Feb 11 2011 2:24pm

The Wheel of Time Re-read: New Spring, Part 2

New Spring by Robert JordanHappy Friday, y’all! Welcome to another Wheel of Time Re-read!

Today’s entry covers Chapters 3 and 4 of New Spring, in which I contemplate sororal preparation rituals, possible subtextual reader chastisement, and the benefits of playing in your own sandbox, as it were.

(Side note: Word does not recognize “sororal” as a word. I’m just going to… point that out. And maybe growl, softly.)

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

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

And now, the post!

Chapter 3: Practice

What Happens
After leaving the Amyrlin’s quarters, Moiraine wants to go take a nap, but Siuan convinces her that they should practice for their shawl testing instead. Moiraine reflects that the second surprise about her and Siuan is that the fisherman’s daughter led and the noblewoman followed, but thinks that Siuan had been born to lead, and outside rank meant nothing in the Tower anyway. She tells Siuan again of her conviction that Siuan will be Amyrlin inside a hundred years, but Siuan is not thrilled by this, opining that she’d rather go see the world instead. Then she accuses Moiraine of trying to change the subject from what they’d just heard.

For more than three thousand years the world had waited on the Prophecies of the Dragon to be fulfilled, fearing them, yet knowing they told of the world’s only hope. And now a boychild was about to be born – very soon, perhaps, by the way Gitara had spoken – to bring those Prophecies to a conclusion. […] That infant’s birth meant the Dark One would break free again, for the child would be born to face the Dark One in Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle. On him rested the fate of the world. The Prophecies said he was the only chance. They did not say he would win.

Worse, Moiraine thinks, he will channel saidin. She tells Siuan the Amyrlin told them not to talk about it, but Siuan counters that she just said they couldn’t talk about it to anyone else. They reach the Accepted’s gallery, and Moiraine muses on how the Tower holds less than a third of the novices, Accepted, and Aes Sedai it was originally designed to house.

Numbers that still burned like acid. No Aes Sedai would say it aloud, and she would never dare say it where a sister might hear, but the White Tower was failing. The Tower was failing, and the Last Battle was coming.

They go to Siuan’s room, and Moiraine thinks of some of the pranks they’ve pulled in their time as novices. Siuan insists Moiraine go first, and Moiraine begins going through the one hundred intricate-but-useless weaves while waiting to see what Siuan will try to do to distract her this time. To her surprise, Siuan puts her off balance by talking about Gitara’s prophecy, asking if Moiraine thinks the Reds will be able to leave “him” alone.

“They will have twenty years to learn how. Or nearly so, at worst. At best, they will have longer.” Girls sometimes, if rarely, began channeling as young as twelve or thirteen, if they were born with the spark, but even with the spark boys never did before eighteen or nineteen, unless they tried to learn how, and in some men the spark did not come out until they were as old as thirty.

Moiraine goes on that the Reds will have to recognize that he can’t be gentled until after the Last Battle, anyway, but Siuan points out that there are rumors the Reds aren’t so particular about taking these men alive in the first place. They are interrupted when Myrelle Berengari barges in, an Accepted from the same year as they and a friend of Moiraine’s. Myrelle asks how long they think it will be before the Last Battle starts, referring to the (hotly contested) belief that certain passages in The Prophecies of the Dragon refer to the Aiel. Siuan and Moiraine exchange glances, and Myrelle immediately divines that they are hiding something, but declares she won’t pry. To Moiraine’s surprise, Siuan agrees to let Myrelle help “distract” Moiraine in her practice, and Moiraine is intensely annoyed with herself that between them they make her break concentration six times. They are interrupted again, this time by an Accepted named Tarna Feir, whom Moiraine considers humorless and arrogant. Siuan tells her to go away, but Tarna tells them all the Accepted have been summoned to the Oval Lecture Hall for an address from the Amyrlin, and also that Gitara Moroso just died a few hours ago. Myrelle exclaims that this must be the secret Siuan and Moiraine are keeping, and Tarna recalls that they would have been in attendance, and asks what happened.

“I was handing her a cup of tea when she gasped and fell dead in my arms,” Moiraine replied. And that was an even better Aes Sedai answer than Siuan’s, every word true while avoiding the whole truth.

To her surprise, an expression of sadness crossed Tarna’s face. It was fleeting, but it had been there. Tarna never showed emotion. She was carved from stone. “Gitara Sedai was a great woman,” she murmured. “She will be badly missed.”

They all run to the lecture hall to avoid being late, and Moiraine listens to the wild speculation circulating among the gathered Accepted. Aisling Noon, a rarity among Tower initiates in that she was a former Tinker, asks Siuan and Moiraine whether Gitara had a Foretelling before she died, but Tarna saves them from having to lie by declaring they’d said she hadn’t. Tamra enters, looking tired to Moiraine, and tells the Accepted that in thanks for the continued safety of Tar Valon, she has decided that the Tower will give a bounty of one hundred crowns “to every woman in the city who bore a child between the day the first soldiers arrived and the day the threat is ended.” She adds that she has decided to extend this bounty to the camp followers of the armies as well, and thus she is sending the Accepted out, accompanied by the Tower Guard, to start taking names before they disperse back to their homes, since the Aiel appear to be retreating. Everyone is shocked that the Accepted are to go out of the Tower without Aes Sedai to escort them. Tamra warns them sharply of the dangers outside Tar Valon’s walls beyond the Aiel, in particular the Whitecloaks, but advises them (and an impetuous Accepted named Alanna specifically) that anyone using the Power to defend themselves will regret it. She tells them to ready themselves to ride out.

“Oh, yes.” The words jerked everyone to a halt. “When you record the woman’s name, also put down the infant’s name and sex, the day he or she was born, and exactly where. The Tower’s records must be complete in this matter. You may go.” Just as though what she had left till last was not the most important thing. That was how Aes Sedai hid things in plain sight. Some said Aes Sedai had invented the Game of Houses.

Moiraine could not help exchanging excited glances with Siuan. Siuan absolutely hated anything that smacked of clerical work, but she wore a wide grin. They were going to help find the Dragon Reborn. Just his name, of course, and his mother’s name, but it was as near to an adventure as Accepted could dare to hope for.

Siuan gets her own icon! And it’s a fish! AWESOME.

So, it’s probably a little nonsensical to think of New Spring as Wheel of Time fanfiction, considering it was written by the original author, but nevertheless this is exactly what it feels like to me. And I mean that in a good way.

A great deal of the attraction of fanfic, I think, is getting to see characters you know and love from the original source material in a new and different way—by putting them in a different setting, by altering the storyline (or continuing it, if the original story has ended), by changing the characters’ relationships with each other, or any combination of the above—to varying degrees of extremity, of course. (And I’m pretty sure that anyone who’s reading this has been on the Internet—and in science fiction/fantasy fandom—more than long enough not to need an explanation of that last.) NS isn’t doing either of the latter two things, because of course by definition everything that happens in it is germane with the story (and relationships) of the series proper, but it is doing the first—just chronologically, instead of, you know, putting them in Gotham City or something.

That the new setting is also canon is irrelevant—it doesn’t change the fact that every few minutes I catch myself going “Ha! There’s Alanna!” or whoever else I know from the regular story who suddenly pops up, and it’s just fun to see them. Because they’re different, but also the same, and for whatever reason that’s just terribly entertaining. I dunno, it’s a thing.

Well, seeing Tarna, though, who evidently even as a young’un was secretly a cool person, was not so much entertaining as saddening, post-ToM. Dammit.

Aisling Noon: I was all like, wait, do I know this person? I tried to think of it without cheating, but I eventually resorted in defeat to Teh Intrawebs. She mostly only shows up in KOD, apparently, which does a great deal to explain why I couldn’t dredge her up from my brain independently. I don’t have a point here except to note that one unintended side effect of the fanfic-ish fun I’m having seeing old/new characters appear is that it sometimes makes me convinced that every last random person we come across in NS is someone I should recognize, when logically at least some of them are really just, well, random people.

I was kind of startled to realize that Moiraine and Siuan (and Tamra as well, clearly) are uncertain about when exactly the Dragon was going to be reborn, even though it seems perfectly obvious to me that Gitara’s words weren’t so much a prophecy as they were a breaking news update. But then again, Gitara’s Talent is supposed to be Foretelling, isn’t it? The future, not the present. Even though the wording is in the present tense (which isn’t normally the case for Foretellings if Elaida and Nicola are any example), realistically it’s probably not surprising that Moiraine et al still assumed she was talking about an event that hadn’t happened yet.

Shame; it would have saved them a lot of trouble if they’d figured that out, eh? But then, of course, we wouldn’t have had a story.

My attention was caught by Moiraine’s thought about how sometimes men with the spark don’t “show” until they’re almost thirty, which amused me because the translation may as well have been “TAIM IS NOT BLOODY DEMANDRED, LET IT GO ALREADY” as far as I’m concerned. One of the biggest arguing points in that debate had always been that Taim’s apparent age didn’t make sense for a “sparker,” despite the fact that we only had Rand’s off-the-cuff and presumably not very scientific estimation of Taim’s age being “around thirty-five or so” to go on in the first place. (Read the FAQ if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)

It was during the post-COT signing tour that Jordan began flat-out telling people that Taim is not Demandred (ergo, either right before or during the time he would have been writing NS), and I got the distinct impression from various signing reports that Jordan was rather irked that so many fans didn’t seem to believe him. And if he wasn’t irked, I don’t know why; I sure as hell would’ve been. Either way, if this wasn’t meant as a shoutout to that whole thing I’d be very surprised, personally. Heh.


Chapter 4: Leaving the Tower

What Happens
Moiraine goes back to her room and packs quickly for the journey, taking everything she thinks she might need. She exits into the hallway, where the Accepted are in an uproar of similar preparation, yelling at each other to return borrowed items.

Katerine Alruddin popped out of her room, demanding at the top of her lungs that Carlinya return her sewing kit, then darted back inside without waiting for an answer.

“Alanna, Pritalle, can one of you lend me a pair of clean stockings?” someone called from below.

“I loaned you a pair yesterday, Edesina,” came a reply from above.

Doors banged throughout the well as women rushed out to shout for Temaile or Desandre, Coladara or Atuan or a score of others to return this or that borrowed item or lend something. Had a sister been present, the cacophony would put them all in the soup kettle to their necks, on a hot fire.

She joins an impatient Siuan to hurry to the stables, where she is irritated to see how many Accepted have beaten them there and are already heading out, but comforts herself with the thought that none of them know what they are really looking for. She mounts her horse (an extravagance that had almost got her into trouble when she bought it), trying to ignore the Guardsmen’s looking at her exposed legs, and is amused anew at Siuan’s terrible riding skills. The leader of their escort is a humorless man named Steler, who herds them toward the Sunset Gate and ignores Siuan’s attempts to suggest their direction. Moiraine whispers to Siuan that she can’t think they are going to be the ones to find “him”; he might not even be born yet.

“As much chance us as anyone else,” Siuan muttered. “More, since we know what we’re really looking for.” She had not stopped scowling at the bannerman. “When I bond a Warder, the first thing I’ll make sure of is that he does what he’s told.”

“You are thinking of bonding Steler?” Moiraine asked in an innocent voice. Siuan’s stare was such a blend of astonishment and horror that she nearly laughed. But Siuan nearly fell off her horse again, too, and she could not laugh at that.

Moiraine decides to leave puzzling out Steler to Siuan and instead enjoys the ride through the bustling, beautiful city and watching the multitude of people from every nation pass her by. She bows to an Ogier crew doing repairs and receives one in answer, though she thinks the foreman knows she is only an Accepted. They exit the city, which is a thrilling event for Moiraine considering Accepted are never allowed off the island, but they stop halfway over the bridge when they see a squadron of Whitecloaks blocking the foot of the bridge. She tells Steler loudly that they must not allow Whitecloaks to think they can intimidate initiates of the Tower, and Siuan stops her from thumping him with Air when he ignores her. Eventually the Whitecloaks head back into the village at the foot of the bridge, and they continue on. Siuan engages Steler again, insisting that they go to the most distant camps first, but Steler squashes that notion inexorably, and this time it’s Moiraine’s turn to stop Siuan from retaliating with saidar. The village seems dead and empty, and Moiraine is relieved to leave it behind.

Siuan plainly was not relieved. From time to time she looked over her shoulder toward the great black peak of Dragonmount-half the time, she needed a steadying hand from Moiraine to keep her in her saddleand more than once she ground her teeth audibly. They had often discussed what Ajah they might join, and Moiraine had long since settled on the Blue for herself, but she thought Siuan might well end choosing Green.

They pass the first camp, where a beautiful Accepted named Sarene is already taking down names, and stop at the next, mainly populated by Murandians. Steler announces their purpose in a bellow, and Siuan and Moiraine are quickly set up to begin their task.

The image of the Accepted’s quarters being like a giant echo-y sorority house completely cracked me up, with everybody yelling and stealing shit back and forth from each other. Hah, so true. Not that I was ever in a sorority, but I have two actual sisters, so, yeah. SO TRUE.

Although, it’s a bit eek-ifying that no less than three of the character cameos appearing in that bit turn out to be Black Ajah later. I still wonder when and how that happened for a lot of the Shadow-side characters we meet. Were Atuan, Katerine and Temaile already Darkfriends at this point, or were they recruited later?

On second thought, never mind about Temaile; I’m convinced that woman came out of the womb evil. Yeesh.

(Totally random thought: am I the only one who mentally pronounces “Temaile” as “Teh-MY-ul”? Just me? Okay then.)

For some reason it strikes me as really odd that Moiraine could ever have thought Siuan might choose Green, probably because Moiraine’s hardly what I would call unobservant, and yet this seems to totally miss the boat on Siuan’s character. (Hah, boat.) Siuan is so thoroughly a Blue it’s not even funny. Leane switching to Green after being Healed made sense, but I wouldn’t have bought it for a minute if Siuan had done the same. You’re her best friend, Moiraine, c’mon, you’re supposed to know this stuff.

And… er, well, not a lot else happens in this chapter, other than Siuan and Moiraine kind of making fools of themselves trying to order Steler around. Moiraine’s joke about Siuan bonding him was pretty funny, though.

…It may also be the first joke we’ve ever seen Moiraine make. Huh. Is that true? I can’t remember for sure, but I am secure in declaring that she was hardly the plucky comic relief character in the series proper, so I might be right.

And… yeah. Not much else, except a lot of Moiraine packing things she doesn’t need, and a lengthy description of Moiraine’s ride through Tar Valon, which I didn’t mind reading but saw absolutely no point in including in the summary. Conclusion: Moiraine overthinks things, and Tar Valon is pretty. The End.

No, really, that’s the end! FOR NOW. Have a weekend, whydontcha, and I’ll catch you on the flip side, peoples. Ciao!

lake sidey
1. lakesidey
Sororal exists in scrabble dictionaries, if it helps! Word is just....clueless, sometimes.

Edited to add re: Moiraine and jokes - I call to your attention this statement in tGH, when she and Lan are talking at Adeleas/Vandene's place:

"I am suddenly glad there is no pond in this room," she murmured, then raised her hands when he stiffened, offended at her light tone.

I'd count that as a joke, wouldn't you?

Captain Hammer
2. Randalator
re: Foretelling vs. the timing of a Dragon rebirth

Yeah, to us it seems obvious. He has been born right this second, duh! But as you pointed out, it doesn't necessarily have to be. Gitara is really just describing what she sees in her mind but there's no telling if she's watching a teaser trailer, a live broadcast or even a re-run.

re: Teh-MY-ul

I pronounce it the same way.

re: funny Moiraine

She's not exactly cracking jokes left and right but I seem to remember her being a Deadpan Snarker on occasion
Ken Ray
3. Maclir
Is it just me, or is the fact that all of the people in the "accepted sorority house" are cameo appearances of semi-major characters in the later books comes across as slightly contrived?
4. iamnotspam
I seem to remember a few jokes on Lan, and embarrassing Rand and Perrin a few times, though I don't remember Mat getting the sharp end of the stick except for maybe dancing one time in the first book.
Birgit F
5. birgit
Totally random thought: am I the only one who mentally pronounces “Temaile” as “Teh-MY-ul”?

