Feb 8 2011 2:14pm
The Wheel of Time Re-read: New Spring, Part 1

New Spring: The Novel by Robert JordanHola, WOTers! Welcome back to a shiny new Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry starts a new book, New Spring. Yay! This post covers Chapters 1 and 2, in which nicknames are bestowed, tea is spilled, and something kind of maybe vaguely pivotal to the fate of humanity happens in the background somewhere.

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

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

And that’s what that is, so onward to the post!

So what’s all this about then? you may be asking. Where’s Book Eleven? Why do you fail at counting? What’s going on?

Well, I’ll tell ya, grasshopper. Briefly, New Spring is a little bit of a detour in our Re-read pattern, sort of. This is because it is not part of the series proper, but rather a prequel novel, set 20 years before the events of The Eye of the World. We’re covering it here because in publication order it falls between the tenth and eleventh novels in the series (Crossroads of Twilight and Knife of Dreams, respectively). And we’re covering the series in publication order because I said so. Nyah.

Don’t worry, it’s short. And also, awesome. At least it might be. I think.

I say “I think” because, in the interests of full disclosure, I’m pretty sure I’ve read New Spring (henceforth NS) a grand total of once.

And that was six years ago, when the book first came out. Before that, I had only read the short story it’s based on (in the original Legends anthology) once as well.

This has nothing to do with the quality of the story, but more with the release of NS (along with KOD after it) happening to coincide with a not-nearly-metaphorical-enough avalanche of real life stuff that rather thoroughly distracted me from the world of fandom for quite a while. Let’s just say that 2004 and 2005 were very interesting times for your Auntie Leigh, and leave it at that.

Anyway, my point in bringing this up is to give you fair warning that other than the broad outlines of the plot and a few specific things that tend to get brought up in fan discussion a lot, I remember next to nothing about this book at all—and I’m not reading ahead as I go. The commentary, therefore, is probably going to involve an awful lot of me going “holy crap, that happened?” Hopefully I will manage to do it in an amusing enough manner that you all won’t want to kill me before it’s over.

And with that encouraging observation, off we go!

Chapter 1: The Hook

What Happens
Lan makes a round of the sentries in the camp of some three hundred men; despite the cold, there are no fires, to prevent giving their position away to the Aiel. There are Saldaeans and Kandori and Domani men in the camp, but no Malkieri save one other; Lan will not lead Malkieri. He rests a hand on his sword, an ancient Power-wrought blade made before the Breaking of the World.

It could not be broken and never needed sharpening. The hilt had been replaced countless times over the long centuries, but not even tarnish could touch the blade. Once, it had been the sword of Malkieri kings.

He wakes four different sentries dozing on watch, and chuckles at the last, who had fallen asleep with his eyes open; he knows all the men are exhausted after so long at war. Then he stops abruptly and asks Bukama why he is following him; Bukama is startled that Lan detected him, but comes up and answers gruffly that he’s watching Lan’s back.

When the nation of Malkier died, twenty men had been given the task of carrying the infant Lan Mandragoran to safety. Only five had survived that journey, to raise Lan from the cradle and train him, and Bukama was the last left alive. His hair was solid gray now, worn cut at the shoulder as tradition required, but his back was straight, his arms hard, his blue eyes clear and keen.

He asks if Bukama still thinks the Aiel are sworn to the Shadow, and Bukama asks why they are here if the Aiel aren’t? Lan thinks that the Aiel certainly had seemed like a horde of Darkfriends, considering what they had done in the past two years, and there were those who theorized that every major war since the Breaking had been engineered by the Shadow, so why should this one be an exception? Lan had thought so, which is why he came to fight them, but now he’s not so sure. Lan replies to Bukama, though, that he gave his word to stay to the end, and he always keeps his word. They are interrupted by a Tairen messenger on horseback, an officer, who reports that Lord Emares is following six hundred Aiel (who are heading east, oddly) with six hundred of his own men, and wants Lan’s forces to engage the Aiel at a ridgeline called The Hook until Emares arrives to strike from behind. Lan is angered at the Tairen’s lack of courtesy, but he only nods and tells the man to tell Emares he will be there at dawn.

“Ride hard,” the nameless Tairen said with at least a hint of command in his voice. “Lord Emares would regret riding against those Aiel without an anvil in place.” He seemed to be implying that Lan would regret this Emares' regretting.

Lan formed the image of a flame in his mind and fed emotion into it, not anger alone but everything, every scrap, until it seemed that he floated in emptiness. After years of practice, achieving ko'di, the oneness, needed less than a heartbeat. Thought and his own body grew distant, but in this state he became one with the ground beneath his feet, one with the night, with the sword he would not use on this mannerless fool. “I said that I would be there,” he said levelly. “What I say, I do.” He no longer wished to know the man's name.

They break camp and ride hard through the rest of the night, and reach The Hook just as the sky gets light enough to show Tar Valon and the White Tower in the distance, dwarfed by the massive spire of Dragonmount.

Higher above the clouds than most mountains were below, its broken peak always emitted a streamer of smoke. A symbol of hope and despair. A mountain of prophecy. […] No one wanted that prophecy fulfilled. But it would be, of course, one day.

They wait at the ridge, Lan running through possible scenarios of the engagement in his head, but when the Aiel finally appear, Lan sees that there are not six hundred but something like two thousand of them. Despite the near certainty of their defeat now, Lan is grimly resolved, and is proud to see his men standing firm as well. Trumpets sound far to the west, hundreds of them, and the Aiel don’t seem to know what they signify any more than Lan does. The Aiel halt just out of bowshot range, to Lan’s puzzlement, and those in the front seem to be studying Lan’s forces arrayed on the ridge and talking among themselves. One suddenly raises his spear over his head, followed by all the others.

As one, the spears came down, and the Aiel shouted a single word that boomed clearly across the space between, drowning the trumpets' distant calls. “Aan'allein!

Lan exchanged wondering glances with Bukama. That was the Old Tongue, the language that had been spoken in the Age of Legends, and in the centuries before the Trolloc Wars. The best translation Lan could come up with was One Man Alone. But what did it mean? Why would the Aiel shout such a thing?

The Aiel move out, then, but to go around Lan’s forces instead of engaging them. One of the soldiers jokes that maybe they’re going back to the Waste. Bukama asks if they are to follow, but Lan tells him no; he wants to find out what those trumpets were about.

This day was beginning strangely, and he had the feeling there would be more oddities before it was done.

Ah, this is nice. It’s like I’ve been eating brie cheese for a really really long time, and now suddenly I have—pepper jack.

Still cheese, you see, yet different. If you catch my incredibly obvious drift, here.

‘Cause, don’t get me wrong, I love me a good brie (especially with some nice warm baguette bread, yum), but woman cannot live on one cheese alone, you know? Sometimes, you just need to graze the other side of the hors d’oeuvres table for a while. Take a different tack, come at it from another angle. Switch to pepper jack and Triscuits for a bit.

Or, read a prequel. Whichever.

Man, now I’m hungry. (Mmm, Triscuits.)

Anyway, yay, Lan!

I’m pretty sure I groused at one point that we never get a Lan POV in the series, which shows you what my memory is worth. Though I suppose I could be all pedantic and point out that as far as I know we never get a Lan POV in the series proper until ToM, which hadn’t come out when I made that original statement, so neener.

Er, unless we also get one in TGS. Which I can’t remember if we do. …Or KOD.

Okay, so clearly the cheese here is actually my brain. Swiss, get it? You know, holes? Swiss cheese? Ha?


ANYWAY. So, Lan POV, which was interesting to pick at and see how the Lan of twenty years ago was subtly different from the Lan we meet in TEOTW (this Lan chuckles, for one thing), but still retaining his basic uber-stoic knight-errant-avec-tragical-past Lan-ness, which is only right and proper.

The Aiel giving Lan his nickname was a thrilling moment even as I was somewhat puzzled by it. It was a very cool scene, but I am still not sure how the Aiel got the intel to connect “crescent-helmeted guy who’s the only one who ever kicks our asses” with “last surviving member of the Malkieri royal family.” I mean, who exactly would they have talked to that would give them this information? Considering that the Aiel at this point are at war with, well, everybody, who exactly would they have talked to, period?

Of course, the first few books in the series makes it seem like everyone on the whole damn continent knows who Lan is, so maybe his story was just one of those viral things that everyone and their dog heard about, even the Aiel. It certainly has got all the elements to be a compelling word-of-mouth juggernaut—tragedy, betrayal, heroism, fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love….

(Okay, I’ll stop stealing from Princess Bride now. And the “true love” part comes later, anyway. *waves to future!Nynaeve*)

I also kind of blinked at Lan’s conversation with Bukama re: the Aiel being Darkfriends or not, which filled in a backstory plot hole I hadn’t even realized existed: the question of why exactly Lan had fought Aiel in the first place, when his sole mission in life was to beat on the Shadow for eating Malkier.

It’s probably down to individual opinion whether the rationale given works or not, but it’s nice that it’s there. (Also, Shadar Logoth did provide a pretty convincing argument that whole peoples can be turned evil, so within the story I guess supposing every single Aiel is a Darkfriend isn’t as outlandish a notion as it appears to me.)

Speaking of Bukama, for some strange reason I wanted to run up and hug him, even though I suspect he would distinctly not appreciate the gesture, just for being all loyal and faithful and raising baby Lan and teaching him to be badass, which shows you where my priorities are. But dude, that is hardcore. Talk about your lifetime commitments.


Chapter 2: A Wish Fulfilled

What Happens
Moiraine stands with Siuan in the corner of the Amyrlin’s study, trying to ignore the chill. She frets over the fighting outside the city, thinking that even though she’s only an Accepted she has a right to know what’s going on, considering that her uncle was the one who started this war. She watches the Amyrlin, Tamra Ospenya, and her Keeper Gitara Moroso study papers and write a letter, respectively, and thinks of how Gitara has the Foretelling sometimes. Moiraine has always wished to be present when she has one, but it’s never happened, though there are rumors that Gitara has made more than one prediction lately. Both Aes Sedai look completely at ease to Moiraine at first, but then she realizes that Tamra’s been looking at the same page for hours, and Gitara hasn’t actually written anything for the same length of time. Moiraine tries to think of what could have them so worried, and Siuan smiles at her, guessing what she’s thinking, and whispers that they’ll find out when they find out. It had surprised Moiraine at first that she and Siuan became such close friends, despite their differences, but she thinks they also have many similarities as well.

Siuan Sanche was held up to novices as an example of what they should aspire to. Well, both of them were. Only one other woman had ever finished novice training in just three years. Elaida a'Roihan, a detestable woman, had completed her time as Accepted in three years, too, also a record, and it seemed at least possible that they might match that, as well. Moiraine was all too aware of her own shortcomings, but she thought that Siuan would make a perfect Aes Sedai.

Trumpets begin to sound, hundreds of them, from the far-off battlefield, and Tamra sends Moiraine to check if there is any news. Moiraine goes out into the anteroom, where a novice named Elin Warrel is reading a book of love stories.

[…] this was unsuitable for a novice. Accepted were granted a little leeway—by that time, you knew that you would watch a husband age and die, and your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, while you changed not at allbut novices were quietly discouraged from thinking about men or love, and kept away from men entirely. It would never do for a novice to try running away to get married or, worse, to get herself with child. Novice training was purposefully hardif you were going to break, better it happened as a novice than as a sister. Being Aes Sedai was truly hardand adding a child to it would only make matters beyond difficult.

Moiraine chastises Elin sharply for her reading material, trying to behave as an Aes Sedai might. Elin assures her there have been no messages from the battlefield, and Moiraine embarrassingly contradicts herself by telling Elin to go back to her reading. She goes back into the study, where Siuan is serving tea to Tamra, and gives Moiraine a cup to bring to Gitara. Tamra asks Moiraine if there is any news.

Moiraine was just offering Gitara her own cup, but before she could reply, the Keeper jerked to her feet, bumping the table so hard that the ink jar overturned, spreading a pool of black across the tabletop. Trembling, she stood with her arms rigid at her sides and stared over the top of Moiraine's head, wide-eyed with terror. It was terror, plain and simple.

“He is born again!” Gitara cried. “I feel him! The Dragon takes his first breath on the slope of Dragonmount! He is coming! He is coming! Light help us! Light help the world! He lies in the snow and cries like the thunder! He burns like the sun!”

With the last word, she gasped, a tiny sound, and fell forward into Moiraine's arms.

Tamra dashes over to try Healing, but it is already too late: Gitara is dead. She murmurs a despairing denial, then turns to stare at Moiraine and Siuan, both of whom jerk under her gaze. She states that they are both intelligent, and thus know what Gitara just Foretold. They nod, and Tamra sighs.

That iron-hard gaze studied them both. “You will tell no one about this, not for any reason. If necessary, lie. Even to a sister. Gitara died without speaking. Do you understand me?”

Moiraine is shocked that an Aes Sedai is actually ordering them to lie, but she nods along with Siuan. Tamra sends them off, repeating her order for their silence, which Moiraine thinks emphasizes its strangeness, since there should be no need for the Amyrlin’s orders ever to be repeated.

I wished to hear a Foretelling, Moiraine thought as she made her final curtsy before leaving, and what I received was a Foretelling of doom. Now, she wished very much that she had been more careful of what she wished for.

OMG, Moiraine! Squee!

Seriously, that was pretty much my exact reaction on first readingthat much I definitely recall.

At this point, remember, it had been almost eleven years, in reader time, since Moiraine went out in her blaze of Lanfear-tackling glory at the end of TFOH, and we’d seen neither hide nor hair of her since, barring a few maddeningly vague prophecies and such. To see her on the page again, then, even a twenty-years-younger version, after so long, was downright giddy-making. Well, for me, anyway.

Granted, I had a slightly shorter wait than some, since I didn’t start reading the books until 1997, but seven years ain’t nothing to sneer at either, sez me.

…Okay, and I’m also kind of deliberately ignoring that the short story version of NS came out in 1998, mostly because I’m pretty sure this whole bit wasn’t even in that, and I barely remember reading it anyway. Look, whatever, it was a long damn time, okay? Sheesh.

My POINT is: OMG, Moiraine! Squee!

As with Lan, it’s interesting to see her twenty years younger, the seeds of who she will be already there, but not yet completely rooted in maturity.

I had to laugh at Moiraine’s hate-on for Elaida, because of course it makes total sense that she and Elaida are totally oil and water in every way, and always have been. And you know, it makes me realize that while younger Elaida and younger Moiraine might run into each other in NS (I don’t remember whether they do or not), they never once physically crossed paths in the series proper, did they?

Unless they do in the finale, of course. We Shall See.

Moiraine’s thoughts (or, really, the Tower’s thoughts) on why novices are discouraged from reading love stories interested me, naturally. If “interested” is really the right word. This is one of those double-sided, back-and-forth reactions on my part that I hate, because they make me, well, ambivalent and unable to render a definite opinion. In this case, I recognize the validity of the logic behind why marriage and children are conditioned against among Aes Sedai, even as it makes me want to bang my head against the nearest flat surface for imposing such aa limiting limit on themselves as human beings.

I dunno, maybe I’m just secretly a big romantic sap who thinks that Love Conquers All, and even short-lived happiness is still happiness, and the chance of having it would be worth the pain of…

…watching all your loved ones grow old and die, one after the other, inexorably. In front of you. And probably hating you for not aging with them to boot. Um. Damn, that would… completely suck, wouldn’t it?

…But! Love? Yay?

See? Waffle, waffle. But c’mon, tell me you don’t see both sides of this.

And of course, the obvious solution to the dilemma (marry a man who channels, i.e. lives as long as you do) hasn’t been an option for the last three thousand years. Man, the Dark Side even managed to mess up sex.

(Yes, yes, sex does not equal love, but I’m sorry, the joke had to be made.)

There’s another aspect to this whole business I’ve yet to mention, but I’ve talked about this long enough for now, so we’ll come back to it at the proper moment.

In the meantime, we should probably also mention the Big Damn Prophecy Moment in this chapter, which was only the most defining event of Moiraine and Siuan’s lives, even if they don’t quite realize it yet.

…Would I be ousted from WOT fandom if I admitted it fell a little flat to me?

I’m not sure what it was about it, but somehow the build-up to the moment (or rather, the lack of it) was vaguely unsatisfactory in some way. It was too abrupt, or something.

Possibly, however, this is only because the story had already been partially told to us in the series proper, and therefore I’m having the same problem here that I did with the Finnland sequence in ToM, which is that I already know too well what is going to happen. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, that tends to take a little of the tension out of it.

So maybe that’s it. I’d already had my frisson moment over it back when Moiraine first told the story (and I really did, too), so maybe it’s unrealistic to expect I’d get it again this time.

And either way, still a cool scene.

And that’s what I got for this one, my peeps. Have a lovely week, and I’ll be back on Friday with Moar!

1. iamnotspam
Thanks Leigh for going back to include this book.
2. Ryanus
Always loved this little book. Actually used it to get two or three people hooked on the series when they balked at how big EotW was.

I'll agree that it stems partly from us already knowing the story, but part of the prophecy falling a little short could also be the set up. Or lack there of. We enter literally the night it happens and all the things that entered Moraine and Siuan's life prior are told in brief glimpses and memories in Moraine's thoughts later on in the book.

Being as we've already seen Novice and Accepted life in the series proper with the Super Girls I don't know that I would have appreciated seeing Moraine and Siuan testing for accepted and such, but it does leave us sort of starting at the near end of act 2 in their lives. (Act one is Novice Training, Act two would be the acceptd training ending with their testing).
3. Ryanus
Apologies for the double post. Have to give a shout out to the first of the numerous cameos by tertiary characters.

In this case Jaim, Future Warder of Adelas and Vandene. Interesting to see him as someone who was sneaking a nap and more afraid of his friends finding out he got caught than finding out he was sleeping on watch.

Not sure which amuses me more, that or finding out that Edesina can't keep track of clean socks. (Next chapter I believe)
Kat Blom
5. pro_star
Thanks for the re-read Leigh!!!! You made my Tuesday!!!
6. alreadymadwithtairen
Notice that the Tairens deliberately misled Lan as to the Aiel numbers? Idiot Tairen cavalry probably thought Lan and his men could delay the Aiel enough so that they could setup their stupid cavalry charge.

Also, the other character, Elin Warrel who by 20 years later is known as the oldest Accepted and does not become raised until the Tower splits.
James Hogan
7. Sonofthunder
Yeah Leigh!! And hurrah for a new book!! I don't have a lot of time now, so have to be relatively brief...but I just wanted to say that for me, at least, the prophecy was suitably epic. Just had to say, that was by far my favorite moment of the first few chapters. It might possibly be due to the fact that the last few months of my life before reading NS had been my amazing first read through WoT, and so for me, Rand as Dragon Reborn was a pretty amazing thing. And then to read this prophecy..actually, every time I read it, I get goosebumps. I shivered reading it on the screen here. Just...wow.

