot, and then escape once Egwene puts her Black Ajah Purge into effect. Which is rather a disappointing change from the effective villainy she’d shown in books of yore.

Enh, well. Hopefully she’ll have something cool to do in AMoL. I’m still hopeful for my slightly loopy wish that Leane gets to be the one to off Alviarin.

I found Elaida’s sudden growth of a backbone here to be rather startling, but I’m choosing not to question it too closely in favor of Plot Movement actually happening in the Tower. However, I’m now kind of wondering why Elaida couldn’t have concluded that Alviarin’s blackmail material was this useless earlier. Am I missing something, here?

I was initially all puzzled and intrigued as to why Alviarin is coming from Tremalking at the beginning of this chapter, but on reflection I don’t think there’s any big mystery, really. She was obviously investigating The Big Channeling Event, and thus had probably tracked down information about the two big ass statues that were not-so-coincidentally glowing at the time in Cairhien and Tremalking, and then went to see for herself. Voilà.

I don’t think there’s any real reason to attach significance to this information, but I was nevertheless rather bemused to find out that apparently not only had all three “token” Sea Folk sisters chosen Brown Ajah, but that all three also were involved with the Thirteenth Depository, where the secret histories are kept. Perhaps this is overly stereotyping of me, but I wouldn’t have thought being librarians was particularly… Sea-Folky. I dunno, it’s just not very outdoorsy an occupation, is it? But then again, maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s also why I feel really rather sorry for them.

And speaking of stereotypes: all Aes Sedai hate math, huh? Reeeeally. Yes, this could be merely a commentary on Jordan’s own personal academic prejudices, but just because unfortunate implications may be unintentional doesn’t make them any less unfortunate. I bestow upon this tidbit a small-but-clearly-audible “Sheesh.”


Chapter 22: One Answer

What Happens
Pevara takes wine in her rooms with her “surprising” guest, Tarna Feir. Pevara thinks she can never remember Tarna being nervous since being raised to the shawl until now, and wonders why Tarna is breaking custom to visit a Red Sitter after having been raised to Keeper. She is wary, not only because Elaida trusts Tarna, but because Galina had taken a special interest in Tarna when she was a novice. She congratulates Tarna on her promotion, but Tarna answers that she is not sure that is the appropriate sentiment, and Pevara is surprised at the implication that she would have refused the post if she could have. Tarna remarks that Pevara has been noted as being “unconventional,” and has heard that Pevara even once said she would like to take a Warder.

“The Dragon Reborn is ta’veren, so I have heard,” Tarna said finally […] “Do you think he alters chance everywhere? Or do we change the future by ourselves, one step following another until we find ourselves somewhere we never expected?”

Pevara asks what she means, and Tarna tells her of how after she left Salidar she’d accidentally come across one of the Black Tower’s “recruiting parties” in a village. Pevara remarks that Tarna was wise not to reveal herself to them, and that no one seems to have any idea of how to stop them, if it isn’t too late to do so. Then she curses herself for saying too much, but to her shock Tarna agrees with her. Pevara points out that Elaida thinks they must all be gentled.

“When they can send six to one small village, and Travel? There is only one answer I can see. We…” Tarna took a deep breath, fingering the bright red stole again, but now it seemed more in regret than to play for time. “Red sisters must take them as Warders, Pevara.”

That was so startling that Pevara blinked. A hair less self-control, and she would have gaped. “Are you serious?”

Those icy blue eyes met her gaze steadily. The worst was past—the unthinkable spoken aloud—and Tarna was a woman of stone once more. “This is hardly a matter for joking. The only other choice is to let them run loose. Who else can do it? Red sisters are used to facing men like this, and ready to take the necessary risks. Anyone else will flinch. Each sister will have to take more than one, but Greens appear to manage well enough with that. I think the Greens will faint if this is suggested to them, though. We… Red sisters… must do what needs to be done.”

Pevara asks if Tarna’s brought this up to Elaida, but Tarna says Elaida has forbidden Tarna to mention the Asha’man at all. Pevara asks if she means that they could be gentled after bonding, pointing out that no one has any idea what that would do to the sister holding the bond; Tarna isn’t sure, but is convinced that either way, the Asha’man must be bonded, as it is the only way to “handle” them. Pevara hesitates a long moment, then brings out a message which she tells Tarna was sent by Toveine Gazal via a Red agent in Cairhien.

Tarna’s eyes jerked to Pevara’s face at the mention of Toveine’s name, then fell to reading again. Her stony face did not change even after she finished and let the paper roll back into a tube in her hand. “This changes nothing,” she said flatly. Coldly. “It only makes what I suggest more urgent.”

“On the contrary,” Pevara sighed. “That changes everything. It changes the whole world.”

Holy crap, a short chapter! I even remember the last time we’ve had one of those.

This chapter was a lot more uneasy-making pre-ToM, when a lot of people still thought there was a good chance Tarna was Mesaana’s alter-ego in the Tower. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure, of course, but personally I never really leaned toward the Tarna-as-Mesaana theory, especially after this chapter. Not so much for what she suggests here (though in light of what we found out about Moria in the Rebel Hall, perhaps it should have made me more suspicious), but because I highly doubted Mesaana would be okay with making her secret identity so high-profile as to become Keeper herself.

Plus, there were too many people who knew Tarna personally from before, as Pevara herself remarks here. I dunno, you could have made arguments in favor of it (and people did), but I never liked it. And, it turns out, I was right. So there, nyah!

As for what she actually suggested… wow. The idea that the Reds should bond channeling men instead of gentling them is even more shocking than the idea of Aes Sedai in general allying with them. As Tarna points out, of course, the notion does have a certain perverse logic to it, but talk about turning a faction’s philosophy inside out! No wonder Tarna was nervous about broaching the topic.

In practice, though, the idea seems far more prone to disaster than mere alliance, as well. I mean, we already know what a disaster it turned into for Tarna personally, though of course now-evil-Tarna probably doesn’t agree (and man that STILL SUCKS), but even if Taim hadn’t been operating his little 13x13 Dreadlord factory out of the Black Tower, making a group of women whose core identifying factor is that they hate men, especially channeling men, get up close and personal with the very group they’ve been indoctrinated to loathe—well, I should hope the issues here are fairly apparent. Especially with this talk of “handling” them as a result.

Although… well, we’ve seen already the effects (and we’re about to see more) of how bonding can change things for the people involved. And really, I suppose there’s no faster way to make someone perceive someone else as a human being, instead of as an object of fear and/or hatred, than to forge a permanent(ish) empathic link with them—Atticus Finch’s mandate of walking about in another person’s shoes given literal form, in a way. So I guess from a certain point of view, it’s like cutting the Gordian Knot of prejudice, there. So… okay, then.

Toveine’s note: I remember there was quite a lot of argument post-COT over whether her note told Pevara that the taint on saidin had been cleansed, or whether it told that Asha’man had forcibly bonded Aes Sedai. The timeline for the note to have held the former information is tight—Logain and Co. arrive in Cairhien four days before the Cleansing happens, and this scene with Pevara and Tarna is approximately seven days after the Cleansing—but I suppose possible, with what little I know about how long it would take a pigeon to get from Cairhien to Tar Valon.

However, I’m pretty sure we find out later that the note only mentions the failed attack on the Black Tower and the bonding thing, which indicates Toveine sent it before the Cleansing began. I mean, I’m presuming Logain made some kind of comment on saidin being clean afterwards to Toveine and Gabrelle, after all, and that would be the kind of information Toveine would probably think the Reds would need to know, n’est-ce pas?

And… I find I have nothing more of substance to say, which is usually a good time to, you know, shut up. So here endeth the post, kids. Have a nice week, and I’ll see you Friday!

Maggie K
1. SneakyVerin
So, I always thought this was massively unfair to Alvarin, even though I din't like her. She gets sent off to do kind of mundane errands, and is somehow gone for a month, and she is supposed to come back to a still-cowed Elaida? You can see it coming that SOMETHIGN had to have changed..and Mesanna didn't even do ANYTHING? Just didn't ring true.

The chapters regarding the Ashaman always made me wonder why something MORE wasn't being done about them. Especially by Rand.
Brandon Daggerhart
2. BDaggerhart
I always kind of wondered if Alviarin actually had some hand of the events that happened on Tremalking with all the mass-suicide stuff, since it mentions here there so close after the Cleansing.

Also, has Logain ever questioned Rand on how the Cleansing was done, and why he wasn't invited? I don't know why, but I always figured him to be the type of person to expect to be invited to Saidin-Cleansing Parties.

Also also, I think this is the last we ever see of Bad-Ass Pevara (not that she does anything remarkable here) - from here on out, she's destined to become BlackTowerVictim #XX, which hopefully she will help put a stop to in aMoL. Seriously, she needs to kick somebody's ass. I always hoped Pevara and Logain would be the ones to Purge the Black Tower, here's crossed fingers in hopesy.

Also also also, I agree that Elaida's new 'backbone' seemingly came out of nowhere - I don't remember anything at all that would have made her take such a 'power grab (re-grab?)' as that, but I could be forgetting something I suppose.
Janet Hopkins
3. JanDSedai
Well! These are the chapters most referred to in later arguments! Who is the blond woman Mesaana was impersonating? And Tarna and Pevara bonding ash'aman!

But, mostly these chapters raise more questions instead of answering any. I think that's why poeple are so irritated with this book.
Kerwin Miller
4. tamyrlink
"Or you will not like the lollipop you get AT ALL." ------- LMAO!!!!!!!!! #DEAD

oh leigh you kill me with the giggles every time.
Lannis .
5. Lannis
Re: Alviarin... this month-long absence and thought "meh, it's no big deal, I scared Elaida so bad she peed her pants last time" immediately (on first read) made me question whether our favourite Black is really as effective as she's been in the past. Truly, when it came to bad guy competence porn, Alviarin was it...

And yes, I would have loved to see her mark used by Shaidar Haran...

Thanks for the post, Leigh! :)

EDIT: Boo. I forgot our new comment box screwed with formatting if you do the ol' cut and paste. Serves me right for playing discuss-and-dash...
Kurt Lorey
6. Shimrod
Shaidar Haran and the armour.

I really don't know why he's wearing it, save for the thought that this form he took might not be indestructible (and then he'd have to start all over again in finding another super Myrddraal), but for the why it dropped off, well...

I'm pretty sure he plans to punish Mesaana in more ways than one, and having armour on might just get in the way of one of the inflictions of pain and humiliation.
Stefan Mitev
7. Bergmaniac
 So why wasn't Elaida deposed or at least made powerless by an unified against her Hall after the news of her two huge blunders reached the Tower? This has never made sense to me.
"Coiren and Toveine will take any blame from the disasters of al’Thor’s kidnapping and the assault on the Black Tower|" - really? And who sent there and gave them moronic orders? Elaida. She's the leader of the Tower and she was the one ultimately responsible for those disasters.
8. birgit
So why wasn't Elaida deposed or at least made powerless by an unified against her Hall after the news of her two huge blunders reached the Tower?

The Black made the Ajahs suspicious of each other. To depose the Amyrlin different Ajahs would have to work together.

TOR Questions of the Week, February 2005-July 2005

Week 2 Question: Is the mark that Alviarin received from Shaidar Haran the same as that the Forsaken received from the Dark One? If so, is she now a Forsaken, or some sort of lesser Chosen?

Robert Jordan Answers: The mark that Alviarin received from Shaidar Haran was not the same as that given to the Forsaken, though it shares one function: Shadowspawn will recognize her as belonging to the Dark One. They will not obey her as they will the Forsaken, however, but she doesn't have to worry about one trying to kill her, either. She is not any sort of lesser Chosen. You might think of it more like the tattoo some people get put inside the ear of their dog, an identification so others will know who the dog belongs to as soon as they see it.

If the mark allows Shadowspawn to identify Alviarin as Black it seems they cannot sense ordinary darkfriends.
Noneo Yourbusiness
9. Longtimefan
So now I am wondering what Ajah Barbie would choose.