I pronounce it Te-mail (with German ai).

Moiraine probably doesn't tell many jokes in the main series because that doesn't fit the mysterious AS image. As a novice and Accepted she and Siuan often got in trouble for their pranks.
Andrew Foss
6. alfoss1540
I only found NS in December 09 - Right after I read Towers of Midnight. So the setting of Tar Valon is pretty fresh in my mind. And I found the setting descriptions to be wonderful. ALso I thoroughly enjoy the flash backward Cameos of all the AS. Makes them somewhat human.
Julian Augustus
7. Alisonwonderland
For the first time ever, it appears I'm the first to comment on one of Leigh's posts.

I don't subscribe to the certainty with which everyone else on here declares that Gitara's foretelling was a description of an event happening then (or just happened) in real time, and the surprise usually expressed that the AS couldn't pinpoint to the minute the exact time the Dragon was born.

Tamra cannot discount the possibility that what Gitara is describing is a VISION. As far as the listeners may know, Gitara is seeing a vision of the Dragon being born, lying in the snow, and crying his lungs out. So when Gitara yells "he is born ...", etc., they cannot be sure that Gitara means now in real time, or whenever the vision she is seeing takes place. Anyway, there is no newspaper with today's date boldly printed on it lying conveniently nearby to tell Gitara that what she is seeing is actually happening as she speaks. And then, of course, she drop dead on the spot.

I think the AS are being cautious in giving a wide range of time for the Dragon's birth. They know how foretelling works better than we do. And it may also be the reason why the BA, even if they extracted the full story from Tamra under torture, could not be certain that the Dragon was only a few days old.

Edit: Drat! when I started writing this there were no posts, and by the time I finished there were five other posts ahead of this one!
M Anderson
8. DevilsAdvocate
Great post Leigh! I agree that NS has a fanfic feel to it. I think it also just feels like a breath of fresh air getting something else as break from the series regular.

Maclir @ 3

I agree. All of them being part of the same "class" seems a bit contrived. Seems that the Aes Sedai would be more spread out.
Tess Laird
9. thewindrose
I have always read Temaile as ta mal ee like hot tamale fwiw:)
I also feel like most people we meet in this book are camoes of characters that we meet in the series proper.

And it fun to see a young Moiraine and Siuan together!

F Shelley
10. FSS
Huh- I always pronouce Temaile as Tamale. I wonder if she's hot...

I'll be here all week - be sure to tip your waitress...
Chris Chaplain
11. chaplainchris1
Yay, most excellent re-readiness! it Tuesday yet?

Agreed totally at how eeky (icky?) it is to see so many Accepted destined to be Black Ajah. We'd expect about 2 in 10, I guess, but we see what, 4 of 14 or so? At least from the names I recognize in Leigh's post.

Am I the only one who thinks it's a little odd how many Accepted we recognize, and how prominent many of them are destined to be? (Edit to add: I see Maclir at #3 and DevilsAdvocate @ 8 think so too. And by the way, when I started my post there was only 1 comment on the screen!) I mean, given that a) the Tower's dwindling is a major theme here, and b) that dwindling is not only numeric but also a decrease in general strength, and c) aside from strength, age is another major factor in telling Aes Sedai prominence, then d) shouldn't most of these Accepted be destined for weakness and general lack of prominence for decades to come?

Yet, in addition to Moiraine and Siuan, we see Sheriam, Myrelle, Carlinya, and Katerine, among others (like Alanna, who doesn't have the strength of the others I named, but is not low in the hierarchy either, and Tarna, who I've never had the impression was particularly strong due to the length of time her training took, but she certainly becomes prominent).

I dunno, just seems strange to me. Another question about the Accepted - are we to infer that any woman who is Accepted has enough strength to become Aes Sedai, if she measures up in other ways? What I'm getting at is - well, Sheriam tells Egwene and Nynaeve in TGH that of the 40 Novices the Tower has at that time, only 8 or 9 will test for Accepted. And Moiraine's thoughts here are that of fewer than 100 Novices at this time, fewer than 20 will test for Accepted. (That's roughly 1 in 5 novices who will qualify for Accepted - wonder if that will hold true for Egwene's new influx of novices?)

I've always been under the impression that the strength qualifier was more stringent at each level - that is, some novices aren't strong enough to be Accepted, and some Accepted aren't strong enough to be Aes Sedai. We're told that various women (generally among the Aiel or the Kin) are "not strong enough to test for Accepted" or "as strong as an Aes Sedai", as if those strength levels are set at particular thresholds. I believe Linda's table at the 13th Depository follows such a schema.

Given that assumption/impression, I'd expect the majority of the Accepted to be eventual washouts. (Or some nicer name. ;) But every named Accepted we see in NS eventually (by the time of the main series) has achieved the shawl, except (iirc) Ellid who dies during her test.

But that's in another installment...and maybe the named ones are named because we'll recognize them, and the others are the "washouts".

Oh, I'd never seen or heard "sororal" used as a word, but logically it must be one, so *pfui* to Word.

(Other edits to add: agreed with Alisonwonderland about the need to hedge - Tamra certainly couldn't be *sure* if the Foretelling was in real time, since Foretrellings 'never' do that. She has to play it safe, and the snow is the only reliable window to go by.)

(Final edit - I pronouce Temaile as "Tuh - my - luh", which I think is how it's pronounced on the recordings - though that's hardly official.)
Captain Hammer
12. Randalator
Maclir @3

Characters mentioned in the sorority scene:

Meidani, Brendas, Siuan, Moiraine, Katerine, Carlinya, Alanna, Pritalle, Edesina, Temaile, Desandre, Coladara, Atuan

Judging by their prominence and/or importance in the main series that's
4 Major characters: Moiraine, Siuan, Katerine, Alanna
4 Semi-major characters: Meidani, Carlinya, Temaile, Edesina
5 random characters: Brendas, Pritalle, Desandre, Coladara, Atuan

Given that there's only a pool of 60 potential characters overall for that scene, I don't think that's contrived...
Julian Augustus
13. Alisonwonderland
Maclir @3,

The thing is, the years as a novice and as an accepted are not cast in stone, but very personalized. So, if one person spends 15 years as an accepted she is likely to meet numerous other accepted, some of whom may even start later as novices and graduate into full sisters while she remains an accepted. Hence, a particular "accepted" class may encompass a huge number of girls if we are talking about all the girls who had at least some time together as accepted.

Also, this particular group of girls who happened to be accepted at this particular time with Siuan and Moiraine were all given a boost (in terms of advancement in Tower politics) when Siuan was raised Amyrlin. She was able to immediately raise Leane to be Keeper and Sheriam as Mistress of Novices, and we don't know what other posts and missions she sent her other friends on to raise their profile over the 10 years or more that she was Amyrlin. I don't think it is too much of a stretch that many of the players we meet in the main series turn out be contemporaries or near-contemporaries of Siuan
14. RanchoUnicorno
Since it has nothing to do with the actual book, I don't mind commenting here before reading the rest of the post.

It makes sense that Word would not have sororal in its dictionary. It isn't a commonly used term (unlike, perhaps fraternal), and is thus more likely to be the result of a typo instead of intended use. Try going to law school - I spent a lot of time doing the right-click-Add to Dictionary two-step. I suspect that they spend a fair bit of time trying to figure out which words should be pulled from the dictionary.
Jamie Watkins
15. Treesinger
I always wondered about the "useless" weaves used in the Aes Sedai test. Wouldn't it be cool if at TG those weaves will have some effect on Shadow Spawn? Every sister knows then by heart and knows how to perform them under stress.
Richard Boye
16. sarcastro

yes, I always thought that NS was like a fanfic prequel, even though RJ wrote it.

re: funny Moiraine
Naw, Moiraine actually always had a dry, whimsical side to her - she decided to catch fish with her bare hands that one time because it looked like fun, she was highly entertained by Thom, and I'm sure she made a joke here or here it's just that she was damned determined and committed to her quest, all encased in her prim, aristocratic Cairhienin veneer.

re: Accepted Dorms and Tower life
I always appreciated the sororal chaos in the Accepted's dorms, because it's one of the few times RJ showed us that White Tower is full of people who act like, you know, actual human beings.

And I remain convinced that RJ skulked about the fan forums because some of us always opined about the mysterious One Mention Aes Sedai.... and slowly, they started showing up in the later works (if not the later installments in book chronological order). Atuan and Aisling were two of them (Bennae and Marris also ). RJ clearly had a thing for establishing how, in an institution like the White Tower, all of these people would pop in and out of each other's lives, hate each other, like each other, cross paths once in a while, remember who they went to school with, etc... His use of the Conservation of Characters was most adept here in the Tower, because it's like your old parish or neighborhood with cliques and individuals all having an interlocking set of life experiences. It just reads as authentic and plausible.

One of the reasons I am less than enthused with BS' takes on the Aes Sedai is that rather than pluck out a random mention Aes Sedai and bring her up again, he invents new ones and then thrusts them into prominence - the two new Red Sitters (who are actual sisters) just bothered me immensely (surely we would have had a casual mention of them somewhere). Also, the new ORANGE wearing Mistress of Novices - it would have felt more RJ-esque if suddenly Serafelle (remember her?) or Brendas was the new MoN (or even better, Norine Dorvana). If Barasine pops up as one of the new Sitters... that kinda thing.

This is probably a pique that is peculiar to me, alas.

The sudden introduction of legendary (yet unmentioned) Cadsuane hit the fan groups like a lead balloon because it was so unlike RJ to have this intricate web of shared personal history among the Aes Sedai for this Uber-Aes Sedai to have existed but NEVER HAVE BEEN mentioned... RJ rectified that in NS by given Cadsuane some major screen time, as to firmly embed her in the back story.

And as a total aside, this deeply enmeshed collective backstory is also why I am having a hard time accepting Mesaana masquerading as a sister - these people all know each other too well for her to be so masterfully masquerading as "Danelle" (or whoever). I mean, Pevara immediately picked up on the fact that something was up with Tarna, for example. NO ONE noticed that "Danelle" (or whoever) started acting strangely, didn't have her own bit of this collective memory? That does not read as authentic and plausible.

Kairen Stang: Hey "Danelle" , remember when we were novices and put locusts in Larissa Lyndel's shoes? No? We were like so busted! Beldemaine totally birched our asses for hours.... how can you not remember? Come on, Nisao had to Heal the welts on our bottom-cheeks before we could even sit.... this is not ringing a bell, at all? Really? No memory at all? That's strange.... Oh well. Off for some mysterious Aes Sedai-ing!

re: You say Tomato, I say Temaile.
I always said "Temaile" like 'Temille" even though that's wrong... (Insert 'The Captain and Temaile" joke here....)

re: Gitara/Tamra and The Search
In some ways, the revelations in NS were bittersweet to me, because the whole secret Red Sitters penance and exile, plus Thom's nephew and the 'Vileness' was such an enjoyable mystery for me to puzzle out and link them up based upon slight references and hidden clues (which was RJ's forte) .... that when RJ just did his own exposé on this scandal in this book, it really hit home that we were careening towards the end of the saga and there will be no new mysteries, only him tying up the old ones. It was sad, for me.
Chris Chaplain
17. chaplainchris1
@12 Randalator - I've already mentioned it @11, but to your count add Sheriam, Myrelle, and Tarna, at least - not mentioned in the sorority scene, but in the testing bit before. (And I just looked up something to confirm my memory - Zemaille is also mentioned, during Tamra's speech, one of the SF Aes Sedai, here still an Accepted.) Anyway, Sheriam, Myrelle, and Tarna have to be added to your list of major characters, which gives us 7.

At least nine of those characters definitely have the strength to Travel, by the way (Moiraine, Siuan, Katerine, Alanna, Myrelle, Sheriam, Carlinya, Tarna, and Meidani). Not that this means anything, except - the Tower seems to have a number of promising Accepted right now...
Stefan Mitev
18. Bergmaniac
I have to say Tamra really dropped the ball with the amount of the bounty - 100 crowns in gold. This is a huge amount. The gold crown is the largest coin in Randland, and as noted in the text, 100 gold crowns are enough to buy a really large farm. Giving away such large sums for such a flimsy reason should've alerted everyone in the Tower someone is fishy. And it also pretty much guaranteed numerous false claims with babies much older or born elsewhere.

Anyway, in New Spring we get what was clearly missing from the Supergirls chapters while they were in training - getting to know the other Accepted, some of which are friends to Siuan and Moiraine, and all of which they know very well. For some reason the Supergirls apparently never developed any kind of friendship or dislike to any other Accepted or novice during their stay in the Tower and Salidar (except the mild irritation towards Faolain). I know they went through their training in record time, but they still spent several months in TGH as novices/Accepted in the Tower yet apparently this didn't lead to any friendships or rivalries, which given that it took Egwene and Elayne about 5 minutes to delare "I like you, I want to be your friend" when they met, seem a bit too plot convenient.
19. Lsana
@ 3, 8, 11,

The argument against Gitara just describing what she's seeing in a vision is that EVERY time we have seen a fortelling before, the foreteller has spoken in the future tense. The fact that she is speaking in the present tense should be recognized by the characters as significant.

OTOH, I can't really criticize the characters for not proclaiming, "The Dragon is born right now!" Moiraine and Suian were pretty young in this scene, and it makes sense that their reactions would be more, "OMG! The Keeper just prophesized that the end of the world is coming and then keeled over dead at my feet!" as opposed to, "Hmm, interesting tense use there, Dead Woman." I suspect that Tarma did realize the significance of the tense and just compiled the larger list because (a) she needed some kind of cover story and (b) lack of cellphones all set to Verizon Standard Time means she would probably have a hard time searching for only boys born at the exact moment Gitara had her vision.
Sorcha O
20. sushisushi
Heh, the sororal (great word!) aspects of these chapters always crack me up, too. The whole name-checking of characters from the main series is really entertaining, particularly as we see a whole group of Aes Sedai when they were a whole lot younger and less precious of their dignity. British or Irish universities don't do sororities, but I've lived in communal uni housing before and this seems rather familiar, even with more blokes around.

I was a bit leery of the sheer number of AS-who-show-up-later in this book (if that makes sense), but you could look at it this way: when Siuan was elected, wasn't there a stand-off between a couple of different factions in the Tower, but they all accepted her as a compromise candidate, right? She brought two of her closest friends in as Keeper and Mistress of Novices, which explains Leane and Sheriam gaining positions of power so early (and Moiraine is being the hunter and determinedly staying out of Tower politics). It makes a kind of sense to think that Siuan's other friends and co-trainees would also gain a kind of influence, either as a conduit to the Amyrlin Seat, or through a more general reminder that these younger women might actually be some use, maybe.
(Edit: I see that Alisoninwonderland@13 made the exact same point before me)

Moiriane's attempts to 'act like Aes Sedai' are hilarious, as well, particularly as she's obviously so incredibly enthusiastic and in nowhere near as much control of her temper as she thinks she is. She's also nowhere near as dignified, either! I can see the sense of handing a newly minted AS a job in the Tower for a year of two until she finds her feet and stops being all shiny-eyed at being king of the hill, too. They're like students who have just graduated and think that they're going to go out and change the world, just because they are so awesome, when it generally doesn't work like that. Mind you, this pair are about to end up with the responsibility of actually helping save the world, so ironies abound :)

I must be alone on my pronunciation of Temaile as teh-MY-ay with a silent l at the end, which I suspect may be because it looks like a French name to me. But, then again, I realised from the JordanCon videos that if I ever do make it to a WoT event, I'm going to have major cognitive dissonance on the names, because I've got a whole other set of non-English-based pronunciations in my head (e.g. Siuan is clearly a version of Siun, pronounced Shoo-un, etc. :)
Don Barkauskas
21. bad_platypus
Lsana @ 19:

Actually, Nicola's Foretelling is in the present tense (albeit clearly about future events):
The lion sword, the dedicated spear, she who sees beyond. Three on the boat, and he who is dead yet lives. The great battle done, but the world not done with battle. The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance the servants. The future teeters on the edge of a blade.