"He is coming! Light help us! Light help the world!"
Brandon Daggerhart
8. BDaggerhart
One thing I noticed about this book is that the chapters seem noticeably shorter than the main sequence books. It makes for easier stopping places (when needed).

I love how pissed Lan is that some other culture doesn't recognize the exact significance of his own culture's system of honor. Seems to me a bit . . . anticultural for someone like Lan.

I think the abruptness of the Foretelling is exactly what it needed to be - it makes it that much more significant that Gitara could not make any explanations after the fact, and that no one was prepared before.

Oh, but it does seem weird to me the manner in which Tamra sets Moraine, Siuan, and the other Accepted upon their mission of documenting babies - we have an extremly set time in which the Dragon was Reborn, but they seem to be willing to record the names of babies much older than that - maybe something is important about this that I can't remember (and I'm not reading along, so I'll have to wait until Leigh gets there), but it seems odd to me.

Anyway, thanks Leigh. Looking mostly forward to the chapter where Moraine and Lan meet.
Eigor Maldonado
9. e-mann
I agree that the sudden abruptness of the foretelling is exactly how it should have been done. Everybody is going about their normal daily lives (as normal as you can be in the middle of war at your doorstep) and suddenly you hear that the possible end of the world is going to be happening during your life time; yah that’s beyond profound.

I also liked the symbolism of the spilled ink jar on the table top and it spreading across the top; the darkness suddenly spreading across the land and/or times.

Thanks for the re-read Leigh; great job.
James Jones
10. jamesedjones
LOVED the prophecy. Does anyone else picture what our characters would have done as the matured and confident Aes Sedai that they turned into?

I'm picturing a Suian shaped hole in the Amyrlin's door, and an echo of something about fish and boats from the corridor beyond. Might have killed Tam once she found him, though.
11. Tgoostree
Thanks for the wonderful re-reads, Leigh! They are always insightful, even when you get on your soapbox. :-P

@ #8 TankSpill -- I always thought that Tamra broadened the age range to cover her tracks. Not everyone is looking forward to the Dragon being reborn... I not 100% sure, but from what I gather, there are few people in Randland that have/use calendars, much less know the exact date their child was born. It would be much too difficult to round up the children born on that specific day on Dragonmount...
12. Ryanus

It's also to protect Rand. Tamra already suspects there are Black Ajah about. At the time she sets the Accepted to collect names only her, Moraine and Siaun know what's really going on. By collecting all the names of any child, boy or girl born in a large date range that encompasses rand's birth she is making an extra shield.

Later on she or her specificly called Aes Sedai were probably supposed to sort out the names to get a smaller list of those who actually might be the Dragon and go from there. Much like what Moraine and Siuan do.

This comes in handy later when the Black Ajah tortures the info out of Tamra. They know he's reborn, but not exactly where or when, meaning they go chasing off after every randomly lucky guy around instead of narrowing in on a list of children born in a small window.
Tess Laird
13. thewindrose
Ryanus - I never realized we met Jaim in New Spring - thanks for pointing that out. I am going to reread New Spring with Leigh, I have forgotten much and need to actually read it again.

I do remember that the nameless Tairen is none other that Weiramon - although I am pretty sure there are some holdouts to that idea. I can dig up the silver boot reference when I get home if needed;) That guy is always trying to get Lan and Rand killed. I think Rand let him off to easy in ToM(or maybe not, the dark side has some heinous punishments that our light siders would never do. So who would get Weiramon - Shaidar Haran or Mili Skane?)

More later(after I reread:))

James Jones
14. jamesedjones
13 thewindrose

I hope Mili gets him. I always liked Weiramon. He never failed to make me laugh.
15. Ryanus
Never even thought about the silver boot thing. That would close up a glitch that's always hit me in this book.

If it's Weiramon then sending Lan to block those aiel was most likely an attempt by the shadow to get rid of the Malkieri king once and for all. Where as without that little tidbit it's just kind of wierd how anyone would confuse 600 for 2000.
Drew Holton
16. Dholton
It just occurred to me that since Tam did in fact take the bounty, since he ends up on Moiraine's list, if that's what enabled him to be able to move back to the Two Rivers and purchase his farm....The Amyrlin gave him the money to hide from Moiraine for twenty years, as an excuse to look for him! How's that for irony for you?
Ted Herman
17. WinespringBrother
It's possible that Lan was known to the Aiel through their Wise One's Dreamwalkers. Amys and the others had Dreams about Lan's arrival in the Waste which portended great changes for the Aiel, so it's possible he has been prominent in their future prophecies for decades, due to his various connections via family, warder bonds, prophecies and other means with Moiraine, Rand, Luc/Isam, and Tigraine/Shaiel.

ETA: Forgot to add that Amys said in TSR that she didn't even know "Lan obeyed Moiraine" aka was her Warder, so apparently she personally knew of Lan since his pre-bond days, and probably even before the Aiel War since she had already given up the spear by then to become a Wise One.
18. birgit
Okay, and I’m also kind of deliberately ignoring that the short story version of NS came out in 1998, mostly because I’m pretty sure this whole bit wasn’t even in that, and I barely remember reading it anyway.

The short story starts in the Borderlands in the chapter where Lan fights the Darkfriends at the inn.

And you know, it makes me realize that while younger Elaida and younger Moiraine might run into each other in NS (I don’t remember whether they do or not), they never once physically crossed paths in the series proper, did they?

Elaida appears in the novel, but not in the short story.
Evan Langlinais
19. Skwid
It's more than a bit absurd to call the original a "short story." It's a novella. A really big novella.
20. gadget
I must say I have only read this book once and started a re-read this past weekend, and I find it a tremendous breath of fresth air and immensely enjoyable. It was nice to see what Jordan could do with a tale with only two or thee viewpoint characters to handle, not juggle dozens. It is also quite interesting reading post tGS & TOM, to see how many black and future black ajah sisters we see around Morain & Siuan. Is it just me, or does it seem like half the sisters we end up meeting in the main series were novices and/or accepted for at least a brief time with those two?
Alex Johns
21. almuric
Moiraine and Siuan most definitely meet Elaida. I can't believe you don't remember. I won't spoil it for you, but it involves one of your favorite WoT pastimes, 'birching'. (Maybe you've blocked it out?)
Chris Chaplain
22. chaplainchris1
Hey Leigh,

having been doing, for various "scholarly" reasons, a re-read of early '80s Wonder Woman comics, I have to ask - are you aware that "Hola" was the Amazons' standard greeting?

And now I withdraw my geekiness into abeyance as I read the rest of the post.
Tess Laird
23. thewindrose
WinespringBrother -
it's possible he has been prominent in their future prophecies for decades, due to his various connections via family, warder bonds, prophecies and other means

Let the Lan is the Man start... Oh, OK I will wait a couple days;)
Roger Powell
24. forkroot
And we’re covering the series in publication order because I said so. Nyah.

Thank heavens you didn't get too caught up in the idea doing all the WOT books via publication order. I don't think I could have stomached a reread of the BBoBA.
Benjamin Moldovan
25. benpmoldovan
I really loved this book, even though it wasn’t the sequel to COT we were awaiting. (And I’d never read the short story, so that helped.) Major cool factors in this book. The AS test was cool. Seeing young Lan, Siuan and Moiraine. Smart Tamra, telling them to lie, even to AS. The creepy, chilling intrigue of trying to stay a step ahead of and foil the Black Ajah. An interesting, and characteristically annoying, early encounter with Cadsuane, and Moiraine managing to outsmart her. Lan and Moiraines first meeting, and eventual AS-wardership. Moiraine and Lan unmasking and barely defeating the bad guys in the end.

Seriously. As Leigh would say, “I heart this book. A lot. I will hug it and squeeze it and call it George.” I SO wish we could at least get the third prequel, culminating with Lan and Moi arriving at Emond’s Field. Maybe a short story for the 2nd one. I don’t think it would have to be a case of exploiting RJ’s franchise for money, as much as doing it for the fans’ love of the series, and filling in a bit of the back story. I think he’d understand.

Anyway, I agree that the prophecy was a bit abrupt, but not unduly so, and the scene still gives me chills, honestly. And Tgoostree @11: I agree w/ #12. I always thought Tamra was trying to keep the exact age of TDR as muddled as possible – to keep the BA in the dark (no pun intended) as much as possible, just to be safe in case they got on the right track.

And finally, luckily for Moiraine, I’m pretty sure that she and Elaida never met onscreen in the series proper, though they weren’t too far away in Camlyn (sp?).

Thomas Keith
26. insectoid
Yay, new book! We missed ya Leigh. Love that digression on cheese!

Lan: Yay, badass is back!

Moiraine: YAY, long time no see! As for Elaida: yes, they have multiple run-ins in this book. And not once in the series proper. Although, such a meeting would have been... amusing.

Da Fortelling of DOOM: Pretty much matches up with what Moiraine and Siuan tell Rand waayyyy back in TGH. So... I guess that sort of justifies your feeling of it falling flat.

JEJ @10: Thank you for that interesting mental image! XD

27. Tailspinner
Thanks for the re-read. I have to say, this book just made me fall in love with Lan. It is one of my favourites and I can't wait to get your POV on it.
28. archaeo
Hooray, New Spring! I only just read this book for the first time when I got back into WoT with the publication of ToM, so it's fresh in my mind.

Re: Lan and the Aiel: prior to the Aiel war, the Silk Road through the Waste was still going strong, and one imagines that, while the Aiel weren't exactly worried about Randland proper, they were hearing all the news. Since everybody in Randland knows about Lan, it only follows that the Aiel heard about him and his story spread.

It's extremely interested how limited our perspective on Lan has been; Warders, throughout the series, have been treated as appendages to AS, and they never get their due as individual characters, really. Kind of a missed opportunity, but oh well.

Re: Moraine, these early White Tower chapters are pretty interesting. Our Supergirls never really spent enough time there to get a sense of daily Accepted life; actually seeing the late 900s in the WT is pretty interesting.

I imagine we're going to get into the AS & Love debate in this thread, so...

The idea of a monastic order is interesting in and of itself, and makes a certain logical sense; the AS are married to the organization. Throughout the main series, we see the advantages this brings being quickly broken down as the Tower reveals its longstanding flaws in the chaos brought on by the End Times and such.

The biggest flaw is obviously the ivory tower aspect; the AS, by the time of the series proper, is totally cut off. They have missed thousands of potential novices through their increasingly elitist behavior, missed the Wise Ones and the Windfinders and the Kin, failed utterly to prevent the Shadow infiltrating governments all over the continent, etc.

But, uh, I have a feeling that there are many other commenters who will have more (and better) to say on this matter, so up and at 'em, boys and girls.
Donna Harvey
29. snaggletoothedwoman
Thank you Leigh, I'm really glad to be re-reading this book now, and your insights are always appreciated! Lan is my favorite charactor through the entire series. Strong, hard and implackable on the outside, warm and educated on the inside. The whole Malkier way of honor, is to extreme for the stupid Tairen to even comprehend! I agree about Bukama also, so badassed! Always makes me chuckle to think of him as Lan's nursemaid.Hahahaha. Mmmmmm Triscuts!! And CHEESE!!
30. alredymadwithweiramon
thewindrose @13
Maybe SH will punish him the same way the femsaken have been punished...
31. Lsana
I have to admit that NS was not one of my favorites. I didn't dislike it as much as I did some of the main series ones, but the NS novel just didn't do much for me (I liked the novella version). I think that was because at this point, I was thouroughly sick of the Aes Sedai and as a result had very little interest in learning even more about them. I'm definitely glad we're doing it, though, because there are enough interesting elements that it will make a good addition to the re-read.

I thought the Aes Sedai romance philosophy was entirely reasonable. This may be because I do not believe love conquers all and sometimes even true-forever-soulmate-once-in-a-lifetime-type love has to be subordinate to the higher good. Plus, there are too many complications. The life span is one. That would be problematic with husbands, even more so with children. In addition, I'm not sure how many men there are who could accept their wives being so much more powerful than they were.

One more thought: channelling has a genetic component, so might sons of Aes Sedai be more likely to channel than other men? There might have once been a very practical reason not to encourage these women to have romantic relationships and children.

A random question that doesn't particularly relate to this bit of the re-read but just occurred to me: do we know if there is any in-story or word-of-god explanation for why supposidly indestructable things like cullendar and power-forged blades are no longer around at our turn of the wheel?
Chris Chaplain
32. chaplainchris1
Ok. New Spring. (Take two - stupid comment eating interface...)

First off, Ryanus @3, Jaim is not Jaem, Vandene's Warder. At least, I don't think so, and the Encyclopaedia of the WOT doesn't think so. Different name. (As an aside - wow, a lot of people are named Jaim in this world!)

I find myself really looking forward to New Spring, and surprised by this. I really enjoyed the shorter version in the Legends anthology, but I was really annoyed when it was released in novel format. A) It didn't advance the story - still no reaction the cleansing the taint, Egwene's still a prisoner, etc. B) The novella/short story was really good, it didn't *need* expanding! C) It didn't advance the story. Do I repeat myself? Well, COT DIDN'T ADVANCE THE STORY ARGHH!! It was, to paraphase our illustrious leader, a chaplainchris1 smash kind of moment.

But COT is my least favorite WOT and, after the reread, I'm convinced that it's not just being frustrated structurally with how the story is put together. To a degree, it was the writing - the dwelling on inconsequential details to the point that the story bogged down. I've not reread NS in a long time either, but based on Leigh's commentary, the chapters are shorter and advance the plot, while still having plenty of detail.

So maybe RJ was getting tired and needed the freshness of a different perspective on his world and story just as much as Leigh says she did. The pepper jack shaking him free of moldy brie, or something. Anyway, NS seems to be off to a good start, and Leigh's enthusiasm (and some of Johnathan Levy's comments on the last thread of COT) have me excited. I think I'll re-read NS along with you, Leigh.

A few more comments in another post, to cut down Wall of Textness.
Chris Chaplain
33. chaplainchris1

Lan's thoughts about the Aiel as potential DFs - I'd forgotten this, and it's interesting, but I'm even more interested in the idle speculation that the Shadow might have caused the Aiel War, and indeed all wars since the Breaking. Could this be true?

We know Ishamael had a hand in the Trolloc Wars, and of course in the current Seanchan invasion. We also know he had some influence on Hawkwing, and Hawkwing's wars and the War of the Hundred Years that followed him. (Interestingly, Hawkwing's final enemy was the Aes Sedai and he beseiged Tar Valon, and the last battle of the Aiel War is also at Tar Valon. I don't think it means anything, on reflection, but it's interesting. Reminds me of the dark prophecy from the Great Hunt - "the Shining Walls shall kneel.")

We also suspect Ishamael manipulated some or all of false Dragons like Guaire Amalasan, during the War of the Second Dragon.

Wars are certainly a way for the Shadow to foment Chaos, which it likes. It weakens the forces of the Light, and maybe even hastens the fraying of the patch on the Bore.

So could the Shadow have instigated the Aiel War? I've never heard so, but it's always been vaguely strange and unexplained that Laman was crazy enough to cut down Avendoraldera. Was he just crazy, as I've always thought, or did the Shadow directly or indirectly instigate his behavior? Because if so: wow, way to instigate chaos, Shadow. And also, way to go in fomenting discord between the westlands and the Aiel, aka the People of the Dragon. And also also, hah! Sucks to be you, Shadow, if you instigated the situation that led directly to the rebirth of the Dragon!

So all that's interesting speculation imo.

And that's all I got. Thanks for a great post Leigh - loved the thoughts on cheese, Bukama, squeeing, and all the rest!
Daniel Smith
34. Smittyphi
I started the series in the summer of '09 so I really haven't had long to wait between books except for ToM and TGS. That said, it was still nice to read about Moiraine being alive.

The Moiraine/Siuan meeting with Elaida is classic in relation to the re-read here.
35. KiManiak
Alright! New day, new novel, New Spring! Thanks, Leigh.

I think it will be interesting to get an in depth look at Lan (and his views on his Malkieri customs, heritage, and his overall place in that culture) after reading those excerpts on Lan in ToM.

As for the Aiel knowing Aan’allein, well until Laman’s sin, they had traded with the Cairhienin and could’ve learned the story that way. Also, they had some dealings (mostly skirmishes, but possibly non-violent interactions) with the Borderlanders from time to time, so its possible that the Aiel could’ve learned about Lan that way. Plus his story could seem incredibly honorable in their eyes. He’s one of the last survivors of his “clan” and holds true to his clan’s traditions and duty. The Aiel respect that. (And I see that archaeo@28 got there first. You are on point, yet again, sir.)

Actually, I think that’s one of the reasons why I like Lan so much; he has an incredible sense of honor and duty. He’s an example (to me, anyway) that regardless of how you feel (about war, the application of the military, the politics that affect the military’s actions, whatever), the actual soldiers should never receive your scorn. And soldiers like this, who embody honor, duty, integrity, should always receive your respect.

(A quick aside, but when they flashed to the Medal of Honor recipient during the Super Bowl, I stopped focusing on the game for a minute and was just moved; he got my full attention and respect. And I’m definitely not a fan of this current war. But those who sacrifice themselves for it; much respect)

I had forgotten the whole “Aiel were perceived as Darkfriends or moved by the Shadow” theory, though, so thanks for focusing on that.

Hi Moiraine, I’ve missed ya (So glad to see you in ToM; only 3 more books in our reread to go)! Yes, it does suck that you’re uncle was the root of all of this drama. Oh, and be careful what you wish for (when it comes to Foretellings). Foretelling of Doom, indeed. Mwahaha!

Hi Siuan! And a nod to the reference for Elaida as a “detestable woman.”

Seriously, if a lot of folks thought something like that, then I still don’t get how so many Sisters would support her being raised Amyrlin, whether she was the most strong-in-the-Power woman in the Tower or not. Yes, she was politically savvy; and yes, Alviarin probably used some of her BA influence to make it happen; and yes, the Ajah Heads were also behind it (and Galina was Black, so she probably played a role). But still. Elaida was not a good person; why would anyone think she would be a good Amyrlin. And as others noted, Moiraine and Elaida do cross paths in this very book, soon…

It’s sad to read the AS perspective on children. It just shows how they continue to distance themselves from normal people. Discourage romance amongst the novices in order to weed out the weak if you must; but don’t completely abandon it as full Sisters.

And, you know what? Loved ones are going to die on you, whether you live 30 years or 300. It hurts, but (lame cliché warning!) better to have loved and lost, right? … I might get into this more later; I don't know...

It is interesting to see all of the various background characters that have been mentioned in the regular WoT timeline, and see what they were like 20 years prior.

Thanks to windrose@13 for pointing out Weiramon. I never knew that.
Roger Powell
36. forkroot

So could the Shadow have instigated the Aiel War? I've never heard so, but it's always been vaguely strange and unexplained that Laman was crazy enough to cut down Avendoraldera. Was he just crazy, as I've always thought, or did the Shadow directly or indirectly instigate his behavior?

