Jan 28 2011 1:52pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: Crossroads of Twilight, Part 18

Crossroads of Twilight by Robert JordanGreetings and salutations, Re-readers! I bet you’ll never guess what this post is.

Today’s entry covers Chapters 28 and 29 of Crossroads of Twilight, in which we have extensive board game marathons, numerous leisurely strolls, and a shopping trip. And some other stuff might have happened, too.

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 28: A Cluster of Rosebuds

What Happens
Mat is intensely annoyed at the slow pace of the circus away from Ebou Dar, once Luca is convinced no one is chasing them. Vanin opines that at this rate they won’t reach Lugard before summer. Mat reassures him the pace will pick up once the snow melts, but he is not as confident as he sounds, considering that Luca insists on stopping to perform at every town and village they come upon.

The strangeness of the performers and the caged animals from far-off lands were sufficient to pull people. The animals from not so far were enough, for that matter; few had been far enough into the countryside to see a bear much less a lion. Only heavy rain lessened the crowd, and when the rain was too stiff, the jugglers and acrobats refused to perform anyway without some sort of covering overhead. Which made Luca stalk about in a sullen snit and talk wildly of finding enough canvas tarps to shelter every act, or having a tent made large enough to hold the entire show. One tent! The man was nothing if not grandiose in his ambitions. Why not a palace on wheels while he was about it?

Mat is unnerved every time Seanchan patrols pass them by, especially because the Aes Sedai keep slipping into the towns to gather intelligence, which Mat considers makes them “mad as loons.” After he catches them coming back from one village (shadowed by the three sul’dam), Mat goes to their wagon to confront them about it. Angrily, Edesina tells him she is grateful to him, but she will not be ordered about, and accuses him of setting the three sul’dam to watch them. Bethamin pipes up to report to him that all three were very “well-behaved,” but Renna puts in that they shouldn’t be trusted loose, and she would be happy to use the a’dam on them, which terrifies Teslyn and infuriates Joline. Mat hastily says there’s no need for that. Teslyn, trying to ignore the sul’dam, tells him they’d heard in the town that the Seanchan soldiers believe that they will present Illian as a prize to their Empress before the end of spring, and surprisingly Bethamin chimes in to confirm they’d heard the same, and Renna and Seta assure him they will tell him what they hear as well, saying that “the girls” (meaning the Aes Sedai) might be “shifty,” but he can trust them. Mat notes wearily that the Aes Sedai glare at him at this pronouncement, and tells them what he wants is for all of them to stay with the wagons and keep a low profile, but of course none of them listen to him, and continue going into the towns as the circus travels and reporting to him, including the news that Suroth had formed an alliance with “someone powerful” which was expected to give her “access to many lands.”

The women refused to be convinced that they need not listen for rumors. They never quite got around to handing over the a’dam, either. In truth, those silvery leashes and the three sul’dam were the only real lever he had with the Aes Sedai. Gratitude. From an Aes Sedai! Ha! Not that he really thought about putting those collars on the sisters again. Not often, anyway. He was well and truly stuck.

He trusts Thom and Juilin’s information-gathering more, though Thera’s inability to be separated from Juilin worries Mat, as he doesn’t think Thera would last two seconds if interrogated by a Seanchan; he gets Noal to follow Juilin as a precaution. Thom and Juilin, though, also report that the Seanchan seem aimed at Illian. Mat doesn’t go into the towns much, as he has other concerns. The first night out of Ebou Dar, he convinces Egeanin to come with him to Tuon’s wagon to “smooth things over”; he doesn’t understand why she is so afraid, but finally she agrees it’s best to get it “over and done with,” and goes with him. In Tuon’s wagon, he finds not only Tuon, Selucia, and Setalle, but Noal and Olver, who is playing Snakes and Foxes with Tuon. Olver is excited about the stories Noal has been telling about Shara.

Suddenly Noal slapped his thigh and sat up straight. “I remember now,” he said, and then the fool began to recite.

“Fortune rides like the sun on high
with the fox that makes the ravens fly.
Luck his soul, the lightning his eye,
He snatches the moons from out of the sky.”

The broken-nosed old man looked around as if just realizing anyone else was there. “I’ve been trying to remember that. It’s from the Prophecies of the Dragon.”

“Very interesting, Noal,” Mat muttered. Those colors whirled in his head just the way they had that morning, when the Aes Sedai were panicking. They flashed away without making a picture this time, but he felt as cold as if he had spent a night sleeping under a bush in his skin. The last thing on earth he needed was anybody else linking him to the Prophecies.

Tuon gazes at him, then comments that “Toy” doesn’t mean to be rude, and politely dismisses Noal and Olver. When they leave, she demands to know why Mat is here, and Mat tells her he wanted to make sure she was all right, and gives her a present of a very large and expensive necklace. Selucia sneers, and Tuon says it doesn’t suit her and gives it to Selucia, who promptly pronounces it fit for a shea dancer, and hurls it at Egeanin, commanding her to put it on. Egeanin obeys while Mat tries to figure out what’s going on.

“She came for a new name,” Tuon said musingly. “What does she call herself?”

“Leilwin,” Selucia replied. “A fitting name for a shea dancer. Leilwin Shipless, perhaps?”

Tuon nodded. “Leilwin Shipless.”

Egeanin asks leave to withdraw, but Selucia doesn’t respond until she grovels and kisses the floor, and tells her not to let her see her face again. Egeanin scuttles out, and Selucia kicks a flabbergasted Mat out too, backed up by Setalle.

Strategy and tactics. Learn the ground, learn your enemy, and if you could not win one way, you found another.

The next night, Mat convinces Tuon to play stones with him. He tries to figure out whether it would be better to let her win or not, until she takes matters out of his hands by routing him soundly and then mocking him that he “doesn’t play very well.” The night after that, he brings a small paper flower, but gives it to Selucia instead of Tuon, startling them both. He plays stones with Tuon every night, winning less than half of the time, and enjoying how much Tuon gets into the games. He continues giving Selucia flowers: a linen one, then a silk one.

He let three days pass without a present, then brought a little cluster of red silk rosebuds, complete with short stems and glistening leaves that looked as real as nature, only more perfect. He had asked the seamstress to make it on the day he bought that first paper flower.

Selucia took a step, reaching to accept the rosebuds with a curl to her lip, but he sat down and put the flowers beside the board, a little toward Tuon. He said nothing, just left it lying there. She never so much as glanced at it.

[…] “I’ve changed my mind, Toy,” she murmured, placing the white stone carefully on the intersection of two lines near the center of the board. “You play very well.”

Mat is surprised that she seems to know what he is up to, but convinces himself that she was only talking about stones. They play to a draw that night, and she points out that she has kept her half of their bargain, and wants in return to be allowed to take walks outside the wagon at night, adding that he may accompany her “to make sure she doesn’t run away.” Mat agrees, and tries to use the walks to learn more about her (ignoring Setalle and Selucia, who he thinks are awfully chummy for a prisoner and guard), but Tuon deflects his inquiries back to him more often than not. He tells her about the Two Rivers, and that his father trades horses; she asks what he does. Mat deliberates, and decides to tell her the truth.

“I’m a gambler,” he said.

“My father called himself a gambler,” Tuon said softly. “He died of a bad wager.”

And how were you supposed to find out what that meant?

He asks, another night, what she does for fun, and she answers “training horses and damane”, and then comments to a stunned Mat that she’s heard from Setalle that he is “a scoundrel” and asks how many women he’s kissed. She laughs when he weakly evades the question. Later, he complains to Egeanin about the way the circus folk are treating him; she reasonably points out that their cover story is that Egeanin and he are lovers, but he spends all his time with Tuon.

“You behave like a man courting.” She reached to place her stone, then stopped with her hand above the board. “You can’t think she’ll complete the ceremony, can you? You can’t be that big a fool.”

“What ceremony? What are you talking about?”

“You named her your wife three times that night in Ebou Dar,” she said slowly. “You really don’t know? A woman says three times that a man is her husband, and he says three times she’s his wife, and they’re married. There are blessings involved, usually, but it’s saying it in front of witnesses that makes it a marriage. You really didn’t know?”

Mat tries to laugh this off by pointing out that Tuon didn’t answer him, but Egeanin explains that by law she has a year and a day to reply. Mat drops stones pieces everywhere, and stays away from Tuon’s wagon for two days after that. Eventually they come to two towns on the River Eldar, which are surrounded by Seanchan military camps; Mat realizes that Tuon is on the wagon seat in full view of the soldiers, and that the dice have started rolling in his head. He waits for her to call out to them and give the whole thing away, but they ride all the way through town and Tuon never says a word.

That was when Mat really knew there was no escape for him. She was going to set the hook all right. She was just biding her bloody time.

That night Tuon makes a request (more like a demand, Mat believes). He tells her he’ll consider it, but knows he has to return her gesture of trust, and three days later he says yes.

She smiled at him, and the dice in his head stopped dead. He would always remember that. She smiled, and then the dice stopped. A man could weep!

Well, it’s almost certainly not the strangest courtship on record (fictional or otherwise), but it’s gotta be up there.

I think I like it much better now than I did the first time I read it, too. I think the first time I was too (completely unfairly) annoyed that Tuon didn’t acknowledge the full awesomeness of Mat immediately to notice that she was being sort of awesome herself.

Well. Except when she groups damane in with livestock, of course. *headdesk*

But other than her hideous cultural beliefs, Tuon shows herself to be more than wily enough to keep up with Mat, with a certain sly, understated sense of humor that I found continually surprising over the course of WH, COT, and KOD. Part of the reason I disliked her appearances after that was, I now realize, because it seemed like that humor had disappeared in her. Of course, she wasn’t with Mat anymore after KOD, was she? Hmm…

But even the first time around, when I was all impatient for them to just get on with it already, this chapter was a breath of fresh air after all the Perrin-ness of the chapters preceding it. Oddly enough it seems that even demented courtship makes for lighter reading fare than maiming and torture. Who knew?

If nothing else, it more or less proves to me that Tuon and Mat deserve each other, in the sense that while there are plenty of female WOT characters capable of maintaining a level romantic playing field with Mat, Tuon seems to be the first one to actually enjoy doing so.

As far as Seanchan marriage customs are concerned, I’ve never really been able to make up my mind whether I thought the whole “say it three times and you’re married” thing was contrived or not. Not least because it seems incongruous to me that the Seanchan of all peoples, a society obsessed with ritual and ceremony and general, er, elaborateness, would have such a simple and brief marriage tradition.

I mean, I think even getting married in Vegas has more to it than that. Well, unless the thing I heard about drive-thru wedding chapels is true, in which case, never mind. Did I say this already?

Two thoughts on the first quoted bit: I’m hardly a zoology expert, but I’m under the distinct impression that outside of The Wizard of Oz, lions and bears don’t exactly hang out in the same style habitat. Bears in a generally Europe-like temperate climate with forests and such (as Randland seems to be) works fine, but lions? Did I miss the part where we had a savanna in there?