Similarly, Elaida's Foretelling that she says so only Rand can hear is in present tense:
This, too, I Foretell. Pain and division come to the whole world, and this man stands at the heart of it.

So, clearly Foretellings can be made in the present tense, even though they clearly reference the future. Which begs the quetsion: why did Tamra, Moiraine, and Siuan assume it was "now-or-soon" in Gitara's Foretelling?
Patricia Bauler
22. tshania_sedai
chaplainchris1 @ 11

I think part of the reason we see so many prominant future AS (aside from much appreciated fan service) is because the light side was sort of gearing up for the Last Battle ahead of time. As we have seen in the regular series books, there seem to be more younger characters with stronger potential/strength in the OP than there are older ones (not counting the Forsaken, I am talking about people born in this age). Obviously, the Dragon Reborn is the most important part of the pattern to get spun out, but if you don't weave a lot of strong characters around him then he has no support and you are probably going to tear the age lace to shreads. Later in this story we see that Siuan and Moiraine have the potential to be some of the strongest AS in the Tower, but we also know that their strength pales in comparison to that of the supergirls and some of the other channelers that come along later, who are much younger than they are (not in terms of AS years, but in terms of normal people years). Now, we also know that the White Tower screwed up in its recruiting practices and missed a few older ladies (lookin' at you Sharina Melloy) with great potential, but in general the stronger AS (and even channelers in other cultures) seem to be born closer to the birth of Rand. We also know that the various stages of training are tailored to the individual, so it makes sense that there would be a large cross section of future AS in the Accepted quarters. Also, as the White Tower is sort of a closed organization, it makes sense that we would see all of these characters later. It isn't like school where people graduate and spread out to make their way in the world. What happens in the White Tower stays in the White Tower. So between the wheel spinning out stronger channelers in a clump, the AS staying in the White Tower, and their strength hierarchy (which would push the younger, stronger channelers to the top more quickly), it makes sense that we would be seeing many of the main series AS as Accepted at this point in the story.
23. Lurking Canadian
I've always thought (but never really worked through) that Jordan was trying to say something about the Aes Sedai having their development arrested because they're isolated in the tower and (I think) separate from men. Part of it is that the most mature, non-annoying women we know are all married civilians. The other part is this bit. Not the sorority-living, who-stole-my-nylons part, but the pranks part.

These women are in their twenties, at least, if not older, and their idea of fun is the equivalent of putting a frog into teacher's desk. Doesn't that strike anybody else as just plain strange? That's behaviour that kids outgrow by age ten or so, and they're still doing it at thirty? I guess it's a reaction: "You're going to call me a 'child', I am by God going to act like one!", but I think there's a deeper meaning.
Patricia Bauler
24. tshania_sedai
Also, forgot to mention - as noted some Accepted will not be able to test for AS, but as we see, Siuan and Moiraine just heard THE BIGGEST ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE AGE and decide to go practice for their test to be AS. Clearly, this is a BIG DEAL, which we don't really get the impression from the normal series as the supergirls are, well, different. If some people will just never be AS, then they clearly wouldn't be practicing for the test. It makes sense that Moiraine and Siuan will take note of the other girls that they are more familiar with/closer to, which are probably the other girls who have been practicing with them for the test. These are the ones who will eventually become AS, so it makes sense that they would get more mention or notice than the girls that Moiraine and Siuan don't know as well.
Drew Holton
25. Dholton
re BA recruitment:

Once it was revealed in NS that the Mistress of Novices was BA, (and subsequently Sheriam, another MoN was BA), it seems obvious to me that the BA always tried to have the MoN be one of them, so that she could recruit (or at least scout and encourage for recruitment) for them from amongst the young ladies that come to the Tower.
Given AS attitudes, I would suspect that while some may already be dark friends, they're not accepted into the BA until they pass the test for Aes Sedai. But they would be encouraged and passed through, even if they would normally not be considered up to AS standards (whatever those might be...).
26. torgo02
@ 19: I'm not sure every foretelling has been future tense. Look at one of the only other foretellings we witness first hand:

Nicola's Foretelling from LOC:
"The lion sword, the dedicated spear, she who sees beyond. Three on the boat, and he who is dead yet lives. The great battle done, but the world not done with battle. The land divided by the return, and the guardians balance out the servants. The future teeters on the edge of a blade."

It does not say "three will be on a boat" or the "the great battle will be done but the world won't be done with battle."

I don't mean to be arguementative. In fact, I've always agreed that it seemed odd that no one felt like it was a "real time" vision. But this re-read post lead me to do a litte research rethink my opinions.

~torgo the white
27. torgo02
Heh, my post would have been better stated thusly:

"What bad platypus said in #21."

Kudos on your superior research!

28. gadget
I commented in the last update, that it seemed half the AS we meet in the main series where novices/accepted with Moiraine and Siuan. Even considering the fact that time as novice/Accepted varies quite a bit with each individual (the novice in chapter 1 is just raised full AS in COT, and she came to the tower before Moiraine & Siuan), this is a mere twenty years before the main timeline and AS live how long? It seems like half the AS in the series were raised in the last 25 or so years (I'm including Eliada & Leane in this group because their training overlapped with M&S).

Shame; it would have saved them a lot of trouble if they’d figured that out, eh? But then, of course, we wouldn’t have had a story.

I don't think it is a slam dunk clear to anyone but the reader that Rand is being born right now, because, as somone already pointed out, some other Fortellings have been in the present tense as well; it sounds more ominous and prophetic that way. Even is they did know, most people on in Randland only note the date for very special occasions (Witness Egwene telling her Keeper to note the date for the sun breaking through the clouds during Rand's ephiphany on Dragonmount), and commoners might not even know the exact date. Not to mention it would look even stranger for the bounty 'cover story' to only offer the bounty for a particular day, rather than the battle time period. As we can see later, even the Accepted taking the names were less than exact in their record keeping.

re BA recruitment:

I believe there is an RJ quote or blog post that states that even though the mistress of novices is BA, she was not the primary recruiter for the BA during this period. Many sisters teach and the BA emphatically does not allow non full AS to join, preferably after they have been AS for a few years to get used to the oaths & AS hierarchy. Secrecy was the order of the day. Though that was somewhat ruined by murdering an Amrylin Seat and going on a continent-wide murder spree of potential chanelers.
29. drothgery
@11 - FWIW, I'm pretty sure the only way the numbers of Aes Sedai work out is if the overwhelming majority of Accepted become Aes Sedai; if you've got the ring, you're either already strong enough in the Power, or will be when you reach your full potential.
Sorcha O
30. sushisushi
I was just looking at the list of Accepted mentioned in this chapter and it's interesting when you start to look at what they do later - for example, the Salidar Six, who were running the place before they decided to raise Egwene, include three of these Accepted (Sheriam, Carlinya and Myrelle). The other three are Anaiya (Blue, so duh), Morvrin (Brown, generally allied with the Blue) and Beonin (Gray, fairly odd given Tower politics, until you realize she's Elaida's mole, as well as representing those of her Ajah who legged it during the coup).

And the group of AS who healed Mat in TDR includes Siuan, Leane, Alanna, Brendas and Sheriam, as well as Anaiya from the Blue again, Serafelle and our friend Verin from the Brown. You don't realize it if you're reading for the first time, but these are all people Siuan obviously trusts. Or in the case of Serafelle, who are reputedly too immersed in study to notice. (As sarcastro@16 says, remember her? She hasn't been seen since, although given what has been noted about her, she's probably holed up in the Tower library and hasn't not

Apart from Coladara, whose Ajah we don't know, the other 19 named Accepted end up pretty evenly spread across the Ajahs, apart from the Brown, who just get Zemaille on her lonesome. We don't know how many of the other Accepted at this point ever make AS, but it's a tad odd that the three smallest Ajahs actually gain the most new sisters from this group. Of course, it's more of a straw poll than a statistical sample, but anyways!

2 Red (Katerine and Tarna)
3 Green (Myrelle, Alanna and Aisling)
2 Gray (Meidani and Temaile)
1 Brown (Zemaille)
4 Yellow (Pritalle, Edesina, Desandre, Atuan)
3 Blue (Siuan, Moiraine and Sheriam)
4 White (Brendas, Carlinya, Aledrin and Sarene)

On the Tower split, they're pretty evenly split as a group, with 9 (mostly Red, Yellow and Gray) staying in the Tower and 8 (mostly Blue, White and Green) siding with the rebels (with Temaile, Coladara and Moiraine otherwise occupied).

There's also a nice bit in the Prologue to CoT where the Fearless Black Ajah Hunters pass Atuan, whom the know to be Black, in the corridor, walking and talking with Pritalle, who probably has no idea what's going on with her old Accepted and Ajah buddy!
Simon Southey-Davis
31. Glyph
Temaile-as-TehMYul: yup, me too. But then I'm a LotR veteran, and I assume all fantasy names follow Tolkienistic pronunciation patterns unless explicitly told otherwise (or it's really really obvious!).

Character names are actually something of a beef with WoT for me: there was a lot of "No no no that's just WRONG" the first time I read the pronunciation guides in the EotW Glossary. Stresses in ugly places and just-plain-wrong dipthongs to this Elven-accustomed ear. :)
Tricia Irish
32. Tektonica
Oh, this book is so much more fun! Thanks Leigh! I'm going to post a couple of random thoughts and then go read the posts...which is the opposite of what I usually do, but I'm in a hurry,....So...sorry if I'm repeating what everyone else has already said.

Numbers that still burned like acid. No Aes Sedai would say it aloud, and she would never dare say it where a sister might hear, but the White Tower was failing. The Tower was failing, and the Last Battle was coming.

This is 20 years before TEotW and already the Tower is failing and they knew it. And they knew the Last Battle was I'm kind of wondering why Siuan didn't do a bit more as Amrylin in the intervening years she was in charge to A. Strengthen the Towers numbers and B. Prepare the troops (Green Ajah?) for the LB?

There are rumors the Reds aren’t so particular about taking these men alive in the first place.
Elaida continues that tradition!

Myrelle Berengari....I don't remember seeing her last name ever again in the books.... way cool! impetuous Accepted named Alanna....ah, yes indeed!
And so many other names just dropped: Tarna, Temaile, Katerine, Sarene, much fun!

Moraine is amused anew at Siuan’s terrible riding skills.....
Some things never change it seems!

Edit: You say Ta-mal-ee, I say Ta-Mail....
let's call the whole thing off.....
33. Sonofthunder
Yep, this is totally WoT fanfic. Written by Jordan himself!! I'm with you Leigh - it's just a delight to read through NS and see all the familiar faces..(er, names) and see what they're like as immature(well, relatively speaking) Accepted. I enjoy the peek into "Tower life", as I've never been in a sorority(you know, the whole not being female thing and all...).

And I bow before all of your superior WoT wisdom...the first time I read NS, I had only read the series once through, so I had no idea most of these AS had been in the series before. I think I got excited upon seeing Sheriam, and that was about it. Thanks for the rundown, sushisushi.

And Leigh, upon reading your quote of Moiraine's thoughts on the prophecy...this was the first time I realized why no one placed the date of the DR's birth at that moment. Duh - it was a foretelling. Which *usually* means the moment will be in the future. Of course, you would think some Brown would have written a monograph on Foretellings(not that anyone else would have read it!) and that at least Tamra would realize the significance of the present tense. Although, as has been pointed out...Nicola's prophecy was in present tense too, so never mind. Anyway, all that was just to thank you, Leigh, for pointing that out. Now I don't think Moiraine and Siuan so silly any longer for not realizing the date of Rand's birth...
j p
34. sps49
See? Already Moiraine thinks the Dragon will be Reborn "very soon, perhaps"! They weren't trying to hide the actual birth date.

Fanfic? I've read Enoby's adventures- well, the beginning- and nothing in print will scare me again. New Spring is just fun. Well, until the end.

I always thought that a sign of a Darkfriend was borrowing things and never returning them. Grr.

Who else is in their group? Can they not decide where the heck they will go? At least which side of the river?
Robert Crawley
35. Alphaleonis
On Moiraine & Siuan not realizing that the Dragon's birth was happening in the present:

Hello - the trumpets - hundreds of them were announcing it (TIC)

Were there any towns on the slopes of Dragonmount. I believe not. So births on the slope of Dragonmount must have been rare. At that present moment, there were many people there because of the war. But I believe they left, and Dragonmount became mostly deserted soon, as it usually was.

Gitara dropped dead immediately upon the announcement. That seems to tell me that she is not talking about some future event. But the right now.

I believe Tamra knew by her crying to the dead Gitara "Not now, not when I need you the most."
Stefan Mitev
36. Bergmaniac
Given the common prank-loving attitude among the Accepted, it's amazing we never heard of one of the Supergirls getting in trouble for pulling something like that. Maybe the things changed in 20 years. Or they just didn't have enough time to really get to hate one of their teachers. It's kind of amazing that Nynaeve didn't think of that when she was sent to scrub pots in Salidar. :)

I totally thought the same as Leigh when I saw the mention about male sparkers. I guess Jordan was really getting tired of the diehard Taimandred suppoterts at this point.

It's mentioned in the next hapter that the Accepted were only collected the names of babies born in the last sixteen days, which I guess is how long the armies stayed at tar Valon before the Aiel retreated. Yet in this brief period there's been so many babies born that it took all accepted in the Tower weeks to record all names. Even allowing for a high percent of attempts to cheat by entering the names of older babies to get the 100 crowns, that's still is a huge number of babies to be born in such a shrt period. I know there were many camp followers who had come with the armies, but still it seems an inflated number. I guess the Pattern was trying to hide Rand amongst an incredible baby boom at this place and time. ;)
James Hogan
37. Sonofthunder
Bergmaniac...your last sentence made me chuckle out loud. Who knew the Pattern was such an aphrodisiac!?!
John Massey
38. subwoofer
Hi Leigh- a yes, New Spring. I almost feel a bounce in my step after the plod of CoT.

A few random thoughts.

I don't see the BA recruiting from the ranks of the Novices or Accepted for two reasons. First, most of the girls are very idealistic and dream of changing the world for the better... or some such. Give them a few years of crushing reality of the futility of it all to drive them to the DO. Second- the big honking Oath Rod that they all have to swear to when they become full AS. If the BA take any oaths, and I believe they do, and it sounds painful, I don't like the chances of stuff coming undone and going horribly wrong when they are forced to tell no lies. There may be screaming involved.

Gitara. Hindsight is always 20\20. We know what is going on, but we are that big eye in the sky. The girls and Amyrlin are going about it by gathering names and then the process of elimination. Seems fairly sound to me. Cast a wide net. How were they to know that folks were really knocking boots in between the fighting? Reminds me of a WEB Griffin novel, guys are about to be put into harms way have procreating on the brain. And it makes sense too in the broader picture, think about it, these armies of hundreds of thousands have to come from somewhere. Randland has to be one big baby factory to account for such large populations despite constant conflicts going on.

Numbers of the Tower. Tek brings up an interesting point, why the deuce are the Hall not sitting down and figuring out why their numbers are dwindling? Culling? Perhaps it would be time to start thinking about the future of channelers in the large scope, perhaps some philosophical Brown could give them the low down on pairing and how some genes can be bread out of existence etc. Then the Greens could give lectures on er... birds and bees and maybe the Sisters could collectively "take one for the team" and start hooking up and getting preggers so as to make sure the odd baby has a spark.