Hmmm, possible although we know it would not have been Ishamael doing it. He was cycled back into imprisonment at the time - we know this because the BA was definitely not following his orders trying to kill off the infant DR. When he got loose a little bit later, the head of the BA died a horrible death - Ishy was really ticked off.
Jeff Weston
37. JWezy
Regarding the foretelling and the wide net cast - it always puzzled me a bit. Foretellings are interesting and important because they deal with things that are yet to happen, and for the most part they are phrased in the future tense ("He will know the Amrylin's wrath").

If you compare that to this foretelling ("He is born!"), you see that this isn't really foretelling at all, it is clairvoyance. The Dragon is being born RIGHT NOW, THIS INSTANT. That, I believe, is what really killed Gitara - the immediacy, the power of the moment, the fact that by the time she had foretold it, it had already happened.

I can certainly understand a bit of misdirection about the date/time, to deal with any confusion and to avoid giving the opposition too much information, but it always seemed that the characters themselves never saw it that way.

"Tis a puzzlement!"
Jennifer B
38. JennB
Reading Gitara'a Fortelling makes my eyes mist up. I am wierd.
john massey
39. subwoofer
Weeeeee! Finally we get to talk about Lan- I must admit, I do have a man crush on him. LAN rocks!

Ahem- yes, we are introduced to him in a way that really brings to the fore the Malkieri code of honor. This puts things in an all new light. Love the way Lan inspires his men and the way he relates to them.

Bukama- it sucks when he dies, but I think the loyalty of this man and his sense of duty is clearly shown in the text as is the bond that he has for Lan. This is a whole nation of badassness. How in the hell did Malkier fall? Some douche tried to ice skate up hill.

Lan shoulda kicked that Tairien's ass. That herald deserved a beating. Seriously. Wiermon is causing stuff from day 1 apparently too. It is awesome the way that Lan and crew don't flinch despite the odds, and the Tear dudes not showing up. Was it me, I'da gone and looked for those guys after and laid the smack down on them.

Lan and Aiel. Let's face it, the Lan saga is legend, the whole thing stinks of ji'e'toh. All the Aiel have to do is ask who the heck fights under that banner and I am sure they would get an ear full. I think that the Aiel appreciate what Lan represents and the way that he will not yield. Incidentally, Love the chapter icon.

It could be that something crazy possessed Laman in order to cut down that tree, but the Aiel are not darkfriends, the Aiel don't even acknowledge that there was a war. They just went to collect justice from the tree killer.

Moiraine. Holy cow, I read that bit of text with Gitara talking about Rand and I still get shivers. Like SonofThunder, reading that bit gets me every time. Sucks to be Tamra tho'. Awesome Amyrlin that gets it in a matter of days. It also is interesting from day 1 that we read about the Black Ajah and we don't see any kind of resolution until 20+ years later. Although we do see Verin in the next few chapters.

Edit- awwww I heart this whole thing:)

Sorcha O
40. sushisushi
Ah, New Spring, it's a nice change of pace, alright. Hello the new book! Hello young Moiraine! Hello young Lan! Hello six million minor Aes Sedai who we know are going to have various sorts of interesting times in about twenty years or so!

On Chapter 1, I seem to remember some discussion about how Lan's sword could possibly be Power-wrought pre-Breaking and still have herons on. Here's the answer to that - the axe of my fathers has a new handle, indeed. I suspect that the Aiel's conduits of information about doomed Kings etc., is either from the Tinkers or those nice Cairhienen traders. Also, I suspect that he's probably the only person in the army with that nice distinctive crescent headgear. (And yes, archaeo and KiManiak got there before me!)

And we start straight away with the 'hello, x-minor character 20 years younger!', with Elin Warrel, who is finally raised to the Brown in CoT

TankSpill@8 I guess at this point Lan hasn't spent 20 years rattling around the entire continent with Moiraine Sedai, so the Lan we see later has unbent quite a bit on that front. I think it's pointed out later that until this war started, Lan has basically spent his entire life in the ex-pat Malkeiri community in Sheinar or ass-kicking in the Blight.

And if yis want a bit of mindsquick, consider that at the time of these chapters, there is a six-year-old running around the Two Rivers who has no sodding idea what her future will hold…
s r
41. Veovim
Is it just me, or did Tamra violate the first oath in the quoted part:

That iron-hard gaze studied them both. “You will tell no one about this, not for any reason. If necessary, lie. Even to a sister. Gitara died without speaking. Do you understand me?”

"Gitara died without speaking" is by itself a lie. If she had said "You must tell them that Gitara died without speaking," that would be fine, but what she said lacked any sort of qualifier.

Obviously I don't think this is anything more than a simple mistake, but it goes to show how unworkable such an oath would really be. Here's hoping it gets done away with by the end of the series.
Stefan Mitev
42. Bergmaniac
Yesterday I started my first reread the novel version of new Spring (unlike the main novels, which I've read an unhealthy amount of times). I intended to read only the first few chapters, but got hooked and just like that reached the halfway point. It's better than I remembered it and refreshingly straightforward in its structure compared to other WoT novels with their dozens of plotlines and scores of PoV characters.

Chapter 1 is nice, but doesn't give us much to talk about. Lan is cool, the Tairen Lords are morons, nothing new here.

Anyway, reading chapter 2, I was again struck how the White Tower really wastes the time and efforts of even the Accepted with menial tasks which could've been done by any servant. The two brightest students there, just days from being tested for the shawl, are kept for hours at hand by the Amyrlin to pass along messages, make tea and other similar tasks. What's the point of all this? This time would've been spent much better studying or preparing for their final test. It's not like the Tower doesn't have thousands of servants and money to hire more if needed. I can understand novices being sent to do manual labor at the start to teach them discipline and keep them busy enough not to experiment with saidar on their own, but with experienced Accepted it's really counterproductive in my view.

Nice to see Moiraine, of course, and back when she was still in training to become the legend. I liked that we had the chance to see more of the typical life of the Accepted in the Tower, since this was largely skipped with the Supergirls, who were always special cases in some way.

@37 Jwezy - Agreed, it puzzled me too, the Foretelling here is pretty clear that the Dragon was being born right now, yet Moiraine kept thinking it's much more vague than that.

One other thing that caught my attention in Chapter 2 - "No Aes Sedai had taken part in a battle since the Trolloc Wars, when they faced Shadowspawn and armies of Darkfriends". Does that mean that they've never helped the Borderlanders against the Trllocs in those 2000 years? Hopefully not, even Aes Sedai can't be that selfish and stupid.
William Fettes
43. Wolfmage
Great work Leigh. I like NS and I'm happy to be doing this prior to KoD, despite the the fact that I've been reading the series since 1992, and, therefore, being subject to the waiting game more than most.

KiManiak @ 35

"Seriously, if a lot of folks thought something like that, then I still don’t get how so many Sisters would support her being raised Amyrlin, whether she was the most strong-in-the-Power woman in the Tower or not. Yes, she was politically savvy; and yes, Alviarin probably used some of her BA influence to make it happen; and yes, the Ajah Heads were also behind it (and Galina was Black, so she probably played a role). But still. Elaida was not a good person; why would anyone think she would be a good Amyrlin. "

Yeah, at first RJ seemed to at least attempt to walk a fine line with Elaida's character between her being a formidable Red and a misguided authoritarian. But, as the story progressed it became pretty quickly apparent that she was always more the latter than the former, which in some ways is a shame as I think it's usually much more interesting when non-evil conflict characters have positive qualities like integrity and sympathetic motivations.

So, in that context, I think you're entirely right to ask how anyone could ever contemplate raising Elaida to the Amyrlin Seat. She was always blatantly unsuitable for leadership, with flaws apparent to almost everyone in the story with a shred of sense, including people who know her only by reputation like Basel Gill. The only answer that really makes sense is the Black Ajah and other useful idiots who barely deserve the shawl let alone being Sitters for showing such incredibly bad judgement.

"It’s sad to read the AS perspective on children. It just shows how they continue to distance themselves from normal people. Discourage romance amongst the novices in order to weed out the weak if you must; but don’t completely abandon it as full Sisters."

I think the emotional dysfunction of the White Tower is one of those things that was meant to represent the bad consequences that come from the absence of balance in the post-taint WoT universe. So while it is sad at one level, I do think it was entirely intended.

Though we may rightly ask why there isn’t at least some evidence of isolated child-bearing. It is a little odd that the Aes Sedai only have the White's "crazy" theory about breeding with men who can channel to cover up the huge biological gap. After all, Aes Sedai are not all celibate so it must be extraordinarily effective birth control if none of them are having children! Then again, maybe RJ just didn't what to touch Aes Sedai breeding too much because it would become too close to Frank Herbet's Bene Gesserits, with the Aiel already pretty close to Herbet's Fremen.
Don Baumberger
44. D-Luxxx
I think a few people have already gotten to the point, but the Aiel would recognize Lan from the Golden Crane battle standard. Even if he wasn't known before the current conflict, they would have figured out who was commanding the unit that kept holding their own against them. You always want to know who your most dangerous enemies are, and the Aiel certainly would have gotten intelligene on his unit.
Sorcha O
45. sushisushi
Bergmaniac@42 Yes, I think the AS not fighting in battles since the Trolloc Wars is one of the reasons why so many on here are seriously unimpressed with the Green Battle Ajah. It does imply in the same bit that their Warders do fight, but super soldiers and all, that's a bit lame when you can do freaking offensive magic and there are bona fide monsters on the way.
Sorcha O
46. sushisushi
Wolfmage@43 That heartleaf tea seems to have a remarkable efficiency.

I suspect that, given the propensity of AS to disappear 'on business', any accidents may involve a several month wander off to a country estate and a discreet adoption. And a stringent watch on any sons, particularly once they hit the 18-30 agegroup.
47. Lsana
@42. Bergmaniac,

Interesting to note that while Suian and Moiraine spend their last days before being raised to the shawl standing around waiting to run messages, Aviendha spent her last days before becoming a Wise One doing the most menial tasks imaginable. I hadn't thought about that parallel before, and I wonder if some of the reasons might be the same: show them what it is like to be a servant, so they will have more care when it is their turn to order people around. If so, it doesn't seem to have worked for the AS, but that may have been the original theory.
Luke M
48. lmelior
I just wanted to say that I'm reading along (just finished Chapter 2 this morning), and this is by far the best way to experience the books. Though I caught a lot more this time around than the first time I read NS, the comments never cease to surprise me. I never would have recognized Weiramon.

Thanks Leigh!
Jay Dauro
49. J.Dauro

From RJ's blog:
- The Oath against lying does leave room for sarcasm. It is intent and result that matter. No sister can intentionally speak an untruth either with the intent of passing on false information or with the belief that false information might be passed on. Thus the careful slicing and dicing of words. But if someone were to hold up a piece of white cloth and ask whether it was black or white, someone who had sworn the Three Oaths would be capable of saying that it was black as a matter of sarcasm. But not if, for example, the person asking the question was blind and thus might well take the statement for truth rather than sarcasm.

From this I believe we can say that neither Siuan or Moiraine were going to be "deceived" by the statement, they would take it as a command on what they were to say. So as such Tamara can say it. It is not a lie, it is an instruction.
Lee VanDyke
50. Cloric
@41 and Tamra violating the First Oath:

This is not a mistake. We get an explanation, in book I believe, that the Oaths require intention to activate, not just true/false. Since Tamra was instruction the girls what to say, not making a false statement that intended them to believe, the First Oath would not be invoked. However, if someone not present were to ask her directly if Gitara spoke prior to her death, she would have to sidestep the Oath as per normal AS habits.

Bah! One post too late!
Tricia Irish
51. Tektonica
Hi Leigh! Nice to see you again. I'm on my first reread of NS too and like you, I don't remember much. Thanks for doing this.

Windrose@13: Good catch on Weiramon! Gotta love that consistency! He was a chaos instigator even then.

And....sorry, somebody's got to do it....

Relationships.....As Kimaniak pointed out, not having normal romantic relationships and children does, indeed, separate the AS from the regular population even more. Perhaps they have convinced themselves that is a good thing, but I disagree. I do agree that it would be very emotionally painful to see your husband and children grow old and die, while you enjoyed endless youth. (My mother once commented on how hard to was to watch her friends slowly pass away around her.)

However.....let's think about the reality of long marriages and the closeness of adult children..... Fifty year marriages in our society are fairly rare (especially these days), and I know of a few of them that should have been much shorter. Long does not always equal good. In fact, I think that many long marriages are often due to economic necessity. Not romantic, I know, but practical.

As for kids....I do hope I have a good relationship with my kids all through their long and productive lives, but post empty nest, parents do continue on with their own lives, without constant parenting duties. Kids grow up, often move away, and create their own lives. It's just not all that close and intense 24/7, forever. (Don't mean to burst that bubble of yours, Sub.)

My own belief is that it would have been a very good, humanizing thing for the AS to have had relationships and children, like normal people. It would have made them far less threatening (thus further eliminating the need for the 3 oaths). They could still continue with their various "work". But then, I think they should be out actually helping society too, being part of society, instead of isolating their haughty selves in the White Tower.
End of Rant.
s r
52. Veovim
@49 & 50

Let me see if I've got this right: the Aes Sedai are highly practised at twisting the meaning of their words so they can violate the spirit of the first oath without violating the letter of it (i.e. to lie/deceive without speaking any word that is untrue). However, they can violate the letter of the oath freely so long as the spirit is preserved (i.e. no intent to deceive). That's... remarkably flexible. Bordering on wishy-washy, even.

Anyway, thanks for the answer.
Stefan Mitev
53. Bergmaniac
The Tower indoctrination techniques must'be supernaturally good since they've managed to make the vast majority of the Aes Sedai not only believe in the necessity of not having children, but going through with this plan, which takes remarkable self-control and dedication. Their reasonaning always seem weak to me - yeah, it's bad to see your kids get old and die in front of you, but you'd still have had the pleasure of many years loving and knowing before that. I think their actual reason was more along the lines of their general policy to present themselves as "different" kind of people - they don't sweat, they don't show emotion and don't have families.
Same with long term love partners. Especially given that they have the advantage of the intimacy added by the Warder bond, it's hard to believe that so few of the Aes Sedai are willing to marry or even have a long term relationship with a man. The whole "few men would agree to marry a woman more powerful than them" doesn't make much sense in Randland either. There are whole countries where the women are in charge in the marriage - Altara is a clear example and even in places like Two Rivers which are supposed to be equal, the women are often the dominant partners. The Aes Sedai are rich, powerful, stay young for 200 years - they have to get plenty of suitors even allowing for the distrust towards them.

BTW, later in New Spring we see that there's a Blue Ajah custom against marrying, though it was not made clear whether it is one of those old ones which are not enforced anymore. One have to wonder whether Moiraine might get some sort of penance for marrying Thom. Or Siuan for that matter, if she and Gareth Bryne survive the Last Battle and get married.
William Fettes
54. Wolfmage
Bergmaniac @ 42

“Anyway, reading chapter 2, I was again struck how the White Tower really wastes the time and efforts of even the Accepted with menial tasks which could've been done by any servant. The two brightest students there, just days from being tested for the shawl, are kept for hours at hand by the Amyrlin to pass along messages, make tea and other similar tasks. What's the point of all this? This time would've been spent much better studying or preparing for their final test. It's not like the Tower doesn't have thousands of servants and money to hire more if needed. I can understand novices being sent to do manual labor at the start to teach them discipline and keep them busy enough not to experiment with saidar on their own, but with experienced Accepted it's really counterproductive in my view.”

I think Lsana’s analysis is correct about this - the Novices and Accepted are forced to do so much menial labour because it’s meant to be character building in the long term. I mean, Tar Valon has almost unlimited coin to pay labourers if it was really about the work. Also, even if convenience and mystique favoured using their own initiates for this work, the fact that they are never allowed to use Saidar, even under tightly controlled conditions, suggests there is an ancillary purpose. After all, physical toil is also central to boot-camp-style training which is intended to promote discipline and obedience.

“Nice to see Moiraine, of course, and back when she was still in training to become the legend. I liked that we had the chance to see more of the typical life of the Accepted in the Tower, since this was largely skipped with the Supergirls, who were always special cases in some way.

Yes, NS is a much welcome departure from the portrayal of
White Tower teaching shown in the mainline books. The SGs prosper and flourish in spite of the fact that they’re not in the Tower for very long and hardly complete any course work of note in that time. Whereas, at least NS shows and hints at a substantial course structure that gives even strong initiates a solid general education. Nowhere is this more evident than with Siuan, who applies herself so studiously to her lessons that she manages to master the Old Tongue better than Moiraine's grasp of the language with her noble upbringing, and she is then entrusted to teach the Novices. Not bad for the daughter of a simple Tairen fisherman! It's just very nice to see a more coherent system of pedagogy that rewards hard work and education for change, rather than purely arbitrary genetic ability.
Jay Dauro
55. J.Dauro
Polydegmon @52

I must say that is probably about the best explanation of the first oath I have heard:
...the Aes Sedai are highly practised at twisting the meaning of their words so they can violate the spirit of the first oath without violating the letter of it (i.e. to lie/deceive without speaking any word that is untrue). However, they can violate the letter of the oath freely so long as the spirit is preserved (i.e. no intent to deceive).

I believe this should be written somewhere in the White Tower, no, how about in letters 10 feet tall on the north side.
j p
56. sps49
I like the Prophecy. Prophecy is supposed to be like the Spanish Inquisition; nobody ever expects it!

And I laugh at ISAM's take on it-

>Gitara: He is born again! I feel him! The Dragon takes his first breath on the slope of Dragonmount!

>Moiraine: Too bad she didn't specify when and where the Dragon was reborn.

>Siuan: Yes, it's quite a puzzle.

>Moiraine: Yes, if only there were some specificity to her comments.

>Tamra: To be safe, fill this journal with the name of every boy born in the last ten years from here to the ocean.


So Moiraine knew why the Aiel were there? Most apparently think they just attacked because "they're Darkfriends".

Tgoostree @11- How many children were born on Dragonmount, ever?

chaplainchris1 @22- "Hola" is Espanol for "Hello", also. And on Gor, but I digress...
j p
57. sps49
Almost forgot-

Why does the cover depict everyone riding ponies?
58. archaeo
Thanks, KiManiak@34, the only reason I got there first was because I was procrastinating and eager to see the new post earlier today.

Bergmaniac@42, a couple of people have already responded to your points about the uselessness of Accepted labor, but I thought I'd add my 2¢.

For one thing, manual labor and other such "character building" activity actively builds unit cohesion. I was in a fraternity in college (any SAEs in the crowd?), and it's sort of a similar principle with clearly different goals. It's just cognitive dissonance, really. You are put through difficult situations and hardships, and when you ask, "Why am I doing this crap," the only easily accessible reason is because you're loyal to the group and the organization.