In her many incarnations she has held many different jobs so there are arguments to be made for Yellow as Healing Barbie from both her nurse and doctor outfits. There is Green as Barbie has worn the uniform of several military branches.

I do not think there would be a Red Barbie as Ken does not have a soul (being a doll) so there would not be a worry about latent channeling tendencies.

I do not know if there is a United Nations Barbie for Grey and while there has probably been a Librarian Barbie I do not think her image has been consistantly book oriented.

White is right out as math is hard and she does prefer to go shopping. :) Then again she is a doll who changes with the times so there is a contemporary logic in her tenacity.

I suspect that in her little plastic heart Barbie is Blue. She is, as they say, "Always changing ranbows" and in that one may surmise that any and all causes are a driving force in a woman of such a diverse wardrobe.

Barbie is Moiraine, Deal with it.
10. Kadere
Elaida isn't deposed and gains all of her power back because now the Tower is under threat from the rebel army parked right outside. So instead of helping the rebels in their agenda, the sisters in the Tower instead unify behind Elaida as much as they're willing to. Unfortuantely the cracks run to deep and it only takes a little nudging from Egwene to make them fall.
11. AndrewB
Slightly off topic. Post ToM, should the Aes Sedai try Mesaana and the execute her. Remember, the Aes Sedai do not know that if you kill a Forsaken without balefire, then the DO may be able to resurect (sp?) that person in a new body. Nyn may have heard this from Rand, but I am not sure. If she has not and/or does not communicate this to Egwene, I think they should execute Mesaana. Symbolically, it would be great for the Tower to try Mesaana and then execute her for crimes against humanity. I understand that she currently has the mind of a child, but there are ways around this concerning a trial. Particularly since she admitted her existence to Egwene (who is bound by the Oath Rod).

I do not think this scene will occur in AMoL. (There is too much else that needs to be addressed.) However, I think that it would be a powerful scene.

Any comments? Pro or con welcome.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Joe Terrenzio
12. Terren
Re: not liking the lollipop.

This is I believe the third time we see rape or other sexual assault as Team Dark's punishment for a female channeler's for failure.
Granted we haven't seen any evil channelers fail and live to talk about it, other than Asmo. One does wonder, other than having Graendal kill you, what the punishment is?
Brian Carney
13. DaemonX
Honestly, I'd always assumed that the reason the arithmetic section was disused was not because Aes Sedai hate math. The higher versions of arithmetic (like number theory) seem to be both too abstract to be of much use in feudalist Randland and not abstract enough to appeal to most of the White or Brown Ajahs.

Also, Shaidar Haran's armor dropping off just seemed to be another stepping stone on his journey from a "very tall Myrddraal" to, well, whatever the heck he actually is now.
14. Feanor
In the spirit of equality of the sexes, I hope that Shaidar Haran rapes one of the male forsaken who screws up the way he's done Masaana, Lanfear, and some others (Moghedian?)
Daniel Goss
15. Beren
@12 Terren
You make a good point. Sexual torture/rape has been used several times throughout the course of the series to bring the female forsaken in line. The men, on the other hand, either never step out of line or are killed outright when they do (Asmo). I'm really not sure what to say about this other than to say that, while the double-standard is curious, it hasn't really had a chance to apply equally. For example, none of the men have actually failed spectacularly and lived to tell about it. The closest example would, again, be Asmodean. However, he didn't just fail, he actually turned traitor. Execution without resurrection would seem to be in line with his actions. It would have been . . . interesting to see what would have happened to Be'lal or Sammael after their respective debacles, but alas 'twas not to be.

16. Lsana
The "Red Ajah bonds male channelers" always struck me as the worst idea in the world as well. Okay, let's start with a group of women whose defining characteristic is that they hate men. Not all Red Ajah hate men, but enough that the stereotype has more than a little truth to it. Then, we throw them together with a group of men who have been taught their entire lives to fear the Aes Sedai in general and the Red Ajah in particular, blaming them for the misery that comes from gentling.

No way on Earth does this go well. Yes, I suppose that having the warder bond might teach the Reds that men, even channelling men, are people too and worthy of respect. But I have a hard time seeing any Asha'man willingingly putting himself in the power of a Red.
Kat Blom
17. pro_star
AndrewB - but then if that's the case, they'd have to execute her with balefire (which is forbidden!) to make sure she doesn't come back. Just think, they execute her the 'normal' way, then here comes Mesaana back...but hmm, would her mind be "healed" on her rebirth? There is a point to ponder...
18. archaeo
But, mostly these chapters raise more questions instead of answering any. I think that's why poeple are so irritated with this book.

While the ratio of questions asked to answers given is a bit askew in this book, I don't know that that's the major irritant. Crossroads is an ill-timed dramatic lull that reads much better as part of a complete series than as the latest WoT book. The end of WH is very much the end of Act II in this series (or maybe the end of Act III or IV, Shakespeare style), and, in this light, Crossroads is a necessary break in the action as the characters are put into position for the final conflicts. If one looks at the WoT as an entire large work, I think Crossroads fits in nicely, especially if you consider it the beginning of the end of the series. Plus, it was rather artistically daring of Jordan, which is always nice to see from a popular writer who is much more concerned with telling a good story than writing a literary tour de force. It just wasn't a particularly satisfying new addition to the story in 2003, especially after the dramatic events of WH.

Not much to say on these chapters, unfortunately. Alviarin's nasty fall from power and subsequent background-ness is an interesting parallel to Semirhage's humiliation in TGS and Moghedien's imprisonment in, uh, those middle books. We'll have to see if her revenge is as nasty as her superiors'.
craig thrift
19. gagecreedlives
I know it was always going to be unlikely but I was kind of hoping that Hurin was going to somehow sniff out Alviarin's mark and that was how she was going to be unmasked as a dark friend.


I beg to differ. Barbie = Elayne except with brains and effective planning


Maybe they get shielded and given to the female trollocs. I imagine that would be quite unpleasant
Thomas Keith
20. insectoid
Sorry to hear you're getting iced over, Leigh... great post as always though!

Don't have much to say about these chapters, except... Poor Tarna. Such a great plan, and it turned out rotten for her!

Lollipop: ROFL!!

Noneo Yourbusiness
21. Longtimefan
@ insectoid about Tarna.

I agree that it is a rotten deal for her. That being said I have this unfortunate feeling that her consequence may be part of the larger "men and women working together" theme.

As her plan was to bond Asha'man to control them, not to work with them, it is possible that her later unfortunate turn of events (and personality, unwillingly) is ment to highlight the negative possibilities of driving towards the narrative goal in a tank instead of a bus. (in her case a horse but everyone rides a horse in the books and it is not so good for the metaphoring.)

So as much as it sucks for the tables to have been turned, turned they have been and all topsy turvy with legs in the air and food on the floor, it does highlight the whole "yin/yang" thing and the good and bad applications of said thing.

This does bring up the other interesting point that if that is an in book example of the "working with eachother" credo being flexed against the negative then where does that leave Logain and the other Asha'man who have bonded Aes Sedai and are controling them?

Even if the intent was to protect all parties involved from the trouble that Tovine's party could have gotten into and the Asha'man from Rand finding out about any Asha'man fighting against Aes Sedai the end result is that those Aes Sedai bonded to Logain's faction are controled as much as or maybe even more so than Tarna's group had intended to control the Asha'man.

And then there is the ick that is Taim with the 13+13 funtime factory.

I have not read The Gathering Storm a second time so I am uncertain if the turning has only happened amongst the women Tarna brought with her or if it has spilled over to some of the members of Logain's faction. If it has, well, double ick and sadness all around.

This is why Apocolypses suck. All sorts of bad things happen to good (or atleast chaotic neutral) people.

Edit: Asha'corrected.
Chris R
22. up2stuff
I was all set to say almost the exact same thing about the Sea Folk AS and their 13th depository work. Then I read on, and saw Leigh did it for me, so I won't. Er, again.

Anyway, isn't the 13th "Sitters Only" or something? Maybe that's why they don't give the AS much credit. They know the worst secrets of the Tower and report them back to the AM. Wouldn't exactly inspire trust or awe.
Chris R
23. up2stuff
LongtimeFan @ 21...

Asha'man/Asha'men? Is that the plural? I like it. Goose/Geese...Moose/Meece?
Always confusing.
24. Louis Theodore Telman
Hope this works... 23 is my lucky number!

Great job as always, Leigh, even though there wasn't really much to work with. Hope all are well and staying warm and dry!
25. AndrewB
Pro_star @17.

One point I tried to make was that the Aes Sedai do not know of the Dark One's ability to revive dead Forsaken if said Forsaken is not balefired. Thus, (unless they were in comunication w/ Rand -- and which given story so far, probably would not be in such communication), the Aes Sedai would not think to use balefire.

As to your question re Mesaana's mind if resurected, BWS said that the Dark One would be able to restore her mind as it was before her confrontation with Egwene. This is the question that I asked him when Tor provided us a forum to ask him questions. I do not have a link to his answers. If you need it, hopefully one of the tech-savy posters to create such a link.

Thanks for reading my musings,
26. hamstercheeks
TankSpill@2: IIRC, the Amayar offed themselves because that's what their religious belief/life philosophy dictated, i.e. when the Time of Illusions is done, we all better be done, too. No Alviarin, is what I'm saying. Probably.

Re: lollipop -- so very, very wrong, and yet so very, very funny.

Barbie: is Bela.
Stefan Mitev
27. Bergmaniac
IIRC, Cadsuane and Merise were there when Rand told Narishma that balefire is the only way to get rid of the Forsaken for good. Now whether Cadsuane or more likely Rand told Nynaeve this is unclear, but we didn't see her mention it to Egwene when they were preparing to hunt Mesaana, so my money is on that Nynaeve doesn't know. This is WoT after all, and it's always safer to assume the characters haven't shared info unless we see it happening.
Noneo Yourbusiness
28. Longtimefan
@ up2stuff

I apologize. I think it is Asha'man/Asha'man like fish/fish.

I was typing quickly and man/men ed when I ment to man/man.
It has been corrected

Goose is geese and burnoose is Bernice.
29. Ricky Ticky Tavi
I always assumed Elaida got her backbone back so to speak because all the things that Alviaren had been blackmailing her with came out in the open anyway and nothing really happened to her, thanks to the rebels showing up at the same time. This feeds her ego even more and leads her on even more of a power trip in TGS.

It also makes me wonder what would have happened if the rebels had not shown up when they did. Without the siege would Elaida have been deposed by the hall and another Amyrlin raised? That could have led to all kinds of craziness.
Roger Powell
30. forkroot
In the spirit of equality of the sexes, I hope that Shaidar Haran rapes one of the male forsaken who screws up the way he's done Masaana,Lanfear, and some others (Moghedian?)

RJ was careful to make references to SH's "punishments" fairly subtle, and I'm sure BWS will stay the same way.
So if Demandred fails spectacularly (and lives), look for a reference to him walking funny for a while.

Barbie is Moiraine, Deal with it

The writers of Toy Story III agree with you.
31. KiManiak
Leigh, thanks as always. I thought the transition to Alviarin would make the story more interesting. I was wrong. Also, bummer for Tarna. She seemed to be competent, introspective and showed good potential as a “Red-we-might-like.” So of course, she gets zombified. I think the only 2 Reds left that are presented in a somewhat positive light to the reader are Pevara and Silviana. And Silviana isn’t shown as that sympathetic of a character in ToM, for that matter (unless you get off on how she treats Gawyn). It’s unfortunate that Pevara is the only remaining Red who seems positioned for greatness, or even competency.

I had a thought (which I see up2stuff@22 touched on briefly). With Egwene allowing the Seafolk AS to return back to their… well, folks, doesn’t this allow for some sneaky, under-the-cover transfer of a lot of the AS dirty secrets to the Seafolk. Think about it; 3 of the Browns who work in the 13th depository and have access to all that dirty laundry are Seafolk and have the opportunity to pass all of those secrets to their people. Unless they swear never to tell the information (I don’t think they will be released from the 3 Oaths, but I could be misremembering). But, it wouldn’t surprise me if, in their arrogance, no AS even thinks that the Brown Seafolk sisters would betray the AS. Okay, maybe Egwene would plan for that contingency and make them swear, but you never know….