Second thought: Luca as P.T. Barnum, heh. Though it turns out (according to Wikipedia, so take it for what it’s worth) that Barnum never actually said “there’s a sucker born every minute,” he thanked the guy who tried to slander him by attributing the line to him for all the free publicity. Which is totally the way Luca would look at it.

Suroth: the mention of her “alliance with someone powerful” was a total brain fart moment for me on first reading, because I thought it referred to Rand’s intended olive branch toward the Seanchan that we’d found out about all of three chapters ago, and I was all “wow, that was fast,” but of course it was really referring to Suroth’s alliance with Masema. Talk about backing the wrong pony, eh?

Noal doesn’t have much to do in these chapters, but he does get to make a certain kind of WOT history, by being the character to reveal to us that Rand isn’t the only Superboy to feature in the Prophecies of the Dragon. Which is fairly momentous, all things considered. I mean, obviously we all knew that Mat (and Perrin, who we find out later also gets a prophetical blurb) were going to be Majah Playahs in the apocalypse, but something about seeing it sort of made official, as it were, brought that home more powerfully

This bit, therefore, was one of the few passages from COT that really gave me that old-time, early-WOT thrill of discovery. Which was great, and all, except for how it made me realize how much I’d missed it.


Chapter 29: Something Flickers

What Happens
Domon thinks this is madness, but Mat tells him that he promised, and tries to ignore the dice in his head, which had started rolling again that morning. Egeanin tells Domon that Tuon would never break her word, but Domon thinks it’s crazy anyway. Mat and Egeanin head over to Tuon’s wagon, and Egeanin opines that the only reason he could have for doing this is that he really thinks he can marry Tuon.

Mat grinned. “The question is, does she mean to marry me? The strangest people marry, sometimes.” When you knew you were going to hang, the only thing to do was grin at the noose.

Mat is disappointed but not surprised that Selucia is coming along, and asks if Tuon is ready to go shopping (for cloth to make better-fitting dresses for her). Tuon compliments his clothes and comments that she might have lace added to his cupbearer’s robes. Mat wonders if she can really make him da’covale if they are married. Goderan, the Redarm standing guard, asks if Mat wants him along; Mat hesitates, but tells himself he has to trust her word, and says no. They head out on the road to the town, which is crowded with people all walking and staring straight ahead. Mat dodges several of them, and Tuon asks if he is practicing a dance.

He opened his mouth, just to point out how crowded the road was, and suddenly he realized he could no longer see anyone beyond her and Selucia. The people who had been there were just gone, the road empty as far as he could see before it made a bend. Slowly, he turned his head. There was no one between him and the show, either, just the folk waiting in line, and that looked no longer than before. Beyond the show, the road wound into the hills toward a distant forest, empty. Not a soul in sight. He pressed fingers against his chest, feeling the foxhead medallion through his coat. Just a piece of silver on a rawhide cord. He wished it felt cold as ice.

He tries to brush it off to the women; they just shake their heads at each other and head on. Mat firmly puts the people on the road out of his mind. Jurador is a busy, prosperous town with no Seanchan presence, and they walk over most of it as Tuon inspects and rejects the wares of multiple silk merchants. Mat spots Aludra at one point speaking with who he thinks is a salt merchant, and wonders why an Illuminator would be interested in salt; he sees Thom go by, yawning, and wonders why Thom foregoes sleep to read his “precious letter” over and over.

What could be so fascinating in a letter from a dead woman? A dead woman. Light, maybe those people on the road…! No; he was not going to think about that at all.

Then Mat is appalled to see a glimpse of Edesina’s face down the street, being followed by two of the sul’dam; he is so preoccupied by this that it takes him a moment to realize Tuon and Selucia are no longer in sight. Mat looks for them frantically a moment, then decides to trust his luck. He closes his eyes, spins in a circle, takes a step at random, and dashes into the shop he’s facing, just in time to appease the shopkeeper, who is suspicious Tuon and Selucia will not talk to her (as their accents would have given them away). He tells Tuon bluntly that this is their last stop, and to his surprise she smiles to herself. Then she proceeds to spend most of Mat’s money on silks, linens and woolens, and Mat is grimly unsurprised that he has to carry it all back. Back at the circus, Juilin runs up to Mat to tell him Egeanin has been hurt. He throws down the silk and runs with Juilin to where Domon is sitting under their wagon, holding a bloody Egeanin in his arms; Tuon and Selucia follow a moment later. Domon spits that Renna stabbed Egeanin in the back and ran, and yells for the Aes Sedai, not caring who hears him. Teslyn arrives and Heals Egeanin swiftly, and Mat realizes she doesn’t have a cloak, and all of the circus folk dotted about are looking at her.

The dice battered at the inside of Mat’s head. They had not stopped; the game was not played out, yet.

Juilin reports that the Redarms, Lopin, Nerim, and Olver are searching the grounds for Renna, but he is not optimistic about their chances. Mat asks why Renna, of the three, and Egeanin shakily explains that she was the only one who knew Renna’s secret. Mat asks what secret.

The woman hesitated, for some reason, frowning at Domon’s chest. Finally she sighed. “Renna was leashed, once. So were Bethamin and Seta. They can channel. Or maybe learn to; I don’t know. But the a’dam worked on those three. Maybe it works on any sul’dam.” Mat whistled through his teeth. Now, that would be a kick in the head for the Seanchan.

Teslyn’s mouth hung open, Aes Sedai serenity washed away in shock. Selucia made an angry sound, though, blue eyes blazing, and dropped the bundle of cloth from her back as she took a step toward Domon. A quick flash of Tuon’s fingers stopped her in her tracks, though it was a quivering halt. Tuon’s face was a dark mask, unreadable. She did not like what she had heard, though. Come to think, she had said she trained damane. Oh, burn him, on top of everything else, he was going to marry a woman who could channel?

Harnan and the Redarms ride up, bringing Mat’s horse, to tell Mat that Renna stole a horse; she has a headstart, but he thinks they can catch her “with luck”. Mat mounts Pips and orders Luca to get on the road immediately; Luca protests, but Mat ignores him. He tells Juilin to give Luca all their gold except one good purse, and to gather everyone and hide in the forest until Mat catches up. Juilin asks if he means Tuon and Selucia, too, suggesting it might at least slow the Seanchan down to leave them behind.

Mat met Tuon’s eyes. Big dark liquid eyes, in a smooth expressionless face. She had pushed her hood back a little, so he could see her face clearly. If he left her behind, then she could not say the words, or if she did, he would be too far way for the words to matter. If he left her behind, he would never learn why she smiled those mysterious smiles, or what lay behind the mystery. Light, he was a fool! Pips danced a few impatient steps.

“Everybody,” he said. Did Tuon nod slightly, as if to herself? Why would she nod? “Let’s ride,” he told Harnan.

They catch up with Vanin, who tells Mat Renna is pushing harder than he figured, and is doubtful they’ll catch up unless she runs her horse to death. Mat thinks of having the entire Seanchan army on his trail, and how Luca and the circus folk would be caught and executed, and tells Vanin they can make it. They ride hard all the rest of the day, and catch up with Renna just as she is fording the river. She has less than fifty feet to go before being in sight of the Seanchan garrison on the other side.

“My Lord?” Harnan said. He had an arrow nocked and his bow half raised. Gorderan held the heavy crossbow to his shoulder, a thick pointed bolt in place.

Mat felt something flicker and die inside him. He did not know what. Something. The dice rolled like thunder. “Shoot,” he said.

He wanted to close his eyes. The crossbow snapped; the bolt made a black streak through the air. Renna slammed forward when it hit her back. She had almost managed to push herself erect against the bay’s neck when Harnan’s arrow took her.

Slowly, she toppled from the horse, sliding down the slope, rolling, bouncing off saplings, tumbling faster and faster until she splashed into the stream. For a moment, she floated facedown against the bank, and then the current caught her and pulled her away, skirts billowing up on the water. Slowly she drifted toward the Elbar. Maybe, eventually, she would reach the sea. And that made three. It hardly seemed to matter that the dice had stopped. That made three. Never again, he thought as Renna floated out of sight around a bend. If I die for it, never again.

They ride back, weary and silent, to find the circus still set up, and Tuon and Selucia taking tea with Luca in his wagon. Mat tells them flatly that Renna is dead, and Tuon sharply forbids him to mourn the death of a traitor, telling him what he did was justice. Mat just asks if everyone else is still here, too, and Luca beams and tells him the High Lady had a “talk” with Merrilin and Sandar and persuaded them to stay, and then gave Luca a warrant placing his show under her personal protection. Mat bleakly thinks that he killed Renna for nothing, then, and sinks down on a bed.

“I did make specific mention of who is not under my protection, Toy.” Tuon took a bite of pastry and delicately brushed a crumb from her lip with a finger. “Can you guess whose name heads that list?” She smiled. Not a malicious smile. Another of those smiles for herself, amusement or delight in something he could not see. Suddenly, he noticed something. That little cluster of silk rosebuds he had given her was pinned to her shoulder.

Despite himself, Mat began to laugh. He threw his hat down on the floor and laughed. With everything, all his efforts, he did not know this woman at all! Not a bit! He laughed until his ribs hurt.

So, I knew this bit was coming up, but it was only when I read it that I realized (or re-realized) how much Mat’s decision re: Renna is meant to be a parallel to what Perrin went through with the Shaido prisoners two chapters ago. In a way, though, I didn’t find that Mat’s decision induced nearly the level of ambivalence (and sadness) in me that Perrin’s did.

On the one hand, I feel like it should be the other way around, because Mat made a decision to kill someone, whereas, you know, at least the Shaido guy lived. But on the other hand, and this may be slightly terrible to say but nevertheless it’s true, what Mat did felt… cleaner to me than what Perrin did. In fact I really don’t think there was much of a moral dilemma here at all, at least not relatively speaking.

What I mean by that is, in my opinion Renna’s death wasn’t a murder or even an execution: it was a combat kill, or whatever the correct term is for that—and therein lies the difference. Even by modern definitions I think it holds: she wasn’t a civilian (sul’dam all serve in the Seanchan military), and by her actions she was endangering the lives of Mat, his men, and all the civilians he considers under his protection. Not to mention it was “in the heat,” as it were; Mat only had seconds to make his decision, and the circumstances didn’t allow for any lesser option in order for Mat to protect himself and his people. So while Tuon and I don’t generally see eye to eye on ethical issues (she says, understatedly), in this case I think she is totally right to call Renna’s death justice. Or at least justifiable.

In fact, really, I don’t think even Mat disagrees with that assessment; he’s just torn up because the enemy combatant he killed happened to be a woman, which his own cultural biases have led him to place in a different moral category. If Renna had been a man I doubt Mat would have been much more than mildly regretful over the whole business. The fact that I disagree with him (and Rand) over making this distinction probably also helps explain why Mat’s angst over Renna didn’t affect me as much as did Perrin’s actions. (Not to mention, I’m willing to bet that just like Rand, his vow never to kill a woman again is going to come back and seriously bite him in the ass at some point—and I am categorically against my Superboys getting ass-bitten. Er. So to speak.)