I should note that I don't consider anything I went through dangerous; in fact, it was a lot like the Tower. Lots of cleaning, punishment for poor behavior, etc. You're made to work for it, and it becomes more valuable because of that labor.

I think this also helps explain why AS are happy without families, Berg@53; membership in the group, with its ajahs and Warders, replaces the family. It's a different thing, and I think actual families are much more important than the AS let it be, but keep in mind that it's an organization with thousands of years of history, that most of its members were young women before joining, and that custom is law among AS.

I agree with many people here though that it has weakened them as an organization. Like I said before, they've become too cloistered, and the arc that Jordan set up clearly points them toward openness in the future.

I particularly like your take on it, Wolfmage@43. While the dysfunction of the AS has taken a long time to fully reveal itself in the story, it was clearly intended. And the similarities with Dune are unavoidable; let's be charitable to Jordan and call it an homage, and remember the adage about good writers borrowing while great writers steal. : )

I have to say, participating in the re-read is enormously enlightening; I have a much greater respect for the complexity of Jordan's work and the details I've learned are great! I had NO idea that was supposed to be that slimy Weiramon jerking Lan's chain around.
Julian Augustus
59. Alisonwonderland
Subwoofer @ 39

Lan shoulda kicked that Tairien's ass. That herald deserved a beating. Seriously.

That made me chuckle. Anybody read The Black Company series? A very similarly ill-mannered herald came up to the Black Company with orders from one of the Taken (the Forsaken in that series). The Captain didn't appreciate the herald's disdainful manner and ordered his men to "take this peasant and give him 20 lashes to teach him manners." The herald peed his pants and half-collapsed with fright. I wish Lan had done the same thing to this Tairen.
William Fettes
60. Wolfmage
sushisushi @ 46

Heartleaf tea – that’s it. I couldn’t remember the name off the top of my head. Thanks. Very effective stuff apparently.

archaeo @ 58

"And the similarities with Dune are unavoidable; let's be charitable to Jordan and call it an homage, and remember the adage about good writers borrowing while great writers steal. : )"

Absolutely. Yes, RJ's work stands on its own.
61. deBebbler
"uber-stoic knight-errant-avec-tragical-past Lan-ness"

Couldn't have said it better myself.

"I dunno, maybe I’m just secretly a big romantic sap who thinks that Love Conquers All, and even short-lived happiness is still happiness, and the chance of having it would be worth the pain of…"

Wow, ya think?
62. Joe Kidd
Two minor points that caught my attention (both of which I think are R.J. having some deliberate fun) are:

1) In the Amerlyn’s anteroom, novice Elin Warrel told Moiraine that Merean Sedai had said she could read. Mistress of Novices Merean Redhill was in fact Black Ajah, and Elin would soon fail her test for Accepted, lost in the ter’angreal. Perhaps because of Merean indulging her?

2) Gitara Moroso had her Foretelling four hours after Moiraine and Siuan replaced Temaile and Brendas as the Amerlyn’s attendants. Temaile Kinderode would eventually be Black Ajah, so it seems likely that as an Accepted she may already have been a Darkfriend and/or under the influence of the Black. If so, the Shadow very nearly had a minion on duty to witness Gitara’s announcement of the Dragon’s rebirth, and the Wheel of Time would have been one short book ending in disaster instead of the epic it has become with everyone still living in hope!
Scott Terrio
63. Renegade248
You are mistaken Joe Kidd on your #1 Elin Warrel was not lost in the ter'angreal. She was raised to the brown ajah and now is Aes Sedai. CoT prologue.
Chris R
64. up2stuff
Lsana @31, :much was lost in the breaking, covered, buried, drowned in flood, fire, avalanche, etc. For example, at least one of our heroes, Probably Rand worries at least once that a heartstone seal is at the bottom of the ocean, indestructable and unreachable. All the heartstone and power wrought weapons have just gone missing, sitting around in attics, treasured family secrets, etc.

Hell, didnt Tam get his sword at from some unkown shop in Tear or whatever, for almost nothing. Laman's blade was sold to Avi for pennies because it was a symbol of shame, despite the jewel encrusted hilt. Rand kept the blade, and gave the gems back.

Dholton @ 16,

I don't think that Tam took the bounty. It was only awarded to WOMEN who had had a child, or so I thought. I guess Kari was probably around somewhere when Tam found Rand. SHE wasnt from the Two Rivers, now that I think about it and came home with Tam, but I just always assumed his honesty/pride would not allow him to take the money when he would not need it.

He was a paid soldier, alive, and had a home and a means of supporting his family when he went back. Maybe, though he did and used the money to buy the farm. What exactly were the stipulations for the bounty again, other than age and location, again?
65. Joe Kidd
Ah! You’re right, Renegade248! That’s what I get for going by memory instead of taking the time and trouble to look stuff up. I confused Elin (Warrel) with Ellid (Abareim). Thanks for the catch!
Ron Garrison
66. Man-0-Manetheran
Ahhh. A fresh, New Spring! I've always loved this little book, and Leigh, I think you said it right. All this darkness and plodding through CoT, then "young Moiraine" and "young Lan"! It was so refreshing because I had been missing them so long. Plus, I loved the mischief of her and Siuan as Accepted - the revelation that Elaida was a bitch from the get-go. Yes! So many things to like, but the highlight is when Moiraine takes Lan as her warder. That always puts a knot in my throat. RJ at his finest. "For Harriet. Now and forever."

And a "Hi All" to my friends here. I've been absent from the bunker for quite a while. Major life renovation going on. I now have time to do so many things that have been put off forever, and still the day is gone before I know it! Life is good.
j p
67. sps49
Alisonwonderland @59- I remember waiting for the next book(s) of the second Black Company series to come out- although I was kinda nonplussed at Croaker's eventual fate.

Man-o-Manetheran @66- Welcome back; a "life is good" is good to hear!
68. Arcee
I never had a problem with the wide net for the bounty, even discounting the Black Ajah. As Moiraine (I think) points out, no woman is going to admit to giving birth on Dragonmount.

Tamra sending one of Moiraine/Siuan on a horse to Dragonmount RIGHT NOW might have been a reasonable idea - but she doesn't have much time to think it through; what do they do once they find the infant Rand? Raise him in the tower? You're also risking encounters with armies, and the mother is likely to leave before you get there.
69. JimF
Leigh: Thanks for all your great efforts. I had to leave the track for a good while, and just lately have come back, reading CoT and starting again from TEotW. I'll keep current from now on!

I have not read this novella (or short story or whatevah!) so it's fresh and new and fascinating. On some of your take, I have to comment: "...makes it seem like everyone on the whole damn continent knows who Lan is...." Umm, sort of like the Dalai Lama, except grown up to be big, strong, incredibly tough, battle tested, meaner than hell, with a burning itch to get back at you-know-who, using a great big unbreakable, ever-sharp sword. OK, I can heart that picture.

And in this World of if - Princess Bride - the “true love” is actually twue wove. (I'm working through tGH now). ;)
70. tshania_sedai
I love New Spring! I have actually read it more than any of the other books in the series, mostly because I wanted to go back and look up some of the crazy AS customes that we don't get to learn as much about in the rest of the series (and aren't mentioned in the Big White Book). But in doing so I usually just end up re-reading the whole thing because it is fun.

Anyway, although the topic has been discussed already, I think I tend to agree with the idea about AS not having children and families stems from the Taint. Obviously, back in AoL love/marriage was more accepted amoung the AS, as is evidenced by the Lanfear/LTT/Ilyena love triange, the fact that LTT/Ilyena married and had offspring, which LTT later killed in his madness, earning the name Kinslayer. Although Lanfear's obsessiveness over LTT is often noted by other Forsaken (ie perspectives from AoL), the fact that LTT had several girlfriends, a wife, and a family is never remarked upon as being odd by any of the Forsaken. Mostly they think the lifestyles of the current AS are odd. Also, back in AoL the simple fact that male and female AS coexisted and worked together would have made it much more difficult to encourage or rationalize the whole celebacy thing. The logic presented by Moiraine would not have held up in AoL, although having a family was probably not encouraged until after becoming full AS (much like today where society encourages completing school and getting a job before having a family).

After the breaking and the craziness that ensued, I am sure that many female AS saw husbands/sons go insane and many fellow female AS killed in the process of stabilizing the world. Emotionally, the remaining AS probably couldn't deal with losing so many friends and loved ones, as well as being looked at as sort of dangerous by general public. So, it was easier to hide in the Tower than try to go out and develop new relationships (romantic or otherwise). At that time, I am sure the AS were aware that being channelers highly increased if not almost ensured that their children would be channelers. They probably feared producing more male channelers after dealing with the aftermath of the breaking and decided it would be better for everyone if they simply refrained from having offspring at all. I mean, watching loved ones age and die is one thing, but watching them be gentled is something else. Taking it to the logical extreme, the AS could kill all of their male offspring in hopes of preventing male channelers, but this would only further damage the AS in the eyes of the public. Much simpler and more ethical to not have any children at all.

Of course, after 2000 years the whole "we shouldn't have kids because we might produce male channelers" logic probably fell by the wayside. Although AS live a long time (even shortened by the Three Oaths), 2000 years is enough time for a few generations to pass through the tower and change how the lack of children is percieved. As has been noted, this has made the AS even more separated and withdrawn from society, which only increases the general stigma towards the tower, so it would be difficult to find husbands from the general public in any case. The most abundant source of men for White Tower women is the warders, and while we have seen many AS who have hooked up, the general discouragement of marriage has probably prevented most of them from going farther with the relationship status. We do see some AS reading romance novels during the course of the main series, but they all regard love as either something they had and lost (lending weight to the watching loved ones die rational) or as something they never thought they could have and don't fully understand.

I do think the lack of family and children was originally set up by RJ to represent the lack of families raised by women who work in high levels of academia in our world. Women who persure careers in academia often do not finish school until their late 20s/early 30s and don't acheive a solid career position until their mid to late 30s. Then, once a stable career is reached, it is difficult to find the time to raise a family and by then it may be difficult to even have children at all. However, with the AS extended lifespan, this biological clock reasoning does not hold. In Randland the aftermath of the Breaking probably started the AS celebacy policy, and as time passed the reasoning became that which Moiraine presents in NS.

If we look at other channeling communities we can see that they have very different perspectives on childrearing:

-The Kin: Don't have children for fear of being discovered. As they were at one point members of the Tower, their reasoning also probably extends from their training as Novice and Accepted. Their views are an extension of the Tower's views.

-The Windfinders: Have children. We don't know much about what they were doing during the breaking (at least not that I recall), but they don't seem as worried about male channelers as land-bound Randland folks.

-The Aiel: Have children. They are the ones who help Elayne out most during her pregnacny as they have the most experience with channelers having children (and aren't as objectionable to deal with as the Windfinders). They also acknowledge what happens to male channelers in their society, but it does not seem to freak them out as much as the AS. Perhaps this is because during the breaking they were mostly separated from the main continent as they had other things to take care of...

-The Seanchan: Don't have children. At least, as far as I know. The obvious channelers are kept like animals, however I don't think we have heard anything about damane breeding programs (don't hate on me... it is a logical question!). I can't imagine any male in Seanchan society considered low enough to "breed" with damane however. And as the original intent was for Luthair to reduce the number of channelers in Seanchan, I can't imagine that breeding was instigated originally, and hence would not necessarily have been introduced later. Also, it has been explained that the Seanchan search all of the families in the empire to find damane and sul'dam, rather than creating them. I don't know that we hear anything about sul'dam having families or children either, although it would be interesting to find out. Obviously Tuon can act as a sul'dam, but as she is heir to the empire, having lots of children (seeing as how the royal family tends to kill itself off) is probably priority number one for her and we can't use her as a useful example. Anyone know anything about channeling Seanchan and families that I missed somewhere?

-The Black Tower. The men are allowed (perhaps almost encouraged) to live with their wives and children. Of course, this comes from the fact that most of the men had families prior to starting training. Even then, the men could use the fact that they will go mad (before the clensing, of course) to rationalize NOT having families, but they do not seem to do this. I suppose this further goes to the real world allusion about the difference in numbers of men vs. women having families while working in higher academia.

Of course, what with the supergirls and impending doom, many of the AS seem to realize that having someone special in their lives might not be the worst thing in the world. As for the supergirls, they weren't really in the Tower long enough to have it beaten out of them. Siuan of course started falling in love during her time as non-AS, so she wasn't exactly going against Tower tradtion, as she was no longer part of the Tower at that point. Moiraine has been through a lot, so she deserves what she can get. It also seems (from the small bits we get to see) that the AS/Asha'man relationships are developing into a little bit more than AS/warder relationships. What with the supergirls in power and setting examples of love and marriage, and the newly cleansed taint I think there will be a much higher probability of AS relationships with the Asha'man (and other men) in the next age (you know, assuming the DO doesn't destroy the wheel and all of that). Probably the training would still be seperate but maybe they will have White Tower/Black Tower cotillion when someone gets newly rasied? Ok, now I am picturing all the AS dancing Jane Austen style. I think I am done now...
lake sidey
71. lakesidey
Ah, I'm finally caught up with the re-read. And now, on to the one book which I haven't read - had only read the novella so thought I might as well wait and read this along with Leigh!

Lots of squeeeeee for young Moiraine, and for young Lan as well (probably my favourite character in the main series. Yes, even including Mat).

A few responses to fellow commenters, in somewhat random order I am afraid!

@70 tshania: I seem to remember when Tuon meets Mat coming out of the damane kennels, she implies that men who "do that sort of thing with damane" are looked down upon in Seanchan society.

@ 35 KiM and 43 Wolf: Re Elaida's support

For one thing, the Aes Sedai system also has a strong subconscious hierarchy. Only 6 people were at that strength level or above. Siuan was out of favour, and with her Moiraine (who was her best friend and out of the tower to boot. Luckily for her, I guess). Lelaine, who was also a Blue (too many recent Blue Amyrlins, some saw it as the reason for the mess in the tower), Romanda (who is retired and might be dead for all anyone knows) and Cads (who is also presumed dead, and is also not that well liked by a lot of people. Besides, she's refused to be Amyrlin earlier!) That leaves Elaida.

Agreed, she rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. But she also did set a record for 3 years each as Novice/Accepted, which was only matched by Siuan and Moiraine. That would certainly be remembered by many. She had a rare Talent (foretelling) and a connection with Andor, the most powerful country on the continent. And since she had spent several years there (and hence out of the White Tower), many would have forgotten exactly how irritating she was.

Lastly, the Black Ajah definitely was involved in her raising - Alviarin all but instigated it. They had enough Sitters (barely) to put her on the throne, and once the rest were presented with a fait accompli (Siuan deposed and stilled, Elaida in charge), they probably just accepted it. As Vandene pointed out in Ebou Dar, Aes Sedai stick to their hierarchy pretty tamely in many ways.

Note to Siuan: Do NOT put itchoak down someone's shift. Else 20 years later they'll depose and still you. And jump upon the pieces. In hobnailed boots.

@68 Arcee: I doubt that's feasible. Mt Everest is less than 9 km high, but its foothills spread for hundreds of square km (same true for most mountains, they tend to spread far more horixontally than vertically). The slopes of Dragonmount (which I tend to think of as a cross between Olympus Mons and Fist-of-God. OK more like Olympus Mons. It's volcanic, and definitely not a thousand miles high!) would be a huge place - no way two Accepted could cover that (even with travelling) in any reasonable timespan.

To be continued....this post is starting to assume olympus monic proportions!

lake sidey
72. lakesidey

@3 Ryanus: Jaim seems the right age, but I suspect he is not the same as Jaem (Vandene's warder). For one there's the spelling. For another, I got the impression that most people picked their warders young and watched them grow when possible (except for recent trends *ahem Thom Gareth ahem*).

@39 Subwoofer: That's not a man crush. That's just puppy love!

@13, 14: I think Mili might be the worse of the two, in some ways. Though yes, she would probably not use Shaidar Haran's ....unique ....punishment methods. Perhaps she might spank him? (Sorry Leigh :D ) I have some ideas....maybe in a later post...

About Aes Sedai not having families....I think they are missing a trick or two here. There seems a possibility at least that channeling is hereditary - look at the scene in the "un-culled" two rivers, and elsewhere.

Yes, this would mean more chance of a guy being born "with it" - but I wonder, if we found a way to detect it early and gentle him before he first touches the source (should not be impossible - Nynaeve sense "something cut" which means there was something to be cut in the first place) then it would not be so bad. Most people get depressed by stilling because they've experienced the source in the first place, and can't stand never being able to do so again. Even after touching the source, if handled rightly, much can be done - Cadsuane managed to handle Lord Algarin's brother well enough to keep him alive ten years (the current issue is most reds don't bother, they just see a man channeling as an evil to be dealt with, not a person)

Against this risk, the chances to boost the numbers in the WT (throughout the series it is emphasized how they are dwindling).

A key thing for me was the din Gelyn windfinders - 5 of them, at least 3 extremely strong, in 4 generations. Think of that in the WT...

Of course, associated problems exist; an Amyrlin might start conspiring for her daughter/grand-daughter to take over after her rather than going through due process (I remember the first and second Foundations both had 3 generations of increasingly inefficient rulers). Perhaps the lawmakers in the tower wanted to avoid that...

Jonathan Levy
73. JonathanLevy
13. thewindrose
I do remember that the nameless Tairen is none other that Weiramon - although I am pretty sure there are some holdouts to that idea. I can dig up the silver boot reference when I get home if needed;)
Silver-worked boots are standard apparel for Tairen Lords. There's even a Tairen bard who wears silver-worked boots in TGH, if I'm not mistaken. If the identity of this guy as Weiramon depends entirely on his silver-worked boots, then I think we're on pretty shaky ground.

12. Ryanus
37. JWezy

I was also wondering about the incongruity between the huge list and the very precise nature of Gitara's foretelling. Your explanation (to protect the Dragon from the Black Ajah) is as good as I've seen. However, there are still some anomalies. Later in the book we have a POV of Moiraine where she thinks to herself that there is a window of 10 days in which the Dragon was born, from the moment the Aiel started to retreat to the moment the snow melted in a sudden thaw.

It'll be interesting to reconsider this foretelling when we get to the end of the book, to see if it can be resolved in-series. There's always another explanation: Jordan had the plot of NS worked out using a slightly vaguer foretelling (without "The Dragon takes his first breath" in the present tense), but when he wrote TGH he used a more specific one for drama. Coming back to write NS ten years later, he had to quote the foretelling from TGH word-for-word, even if it didn't quite fit the plot he had planned.

41. Polydegmon
Is it just me, or did Tamra violate the first oath in the quoted part:
That iron-hard gaze studied them both. “You will tell no one about this, not for any reason. If necessary, lie. Even to a sister. Gitara died without speaking. Do you understand me?”