Ahhh. Maybe it's just me.

Theresa Gray
39. Terez27
Good timing. I just finished my FAQ article on Demandred. Let me know what you guys think. I am particularly interested in filling out the loony theories section a little more.
40. Eric123
Temaile, Aiel, Faile...are you surprised you pronounce it that way?

Just a thought.

As a side note, I'm only reading this book now because of your "release date" scheduling thing. I don't know whether to thank you or curse you...but so far it's a thank.

Great work as always, Leigh.

Stay classy
Sam Mickel
41. Samadai

Great article on Demandred. Don't have time for comments right now, but maybe tomorrow
Captain Hammer
42. Randalator
Alphaleonis @35

At that present moment, there were many people there because of the war. But I believe they left, and Dragonmount became mostly deserted soon, as it usually was.

It took ten days, though, until the snow melted and not all troops had left by then. That set the timeframe for when the Dragon could have been reborn.

Gitara dropped dead immediately upon the announcement. That seems to tell me that she is not talking about some future event. But the right now.

Uh, why? She most likely died from the shock of her Foretelling or maybe the intensity of the Foretelling. How is that a clear indication that what she's talking about is happening right here right now?

I believe Tamra knew by her crying to the dead Gitara "Not now, not when I need you the most."

Or, you know, she just meant "Oh, INTERCOURSE! My Keeper just Foretold the imminent rebirth of the Dragon Reborn and that has got to be the time she catches a slight case of death! Just now, when I could use some serious 24/7 Foretelling for the next couple of decades."

re: number of births

A little mathematical gymnastics here. In Germany there were ~685,000 births in 2005 (which is pretty low, so let's work with that); that's ~8.5 per 1000 citizens. Now, at the Battle of the Shining Walls there were ~170.000 troops present. Let's say for every soldier there's one woman capable of bearing a child, that would make ~1455 births within the next year from those present around the moment of the Foretelling. The timeframe is 10 days which would give us ~40 births that are to be expected.

Add to the mix that just about everyone who had a child within the last two or three months would try (successfully in most cases) to collect the bounty, which would make the numbers literally explode. So, despite the fact that the actual number of births within the 10 days period should be quite manageable, there would still be several hundred names on the list, that for the most part could not be dismissed out of hand.

That's where the detective work begins and by the time you have whittled down the list everyone is scattered all over Randland. Even if you managed to reduce the candidates to the original 40 you can see how tracking down those quickly turns into a 20 year nightmare...
Ryan Silva
43. telaranrhiodRage
I just read NS this past December, after finishing my own reread of the series, culminating with ToM. So this book is the freshest in my memory so I'm looking forward to following a long here.

A few years ago I was given the first 10 or so copies of the NS comic book, but never picked up the novel, so it was cool to read along with some visuals to consult. I recomend them, if you haven't seen them before.

@18 I assumed when I read this the first time that Tamra was so generous with the 100 crown bounty in order to dilute the pool of names. I figured that she new that the black ajah could be a threat and if they got their hands on the book of names they would have more to wade through giving the light side a better chance at finding Him as they would be able to whiddle the list down using the information they knew. Just my $0.02 ;)
Justin Levitt
44. TyranAmiros
@35: I think it's in the next group of chapters when Moiraine actually comments on that--"too many people knew the prophesies" so few would be willing to actually use expressions like "born on the slopes of Dragonmount" even if it were actually a Wetlander and not an Maiden who gave birth to the Dragon.
Heidi Byrd
45. sweetlilflower
Well, on the 100 crown bounty, we must remember that AS have A LOT of money. Especially to the Sisters who have lived in the Tower for a long time, that may not seem like a huge amount. Doesn't Moraine spend this much on four dresses later in the book? And I agree that Tamra may have multiple reasons for spreading such a wide net. Someone mentioned in the last post, or it may have been in the book, that women in Randland may not be so quick to announce that her child was born on Dragonmount. I mean, as inept as the AS usually are, at least every single human on the planet knows the Prophesies of the Dragon to some extent. How many women would voluntarily give the info that her child may be the next Dragon?

Leigh, I agree that this book does seem like fanfic in the best ways imaginable. Its fun and exciting, we get to see earlier versions of characters, it gives background on some later events, etc.... Even though I really enjoy CoT as part of the whole series, and will argue till I'm blue in the face that the miniplots help along the "big-picture plots", Its nice to have a little "light" and fun reading before jumping back into the main series storylines. Plus, imagine how much *squeeing* and rabid foaming will occur once we get the next Mat chapter after such a long break from everyone's favorite rouge. Of course, in NS, Lan is kind of rougish. Which is still funny to me. *snicker Lucky Nyneave snicker*
john mullen
46. johntheirishmongol
I like the sorority girls analogy. I'm just waiting for the weed to pop out and the bfs to show up.

As for the 100 gp, it was too much but it was so much too much that there will be hard to figure out what it why.

Lastly, someone suggest Siuan should have better prepared the AS for the final battle, but I seem to remember there were several years where the WT was practically destroyed from within and what semblance of organization and preparedness they had was due to Siuan's efforts.
Robert Crawley
47. Alphaleonis

You don't think that knowing that the DR was being born right then would be a greater shock than knowing that he would be born at some indefinite time in the future? I think her death was caused by shock. And I don't think that she would have been that shocked to know that the DR would be born at some future time on Dragonmount. In fact, I don't think that she would have been shocked at all by that, because practically everyone in the world already knew that. It would not even have been that dramatic if it was just a non-specific prediction of his future birth. Tamra probably would have yawned and said " Got any more news?" Gitara- " Oh. I was just practicing my foretelling skills. Did I say anything?" Tamra - "No, not really"
Alice Arneson
48. Wetlandernw
I had a great post all ready about the present & future tenses in Foretellings, but bad_platypus already said most of it @21, followed by several others. So I'll just throw in this bit of trivia from my researches. We only have a few examples of directly-quoted Foretellings: one by Nicola and one by Gitara, both in present tense; two (or three) by Elaida and one by Lidya, both speaking in future tense. As has been noted, we know that Nicola's concerns more or less future events even though it's spoken in present tense, while Gitara's was apparently immediate present. Lidya's is obviously future; the events Foretold play out in the following few months and the readers have seen the fulfillment already. (This is the damane who told Tuon's "fortune" about her future husband, for those who don't remember who Lidya is.) Elaida's two, or three depending on how you look at it, vary a bit. The first, about "from this day..." is pretty straightforward. The one immediately thereafter (if you want to count it separately) is directly to and about Rand: "Pain and division come to the whole world, and this man stands at the heart of it." Which is sort of future and sort of present, I guess, because even then the Pattern was shaping around Rand, and he stood at the heart of it even though he was unaware of most of it at the time. The third, where she Foretells some interesting things about both the White and the Black Towers, is obviously future both in tense and in fulfillment.

So just in case anyone thought Foretelling was simple and straightforward, you can stop thinking that now. :p

As has already been hashed over, there were several reasons to include a wide timespan in the bounty, not least of which is to avoid giving Team Dark any more detail than necessary regarding the specific date of interest. Tamra wanted specifics on date and location "for the records" - and of course those records would be culled by those she trusted for the exact data she wanted. We'll probably never know for sure how confident Tamra was in the timing, but she was much too intelligent to send them out looking for a specific instance. Incidentally, the knowledge that people generally avoid the slopes of Dragonmount would be a good reason to consider the Foretelling a current event, since this is one of the few times in recorded history that any significant number of people had cause to be there.

Hey, for all we know, Gitara's Foretellings were always very specific on timing, and the ones that came out in present tense were always happening as she said them. It's the kind of thing Tamra might be likely to know, if true, but might not be common knowledge (especially to noobs like Moiraine & Siuan).
49. JimF
Great stuff, Leigh and all you assiduous commenters!

As to Gitara and the Foretelling: She got it as the baby crowned. It was now in the "outside" world where she could feel it. Otherwise she could have, perhaps, made this Foretelling about 9 months ago. This incredible burst - its immediacy - of one of the most awaited and dreaded events anticipated, were too much for Gitara. It blew her circuits in a manner of speaking, like a lightning bolt striking just outside your window.

If either Moiraine or Suian had had their wits about them, they would have scampered up Dragonmount as soon as they got across the bridge. Do we know if Tigraine (Rand's mother) was even buried? She, as I recall, was alone. Tam rescued the baby - apparently alone. What happened to Mom's body?

There should have been evidence to have been found on the east slope of Drangonmount above the snow line of something that involved a lot of blood and maybe a body and one set of tracks leading away.
Theresa Gray
50. Terez27
Samadai@41 - No biggie. I'm getting some wild ones at Dragonmount. :D
Thomas Keith
51. insectoid
Sorry I'm late to the party, guys... RL went totally wonky today. So, apologies if I re-hash too much...

It really is fun to notice characters we already know and love (and hate) in the main books here as their younger selves. ;)

I agree that Gitara's "Foretelling" is more of an actual Proclamation or Vision than it is foresight. After all, as you and others have noted, she's speaking in present tense, not future tense, like most Foretellings. (Good points Lsana, bad_platypus.) And as Alphaleonis points out, the trumpets went off at about the same time!

Katerine, Temaile: Speaking of noticing characters, I can't forgive future evil characters even if they're Accepted. ::gnashgnashBLACKgnash::
(And Leigh, I also mentally pronounce it "Teh-MY-ul". Once you know one way to pronounce something...)

Lakesidey @1: A belated welcome to the Re-read! I'd say that Moiraine told a small joke there... very clever of her! I still say Da Pond Scene ought to adorn the eBook cover. ::nudges Irene::
(edited because this response didn't make as much sense this morning...)

AlisonWL @7: No worries... you're not the only one. (Earliest I've ever been is #3.)

Sarcastro @16: Oh yeah... I'd forgotton about the fish. That was so long ago... (TDR?)

Bergmaniac @18: Agreed; Tamra should have been more subtle about it. Say, 20 gold crowns. An astronomical amount like 100 gold crowns, given to plain ol' ordinary folk, should be a HUGE red flag for the Black Ajah.

Captain Hammer
52. Randalator
Alphaleonis @47

You don't think that knowing that the DR was being born right then would be a greater shock than knowing that he would be born at some indefinite time in the future?

What, Foretelling that the man destined to destroy the world will be reborn within the next couple of days isn't strong enough? It really absolutely has to be this very second? Like everything else would be just "Oh by the way, the Dragon is going to be reborn in a couple of days. *yawn* *sip* More sugar, please. So, how 'bout them Yankees...?"

Sorry, Foretelling the beginning of the end of the world (as we know it) is still a huge thing, even if you've been given a time frame of several days. Taking Gitara's death as proof for the exact timing of the rebirth is just you having 20/20 hindsight.

JimF @49

If either Moiraine or Suian had had their wits about them, they would have scampered up Dragonmount as soon as they got across the bridge.

There should have been evidence to have been found on the east slope of Drangonmount above the snow line

Okay, first of all why does it have to be the east slope? Why not the north or south slope? Second, there is no snow line because it is winter and everything is covered in snow.

of something that involved a lot of blood and maybe a body and one set of tracks leading away.

Uh, this might come as a bit of a shock to you, but rumor has it that there might have been a slight amount of fighting around Tar Valon the last couple of days. I hear that could involve traces of blood and the occasional dead body...

Insectoid @51

re: Gitara vs. the present tense

"He is coming! He is coming!"

That part of Gitaras Foretelling is a bit vague, tense-wise. If this is a live broadcast shouldn't that be "He is here!" or "He has come!"?

Also, as was already pointed out, not all Foretellings are in the future tense. See Nicola's first Foretelling...

re: trumpets

The trumpets announced the death of King Laman and the retreat of the Aiel. Re-interpreting that as the announcing of the Dragon's rebirth would be pure speculation. That's something we can do in hindsight but not the characters in the book...
Tricia Irish
53. Tektonica

You made me think of a random question.....Why are the AS so wealthy? What do they do? It's not like they go out into the world and work, for money. Taxes in Tar Valon? Some sort of endowment? From whom? Do the sisters that die, will their coin to the Tower?


As for the 100 gp, it was too much but it was so much too much that there will be hard to figure out what it why.
You've lost me there???? LOL. Late night?


You're right about the trumpets being for Laman's death, but it's a nice piece of "double intendre" from RJ for us the reader.
Jay Dauro
54. J.Dauro
The WOT Encyclopedia says that Dragonmount is about 10 miles high. In that case, assuming a average slope of 45 degrees the base of the mountain is around 60 miles in circumference. Of course people can walk up the slopes at the bottom, so thats less than a 45 degree angle, and it can get steeper above, but this will work for an estimate. If we assume that the baby was born on the side facing Tar Valon (since thats the side the battle was on), we cut that in half. Be generous and give them only the bottom mile of the mountain (with foothills it could be much more) and that's still more than 30 square miles of territory. Some of it had soldiers, Aiel, and/or camp followers all over it. And two women are going to search this area alone in the winter to find traces of a woman giving birth?
lake sidey
55. lakesidey
@51 insectoid: Thanks! You know, I ought to give you my profile pic - let me see if I can find myself another...

@ several: About the tense of foretellings - Paitar quotes the foretelling of his ancestor's advisor/relative (?) which starts the whole "wandering borderlanders" business - and it seems clear that it was in the present tense (the ancestor preserved it, and presumably would know not to meddle with the wording!):

"I see him before you!" Paitar quoted. "Him, the one who lives many lives, the one who gives deaths, the one who raises mountains. He will break what he must break, but fitst he stands here, before our king. You will bloody him! Measure his restraint. He speaks! How was the fallen slain? Tellindal Tirraso, murdered by his hand, the darkness that came the day after the light. You must ask, and you must know your fate. If he cannot answer . . ."
He trailed off, falling silent.

Also, the first dark prophecy we encounter (scribbled in blood on the walls of Fain's prison in Fal Dara) is at least partly in present tense, referencing future events. Again, this is a translation by Verin, but I don't think a Brown would deliberately mess with the tense (or a Black would have reason to do so):
"Daughter of the Night, she walks again.
The ancient war, she yet fights.
Her new lover she seeks, who shall serve her and die,
yet serve still...."

(truncating as this is rapidly becoming a great-wall-of-text)

In general I suspect even Tamra didn't have access to enough foretellings to say much - Elaida hadn't started foretelling yet I believe (or at least, had been out of the tower since soon after being raised) and Gitara was thus pretty much the only foreteller which the tower of NS had any experience. (One woman does not a statistically significant sample make, know what I'm saying?)

@39 Terez: I once assumed that Demandred had somehow taken over Shara and given the two rulers to Graendal as a...reward for her help? A gift, anyway, which he knew would appeal to her and make her more amenable to listen. But I guess that is now a provably loony theory - your points for Roedran are too strong to ignore. BTW, you say in your article "In addition to that, it would seem kind of lame in many ways for the Sharans to come out of nowhere at the very end of the series. As it is, the Shadow is struggling to come up with the numbers necessary to have a chance against the forces of the Light..." are you sure you don't mean the reverse?

@ the argufiers of the Temaile codex: I always pronounced her name to rhyme with while, from first encounter. Even though I initially used to rhyme both aiel and Faile with fail....go figure! (Guess I'm just inconsistent, sometimes...)

lake sidey
56. lakesidey
@53 Tektonica: They tax the world - there is a mention of tax collectors from the TAS and the SAS both visiting some particular place (sorry, can't locate the exact place - perhaps Terez or some other encyclopaedia might help?)

@54 JD: To add to your point, it is rare for a mountain to have as steep a slope as 45 degrees. Especially a volcano - lava tends to flatten out a lot near the base. As I mentioned somewhere earlier, I tend to think of Dragonmount as similar to Olympus Mons (the giant volcano on Mars). Now (runs to the interwebs for the numbers) Olympus Mons is 14 miles high and 373 miles wide! Yes, that is certainly a lot of searching.