Anyway. I feel bad for Mat because he feels bad, of course, but I don’t agree that it was a moral failure the way he does. Whereas I was right on the same page with Perrin’s horror over what he did, particularly because, as I said in the last post, even so I can’t know whether or not I would have done the same in his position, which is a damn scary thing to think about. So for me personally the parallel between the two sort of falls down a bit.


More ghosts in this chapter. I don’t know what to make of the fact that only Mat could see them; it seemed like in the other instances of ghosts appearing everyone could see them. Significant? *shrug* The ghosts thing just generally doesn’t make sense to me, I think.

Aludra: the salt thing is… odd. Several fans opined that this was a subtle hint that Aludra was acquiring ingredients for gunpowder, but the thing is, as I understand it saltpeter (one of the three main ingredients of gunpowder) is actually nothing like regular, NaCl table salt. Of course, I am even less a chemist than I am a zoologist, so I could be wrong, and I don’t care enough to research it. So There.

One thing that totally made me blink in this chapter is the way Mat found Tuon and Selucia after losing track of them in the town. I remember I was a tiny bit irritated in ToM that Mat all of a sudden (as I thought) came up with this “spin and point” randomizer method of navigation while trapped in Finnland; turns out, nope, he came up with it right here, three books earlier. My bad!

The bit at the end with Tuon seriously confused me on first reading, a reaction which I remember really not being alone on. This is because the significance of what Tuon did by excluding Mat from her warrant is not apparent unless you happen to recall the exact wording of the pledge she and Mat exchanged, specifically Mat’s part of it:

“I couldn’t leave you behind to raise an alarm,” he went on […] “I know [Mistress Anan’s] already told you this, but I promise no one’s going to hurt you. We’re not after ransom, just getting away with our heads still attached. As soon as I can figure out how to send you home safe and sound, I will. I promise.”

Since this exchange happened way back in Chapter 3, it was perhaps not surprising that I (and a lot of other people) missed the nuance here, twenty-five chapters later. What Tuon was doing, then, was ensuring Mat was still “in danger” from the Seanchan; if she’d put him under her protection along with everyone else, then he would have been safe from any reprisal, and therefore by his own words would be obligated to send her back. This way, though, it’s still technically too dangerous for him to send her back, and therefore she can stay with him. Sneaky Tuon!

And… there’s probably more I haven’t gotten to, but I am seriously about to keel over, so we’ll stop here. Have a lovely weekend, y’all, and come back on Tuesday for another post, and the endy-end of COT. Whoo!

Band of The Red Hand
1. Band of The Red Hand
Leigh, thank you for your continued hard work on these posts
Band of The Red Hand
2. ryamano
What I didn't like about Mat's mourning over killing Renna is that it didn't seem in-character of him to me. It felt like some kind of retcon RJ did, making all the three ta'veren behave more and more similarly.

It already was kind of weird for Rand to feel the need for no women to be killed, even enemies, after he had killed one in cold blood in TDR. "Well" I said to myself, "maybe that's LTT's memories creeping over him already. He doesn't want to kill Ilyena again and he sees every women as Ilyena when he kills. Also that's more dramatic and Rand has always been the dramatic, conflicted, emo hero.".

But Mat also vowing to not kill women felt weird to me. He had already faced a woman who had died from his actions (in TDR as well, with the fireworks in the middle of the forest). His reaction to that? "Bleh, bad luck, lady". Which I liked, since it fit into the personality he was showing then (of lucky rogue).

Now he also has that vow not to kill women and there's no explanation to why's that. If he was raised this way, then why his reaction was so different in TDR? Why did he laugh after Moiraine bit in TFOH, saying he was happy to be alive (compared to crying, mourning Rand)? Is it the memories in his head, like Rand? But all those generals probably had different personalities, what are the odds that the majority of them were sexist gentlemen?

I don't know, it just felt that RJ was putting the "southern gentleman" stereotype in all of his heroes by that point, for personal reasons (he was also a southern gentleman), which kind of conflicted with how he described the characters before. But maybe that's character development and I failed to recognize how it happeed.
Mike McCaffrey
3. earlgrey
Two things - European royalty used to occasionally wed by proxy, you over there with a standin groom and him over here with a standin bride - honeymoon to commense sometime in the future.
Second - Matt's reluctance to harm a woman will come back to bite him right after he and Tuon visit the "Hell". Tuon has to kill the woman.
Band of The Red Hand
4. J-Ro
Re: saltpeter and the salt merchants

Well, according to wikipedia (I found it on the internet, it must be true!), saltpeter is also a food preservative. If anyone might have some in Randland, the salt merchants would be the guys, I guess.

"Potassium nitrate, or the mineral niter, the critical oxidizing component of gunpowder, and a food preservative."

As an added bonus, we have this:

"Sodium nitrate or the mineral Nitratine ("Peru saltpeter" or "Chile saltpeter"), a component of fertilizers, explosives and solid rocket propellants; also a food preservative"

"Solid rocket propellants" sounds useful to an illuminator.
Daniel Smith
6. Smittyphi
This, is why I love CoT. The Tuon and Mat chapters are priceless IMHO. Although I didn't get why you said that about Tuon placing Mat under her protection, it makes sense now. Thanks Leigh!
Band of The Red Hand
7. AndrewB

Mat first did the spin thing in KoD. When he arrived in the square in Ebu Dar and the Supergirls announced that they were going to the palace, he blindly spun and chose an inn. Setalle's inn.

Thanks for reading my musings,
Band of The Red Hand
8. peachy
IIRC Mat isn't even that bummed when he has to kill the Shaido Maiden who was boffing him - a lot of his distress (though not all, by any means) was at the implication for his life expectancy of being on the hit list of a Forsaken.
Dru O'Higgins
9. bellman
There were lions in Europe up to fairly recent times. And wasn't there a North American lion? Anyway, go to wikipedia and do a search for European Lion - I'd do a link, but the system thinks I'm spamming.
James Felling
10. Maltheos
As to lions in Randland, they are perfectly valid please see

they were there, just hunted out of existence by humans. So a rand land lion is quite likely.

Also as to the salt merchant, they would be the most likely source of minerals and as others have said it is a food preservative and thus likely someone would be selling it. As to storage and shipping of same, it would be very similar to normal salt, so its a likely sideline business for them.

A side note on the wedding traditions -- I have a feeling that the formal wedding tradition amongst Seanchan is huge, messy, hyper ceremonial, and involved. However, the actual "active ingredient" is likely as described. Similar to how a high church wedding runs versus the actual exchange of vows with witnesses both exist in our system, and both are recognized in our culture. I am also of the belief that much of the pomp and circumstance of the Seanchan culture is not required so much as culturally expected. ( i.e. done to show clearly position and power and to recognize the significance of an action, in many cases they COULD just say the words and be done with it, but the ceremony is presented to clarify position and heirarchy.
Captain Hammer
11. Randalator
re: lions

In the past there existed several subspecies of lions in
Eurasia and all over the North American continent.

It had a wide habitat tolerance, but probably preferred conifer forests and grasslands, where medium-sized to large herbivores occurred. Fossil footprints of lions, which were found together with those of reindeer, demonstrate that lions once occurred even in subpolar climates.

So, lions in Randland are not unrealistic...

re: Renna

Yeah, on the same page as Leigh.
Lannis .
12. Lannis
Thanks, Leigh! Once again, we all appreciate you taking one for the team... I know I'll be glad when we leave CoT behind...

And yes, Renna needed to go.
Drew Urmey
13. urmey1
I believe it was already mentioned (or implied?) that the saltpeter was made from bat guano, but other salts would be used in fireworks to get different colored flames.
Captain Hammer
14. Randalator
urmey1 @13

Yep, I seem to remember at least one mention of it in the books. Btw., does that mean that you have to be batshit insane to become a fireworker...?
Band of The Red Hand
15. Joebuu
Actually, didn't Mat use the spin-and-point navigation method way back in The Dragon Reborn when he was searching Tear for Comar?
He had been searching methodically in a pattern but then stopped, picked an inn at random, and there was Comar. Mat figuring out how his "luck" operates remains my favorite scene in the Wheel of Time.
Band of The Red Hand
16. deebee
I think the marriage-by-declaration thing occurs in several cultures- in traditional Scottish law (which is distinctly different from English in a number of places) marriages were made when the parties declared themselves husband and wife in front of witnesses. And I believe the same is true in Islam (where getting divorced is the reverse procedure...logical really)

I`d never thought of the Renna incident as mirroring Perrin and the torture, possibly because it didn`t cause me as much angst. I guess I give Mat the benefit of the doubt that this could be called self-defence. I have no doubt the Seanchan would have numerous tortures and a pointy spike prepared for all those involved with the abduction of the DOTNM. And I guess that would extend a very long way-the whole circus perhaps? And Renna would have known that, so I guess she deserved what she got, in the end.
Drew Urmey
17. urmey1
@14 Randalator

Yes. Yes it does.
Might even be the origin of the term.
Jeff Weston
18. JWezy
One of the things that makes the "courtship" peculiar is that in this case, each of them knows that they are fated to marry the other, but neither knows that the other believes they are also fated. They wind up doing this elaborate dance with each other to manuever each other into something that is destined to begin with.

And, since they are who they are, they manage to do this in the most hilarious way possible. This is one of my favorite story threads in the whole series, and it seems to get funnier the more I read it. In some ways, if you know what happens, you are sitting on the Creator's shoulder as he chuckles while the whole scene plays out.

And, even better, nobody gets spanked.
j p
19. sps49
Wait, who is missing a cloak? And so what? And why is Seleucia mad at Bayle Domon?

AndrewB @7-

Do you mean Winter's Heart?

That was an earlier iteration of his Crombie the Soldier imittion, but he did something similar in Tar Valon, I think. And Tear. And in other earlier travels, as well.


Mountain lions are very close to me; one mauled an 8-year old boy who ran too far ahead of his mother at a state park 2 miles away. Mule deer are a common sight in the mornings; presumably the cougars are near, but not visible.

Yes, Renna had to die, and I hope she burns in hell! ALso Melindra and the fireworks victim. Heck, those Seanchan might have been Dark- led, they were no guarantee of safety (although nobody knows that).