It's just you. The first oath kicks in based on the speaker's perception of the words' meaning. The context here is very clearly: Tamra is quoting for them the words they will say. It is so also in her mind; therefore, the oath does not kick in. Otherwise, no Aes Sedai could ever quote someone else. Imagine the poor Browns:

Brown #1: "I found a remarkable entry in Bonwhin's diary! You won't believe what she wrote: "Have invited the big redhead warder for dinner toni- (mouth clicks shut). I hate the taste of heartleaf te-(mouth clicks shut). I was wearing my best lingere all day today in case the tall warder with the big hands who caught me spying on him in his bath comes to my private room to 'talk about it' again."

Brown #2: Why didn't your mouth click shut on that last sentence?

Brown #1: Uh... I have to go.

Already addressed by 49. J.Dauro

50. Cloric
the Oaths require intention to activate, not just true/false.
It's not just intention. A few times we see Aes Sedai's mouth snap shut when they accidentally start saying something false.

15. Ryanus
Next time you see an ant's nest, try to count how many there are. Mistaking 2000 soldiers for 600 is very easy.

24. forkroot

28. archaeo
also 35. KiManiak
Re: Lan and the Aiel: prior to the Aiel war, the Silk Road through the Waste was still going strong, and one imagines that, while the Aiel weren't exactly worried about Randland proper, they were hearing all the news. Since everybody in Randland knows about Lan, it only follows that the Aiel heard about him and his story spread.
It's one thing to hear about Lan, it's quite another to decide that he has much JI and that they should honor him, even at some risk to themselves. It's also quite another to recognize him or his sigil from 300 yards away.

56. sps49
Ah, Isam's summaries. Always funny!

68. Arcee
Dragonmount is pretty big, and contains large camps of soldiers. It's not like sending someone to 12 Main St. Apt 6.
James Hogan
74. Sonofthunder
Just a minor note replying to D-Luxxxx @ 44...I'm pretty sure that Lan's not fighting under the Golden Crane banner here, is he? (don't have the book on me to check). I'm just pretty sure that he never fights under the Golden Crane because well...then it'd be pretty hard to keep Malkieri from fighting under him. That brings up another random question that I should know but don't. Yes, I'm sadly ignorant. Who *is* Lan fighting under? And who's fighting for him if not Malkieri? A bit confused on that point. Also, I have no problem with the Aiel knowing who Lan is. His legend is...well...legend, and the Aiel love their hero stories(I'm sure he's in a few of the books floating about in their holds in the Waste) and also...the Aiel are a beastly fighting force and I'm not surprised that they have decent intelligence as to the generals they're up against. Somehow, they found out that they were up against al'Mandragoran and connected the dots between him and their hero.

And at the few that made note of this...it makes me happy to know that I'm not the only one that's moved by the description of the Foretelling. My eyes don't mist, JennB, but this bit strikes me more than most any other part in the series. Love, love, love.

Alright, back to my morning kaf. (Question: When is a Randlander going to discover the goodness of kaf and abandon tea, I wonder??? It needs to happen.)
Kimani Rogers
75. KiManiak
Some comments to catch up on…

JWezy@37 – re: Gitara’s “Foretelling” – I have to agree with you. That was focusing on the here and now. I’m pretty sure that is the only “Foretelling” in the series (that the reader is aware of, anyway) in which it talks about the present. That helps clarify (for me, anyway) why Gitara died from it. Yes, she was proclaiming the birth of the one who had been feared for over 3 millennia, but it’s also possible that the strain of the “Foretelling” happening in realtime pushed her body beyond its limits.

Wolfmage@43 – I think we’re on similar wavelengths regarding Elaida and the Tower. Thank you for stating it far more eloquently, and in more detail, than I. Also, thanks for pointing out that even before Fain/Mordeth could corrupt her (in TFoH, if I remember correctly), she was an incredibly flawed individual, unsuitable for leadership.

Oh, and while I stated that I thought that the AS perception on love, family and children was sad, I also agree that it was almost certainly intended by RJ. Themes/allusions focusing on the lack of healthy, balanced relationships between Aes Sedai and men, or even society as a whole, are blatant and consistent throughout WoT. And, although RJ may not have wanted to draw too close a comparison to the Bene Gesserit and the Aes Sedai, I would also not be surprised if he just didn’t see an appropriate way to allude to a named Sister with children, or a family. As far as I can recall, the reader is told that Aes Sedai with children are rare, and that marriage is discouraged. It probably did occur every now and then, just never “on-screen.”

Bergmaniac@42, Wolfmage@54, archaeo@58 and others re: treatment of Accepted and Novices in the White Tower – I’m still working on how I feel about this, but my initial response is that I think it’s a somewhat drawn out indoctrination process of whose effectiveness may have been distorted over the millennia.

I get that being a Novice should be difficult and full of menial tasks. AS receive prestige, wealth, automatic respect, responsibility and the ability to wield the most Powerful force known to the people of Westland. The weak and inappropriate need to be winnowed out; the appropriate behavioral traits (toughness, patience, perseverance, etc) need to be reinforced. But all of that can and should be accomplished at Novice training. Once a woman has been “Accepted” into the Tower as someone who has the right mental and behavioral traits, I think that the menial tasks should then only be reserved for discipline.

The Tower has all kind of servants (and Novices). They can pour the tea. It seems that the Accepted could be treated more like senior Apprentices; directed in the finer aspects of their preferred studies, reinforcing methods of leadership, more one-on-one training. The Tower seems to have the Accepted do most of this. But, serving the Amyrlin and the Keeper tea (although probably seen as prestigious) initially seems to me like a waste of an Accepted’s time.

and, once again, this post became so long that I'm splitting it up...
lake sidey
76. lakesidey
@13 thewindrose and 14 jamesedjones:

This is my best guess as to what happens to Weiramon Silverboot
(please sing to the tune of "Summer Wine")

I walked to Shayol Ghul in fear, expecting pain
And there she found me, this dame called Mili Skane
She saw my silver boots and said “It’s time to start -
Now I will give to you my winter’s heart”
Ooooooh-oh winter’s heart

Forkroot and peaches and a few chopped draghkar wings
My winter’s heart is really made from all these things

My eyes grew heavy and my lips they could not speak
A funnel in my mouth, brandy rolling down my cheek
She said “This’ll teach you not to be so over-smart”
And then she gave to me more winter’s heart
Ooooooh-oh winter’s heart

Forkroot and peaches and a few chopped draghkar wings
My winter’s heart is really made from all these things

When I woke up the sun was shining hot and bright
My silver boots were gone and I was dressed in white
The Great Lord brought me back as Therava’s gai’shain
Oh lord, I’d rather be back with Mili’s wine…
Ooooooh-oh winter’s heart

Kimani Rogers
77. KiManiak
Part 2, (which is probably too long in itself, but I'm not gonna make this 3 separate posts)

Tek@51 – I liked your “rant,” (although I didn’t see it as you ranting, just sharing your opinion with us about your views on the Aes Sedai, marriage, family, and the benefits of mixing them all together) and I agree (which I admit is basically self serving, as you start off agreeing with me).

As I said (or I meant to say, if I didn’t) having a husband (or non-AS wife, depending upon the Sister’s preference), kids and a family was a humanizing-type factor that the AS sorely needed to keep them connected to the average person. They need to be a part of society in order to truly be Servants of All. And, again, I know that RJ’s point was to show that they were lacking that connection, and that separation lessened their effectiveness and the respect and love the common person held for them. I’m just saying…

(Oh, Tek, as an FYI I just finished GotM tonight. I found it good, yet somewhat…unsatisfying. The tension and suspense were built up wonderfully and then the climax seemed… incomplete. I plan to go thru all of the GotM reread and then hopefully I can post with my thoughts a little more… developed then they are now. But, thanks to you, Amir, RobM2, Kah-Thurak, Terez and anyone else I missed for the advice and encouragement. I think I’ll read Deadhouse Gates next and save NoK for later. Back to WoT and New Spring…)

Up2stuff@64 re: cuendillar – I think one of us is misreading Lsana@31’s point. I read it as her asking why there is no cuendillar or power-wrought material in whatever Age we, the reader, are currently in (as I believe RJ has said that current human civilization is just another turn of the Wheel). I think (and I apologize if I misunderstood) that you may have read it as her asking where the vast majority of the cuendillar is in the 3rd Age, the Age of the story.

And if Lsana wasn’t asking the question the way I was interpreting it, then I’ll put it out there: Does RJ ever hypothesize (either in story or in one of his interviews) what would have happened to any cuendillar when the Wheel would turn to whichever Age we are currently in?

Oh, and I thought Tam won his Heron-marked blade. I can’t think of the reference off the top of my head, though (and I’m unsure where in the books it talks about his advancement through the Companions, or whatever, in Illian where I recall him acquiring it) so if someone either can help me or correct me, I’d appreciate it.

Tshania_sedai@70 – Love the epically long post (especially because I’m prone to them as well, as you can see). You dropped a whole lot of interesting points that could be discussed, but as my post is already incredibly too long, I’ll just state for now that I think you propose an excellent theory and analysis on how the AS views on marriage and children could have developed.

I agree with a good portion of it, especially how it would probably be painful (and a type of deterrent) for Aes Sedai to see husbands and male sons go mad and know that they would have to hunt them down and sever or kill them. So, I can see the Taint having an indirect affect on the marriage and motherhood choices of Aes Sedai, and how that became custom over the centuries.

However, I also wonder if after the Breaking the AS started to distance themselves not only from romantic relationships, but also other types of relationships with non-AS; which led to it becoming easier for the AS to not only distance themselves from the people they serve, but also view themselves as something more or greater than. It became an evolving “cycle of disconnection” from humanity, if you will, that continued to feed on itself; and resulted in the AS seeing the commoner as someone to be manipulated, and treated like children; while the common person saw Aes Sedai as these mysterious and slightly inhuman women who one should fear and distrust.

Speaking of Aes Sedai birthing male channelers who were (until recently) subject to the Taint: I wonder if it is possible to “sever” someone before the spark manifests? The genetic ability should be in place at birth, right? Maybe the post-Breaking, pre-Cleansing Aes Sedai could have automatically gone through the act of “severing” any and every male child of theirs who reaches his 16th birthday. If it happened before the child started channeling, maybe they would never know what they were missing? This is completely hypothetical conjecture, of course. Just curious.
I see Lakesidey@72 already came up with this one.

Oh, and damane aren’t allowed to “breed.” Even men hooking up with damane was treated with disgust amongst the Seanchan, if you recall Tuon’s references to it when catching Mat leaving the kennels in WH
And I see that while I was typing this, lakesidey@71 got there first, again. You're killing me! :-)
James Hogan
78. Sonofthunder
KiManiak @77, I don't have the reference(I have extreme respect for those of you all that can know these references off the top of your head!!), but I remember Tam regretfully stating to someone(Rand, I think?) that the price he paid for the sword was entirely too much. It's implied that he won it in the war, but I don't think any details are given...

(Used a quick IdealSeek - looks like that reference is in EotW, Chapter 5, page 62 in paperback).
Stefan Mitev
79. Bergmaniac
KiManiak - this is exactly what I think about the way the Accepted are treated, you put it very well. Plus I think they go really overboard with the "clean the pots" type of punishments. Siuan as Accepted was sent to work three hours a day in the kitchens for two months because she had an argument with Anayia on some historical details during a lecture.

If the point of all this is to teach them discipline, it doesnt seem to work well since when they get the shawl, most Aes Sedai do their best to do only what they want and wiggle out of any responsibility they are given by the higher ups. As we will see with Moiraine later in NS, though at least she had a really good reason unlike most others.

I don't think the Tairen guy here is Weiramon. He's a High Lord later, so at this point he'd be at least a heir or younger son of a powerful House, and given Tear's society, he'd be much higher ranked than just a low level officer (only one plume) acting as a messanger.
Theresa Gray
80. Terez27
In TEOTW Tam says that he paid 'entirely too much' for the sword. Most of us assumed he was speaking of killing the blademaster from which it came.

In TGH Moiraine gives some detail on Tam's military history.

In LOC we get some detail from Niall on the bravery of the Companions during the Whitecloak Wars (or the Troubles, as they call them), which saved Illian from being conquered by the Whitecloaks.

In TPOD Rand learns a bit more about it via Marcolin who served under Tam when he was Second Captain of the Companions.

In TGS Tam tells Rand the story of how he got the sword (by killing a blademaster).

Also, RJ said at some point that the sword was given to Tam by the king of Illian, so presumably Tam didn't claim his trophy (like Gawyn), and it was then presented to him by the king.
81. birgit
I don't think that Tam took the bounty. It was only awarded to WOMEN who had had a child, or so I thought. I guess Kari was probably around somewhere when Tam found Rand. SHE wasnt from the Two Rivers, now that I think about it and came home with Tam, but I just always assumed his honesty/pride would not allow him to take the money when he would not need it.

In the "short" version Kari is in Moiraine's book:

Too many like "Kari al'Thor. From Andor? Husband Tamlin, Second Captain of the Illianer Companions, took discharge." That pair might have gone anywhere in the world, and there was doubt she had had a child at all.

The Windfinders: Have children. We don't know much about what they were doing during the breaking (at least not that I recall)
At the Breaking of the World our ancestors fled to the safety of the sea while the land heaved and broke as storm waves do. It is said they knew nothing of the ships they took to flee, but the Light was with them, and they survived. They did not see the land again until it was still once more, and by then, much had changed. All - everything - the world - drifted on the water and the wind. It was in the years after that the Jendai Prophecy was first spoken. We must wander the waters until the Coramoor returns, and serve him at his coming.

TSR ch. 19
The obvious channelers are kept like animals, however I don't think we have heard anything about damane breeding programs

Tuon to Mat when she catches him sneaking into the damane kennels:

"It's good to know you are kind to damane. But you must be careful. There are men who actually take damane to their beds." Her full mouth twisted in disgust. "You would not want anyone to think you are perverted." That severe expression settled on her face again. All prisoners would be executed immediately. "Thank you for the warning, High Lady." he said, a little unsteadily. What king of man wanted to bed a woman who was on a leash?

WH ch. 19
The unnamed Tairen is never identified. Why is everybody suddenly sure that he is Weiramon? He isn't really that impolite, he just doesn't follow the Malkieri rules Lan grew up with. Lan is still young and has to learn that not everybody follows the same customs. He might be upset that Malkieri like Ryne no longer understand the old ways, but he shouldn't expect a Tairen to behave like a Malkieri.
lake sidey
82. lakesidey
@77KiManiak: Sorry! :) But if it helps, you already said a lot of things I wanted to (not just here, but in a lot of earlier posts). Maybe we just think alike. Anyway, now that I'm all caught up with the re-read, maybe for once I'll be able to get in a few thoughts edgewise before everyone here takes the juiciest bits - though again, given that I'm the width of the Aryth Pacific ocean away, I am usually asleep when a new posts drops in.

I foresee I am not going to get lot of work done on "new post" days. Sigh. Anyway, thanks Leigh. This re-read made my wait for ToM easier (and is now doing the same for aMoL).

(Now if only some kind soul would do a GRRM re-read till aDWD drags on comes out? Or am I being optimistic here?)

@78 Sonof Thunder, I am guessing Tam killed a blademaster one-on-one and earned the sword. More likely than him earning it in judgement from a panel of blademasters - that would have made him a more well-known name I'm sure! I guess he regrets having to kill a superb swordsman (the way Ned Stark is regretful about having had to kill Arthur Dayne)

Edit: Terez@80 beat me to this. Irony? KiManiak, I guess there is Justice in the world after all...

Kimani Rogers
83. KiManiak
Re: Tam’s sword – Sot@78 – thanks for the initial response. I should’ve tried a quick search; I guess I was being lazy (plus, the post was taking me a long time to write). Terez@80 – either your incredible recall or your incredibly quick research skills (or both) are astounding. Thanks to both of you guys!

Bergmaniac@79 – thanks for the Moiraine example. That very much helps to prove my point. What a waste of such a gifted (and soon to be, awesomely legendary) character’s time.

lakesidey@82 – No need to apologize; you beat me to the punch fair and square :-)
It seems we do think alike in at least a few things here. I’d always be interested in reading your opinion/perspective, whether you think I said something similar before you had the chance to, or not. Oh, and Terez beating you to the punch was an excellent example of turnabout being fair play :-)
Anyway, I hope being able to participate here more doesn’t negatively impact your work too much. Glad to have ya!

EDIT: Whoops! I meant to say Siuan and instead said Moiraine in my response to Bergmaniac. Well, they both have a bright future.
James Hogan
84. Sonofthunder
Terez @ 80, I should have known you'd be the one to answer that. :) When I made my comment about having high respect for those who can come up with these references immediately, I was mostly thinking of you. Thanks much for the info!! And I had completely forgotten that Tam told Rand about the sword in TGS. And I read that less than a month ago. Hmm, I need to brush up on my critical reading skillz...
Jonathan Levy
85. JonathanLevy
81. Birgit
The unnamed Tairen is never identified. Why is everybody suddenly sure that he is Weiramon? He isn't really that impolite, he just doesn't follow the Malkieri rules Lan grew up with. Lan is still young and has to learn that not everybody follows the same customs.
I also think people are jumping the gun. I don't think there's any in-story evidence for this. The evidence, as I see it, amounts to this:

1) The Tairen almost got Lan killed. That would be good for team Dark. We know Weiramon is a DF. Maybe this is him?

2) The Law of Conservation of Characters is very strong in WoT. We know of another Tairen Lord. It's probably the same one.

3) The text calls attention to the fact that we don't learn the Tairen's name. Maybe this is a hint to the readers.

This doesn't seem enough to me.
Amir Noam
86. Amir
Jonathan Levy @85:
4) We never see this Tairen in the same time and place with Superman Weiramon. This is always suspicious.

Come to think of it, we never see this Tairen together with Demandred, either. Hmm...
Tess Laird
87. thewindrose
JL and other doubters - It is true I don't have word of Creator evidence that it is Weiramon we are seeing here, however I don't think it is to hard to make a very good case that we are seeing a younger Weiramon in action here.

RJ has overloaded New Spring with the younger versions of people we have met in the series proper.
Weiramon is the right age, and is also setting Lan up. Lan and his group would have been decimated by the Aiel if they had engaged -there was never any sign that 'Emares' and his troops were on their way.

We see a Tairen High Lord at the infamous Darkfriend social that Carridan attended and was able to discern where multiple people came from, and one was the Tairen High Lord in silver boots. We don't have word of Creator for this one either, but RJ loved doing this type of writing. Hints with hints that promt discussion.

I am at work, so I am going to link to an article from the Thirteenth Depository that discusses Weirimon Saniago - where Linda has put together a lot of data from the books that I can't access here at work, you will need to scroll down to him as this article investigates The Nobles of Tear.