(Fist-of-God, my other mental reference for giant mountains, is a thousand miles high and raised up several million square miles of territory. Not a volcano, but similar wider-than-it-is-tall story)

Captain Hammer
57. Randalator
lakesidey @56

That's gotta be in a post-CoT book, because the TAS could only do that with Traveling. Hang on a minute...

Edit: It's in TGS, ch. 18. Ashmanaille returns from Kandor saying that an Aes Sedai from the White Tower had already been there the previous day to collect the tribute.
John Massey
58. subwoofer
Welcome Lakesidey?


Wow, I have terrible manners. Hi Lakesidey, c'mon in the water's wet... and warm. Stay away from the bubbles, that's all JEJ's doing. Is there anybody else we forgot?

::glances around::

tshania_sedai? torgo02? Alphaleonis? WetlanderNW? It is good to see some fresh faces:) Gives us a new angle and wealth of experiences to draw from.... er, and don't forget, all noobs have to bring a couple dozen donuts to the Bunker...

As for scampering up a mountain... well, mountains tend to be on the large side, and Dragonmount is supposed to be the MOA mountains. I don't see a city slicker and a fisherman's daughter picking up the necessary mountaineering skills in between their studies for the Shawl. I remember driving through Banff quite a few years back when I used to brew beer. A friend of mine spotted a waterfall and thought it would be a good idea to get some "mountain spring water" for the next batch. Seemed like a good idea at the time, the waterfall looked close. Yeah, nope. It took us a day just to reach the base, instead of the expected couple hour stroll. We turned around as it would suck to putz around in the wilderness at night, with just our hands and a flashlight to guide us. Like Moiraine and Siuan, we had not discovered Traveling yet.

Anybody else notice that Moiraine and Siuan are two of the more powerful channelers in the Tower for this batch, and by the time the SGs come about both Moiraine and Siuan are a fraction of their previous strength?

Anybody? Awwww, maybe it's just me.

Stefan Mitev
59. Bergmaniac
"@53 Tektonica: They tax the world - there is a mention of tax collectors from the TAS and the SAS both visiting some particular place (sorry, can't locate the exact place - perhaps Terez or some other encyclopaedia
might help?)"

TGS, Ch. 18.

The Aes Sedai receive tribute from some countries - Borderlands mostly, but that's not their main income. It's not directly stated, but we can infer that most of their money come from controlling Tar Valon, which is a really rich city placed at some of the key trade routes in Randland. The Aes Sedai must make an awful lot of money from taxes, docking fees, tariffs and the likes.

They also have the oldest and most respectable bank in Randland.

I'd also imagine that many of the Aes Sedai leave their money and assets to the Tower after theyir death. The vast majority of them don't get married and have no children, and their parents and siblings are dead a long time ago by that point.
John Massey
60. subwoofer
Money? Well, don't forget that Tar Valon itself is a huge honking city state in its own right. And its one of the first cities to be built after the BreakingtankuJD:P. That is years upon years of civic taxes drawing from a large population base to support its various causes out in the world.

Edit- oh hi Bergmaniac- welcome to the bunker:) I see you are faster on the type than me.... er... what Berg said... yeah, that's what I meant to say. Oh look- a flying chicken...

#$@@% well, since a fair number of us seem to be awake and posting... hows about a game of snakes and foxes in the Bunker?

Julian Augustus
61. Alisonwonderland
Eric 123 @40

Temaile, Aiel, Faile...are you surprised you pronounce it that way?

I'm not sure that analogy is accurate. Jordan says Aiel should be pronounced A-eel (and, similarly, Fa-eel). If Temaile follows that pattern then it should be pronounced Teh-mah-eel, not Teh-my-ul. That said, I suspect most people pronounce the names in a way that makes sense to them. Thus, despite what RJ said I always say A-eel, but Fail and Teh-mail.
John Massey
62. subwoofer
I dunno, I am sure I'd get laughed outta Randland, but I always saw it as epic Fail, Ale and Tee-mail. Heck, are we supposed to sound out Rand, Mat and Perrin differently? Maybe Lan is pronounced lAAn or something. I'm also starting to wonder about how to say "Two Rivers". Perhaps Tieeem Jordan had a hooked on phonics course for folks like me;) ?

63. JimF
@52. Randalator

Thanks, I always appreciate a snotty reply. Now which part of Moroso's Foretelling, do you think, was her winging it? "...“He is born again!” Gitara cried. “I feel him! The Dragon takes his first breath on the slope of Dragonmount! He is coming!..."

As a backpacker and a geologist, I happen to know a lot about the size and the extent of volcanoes, and having read these books at least a dozen times, I'm aware that Dragonmount is massive.

Still, getting over there and up onto the skirts of the mountain asap might have produced a benefit. After all, the approach taken by the Amyrlin led to substantial outlays of money at this time, and twenty years of searching based on the compiled records. Of course, immediate success would have probably made these books unnecessary!

I think too that when the Accepted left the Tower to survey the new baby crop, the Aiel War was over and the Aiel were gone.

Still (serious question) does anyone know what happened to Tigraine. Was she just left there? As far as I can recall, it appears only Tam saw her after she gave birth.
lake sidey
64. lakesidey
Heh Sub....I looked at that and remembered this bit in some Asterix comic where Dogmatix meets this (Norse?) Great Dane and they speak differently (“woofs” and “wøøfs”) and they eventually realise that “woof!” = “wøøf!” I guess we all pronounce them the way we like at first - I was well into the fourth book before I thought of reading the appendices in that kind of detail and by then it was way too late to change the way I thought of some characters - I still think of Nynaeve as closer to nigh-knave than nineveh...also, I never bothered to look up Taim, it seemed too obvious; only after spending a little time on forums did I realise that I've been mangling his name for a decade!

Ah, Lan. Now there's a nice name - can't go far wrong with that. Just one of the myriad reasons I love the guy...

Non sequitur - does a subwoofer get along well with a cat? Or are they like Aes Sedai and dogs, or Asha'man and cats?

edited to add:

@57 Randalator: Thanks! I don't have a copy of tGS on me currently....and read it just once, when it came out, which is probably why details are hazy. I couldn't for the life of me remember where it happened!

@63 JimF: There were loads of dead bodies. Tam only noticed this one because of the child crying, and the mother was already dead then. The Aiel had retreated, leaving behind their dead, and no one in the coalition was going to bother overmuch over another dead Maiden. (Hmm, does she still qualify as a Maiden of the Spear under the circumstances? Or do we have to change it to, I dunno, Matriarch of the spear or something?) No way anyone else could have connected her to the royal house of Andor if Tam didn't....

John Massey
65. subwoofer
allergic to kats.

Yeah, I remember that bit in Asterix too.

They pronouce stuff in the appendices?

::goes scrambling for a book::

edit to your edit, yes, but wasn't Tigraine a clan chief's wife as well? That should mean something to somebody.

Sam Mickel
66. Samadai

I read somewhere, can't remember where, that Birgitte came out of Tel'aranrhiod and took her back, so that she could resume her roll as a Hero of the Horn. (She was always the Dragons mother) I know I read that here on one of the rereads
B. Loppe
67. Myriads
I also have never weaned myself of the tendency to say "Ny-neeve" and "Taym" while Egwene wobbles between "Edge-wain" and "eh-GWYANE" (rhymes with Elayne) although I believe that neither of them are right. However, I was successful in re-learning Cairhien with the correct pronounciation, mostly because I quite like it, and my original reading of "CARE-HEIN" sounded liked it belonged in Narnia.
Jay Dauro
68. J.Dauro
Sub @60

"The only city to survive the breaking."

Tar Valon was founded in 98 AB (after the breaking.) However this calendar was arbitrailly set to start, and 1 AB is probably at least 100 years after the breaking. Completion of construction was in 202 AB.

Still that's at least 3000 years or so of collecting taxes.
j p
69. sps49
Terez @39- Your theory is more plausible to me, and is backed up with less subjective text, that others. I wish I hadn't read it now!

J.Dauro @54- 10 miles high? That is 20,000 feet higher that Everest. Not much air up there.

subwoofer @60- Tar Valon only dates from after Dragonmount appeared, right? So it may have survived the Breaking- but probably wasn't a big deal then.

Ahhh, ninja'ed by J.Dauro!
70. alreadymadwithmanybabies
shouldn't be surprising that so many babies were born even in that time frame. the Aiel War had dragged on for almost two years.
Tess Laird
71. thewindrose
Very interesting Samadai at 66. I seem to recall a very touching account of Tigraine as well...

lakesidey I forgot to mention on the last thread, but very funny song for Weiramon Silver Boots. One can hope that something like that will happen:) And welcome to the bunker!

So I read further ahead into New Spring and found something relevent to the Foretelling conversation. In chapter 8 Shreds of Serenity:
"Siuan, did you never wonder how Tamra could be certain this is the time, that the boy will be born now? I would say it is very likely that at least one of the other Foretellings spoke of him. Something that, put with what we heard her say, told Tamra that now is the time." It was Moiraine's turn to frown, in thought. "Do you know how the Foretelling was with Gitara?" It took different women in different ways, including how they gave voice to a Foretelling. "The way she spoke, he could have been being born at that instant. Maybe the shock of that was what killed her."

So thank you RJ for putting that in the book:)

Chris R
72. up2stuff
JimF...Good support of your idea, but one thing you might have still overlooked...

What kind of attention would S and M draw on themselves if the did go haring off on this mission.

Remember, they are pretty prominent in their class. If they disappear, it would be noticed. Their teachers, friends, enemies... They'd be all "Where did Siuan and Moiraine go." IIRC, novices dont leave the tower and accepted dont leave the city, EVER. PERIOD! They would be hunted and found if they "Ran away," and any babies they brought back would be noticed. Besides, they are doing pretty well, so why would they crack under pressure and run.

If they were charged with a mission by the Amyrlin, this special favor would be probably pretty suspect and they would probably be under tight observation from the baddies. Plus, they are sitting ducks! No combat, defense experience. Can't take guards, draws more attention, not to mention why send Accepted into situations needing guards. That would receive all kinds of an uproar from the Mistress of Novices, or the Hall.

Lastly, I think there was an unintended benefit in that sending them out in the midst of all of the initiates hid them in plain sight as much as hiding the fact that all potential Dragons Reborn, er Dragon Reborns, whatever, HAD to be infants. The Amyrlin had her secret hunters, i.e. the sisters she called in for mysterious missions, (who were the first ones picked off, by the way). This gave S and M the best camo available. Even under questioning, Tamra could answer the question, "Did you send any other SISTERS, hunting for the DR?" and answer "NO" without suspicion. They were Accepted, don't you see.

To make a long story short (Insert joke from Clue), I think that ANY explanation of where those two went would be rather transparent, and highly suspect. Even being experienced as a hiker (granted I am NOT), I think that you would agree this is probably not one day's ride in and out, to pick up Baby Rand, and that is all the more I could conceivably believe they could be away without being missed.
73. JimF
@64. likesidey: Thanks for the info. I now seem to recall it the same way. A big battle, lots of casualties.

@66. Samadai: Wow. I hadn't seen that before, but if so, it's truly "fantastical." Thanks.

Some have mentioned that my earlier take about the girls going to Dragonmount was, generously, simplistic. I agree. On thinking about it, there would have been a lot of evidence, much more far-reaching than just a patch of bloody snow. It seems to me a story - not unlike Mowgli's in The Jungle Book, or Ayla's in The Clan of the Cave Bear, and reminiscent of Olver's later in these books - that cries out to be told: "Destiny's Foundling"? Umm, just sayin'.

As @71 thewindrose commented on Moirane's later take: If the girls had been Whites, they might have analytically parsed what Gitara said, and concluded: "He's there, now!" and posted themselves off in the direction of Dragonmount, where --

Tam would have realized he had to get this babe to shelter and more this instant. He quickly returns to the Illianer encampment, where, if there are women in the retinue, he calls on Martella, a woman he knows: "Look what I have found; what do I do now?" as the babe screams in hunger. "Light preserve us" sez she, "that babe needs food. I'll fetch Baradine, she has a babe to breast." Or else, "We have no nursing women here, but in that village, Durban, there, there are several." Anyway Tam's first requirement is to find one or more wet nurses, a requirement that goes on for a good while.

Now Tam I suppose is already an officer (I mean a trooper with a heron-marked blade who is also likely the best archer in the whole Illian army?) whether through battlefield promotions or from before the war. His commander calls him in and asks what does he intend to do with the babe? Tam is forced to decide: "It were a hard-won birth; I'll keep him in honor of it."

Now the babe, just as Olver, is a cause célèbre known throughout the camp and probably for some miles thereabouts. The troops likely would have adopted him as a mascot or evidence of good fortune (I mean, Tam found the Snow Babe and now the War was ended!). This buzz would have pertained up in the apple orchards and villages on the Mount for a while even after the Illianers marched off to home.

Had the logical girls got up there asap they probably would have heard about it sooner rather than much later. I suppose too there are some grizzled old Illianer sergeants today who tell their troops how they knew the Dragon Reborn when he was just a wee bairn, cuz' their lady suckled him. ;)
Andrew Foss
74. alfoss1540
RE Elida's Foretelling - No matter the tense during her Rand Fortelling, I got the serious impression that it was entirely too convenient that what she foretold was far too close to what she already believed and that she was using the mask of foretelling to prove her point. On the one hand, as a "foretelling" it may not be considered a lie, thus not a fracture of the oaths. On the other, Elaida would stop at nothing to sway the tower her way.
75. JimF
@72. up2stuff: Yes there is always a heavy blanket of politics - some quite deadly - to consider, and I think you probably have Tamra's viewpoint well covered.

But once a hundred gals are out roaming about doing her will, the duo could probably have covered by saying that the whole countryside had to be combed, and they wanted to work from outside to inside. They and Tamra are the only ones who heard Gitara's words, so being a bit venturesome might not have attracted too much attention. It would have been in keeping, perhaps, with their reputations.
John Massey
76. subwoofer
@all- exactly- point is TV was around a really long time, so taking compound interest into account... the ladies are doing okay.

Let's not forget the TV gold crown sets the standard for all othere coins.

Tigraine- you know reading her history really makes me think about Rand's right to contest the throne, or more specifically, when Elayne was getting her knickers in a knot about Rand giving her the throne... well... nyah.

I get the impression that most forces fighting the Aiel dissolved after Laman's death, which conicided nicely with Rand's birth. Perhaps Tam found the child as he was on a pilgrimage home with his new wife? Maybe there was a small donkey involved. Hmmmm...

Theresa Gray
77. Terez27
@lakesidey - I meant in terms of channelers. As far as armies go, we don't really have enough info, but the channelers are the important bit.
John Massey
78. subwoofer
@JimF75- sorry, meant to comment on what you said in my last post but baby is my top priority these days:)

Anyways, a couple of points have been made and you did pose an interesting situation. Namely, somebody said that 100 crowns was a huge bounty and a red flag for any BA paying attention.Well, this has some merit, but the momentous times and all it garnered two things- firstly, it guaranteed every new mom would come out of the wood work and make sure to have their name registered, and it made sure that news traveled fast. Some moms in outlying villages etc. may not have wanted to make the trip for a lesser amount and with that kind of "carrot" it guaranteed that everyone would come regardless. 100 crowns brought the people to the Aes Sedai rather than the Aes Sedai having to go find the people with babies.

In regards to Moiraine and Siuan taking matters into their own hands, I find a couple of challenges they would face. Firstly, the girls were not in charge, their er... "minders" were. I think it would have been a different story had they been Aes Sedai, but as Accepted, they faced substantial problems from all the mom's in line, let alone anyone else- evil- hunting for Rand. And remember, Siuan and Moiraine are known to be the last ones with Gitara when she died, Moiraine admits as much out loud. If the BA just had suspicions about things but were not sure what the Amyrlin was looking for, the girls would be waving a huge flag when they make a bee line for Dragonmount. I am sure the BA know the prophecies as well as the girls so some simple math would take place, AS looking for babies+ girls last seen with Gitara Moroso+ them headed for Dragonmount= we gotta stalk these girls' butts and perhaps capture them and put them to the question.