Mat and Tuon is easily my favorite part of this book.
Band of The Red Hand
20. rmrpbutt
About Mat and the spinning in circles to find Tuon at random, I am in the middle of re-re-re-reading the series and am in the middle of "The Dragon Reborn" right now. While in Tear, Mat discovers that his luck is purely based on the randomness of the event. He wins at dice, not at stones because stones is no random. He finds Kovar (the guy sent by Rahvin to kill the supergirls) by NOT searching every tavern and just picking one at random. His "spin and find" method is just a logical extension of that, so it all sort of makes sense in the grander scheme.
21. Freelancer

What Perrin did was every last bit as much Justice and justified as what Mat ordered. To not understand that Jordan meant them to be perceived that way, well...
j p
22. sps49
BTW- I don't know how long it's been out, but I came across the New Spring graphic novelization last night. It's nicely done, and the e-mailed comments from RJ to the adaptors are interesting, but doing the entire series this way would be a major undertaking.
Band of The Red Hand
23. hamstercheeks
ryamano@2: Mat just isn't as obvious about his don't-hit-girls tendencies as Rand (and Perrin, although Perrin is more a gentle giant and so generally nice to all). His thoughts after killing Melindhra, his DF Maiden ex-lover who tried to kill him:

He had killed men, and Trollocs, but never a woman. Never a woman until now. Women were glad when he came into their lives. It was not boasting. Women smiled for him; even when he left them, they smiled as if they would welcome him back. That was all he ever really wanted from, women; a smile, a dance, a kiss, and to be remembered fondly. -TFoH, ch. 51

Awwwww, Mat's a sweetie. I'm still in the Mat x Berelain camp, though.
Mikey Bennett
24. EvilMonkey
All the superboys are reluctant to kill women, at least to various degrees. It was a cultural trait in the Ole Mountain Home. Hamster stole my thunder RE Melindhra.
Band of The Red Hand
25. hamstercheeks
EvilMonkey: I'm sorry.
Stefan Mitev
26. Bergmaniac
ryanomo @2 "But Mat also vowing to not kill women felt weird to me. He had already faced a woman who had died from his actions (in TDR as well, with the fireworks in the middle of the forest). His reaction to that? "Bleh, bad luck, lady". Which I liked, since it fit into the personality he was showing then (of lucky rogue)."

The woman in TDR was killed by Thom and Mat was pretty upset about it, considering it wasn't even his doing and she tried to kill him. He was really shocked when he had to kill Melindra, and if it wasn't reflexive action, he probably would've been unable to do. So I don't think his behaviour here was out of character.

I still think the whole "I can't kill a woman" deal is beyond idiotic though, but at least Mat is not such a bad case as Rand was until TGS and was able to do it when he had no other choice. Of course, after he made the oath here, he'll probably get into trouble because of it.

If the Shadow had some kind of completence, they used've used female assassins on the ta'veren way more, everyone knows being incapable of harming a woman is a common tradition in Two Rivers. Graendal even commented at some point that Rand seems unable to kill women, so they did know about him at least. So they should've used this weakness way more.
Band of The Red Hand
27. pwl
And why is Seleucia mad at Bayle Domon?

The most convincing answer I've read for this is that Selucia, recognizing the danger that Tuon being marath'damane presents to her mistress, was going to kill Egeanin/Domon to keep the word from spreading. The other witnesses are problematic, but they are not Seanchan so their words would not carry weight (and as seen later, they already had a plan to leash the AS if they were problematic anyway).
Band of The Red Hand
28. deebee
Jordan may have meant us to see Mat`s and Perrin`s actions as morally equivalent, but that doesn`t mean we shouldn`t make our own judgment on that. (Actually I don`t see it as obvious that he intended that, I think it equally likely he intended the two incidents to allow the reader to reflect on the similarities and the differences between the two events.)
I see Mat as forced into a split second decision where there was no opportunity for weighing up niceties or the least-worst option. And the lives of very many people hung on the decision he made.
Perrin has plenty of opportunity to consider his approach, he has the option to try to get the information he needs by threats. He could at least try first-but no, it`s straight out with the axe and off with the hand, and then he makes the threats.
Not my idea of justice...
Thomas Keith
29. insectoid
Yay, new post! Yay, Mat chapters!! Thanks Leigh.

I like that bit Noal quotes from the Prophecies of the Dragon:

“Fortune rides like the sun on high
with the fox that makes the ravens fly.
Luck his soul, the lightning his eye,
He snatches the moons from out of the sky.”

And I'm still finding that new block quote formatting to be very irritating (hence why I didn't use it there).

Don't think I noticed the ghosts before. Which isn't too odd, because I didn't notice most of this book... ;)

Mat finding out Tuon could channel: Heh.

Renna: Ugh.

Not under her protection: Thats... actually pretty sneaky of Tuon. Almost Verin-like sneakiness!

J-Ro @4: Thanks for the info! I had to look up saltpeter myself to see what the heck it is.

AndrewB @7: I do believe you mean LoC. ;) In any case, as others have mentioned, the random-direction-luck thing started in TDR. (Specifically, in ch. 49.)

sps49 @22: Agreed. Which is probably why they (the Dabels) aren't even a quarter of the way through TEotW yet. :/

Mike McCaffrey
30. earlgrey
DB @ 28
First you have to get the mule's attention and for that you need a 2x4.
Vincent Lane
31. Aegnor
Regarding the Seanchan wedding cermony, if you remember in TGS, after meeting with Rand, Tuon says "I am Empress" (or something like that). She thinks to herself that there would be cermonies and such, but simply saying that was the only thing that mattered. So it is in fact, very similar to the wedding ceremony.
Lee VanDyke
32. Cloric
RE: others in the Prophecies...

I guess this is the first confirmation that the KC was
about at least the Superboys in toto, but I had my first... well, not
suspicion.. I was convinced that Nyneave's healing of
stilling/gentling/severing was curing the "cutting of hope" that
Moiraine mentions all the way back in tDR, and then her healing of the
"wounds of madness" in ToM.

My 2 cents.
Chris Gilbert
33. chrisg1809
The Seanchan repetition of a declaration of marriage three times is somewhat mirrored by the Sunni tradition of "triple talaq" which permits a husband to divorce a wife merely by saying "I dovirce you" three times.

This practice is banned in most muslim countries but is a real-world parallel.

Of course the practice does seem to be at odds to the Seanchan's love of ceremony, but that's another matter.
Bryan Schenk
34. Damplander
Hi, on the whole seeing dead people this isn't really like ghosts as we think of them. I think it's partly explained at some point but this is a part of the Dark Ones return/influence as the pattern weakens and you get echoes or overlaps of the past on the present so that those in the preset are seeing those from the past either recent or long ago. This can be seen to a degree since the people seen are always that I can remember from the same basic geographical area.
Band of The Red Hand
35. sushisushi
AndrewB@7 That may have been the first time Mat uses the technique, but I think that this is the first time he uses it with intention. This time he's purposely using the random aspect of his luck as a technique to find someone (or something, although here it's two people). Leigh is right in pointing out the foreshadowing of the Tower escape in ToM, where the whole thing goes into overdrive. It certainly makes that seem a lot less random (excuse the pun!) when you see Mat trying out the technique this far back (how far away is the Tower raid from this anyway, chronologically speaking?)
john mullen
36. johntheirishmongol
From the first time I read this, I loved the romance between Tuon and Mat. It was the first romance in the series where you could see the actual courtship taking place. Rands with his girls were more off camera to me and Perrin and Faile went from zero to married in nothing flat. I am just sorry circumstances are keeping them apart.
Band of The Red Hand
37. blknight18
Mat has been talking about not killing women for a long time, it seems to specifically be a two rivers thing that is shared by the borderlanders, etc. There are comments in the early books. And he particularly laments killing Melindhra in TFOH not just because of his relationship with her but also because she is a woman.

The choosing by random started in TDR as a couple people mentioned upthread.
Stefan Mitev
38. Bergmaniac
I got to say that the whole "Mat felt terrible for having a woman killed" deal here never managed to move me a slightest bit, except irritate me that such a ridiculous custom exists in a world where the women are in all kinds of position of power and an all-female organisation have been the most powerful force in the world for 3000 years. Plus if there was one character in these books who you could easily say "Good riddance" after her death, it's Renna, who was nothing but revolting sadist (back in TGH, when she was the sul'dam in charge of Egwene), or annoying sycophant to Mat in the latter books.

So the ending of the Mat plotline in this book felt really flat for me.

BTW, the behaviour of the Aes Sedai in those chapters is completely idiotic. Why the hell they kept entering almost every village and town and risk detection? If I were Mat, I'd have sent them on their way ages ago.

Luca's circus moving at about 10 cm per day really annoyed me on the first read, BTW, and still does on reread. Is the guy an idiot? He knows he's in extreme danger, Mat's paying him a ludicrous amount of money, yet he was still stopping at every village and generally moved as slow as possible. And of course, as we saw in KoD, Mat's group had no problems moving way faster on their own when they left the circus, so the whole thing felt like pointless extending of this storyline in time.
Mikey Bennett
39. EvilMonkey
Berg @ 38

As for Mat and the silly customs thing, well there are silly customs not only all over Randland, but in RL as well. I personally think it's a plot thing, but at least it is something fairly consistent throughout. We can see characters struggle with their consciences after doing things that question their beliefs in the interests of the greater good, surviving the LB with the world in tact. They don't just conviently forget their morals when push comes to shove, and that for me makes it more real.

RE the Aes Sedai, I agree that they are stupid. Looking at Setalle Anan and how she comports herself even while stilled it is obvious that the quality has gone way down from years past.

And as far as Luca's traveling circus, of course Mat and Co. could move faster. That was not the point. He picked the traveling circus because he figured that would be the last place Tuon's hunters would be looking for them. Think about it, if you just kidnapped the princess of a continent-spanning Empire, you would probably be running as fast and as far as possible even if you felt you could not outrun them. Anyone but Mat would think that way. I would guess one of those generals in his head is Sun Tzu.
Stefan Mitev
40. Bergmaniac
To clarify - I have no problem with Mat going with Luca's circus initially, it was a good plan. What I object to is that Mat let Luca move extremely slowly and didn't push him harder to move faster. Especially given the development of the situation with the people in his group - the Aes Sedai risking everything like idiots all the time, the sul'dam being a wild card, etc. Under the circumstances riding and their own and reaching the border 5 times faster would probably've been safer than keep moving at 2 leagues per day with Luca.

It doesn't make sense from Luca's PoV either, especially before he received the warrant from Tuon. He knew the huge risk involved since he knew who Tuon is yet discarded this to get a bit more money on the way even though Mat already promised him a huge sum to get his group ot of Ghealdan. I know he was really greedy, but that was just too much from him IMO.
Tess Laird
41. thewindrose
I thought this part was very funny:
A quick flash of Tuon's fingers stopped her in her tracks, though it was a quivering halt. Tuon's face was a dark mask, unreadable. She did not like what she had heard, though. Come to think of it, she had said she trained damane. Oh, burn him, on top of everything else, he was going to marry a woman who could channel?

And lots of references to the dice in Mats head in Chapter 29 - Something Flickers. They must have started when Renna made her decision that this was the day to escape. And ended when she was shot down. There were mentions of drumming dice and thundering dice, and as Renna got closer to Coramen they rolled like thunder.

"I did make specific mention of who is not under my protection, Toy."


Band of The Red Hand
42. XLCR
AAHHH!! Finally another Mat chapter. Just have to reiterate again the cool factor of Jaim reciting a part of the Prophecy that mentions Mat. For one thing, it says clear out that he knows exactly who he has attached himself to. Of course, that is what he was all about, a constant searcher for adventure. I suppose he had decided in his declining years to latch himself to one of the hottest adventures going. The question here is whether Tuon noted the hint here or it went over her head. Nothing in that passage says one way or the other, except that we know she was listening because she scolds Mat for interrupting.

And why is this important, you ask? Because let's face it. What we are all waiting breathlessly for is for Toun to finally see that Mat is far more than Tylin's Toy. As Liegh would have it, Realize The Awesomeness. In an earlier part of the book there is an object lesson on First Impressions and how hard they are to live down. Something about first being seen on a throne.