Other than that, these chapters were so-so. At least we’ve moved on from Halima’s incompetency (and moved on to Mesaana’s faults, but hey beggars can’t be choosers)…
William Fettes
32. Wolfmage
Lsana @ 16

A couple of points about the Red Ajah:

The Red Ajah’s main purpose in life is to find men who can channel and nullify the threat they pose. This function arose from the real exigencies of the Breaking cataclysm, the subsequent mini-shocks delayed by Stedding sanctuary, and the turmoil caused by False Dragons and other male channellers throughout history.

To fulfil this function, the Red Ajah needed members who could face up to the challenge. Arguably more than other Ajahs, they needed a kind of military-like approach – both to attract women who were good material, and then help condition those recruits to a level of mental preparedness so that they could do their job effectively. In practice, that has probably meant reinforcing to their initiates an acute (read somewhat jaundiced) sense of the imminent danger posed by men who can channel, sufficient zealousness about investigation (see Elyas) and enforcement (see Owyn), and a certain level of desensitisation to the plight of their quarries.

Given that context, it’s not really surprising that Reds have more than their fair share of blind spots. Initiates with pre-existing grievances against men were no doubt prime targets for Red Ajah scouts, and over time those recruits would have progressed to Sitters, etc., and the cycle became something of a race to the bottom over time, despite the original, necessity-based noble intentions.

Can we label the current-day Reds as guilty of ubiquitous misandry? Going from what's shown on-screen, probably to a certain extent, although Pevara and some others do provide an instructive counter-point. Also, bear in mind that misandry is an arbitrary kind of sexism, whilst the Red Ajah’s primary animus is actually empirically founded due to the taint. The convention against them bonding Warders lends some weight to the suspicion that this animus is part of a broader prejudice, however, we can’t say for certain. That's arguing from revealed preferences.

It’s also possible that the Red’s historical fixation on male channellers has made them One Power-centric - ie. taint-addled Saidin users have been the main source of the world's ills, whilst vigilant Saidar-wielding Reds have worked to be the world's salvation. I can see how that worldview makes all other non-channelling actors lesser, creating a kind of contemptuousness and dismissiveness about non-channellers generally. Does anyone know if we see much in the way of boorish Red behaviour toward non channelling women that might bolster this theory?

Anyway, my point is that under this theory taint-free men, and especially those who are hardened and battle-ready, would be super attractive to some Reds. For the first time, they have a kind of equal counter-part which they’ve never had outside their fellow sisters.
john massey
33. subwoofer
Well then... believe it or not, there is actually a fair bit to discuss here... not including the dang spanking scene.

Anyways... Pevara. Funny that, at first I saw her name as "Perva" and I thought to myself, "bummer, how'd her folks explain giving her such a crappy name?...'we meant to call you Pervo, but you turned out to be a girl so Perva it was'". Ahem. Pevara sounds better.

That note- the only way it could "change the whole world" was if Saidin was cleansed. Don't see any other way. If the note says, "yup, our expedition was a total goat f*&#, we be bonded to men. Send chocolate", then I think that it would be a tit for tat thing and Tarna would be all the more admant about the situation. Saidin being cleansed- well, bonding is safe and they still need men to make their circles bigger.

A thing that seems to slip by that blows me away is the whole "wards are failing" idea. If I was the Hall and the Amyrlin, I'd have a spaz about this. Wards that have been around for eons, that have made Tar Valon stand apart from all the other great cities, going sideways. Freaky. Food going bad, mice abounding and minions everywhere- I'd want to look into this and put a stop to it pdq, it would not be low on my "to do" list.

As for a faster way to preceive someone else as a human being- well, alls I gots to say is "Freaky Friday". Fini.

34. archaeo

Couldn't you argue that men bonding women is equally Randland-shattering in its own way? Men in positions of power are relatively rare in the WoT in general, much less men with power over Aes Sedai. Men with Power with power, even. I'm as unsure as Leigh about the note, though; I think she's right, but I don't remember right off. Regardless, while the taint going away is much more important long-term, one could imagine AS getting bonded by male channelers to be a little bit unsettling to the Reds. I doubt Pevara or Tarna would even take a note about the cleansing seriously, especially since Pevara's worried about the Black Ajah and knows about the removal of oaths.


I think that's some astute analysis of the situation. It seems like the Aes Sedai in general find Asha'man irresistible, and you pretty much hit the nail on the head as to the reasons why. The Reds' development from man-haters to whatever comes next is probably tied up intimately in Pevara's narrative, and her probable success at the Black Tower in the next book will help tie up that thread. Unless RJ was planning on having the OP disappear for the Fourth Age, in which case Pevara isn't the only one who has been wasting a great deal of time.
35. jon87

I'm pretty sure shaidar haran's armour coming off was a prelude to him disrobing completely, with a view to giving mesaana her punishment rape, as per the darkfriend code of justice, section 3 paragraph 12. (...all crimes not punishable by death, being comitted by a woman, will result in being rogered by the dark one).

also, as to robert jordan not likeing maths...you know he had a physics degree and worked as a nuclear engineer right?
JOhn Johnson
36. smileyman
It's not a coincidence that the 3 Sea Folk women went for the Brown Ajah. My guess is that they were ordered to do so by their bosses so they could get access to the 13th Depository and get as much information as they could. Sure, they could learn quite a bit in the other Ajahs as well but only in the Brown could they study the ancient records without causing comment.
Kimani Rogers
37. KiManiak
smileyman@36 - Are you suggesting the Mistress of the Ships (or her Windfinder) directed the SeaFolk sacrificial lambs...uh, women they sent to the Tower to not only suffer through the indignity of being separated from the water, but to also spend their time cooped up in the library? What did they do; call her a Daughter of the Sands (or make a move on her Master of the Blades)?

Seriously, although I could see them leaving the Aes Sedai and choosing to share the info from the 13th Depository after they had already been sealed to the Tower, I would be surprised if the Sea Folk even knew about the secret info, to send 3 infiltrators to research and then smuggle out the information...

Plus, that would make the Sea Folk competent at something other than negotiating... and being general pain-in-the-backsides for the people of Randland...
john massey
38. subwoofer
@Arch- er... actually no I couldn't. Frankly, it never occured to me that this was a gender, re. Man vs Woman thing. Nope, don't care if it is men bonding women or women bonding men. That was not even close to the purpose of my post.

As for men bonding women- that is interesting in that I do not believe that any male channeler previous to Saidin being cleansed, was in a position to do so. Usually Aes Sedai hunt in packs and generally speaking, male channelers were solo under the banner of "false Dragon". That makes for crappy odds. I think the fiasco that the Tower is humming about is the net result of the Aes Sedai woefully underestimating the overall numbers and effectiveness of the Asha'man.

Sending fifty Sisters, no matter how skilled, to deal with hundreds of male channelers in the same area is poor tactics to say the least. Luckily for the Aes Sedai, all the men did was bond them, as they were under orders from Rand to not kill any of the Sisters. But as remarkable as it is, I think that it was only setting a precedent, now that is esablished, I am sure that more of bonding will be in the cards in the future.

The other part, the taking note of the cleansing... well, couple of things there.

First we know that the SAS are reeling from the discovery of the big hole that was Shadar Logoth. The hole/ lake itself is remarkable enough, if one of the Sisters from Tar Valon could read residues as well, test for Saidin, then I think is smart enough to be concerned, as for Tarna, well its moot. Second, I think most Aes Sedai are at the point of not scoffing at things that are going on around the world. Things are getting real, its about time the Sisters' start paying attention. BA hunting aside, Perava seems more on the ball than the handfull of other Sisters we have currently been exposed to.

Edit- @Arch- unless you were not implying another mvsw debate, then sorry. It just seems like we constantly take a trip down that road and it really gets me down. I was purely coming from a reaction to the text. Deep- I'm not.

Eric Hughes
39. CireNaes

I like where you're going with this. Their experiences with these mad men built up a subconscious animosity and necessitated a certain callousness towards them that would be hard to stiffle when looking at anyone of the same type. This can found in most professional police and soldiers. Over time it could have permeated the group in that they would naturally gravitate to other's who bore similar grievances and militant outlooks (likely due to traumatic developmental experiences) against the male sex as they recruited for their Ajah. This would also play into their need to protect their fellow women against destructive and powerful men by bringing them into the fold. Through this narrow recruitment they also find the comfort needed to continue their difficult work by surrounding themselves with others who echo their sentiments naturally. These women would possess the driven mentality required for the work and take to it like ducks in a pond. Pure speculation of course, but still intriguing.

In regards to their dramatic reversal of position. They would view the bond as a means of control and a known solution to their problem. I don't think this is based off of a convoluted sense of attaction. They still do not know that a stronger channeler can shrug off any attempt of control through the bond. This would be a nasty surprise for those in the lower end of their bell curve of strength, but some could maintain the status quo.
William Fettes
40. Wolfmage
Thanks! archaeo@ 34

jon87 @ 35

"also, as to robert jordan not likeing maths...you know he had a physics degree and worked as a nuclear engineer right?"

Yeah, I'm not sure what Leigh meant by academic prejudices. As you say, it's supremely unlikely RJ had any prejudices against mathematics as a subject given his background. I think the main point she was making was that she is just exasperated at the implication that women are bad at maths.

The offending passage is here:

She did not understand why there was any need for different forms of arithmetic or why so many books had been written on them, and for all the Tower prided itself on having the greatest collection of books in the world, covering every possible topic, it seemed that most Aes Sedai agreed with her. She had never seen another sister in the Ninth Depository, the reason she used it for her entry way.

So not only does Alviarin, a White by formal induction (if not by allegiance), not find much use for extensive study of arithmetic, she notes most other Aes Sedai must agree because the Depository is always empty. Ouch (at least on the surface).

But it's rather unlike RJ to be blatantly sexist, despite there being plenty of gender commentary in the series, and some of it being controversial. So, I would hope Leigh will reserve judgement.

Daemon X @ 13 makes some relevant points here.

Also, I will just say we don't really know how complete or incomplete the Ninth Depository collection is. A fragmentary remnant from the Age of Legends could amount to an amazing treasure trove with the potential to power up Randland civilisation, or it could be an oddball collection of incomplete, disconnected works which duplicate existing knowledge. If the former is the case, then it's a much harsher implication than if it's the latter.

Has Randland progressed beyond naive set theory? Do they have any grasp of pure mathematics? Do they know calculus or perturbation theory? If they don't, are their any works in the Ninth Depository, or clues in such works, that would unlock such knowledge? Have they catalogued and examined the collection extensively? Who worked on it and for how long? If the answers are all in the library, yet it is sitting there merely collecting dust, then that would render Alviarin's comment absurd and raise serious questions about the Aes Sedai's stewardship of the history of knowledge. Presumably we might also wonder whether RJ was being a bit sexist in singlign it out as being unused by the female-only superpower.

But without clear answers to these questions it's really hard for us to judge.
Jay Dauro
41. J.Dauro
I doubt that any of the Sea Folk Aes Sedai talk about the 13th Depository information outside of the Aes Sedai, and even then keep to the Sitters, the Amrylin and the Keeper (or other Browns entrusted to care for it.) Especially not to anyone outside of the AS. They probably have to swear that they will keep the secrets, and they have sworn the First Oath.

Rand instructed Narishma on using Balefire to destroy the Forsaken,

"If we kill them with anything else, they can be reborn."

At that time the following were present:
other Wise Ones

Nyneave is listed as being there in the Encyclopedia, but I do not find her in my copy of TGS. (1st Edition, so it could have been added.)

If Nyneave does know, she has reported in detail to Egwene and Suian before the Battle with Mesaana. So I believe it is probable that Egwene is aware that slaying a Forsaken without Balefire will allow the DO to restore them. (At least I would consider that pretty important.)
Alice Arneson
42. Wetlandernw
Re: the contents of Toveine's letter - 30 seconds in the Encyclopaedia tells you that specifics are revealed in the KoD Prologue. Nothing about the Cleansing; mostly that Toveine's party have all been bonded by Asha'man, and that Logain is no longer gentled. Did we all forget that no one in the WT knows yet that stilling/gentling can be Healed now?
43. archaeo
Wetlandernw@42, you make all of us look lazy.