88. Bourgeois Nerd
While damane breeding is discouraged (though the fact that there are "perverts" indicates it might still happen), I believe Jordan in an interview somewhere said that sul'dam have families. It's why there seem to be more channelers in Seanchan; the sul'dam have stayed in the breeding pool.
Rob Kerr
89. useofweapons
Just like to make a point that occurred to me as I read the comments here about Accepted doing menial chores. I suddenly thought, maybe it's a cunning AS ploy to ensure that their members aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty, no matter how powerful or exalted they become? If they become used to the idea of mucking in while novice and Accepted, then how much will that stick when they go out representing the Tower to the rest of the world? One more way of trying to get the world to see the WT as relevant.
Chris R
90. up2stuff
Birgit, if by the "short version", you meant the novella or the short story from Legends, I have not read either. Is that passage in New Spring? I did not remember it. It would explain my blunder. Thanks for the fresh info!

Kimaniak, I did just reread Lsana's post, I agree that I misread it. Sorry Lsana. I guess they went the way of the Portal Stones. I remember reading something about the theory on where THOSE went waaaay back somewhere in the threads, I THINK. I cant remember where though for the life of me. Anyone remember that discussion? I would say the same reasons apply.

91. AndrewB
KiManiak @35 re why the Sitters would raise Elaida to the Amyrlin Seat.

IMO, most of the Sitters never conceived that Elaida would be an unmitigated disaster. They probably realized that she was ruthless (in her attitude -- i.e. she is not a pleasant individual), but they did not think of her a tyranical. I also believe that her tyranical personality was brought out by Fain. It was something that was inside of her; but needed help coming out. A sort of twisted tavaran (sp?), if you will.

I am sorry if somebody else brought up this point already. But I do not have much longer on my break and I wanted to get in my too sense on this topic. Thus, I did not have time to read all the comments before I posted mine.

Thanks for reading my musings,
92. birgit
Birgit, if by the "short version", you meant the novella or the short story from Legends, I have not read either. Is that passage in New Spring?

The quote is from the version in Legends. I just reread that a few days ago to compare it with the longer version.
93. torgo02
Hi everyone,
I've been following Leigh's re-read from the beginning, as well as many of your comments. I very rarely post comments myself, but I thought I’d throw two things out there today:

1) Thank you Leigh and all of the active posters, your insight and comments are enjoyed.

2) Do you think it’s possible Gitara Moroso was Black Ajah? My evidence is admittedly sketchy and I only give it a 20% chance of being true. Still, it has always struck me as odd that she sent Luc to the Blight and Tigraine to the Waste. The latter was obviously necessary for the Dragon’s second coming, but it could be argued that this was desired by the Shadow as much as needed by the Light. Certainly Ishamael wanted the “Fisher” piece in play on his sha'rah board. The former is the real head scratcher. I can think of no “good” reason to send Luc to the blight to become Slayer. But he sure has been “good” for the Shadow. Finally, I like the idea because it gives her sudden death upon delivering her Foretelling of Dhoom a greater significance. It was unfortunate that the Tamra couldn’t learn more from Gitara, BUT at least she died before she could inform her Shadow cohorts.

Well, there you have it, my loony/sketchy/unlikely theory. I’m sure there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. So I leave it to you all who are much more wise in the ways of WOT to correct me. If you have evidence to discredit my theory please post it. That way I can leave this theory behind with no regrets. (I’ll even get you started. The fact that Gitara says “Light help us! Light help the world!” instead of something like “The Great Lord preserve us!” suggest that she plays on the side of the Light.)
Brandon Wood
94. brad21088
As I'm sure someone's already pointed out, Elaida and Moiraine interact frequently in this book. And it makes you hate Elaida even more, if that's possible. haha

As far as the love thing goes, I think you're "waffling" on your opinion of discouraging novices and Accepted to form relationships with men (or a non-channeling woman) because there really isn't a "right" answer, in my opinion. Would I rather love someone for a time and have them die than never love at all? Absolutely. I would. Key word being "I." Is it worth the pain to others? What about all the other complications (e.g., you're one of the most politically and magically powerful people in the world, your partner is... not)? That all comes down to personal choice. So I guess I'm saying there really is no right answer for everyone, you have to decide if it's worth it to you.
j p
95. sps49
@ Leigh, re: wishing for your New Spring-

Come visit us in Cali! I was wearing shorts two days ago, and it'll be in the 70s again for the weekend!
Don Barkauskas
96. bad_platypus
torgo02 @93:

One possible reason for Gitara sending Luc to the Blight is that it's the need to battle with Slayer that finally provokes Perrin into developing his skills in the wolf dream. So it's necessary to get Perrin to where he needs to be for the Last Battle.

JLevy @73:

I was also wondering about the incongruity between the huge list and the very precise nature of Gitara's foretelling. Your explanation (to protect the Dragon from the Black Ajah) is as good as I've seen. However, there are still some anomalies. Later in the book we have a POV of Moiraine where she thinks to herself that there is a window of 10 days in which the Dragon was born, from the moment the Aiel started to retreat to the moment the snow melted in a sudden thaw.

Well, the Foretelling says "He lies in the snow..." so that explains the end of the window, and the moment of the Foretelling is the beginning of the window (it is, after all, a Foretelling, so it must be in the future, if only by moments). It's also clear that Moiraine and Siuan are culling the full list Tamra ordered obtained using the information they knew. The problem is in the completeness of the data collected by the Accepted, which results in the huge list of possibilities.

And on the subject of Gitara's death, remember she is described as being right at the end of her lifespan (rumored to be over 300 years old), so she was probably just unable to handle the shock of the Foretelling at her age.
john massey
97. subwoofer
@Tek- burst my bubble? Wha? My daughter is not leaving home till she's thirty. If I have a son, he's out the door at 18- he can fend for himself- but my little girl is going to be protected from evil icky boys as long as I can.

But I get it, people get really self involved these days. Hence the blogging;)

As for Aes Sedai marrying- I have some thoughts, mostly adapted from the original Highlander movie. Aes Sedai are very long lived and it is hard watching those you love pass on. I cannot imagine my life without my wife... er... except when I am hunting or fishing... I honestly hope that I die before her, she is more stubborn than I am so there is a good chance of that.

OTOH, Aes Sedai not having relationships may have been a direct result of the Dark One's taint. Before the Breaking, there were men and women that channeled and had long lives. From Lanfear and LTT and some of the other geezers I get the impression that there were reltionships going on in the Age of Legends. Maybe with the new turnaround from Rand- the Cleansing of Saidin, Aes Sedai can look forward to families again.

For the time being, I think the biggest hurdle for men and woman who channel hooking up is the stigma attached. For men, there is an inborn fear of women gentling them. For women, there is a prejudice that all men will go mad at some point. These issues have evolved over a few thousand years so it may take a while before folks come about, but I think it is possible to actually be human on some level.

'K, I had this whole thing about cultural segregation, but I think I'll skip it as it would triple the size of this post.

Suffice it to say, the other option is for Aes Sedai to pair up with Ogier. They are long lived too, once you get over the er... beards and develope a fetish for ears, I think there is much potential there too.

@Man- O, welcome back:D

@Alisoninwonderland- yeah! Some herald is giving Lan- the MAN, lip. Are you kidding me? And Lan is supposed to care about the consequences of not making it? Gahhh! Beat that guy with a spoon or waffle iron or a wet noodle and send him back as an example of what happens when you honk off the MAN. Some Tairens have a lot of nerve.

lin mei
98. twicemarked
As to the marriage customs of the AS, people often overlook an important point in their training. Female channelers often would not make Accepted, let alone Aes Sedai, if they have strong attachment to family life. Any family an Aes Sedai has must be subservant to the White Tower, like the AS/warder relationship.

To be raised Accepted, they must pass through the Acceptron. And how does one pass the test? One must regard the White Tower as the most important relationship she ever has.

Remember Nynavae's testing? Her last test was a choice between a love life and the White Tower. For those Novices who value a love life, they simply can not come out of the Acceptron. It goes without saying that only those who value their career over their family life can become Accepted.

It is Survivor Bias at its best.

Bergmaniac @ 79
I think it is more likely than not the Tairen is Weiramon. Not giving his name out is likely RJ's way to test if you are paying attention. Being a low ranking messenger may be the reason he turned DF and climbed into the position of High Lord.

KiManiak @75
Serving tea to the Amyrlin and the Keeper is not really wasting time for an Accepted. If they were serving tea to the cook, or the tower guards, you have a point.

Serving tea to people more powerful is often a way to develop a personal relationship, especially for women. Even heard of a Lady-in-waiting? For men, a squire often do things similar, and you could say their time is better spent battle training. Yet they spent so much time polishing the knight's armor.
john massey
99. subwoofer
@twicemarked- that is a good point about the WT being number one. But what about after they become Aes Sedai? Most Sisters are given a fair amount of autonomy, to seek causes, do research, find a Warder etc. What if they are out and about in the world or in the Tower and they come across a Logain or a Jahar that interests them? I dunno. At some point I hope that Aes Sedai could be involved in a relationship. It is one of the most important parts of being human.

john massey
100. subwoofer
Edit- I gots ta be me:) One Hunny weeeeeeeeeeee!

ahem. I did see much cheese referencing again Leigh. Being cheese challenged I find it hard to identify.

Did you get a dog yet?

Anyways- the other thing that gets my attention is the cultural differences with Andor, other Southern cities and the borderlands. We get an inkling of how formal they are by the grief Rand gets when he causes an uproar in the ladies apartments in Shienar. In the first chapter we get a small taste of the greater formality of Malkier. It seems like if you burp and forget to say excuse me, it is grounds for a sword fight. IIRC there were also some customs in KoD where a Malkier jewel merchant used to his advantage to come away with a good deal.

The Aiel customs of formality dovetail nicely with Malkier too. It seems like the more willing a culture is to fight and die, or the more warlike a culture is, the more strict forms of customs must be met, whereas cultures sheltered from fighting have nothing better to do than invent things like the Game of Houses.

Tricia Irish
101. Tektonica
I wrote a nice response to many early this am and in my lack of caffine stupor, didn't copy it, annnnnnnd...it got erased. So lucky you guys....no long rants from me!

Just wanted to say Welcome Back, Man-O!
Nice to see you in the Bunker again.

And on the relationship thing.....now that I think about it, Rand is already bonded to 3 women...and we all hope they marry, right? Elayne is having kids...Min says Avi will too, so maybe there's a new trend starting here. Nyneave is married.....ummmmm I see a pattern of change!

Sub: You sound just like my husband did. Alas, the kids...they have minds of their own ;-(
john massey
102. subwoofer
Hi Tek- wait a sec here- I know what guys are after, I used to be a guy before I became a dad. Men are evil.

As for Rand and his er... women that he is bonded too- and lets not forget Alanna... well- I think marriage to all three is complicated. For one Min represents what we are all talking about, a person with a normal life span and a guy that may live for hundreds of years. Another point being that Elayne is a queen and there will probably be a Royal wedding if things works out. How Andor views multiple marriages is up for debate. The other thing is the Aiel angle with Aviendha. That is the easiest as the Aiel culture does allow for more than one er... man and woman, how it accepts wetlanders is another story.

Nynaeve has the hardest row to hoe IMHO. Lan is already er... older so the long lasting marriage may be in question.

Same for Siuan. Her and Bryne make a nice couple, but Bryne is already a dignified grey and Siuan is even younger than when she was Amyrlin.

And let's not forget Moiraine and Thom. Hmmmmm... there seem to be many May December relationships in the books here come to think...

Of course this could all be moot at we do not know who is going to make it through Tarmon Gai'don.

Edited for bad spelling... and I still probably got stuff wrong.

Stefan Mitev
103. Bergmaniac
Maybe swearing on the Oath Rod makes pregnancy really unlikely or even impossible. This could explain the total lack of children born by Aes Sedai in the series. There aren't even historical records of such mentioned. Only thing I recall is that Faile told Perrin about some Aes Sedai who had seven children to help some big plan of the Tower, but that sounded like a legend.
Robert Crawley
104. Alphaleonis
Four misty/goosebumps moments for me in these two chapters, which is more than some whole books get.

1. "Once it had been the sword of Malkieri kings." I nearly wrote in the margin "It still was."

2."As one, the spears came down, and the Aiel shouted a single word that boomed clearly across the space between, drowning out the trumpets' distant calls, Aan'allein!"

3. " The trumpets to the west were sounding almost continuously."

4. " He lies in the snow and cries like the thunder! He burns like the sun."

On this reread, I actually got goosebumps physically for #3 when I realized what the trumpets meant. Not what the Aiel thought they meant, that Laman had been killed and that the war was over, but what the Pattern knew they meant - the birth of the Dragon Reborn - Tigraines mission fulfilled- the birth announced by the Pattern in trumpests blazing glory.
john mullen
105. johntheirishmongol
I remember being aggravated about NS until I read it cuz I was waiting the next book in the series and I thought it would be just like one of those episodes of a tv series where they do a lot of previously shown scenes. For tv, they do it to save money. For writers I figured it was all backsotry that only had to fill in some dialogue and it was good to go. That may be true but I still enjoyed the book, a lot because I have missed having Moiraine around.

I started with the first book when it came out..then realized it was going to be a long series so I didn't bother reading it again til after book 6..which I though should be close to the end of the series. How little I knew ....lol
Ron Garrison
106. Man-0-Manetheran
re. "The trumpets to the west were sounding almost continuously." I noticed in Chapter 3 that Mo and Siuan were also hearing trumpets in Tar Valon. What I don't remember is who is blowing them or why. Somebody celebrating?

re. Wearyman:
I think the odds are good that it was him. (And, in this case, the goods are odd.) It is just like RJ to slip him in here. And I think that the woeful underestimate of Aiel forces and the non-apprearance of the "hammer" sounds pretty much like a darkfriend trap.
Tess Laird
107. thewindrose
Great to see you back Man-0-Manetheran!

I always thought the horns were for killing King Laman? Do we find out somewhere? Good question:)

Tricia Irish
108. Tektonica

So many marriages! That in and of itself is new. I think with the "end" approaching, there is a desire to truly "live" and love. Humanity will out.

Alphaleonis@104: I like your reasoning about the trumpets. Why can't it be both the acclaiming of Lamans' death and announcement of the birth of the Dragon....although the trumpet blowers wouldn't know. How symbolic.

Man-O@106: The goods are odd....so nice to have your humor back ;-)
109. archaeo
subwoofer@102, it's really impossible to theorize about what Rand and his girls will do in the first years of the Fourth Age. The prophesies we've been given simply aren't clear enough, and anything could potentially go down. I think Aviendha's vision of the future can't be true, so I think they'll work out something mutually agreeable one way or another. Min doesn't have a kingdom to run, and I imagine that the Aiel aren't going to all return to the Waste, so everybody chilling in Andor seems like a reasonable solution.

As for all the rest, well, at the very least, it will help turn the tide of anti-marriage and anti-family sentiments among AS, to see so many powerful (and, after the end of the Last Battle, likely famous) AS hooking up with guys. The Wise Ones are an obvious example of women who channel that are willing to marry men and have families, as are Windfinders, etc.

Which is a good place to mention that I agree with Tektonica@101; change is definitely in the air with the AS, especially given Egwene's push for female channeler unity and the inevitable consequences of Traveling and steam engines.

In the logical conclusion to Egwene's current plans, AS would become a very different organization. This ties into the larger conversation re: AS training.

Keep in mind that the AS were formed during a period of continued strife. While there are no formal ranks among the AS, it's still pretty militaristic and has been since the Breaking. I think this also helps account for the training done by AS; it has a lot in common with even modern military training, where punishment often involves a lot of cleaning and make-work.

I don't know, I've rambled enough about the Accepted training; I still think the punishment serves a lot of ends that the AS find desirable, and that those ends will change as the organization does.

twicemarked@98, although there's definitely a better time to talk about the Oval Ring test later on in NS, you might be on the right track here. I have a lot more on this, but I'll save it for the post when we get to Moraine's test.

Bergmaniac@103, I think we would definitely hear if the Oath Rod prevented childbirth. Indeed, the Whites' theory about AS having children wouldn't work if this was true, and one would have to trust that lot to think things through logically.

And lastly, the prophesy here just reminds me how truly opaque that side of the series is. Do we know if Rand is still planning to kill the Dark One and not just imprison him again? Would the Pattern even allow that? These are the kind of philosophical questions that don't get bandied about due to Jordan/Sanderson keeping characters' cards close to their chest. We're in for some surprises in AMoL, I'm sure.
Kimani Rogers
110. KiManiak
Amir@86 – I think the unnamed Tairen is Gaidal Cain, myself :-)

AndrewB@91 – re: Raising Elaida – I hear you about Fain’s influence, AB. I’m still skeptical about the Sitters (and by extension, the Ajah Heads) not realizing how incompetent she would be. Wasn’t part of the Ajah Heads plans to capitalize on the fact that an incompetent Amyrlin was raised with the hope that they could secretly lead the AS (Sealed to the Flame, TGS)? If the Ajah Heads knew that Elaida would be a less than stellar Amyrlin, one could assume that the Sitters knew she wasn’t going to be all that great, either. But Taim definitely amplified the tyrannical, despotic-like tendencies.

twicemarked@98 – re: ladies in waiting – Yeah, I thought about how it could also be seen as somewhat prestigious to be the Accepted that serves the Amyrlin. If not for the “When the Amyrlin told an Accepted to stand over there and not bother, her…” (A Wish Fulfilled, NS) and other quotes like that, I would completely agree with you. Also, the Amyrlin has servants, novices and Accepted available for her use. Yet she has 2 of the strongest initiates in the Tower standing in the cold, not allowed to move, worried about even shivering in front of the Amyrlin.

Finally, the text says, “That was why they had Accepted in attendance all night, in case they wanted errands run or someone brought to them.” (A Wish Fulfilled, NS) So, yes, being a lady in waiting is prestigious. Serving the Amyrlin could be prestigious. What they had these particular Accepted doing (and, apparently, other Accepted) was a waste of their time and abilities. These 2 just happened to be there at a fortuitous time (story-wise).

Alphaleonis@104 – re: your goosebump moment #1 – True that. I can’t wait til the ToM reread, when we discuss Lan’s final speech before he charges the army of Trollocs at Tarwin’s Gap. “I may be a king without a land. But I am still a king!”
Damn straight.
Kimani Rogers
111. KiManiak
Sub@102, archaeo@109 and others – re: What happens to Rand and his 3 ladies –
So, I’ve always interpreted the prophecy that links the Dragon, his “blood” and Shayol Ghul differently than most. (Although I’m sure I’m neither the first one, nor the only one, who has this somewhat “loony theory- like” interpretation of the prophecy; even though I haven’t seen it anywhere. Course I haven’t really been looking).

His blood on the rocks of Shayol Ghul, washing away the Shadow, sacrifice for man’s salvation.”