The reason this whole romance tickles our fancy in the first place is because Mat's introduction to Tuon may just qualify as one of the worst first impressions in the history of romance. The only thing that saves it is the foretelling, and his ring. But of course, he doesn't know that until much later. So we spend the whole course of the Escape from Altara rooting for poor Mat, waiting for the event that finally earns Mat her respect. I would say that only really starts to happen when Talmanes shows up with the band. However, if she was paying attention, and she doesn't seem to miss much, she may have picked up one of her first real clues there that he was a major player in the last days.
Claire de Trafford
43. ClairedeT
Tuon and Mat. I find it really difficult to bear in mind how horrid her views are when she's with Mat, and then find it difficult to remember her awesomeness here when she's not with him. Tricky.

Perhaps one part of their fated romance is to help reform the Seanchan system. Tuon has married a Prince of Ravens who is more awesome than the Empress, and will help save the world. She's on a journey that is making her rethink her world view, although she is not admitting it to herself at the moment; after TG she will see that Mat is not just her equal, but perhaps her superior in some regards, and hopefully this will help to change the more inflexible parts of Seanchan life.
44. Shard
Actually I think Mat came up with "spin and point" much sooner then this. Back in Tear when he was searching for the assassin sent to kill Nyn and Eggy Mat did some random looking as well to find the inn the man was in.
Liz J
45. Ellisande
I never paid much attention to Thom's letter before, but now, reading that Mat actually wonders what is so fascinating about the letter from Moiraine... oh my goodness, I want to stick my face in the book and tell Mat to ask him about it already!
Sandy Brewer
46. ShaggyBella
A few thoughts...
I like how Mat thinks of money by how many horses he could buy. Example: 12 prime horses for the necklace Egeanin thew away. Still a country guy at heart.
One of my favorite quotes: "The bloody girl knew."
and "The strangest people marry, sometimes." This was said to Bayle & Egeanin of all people...maybe a little fortelling? But true, also.

Morgase abdicated the throne of Andor with just a simple oath, said just to herself. Not much ceremony there.
dhruv seoni
47. dmseoni
Three things-

To my mind the Seanchan wedding ceremony is influenced in part by the Islamic ceremony, Nikah.

Lions existed in South/South-Eastern Europe. Bears exist in parts of asia, as do lions.

Yes, salt is a term used for a wide variety of ionic compunds.
Band of The Red Hand
48. Megaduck
Re Maltheos @10

The Salt Merchent might not even know what he's shipping. Potassiam Nitrate is very similer to Sodium Nitrate which is similer to Sodium Chloride and they are ALL considered "SALT". It wasn't untill the introduction of chemisty that people started realizing that what they called "SALT" was actually several different compounds.

So what Aludra is probably doing is just asking salt merchants if they have "Bitter Salt" knowing that it's the one that tastes bitter that can be used to make explosives and not "Sea Salt" which does not or "Rock Salt" which only does so occasionally.
Tricia Irish
49. Tektonica
Strike up the Band! Mat's back!!!

I do like the Mat/Tuon story line. As john@36: said, it's the only courtship we actually get to witness, really. And Tuon is a savvy lady.....misinformed on many things, but sharp. And it is hard to reconcile this Tuon with the one in ToM. ? Is it the story line, or is it Brandon's interpretation of Tuon?

Between the looney AS risking detection in every town, the squabbling sul'dam/AS, fencing with Tuon, Luca's cast of crazies, Egeanin/Doman, Thom mooning around, Noal and his stories, and Olver, this is quite the swirling "mess 'o chaos". And Mat juggles it all with a sense of humor. Gotta love this guy.

As for the killing of Renna....The killing of women seems to be an ingrained Two Rivers chivalric thing. And yes, it makes no sense. He had to do it, to protect the entirety of Luca's entourage which he had, in essence, appropriated. He was being a General. I hope this vow to not kill women doesn't come back to bite him.

As for the wedding vows....Egeanin states,

There are blessings involved, usually, but it’s saying it in front of witnesses that makes it a marriage.

So there was probably more pomp and circumstance involved usually, but the essence of the ceremony was the public declaration. Not much different than going to the courthouse here, as opposed to the big church hoo-ha.

Are we doing New Spring after this? Or are we onto KoD? Anyone know?
Maiane Bakroeva
50. Isilel
Have to swim against the current here - IMHO these chapters were pretty boring. Not as bad as Perrin's, granted, but not much better either.
I remember nearly screaming in frustration when Luca's glacial pace was mentioned yet again - and ya, it doesn't make a lot of sense, as he knows that they are in danger of discovery.
IMHO Tuon and Mat have no chemistry and are just forced together via the prophecy - and again, it never made sense to me that Tuon would drop everything and go off with Mat, when from her PoV their union was fated anyway.

All the irritations and "dangers" Mat et al. are subjected to feel like unnecessary make-work, while the one logical danger, namely Semiraghe who sees her most important pawn, cultivated since she escaped SG , escape her grasp, is implausibly passive/idiotic about the whole thing.
Egeanin, AS, sul'dam etc. are stupid and annoying.

Mat and Perrin being in the KC prophecies actually diminishes them in my eyes rather than otherwise.

Mat's drama about killing Renna, his vow and later inability to kill that DF girl is downright revolting. Oh no, can't touch that mass murderer/sadist/ traitor etc. cause she "dimples, rather than dangles" to quote Hobb. Her next victims will surely understand... not.
And ya, it is very convenient that the Shadow _never_ uses this assinine stance against the superboys.

Now, if Mat and Tuon grew close whilst fending off an enraged FS, this could have had potential, but as it is... meh.

Ellisande @45:

Mat didn't actually know that the letter was from Moiraine until he asked about it in KoD.

Evil Monkey @39:

Looking at Setalle Anan and how she comports herself even while stilled it is obvious that the quality has gone way down from years past.

I thought that Setalle (if she is Martine) is in the same age bracket as either Joline or Teslyn, whoever is younger. She attained the shawl about 65 years ago, didn't she?
Jay Dauro
51. J.Dauro
Martine Janata knew a novice 70 years ago
Martine was raised Aes Sedai more than 65 years ago
Teslyn taught Joline
Joline is older than Elaida's Mother
Elaida was a Novice 30 years ago.
Elaida was only a novice for 3 years
Martine was burned out and became Setalle
Setalle gave birth 20 years ago.
Teslyn was elected a sitter 15 years ago

So Setalle could be of the same age range as Teslyn, but could also be older. She is probably older than Joline.
Stefan Mitev
52. Bergmaniac
Isilel - "All the irritations and "dangers" Mat et al. are subjected to feel like unnecessary make-work, while the one logical danger, namely Semiraghe who sees her most important pawn, cultivated since she escaped SG , escape her grasp, is implausibly passive/idiotic about the whole thing. Egeanin, AS, sul'dam etc. are stupid and annoying."

I couldn't agree more.

Another problem for me with "Mat in the circus" plotline is that I find it way less funny than the first time we saw the circus. Mat had some funny moments, of course (nowhere near Nynaeve in TFOH though), but the people around him are mostly annoying or bland. Luca, who was hilarious the first time, is boring here and even annoying at times.

BTW, there are plenty of women in the Seanchan armies. IIRC the ones the Band faced in KoD were mostly made up of Taraboners and other men from the newly conquered lands, but they must've had quite a few Seanchan women for officers and some of they surely were killed in the battles. Does that not count as breaking the promise Mat made here?

The more I think about this mental block against killing women of the Two Rivers men, the more stupid and illogical it seems to me. Now that Rand is not Dark Rand anymore, will he get back to this idiocy? I hope not, but I think he will. The list of dead women will probably come back too..."headdesk".
Maiane Bakroeva
53. Isilel
J.Dauro @51:

So Setalle could be of the same age range as Teslyn, but could also be older. She is probably older than Joline.

On the contrary, she is at most Joline's age or younger. Teslyn was an "old school" Sitter, remember, which means that she wore the shawl for at least a century before her election to the Hall.

Bermaniac @52:

Ditto about the circus. SGs being there was funny until the last chapter of their sojourn when they got über-bitchy, but it just feels tired and repetitive now.
And yes, the whole "not killing women, even when they are dangerous killers/soldiers/mass murdering WMDs" is both ludicrous and tiresome. I guess that Seanchan could take both TR and Borderlands without working up a sweat if only they knew to exploit it. Ditto the Shadow. Sigh.
Band of The Red Hand
54. Banana
Holy crap! I just realized I've caught up with this re-read. :(

@Aludras salt: Pretty sure its a fireworks thing and not a gunpowder thing. Highschool chemistry fail perhaps, but I seem to remember "salts" of various kinds burning with different colored flames.

And it doesn't really have to be gunpowder/cordite as we know it, but just something that when ignited in a confined space goes boom. In a world where peaches are poisonous(!), what is the point of our real world chemistry skills anyhow? :)
Sorcha O
55. sushisushi
J.Dauro@51 and Isilel@53 The 13th Depository article on character ages seems to indicate that Martine is around the same age as Joline, although they may not have been in the same level of training at the same time, given that the article gives a 23 year range for Joline's age and 13 years for Martine's, starting the same year; an estimate of 10-15 years training for Joline and 10-25 for Martine. Conceivably, you could have had a situation where one of them is 13 years older and was finished 10 years of Aes Sedai before the other arrived at the Tower at age 15. The fact that Setalle recognised Zarya, who was born around the later end of the age estimates for M&J, would put her on the younger end of the scale. It also makes a kind of sense that a brand new AS is not going to be paying attention to novices, but a novice Martine may remember a flamboyant new Green (assuming she actually does recognise Joline - she never really lets on if she does and Joline could have taken off out of the Tower for adventures asap).
56. birgit
I guess that Seanchan could take both TR and Borderlands without working up a sweat if only they knew to exploit it. Ditto the Shadow.

Borderlanders fight Aiel. If they refused to fight Maidens, the Aiel would have won long ago.
Stefan Mitev
57. Bergmaniac
Maybe the Borderlanders use Perrin's trick against the Aiel and think of all the veiled Aiel as men ;).

Besides, the Aiel had no interest in trying to conquer Shienar, it was just border skirmishes.
Thomas Keith
58. insectoid
Tek @49: I believe New Spring is next, yes. Which is actually kind of disappointing, because I was so looking forward to KoD after this boring, boring book... ;)

J.Dauro @51: Wasn't there some discrepancy as to Joline's age? I seem to recall reading that somewhere.

John Massey
59. subwoofer
Sorry folks, RL is imposing its will on the frequency of my posting.

Right- there is a whole whack of stuff going on in these chapters that I am going to unload about. Edit- wow, this got long.

Renna- never got it and still don't get it, but hey, she called the tune, now she has to dance the dance. I get the "male" notion of chivalry and the whole don't wanna see a woman get hurt schtick. I read Louis L'amour and the code of the West is very similar. But damn it, IIRC a few years back somebody in Texas was proposing a "they needed killing" law. I think this falls into that category.

Moving on.