J.Dauro@41: I think extra oaths are probably too controversial, and anyway, Siuan told Egwene all about the 13th Depository, so I think we would've known if it involved an extra oath. Also, remember that the Sea Folk AS are the weakest of the Windfinders; given the structure of the Tower, I doubt they've even ever so much as seen the 13th Depository.


Nah, I have no interest in going down that road either, although it's funny how much the WoT seems to inspire really angry "mvsw debates". I just brought it up to discuss why a note about AS getting bonded would be such a big deal to merit the "this changes everything" reaction. It's unfortunate that it's hard to discuss the man vs. woman aspect of the series, especially since it's deliciously unconventional in fantasy and was clearly one of Jordan's major focuses.

As for your other points... There were definitely no men bonding women prior to this, given that the Warder bond was invented post-Breaking and men didn't really have time to develop weaves prior to Rand's amnesty. I found it touching that they learned it to keep track of their wives. The "other part" runs into some difficulties; the SAS can go check Shadar Logoth because they have Traveling, and it seems unlikely that any of the TAS (much less Toveine) could get information from that area so shortly after the event. I agree that Pevara is totally on the ball; she's been nicely set up for the upcoming Showdown at the Black Tower.
44. sushisushi
Am reading on my phone, so just one brief comment for the moment:

Wolfmage@32 I suspect that there is a deeper reason for the Reds not bonding Warders, past a generally jaundiced view of men - it would totally eliminate the possibility of someone's Warder unexpectedly starting to channel and having to be caught and gentled, which is going to be traumatic all round. The traditional route to Warderhood seems to involve bonding quite young, if the Younglings are anything to go by, and they are well under the age for male channelling to manifest itself. As far as I can remember, the effect of gentling/stilling on a Warder is like their AS being killed, so they tend to go beserk. I'm not sure how it would work in the other direction, if the one on the controlling end of the bond isn't the one stilled, but I don't imagine it would be pleasant.
Stefan Mitev
45. Bergmaniac
I don't think the Sea Folk Aes Sedai were sent to the Tower to learn its secrets and reveal to the Windfinders later - note that the top Windfinders which came with Nynaeve and Elayne to use the Bowl knew little about the Power except weather-related stuff. They didn't even know how to link, and surely they should've been taught that if one of the Sea Folk sisters came back to the ships to reveal the secrets of the Aes Sedai.
Gerd K
46. Kah-thurak
Did you just imply, that characters in a WoT Novel will naturally forward important information to their allies and friends?
john massey
47. subwoofer
@Archaeo yay! Glad to hear that:) The "this changes everything" always felt a bit dramatic to me. I am not sure if it came from a place of one upmanship or from a quest for salvation for the other Sisters. As Wetlander pointed out (thank you) Elaida still has her head in the sand as far as the massive amount of channeling that happened. That, and the fact that none of the ladies in the Tower can Travel yet, outside of the baddies, so getting to said event and coming back to report via horse or pigeon, would take forever.

Not sure about the "change" but if the Sisters' believe that they are bonding men that will eventually go crazy I don't see how Reds can cope better than any other Ajah, other than thinning out the numbers of the least liked Ajah. Maybe Tarna is hoping the taint will not seep through the bond. I dunno.

I also don't get Alivarin. Early she is a real baddie. Does things that creep me out and generally is set up to be a Disney villian, even above the Forsaken. So why was Ali buggering around on an island for a month when other things were going on in the Tower? I am hoping RJ and Brandon have a grand plan for all this. It has been hinted at with the Sea Folk and stuff, but here's a question- why of all the places in the world would somebody build a big honkin' statue, a Sa'angrael way the heck in the middle of an island? We have the counterpart in the middle of the country, beside a big city. I understand the need for hiding it, but so far apart? What's more, who built them? Did male channelers hanging on to sanity built the guy as it was where they all resided? As for the women, did the Aes Sedai Travel out to that island or did the female Sea Folk or inhabitants of that island do it? Hmmmmmm.

Okay, maybe I am spitballing at this point, but there has to be something for whatshernut... Alivarin to putz around out in the boonies for so long.

48. jon87

The choedan Kal were built before the breaking, towards the end of the war of power. where they are now may as well be random.
Maiane Bakroeva
49. Isilel
So, after the show of Halim'gar's incompetence we now get Mesaana's ;)! I mean, really, all those BAs at her beck and call and she had to send the fricking _Keeper_ away for a month?! Given that the Keeper is the personal secretary of the Amyrlin and in charge of her intelligence service, what did Mesaana expect to happen?
Alas for Alviarin too - she loses nearly all of her cool after this point. I mean, she probably contributed to making the suicide of Amayar as all-encompassing as it was, but still...

Oh, and let me reiterate here that the FS fear of teaching skillz to BAs makes zero sense. Even less so for those of FS who by nature of their talents used to specialize in working with other channelers, like Sammael and yes, our very own Mesaana. Back in AoL they managed to command and dominate channelers of that skill level who were probably more powerful than contemporary BAs to boot!
And surely now that Rand and SGs. can call on lots of other channelers _and_ aren't all that shy about sharing their skills with them, this stance is just completely brain-dead.

Is Taim the only half-way rational person among the team Dark, after Alviarin's decline? Unlike those lossy FS, _he_ wasn't afraid to teach his men skillz.

Re: the Reds, a very interesting and succint chapter. I don't see why the idea that channelers of tainted saidin need to be controlled should be outrageous, when it is just simple truth. They don't know about the Cleansing, remember, and even after that the taint damage remained and made the men not completely trustworthy.
There is also a certain logic in viewing this task as duty of the Red - in fact that's what the Reds should have been doing all along IMHO, but in practice it could only fail at this point. Also, yet another Keeper is about to wander off for weeks/ months without notice.
Did I mention that AS incompetence was dangerously overdone? If important office holders like Keepers and Sitters can just putter off on the drop of a hat, at the time of war, no less, how could WT accomplish anything, ever?

Oh, and as to Myrdraal-lovin' that's something that only happens to women in WoTverse. RJ had assured us on several occasions of strict heterosexuality of Myrdraal ;).
Why inhuman monsters like them, who look to inflict anguish more than anything else should make such fine distinctions, well...
Tess Laird
50. thewindrose
I think that Alviarin was somehow involved with the Amayar mass suicide, and must have been doing alot of other things to be gone for a whole month - when she knew how to Travel. In ToM we see that Mesaana is still using her, as she appeared in the T'a'R fight with Egwene and Co. I am interested in finding out what she was up to for this prolonged absense.

Interesting that she runs into the Sea Folk sisters coming back from the islands!

51. hamstercheeks
I stubbornly hold to my interpretation that Alviarin had nothing to do with the Amayar mass suicides. They saw the Choedan Kal glow, thought the Time of Illusions was at end, and offed themselves. The end.

Suddenly the one unplowed hill caught her eye. A great stone hand stuck out of the ground clasping a clear sphere as large as a house. And that sphere was shining like a glorious summer sun.

All thoughts of the Atha'an Miere gone, Timna gathered her cloak and sat down on the ground, smiling to think that she might see the fulfillment of prophecy and the end of Illusion.

...And on distant Tremalking, the word began to spread that the Time of Illusions was at an end. -WH, ch. 35

The Amayar were peaceful folk who followed the Water Way and crafted porcelain for the Sea Folk. On the one hand, if the Shadow did send out Alviarin to assist in the suicides, the benefits include greatly demoralizing the Sea Folk, and possibly delaying their participation in TG. Also, no more porcelain. What mind-boggling economic repercussions for the Sea Folk! How sinister!

On the other hand, we know that the Amayar believed that reality is Illusion, which probably means their "lives" can be cast off with no moral repercussions. Also, we have Alviarin's thoughts when she encounters Zemaille in the Library: She almost wanted to tell Zemaille what was happening on Tremalking, just to see whether the woman would flinch.

I think this means she was sent by Mesaana on a bunch of fact-finding expeditions, and that's why she took a month. Tremalking must have been her last stop.

Arguments welcome, of course. I'm probably wrong, but until someone sends me a link to a stunningly reasoned and evidence-supported theory, I shall protest Alviarin's innocence! In this matter, at least.
52. The teacher
Perhaps Taim and Alviarin should be glad they have not been promoted to "Choosen".

From what TGS and ToM have shown, in the eyes
of the Dark One, the Forsaken (minus Moridin) end up being "choosen" to being nothing more than expendable cannonfodder. Also, they tend to get violently killed, raped by Myrdraal, balefired, a'damed (now a verb), or having their lives made horrible in some other way all the time.

Nor will anyone of them EVER really get a chance to be "Naeblis", whatever they might fool them self to believe.

To conclude:
Being a Forsaken sucks. The name sort of implies it. Better to be a high status Darkfriend. That name has "friend" in it, and you might actually get some work done too.

I think that handing FMF's (Failurestruck Male Forsaken) over to female trollocks is a brilliant idea that SH just can overlook. Assuming he is reading Leigh's ReRead and our comments while waiting for MoL, of course.
Stacy Berger
53. anIceFan
I like everything you say except one word "equal". One of the main problems that I see in Randland is that no group views any other group as equals. Just about all of the links involve some kind of dominance. Look at the way most AS react over women being bonded. Think of Egwene's response over AS swearing to Rand, but she is ok with them swearing to her.

I think if 2 groups see each other as equals the pattern will unravel.
54. birgit
I have not read The Gathering Storm a second time so I am uncertain if the turning has only happened amongst the women Tarna brought with her or if it has spilled over to some of the members of Logain's faction.

That's in ToM, not TGS.

Also, remember that the Sea Folk AS are the weakest of the Windfinders; given the structure of the Tower, I doubt they've even ever so much as seen the 13th Depository.

Alviarin says that they are librarians working in the 13th Depository, which means that they do know it.

So why was Ali buggering around on an island for a month when other things were going on in the Tower?

She was away for a month, not necessarily in the same place all the time. She was running errands for Mesaana.

It has been hinted at with the Sea Folk and stuff, but here's a question- why of all the places in the world would somebody build a big honkin' statue, a Sa'angrael way the heck in the middle of an island?

Maybe it wasn't an island before the Breaking.
Sydo Zandstra
55. Fiddler
Re: Aes Sedai and Math

If memory serves, at some point we see two Aes Sedai discussing the food rotting thing, and their argument is about which old math model should be used to calculate the consequences right.

It always reminded me of Thomas Malthus's theory (do a wiki, whenever I post a wiki link, my post gets flagged), except that the DO is lowering population numbers by decreasing the available amount of food.

IIRC, these two AS where White Ajah too (but could be Browns though)

(No time to look it up myself though, I'm on a tight Malazan schedule aiming to be ready for The Crippled God to come out next month :) )
56. archaeo
birgit@54, you are totally right; she does mention exactly that. That'll teach me to make assumptions without looking at the book. I would still argue that there's no way it'll be an important plot point, since there can't possibly be time for Sea Folk drama at the last battle. At least, I hope not.
Scott Terrio
57. Renegade248

Either a slow day here with the re-read or this book is just not generating a lot of buzz. Who would of thought that with CoT. :)
john massey
58. subwoofer
@Birgit- thank you- What I was getting at is we have one of the grand poobahs of the BA on the island. We have a big honkin' statue made on said island. And we have a race of people we barely understand collectively killing themselves now. Methinks there is a connection. It's not just anyone that can make these thingys. Maybe the Sa'angreal was built on the island cause they were the only ones that could do it. Maybe the people that built it died in the making or burying.

@Is- exactly! Yet another example of the boobery that is the Forsaken. Meh.

As for the Keeper wandering off for a month... well maybe RJ was taking cues from Star Trek. Send all the officers down to the planet and let some ensign captain the ship. It could happen. Lookit Eggy getting spanked in the Tower forever and a day. Send the Amyrlin to pick mushrooms.