I think there’s a good chance that the Dragon and his wives either choose to remain or must remain on the land that was formerly Shayol Ghul, after the Last Battle is won. Maybe some or all of his children are born there, and the heirs of the Dragon (his “blood”) are deeded that land in perpetuity. Maybe that is the “sacrifice” that he and his heirs are to make for man’s salvation, that “wash(es) away the Shadow:” He and/or one of his heirs must dwell there (for one generation, or maybe many) to ensure that the Bore is properly repaired (kind of a more focused "The Dragon is one with the Land" type action, where the Dragon's presence is necessary at the place where the Bore was and the Dark One's prison was weakest, in order to fully heal the Shadows prison) and the Shadow imprisoned until the Wheel turns to the next 2nd or 3rd Age.

No one wants to believe that Aviendha’s future vision comes true, but in that future view there is no mention of Rand, Aviendha, Elayne or Min being present in the Westlands. True, there is no mention of them being up north in the former Shayol Ghul land and at least 1 of Elayne’s kids and 4 of Avi’s kids are active in the Westlands. Still I find the absence of Rand and his 3 ladies, and the fact that neither the characters nor their absence is mentioned in Avi’s vision at all a little weird.

And if Avi's vision isn't of the true future (which we all are pulling for), there is still the possibility that Rand and his ladies (when Elayne and Aviendha's duties as Queen and Wise One allow) have a permanent residence there.

Anyway, just spitballing again… I wouldn’t be surprised if I go over to Theoryland and this (or something like it) has been ranked in loony theoryville for 10+ years.
Heidi Byrd
112. sweetlilflower
Wow! 110 comments already? New Spring has definitely put some spring pep back in our re-read. Almost everything I was going to say has already been said, and quite eloquently. I would like to take a stab at the "Accepted waiting on the Amyrlin" thing. I *think* it has to do with confidentiality and authority. The Accepted have the rules of the WT drilled into them from the get-go. Unlike the average servant, they are probably not going to try and peek through your things, or gossip to the wrong people. But, they have some authority and are treated as trustworthy by the AS, unlike the Novices who tend to get all squeeky and bashful around full Sisters. The Amyrlin can send an Accepted to get things done and they will get done without everyone in the world finding out what you wanted.
I don't know if that came out the way I wanted it to, but its late and I'm on cold medicine. At least, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Also, I want to add my *squee* for young Lan!
113. archaeo
Lots to unpack there, KiManiak@110-1. And since I don't have much going on, I'll give it a go.

I think it's a clever idea, the Dragon having to remain at the site of the Bore. Jordan left a lot of room with the word "blood," and the fact that all the characters read it literally is a pretty good indicator that they're all very wrong. Your theory on "blood" is as good as any other I've seen.

My pet theory is that Rand will, in fact, succeed in killing the Dark One, negating his death and Avi's vision in one fell swoop. In other words, the pattern (and thus, prophesy in general) wants the bore sealed and the Dragon dead to set things up for the next go-round, but the pattern gets out-ta'veren'd. Pretty unlikely, but I like the idea of it, thematically.

In my opinion, Avi's vision simply can't come to pass because it requires a decidedly downer ending. Jordan was a writer of many talents, and Sanderson has shown his own talent in his take on the series, but neither author has adequately set up a downer ending that would be anything other than a massive disappointment. This will be resolved, and it will be resolved in a way that leads to a happy ending (or at least a happy-bordering-on-bittersweet one).

Re: Elaida's raising, I think a lot of the credit has to go to Messana, who did a lot of behind-the-scenes work. One of the reasons I think Messana and Aran'gar seem so useless is because their major victories (strife in the SAS and TAS) were never really laid at their feet. Both the TAS and the SAS raised terribly inappropriate Amyrlins; unfortunately for Messana and Aran'gar, their plans backfired when the TAS' Amyrlin was too incompetent and the SAS' too capable, respectively.

And finally, re: Accepted training, I agree mostly with sweetlilflower@112; in the case of attending the Amyrlin, Accepted are simply the most capable servants available. You're forgetting that some posts are pretty flattering; attending the Amyrlin is an honor, and there aren't many ways to reward Accepted (or Novices for that matter) who do well.

And since there's no time limit on Accepted training, I don't really see how any time is being wasted. The AS would never trust the Accepted with any task harder than collecting names while guarded, and there's always tomorrow for the next bit of training.
Jonathan Levy
114. JonathanLevy
86. Amir

Which just proves what I've been saying all along, that Weiramon is Demandred!

89. useofweapons
Just like to make a point that occurred to me as I read the comments here about Accepted doing menial chores. I suddenly thought, maybe it's a cunning AS ploy to ensure that their members aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty, no matter how powerful or exalted they become?
Doing menial tasks is relegated to the first stage of an Aes Sedai's apprenticeship, and is left behind as they advance. The great distance enforced between Aes Sedai and novices also serves to distance them from doing menial tasks. When Myrelle offered to wash pots as penance for not stopping Egwene's Accepted Test, Siuan Sanche tells her that she won't hear of it - tales would be told of the 'scullion Aes Sedai', and would reflect poorly on all sisters.

93. torgo02
Gitara's manipulations of people were a result of her foretellings, which are outside her control. I certainly agree with you that her foretelling to Luc seems to have served the shadow, but it's a far cry to saying she's Black.

I also seem to remember (vaguely) that when the list of dark prophecies is discussed, it is implied that it was made by BA foretellers. This seems to imply that Light Aes Sedai produce Light-prophecies, and Black ones produce Dark-prophecies. Gitara's foretellings for Tigraine and the Dragon seem to be very light-oriented ones.

96. bad_platypus
Re: Gitara sending Luc

Your suggestion is better than anything I've got, but it's still a bit unsatisfactory. Maybe it will be cleared up in AMoL. Perhaps Luc will kill Fain, preventing Mashadar from taking over the world, and Gitara's foretelling to Luc had nothing to do with the Last Battle.
Well, the Foretelling says "He lies in the snow..." so that explains the end of the window, and the moment of the Foretelling is the beginning of the window (it is, after all, a Foretelling, so it must be in the future, if only by moments).
I got the 'lies in the snow' part. But the Foretelling is given in the present tense, not the future tense. How can "The Dragon takes his first breath on the slope of Dragonmount!" refer to a baby which will be born sometime in the next 10 days?

You could say that the snow is used as a mnemonic device. A woman will remember if there was snow on the ground when she gave birth, even many years later. But there was another event which everyone could be expected to remember - the trumpets being sounded, signalling the start of the Aiel retreat. Why not use that as a reference?

On a completely tangential note, does anyone else get the feeling that in retrospect Jordan might have felt a bit silly about the name 'Gitara Moroso' (morose guitar)? That he chose it on a whim in the early books when she was just a throwaway one-time character, and couldn't change it when he kept on having to mention her?

97. subwoofer
I think the best explanation for Aes Sedai not getting married much is given by Lan at the end of TEOTW:
“Aes Sedai marry as seldom as Wisdoms. Few men can live with so much power in a wife, dimming them by her radiance whether she wishes to or not.”

Loved the Ogier idea! I'm sure the Browns would be happy to lead the way.
115. archaeo
Sorry for the double post, but I forgot that I wanted to comment on torgo02@91's Gitara theory.

I think you rebut yourself pretty clearly (she calls out to the Light), but it's not impossible she was working for the Black. It's interesting to note that we haven't seen any sisters with Foretelling in the Black, but it's an awfully rare talent.

You also correctly note that Tigraine had to go to the Waste to allow for Rand's rebirth, but I have a feeling that Slayer will end up being important in some way as well. Making Perrin confront T'A'R seems like sketchy justification to me; I think it's more likely that whatever role he plays in the Last Battle will be the culmination of Gitara's meddling. Maybe he will be responsible for killing someone on Rand's side whose death spurs the Lightside to victory (c.f. the ending of Eddings' Belgariad and Malloreon). Whatever it is, it's bound to work out in the end.

Gitara also gives evidence of the cool self-fulfilling prophesy mechanisms in this series. Her Foretellings mostly cause things to happen. Even her final prophesy ends up resulting in Moraine finding Rand.

...and now I see that Jonathan beat me to the punch. And did a much more thorough job than me, I'd say. Oh well.
lake sidey
116. lakesidey
@103 Bergmaniac: There have been Aes Sedai who married.

"Aes Sedai did marry now and then, but Moiraine could not see how that could end other than poorly." Near the end of Chapter 11 in New Spring (yes I couldn't wait along with the re-read after all!)

And most certainly in older days - for example Aemon's wife, Eldrene/Ellisande, was a very powerful Aes Sedai. Presumably she had children as well (though I can't remember if that is mentioned and don't have any references handy)

Any idea whether burning out also frees someone from the oaths? If not there are also Setalle Anan's several children as proof.

As for the May-December relationships (Nynaeve-Lan, Siuan Gareth and Moiraine - Thom) while all the guys, being warders, will live a good long time, they will still be totally overshadowed by their Aes Sedai. Especially Nynaeve, who looks good for several hundred years at her strength. There's at least one situation which is the reverse - Morgase and Tallanvor (she will live a fair bit longer, but is already 10-15 years older) and a few more which are equally young/old on both sides (Rand - Min, Egwene - Gawyn* for example). All of these will probably cause much heartache at some point. So....some thoughts...

I think the key here, if status quo prevails, would be to learn from the Aiel. Channelers do live longer than others, and do get married, and they manage to deal with it (ok they are pretty cool with "waking from the dream" to begin with! But still...)

Or perhaps things can be changed: Damer or Nynaeve might come up with some interesting solution to this (they being the great healers, and both in a situation of May-October at least, if not May-December)

But I have a still better idea. The Dark One will repent after TG (a la Darth Vader) and walk in the light. This I foretell.

(Then when any of these old people pop off, he can bring 'em back to life in a shiny new body. Or just give them immortality in the first place. But I think Thom or Damer or Gareth would not mind being put into a younger body and then given immortality. Just sayin'. If it leads to overpopulation, hey, there are plenty of empty worlds accessible via portal stone. They'll manage, for a while.)

* I was just thinking, 50 years down the line Gawyn's so going to kid Galad about how his wife is still young and beautiful.....

James Hogan
117. Sonofthunder
lakesidey @ 116...aww, poor Berelain. :( Imagine the Damodred-Trakand family reunions...Elayne and Egwene and...Berelain. At least Faile will age normally. If not, I think Berelain would quite possibly give in to her homocidal urges...
Rob Kerr
118. useofweapons
Jonathan Levy @ 114 : You misinterpreted my meaning, by making it too literal. Of course full AS would not do menial chores, but there are other ways of 'getting ones hands dirty'.
Wesley Parish
119. Aladdin_Sane
@109 archaeo - I think it's pretty obvious what Rand and his bevy of beauties will be doing after Tarmon Gai'dan - making the most sex-crazed rabbit look like a senile celibate ...

Precisely where ... hey, get off my lawns, the four of you! Now! (grumble, mumble, grumble, the cheek of these fancy-dress party-goers! that one-handed man ... grumble, mumble, grumble )

That said, I never felt the "prophecy" to be a jolt. Gitara Moroso's death, yes - but we've already had several of Elaida's and Nicola's Foretellings, so the only difference with this was the immediacy, and the death immediately following.

"gitara moroso" FWLIW - I think those are the Spanish words for "Gypsy" and "Moorish/Moroccan" ... though I could be wrong - no Council has yet ruled on my infallibility speaking ex cathedra or in cathedra or again, in cathedram let alone ad cathedram ... :) let alone sub cathedra or super cathedra, or, sub cubita ... though I have yet to find the mythical Reds there! (Sen. McCarthy was mentula vel capite! sub cubita is not the Red's natural habitat. :)
lake sidey
120. lakesidey
@ 117 Sonofthunder: And Faile will be most upset to see that Berelain sur Paendrag is shaved bald - as she keeps dreaming of doing to her - and is actually proud of it, as a Seanchan Blood! (Which kind of makes me glad - I don't like Faile much more than I do Berelain!) And, of course, both of them will be irritated at seeing Morgase still looking like a youthful 40...and Cad...er, she who must not be named will probably still be around too mumble grumble.

Won't happen though, that reunion. I just know Gawyn's going to do something stupid with them rings (3 rings for mortal men doomed to die. JRRT got it wrong). Gawyn's so totally a Darwin Award prospect. Like his sister was before - alas, now that she's going to have children born safe and sound, she's disqualified. Pity!

Heidi Byrd
121. sweetlilflower
I *think* Gitara's foretelling concerning Tigraine and Luc may have been too vague for her to know which one to send away. I mean, most of the foretellings we've read have been open to interpretation (mostly ours, with lots of caps and italics usage). She was probably pretty sure it had to do with Tigraine being the future mother of the DR, but perhaps the exact wording left some wiggle room in her mind that maybe Luc also had to leave Andor. I agree with others that Slayer will have a bigger part to play in AMoL and was part of the initial foretelling. Do we ever get the exact wording of what Gitara said? (looking at you, Terez, to work your magic fingers)

On another note, I wanted to add my *squee* for seeing the young characters. I think it is more interesting to read their young lives after "knowing" them as adults for so many years. Its almost the same as when you hear stories about your parent's and other older relative's travails.
122. torgo02
Thanks bad_platypus, Jonathan Levy and archaeo for your feedback. I knew I could count on getting thoughtful responses here. Looks like I can scratch that pet theory off my list.

One last thought before I go back to hiding in the woodwork…

There has been talk in the comments about how Elaida’s character has been lessened from a formidable, if somewhat off balanced, Red to just plain Stupid Mean over the course of the books, including here with Moiraine thinking “Elaida a'Roihan, a detestable woman.” I agree her character has seemed to lessen over time from a strong Pedron Niall-type non-dark bad guy to be more on par with Eamon Valda. However, I think Moiraine’s thoughts in New Spring have to be taken with a grain of salt. IIRC, we learn that Elaida has been especially hard on Moir and Siuan because of their potential. She sees it as her duty to push them to realize that potential. But what young teenage Moiraine sees is a “detestable woman” who unfairly punishes them.

I’ve had my share of teachers that I thought unfair. But now looking back with the benefit of increased age and (in theory) wisdom, I realize they were tough on me because I needed to be pushed. I don’t use this analogy to praise (or even justify) Elaida’s treatment of M&S; clearly she crossed the line from stern to abusive. But rather I mean to show that I don’t feel the way Elaida’s thought of in New Spring to be reckoning by RJ, but rather consistent with how a nobly-born Accepted would perceive her.

Ok, back to my niche in the wall...
j p
123. sps49
Elaida elected Amyrlin- Probably a combination of Black Ajah influence (and Compulsion?), Sitters seeing advantage in a bad Amyrlin (aided by Compulsion?), and a lack of strong channelers to choose from. The Force is strong with Elaida....
124. torgo02
Sorry for the double post, but I want to add:

Oops, sorry sweetlilflower, missed your comments. Thank you as well for your thoughts. You make a good point. Maybe Gitara was covering her bases. It is certainly a (bad, on my part) leap of logic to assume that because Luc became half of Slayer that Gitara knew this would happen when she sent him.
125. Lsana

There is a major difference between the Aiel Wise Ones marrying and the Aes Sedai marrying: the Aiel don't tend to die of old age. That was why Egwene didn't learn about the effects of the Oath Rod during her time with the Aiel. An Aiel channeler may not really age, but she faces the same sort of dangers from life in the waste as any other Aiel and therefore likely has roughly the same life expectancy as her husband and sister wives.
Sam Mickel
126. Samadai
Hi everyone, long time no see.

I love New Spring(I want one here too) Seeing all these characters as young'uns is pretty nice.
I don't think that having the two most powerful accepted serving the Amyrlin seat and keeper is a waste. The AS value strength in the power above other things, so having the 2 strongest accepted attend the Amyrlin allows them the chance to learn how the tower is run. (Granted that they are standing around doing nothing, but if the world wasn't having the biggest battle it has seen in a 1000 years they would be listening to the Amyrlin and Keeper going about some of their normal business)
That scene with the foretelling always chokes me upa little too, makes me feel a little burn inside, like I am wanting to get up and cheer.
Not that it is likely true, but we have no way of knowing, one way or another, but who is to say that the pattern didn't put Moiraine and Suian into the Amyrlins study on that particular night. Obviously it has the power to spit out random heroes to fix things, why not put 2 of the most powerful accepted into the one place that will make them help the hero the pattern has chosen. It obviously provided him with true friends who he grew up with, lovers to support him.
Lan is an awesome man. I am not sure who asked up there^ but someone asked who was Lan following(or who what country was he under the command of) I believe he was probably with the Sheinarans, and or Arafellans under the command of Algemar Jagad of Sheinar.
And wow, I am pretty sure that makes the longest actual post I have done in a looooong time. (Barring any story I may or may not have posted) ;)
john massey
127. subwoofer
@Tek, yes, everyone seems to be pairing off. I'd be looking around for a big wooden boat full of animals if I was them.

@archaeo- the big mystery for me is Aviendha's vision. There are many ways that can be taken. I am not sure the literal one sits comfortably with me. We all root for the hero to win, and live happily every after, but let's face it, in the story we know, LTT, the Dragon, dies. Seems feasible that needs to happen again. But first Rand needs to hook up with Aviendha to ensure his legacy beyond Elayne. Rand will live again, of course, as the Dragon, he has to in order to fight the DO in the next Age. It is a pity that he does not get to enjoy victory or a quiet life after all the war and strife has ended.

@KiManiak- perhaps Rand cuts himself shaving on the rocks of Shayol Ghul?

@Lsana- I am not sure about the life span of Wise Ones but they are not like everyday Aiel. Wise Ones can visit other Wise Ones, even when their clans are at war, and no one would strike down a Wise One in battle as far as I have seen. I think it goes against ji'e'toh. I think that the WO's live to a very old age. Remember, their life span is not limited by the Oath Rod either.

Anyone else have any thoughts on the subject?

William Fettes
128. Wolfmage
I hear what people are saying about Elaida’s raising. It’s true that Aes Sedai generally assign a lot of importance to strength in the power and time spent in training, which evidently transfers over to the appointment of the Amyrlin Seat. It’s also true that Elaida was the beneficiary of a gambit by the Ajah Heads and the Black Ajah (remember too that Elaida herself was but lately a Red Sitter thanks to Galina). So perhaps there is enough material there to make the decision somewhat organic, but I remain unmoved about the lack of judgement shown and the immoral nature of what happened.

Ultimately they deposed a highly competent Amyrlin who had a connection to the Dragon Reborn, simply because she was an inconveniently tough leader and had the audacity to meddle with the Dragon Reborn without the Hall’s approval. The basis for this removal wasn't just her dealing with Rand, however, it was a bunch of trumped up charges as well, including treason. No trial. No defence. It was as close to a coup as you can get and it had entirely foreseeable consequences.

Now, Siuan perhaps rightly deserved some censure from the Hall for her actions, despite the extenuating circumstances of Black Ajah infestation which made transparency difficult. But a proportionate response to that would have been more along the lines of a reprimand, maybe some penance, and a permanent shift in the balance of power between the Hall and the Amyrlin. Such an approach would have been eminently workable, transparent and a proper rebuke for Siuan's actual improprieties.