Mat and Tuon. To me the clincher was when Tuon asks Mat if he remembers seeing Hawkwing's face. Mat lies about it and Tuon knows he lies. The rest of this is all academic and window dressing. I think the importance of these chapters is the growing bond of Setalle and Tuon and that in the end, when they part ways, Tuon actally misses the conversations she has with Setalle. IMHO Setalle was the seed planted that will foster a change in attitude of the Seanchan to damane.

Note- Mat, buddy, next time you go shopping with women, bring help. You don't understand the power of a woman to buy stuff and that the whole process will rob you of your strength and patience. Actually, next time, just give Tuon your money, send a couple of RedArms along and pat yourself on the back for being a genius and avoiding the whole situation entirely.

Aes Sedai- wow. I am surprised nobody has really given 'er on this topic because in these chapters they were driving me up the wall and around the bend. Lemme be blunt ( like I am anything else, ever) Mat saved those women's hides. Without Mat all three would be stuck in Ebou Dar and probably leashed by now. And now we see these women openly flaunting Mat's request that they keep out of sight and hide their faces so as to keep things from hitting the fan. Mat sees the Aes Sedai going around as plain as day and when Egeanin needs help, one comes up cloakless. I thought the ageless face thing was a dead giveaway, so what's the deal here? The whole thing drives me nuts and I am just reading about it, if I was in Mat's shoes I'd go batshit on these women, Power be damned. A spank is in order.

Egeanin. What the heck are we supposed to call her? I can't recall if there is a shift in the text when it actually starts to refer to Egeanin as Leilwin or if it is just in "name" only or if Leilwin shrugs off Tuon's nattering.

Mat's marriage. Well Ogier are famous for being long winded and Loial's wedding was simple and to the point. I don't think things have to be more complicated than they are, weddings should be simple anyways. All this stuff that goes on in RL weddings is all fluff... and most of these folks get divorced in a matter of years anyways because reality does not live up to the fairy tale they had of marriage. What matters is what is in a person's heart and why they are doing it. For instance, I married my wife because I thought that was the best thing I can do for her, not because I wanted anything out of marriage, but because I wanted to do my best to make another person happy. I can't remember much of our wedding day, but the words were said and the bond is there. That's what counts.

Claire de Trafford
61. ClairedeT
Woof, that's so sweet (about the wedding obviously, not the gunpowder!). Say hi to Mrs Woof and Wooflette.

I think one of the things that I am learning from these re-reads is that I am totally sick of the Aes Sedai. I would give my right arm for some more competent women who aren't bossy, into spanking, sure of their own righteousness etc etc. I know they are supposed to contrast with the supers etc and make us think about our attitudes towards different gender roles etc but well! This chapter is a case in point.
Alice Arneson
62. Wetlandernw
Hi there. I'm only commenting so that this shows up on my conversations list. All the significant misapprehensions seem to have been corrected, and I have no desire whatsoever to comment on the "he did this wrong" posts. So... guess I'll go read the chapters for myself to see what else was there.

Oh, and I like the Mat-Tuon courtship. Those who complain that "there's no chemistry" are out to lunch, as far as I'm concerned. Hope lunch is tasty. (Aludra? Seriously? Wow. I don't think so.) Me, I love to laugh through these bits. I've enjoyed their sparring-match courtship from the first time I read it, and I still do.
Jonathan Levy
63. JonathanLevy
52. Bergmaniac
The more I think about this mental block against killing women of the Two Rivers men, the more stupid and illogical it seems to me.
This is obviously building up to the climactic scene of the Last Battle when Rand & co discover that the Dark One is a woman.
... and then they close the bore by administering a spanking!
Valentin M
64. ValMar
J Levy @ 63

Maybe BWS is aware of Leigh's forceful opinion on this. What if he wrote an alternative ending^ and send a copy with it only to Leigh for her review read?
Just a little bit of harmless fun or too cruel?
Rob Munnelly
65. RobMRobM
Jonathan@63 - Bravo! ROFL.

Like Wet, I'm also a big Mat-Tuon relationship fan. They come at their relationship from different directions but both are players willing to risk all when things of importance are at stake; both are honorable and keep promises; and both have deep relationships with friends and associates who are closely tied to them by loyalty and love. I did not like Tuon's character in ToM and I'm wondering whether they are merely setting up fact that she'll decide she really needs Mat with her AMOL or whether a Foresaken is playing with her; probably the fomer.

isilel @50 "All the irritations and "dangers" Mat et al. are subjected to feel like
unnecessary make-work, while the one logical danger, namely Semiraghe
who sees her most important pawn, cultivated since she escaped SG ,
escape her grasp, is implausibly passive/idiotic about the whole thing." Maybe I have my timing wrong but didn't Semirhage choose to take advantage of her absence by going to Seanchan and killing off the royal family, then figured a motivated Suroth would do the dirty work herself. I don't have a problem with this.

Valentin M
66. ValMar
BTW, has anyone here read Joe Abercrombie? I am wondering whether it's worth starting. Heard good things about it but somewhere I heard there's a lack of sympathetic characters.

And I forgot to add myself to the list of those who enjoyed the Mat-Tuon game. Very enjoyable to read, in general.
John Massey
67. subwoofer
@JL- the DO being female.... Hmmmm, seems like I have seen that story somewhere before. IIRC there was a giant marshmallow involved.

lin mei
68. twicemarked
Mat vs. Tuon.

Mat is obviously experienced with women, and Tuon is experienced with dealing with people, both subjects and enemies. It is an even fight, and it is very enjojable to watch pros go at it.

As to DO being female. All jokings aside, it has been theoried that DO is the Father of Lies, and the Creator is the Mother figure that gives birth to everything, and loves all parts of her creations equally. The no-interference thing and all. A food for thought.
Band of The Red Hand
69. peachy
Stack me on the other side - never been a fan of the Mat-Tuon connection. The narrative itself is often amusing, but I don't particularly like her character, and there are several women I think would be so much better for him.
Kimani Rogers
70. KiManiak
Thanks, Leigh.

So, Mat chapters (finally!) and by the time I’m able to actually post, most of what there is to say has been said already (and probably better than I could have said it; you all are always fun to read).

Wall of Text Warning (since I'm only able to comment now, 2 whole days after Leigh's post)

I actually enjoyed Mat and Tuon’s courtship dance (like a fair number have stated here). Does it seem kind of awkward and forced? Maybe, just a little bit. But, it’s also, cute, hilarious and kind of innocently sweet (more in regards to Tuon’s first kiss with Mat and other similar courting activities that it appears she’s experiencing for the first time). Also, of all of the romances forced on us, this one –along with Rand/Aviendha- seems to have a more realistic courting period and development of affection/love (as multiple folks have said before me, but I had to throw my 2 pennies out there).

I see that multiple folks have discussed how all 3 of the SuperBoys are against killing women (and that a few already cited Mat’s angst after he killed Melindhra). It does almost come back to bite him in the butt when they fight that bunch of Darkfriends outside of the Hell in TGS. Tuon also became aware of Mat’s stance on killing women, then. I find the belief held by the 3 SBs to be plausible, if also somewhat of a handicap.

Oh and if the Seanchan decided to attack the TR, they wouldn't have to focus on only sending in women; I'm sure their regular army supported by damane would probably conquer the 2R (which has lost most if not all of its potential channelers to the White and Black Towers) fairly easily. If the Seanchan were to attack Shienar, that would mean they've gone around or through the White Tower, so Shienar would have no chance against the damane, either. Also, remember that Saldea and Kandor have queens as their monarchs, and they'd have no problems ordering their men to kill any woman that attacks them. And, if they weren't supported by Aes Sedai or Ashaman, they would probably fall very quickly to the Seanchan, too.

For those who think Tuon seems different in ToM then she does during her travels with Mat and her being exposed to alternate views in CoT and KoD, don’t forget that Graendal mentions in ToM that she had started to “wrap strings” around Tuon in ToM. Maybe she used a little light Compulsion to encourage Tuon to strike at the White Tower again? I’d like to believe that BWS wouldn’t write her that much more differently than what we’ve observed in CoT and KoD.

The Aes Sedai. Okay, Aes Sedai as a group are rather generically (and consistently) written as arrogant, manipulative, perceiving their wishes/desires above that of any other, and loyal only to the White Tower and their sisterhood (with a few exceptions). But their actions here border on the asinine. No wait, they’ve crossed the border and are indeed in the realm of “Asinine,” and on the way to the realm of “Freakin-Stupid” as well. They’re still in Seanchan controlled lands. Women who can channel are leashed in Seanchan controlled lands. Why the frick would they risk exposing themselves (nevermind Mat and those who helped them escape and are now trying to collectively sneak out of the country with them) to being recaptured, knowing that it could mean slavery for the centuries of life they have left? Only Teslyn’s actions in KoD and ToM re: Mat (she seems to have high respect for him & puts Joline in check a few times regarding her actions towards Mat) redeem any of these 3 in my eyes.

sub@59 – re: Setalle and Tuon – Interesting point. Setalle is still with Mat (with the Band outside of Caemlyn) as far as we know. If she continues to travel with him after the mess with Caemlyn is resolved, then chances are good that she and Mat will interact with Tuon again. Oh, and I thought your motivation for marrying your wife was very sweet. I wish you and her as much sleep as your daughter will allow. May she start sleeping through most of the night as soon as possible.

JL@63 – That was hilarious! Come to think of it, why does the Creator/God and the Dark One/Devil have to be male? What if Shaitan’s greatest feat was to make the world believe that she was male? :)
j p
71. sps49
ValMar @66-

Go ahead and start. There is a lack of pure, unsullied characters, yes, but one jerk at least grows better. And the story is a good, well-told story.
Thomas Keith
72. insectoid
Sub @67: ROFL!! I just saw that on TV the other night. Of course, the DO is always referred to as being male—"Father of Lies" and all that.

Tricia Irish
73. Tektonica

I agree with what sps49 said@71, and will add that the writing is good. The characters, while not black and white, are well drawn. It's grittier...more in the vein of Glen Cook, or Steve Ericson, but with less philosophy. I grew to like some fairly unlikely characters. ??

I'd give it a try, while we're all waiting around here! (And I'm totally into Malazan Book of the Fallen. Incredible prose.)
William Fettes
74. Wolfmage
Re: Tuon and Mat

I actually think the courtship works rather well, and I enjoy our return to Luca’s travelling show. Tuon can be a little maddening with her frequent belittling of Mat and general cultural chauvinism, but the battle framework she uses to approach the situation is a relatively successful gimmick. Her fortress-like unassailability and clinical intelligence provides a good foil for his rapscallion ways. And while the comedic aspects don’t always generate easy peals of laughter, the atmospherics are very succeessful and I find this whole arc to be rather enjoyable; it's a welcome relief from Perrin’s Shaido plot anyway.

Also, there are some genuinely cute moments here with the artificial flowers, the Razor and Tuon’s first kiss. Tuon’s belittlement of Mat starts to gradually give way to her keen recognition of Mat’s contradictory nature and his formidable prowess in certain areas. Obviously the ultimate payoff for this must wait until she sees him as the Lion on the High Plains in KoD, but many of the seeds for this realisation are planted right here.