Rajesh Vaidya
59. Buddhacat
@58 Subwoofer:

There's nothing to say that the Statue was made on that island. The Statue was made in the Age of Legends, there was then the Breaking, lands changed, seas changed .... it could equally well have ended up at the bottom of the Aryth Ocean. It just ended up being on an island. That's all, nothing to do with the Amayar.

I took Alviarin's interest in it to be that of Mesaana checking to see if it's worth pursuing the hidden access keys anymore. Clearly, it no longer is.
Sam Mickel
60. Samadai

It is two whites discussing it in The GS when Egwene is visiting Leane. It is just before Leanes' cell starts to dissolve.
john massey
61. subwoofer

That's the second person that has said that. Sooo is the point that the big honkin' thing (bht) was on that particular chunk of land before the Amayar showed up? Cause regardless of whatever, methinks bht is not portable.

Daniel Goss
62. Beren
We interrupt this meaningful discussion for some pointless frivolity.

I want to make this into a picture-book for my kids, but I have no visually artistic ability whatsoever. So here it is, the transcript of a WoT-themed alphabet picture-book.

A is for Al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn.
B is for Bela, the Creator's true form.
C is for Chesa, Egwene's loyal maid.
D is for Domon, who never gets paid.
E's for Egwene, the Amyrlin Seat.
F is for Falme, and Seanchan Retreat.
G is for Gawyn, or maybe Galad.
H for Halima, a "girl" who is "bad."
I's Information, no-one has enough.
J is Jain Farstrider, an old guy who's tough.
K is the Kin, now their secret is known.
L, Lan the Warder, a man all alone.
M is for Matt, with disdain for heroes.
N for Nynaeve, Aes Sedai to her toes.
O is for Olver, and his hard-knock life.
P is for Perrin, with his jealous wife.
Q is Queen Morgase, and daughter Elayne.
R is for Rand, yes I used him again.
S, Semirhage, she scares me a lot.
T was for Tuon, but now she is not.
U for Uno, as you flaming well know.
V, Valan Luca, come pay for his show.
W, Will Al'Seen, a good-looking man.
X is ex-Aes Sedai, Satelle Anan.
Y is for Younlings, who fought the Aiel
Z for Zarine, though she prefers Faile.

Why? Because I can.
Thomas Keith
65. insectoid
Beren @62: Bravo!! Well done!

Though I don't see Berelain or Cadsuane or Moiraine in there;)

edit: Maybe we should take a page from Dr. Seuss and extend the alphabet;)

Tricia Irish
66. Tektonica
Excellent Beren@62!

Just what this these chapters needed! Thank you.
craig thrift
67. gagecreedlives

During a slow work day you have inspired me.

Here is my WoT themed alphabet book….. for trolloc babies

A is for Aginor, our dad
B is for Borderlanders, they bad
C is for Cookpot, hmmm yummy
D is for Dael al'Taron, he went in our tummy
E is for Emonds Field, not a good place to be
F is for Fain, who we never want to see
G is for Ghar'ghael, one of the bands
H is for Horse flesh, isn’t as good as a mans
I is for Isam, who we like to cheer
J is for Jumara, run for your life if they you hear
K is for Kinslayer, he wasn’t much fun
L is for Lan, we ate his mum
M is for Myrddraal, they who must not be dissed
N is for Narg, who will be missed
O is for Osan’gar, daddy’s new name
P is for People, who make good game
Q is for Quiet, which we must be in the Ways
R is for Rhavin, we haven’t seen him in days
S is for Shadar Logath, where the shadow does wait
T is for Trollocs, because we are great
U is for Uck, by the Great Lord I hate bath time
V is for Vino, its getting really hard to think of a rhyme
W is for Wolves, they are all such a pain
X is for X-tra crispy, which is how we will cook Elayne
Y is for Yummy, its time to dine
Z is for Zzzzzzzzzzzzz its now nap time

*edited* to include pic of Trolloc baby
Kimani Rogers
68. KiManiak
Beren@62 Very Nice!

Subwoofer@47,58,61 – re: Choeden Kal statue – Hey Woof (Do you mind if I call you Woof? I know I’ve only been a part of this group for a couple of months, but you seem like a cool, laid back and approachable guy so I hope you don't mind me taking the liberty), I think the others who responded to you (and definitely me) are a little confused. In your post @47 you seem to be asking why anyone would build the bht on an island. One of the folks here responded that it was built in the AoL and probably wasn’t on an island at that time; the land and/or the ocean probably shifted during the Breaking (as we are told in the books that some land originally on the bottom of the ocean ended up in the Waste and vice versa; I think a Forsaken even said that Shayol Ghul was on an island before the Breaking).

In your post @58, it still seems that you think the bht was built on the island (and it also could be read that you think the Amayar built the bht and then those specific Amayar died, but I don’t think that’s what you meant), so more folks responded that it probably wasn’t an island when the bht was constructed in the AoL.

So re: your post @61, are you asking whether the bht was built on that specific piece of land, and whether/not the Breaking occurred and that particular piece of land became an island, still with the bht on it? If so, I think that is what we are led to believe given the info we’ve been given via the books. If you are asking/suggesting something else, then I admit to still being confused. Could you clarify for me/us?

As for the connection between Alviarin and the Amayar’s mass suicide, I think those who think they are linked are presenting an interesting theory. I’d want to hear more. What are folks’ proposing the Shadow had to gain, other than the massive sadness it caused amongst the Sea Folk (which didn’t prevent them from transporting the food to Arad Doman as we see in ToM)?

Unless, there is some theory out there that the Amayar are meant to play some major role in Tarmon Gaidon. Or maybe the Amayar knew the song but could never get it to the Tu’authan? Aren’t they both basically descendants of the original Aiel from the AoL? Maybe the Amayar’s prophecy re: the Time of Illusion and Alviarin’s actions on Tremalking are all part of Ishydin’s eons-long plan to eliminate the Amayar around the time of the Last Battle. Not saying I’m buying any of this, but it’s a theory…

EDIT: to remark to gagecreedlives@67 - Very Nice, as well!
Jay Dauro
69. J.Dauro
A quick view of the timeline from Tellings of the Wheel with Day #s.

701(?) Alviarin leaves the Tower on errands for Mesaana
703 The SAS Army arrives at Tar Valon
705 Alviarin is removed as Keeper
716 Rand and Nyneave cleanse the Source and destroy Shadar Logath
723 Alviarin returns to the Tower from Tremalking

Alviarin left on the trip before the Cleansing, so unless Mesaana has been in touch with her during the month (and there is no hint of this in Alviarin's thoughts in this chapter) she could not have gone to Tremalking due to the cleansing on Mesaana'a instructions.

Does Alviarin know of the CK and the ability to tap them using Access keys? (Verin knew of the CK, but did not mention the Access keys.)

We do know she went to Shadar Logath after the cleansing without Mesaana's knowledge. But could she have made the connection? And how could she have been given instructions to help the Amayar suicide, being as they needed the trigger of the destruction of the CK to start? How could Mesaana give instructions to do this?
Jonathan Levy
70. JonathanLevy
57. Renegade248

I've heard it said in the past that the reviews of CoT are more entertaining than the book itself. Let's link to our favorite reviews of the book, and see if we agree!

Here's my favorite review of it:

Do you like? :)
Maiane Bakroeva
71. Isilel
This chronology seems a bit off - would the Hall remove a Keeper after only 4 days of absence? Tarna has been gone for longer and there wasn't a peep about it.

Re: Alviarin and Amyar suicide - guys, let me keep my illusions that the Shadow is accomplishing something terrible at least off-screen, OK? And Alviarin's presence does hint at connection, IMHO. There are parallels with Semiraghe plunging Seanchan into civil war as well.

Speaking of the Sea Folk sisters, the whole situation surrounding them seems weird. I thought that I remembered it being mentioned that there are only the 3 of them, but Egwene apparently considered gaming the agreement about sending 20 AS to SF by sending them the SF sisters?
Also, SF demanded that the SF sisters should be free to return... but then, as far as WT is concerned they could have returned as soon as they reached the shawl and nobody would have cared - or known. I imagine that the SF themselves forbade them to ever return or seek contact.
Also, the "sacrifices" chosen are probably those who are not promising by SF standards - i.e. weak in traditional female powers of Air and Water, not all that interested in maritime life, etc. That could mean that they have potential for rare and interesting abilities.
I am not seeing why they'd want to return, as the SF would gleefully put them on the very bottom, kick them as much as they can and even if/when they complete their apprenticeships they'd be probably condemned to serve on some leaky clippers for the rest of their lives.
Another issue is - what happens to ex-SF novices who don't reach the shawl? We didn't see any among the Kin, IIRC. Or do the SF send only girls who are (barely) strong enough to pass and since they are cast out forever from their culture anyway, they are highly motivated to succeed? Hm...

I expected Egwene to consult with SF sisters before she managed to turn around that awful Bargain, but no such luck...
Tricia Irish
72. Tektonica
GCL@67: You brightened my early morning java! But that baby picture....totally gross!

JonathanLevy@70: ROFLOL. Hadn't seen that one. Thank you.
73. Ruruna
According to excerpts in New Spring and what we've seen of Sea Folk so far, I can more or less surmise that it's not that the Sea Folk are spies or anything of the sort.

Moiraine notes that the then Accepted Zemaille was 'slow' to progress and would often have apparent difficulties in learning weaves, but would suddenly master it as if she had known how to do it all along. Even Alviarin herself thinks that Zemaille is not quite so reticent as she seems.

SF Aes Sedai have one of the saddest and most difficult lives in the Tower. From the time they are sent to the White Tower as a 'sacrifice', they have to live a lie in a position that effectively does not allow them to lie. They have to hide their ability and their proficiency with the OP, all for the sake of creating and maintaining the illusion that SF just don't have strength or potential in the OP and are there for of no interest to the WT.

It's therefore no wonder to me why all three SF Aes Sedai would choose an Ajah that would allow them total isolation if they so choose and they can seclude themselves somewhere 'immersed in work' so no one sees them.

Being Brown and working in the library no less, is the best excuse for them to gain a space, the only space, where they can be themselves and among their own kind. I don't think it's unfair to say that gaining the shawl was one of the few ways in which a Tower inducted SF would gain some reprieve from the mask she's forced to wear.
Tess Laird
74. thewindrose
S is for sideways - we went there again;)

gagecreedlives - that is a scary baby! Great work on the alphabet books - gagecreedlives and Beren.

Jonathan Levy - that one almost sounds like you wrote it - very funny.

The great big balls of power - the male one is half way buried in Tremonsien in Cairhien. So the Female one is on Tremalking - notice the that they both start with Trem:)

75. hamstercheeks
Thank you to Beren and gagecreedlives and Jonathan Levy for the lulz!
Lannis .
76. Lannis
Beren @ 62: Excellent! See? Now I'm glad I'm so bored this morning that I checked back in... that was very fun!

gagecreed @ 67: Also nice. And, um, dude, that pic creeped the shit out of me... where do you FIND this stuff?

Jonathan Levy @ 70: BAHAhahaha! Nice!

Me? Nothing WoT related this morning. Oh, except a big "Yay!" for the new WoT portal! I don't know anyone who's going to jump on THAT... ;)
Noneo Yourbusiness
77. Longtimefan
@ Bridigt 54 I am sorry I confused the titles. I have been a bad fan an must admit I have not re read either of them. Shocking I know.

I also agree with Ruruna @ 74 that the sea folk sacrifices probably picked brown to use the isolation to keep the secret that there are many stronger channelers amongst their people.

Brown also seems like a channeling light kind of Ajah so those with less access to sadair may find themselves ignored by Ajahs that rely on strength for success like red and yellow (probably green). Grey, brown and white do not seem to need a large number of weaves that the readers have seen in the books. Blue can walk in the middle depending on the cause I suppose. :)
Lucas Vollmer
78. aspeo
Hello all! I haven't had much time to comment lately but I've been enjoying reading the conversations you've all been having when I've had the chance to get on here :)

Alviarin and the Amayar-
I never thought Alviarin had a part in the mass suicide of the Amayar. They had an old prophecy that apparently told them to off themselves when the statue lit up. I know Alviarin can do many things, but time traveling to start the prophecy is probably not within her capabilities ;)

Also, just because she had some mud on her shoes doesn't mean she was there for very long. If she has been running errands for Mesaana for the last month, it was probably just one stop of many that she made.