The girls still did not know exactly what they were looking for. It was only after years of peicing together clues that Moiraine figured out about Tam etc. I feel that if it was something simple like a ray of light or a star following Rand around, then it would not have taken so long, but obviously the Pattern wanted to hide Rand or Moiraine would have found him at a much earlier time, it would not have taken 20 years of dedicated searching.

79. AndrewB
@ many re present day prominence of NS Accepted. (Note, as of this posting I have only read through comment No. 44. I felt that I had to comment and have other things to do this evening. Thus, I was not able to finish all the comments before posting. I appologize if somebody else made my point before I did. He/she should then get all the credit.)

One reason for the NS Accepteds' prominence in the WoT series proper is that a number of prominent Aes Sedai have been killed. You have Tamra's 5 Dragon Reborn Sister Searchers (Meilyn, Kerene, Aisha, Ludice & Valera -- all murdered by the Black Ajah. Larelle was probably murdered by Merean. Moiraine killed Merean at the end of NS. Jarna was killed by Ishy as punishment.

In addition, some other older Aes Sedai have retired (e.g. Cads, Romanda, Vandene & Adeleas). While they came out of retirement in the main series, their retirement would result in others achieving more power .

Finally, some Sisters must have died in the interviening 20 plus years. Eadyth would be a possible example.

Hopefuly, the above makes some sense. I did this very quickly and off the cuff (with much assistance from Wheel of Time Encyclopedia).

Thanks for reading my musings,
Captain Hammer
80. Randalator
subwoofer @76

Tigraine- you know reading her history really makes me think about Rand's right to contest the throne, or more specifically, when Elayne was getting her knickers in a knot about Rand giving her the throne... well... nyah.

Andor has always had queens, never kings. That tradition is as strong as law.

"Andor has a queen, lad. Always a queen. If Morgase and Elayne both died — the Light send it not so! — then Morgase's nearest female relative would take the throne. At least there is no question of who that is this time — a cousin, the Lady Dyelin — not like the Succession, after Tigraine vanished. It took a year before Morgase sat on the Lion Throne, then. Dyelin could keep Gaebril as her advisor, or marry him to cement the line — though she would not likely do that unless Morgase had had a child by him — but he would be the Prince Consort even then. No more than that.

(TDR, ch. 47)

So, even with his heritage, Rand has neither a claim to the throne nor the right to "give it" to anyone unless you consider him a conquerer of Andor. That, however would open a whole other can of unpleasentness...
Sandy Brewer
81. ShaggyBella
One thing about listening to audiobooks, even the two readers do not agree with pronunciations. There are several names that are different, which really bugs me. Also I didn't have a clue how the names were spelled....oh, well.
Alice Arneson
82. Wetlandernw
subwoofer @58 - Thanks for the welcome. :) Us noobs appreciate being noticed by you old-timers.

JimF @several - I see one huge problem with "Moiraine and Siuan should hightail it for the slopes of Dragonmount." Along with the logistical issues of two inexperienced young women trying to search several hundred square miles of wilderness in the snow, there's the simple fact that they couldn't get out there no matter how much they wanted to do so. They are Accepted: never allowed outside the city except on special permission (like this) and then only with close supervision. Notice how successful they are at getting Steler to head in the direction they want? They have NO authority that will get them anywhere other than where their Tower Guard decide they'll go. As for sneaking out, there are guards at the Tower as well as guards on all the bridges, so there's not much chance of them getting away; all that would do is get them returned to the Tower with egg all over their faces.

@many regarding the number of familiar names in these chapters. Given the number of Aes Sedai we meet in the series proper, it would be rather odd if we didn't recognize a fair few of the current Accepted. There are huge numbers of significant Aes Sedai; just a quick scan through a few readily-available lists in encyclopaedia-wot (AS with Siuan in Fal Dara, the Black 13 with Liandrin, the AS who healed Mat, the Salidar Embassy to Rand, the Tower Embassy to Rand, the Hall pre-split, the SAS Hall and the TAS Hall) gives you 80 or 90 AS, and that doesn't include but one of Mat's AS, or any of Cadsuane's coterie, or the non-Hall SAS, maybe half the BA Hunters, etc. Is it any wonder we meet up with a grand total of 14 or 15 of those as Accepted in NS? Those named here represent less than 10% of the AS we would recognize from the series. The only "odd" thing, if it can be called so, is that the only ones RJ named for us among the 60-ish Accepted are ones whose names we recognize. I think it would be odder if he named a bunch of women we'd never heard of before; it might have been slightly more realistic if he'd thrown in a couple of names we'd never seen before, or more that we've only seen once. But by 20 years later, these Accepted should all be functioning as full sisters. I thought it was rather fun that he gave us Zemaile here, who goes on to spend her life in the library, eventually caring for the 13th Depository, and we only meet her once in the series proper.

Oh, and I thought it was pretty clear that if a woman didn't have the minimum strength required for an AS, she'd never make it to the Accepted test. There are other reasons that an Accepted might not make AS, but strength is not likely to be one. What's the point in moving someone up to Accepted if it's already clear she'll never be AS? Accepted to what, exactly? My understanding is that a novice who passes the test is accepted for candidacy to Aes Sedai, and something as obviously disqualifying as insufficient strength would never be overlooked.
lake sidey
83. lakesidey
@65 Sub: Allergic to kitkats as well? I wonder.

Yes she was wife to Janduin, who was a clan chief....but that would be of note only to an Aiel. Who were leaving. And who tend to be unsentimental about death anyway (we all wake from the dream)

@66 Samadai: Wow, never heard that one. Interesting!

@72 up2stuff and 78 Sub: That's true! In fact I think the terrible twosome want to go to Dragonmount to search (Siuan tries to convince the guard that the Amyrlin would wish it etc)but their guard is implacable about taking them where he has been told to.

@77 Terez: Oh ok. But Black Tower Dreadlord Factory might be redressing those numbers anyway.

@73 JimF: That's plausible, but Tam was already married (see his feverish musings back in tEotW) and I suspect he just kept things as quiet as possible since he wanted to claim the child as his and Kari's. Who'd miss one aiel kid? He may or may not have claimed the bounty.

Interestingly, in the older (shorter) version of New Spring, there is a mention of "Kari al'Thor. From Andor? Husband Tamlin, Second Captain of the Illianer Companions, took discharge" on the list in Moiraine's book. I guess this has been elided from the novel version (which makes sense, else she should have found him earlier. Or maybe not, Andor is huge and no one outside duopotamia would know where the al'Thors stay!)

@79 AndrewB: Nice point!

Oh, and @76 Sub: Compound Interest? I doubt it! Aes Sedai on the whole hate maths (and most people in this society) and from some practical experience as a maths teacher, I can safely say that Compound Interest is not a popular topic. Still, simple interest is more than enough to make them rich over 3000 years - and no-one would dare to default on a loan from AS, so high recovery rate without the cost of keeping goons to do the "consultation fees" for browns to negotiate treaties and so on....yes, very lucrative!

Theresa Gray
84. Terez27
@lakesidey - Yeah, they are somewhat making up for numbers, but it's a struggle. Taim only had about 10% of the Black Tower, and after executions, the Black Ajah had about the same percent of the White Tower. I'm not so sure on the logic that there are no Darkfriends among the Kin, but we certainly don't have any evidence that there are any. They might have comparable percentages among the Wise Ones and Windfinders, but who can say?
Alice Arneson
85. Wetlandernw
psst... lakesidey... it's the Grays that negotiate treaties... just sayin'...
Captain Hammer
86. Randalator
Wetlandernw @82

Along with the logistical issues of two inexperienced young women trying to search several hundred square miles of wilderness in the snow, there's the simple fact that they couldn't get out there no matter how much they wanted to do so.

Not to mention the question of why they should do so in the first place. All they know from Gitara's Foretelling is that the Dragon was/is/will be born on the slopes of Dragonmount.

We know that his mother died either during birth or shortly after and that he was found some time later by Tam. They don't. Why should they expect that the mother had been there alone, had died and that the infant had been found by a man? Or in other words: what exactely should they hope to find? If you got a call that your wife had given birth to a child in a mall you wouldn't get to the mall and start searching for your wife's dead body and/or the child or clues to an ominous someone who might have taken the'd head to the nearest hospital.

The same goes for Moiraine and Siuan. Even if they had had the possibilty to go searching the slopes of the metaphorical mall it wouldn't have made any sense for them for a number of reasons...
Ron Garrison
87. Man-0-Manetheran
Siuan and Moiraine looking for the DR "on the slopes of Dragonmount" always gave me a chuckle. That is one big mountain with a whole lot of slope! And just where does a slope begin? Living on the "slopes of the Rockies" in Denver as I do, I can tell you it was pretty presumptuous of them to think they'd just trot out one day and find him. Yep. Right there under the "Welcome to the Slopes of Dragonmount" sign.
88. JimF
@83. lakesidey: @73 JimF: That's plausible, but Tam was already married...

Here's the passage from tEotW:"...battles are always hot, even in the snow. Sweat heat. Blood heat. Only death is cool. Slope of the mountain...only place didn't stink of death. Had to get away from the smell of it...sight of it...heard a baby cry. Their women fight alongside the men, sometimes, but why they had let her come, I don't...gave birth there alone, before she died of her wounds...covered the child with her cloak, but the wind...blown the cloak away...child, blue, with the cold. Should have been dead, too...crying there. Crying in the snow. I couldn't just leave a children of our own...always knew you wanted children. I knew you'd take it to your heart, Kari. Yes, lass. Rand is a good name. A good name...."

This ties in with your further comment "...Interestingly, in the older (shorter) version of New Spring, there is a mention of "Kari al'Thor. From Andor? Husband Tamlin, Second Captain of the Illianer Companions, took discharge" on the list in Moiraine's book. I guess this has been elided from the novel version (which makes sense, else she should have found him earlier...."

This indicates (but doesn't prove) that Kari was part of the Illianer retinue and Tam brought the baby directly to her. Following which, we go through the routine of finding women to nurse it. I still think there would have been a fair amount of notoriety associated with this. And, we find, Kari gave Rand his name. A good name.
89. JimF
@82. Wetlandernw

Leigh recaps Tamra's instructions to the Accepted thusly: "...She adds that she has decided to extend this bounty to the camp followers of the armies as well, and thus she is sending the Accepted out, accompanied by the Tower Guard, to start taking names before they disperse back to their homes, since the Aiel appear to be retreating...." That means anywhere and everywhere in the vicinity, in my mind, and you had better get after it girls because armies don't loiter around (perhaps the girls don't know this, but their guards sure as heck do). And given what the girls know, this doesn't mean the first village outside Tar Valon.

Plus this business of Dragonmount being some kind of wilderness, is, I think, off base. On the south, west and probably north sides, yes. There are few if any people there. But on the east slope, near Tar Valon, there are villages and farms, probably quite a few, up to say 5,000 feet ASL. Have you been to Maui, and up the slopes of Haleakala? There are all kinds of little communities up there above Kahului (but nowhere else on the mountain - a great big, sprawling shield volcano).

These are the kinds of places where apples and pears and all kinds of produce might grow - to supply the big city. We know that Rand came down from the peak to an apple orchard up on the slopes, on his way to Tar Valon. There seem to have been quite a few people in that vicinity. Further, I suspect the wealthy Tar Valoners have cabins up there where they go when the summer heat comes on. This world of Jordan's is not dissimilar from our own, but away from the cities it's sparsely populated (and of course, the women can blast you with lightning, and never let a man have a moment's peace when he gets a respite, far unlike our world).

As for Siuan and Moiraine - given the Amyrlin's orders - being afraid, or too inexperienced or repressed by some retainer to press the issue - IF they had taken a literal interpretation of Gitara's words, well I find that contemptible. How could we now respect Siuan, who blithely sends two (and knowing there will be three) Accepted off to find 12 Black Ajah Aes Sedai who have committed murder and are armed with various 'reals? You can come up with a similar indictment for Moiraine.

In conclusion, my take is this: S&M had a great opportunity that they blew. They are Blues - line up girls, we have work to do - not given to big leaps in intuition or founded in logic. But given the task - find the Dragon Reborn - they will methodically work their way through it. One sees this clearly in TDR and tSR where Rand starts to get ahead of Moiraine - he's making leaps of intuition, and she has to plod along in his wake.
Jonathan Levy
90. JonathanLevy
11. chaplainchris1
I agree with your comments about the likelihood of meeting so many future sisters amongst a randomly selected group of Accepted. But it's possible that this group is not randomly selected. It may be that Accepted (and novices) of similar strength and potential tend to hang out together. I mean, for a novice of Sorilea's strength, it might be difficult to be best friends with someone of Nicola's. A constant and inescapable reminder of your inadequecies (and expected failure) is not conducive to a lasting friendship.

15. Treesinger
Ha! :)

16. sarcastro
Very interesting points!

23. Lurking Canadian
These women are in their twenties, at least, if not older, and their idea of fun is the equivalent of putting a frog into teacher's desk. Doesn't that strike anybody else as just plain strange?

It's the disparity of power caused by the formal disciplining which generates such behavior.

38. subwoofer
I don't see the BA recruiting from the ranks of the Novices or Accepted for two reasons.
Also, if the BA swears on the Oath Rod, then BA novices and Accepted will start to get the ageless look before they're Aes Sedai, which may look a bit suspicious. Of course, the BA may not know this, as everyone thinks they ageless look is caused by channeling for a long time.

Numbers of the Tower. Tek brings up an interesting point, why the deuce are the Hall not sitting down and figuring out why their numbers are dwindling?
Ancient Sparta faced this problem - the slow decline in the number of spartiates - over more than a century, and found no solution. The problem that both Sparta and the WT have is that their superior quality (as they see it) is the core of their identity. To increase the numbers by lowering standards would be a betrayal of who they are. To actively recruit would be an admission of weakness. They are unable to stop their decline from within.
Jonathan Levy
91. JonathanLevy
39. Terez27
Am still reading your Demandred FAQ page, and enjoying it thoroughly. Forgive me for commenting on a very trivial point in it, but regarding the mystery surrounding the Nine Horse Hitch - isn't it supposed to stand for the Nine whores' itch?
Thomas Keith
92. insectoid
Wind @71: Thanks for that quote! Nice to see Moiraine show some common sense, even if she can't act on it (being Accepted and all).

Sub @78:

Namely, somebody said that 100 crowns was a huge bounty and a red flag for any BA paying attention.

Psst... that was me, Sub. :)

JLevy @91: THANK you for that Jonathan; gotta go fetch a screen wipe now. XD

lake sidey
93. lakesidey
@85 Wet: Oops, my bad... wipes egg off face. I should clearly not post first thing in the morning - clearly not my brain's best time of day.

@84 Terez: I hadn't realised Taim's faction was so small - he seems to have many of the more powerful guys in his camp, willingly or otherwise. Which reminds me, who are the mysterious Saidin channelers who keep operating to the North in ToM? And who was operating the portal stone for the attack on Galad/Perrin? I suppose Demandred might be behind both of those in some way - but how? Channelers from Shara? or from Seanchan? Or is it the collected channelers of the male Aiel (who keep going north to fight shadowspawn and die, and maybe get 13x13ed?)? I guess the shadow has more channelers than have been revealed yet.

(And I am still not sure if Shaidar Haran, who seems to channel the TP or something like it, is a one-off case or if the DO can make more like him?)

@23 Lurking Canadian: Well, look at the tradition of "hacking" at MIT (and Harvard and Yale and others) - twenty-somethings whose idea of fun is not that far different, though the pranks that make the news are on a larger scale. I'm sure many of them wouldn't be above "putting a frog in Teacher's desk"!