Incidentally, I like the fact that, if we read between the lines, Tuon basically stops Selucia from assassinating people a bunch of times during these sections.

Re: Mat & Renna

Leigh and others have already weighed in on this subject and covered the essentials, but yes, I think Mat is to be praised for doing what was necessary here. Despite him agonising over the death of Renna, Mat did the deed by ordering the shot at the critical moment without hesitation. That’s what counts. Mat has always been less paralysed by this particular Two River’s hang-up than the other boys, but that doesn’t mean he is internally indifferent. It just means he has a lessor strain of the genus.

Mat has come in for some harsh criticism over his attitude, but it’s really not until KoD that he allows this concern to take over when he stupidly endangers himself during the street fight outside that ‘Hell’. I say save the harsh criticism for then, because he's way more rational than the other two boys.

Anyway, I’m not sure if RJ intended this scene as a genuine moral dilemma or not, because there’s not much to debate about it. Like Leigh, I find it a fairly trivial and innocuous matter completely distinct from Perrin’s actions in the previous chapter.
75. MasterAlThor
Is it really almost over? Light let it be so!

Onward to Tuesday then.

Band of The Red Hand
76. archaeo
KiManiak@70, I feel the same way you do re:the weekend passing by before posting. The Mat/Tuon romancing really is fun, although it's always been wrapped up for me with the worry that the Seanchan thread of the story seems awfully tangled to finish in a book. I also don't really think that Sanderson's Tuon was different in characterization, just in a completely different situation. She played her games with Toy, allowing the reader to see that she's really a pretty okay person, but she becomes the Empress (may she live forever), a role that requires a bit more direness. Maybe I'm wrong, though?

Wolfmage@74, I tend to agree with you (and Leigh) that Renna does not equal Random Shaido. But the theme of this book might be seen as "tough decisions," with major turning points in characters' leadership arcs. But, uh, I'd need some time to develop this point; maybe I'll save it for the upcoming end-of-book post.

MasterAlThor@75, I think everybody's excited. Of course, if it's New Spring next, it'll be a lot of discussion about Lan's weird lover-cum-matchmaker, plus a lengthy post about Moraine, Siuan, and whatever they did with a pillow.
Band of The Red Hand
77. The Crippled Lion
OK, I've kept silent for a long time, trying to catch up on this reread and jumping around from book to book, but I'd like to point out to you all that Perrin did not just chop off the hand of some "Random Shaido".
This from Leigh's last post:
"Perrin recognizes the man as Hari, who liked to collect ears."
We've seen this guy at least once before and he is not just some innocent Shaido who happened to get caught. So, maybe a little more equal to "Renna."
A huge thank you to everyone who takes part in this post and, of course, Leigh for doing it in the first place. I have enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed reading the books in the first place, and the second place and . . .
William Fettes
78. Wolfmage
The Crippled Lion @ 77

Sorry, but Hari is no Shaido. He is one of Masema's thugs who participates in the torture of the Shaido. He is the one who is using the coals during this scene.

The Shaido that Perrins maims is just part of some small group of random Stone Dogs that the Maidens capture.

Here are just a few of the similarities and differences between Renna and the Shaido:

-Bot Renna and the Shaido are taken as uniformed combatants and so are more or less equivilent in status.
-Whilst their respective military forces are a huge threat, as individuals they posed greatly differing threats at the time action was taken against them. The Shaido was nullified as a captive, whereas Renna was an escapee.
-Mat orders Renna's death as a last resort to protect a number of lives from imminent peril. His actions save numerous lives.
-Perrin commits torture against the Shaido captive, outside of last resort, without being in any immediate peril, to try to find the location of his wife. His actions achieve little. Whilst it may be possible to assign broader value to any intelligence about the Shaido's camp, Perrin is solely concerned with Faile, who is just one person.
-Renna's history as a sul'dam is unquestionably evil. Despite whatever allowances we make for her cutural indoctrination she routinely practices torture, cruel and degrading treatment as part of her job. In contrast, the Shaido is just some random Stone Dog Aiel. He may or may not of good character, and it is dubious to simply classify him as evil based on his association with a disreputable Clan.
Alice Arneson
79. Wetlandernw
The Crippled Lion @77 - Oops. Hari is Masema's man, the one who had the collection of ears back in TPoD when Perrin first met up with Morgase & co. He's gleefully enjoying the torture session here, which Perrin finds no end disgusting, just like he found the dried-ear-collection disgusting.

This leads me to a question, though: just suppose that this "random Shaido" was instead Nadric, the drunken Shaido who was going to "take what he wanted" - that being Faile. (CoT ch 9) Suppose, further, that Rolan had not been there to stop him and he'd been successful in his rape. Perrin wouldn't know any of this prior to interrogation, any more than he knew that the "random Shaido" had no knowledge whatsoever of Faile. I wonder, though, would our knowledge of that event change the way we think about Perrin's actions? He certainly was one who "deserved" some kind of retribution, since you can bet he didn't limit his interest to Faile. Would that put him on the same level as Renna?
JoAnn Lyons
80. The Crippled Lion
Thanks Wolfmage and Wetlandernw
Next time I'll reread before I post.
I also wonder how the posts would have gone had we definitely known that the Shiado was not a nice person.
Alice Arneson
81. Wetlandernw
FWIW, not all the Shaido followed Sevanna. For example, there are Shaido Maidens among Rand's (zealous!) honor guard in KoD. We were told before that Shaido who didn't follow her were staying with their warrior societies among the other clans. So by inference, those who are with her chose to follow her as "speaking for the clan chief." They had plenty of opportunity to see that Couladin and then Sevanna had set aside the traditions of ji-e-toh during the march on and battle for Cairhein, so it seems that those who objected stayed with the other clans. This might also imply that they also accepted Rand as the Car'a'carn; I don't know what they did otherwise. We know that the Mera'din who are with Sevanna sort of object to the violation of tradition, but apparently they object to Rand more.

Anyway, it's pretty fair to assume that most of the Shaido with Sevanna are going along with the violation of ji-e-toh in their willingness to not only make gai'shain of wetlanders but also to treat them in ways not normally acceptable (such as rape). So... random Shaido though he is, I don't think we can honestly imagine that he's a nice guy. FWIW.

More to come. I've been washing dishes. :p
Band of The Red Hand
82. archaeo
That's quite a juicy ethical dilemma, Wetlandernw@79, and Jordan gives several examples of it in action. We, the reader (and Perrin's faction after the rescue) know that Galina is Black Ajah. But none of the Shaido Wise Ones do. As far as they're concerned, they have a tame Aes Sedai they get to push around, or whatever Therava is doing to her. Should we see the Shaido Wise Ones as justified in what they're doing when they don't know what they've done, so to speak?

This isn't exactly the same as your hypothetical situation, but it's got a lot in common with it. I think Perrin's actions would be just as ugly (or however you feel about it) if the random Shaido were someone we knew was a Bad Guy.

The other examples aren't quite as equivalent, but Elza frying Osan'gar and Moghedien shielding Liandrin (followed by Liandrin getting sold into Seanchan slavery), not to mention Elaida's fate, offer other glimpses of Jordan's frequent use of dramatic irony. I wonder what happens when Elaida gets free...

Wolfmage@78, I'm not a Seanchan apologist, and I think Renna sort of got what was coming to her, but I still feel a great deal of pity for the sul'dam position. Hopefully, it gets worked out nicely in AMoL, but I'll believe it when I see it.
Alice Arneson
83. Wetlandernw
On torture in Randland... Torture for information is, while not necessarily a common occurence, at least a commonly known concept. There are many references to someone being "put to the question" which invariably imply torture, and these references come in the words or thoughts of people from stations high and low. No one thinks it's a good thing, except those who get their perverted jollies from being on the "putting" end rather than the "question" end. In several instances, someone suggests it, and the sympathetic character is reluctant to do so. (I think the only one of our main "good guys" that is at all eager is Aviendha, and since she comes from such a different background it's a little hard to condemn in her.) Still, while the reluctance is there, the acknowledgement of a viable option is also there.

Take a look at our old buddy Juilin. He persuades people to talk by sending for the oddest items he can think of at the moment: salt & cooking oil, figs & mice. When asked what he was going to do with the salt and cooking oil, he replies

I do not know. But they did not, either. That is the trick of it; their minds made up worse than I ever could... You have to be careful, though. Some will confess anything, true or not, just to escape what they imagine."

In those cases, torture of some sort was clearly expected. They told everything they knew to escape what they thought was naturally coming next.

All that to point out that, in world, while torture is not a preferred method in general (except for the Whitecloak Questioners), it is an accepted method and not looked upon as "crimes against humanity" or, really, a crime of any sort when used by those with legitimate authority. Perrin, as representative of the Dragon Reborn and leige lord to Queen Alliandre (and Morgase, for that matter) had a certain level of (in world) legitimate authority. No one would fault him for whatever method he chose of "putting the Shaido to the question" - except himself, and his own humanity. Mat, as representative of the Dragon Reborn and captain of the Band of the Red Hand has a similar legitimate authority, and no one would fault him for killing someone likely to betray him & those for whom he is responsible. I think that's the big similarity in these two scenes: no one else (in world) will place any blame on either Mat or Perrin for the decisions they made, but their own sense of right and wrong makes them grieve for what they must do.
Jonathan Levy
84. JonathanLevy
64. ValMar
Maybe BWS is aware of Leigh's forceful opinion on this. What if he wrote an alternative ending^ and send a copy with it only to Leigh for her review read?
Brilliant! If I was BWS I would *sooooooo* do that (sorry Leigh). I would not even try to resist that temptation - lost cause to begin with. I would also send Terez (hi Terez!) a version where Rand dies and Nynaeve tries to rip him out of T'A'R but gets the weave wrong and he materializes as a roll of duct tape - which turns out to be exactly what they need to seal the bore.

(BTW Terez, I very much enjoyed reading the links you recently posted in an older (and much longer) thread. Very detailed, very enjoyable, very enlightening. Perhaps you might consider posting them in this thread, or in a dedicated thread? It might be fun to have a forum to discuss them - though of course you may have other plans for them.)

67. subwoofer
Don't cross the streams! (or the sequel will inflate from 3 books to 7).
John Massey
85. subwoofer
@LJ- yeah, I loved one of the titles for the clip "aim for the flat top!"

@Wetlander- your last couple of sentences cut very true to the mark, well put.

- I understand the choice Perrin had to make, while Faile is just one person, she is also his wife. If anything were to happen to my wife I would move heaven and earth until she is with me again, although I do pray that I am never put in that situation.

Valentin M
86. ValMar
sps49, Tek @ 71, 74

Thanks for the opinions. I've heard that it's gritty, just worried that there might not be characters I root for in it. I remember liking Glen Cook's characters. GRRM is gritty too but has sympathetic protagonists- and some are still alive! (to be fair the ones I like most ATM are likely to make it all the way)

J Levy @ 84

:) BWS has so much potential for a little fun there. He's very prolific writer. It won't take him more than a day to write a handful of choice alternative endings.