Sea Folk Aes Sedai-
I always figured the SF Aes Sedai were under strict orders to draw as little attention to themselves as possible, so that the mainlanders wouldn't be able to learn much about the SF. I think the ones who became AS couldn't resist wanting to learn as much as possible from the wealth of knowledge that the WT held. Their hunger for knowledge can be seen in the eagerness of the windfinder apprentice, Talaan, to be taken to the WT as an apprentice. The duality of duty and eagerness seems to be evident in the passage that talks about Zemaile learning weaves. She would struggle many times, and then perform it perfectly. Most likely this means she learned it fairly quickly, and then hid it for a time so she would not stand out to anyone.

These things are probably part of why they were drawn to become Browns, and why they were keepers of the 13th Depository. To them, I think they thought that they were in a priveleged position that was above their fellow sisters because of the secret knowledge they gained. I doubt they were learning all this to bring back to the SF because it seems like as long as the SF have sent anyone to the WT it is pretty much expected that those women will never return to the SF. It is kind of like a sacrifice to the gods in a way. They give a woman to the WT to keep them happy, and in return the WT largely leaves the SF alone.

Wow, that turned into a lot more rambling than I intended! I hope I haven't repeated too much of what has been said by other people.
Stacy Berger
79. anIceFan
reading the post by aspeo @78 made me start thinking.
What if a SF AS had became the Amyrlyn Seat? Where would her loyalties lie? Would she have blown the SF cover?
Chris R
80. up2stuff
Not really important, I guess, but I was just wondering how secret the ultra-secret 13th depository really is.

Like I said, I thought that only the Sitters, Amyrlin, and Keeper knew. Matter of fact, wasn't that what Egwene was helping that Brown Sister prove she was trustworthy with, the knowledge the Depository existed, or something?

I just thought that even within the Browns, very few knew the 13th existed.
Thomas Keith
81. insectoid
JLevy @70: ::reads review:: ROFLMAO!! I don't think I can stop laughing... XD

82. XLCR
First timer checking in here. Meaning it's the first time I've ever posted on any sort of WoT site. However, I am also a plankholder. For those of you not familiar with nautical terms, this literally means a part of the original crew. And so I am, as I started reading WoT when TEOTW first appeared at the local library, and I started re-reading when I first became lost in AS names in the process of reading COT. My latest re-read was last year when TGS came out. This year I was considering it again for ToM when I found this, and this is the place where I offer my heartfelt thanks that Leigh has gone to the enormous trouble of giving me and many others an entertaining option. Instead of another re-read I've gone this route instead and, yes, starting about a week ago I have now finally caught up, reading quickly, and not reading the actual chapters along with. Being as I have the local library eating out of my hand as a past president of Friends of the Library, I've never really had to buy books I've been interested in, they are always ready to go the extra mile to get me what I want, when I want it. So TGS is the first one I've ever purchased. But I have PoD handy, and I'll be right here from now on, another devoted fan of Leigh's awesomeness.
john massey
83. subwoofer
@KiManiak- shucks, thanks, but au contraire mon frere, it is I that am confused. Hence my spitballing. Basically I was thinking about geographic locations and their implications. The Male bht is at least close to TV. The Female bht is wayyyy the heck and gone, Breaking of the world or no we are not talking a hundred miles or something- we are talking about building another statue a continent away. Gotta be a reason for that.

I was thinking that maybe the Amayar had something to do with it, cause they are "special" which RJ never really gets into. Point being, we have a whole race of people who are Dreamers or something- killing themselves, we have the head of the BA er... Alviarin on the inside of that, and obviously it was important or Mesaana wouldn't have Alvi go fetch, and all folks say is that it is the Forsaken plan to handicap the Sea Folk. Not buying that. I was thinking that there was something more. The timeline doesn't work but I was thinking the Amayar built the chick bht. Or something. Like I said, I was spitballin'.

Also, because somebody took the time to type out the proper name for the bhts I cut and pasted and looked up on the wiki. Interesting stuff there. Two things jumped out at me tho'- the women AS were backstabbing chicken$h!%s that coulda saved eons of pain and aggrivation-

This plan was considered highly dangerous — Lews Therin admitted that there was little chance any of them would return, even if they succeeded; and furthermore the attempt to re-seal the prison might simply rip it open instead. Consequently, a woman named Latra Posae Decume (damn her)started a pact with the other female Aes Sedai that none would assist Lews Therin. This "Fateful Concord," as it was later called, essentially sunk his existing plans, which relied on male-female cooperation. However, Lews Therin remained skeptical; it was his belief that the Dark One could not be contained with brute force.

Dang it!!!


Lews Therin later believed, as a voice in Rand's head, that the Dark One was able to taint saidin because it was touched directly to the Dark One during the sealing. He also states that the seal itself was weak, but does not explain why. It was later theorized by Rand that the seal was weak because Lews Therin was only able to use saidin to create the seal,

I'm tellin' yas- Eggy, you better start cooperating or my world domination plans are gonna have to take a back burner because I'm going to have to find a way to write myself into that story so I can dummy slap the snot outta the Amyrlin and tell her to shut up and start working with Rand.

Edit- for those further confused by my post "bht" is in reference to Big Honkin' Thingies- er... the CK statue type deals.

Alice Arneson
84. Wetlandernw
So maybe my sense of humor has just congealed on this cold, rainy Seattle day, but I didn't find the review all that amusing. Sorry... There comes a point where hyperbole goes over the top of funny and down the other side into overdone exaggeration. IMO. For those who dislike the way CoT was written, I'll give you (again) what RJ said about it:
The only thing that I wish I hadn't done was use the structure that I did for CoT, with major sections beginning on the same day. Mind, I still think the book works as it is, but I believe it would have been better had I taken a more linear approach. When you try something different, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.
Not much to say about the discussion, since I can't contribute much hard fact and I'm not up for an opinion debate.

One thing I did note, the other day, was on Halima's objectives (as discussed last week or so). In KoD Ch. 3, Mesaana hisses at Aran'gar for losing Egwene:
"Why did you let her go, Aran'gar? You were supposed to be controlling her! Were you so busy playing your little dream-games with her that you forgot to learn what she was thinking? The rebellion will fall apart without her for a figurehead. All my careful planning ruined because you couldn't keep a grasp on one ignorant girl!"
Aran'gar assures them that the rebellion is just fine, thankyouverymuch, tells them that Egwene is not a figurehead but is probably the stronger leader, and jabs Mesaana about being able to keep the Tower together long enough to keep the conflict going. Mesaana's response is

"Then everything is proceeding according to plan. I had been thinking I would need to stage some sort of 'rescue,' but perhaps I can wait until Elaida has broken her. Her return should create even more confusion, then. You need to sow more dissension, Aran'gar. Before I'm done, I want these so-called Aes Sedai hating each other in their blood."
A bit later the two are arguing over who gets to have Egwene; Aran'gar insists that s/he wants the girl because without her, the available tools are much weaker. Mesaana claims that it has been her plan from the start, so she gets to decide how to adapt it, and when/where Egwene is set free. At this point Moridin walks in and says, in effect, "you're both wrong, I get to decide when, where, whether, and everything else." Then the direction of conversation (and thought) changes. Earlier, though, she had noted to herself (regarding TAR) that "Her abilities here were not as large as some - she could not find Egwene's dreams without the girl right beside her - but she could manage the clothes she wanted."

So it seems that her directive in being sent to Salidar was to keep the AS conflict as stirred-up as possible; we can only assume that the purpose of that is to keep them from developing any effective plans for TG, or possibly to set them up for dreadlord-factory-fodder later, a la Taim & the Black Tower. The dream thing seems to have been her own idea, permissible as long as it didn't interfere in the bigger plan.


Anyway, if her primary mission was to increase dissension between the SAS and TAS, and to create internal dissension among the SAS, she seems to have been doing a reasonably good job. In this she was stymied only by the fact that Egwene turned out to be a strong leader after all, and found some rather sneaky-clever ways to unite them in spite of themselves.

Incidentally, back to even earlier discussions... Considering that the Team Dark plan was to create as much dissension as possible, and that Mesaana had Elaida pretty well going the direction she wanted, I'd say that a strong Amyrlin on the rebel side is the only thing that stopped a major Forsaken plot. Therefore, whether you like Egwene or not, the notion that "a strong leader for the rebellion is good for Team Light" seems to be upheld.
85. Master Al'Gauss
Clearly RJ making a joke about math. Pretty funny too.
john massey
86. subwoofer

I'd say that a strong Amyrlin on the rebel side

a strong leader for the rebellion

Hmmmm... If you put it that way... I guess I would like Egwene more if she had a different hairstyle. Like perhaps... oh.... this...

Alice Arneson
87. Wetlandernw
Is it the hairstyle or the weapon you like?
William Fettes
88. Wolfmage
Wetlander @ 84

Hmmm, I can’t help but wonder whether that quote itself provoked the dig in the review about RJ not admitting to serious flaws with CoT.

Anyway, I personally didn't find the Amazon review that funny. But I do think CoT's belaboured pacing, almost self-indulgent levels of detail spent on minutiae, and absence of equivalent moments of awesome to the other books of the series does invite some criticism. It’s the style of the mockery I disagree with more than the substance of the point being made.
john massey
90. subwoofer
Well... now that you draw attention to the gun... hmmmm, nah, I'm sticking to my original script and going with the hairstyle. Mind you in the movie SpaceBalls the hair was revealed as head phones. Egwene would get bonus points from me if she invented and ipod;)

Alice Arneson
91. Wetlandernw
Wolfmage @88 - Something we agree on, for sure. The quote is from RJ's blog, dated 02 October 2005, so it's possible the "reviewer" (November 16, 2005) had that in mind. FWIW, it was that particular quote that got me to read KoD, because I had found CoT so incredibly frustrating. Knowing that he didn't think it worked very well either gave me hope that he wouldn't do it again.

Regardless of my opinion of the book, I just didn't find the "review" particularly funny. Some people can do hyperbole well and with excellent humor; others... can't. To me, this guy was definitely in the "others" category. As you say, the substance of the point was more or less valid; it just wasn't that funny.
Rajesh Vaidya
92. Buddhacat
@83 Subwoofer:

The BBoBA has some verbiage about why the two statues were created so far apart - something about "resonances."
93. XLCR
As it happens at the same time I've been reading this I've also had the fortune to procure a copy of Roger Zelazny's Manna From Heaven. It is a collection of rarely seen Zelazny shorts including six short stories that are the bare bones of a third section of his legendary Chronicles of Amber, a section that was never written due to his untimely death in 1995. This is WELL worth reading, even if you aren't a previous Zelazny fan. I consider Amber and WoT to be running neck and neck for the title of Best Fantasy Series Ever.
They have many things in common. They both are driven by the designs of a semi-senient Pattern, they both have protaganists with god-like powers, and while in WoT Shadow is the enemy, in Amber Shadow is the raw material that makes the magic possible. But the writing styles could not be farther apart. Where Jorden's style is conventional, wordy, and densely written, Zelazny's is sparse, colorful, and experimental, with an almost Dasheel Hammit first person descriptive view and the same sort of gritty dialogue, along with Robert E. Howard-like rapid plot development.

The ironic thing is that RJ is the one who has written several tribute Conan novels. Pity he didn't pick up the one thing Howard was really talented at, his ability to keep the story roaring along at full throttle.

Anyway here I am trying to compare them, and they are really too different to pick a winner, like apples and oranges. Any thoughts from anyone out there? I do think I would give third place to Moorcock's Eternal Champion Cycle, of which the Elric stories are my fave.

And favorite movies? I've been reading here long enough to think most would agree with my choice of The Princess Bride.
94. hamstercheeks
subwoofer@83: I understand your frustration (or were you being ironic?), but Jesus-Rand in ToM admits that LTT's plan was bonkers and that the women were right to oppose. Hence, born again to fix the mess. Maybe Latra is now Egwene? Also born again to fix her part of the mess?