Kimani Rogers
94. KiManiak
Late to the party again, I see.

This became really long, even for me. I had to split it into 3; even then my usual...


Even though I have been unable to post until now, I’ve been thinking a lot about WoT, triggered by Moiraine’s attitude towards the Dragon Reborn that Leigh summarized above.

“Even the Reds will have to see that he cannot be gentled until after he fights the Last Battle.” A grim fate, to save the world if he could, then for reward be cut off from this wonder. Prophecy was not known for mercy any more than for yielding to prayers. (Practice, NS)

I’ve always found it interesting that the Aes Sedai intellectually understand about the Wheel turning, the Pattern spinning people out again and again, and (I think) the fact that Ages come again and again, due to the turning of the Wheel; yet, they view the Dragon as someone who will need to save the world but not restore balance to it. Actually, I understand that that perspective is a fairly “meta” look at the situation (why would they see their world as unbalanced; whereas we the reader are shown evidence of the lack of balance in almost every kingdom or organization), so I’ll try putting it another way.

I find it interesting that the Aes Sedai can perceive that the Dragon would appear to the world, magically defeat the Dark One, and then the world would potentially be broken again physically, but would otherwise be unchanged. In that post-TG world, they believe that the Wheel would continue to turn, even with saidin being tainted and that their role in this world would, for the most part, be fundamentally the same.

The average AS’s view of the Dragon’s role and destiny could be perceived to kind of run up and down a spectrum, right? On one end, they take the extreme view of the Dragon being a menace to the world that must be safely shielded until Tarmon Gaidon occurs, where he will be shepherded to the Last Battle and then somehow magically defeat the Dark One before dying or being killed in the process (or immediately after, if I recall some of Elaida’s musings correctly). Let’s call this the “Anti-Dragon” (AD) end of the spectrum. Elaida is the ideal representative of this extreme.

On the other end, they allow that the Dragon must have some freedom to accomplish what prophecy states he must, but that he must be properly guided; and then, if he survives, would most likely need to be gentled after the Last Battle. Let’s call this the “Pro-Dragon” (PD) end of the spectrum. Moiraine (before sometime between mid-TSR and late-TFoH) seems to embody this end of the extreme. I think its fair to say that pre-WH, almost every (non-DarkFriend) AS fell somewhere within this spectrum -except, maybe Cadsuane, and, since I still am in awe of her, Verin (although, she most likely fell near the PD end of the spectrum along with Siuan and Moiraine).
Kimani Rogers
95. KiManiak
Part 2

Still another Wall of Text...

I understand the rationalizations for why this can be. I understand the prophecys state that the Dragon could save the world but then would most likely “break” it again, or the like. I understand that the perception of Saidin and of male channelers was colored by 3000 years of negativity and fear. I understand that the common Westlandian (or whatever you want to call them) viewed the Power as something to be respected and yet feared; and that the average Aes Sedai viewed themselves as above or better than the common man, and most likely above or better than men, period. There are a lot of cultural and social contrivances that have become the cultural/social norms that go into play in the perception of the role of the Dragon.

I understand all of that. But that doesn’t make it any less wrong. What an incredible amount of ignorance and an incredibly huge blind spot 99% of the population had in regards to the role the Dragon needed to play in order to actually defeat (I’m assuming) the Dark One. But, that’s to be expected. Here’s the kicker though. When forced to confront the fact that maybe one’s beliefs, one’s perceptions were wrong, look at how different characters in the story act.

The common person tends to follow Rand somewhat easily. The common soldier as well. The Aiel for the most part (excluding the Shaido and the Meradin), follow him (although they see him as fulfilling the prophecies of the Car’a’carn as opposed to the Dragon, the vast majority of them are willing to follow him). The vast number of rulers and nobles of the nations he interacts with follow him (to be fair, he tends to come in with an army and could be seen as either a liberator or conqueror; also, a fair number of the nobles do seek to oppose him. However, I could make an argument that it is due to the laws he initiates that treat the commoner as equal to the noble that leads to their active rebellion. That, and their desire to ensure that one of their own is the ruler of their nation). They may seek to exploit the situation for their own benefit (again, trying to put one of their own in power), but they appear willing to follow him to Tarmon Gaidon. I’m purposefully leaving the Seanchan out of this example. As for the Aes Sedai, well…

The Aes Sedai have no desire to follow him; they just want to use him, to control him. The fate of their very world up for grabs, and they think that they can fix it, even though there is no evidence anywhere that they are to play a major role in their world’s salvation.
Kimani Rogers
96. KiManiak
Part 3 (Last One)

You know, I often try to put a finger on why I often am incredibly hard on the Aes Sedai as an organization. It’s not just the sense of privilege, the consistent ineffectiveness, the internal and external incompetence, or the being out of touch. It’s not even just the arrogance (which is, my God, almost immeasurable). It’s the continued desire to be rigid and unbending when the circumstances dictate “Change or Die.”

It’s the Aes Sedai's inability to adapt when they must; when the Pattern needs everyone to do so against the biggest threat to existence. Not just in their organization (yes, they’ve amended the rules for when initiates can be accepted into the Tower; they’ve changed it so the Amyrlin can’t easily be overthrown; they’ve actively reached out to other saidar-channeling organizations and established an exchange program). But, their views of anyone non-saidar wielding (and really, anyone non-Aes Sedai) have not changed, even when confronted with a group of channelers who can do many things that they cannot, and are led by someone who it has been foretold is their world’s Only Chance at defeating the Dark One.

The world is nearing its end, the Dark One is close to breaking free and they still feel like they know what’s best, even when there is absolutely no reason to believe so and quite a bit of evidence to the contrary. The other rulers and leaders of their world, save the Seanchan (who are a different matter altogether) are willing to follow the Dragon/Car’a’carn, with few exceptions, because they know its what they need to do in order to survive. The Aes Sedai as an organization are mentally blocked from considering that possibility. It’s not just their current Amyrlin, (who I've picked on in the past because she has the capability of being all kinds of awesome and incredible but in ToM, in my opinion, she's almost the exact opposite of awesome and incredible); it’s the vast majority of their organization, and that type of behavior is institutionalized. They are Aes Sedai.

Let’s hope that in addition to saving them from the Dark One, the Dragon also saves them from themselves…

(There’s also the beginnings of a discussion on whether or not we ourselves are locked into our own perspectives and if we are able to truly consider perspectives that are outside of our norms or beliefs, but I guess this isn’t the time or the place)


(I was going to add a section discussing those groups that are not following or are actively opposing the Dragon and his followers and how they have become corrupted, are in a state of cultural/societal decay or have been mostly defeated/destroyed, but this has gone on a little too long. Maybe next time).

Okay, I really have to read the Comments now…
Andrew Foss
97. alfoss1540
@78 Subwoofer - You commented -

The girls still did not know exactly what they were looking for. It was only after years of peicing together clues that Moiraine figured out about Tam etc.

At what point do you think Moiraine figures this out? Am I wrong, or did she not know until the crow and the trollocks that she may be onto something, anf even then its not untileven later that she pieces things together about the actual happenings?

and @88 JimF Thanks for tEotW quote, but didn't only Rand hear that dragging Tam through the forest while avoiding Trollocks? Moiraine would not have known that. As I recall, Rand didn't say much about it.
Theresa Gray
98. Terez27
JL@91 - I had never heard of such a thing, so I googled it, and the only thing that came up was on 13th Depository. It's another possibility, though, so I will add that to my footnote.

@lakesidey - Taim's recruiting efforts were rather successful. He promised Rand he would match the White Tower's numbers (somewhat less than 1000) within a year. From the chronology (with days of the series numbered beginning on Winternight):

Day 584 - The Black Tower is founded. Grady, Flinn, Hopwil and Morr are its first four members.

Day 614 - There are 'well over a hundred' men enrolled.

Day 668 - Torval reports 448 men enrolled.

Day 745 - Rand says Taim has nearly matched the White Tower's numbers.

Day 769 - Pevara observes that Taim has 'perhaps a hundred' men in his inner circle.

I'm not so sure that Taim's men are really all that much stronger than the rest. It seems unlikely, actually - he just gives the Dragon pin only to his favorites. And yes, it seems evident that they have been training at least some men off-site, but Moridin's guards and the men being used at Maradon and for the Portal Stone might have been trained at the Black Tower. No way to say for sure, since none of the Asha'man caught a glimpse of any of them.
Valentin M
99. ValMar
As usual I'm late posting, but have been reading the comments.

KiManiak @ all of them
I'm not sure why you still bother with the Wall of Text warnings. If you are trying to shorten your posts you can start with droping that line :)
Joking of course, there's plenty of read meat on your posts.

Re: M&S harring off to the "slopes of Dragonmount".
Besides the many obvious issues already stated (lastly by Man-o-M), there is something else I thought about.
What would they have found after eventually finding the spot of the birth? Just a decomposing body in the vast wilderness. They wouldn't even have recognised it as a woman having had a birth days/week ago.
John Massey
100. subwoofer
Wow, I change a few diadees and stuff and Saturday night takes off!

@alf97- few things, in TEotW Moiraine does admit that she did not narrow it down to Rand until a few clues showed up. Moiraine also says that she narrowed it down to the village and then to the three boys because they were of a certain age and all born on the same day. Moiraine figured it was one of the three of them, and then, after Rand washed away Bela's fatigue, Moiraine was fairly sure the tall Aiel looking guy was the gimme.

@JL- another interesting subject! Well then that does bring up a few points. We hear about the BA having their own oaths, but are they the three and are they sworn on a Binder? Also, with aging, the AS do slow, but the immediate effects are not seen for a period of time past their er... normal aging cycle, so if the girls took oaths, it may not be noticed until they are still novices at age 35 or something and then I am sure the BA would can them cause they suck anyways.


"There's some saying she's still alive, you know, that Morgase isn't the rightful Queen."

That's all I was pointing out.

Ahem- doing the One Hunny dance! Awwww yeah!

Tricia Irish
101. Tektonica

Good wall-o-Text! Well said.

Let’s hope that in addition to saving them from the Dark One, the Dragon also saves them from themselves…

This is the reason I hope Rand survives the LB....not just because he deserves some peace and love with the girls and the kids...but because he knows what the AoL was like, when the AS were both men and women and worked together and served humanity, not just their own unique needs. The AS need an attitude adjustment and a re-alignment. Rand is perfect for the position of head AS, as he has no desire to rule a country.
Valentin M
102. ValMar
Damn! Given how efficient you are in taking the 100s I am starting to doubt all this talk about changing nappies, etc, Sub. The wife maybe isn't getting the best deal here ;)

Anyway, what would have happened if M&S found the baby before Tam? How long would they three have lived?
Birgit F
103. birgit
Elaida hadn't started foretelling yet I believe (or at least, had been out of the tower since soon after being raised)

She had her first Foretelling (about the royal line of Andor) when she was still Accepted and kept it to herself. She left the Tower but came back sometimes.

I once assumed that Demandred had somehow taken over Shara and given the two rulers to Graendal as a...reward for her help?

In LoC ch. 6 Graendal shows Demandred the rulers of Shara and he wonders why she wants to turn his attention to Shara. If he was the one who gave them to her he would know why she has them.

Heh Sub....I looked at that and remembered this bit in some Asterix comic where Dogmatix meets this (Norse?) Great Dane and they speak differently (“woofs” and “wøøfs”) and they eventually realise that “woof!” = “wøøf!”

In German the dog is called Idefix (the French version is also Idéfix).

Yes she was wife to Janduin, who was a clan chief....but that would be of note only to an Aiel.

Maidens don't marry. If she had given up the spear for Janduin she wouldn't have gone to Dragonmount.
Jay Dauro
104. J.Dauro
Verin at least believes that the Oath Rod may be able to remove the BA Oaths.

One of the Tor questions of the week implies that only full AS can become BA

In the White Tower, Black sisters watch novices and Accepted closely for any indication that they might be leaning toward the Shadow or susceptible to the promises of the Shadow. They also watch other sisters, since people do change. Not every Black sister was recruited on the day she gained the shawl nor soon after. Merean had a fine position for watching novices and Accepted, but many sisters teach. Some do little else, but others take turns at it for various periods, so Merean was not necessarily the primary recruiter during her time as Mistress of Novices, not even among those in her charge.

See Linda's excellent article at
especially the section titled Joining the Black Ajah
John Massey
104. subwoofer
@JL- read the rest of your comment- I suppose what irks me is that the Aes Sedai are old, and with age should have gained some knowledge. My mumsie said the other day "when you're young, you think you know everything, and when you finally get to the point where you do know something, you die." Well, Aes Sedai are geezers so they should have aquired some kinda wisdom... and maybe passed it along. One of the hardest things for folks to do is have some self reflection, introspection- look at yourself, good and bad and acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. I was just lamenting that in the odd sitting of the Hall nobody made the astute observation "hey, where is everyone? We gots a lot of empty seats!" The Spartans were guys, they let ego get in the way, women are 'supposed' to be above thinking with the hair on their er... chests.

@Wet- shucks, just didn't want you to feel left out:)

@lakesidey- geeze- here's a nit too:) Ahem, anyways, yeah, not sure there were any er... enterprising type people around to invent compound interest. Point is, again, AS are filthy stinking rich. They should have a dragon guarding their hoard. Mind you, the real treasure is in the fancy wands and stuff that make things go boom.

Gonna work through Ki's postesses before I can comment further. Back in an hour.

@Brig- geeze I must be slipping on these details! Must be my type first, think about what I am saying later method. Yeah but...

In the third year of the Aiel War, Tigraine/Shaiel becomes pregnant by Janduin, clan chief of the Taardad Aiel. By the laws, she should have returned to the Aiel Waste, but she refused, and Janduin did not order her to go back (TSR, Ch. 34).

... didn't want to say that the Prophecy's about Rand don't mention him being a bastard child or whatever... not sure how the Aiel view this.

Aeil tend to be fairly stoic about death but they are loyal to their kids. I can't remember where this was supposed to be going, but I think somebody Aiel like should have noticed the crazy preggers one is missing and gone to investigate if the baby fell out somewheres.

... think we just broke TOR... wasn't me.

Stefan Mitev
105. Bergmaniac
@birgit - "In LoC ch. 6 Graendal shows Demandred the rulers of Shara and he wonders why she wants to turn his attention to Shara. If he was the one who gave them to her he would know why she has them."

That was Sammael, not Demandred.

@ J. Dauro - "Verin at least believes that the Oath Rod may be able to remove the BA Oaths."

She was right, since it worked on Talene.
Chris R
106. up2stuff
Wall of text

JimF @ 89...

I still think you are arguing yourself in circles. Okay, Tam gets Rand and takes him to Kari, finds the wetnurse, etc., etc. Now Rand is in the military camps, while they are dispersing, QUICKLY. Depending on which story you read on whether he took the bounty or not, Tam will be back with his company before a day or so, not really on the slopes of DM. Now S & M are looking in the wrong place.

Seems like Tam would bring Rand to Kari, go find the wetnurse, get his stuff together, spread some bogus stories about the baby's origin, swing by the AS distribution post for his $100 clams, (or maybe not) and be off. 2-3 days total. This makes a problem because now he isn't in a COMPANY, but one of hundreds/thousands traveling on the road, with literally hundreds/thousands of other soldiers, many with wives carrying babies, AND NO ORGANIZATION.

Whether DM is developed for the rich on that slope or barren wilderness is irrelevant. If they go mucking around in the foothills for a day or days, they have to find the baby, or the witness who saw the soldier carrying a cloak-wrapped, crying bundle, "off that-a-way" toward the Illianer forces, or the TV forces, or whichever forces are in that region. If they DONT find the Illianers first, they have to wade through the wrong encampments, until they do.