Instead, we got a secret meeting with the bare minimum of Sitters, made up charges, a sham trial with no defence, torture, and a stilling death-sentence. For what? To give the stole to an utter fool; a Red, moreoever, just after the full Hall had unanimously acknowledged Rand as the Dragon Reborn in Tear. Not only that, but to basically acquiesce to the abolishment of the whole Blue Ajah and everything else that follows? It’s an absolute dog's breakfast of a decision, and I’m surprised that so many people are somewhat ambivalent about Siuan unfair fate here.

Indeed, I’ve always felt the SAS were far more right than wrong in the civil war. I mean, the TAS allow Elaida to keep her position despite a succession of scandals and disasters far worse than anything committed by Siuan. So, even if you give them some latitude for the original decision, they become deeply complicit in an unfoulding debacle by not removing her subsequently.

Also, whilst it’s true that Fain made Elaida worse, mostly where Rand was concerned, I think the kind of flaws that make her unsuitable have existed deeply within her person and were apparent long before Fain ever crossed her path.
Jay Dauro
129. J.Dauro

We do see that some Wise Ones have multiple husbands.

and Bair of one of her dead husbands, both of them young and

Monaelle threw back her head, laughing so hard that she had to wipe a corner of her eyes with her shawl. “I know this from bearing seven children and having three husbands, Elayne Trakand.

Bair does not channel, and Monaelle does. But I believe as Sub does, Wise Ones do not face all of the dangers of a warrior.
john massey
130. subwoofer
@JD- good point! I had forgotten that not all Wise Ones can channel, so that may account for Lsana's take on Wise Ones living normal life spans. So for the Wise Ones that can channel, I do wonder about the succession of husbands. I am not sure if Bair's husband died of old age or battle tho'. I do think there may be textual evidence of the transition from one husband to another however. Gonna have to look this one up.

@Wolfmage- I whole heartedly think that Elaida's rise to power is not legitimate nor is it with proportionate consequences to the sins of the day. At the worst I could think of a formal censure and a few months of pennace for Siuan. Look at Elaida, she lost 50 Sisters, disbanded an entire Ajah, tried to box the DR, gah! The list goes on! And yet nothing really happened to her.

I do understand the need to clear the way for Egwene's rise to power but on the face of it, the TAS acted very foolishly. Not to mention the immediate results of what they did to Siuan- a civil war inside the Tower. I can't think of any action short of discovering the Amyrlin is BA, could warrant a war that split the Tower asunder. And Egwene says as much to the TAS in her speech from the throne. The Tower condoned Elaida's actions by letting her go about her dimwittedness.

To say the least, the whole move was poorly thought out but it begs the question, how else could Egwene rise to such a lofty position in so short a time, as per Min's vision?

lake sidey
131. lakesidey
To add to Sub @127 and J D @ 129's points:

"Nor have I from any save Mora," Bair told them, "but she was a remarkable woman. It was said she was approaching her three hundredth year when she died from a bloodsnake’s bite, yet she looked as young as either of you. I was only a girl, but I remember her well." (From Lord of Chaos, Ch. 15, A pile of sand)

If true (and I don't see why Bair would lie to Egwene) then Mora (who, Bair also mentions, could channel strongly) was headed for a lifespan well past 300 or even 400.

132. Lsana
@subwoofer, JD

I seem to recall a quote from somewhere (I suspect someone else here is better at finding this than I am) where Amys talks about rumors of a Wise One who lived to what she considered a ridiculous old age, but she largely dismissed the rumor because no one could survive that long in the waste. My other bit of "evidence" is the fact that despite spending so long with the Wise Ones that she was more or less considered one of them, Egwene didn't figure out the life-shortening effects of the Oath Rod. That suggests to me that she didn't see any Wise One channelers who were terribly old.

I hadn't remembered about Bair's multiple husbands, but in a way that makes my point for me: Bair is not a channeler so has a normal lifespan. She considers herself young enough to marry again, so my guess is she isn't that old in ordinary human terms, perhaps 50 or 60. And yet in that time she has still had two husbands die on her, both of whom were young. It does suggest that the limiting factor on Aiel lifespans is not aging.

Yes, Wise Ones are protected to a certain extent from death in battle, but that's far from the only threat to Aiel. I doubt it is even the main one, given that under ji'e'toh killing is not terribly honorable. Thirst, starvation, sun exposure, poisonous plants and animals, diseases...the Waste is one of those "Everything is trying to kill you" places. I don't think the Wise Ones are immune.

Edit: Okay, lakesidey beat me to it and found the quote I was looking for. However, Mora was "remarkable." I maintain that the implication of the quote is that not many live that long. Also, I never argued that Wise Ones didn't have a "natural" lifespan as long as any other channeler, just that the lifestyle of the Aiel meant that they were unlikely to reach that span. Most end up with the bloodsnake bite long before they reach that point.
133. birgit
The reason Elaida became the TAS Amyrlin is that the coup started when Elaida told Alviarin about her mistrust for Siuan. The BA helped put Elaida on the Amyrlin seat. Most Sitters probably didn't know Elaida well. She was known to be one of the fastest learners as novice and Accepted and left for Andor soon after becoming a full AS. When the TAS realized that Elaida was a bad Amyrlin they were reluctant to split the AS even more before dealing with the rebels by deposing another Amyrlin. A new rebellion against Elaida would also have required cooperation between Ajahs, and the BA made the Ajahs distrust each other. Many AS probably wouldn't have agreed to a new Amyrlin from another Ajah.
James Hogan
134. Sonofthunder
Samadai@ 126, that was me that asked about who Lan was following - thanks for the answer!! It definitely does make sense that he'd be with Shienar. And good to see you here!

In regards to Elaida's rise to power...it seems to me one of those classic moments in history where everyone gets swept up in an emotional and irrational decision made by a few. Obviously Siuan shouldn't have been removed(especially in the violent manner that it was)...thus the battles between the Warders and the Children and the masons. The Blues recognized it for the outrage it was, along with a good deal of other AS.

But the main problem is that, technically, Elaida and her cronies were on the right side of the law. And so rather than a wholesale overthrow of Elaida's brand new regime, the loyalists couldn't help but stay. Just a messy, messy situation. And remember, at the time, Elaida looked like a firm intelligent leader(even if she doesn't always have the most sugary personality). Only later did her many flaws come out. And by then...well, I think the TAS were too scared to try *another* overthrow of an Amyrlin. They remember what happened the last time - mass bloodshed in the Tower. So they wait and hope things will get better. Maybe that was the wrong decision...but it was human.

But then Alviarin gets her claws further into the Tower and the Ajahs stop communicating...and at that point, there's no chance of anyone overthrowing Elaida, bar her proclaiming herself BA. Because none of the Ajahs are even talking, much less working together. Sure, the Ajah heads may be meeting...but a fat lot of good that does. It takes Egwene showing up for anything to happen at all. Even though Egwene grates at me at times...I got to give her props. The woman gets stuff done.
135. archaeo
Wolfmage@128, to add to Birgit and Sonofthunder above (who make excellent points), the real reason Elaida was in power was because she stumbled into the perfect confluence of events that would allow for her to take the Seat. She also happens to be the Shadow's favorite kind of target, a well-meaning but not-terribly-perceptive extremist; Messana knew Elaida could be manipulated because of those qualities, and the Blacks' engineered the coup to put her into power and then prevented the TAS from doing anything about it at all.

It's one of the Shadow's greatest victories in this war, and the general population of the TAS only deserves part of the blame, which they rightly felt when Egwene launched into them (as Subwoofer@130 pointed out). Of course, I think you make a good point; the SAS definitely have the moral high ground here, and Elaida's reign is one of the biggest pieces of Jordan's overall picture of the problems with the AS.

Subwoofer@127, you say "We all root for the hero to win, and live happily every after, but let's face it, in the story we know, LTT, the Dragon, dies." I obviously have no idea how the story will end, and I think that Rand dying and the Wheel turning on could be a satisfying conclusion. But there have been so many prophesies and bits of foreshadowing scattered throughout the books that Rand's life being somehow saved is inevitable; "to live, you must die." Also, since everybody expects Rand to die at the end, and our characters have a pretty poor track record of interpreting the prophesies, I'm confident in betting against them.

Genre savviness also suggests that Avi's vision can't be true; it's just too horrible to really fit as the epilogue to a good old fantasy epic. Also, Avi's vision coming to pass is just impossible, given the assumed plot of the outrigger novels (Mat and Tuon in Seanchan, I believe?). To get around the evident truthiness of her vision, there are a few solutions. The columns could've been showing her the future as it existed at that moment, right as she was going through, which means that it can be changed. Or she or the ter'angreal could've been manipulated by a third party. Or the columns showed a true vision of the future, in which case Avi has to be the first character ever to break free of the Pattern, or the Pattern has to be broken through someone else's actions.

I think the series has to ultimately address the big issue that Moridin raises: given the infinite repetitions of the Ages of the Wheel, the Dark One will eventually triumph. Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount answers it in part (love conquers all!), but the logic of Moridin's belief seems inescapable to me.

So, in my opinion (which I'll leave buried here on this nearly dead thread), the only intellectually satisfying ending is one in which Moridin's logic is taken to its ultimate conclusion: through infinite repetition, a Dragon might rise who can actually kill the Dark One. This solution leads to a total breakdown in the Pattern, which assumes a binding instead of a victory, which in turn allows for Avi's vision to be false and for Rand to live after winning.

But, like I said, your point has its merits too. I'm sure we'll be in a frenzy to find out come this time next year!
Rob Munnelly
136. RobMRobM
To various - agree with Sam that it is useful and needful for senior Accepted to attend the Amyrlin - while doing their service they are trained to lead. (The same point is made memorably by another Sam (Samwell Tarly) to Jon Snow in ASOIF.)

137. Lsana

I don't see any reason Aviendha's visions couldn't come to pass with what we know of the series. The first of her visions, after all, seems to be about 20 years after the Last Battle. I doubt that the main series will go that far into the future, and there is no reason the outrigger novels would necessarily extend beyond that time frame. We could get a "happy" ending to the series but with Avi's vision looming in the future.

I don't necessarily see that Avi's vision has to come to pass (I have my own theory on it) except in one respect: the Aiel will die out. Jordan's cosmology means that if the Aiel had a beginning, which they do, they must also have an ending. I hope the end isn't the one Avi saw, but the end will come.

And on that cheery thought...
Damon Garner
138. IrishOmalley
@135 & 137 and Sanderson - If he reads this, lol - Having Avi's vision come true would be akin to good defeating evil, only to have, say, Hitler's Nazi Germany fill in the vacuum. (Hence evil winning anyway.)
lake sidey
139. lakesidey
@134 Sonofthunder: There is also a point in Chapter 12 of New Spring where Bukama (?) says: "Niall, Lord Captain-Commander of the Children of the Light, had the command today."

Which seems to imply that different people led the coalition at different times. (And if Niall is there, Agelmar Jagad, another great captain, is probably around as well, so he could also be leading at some point - though I can't locate any relevant quote...)

Stefan Mitev
140. Bergmaniac
It's explained in the Guide that the command of the coalition forces in the final stage of the Aiel War rotated each day between several generals, each chosen to represent his nation there in a grand council. Those included Niall and Agelmar. Those two were chosen to take command on the first two days, perhaps intentionally, since they were supposed to be the best generals.
Chris Chaplain
141. chaplainchris1
Wolfmage @ 128 - excellent points, both in what the Hall should've done with Siuan and the litany of wrong things they actually did; to which list of infractions I would add what can only be called the murder, without trial or appeal, of Siuan's Warder.

By the way, was he killed by another Warder, or by the Power? If the former, I suppose it was done by another Warder or by Tower Guards - I think he is seen as lying in a pool of blood. Perhaps he "resisted arrest," so to speak, but with sisters there there should've been no need for bloodshet.

I've always thought he was killed by Elaida, or another sister with her, so I guess some Aes Sedai must've been able to rationalize his killing as self-defense (unless a Black did it, but even so, a Black would have to be able to explain it as defensive). But for an Aes Sedai to use lethal force against any single man, even a Warder, is pretty inexcusable, given that flows of Air are just as effective.

The rest of the points - re: why Elaida's raising was wrong, but legal, and why it was allowed to stand as long as it did - have been made excellently, so nothing to add!
Chris Chaplain
142. chaplainchris1
@135 archaeo - very interesting post on addressing Moridin's claim that the DO will inevitably win someday. I'm not sure I agree, with you or him; it's not like the DO winning or losing is a matter of chance, with the dice eventually coming up his/its way. Humanity generally and the Dragon in particular always have the chance to fight, and therefore the chance to win.

But I agree that Moridin/the DO might be right, and that it would be interesting to see the end of the series address the whole issue of cyclical time. I posted (buried on some nearly dead thread or other) my reaction some months back to hearing an interview with RJ, reproduced at the end of some of my WOT audio books. In that interview, Jordan (using his ideas, not necessarily my own) talked about the "great gift" of the Greek view of time as linear, rather than cyclical, as in many other ancient cultures. His point was that if things are cyclical, then you know that efforts to improve things are only temporary, and in the end, things will get worse again. But if time is linear, then there's the possibilility of real change, real progress.

Again, these aren't necessarily my own thoughts. (I'd argue that we can't ever know the long-term outcome of our actions, but can't let that stop us from making what improvements we can, in the here and now, and planning even better stuff for the future is necessary as an act of faith.)

But Rand killing the DO would certainly be a way to break the cycle and "change" the wheel into a linear, open-ended future. (Unless the DO gets Reborn in a later age!)

I don't think Team Jordan will go there, really - though it'd be intriguing if the WOT as a whole was a series about ending, rather than continuing, the turning of the wheel - but in a good way.
Simon Southey-Davis
143. Glyph
@Lsana #47 and followups:
I'm inclined to agree on the general use of menial tasks for 'building character', and its possible warping / overuse over the years. However, I also note that Tamra here is keeping her best and brightest close at hand; see also, later: Siuan and the Supergirls.

If you wanted to quietly groom your best students for later service, without actually sitting them down and giving them an Amyrlin training course, I can think of worse ways than giving them a unengaging menial task that just happens to provide ample opportunity to observe you and get a good idea both of how the game is played and some of the political subtexts that might be floating around.
Janet Hopkins
144. JanDSedai
I think Glyph has it right; the brightest and best would be led around on an informal "internship", to see were they might be best used.

I'm another one who thinks the novella was perfectly adequate, but the novel definately got more exposure.
Alice Arneson
145. Wetlandernw
chaplainchris1 @141 - Per RJ's blog:

For Roland Arien, a lot of people have asked questions about Alric's death. I should have made matters plainer. As I envisioned it, Alric, having sensed Siuan's extreme shock, came running to her and arrived just in time to be stabbed just before Siuan was taken into the anteroom. She should have sensed the knife going in, but that was masked by her shock. When she sees him lying there, he is dying, though not yet dead. As I said, I should have made it plainer.

Whether it was a Warder or an Aes Sedai, he was killed with a knife, not with the Power.
146. David DeLaney
KiManiak @77 - a side note: yes, on a first read you don't want to stick Night of Knives in right there, it's got spoilers for this and that. On a reread, it can go there for chronological order, but on a first read you'll want publication order, I think.

And yeah, Gardens of the Moon's climax is the first climax of the series. There's more to come... If I recall right, SE was thinking of a movie treatment for it while writing, and that's a good place to stop in that part of the story, where plot threads are tied up and stuff. But - there's a great deal more to the story that either hasn't been touched on at ALL yet, or has hooks in that book that hook into plot somewhere later on.

Even more than Jordan (and I know this is heresy to say on a WoT reread thread, but still), Malazan rewards rereading, in an "o mi gawd THAT'S what was happening! And that's who THAT is! And ... oh dear that makes sense when taken with (event from three books later)..." way. Sort of like spotting Weiramon in A New Spring, and rereading it knowing who the Black Ajah all are, but _all the time_.

Simon Southey-Davis
147. Glyph
So I've starting re-reading this now (thanks Leigh! I can't follow along the regular series re-read, but this one-off book works just fine) and I note Lan's "sure as peaches were poison" thought in Ch1.

It stuck out so I did a quick Google and I gather it's just a Randland oddity detail, mentioned here and there and based on peach PITS being Teh Nasty. All of which is a roundabout way of saying I was crushed to find I was wrong in my immediate thought: "Awesome! Labyrinth shoutout!"
148. Rokof
Reading this book after reading the other 13 was extreamly... odd at first, but it is indeed a work of art
149. Serious77
OK, so, I know that it has been a year since this reread was completed, but I just recently started this book for the first time. As to the reread comments, am I the only one who thinks that your cheese analogy sounds like something that Mat would say? I could almost hear him using that analogy! Anyway, just had to put that out there! Even if nobody reads this comment.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
150. tnh
Hi, Serious. You're a perfect illustration of why we keep old threads open. The problem with asking questions is that all the Jordan fans are off in the new threads. You could go hang out with them, if you don't mind spoilers. If you do mind spoilers, you'd probably better stay away from later threads in that sequence until you catch up with your reading.
Alice Arneson
151. Wetlandernw
Serious @149 - Actually, some of us do notice when a comment is made on the old threads; I, for one, almost always go back and read them. So by all means, read and comment! I've even been known to either copy, repeat or reference an especially insightful comment on the current threads, so when you catch up you might find that people already know your name. :)
Howard Covey
152. Howdy
And I start my own journey to A Memory of Light - which I haven't read yet... I was going to try and keep a re-read journal of my own heading in - but then I found this and it's so well done and thought out - with more discussion than I can truly keep up with - that I figured - why bother - I'll just use the great one that's already here to somewhat organize my thoughts and journal my ideas as I go forward. Thanks Leigh and all commentors - though I have to confess to not reading all of your posts - I do try and scan through as many as possible - great stuff!

So my takeaway from these 1st 2 chapters of New Spring:

Lan right in the thick of it all from the beginning - I agree that the Aiel recognizing him as Aan'allien comes from their own forays against the Blight. Their warriors bringing back tales of the man who fights alone against the Shadow. And yes they would give that man honor and respect - and spresd that tale among all of the Holds. I also love the description of Dragonmount here - not sure - but think that this was the 1st time I really was able to picture the sheer awesomeness of it in my minds eye.

The Foretelling - well is the foretelling. It places Moiraine and Siuan in the eye of the storm at the moment it happens - and sets their paths pretty firmly - lol. It also gave me a little insight as to why Siuan was so willing to throw the Supergirls to the wolves fresh into the Tower. She and Moiraine had been sucked into the whirlwind as Accepted - these girls were as capable as they - just like Tamra with her and Moiraine - the only ones to be trusted.

And thanks to all of the posters who are pointing out the younger versions of characters we see in the main series - I missed a few even in these 1st chapters!

Oh well - years late to the party - but here now -so if anyone else is beginning the ride again - come along and let's have some fun!

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