@86: Please, please, please let it happen:

Egwene sat still, running novice exercises to calm her mind as Chesa brushed out her hair and chattered about something or other. She would make Rand see reason. He couldn't break the seals. She ran her arguments over in her head, and absently wondered whether or not to keep Nynaeve away when she and Rand spoke.

"It's done, Mother," Chesa said, in almost reverent tones. Egwene stood up, slowly, regally, her hair in two tight coils on either side of her head. She glanced at herself in the mirror and nodded thoughtfully. Yes, this was the hair that would let the Dragon know her anger. This was the hair that would bring the Dragon Reborn to his knees.

Wetlandernw@84: "A strong leader for the rebellion is good for Team Light." Yep, and remember that Sheriam was all for the little puppet rebel Amyrlin, so her badass BA self could pull the strings. How'd that work out for ya, Sheriam? (Sad, though--I liked Sheriam.)

XLCR@93: Maybe not favorite movie, but Princess Bride is definitely Top Ten material.
Jonathan Levy
95. JonathanLevy
92. Buddhacat

I'm pretty sure (though I haven't looked it up) that the 'uncontrolled resonances during the final stages, whatever that means' referred to the distance between an access Ter'angreal and its Sa'angreal, not between the two Sa'angreal themselves.

94. Hamstercheeks

And then:

"My hair! He channeled at my hair! That son of a b*tch..."
Chris R
96. up2stuff
"Mahwage...Mahwage is what Bwings us togevah, today. Mahwage, dat bwessed awaingement; A dweam, wivin a dweam." The Wedding Scene

And Even better...
Inigo..."That Vizzini, he can fuss."

Fezzik... "Fuss, Fuss. I think he like to scream, at us".

Inigo.. "Probably, he means no harm."

Fezzik..."He's really, really short on charm."

Inigo..."Ah, you've a great gift for ryme."

Fezzik..."Yes, yes some of the time."

Vizzini..."Enough of that."

Inigo... "Fezzik, are there rocks ahead?"

Fezzik..."If there are, we'll all be dead."

Vizzini..."No more rymes now, I mean it!"

Fezzik..."Anybody want a peanut?"

Kimani Rogers
97. KiManiak
hamstercheeks@94 and JL@95 re: Princess Leia /Princess Vespa hair reference fiction - Very good! A great start to the morning

However hamstercheeks, I think its definitely a matter of opinion regarding Jesus-Rand's view of LTT's plan to seal the bore and whether/not the women should have opposed him. The reference that caught my mind's eye:

The last time I tried to seal the Bore, I was forced to do it without the help of the women. That was part of what led to disaster, though they may have been wise to deny me their strength. Well, blame must be spread evenly, but I will not make the same mistakes a second time. I believe that saidin and saidar must both be used. I don't have the answers yet. (ToM, The Amyrlin's Anger)

The quote is open to interpretation depending on which side you favor (I suppose. I actually think it damns the women while suggesting that there was a chance the women were wise to deny support, while ultimately acknowledging that all parties shared the blame; but it's been shown multiple times that folks here tend to interpret quotes differently, which is fine), but nowhere does he assert that LTT's plan was "bonkers" and that the women were definitively "right."

I admit, this is the clear reference to LTT's and Latra Posae Decume's actions that came to my mind. Hamstercheeks, were you referencing another quote that has Rand view LTT's actions as "foolish" or "mad" (since I doubt Randland would know what "bonkers" means) that I'm forgetting?

And I see while I was typing that up2stuff@96 added another Spaceball reference. Always appreciated!
Chris R
98. up2stuff
WOT meets Space Balls... Rand and co have crash landed on the moon of Vega, traveled via Portal Stone to the Aiel Waste.

The Dark One, Morridin, and Shaidar Haran are peering at a small monitor, watching a video cassette of "Spaceballs, The Movie" The Wheel of Time, searching...

Dark Helmet, er...The Dark One, "What the hell am I looking at!!? When does THIS happen in the movie?"

Sanders/Morridin, "Now, Great Lord. You're looking at NOW. Everything that happens NOW, is happening, NOW.

Dark One, "Go back to then!"

Morridin, "When?"

The Dark One, "Now."

Morridin, "Now?"

The Dark One, "NOW!"

Morridin, "I Can't"

The Dark One,"Why?"

Morridin, "We MISSED it."

The Dark One, "When"

Morridin, "Just Now. We're at NOW, now."

The Dark One, "When will THEN be NOW?"

Morridin, "Soooon."

The Dark One, "How soon?"

Shiadar Haran, "Great Lord!"

The Dark One, "What!?"

Shiadar Haran, "Ive identified their location."

The Dark One, "Where!?"

Shiadar Haran, "Its the Aiel Waste"

Morridin, "Good work, Shaidar Haran. Punch in a course and prepare for our arrival."

The Dark One,"WHEN!?"

Shiadar Haran, "1900 hours GREAT LORD."

Morridin, "By High Noon Tomorrow Tarmon Gaidon, they will be our Prisoners!!!"

The Dark One, "WHOOOO!!!!????"
99. hamstercheeks
KiManiak, that was exactly the quote to which I alluded, although I exaggerated because I didn't have the book handy. You're absolutely right -- Rand's words are open to interpretation. I tend to think that the women not joining saved saidar from the taint = good.

I do like Jesus-Rand because he's so forward-thinking -- "screw the blame, let's just do it right this time" -- so let's see if Egz will reciprocate in terms of reason and common sense.
Kimani Rogers
100. KiManiak
Geez... it was just sitting here waiting for me to claim it. Oh, well; so be it.

One Hunny (and it feels so good)!

Oh and hamstercheeks, I echo your plea for Egwene to see common sense and reason, but I think she would interpret those to be whatever her opinion is on any subject matter :-)

Still, gotta love a gal who's self assured and brimming with confidence... except for when she opposes the Savior (I know, I snuck that in there ::inserts evil laugh::)
101. XLCR
Considering my last posts, I've noticed I'm not managing to stay on subject. This isn't my favorite part of the book, yo. I'm another Matiholic and I'm eagerly waiting for more of the Mat/Tuon interaction. We are getting close to the part where Jaim starts quoting the Mat verses from the Prophecy of the Dragon in front of Tuan and Co. Mat's reaction makes that one of my favorite parts. There is also just something special awesome about discovering how important to the last battle Mat and Perrin really are here where Mat and his cannon are mentioned and in the scene with Perrin where one of the Seanchan officers talks about the Prophecy of the Wolf King.

Cool that some have memorised Princess Bride and Space Balls so well though my real fave from Mel Brooks is still Blazing Saddles. In my younger days many of my friends had memorized most of the Monty Python scenes as well as the entire script of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. When we went to the movie everyone would dress in drag and most would quote along with the entire movie.
Stefan Mitev
102. Bergmaniac
 @hamstercheeks - "KiManiak, that was exactly the quote to which I alluded, although I exaggerated because I didn't have the book handy. You're absolutely right -- Rand's words are open to interpretation. I tend to think that the women not joining saved saidar from the taint = good."
You are right, Jordan confirmed when asked that if saidar had been used during the Lews Therin's sealing of the Bore, saidar would've been tainted too, which would've been really bad news.
103. KiManiak
Bergmaniac@102 - Wow. That's the first I heard of that confirmation from RJ. Can you help guide me to it (Any approximation of when/where would be very helpful)? I'd love to read that and the context in which it was given. Thanks!
Lucas Vollmer
104. aspeo
I found this quote from Theoryland. It says it's from a Budapest Q&A.

Q: Why saidin, why not saidar, was tainted?RJ:
Because there were only men in the party that made up the party that
made up the Strike at Shayol Ghul, that were setting the seals. In the
act of setting the seals, there was a backblast that affected the people
doing this. As I pointed out in something…I wrote a piece called The Strike at Shayol Ghul…there was a great division at the time – I don’t know if all of you have read it…or have none of you read it?
Qs: Yes, yes.
Okay, then you know about the political struggles that were going on,
and the different plans to try and end the War of the Shadow, and seal
up the….and why various groups thought that one plan or the other was
the best way to go. And in the end, what resulted was the so-called
“Fatal Covenant” , which
had the female Aes Sedai swearing not to go along with Lews Therin’s
plan, that they would not support it. The result of this was that Lews
Therin carried out his plan with only male Aes Sedai, so there were only
male Aes Sedai channeling there, which was a lucky thing, because if
there’d been women as well, then both saidin and saidar would have been tainted. And his plan worked, except for that one side effect of the backblast which tainted saidin
and caused him and the men there with him to go mad there and then, and
other male Aes Sedai to go mad slowly as they touched the Source and
began to absorb bits of the taint. But that’s why saidar was not tainted, because there were only men there channeling during this act of sealing up the Dark One’s prison.

If you want to see it at the site, It's in the WOT interviews section under The Age of Legends heading.
Kimani Rogers
106. KiManiak
aspeo@104 - Thanks for the full quote. Wow. I'm going to go check the whole interview (thanks for giving me the location, too) but this comment by RJ has seriously got me confused. I'm going to try to work out how to word my confusion as I type this; I don't know if I'm going to do an adequate job...

It seems that a major (if not the major) theme in the series has to do with balance and the need for both sexes to work together. It seemed like what cemented that fact was that the Age of Legends ends because the sexes didn't work together in the final strike against the Dark One.

It seems kind of like a "Behold! Since the male Aes Sedai didn't accomplish the sealing of the Dark One's prison with the aid of the female Aes Sedai, both sides will be punished!" Which of course then led to saidin being tainted, the male channelers going mad, and the female Aes Sedai having to continuously suffer through both the immediate (mass chaos, the destruction of their civilization) and the long term (bearing the never-ending responsibility to hunt down and "gentle" all male channelers, and having to bear the awe yet distrust of the common person towards the One Power, personified to the extreme by the Children of the Light and other folks who hold similar beliefs, like Tear, Far Madding, etc.) effects.

I saw this tale as a subtle as a brick-falling-on-the-head moral that was supposed to show the punishment that all channelers (and all of humanity, or whatever people in Randland are called) suffered from the transgressions of the Aes Sedai (and more simplistically, men and women) not working together. And I loved reading every line of it (including CoT. It's a poor novel in comparison to the other WoT novels -although TPOD and WH join it in my bottom 3- but I still will take any WoT novel over 2/3rds of the books on my bookshelves, anyday).

You could actually argue that since the Bore was opened by a male and female working together, the Bore could only be closed by men and women working together. There was symmetry, it was cyclical, things had come full circle, yada yada yada...the series is called the freaking Wheel of Time, for the love of Pete!

So to read that RJ had said that if the male and female channelers had worked together it would have led to the tainting of both saidar and saidin; that essentially the entire One Power would have been tainted by the Dark One and the entire world would have pretty much been destroyed by double the amount of mad channelers running around unchecked? And, if by some offhand chance a percentage of life and/or humanity did survive, that it would only last for a few thousand years before the Dark One broke free and destroyed this world like he supposedly had done to many others? What the f%$#?!

So, basically, the moral is that balance is good and that men and women should work together, except for that one special time when they shouldn't? Because if they do work together that one special time, it will lead to the end of the world, the end of the Pattern, and the release of the Enemy of All Creation? So it was good that the AoL Aes Sedai didn't work together and there wasn't balance in their efforts to seal the Dark One together and complete the cycle (again, male & female open the Bore, so male & female must close the Bore)? Usually that's not a good thing; but on this special occasion it was a good thing?

Seriously, what the fuck?!? I must be missing something, otherwise what I (and I would argue many others) thought was one of the major (if not the major) theme of the series is completely contradicted by what RJ said here.

Now, I seriously can hardly wait for AMoL where RJ & BWS show what is the proper way to heal the Bore and imprison the Dark One. I hope it has me kicking myself for ever typing this- my first ever serious complaint about a theme of the series, as opposed to a relatively minor irritation with an action a character made that is foolish or seems to have come from out of left field (people are erratic and often act illogically, so it actually made his writing of these characters to seem a little more realistic). I hope it really makes sense and stays true to the major themes that RJ appears to have set in place two decades ago.