I also have come around to the opinion that the Shaido who disliked their lidership and clan behaviour had plenty of opportunities to leave up to when they were spread around by the FS. And the ones who are with Sevanna may be worse, in general, than the rest.

Last point, both Mat and Perrin did what they had to without feeling of self-righteousness, satisfaction, and fulfilment of successful action. Even Perrin with his zeal to save his wife feels very bad at what he's come down to. People who are willing to use torture on regular basis tend to be a bit different characters than Mat and Perrin.
Thanks to Sub to pointing out the last couple of sentences of Wetlander's post.
Sorcha O
87. sushisushi
On the relative ages of Martine, Joline and Teslyn, I wrote up a nice post on Saturday based on the estimated ages in the 13th Depository article on Character Ages, but I stupidly put in a link to the article, so I think my post has been swallowed by the spamguard. So, to go back to J.Dauro@51 and Isilel@53, the short version is that Martine and Joline are about the same age, with Joline possibly slightly younger (estimated at 80 to 103, as opposed to 90 to 103). Teslyn is estimated to be between 140 and 190. From the estimates of training (10-25 for Martine and 10-15 for Joline), it's conceivable that one of them could be sufficiently older than the other to be a newly minted AS when the other arrives as a novice. The fact that Joline doesn't seem to recognise Setalle at all may be down to the effects of losing the ageless look and the fact that she's expected to have gone off somewhere and died, as well the fact that she may not have known her well in the first place (I can see how an awe-struck novice would remember a newly minted AS, but not the other way around). The fact that their good novice friends didn't recognize Siuan and Leane makes me think that even if Joline was a fellow novice or Teslyn a teacher, they wouldn't recognize someone who should really be dead, when they meet her 20 years later with a different name and in a different context. Whether Setalle recognizes either of the pair or not is another story, as she's playing her cards very close to her chest on that front.
Rob Munnelly
88. RobMRobM
On a personal note - my daughter's tumor was confirmed not to be cancerous, so we're out of the woods for now. She'll have a MRI scan in six months to see if anything funny is developing but no other treatment needed. Whew. She also got back to school today - thank goodness for that too.

Band of The Red Hand
89. evinfuilt
Fortune rides like the sun on high

That bit to me just screams like a mistake in the prophecies from years of mistranslation.

"Fortuna rides like the sun on high"

There we go, Tuons in the prophecies now.
Band of The Red Hand
90. archaeo
RobMRobM@88, that's excellent news. I hope your girl is enjoying her return to school, 'cause if you're in the Midwest, it isn't likely to last for Tuesday; I have a feeling everything here is going to be quite closed tomorrow.
Jay Dauro
91. J.Dauro

Great to hear. We all hope things continue to get better.


Thanks for all the work. As I remember at one point Joline does think that Setalle's voice sounds familiar.
Bill Reamy
92. BillinHI
RobMRobM @ 88: Great news!

On a darker note: Who knew the Dark One was really a cat?

(Cause I know tordot won't let me link :( ) BTW, I always knew Russia (or at least the USSR) was the evil empire, but this proves it: the people behind the camera are speaking Russian!
93. Shadow_Jak

Whether Setalle recognizes either of the pair or not is another story, as she's playing her cards very close to her chest on that front.

I just had to pause (paws?) for moment to visualize that...Careful of that marriage knife now ;)
(edit for those silly spaces)
Kimani Rogers
94. KiManiak
RobM2@88 – Good news and I’m glad to hear it.

Shadow_Jak@93 – I’m not going to touch that one – in more ways than one! :)

So, since this is an incredibly slow comment thread, that hasn’t even reached 100 yet:

Here’s a question (only asked somewhat tongue-in-cheek) for some of you folks that have been involved in the analysis of all things WoT for years, been part of the various discussion groups, etc. I honestly tried a search through most of the interview sections on Theoryland, a quick view of Encyclopedia-WoT, etc and couldn’t find if there was anything to this, even on a playful note. So, here goes:

Did RJ (either playfully, or somewhat-playfully) have a small thing against the state of Georgia? :-)

Let me explain my madness:

-Peaches are poison in the WoTverse (Georgia is the Peach State)

-The main impetus behind most of the bad that the Shaido (indirectly via Suladric, Couladin, and then directly as Speaker-For-The-Clan-Chief/Wise One) commit can be traced to Sevanna (Savannah is a city in Georgia, and apparently the river near the South Carolina and Georgia borders)

-There’s absolutely nothing else to talk about in this thread at this particular time (talk about slow) and so my mind has gone kinda loopy and is seeing weird patterns in things :-)

Seriously, though, I’ve learned that there is almost no original perspective/theory regarding WoT that I can come up with that hasn’t probably already been discussed/dissected/debated on one of the various discussion groups, probably by some of you all. There’s a slight chance that there actually may be something to this. Or, it could just be me being loopy/silly off of the cough meds...

So, if someone wants to indulge my silliness before we move on to the last 35 or so pages (Thank God!) of CoT and show that someone actually did address this (or that RJ actually spoke about it), I’d be all ears.

Otherwise, just one more CoT-related post to go until we move on…

EDIT: To add, this was not meant to offend/insult RJ's memory, or anything like that. Just wondering if there was anything to this. Probably shouldn't post on impulse when under the weather and medicated, but like I said, it's been a real slow thread...
Adam Bodestyne
96. thanners
Interesting timing that I just as I read this edition of Leigh's re-read, I had also just read chapter 38 of TSR, where Egeanin was thinking about the woman that Gelb had incorrectly kidnapped, and how Egeanin had been forced to get rid of her.

Leilwin had gone bound and gagged onto one of the courier boats in the dead of night

Looking quickly back at Part 13 of Leigh's TSR re-read, it seems others already mentioned it back then, but.. well, this post also seems a relevant place to mention it again. (c:
Valentin M
97. ValMar
RobMx2 @ 88
Like the others, I'm happy to hear the news!

Otherwise, the sparseness of the posts is being matched by their weirdness...
Matthew Smith
98. blocksmith

Haven't had alot of time to post recently, but still reading the comments. And your great news made me come out of the gopher hole.

That's is fantastic news!!!! Hold her close, thank whatever power you hold dear, and I will add my own prayers for her continued good health.
Tricia Irish
99. Tektonica
RobM: Great news! Thanks for keeping us in the loop. Your daughter must be greatly relieved as well. So good.
James Hogan
100. Sonofthunder
Just posting here to say how glad I am to hear that, RobM!!! Pure awesomeness.

And er...since I don't think I posted on this thread yet, just have to say I always like the circus chapters. Luca is hilarious!!
Rob Munnelly
101. RobMRobM
Thanks to all for good wishes. We should be ok going forward - now, if I can just get my DD to get her head back into doing homework and we can survive all the snow (my son's school is already shutting down early today and cancelling tomorrow) we'll be fine.

@94. RJ was from South Carolina. Your theory wouldn't surprise me at all. I wouldn't be surprised if there were additional subtle digs buried in the series - and we should give a similar thought to North Carolina too.
Band of The Red Hand
102. pwl
Peaches are poison in the WoTverse (Georgia is the Peach State)

Peach pits are poisonous in the real 'verse, too. The only references I remember to poisonous peaches in WoT is the pit. I thought it was a nifty reference.
Tina Pierce
103. scissorrunner
RobM - awesome news about your daughter.
thanks for sharing the great news
Captain Hammer
104. Randalator
pwl @102

"As sure as peaches are poison, you cannot trust an Aes Sedai."


Peaches were poisonous, here and now.

(WH, ch. 13)

In Randland peaches have evolved from having simply a poisonous pit to a poisonous fruit with an absolutely lethal pit. Powdered peach pit is used to poison the blades of the daggers for the assassination attempt on Elayne...
Band of The Red Hand
105. Tenesmus
I wanted to comment on the everyone's reaction to how the Boys feel about killing women. It is not far fetched, but a sign of thier youth and where they grew up. I would also say that this is on par with Nynaeave's reaction to Lan and Rand, when it dawns on her that Lan and Rand are going to kill one of the AM in Far Madding: not capture, question, or even duel- but just sneak in, kill him and leave. She was naive to think ohterwise
Band of The Red Hand
106. Daybreak Star
I assume "Stones" is the Japanese game Go. Leigh doesn't mention it but Tuon in making the first stone placement in the center of the board is significant. It is a very weak move. It is almost but not quite throwing the move away. What Tuon is saying by the move is, we are equal enough players this move will make it challenging for both of us. For equal players the first move correctly played (near a corner) is usually decisive and will lead to victory for that player.
Alice Arneson
107. Wetlandernw
@106 - Not exactly the same game, but "very much like" according to RJ's blog.
Ahhh, Ms Butler. Someone should "try" to explain the code of Man to you. It would help to further your understanding of how the killing of a woman is one of the worst things a man can do. Honor lies within it. But women to my understanding of them don't get honor in the slightest. Women think of Honor as a set of rules. Men think of Honor as a state of being....the "Way" so to speak. Men who are not honorable are punished severely by Men. Honorable men who do dishonor are punished even more so. For they should know better. The killing of women to honorable men is despicable. Harming a single hair on a woman should be avoided whenever possible. Therefore the mere thought of killing a woman is just..... a corruption of the mind. To follow through with the action of killing a woman is damning. A man pays for that death in his soul if not by his life. It matters not that the death was just. The man is responsible all the same... for he should have found some way, forseen the moments that came to pass that caused the forcing of the taken action. A man who takes pleasure from harming women should be destroyed like an animal because he is an animal. A man who takes the life of a woman without just cause should be with no prejudice be met with a swift death with extreme prejudice and without mercy. Mats case was just, but in the eyes of men he knows what was done. Every man around him knows what was done. It was the reason for the quiet in the field afterwards. He didn't take the shot but he gave the order. The worst part is, he didn't take the shot. Now a another has to share that hollow feeling of the loss of humanity, civility and honor; The hole in your soul caused by the death of a woman who's soul the lord counts as precious before all others souls and counts the tears of their eyes as the weight against a man's soul of whether he was worthy in his righteousness and compassion and goodness. Next time when a direct confrontation comes to meet him and a woman will be the casualty, he will take the shot himself. He will be prepared for the moment. He will not allow being dishonored further by letting anothers soul bare yet a another weight. Especially one so heavy.

I know I didn't explain this well. But for men, when we speak of such things, ..... we just know. We understand fully. It's part of being a Man.
Band of The Red Hand
109. Darkfriend
108. Zexxes. Well said and that is how all good men feel by instinct. Very eloquent .
Band of The Red Hand
110. SADFace
Ghosts - I think this fits wonderfully in the cosmology of WoT. Who can say wether I came to this on my own and applied it to WoT, or if WoT changed my understanding of the real world (Childhood' End may have a part in this too), but I see ghosts, not as dead people hanging around, but rather as beings seen through windows between different times or maybe realities. In terms of WoT, something, maybe tDO, maybe fallout from baelfire, or maybe even crossing the streams, is causing reality to be stretched thin, letting people have glimpses of other times, and other worlds-of-if (in the case of Kisman and Rochaid). I think the ghosts are a beautiful construct, and more then any other occurance (wards failing, food rotting, seasons holding on), show how bad things are for the good guys.

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