But for the first time, I actually am considering the possibility that it may not...
Jay Dauro
107. J.Dauro

Remeber that BWS has said that RJ wrote the ending. And he has read it. And it is wonderful.

So I keep that in mind when I wonder how it is going to end.
john massey
108. subwoofer
Well, look at it this way... Saidin and Saidar both get tainted, but the DO and the Foresaken get locked away for all time. Not a bad trade off. Folks go looney and break the world... but at some point they die off, don't repopulate the gene pool and eventually magic dies off. Hmmmm.

Maybe sealing the DO away for good does require the loss of magic in the world?

OTOH if the Wheel is turned by Saidin and Saidar and both sides are tainted, does that mean the Wheel itself is tainted? Gonna have to puzzle this one out.

I still think this is like a Eddings thing where Rand just has to reject the DO, perhaps tell him to "sod off" and then the DO goes and sulks for a few thousand years or something. The DO finds out that Rand doesn't like him. wah.

Chris R
109. up2stuff
Kimaniak @106... I dont think it necessarily means that Men and Women shouldn't work together. Sealing the Bore was obviously just the wrong solution. It did not matter if Men and/or Women were involved. What if Liatra had led a 100 women to strike at Shayol Ghul? She was her own kind of Badass a.k.a. Slicer of Shadow, and with the Female to female ability to link into some circles, they could have been as powerful as any males. Saidar would have been the tainted half and Men would have been okay, doing the same things as women have been.

Both together would have tainted both, and THEN we are all in trouble. Plus, who's to say that the DO even knew what it was doing when lashing out. Blind luck could have worked for it, too.

I think that Men and Women together will still work, they just needed a THIRD option to the Strike, or The CK's. LTT and LP were first among the most powerful, but not necessarily the most creative or brilliant problem solvers. Better solutions may have presented themselves with more time, but the Lights side was out of that.
Chris R
110. up2stuff
OOPS! This one was a double post. My Bad.

Alice Arneson
111. Wetlandernw
KiManiak - I think the problem was that the AOL men & women didn't work together to find a solution. Per RJ, if they'd worked together to make LTT's solution work, both would have been tainted. If they'd worked together to make LPD's solution work, they might have still been fussing around with the CK when the DO broke completely free, or they might have released so much power they'd have broken the wheel, or any number of other possibilities. Lews Therin Telamon and Latra Posae Decume weren't working together to find a solution; they were just each coming up with their own ideas and asking the other to help implement it. Maybe if the two leaders had worked together to find a solution and worked together to implement it, nothing would have been tainted and the DO would have been effectively sealed.

Maybe this time, Rand and Egwene need to work together. More likely, Rand and Nynaeve (based on the research and insight of Min & Cadsuane) will together find a solution and together make it happen.

And like J. Dauro said at 107, the ending is already written, and it is brilliant. We just don't know what it is yet.
Kimani Rogers
112. KiManiak
Okay, I read the whole Age Of Legends Quotes section in Theoryland (thanks again for the reference, aspeo), and thought about my feelings that I had previously put on paper…er…online a little more and came up with a few thoughts:

Wall of Text Warning (Cripes this is f'in... long)!

One: RJ RAFO’d a few things (at least) that he later didn’t put in the books at all. I don’t know if he just ended up changing his mind later about putting them in the books and instead lets the info out via the various Q and A sessions or if he just wasn’t ready to let the cat out of the bag at the time that folks asked him their respective questions. I know, thought-number-one is me nitpicking (kind of slightly punkish of me, one might say), but I’m still working through a little bit of my frustration here…

Two: So, just because my interpretation of what I thought RJ’s series’s major theme took a serious hit on the consistency level, it doesn’t mean that it’s not still a major, or the major, theme anymore. It just means that my perception of that theme’s always consistent validity in WoT may have been in error. RJ had always written the series with the themes and mores he intended; readers are free to take them and run in their interpretation of them in whatever direction they choose. And when one of those reader perceived themes/mores doesn’t appear to be consistent by said reader (for argument's sake, let's say yours truly), it’s more likely to mean that said reader wasn’t fully getting it in the first place.

Or, basically it’s my bad; I was off my rocker when I thought I was getting what RJ was trying to say, and how he was trying to say it. It’s cool; I’ll calm down and just look at things a little differently than I did before. I can be a little slow sometimes :) but ultimately I may get it...

Three: Even after setting aside my initial frustration, it still seems weird that he’d say that if both sexes would have been combined in the strike at Shayol Ghul, both halves of the One Power would have been contaminated. I mean, I couldn't have imagined the importance of the theme of men-and-women-work-together-good, men-and-women-don't-work-together-bad to have its validity be so easily discarded by the Creator (good ol' RJ, himself) without there being some larger rationale behind it.

::ponders the possibilities::

Let me spitball a bit here… So, maybe the Pattern protected itself from likely eradication (I think it’s logical to assume that if both halves of the One Power were corrupted, eventually the Dark One would escape from his prison unchallenged once the Seals failed and then destroy the Pattern; or the world and maybe the Pattern could be as good as destroyed with all of the mad channelers running around free; or something else equally dire) by having its Champion and all channelers of his gender be poisoned by the very Source that gives them power, but yet leave the female channelers untainted and still allow the possibility for the reincarnation of its Champion 3 millenia later to try again.

Kind of like a chess player sacrificing their queen at a dire moment in the game, while knowing that they will be able to ultimately trade one of their pawns in for another queen in a few more moves, and that this action would be their only shot in turning the tide in their favor. I don’t know; I’m trying here… Anyway, maybe this one exception helps to ultimately prove the rule that both halves need to work together, but they need to work together in the right way. Which leads to…

Four: (Still spitballing; it’s getting kinda gross around my laptop and my mouth is getting kinda dry) The men and women need to work together, but obviously a direct strike at the hole in the Bore is probably the wrong play. The Pattern’s Champion had to learn that, but the Pattern can’t act directly so how best would it teach the Dragon? Via prophecy and his actions cleansing saidin, he learns that the way to safely deal with the essence of the Dark One –the Taint- has to be done via a buffer (his use of saidar to direct the taint out of saidin). He also learns that Shadar Logoth can contain the Taint (while also opposing it). What last remnant of Shadar Logoth is out there? Big Daddy Fain (and his trusty dagger), that’s who!

Fain is drawn to the Dragon, and he hates him, but Fain also “corrupts” that which the Dark One and/or his followers have already corrupted. I think Fain hates the Shadow as much as he hates Rand, as (if I remember correctly) the evil of Aridhol opposed the Shadow as much (if not more, remember that Mashadar tended to be drawn and strike at Shadowspawn more readily than it did our heroes during their visits to Shadar Logoth) as it “opposed” the followers of the Light. So, the Pattern is not only arranging for the Dragon and (at least two of the Dragon’s chosen) female Aes Sedai to be present at the final confrontation with the Dark One, but to have Fain/Mordeth/Whatever-he’s-called-now, too. This leads me to the conclusion that...

Five: So, this one time when men and women didn’t work together ultimately saved the world from the taint being unleashed on both halves of the One Power; and it allows the Dragon to learn the proper method and tools necessary to heal the Bore, this time with the women also working with him. Okay, a pretty thin theory. We’re talking Kate Moss thin, here. But hey, I’ll go with it for now.

Anyway, a possible theory here, that builds off of one of my older theories that Fain and the action of cleansing the male half were necessary in order to properly contain the Dark One and heal the Bore. Whether its right, or not even close, its helping me try to rationalize why what I (and based upon things I’ve read, at least a few others) thought was such a obvious theme throughout the series isn’t always consistent according to RJ.

Anyway, WoT-related-mini-crisis-of-faith diverted.

Thanks to all for suffering through the weirdness, and thanks to J.Dauro, subwoofer, and up2stuff (twice, even :D) and wetlandernw for their contributions I see they placed here while I was reading the RJ quotes and composing this little look into the "madness" that happens within my skull. Thanks to all for letting me indulge (Okay, you didn’t really have a choice on that part, but I appreciate you reading it and digesting it a little bit).

Alright, onto Leigh’s post #16 of CoT…
john massey
113. subwoofer
FYI- for all those wondering how the book will end-

"And they will live happily ever after... Cause Caddy finally found a boyfriend. Sucks to be Taim."

Ahem. Kimaniak- yur post- it was like the opening sequence of SpaceBalls. You forgot the "we break for nobody" at the end;)

Sydo Zandstra
114. Fiddler
Re: why it was probably a good thing only men went with LTT to Shayol Ghul, resulting in only Sai'din getting tainted.

Since the Wheel turns, and this is a cyclical thing, I just think that the Dragon (LTT) aimed at the right place, but it was just not at the right time (meaning in the right Age). Which is why men and women working together then would have been disastrous.

Since this is the right time (Age) however, men and women can/should work together at sealing the Bore.

Which is something the majority of the women need to come to terms with. Especially the Amyrlin Seat should be realizing this.

Regardless of Nynaeve having talked to her about the Cleansing of the Taint or not, Egwene must be aware of this (at least as a possibility). Unless the Sitters in the SAS Hall are totally incompetent, I find it very likely that she is aware of the scene where Merise and Narishma blew Aran'gar's cover...

So I guess some pride swallowing is in order in the last book. ;-)
Kimani Rogers
115. KiManiak
Sub@113- yeah, that post just kept going, and going.
Chris R
116. up2stuff
Maybe there is only enough "Room" in each age for 1 colossal cross gender channeling feat, and the pattern would not allow LTT and LP to cooperate.

Age 2, men and women OPENED the DO prison by cooperating. Maybe rebuilding the prison would have been too monumental of an event and the strain on the pattern would have been too great so the wheel just wove along until the end of age 3 when the pattern was stable enough again. After all, I think Herid Fel is right that SOME kind of reweaving of the patten itself is going to have to be performed for the BORE to not exist.
Amir Noam
117. Amir
up2stuff @116:

Age 2, men and women OPENED the DO prison by cooperating. Maybe rebuilding the prison would have been too monumental of an event and the strain on the pattern would have been too great
I agree. Having men and women cooperating on anything twice in one Age would probably put too much strain on the Pattern :-)
lake sidey
118. lakesidey
I know this is a bit late....apologies. But I have a theory about what happens to Male Forsaken who mess up big.

They're killed, brought back to life in a female body (Hi Arangar!), and then given to Shaidar Haran.

119. Lonster
When Alviarin returns from Tremalking, she's complaining that she had to treat the non-channelling Darkfriends from small villages nicely, because they may be working for another Forsaken.

I guess I was under the impression she was scoping out the Darkfriend presence among the Sea Folk, just as Liandrin had made contact with Darkfriends among the Seanchen.
120. hesuchia
I never saw any "unfortunate implications" from the math thing. It took me a while and reading the comments to see what you even meant. The way I see it, in our age (first age?) we rely on math for all kinds of things via science and technology and other things. Because of our advancement in those fields, math has become a major focus and a central point of academics, and thus has separated into many sub-types of math.

In the third age, all the technological wonders (omg elevators) are pretty much kaput. The academies Rand (and the one Elayne usurped and seems to think was her idea) made are only just beginning to create "new" inventions that will definitely lead to rediscovering the maths that will optimize their studies, but at this point in the age, the main controlling thing is the One Power. At least among Aes Sedai, this ability is such a given and math isn't necessary for it to work, so I'm not surprised that they wouldn't bother with such an "unrelated" concept, especially since the books apparently deal with so many types of math that are probably derived from ancient sciences that really wouldn't make any sense out of context anyway.

With the rise of the academies, the fourth age looks like it'll be a move toward a balance between One Power and technology, and the math that had become abstract will become relevant once again. We take its uses for granted, but yeah I can see why in their age with their supernatural abilities, they wouldn't really have much desire to pore over it. Besides, maybe when there were tons more Aes Sedai in the tower, more of them would have been interested, but with so relatively few remaining, I could also see wanting to focus even harder to One Power knowledge over anything else, to increase the strength of the tower to make up for the diminishing numbers.

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