Say S&M (heh, I said S & M) DO ditch their chaperones, now they are wandering around the whole damn mountain, while Tam is heading back to camp and then on to the TR. Even if Rand's Ta'veren nature pulled them to the right camp, I still think they would always be trailing along too many steps behind. Then they bring the focus I mentioned before, get tortured up and give up the DR.

Believe it or not, I think this was probably the most efficient way, and ultimately kind of played out how the Amyrlin wanted, minus the whole getting herself and half a dozen other sisters murdered anyway. Tamra gets as many names as possible, has her two secret Accepted who know what they are looking for winnow through the names, and send in the heavy hitters to find the baby and follow up leads, quietly. Just didnt work.

Anyway, the Pattern/Creator/RJ decided that Rand needed to grow up in the TR with Mat and Perrin, and as you said yourself, if S & M (heh, I said it again) rode out, picked up baby Rand, and brought him back to the Tower, he would have lived a secluded life amidst hundreds of Black Ajah, may or may not have fulfilled all the prophecies and may or may not have faced the DO at TG.

Ooh ooh, something else I just thought of... Maybe Rand was drawn to the TR by his Ta'verenness so that Moiraine and Lan could come find Mat and Perrin and save them from the Trolloc raids. After all the pattern obviously wanted them to be friends as children before they were to be champions of the light so they would trust each other. I wonder if any of the Forsaken grew up together?
Julian Augustus
107. Alisonwonderland
The discussion on this thread brings vividly to my mind why I've always believed that, of the three prequel novels Jordan had planned, the one that absolutely MUST be told is the one showing how not just Moiraine and Lan, but also Thom Merrilin and Padan Fain all happened to arrive at the Two Rivers that fateful day on the eve of Winternight. If anybody reading this thread knows Harriet well, please make it your life's work to convince her that that particular prequel is an essntial part of the story and needs to be told no matter what. She would be doing Jordan's memory a great service by filling in that 20-year gap in the fabric of the overall series (or, alternatively, doing the fans a huge disservice if she doesn't plug that gap).
Valentin M
108. ValMar
Alison @ 107

I wholeheartedly agree. If not a proper novel, at least as much info as RJ's notes allow should be included in the Encyclopedia.
Kimani Rogers
109. KiManiak
Just to add my 2 cents to some of what’s been put out there by Leigh and catch up with the commenters…

I’ve always pronounced it Tuh-mail, but I’ve accepted the fact that in almost all of my favorite series I tend to pronounce the names of the characters wrong in my head. Legolas still sounds like “let go, lass” in my head :-)

Oh, and sororal probably should be more commonly used then it currently is. I’ve probably used “fraternal” a few times in the last week, and it’s not like I wouldn’t have the occasion to use sororal. I’ve already added it to my Word dictionary…

bergmaniac@18 – re: SuperGirls not having any additional Novice friends – good point. In KoD and TGS, there is no mention of old Novice acquaintances trying to reconnect with Egwene. True, she discouraged any interaction with the Novices, but you’d expect some of them to try to reach out or be actively sympathetic. Or, be the Novices willing to step to the forefront and learn linking or the like when Egwene battles the Seanchan in the Tower in TGS

Tek@32 re: Siuan’s lack of preparation of the Tower when she was Amyrlin – another good point. Siuan was fairly politically savvy. Even if she couldn’t “order” the Green (or any other Ajah) to send their sisters to the Borderlands to train, she should’ve been able to come up with something…

Wet@48 and others (lsana, bad-platypus) – re: the difficulties & unpredictability of Foretelling – Yeah, I admit that I initially thought that Foretelling was straightforward (in terms of the tense, anyway) and that Tamra, Siuan and Moiraine should have easily been able to tell that the Dragon was born now. Thanks for the research and the clarifications. Oh, and thewindrose@71 for reading ahead :-)

JimF@49 – re: Siuan and Moiraine going to Dragonmount – actually, they wanted to go to camps closer to Dragonmount and the commander of their guard (too lazy to look up his name) wouldn’t let them. They were only Accepted, so they couldn’t boss the soldiers around yet. Oh, just like Wet, lakesidey and others have already said…

Tek@53 – re: the AS wealth – don’t they still receive tribute from the Borderland nations (and potentially others)? I guess centuries, if not millennia of that could lead to sizable wealth. Also, they have an entire Ajah geared towards mediation and negotiation; I’m guessing they received payments for that. The AS aren’t shy about gathering favors while manipulating the common man and by extension, one could assume monarchs as well. It’s likely that they could have acquired massive amounts of funds in that way.

Other potential sources of income: AS have been queens and noblewomen, so maybe they deeded some of their wealth to the Tower. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Tower owned a lot of property as well. And probably a lot of shares in various trading efforts. There’s probably some kind of Tax at Tar Valon. Probably a whole bunch of other potential ways. I see that lakesidey (::waves:: Hi again, lakesidey), Bergmaniac, Subwoofer, the Pope, Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck and Roger Rabbit already got there first…
Kimani Rogers
110. KiManiak
But wait, there's more:

JimF@63 – re: Tigraine – if the Aiel came across her later, they would have tried to bury her feet down. If not, then I’m sure a lot of dead bodies on Dragonmount were used to feed the crows and other carrion hunters that tend to congregate around a battle. I don’t think there was any mention of Tam burying her.

sub@76 – re: Rand’s right to the throne – Hah! Although, Galad is the older brother, so Rand’s place in the succession may not be as high as we’d like. Still, Rand did have some claim to it and there is something to his being able to “give” her the throne… Oh, Randalator@80 had to come and apply fact, reason and logic to an otherwise completely sound “what-if.” Spoilsport :-)

ValMar@99 – Yeah, it’s pretty much implied when you see a post from me that it’s gonna be long. Half the time I don’t even bother to add the Wall-o-text warning anymore… :-)

sub@100 – Wow, again?!?! You, sir, have a gift of claiming the century mark. I think Gabby is following the reread when you’re not looking and has decided to help you out in claiming the Holy One Hundred

Tek@101 – It would be nice if Rand survives and can help the AS and Ashaman relearn/restore many of the wonders from the Age of Legends.

J.Dauro@104 – re: the BA recruitment quote – Thanks for that. I remember reading that only AS could join BA (not Novices or Accepted) and had assumed that the BA marked Accepteds and indoctrinated them sometime after they became full AS; but I never thought that the BA would also be looking at existing Sisters to see if their attitudes had changed.

sub also@104? (yeah, I think you broke – wait, the Spartans let their ego get in the way, but you wouldn’t expect the Aes Sedai to let their ego get in the way. Woof, I gotta ask: What series have you been reading? :-)

up2stuff@106 – you call that a Wall? :-) Heh, heh… you said “S&M” Heh, heh… (That was my lame Beavis & Butthead impression…)
Stefan Mitev
111. Bergmaniac
I am wondering why Moiraine and Siuan concentrated only on the "born on Dragonmount" part of the prophesies. Didn't they know about the "born of a maiden wedded to no man" part? So they should've looked for unmarried women, or think of some other way to explain this line, but it never occured to them in New Spring.

Mayne the explanation is that the "born on Dragonmount" was mentioned in the Gitara's Foretelling too, unlike the maiden part. But still, those two things are next to each other in the Karaethon Cycle - "On the slopes of Dragonmount shall he be born, born of a maiden wedded to no man". If they knew the first part (as we see later, this part of the Karaethon cycle is widely known even to common folk, and certainly to Moiraine and Siuan), they should've known the second.

BTW, Tigraine was married to Taringail, shouldn't that be against the prophesy? Maybe running away to the Waste without a word counts as a divorce. ;)
Are there divorces in Randland? I don't think we've seen any examples of this.
Maiane Bakroeva
112. Isilel
OK, I let myself be distracted by RL and as soon as I turn my back discussion kicks into the overdrive!

I have to say that I have mixed feelings about NS the novel. Extatic as I was to see Moiraine, who is my favorite character bar none in WoT, by the time the original novella was published, and glad as I was to see the history between her and awesome young Lan, it introduced a lot of retroactive changes, incongruities and inconsistencies into the series and the novelization continued in the same vein.

And of course, a lot of what the novel added were just watered down and expanded descriptions of events already conveyed to us in TGH, and in much cooler and more succint fashion.

Much as I like boarding school/training stories and although I am much more interested in and sympathetic towards WT than most readers, this scratch also didn't really get scratched by the novel, since Moiraine and Siuan are essentially marking time and we see very little of typical WT initiate life in it. We didn't even learn how they came to be friends, really.

There are also a lot of new, never again seen AS introduced, when the space could have been used to round out already existing or historically significant characters (like Marith Jaen) a bit more.

The most immediate and obvious change was that Moiraine suddenly got a personality transplant from Elayne as if RJ had just one shablon for a "young princess in training to be AS". Moiraine in the series proper is a very urbane character, but what is more, every other Cahirienin woman that we saw in any detail is the same in that respect! Dena, Breane Taborwin, Colvaere, Selande, etc. So, why was Moiraine suddenly transformed into a blushing prude in NS?

Hot-headeness, yes, it is very clear that Moiraine often had to struggle to supress it in the series proper.
Lucky for her that she was recruited by the WT, probably, as I don't see this character trait as being conducive to survival at the Court of Cahirien.

Wittyness - yes, older Moiraine is actually an exception among the female characters in that she clearly has a developped sense of humor, though dry and understated one. Most of her interactions with Nynaeve are firmly tongue-in-cheek, for instance. And a lot of those with TR youngsters in general, ditto.

Siuan being the leader and Moiraine being quite inept at commanding people... hm. I am not sure about it. In TGH Moiraine was not Siuan's follower by any stretch of imagination, if not vice-versa. Again this seems to be a case of Elaynization to me.

Even greater problems are introduced by Siuan and Moiraine already seeing a big problem with recruitement and then learning for certain about the existense of the BA and doing nothing for 20+ years.
What is more, Siuan didn't behave as if she believed in the BA until TDR in the series proper and was also totally clueless about the pervasiveness of the BA until Egwene's reveal - which she really shouldn't have been after NS.

There are also some ret-cons concerning the women who are co-Accepted with Siuan and Moiraine here, too.
Myrelle, for instance, should have been just a novice at the time as per Siuan's interrogation by the SAS in TFoH.
And Alanna should have been significantly older, according to hierarchy ruminations of either Verin or Merana in LoC. Etc.

I don't think that pranking would be unbelievable for people in that age bracket in those circumstances though - from what I have read it used to be pretty wide-spread among the military and navy personnel in 19th century, for instance. What certain people got up to in War and Peace for amusement's sake would fit right in - and they weren't even cloistered and starved for entertainment!

P.S. Re: Tigraine, didn't Sulin tell Rand that Janduin found her body, but the child couldn't be tracked down? Or something. Anyway, how could he have known that she was dead if some Aiel _didn't_ find her? So, I assume that she was buried, Aiel-style. Maybe Sulin will be even able to show Rand the spot. I was kinda expecting it.
Mikey Bennett
113. EvilMonkey
This is gonna be an all AS post, I think....

After reading the comments I have come to the conclusion that I was being a little hard on Siuan as far as Last Battle prep, White Tower Division. First, she was the Tower Spymaster for the Blue for the first 10 or so years of her AS life. All she is in position to do is gather info; spies do not make policy. So she can exchange the occasional message with her field agent and bestie Moraine, but that is mostly in regards of finding the DR. Then she makes Amrylin, the youngest to ever hold the post and not so much because of excellence but because she's the only one the hall will agree on. They all agree on her because they feel that it's a good chance they will be in the running to pull the strings, just like Egwene only at a less breakneck pace. Now Siuan is hard as steel toed boots, but she does not have Eggy's flair for leadership or the advantage of being pattern-blessed. And since the pattern isn't pushing as hard because it's got 10 years before the deadline she has got to break free of puppet status all on her own. Was she planning? Of course. This is Siuan, the problem solver, the supreme spymaster, queen of cunning (or something like that). Breaking free of puppetry is gonna take her about 5 years, a drop in the bucket in terms of the average AS livespan but time consuming for us since we know she only has 10 years to work her magic. Add to the fact that she cannot act as openly as she wants because she knows for a fact, not just speculation, that the BA is all to willing to off anyone who looks like they are too effective on the light side. The only way she felt she could do her preperations openly is if she had the DR in hand in some type of capacity. When she had him, she got offed before she could put her plans into action. We as readers can tell that she's competent by the way she handled Eggy. She was just limited by the constaints of the situation she was dealing with.

As far as the BA and full sisterhood, none of the sisters knew that the rod causes the ageless look, at least not until much later. But if there is one thing that is garanteed, Ishydin, the founder of the Black, he knew about the rod. Probably another reason they do not recruit from accepted or novices, the BA's oaths are binding. You cannot expect the accepted or novices to keep a secret that big, hell you cant really trust full sisters to. They have to be bound, yet if you bind the kids they will start showing that ageless look before they are tested. Bad idea, not only because it marks them out as being different when u want them to blend in, but because some sister who doesn't have their head up their 4th point of contact has a better chance of figuring out the secret and letting the cat outta the bag.
Lastly, the AS are conceited in the extreme, but with good reason. They have been top cats for 3000 years, sheperding the Westlands through 2 world killing wars as well as numerous smaller scale affairs with the message pretty much in tact. Without the AS as an organization, the world probably would not even remember a scrap of the prophecies. Without the prophecies, the Dragon's task becomes even harder because people dont have time to adjust to the fact that the world is gonna be over without this savior guy whose passing is going to break the world while he's saving it. They've been able to stay tops for all these years because of their stablilty, their unchanging message throughout the years. These things make them set in their ways like concrete. If it aint broke, don't fix it, for many sisters they feel as if it aint broke. So the world is in chaos, it has been that way before, on at least 2 occasions in their history. The message didnt change and they endured. They have fostered the world since the Breaking. Why wouldn't they think they could weather the end of an Age as well. They are not anywhere near as effective as they had once been, but the blame for that one lies with the BA. Rats chewing at the roots of the great tree, water damage eroding away the foundation. The message is still good, the methodology is flawed. Eggy is trying to change this, but you got a tower full of old dogs and you trying to teach them new tricks. It's hard to change tradition. Like they are fond of saying in this series, there are some customs stronger than law.
John Massey
114. subwoofer
@Ki- read your post and have been ruminating in between errands with the family and making lunch etc. The one thing that RJ did from the get go was create this mystique about Aes Sedai, these er... sorceresses, have Thom make comments about the dubious nature of their comments, then paint them as all too human with flaws, despite their longevity and great power. I really appreciate this aspect of it all. Just because a person is gifted with great power and a long life, does not mean that they gain the wisdom that goes along with these gifts.

If you want to look at it from another angle, lets examine the Forsaken. Creatures of myth and legend, used to scare children at night, these beings were referred to as one step down from the Dark One. When I first read this series, I had no idea that a) the Forsaken could die and b) Rand was vastly outnumbered if it was him vs. 13 of the baddest channelers from an age full of badass channelers. All I was thinking is that unless Rand learns to channel in the next chapter, this book was going to be over fast, as him vs. 13 baddies would be reducing him to cinders. Heck, we hear about the magic number 13 a lot, especially in reference to shielding, gentling/stilling, and turning via the myrddraal trick. We see none of that. Instead when we are treated to an insiders look, we find that thousands of years have amplified the Forsaken's human frailties. The bickering, infighting and oneupsmanship sprinkled with backstabbing and lack of cooperation is rife throughout the DO's minions, and all we hear is that it is good because the DO likes chaos.

I dunno, I am thinking that all these things are RJ's attempt at humanizing people that would otherwise seem not human. Rand, Mat and Perrin's montra is "I am not a lord", and in a sense it is true. They all came from humble beginnings and each one was thrust into a postion of authority that they were not prepared for. It took a long time for Mat and Perrin especially to come around to fit into the role they were cast for, but all the while we are complaining about their human flaws holding them back etc. Same logic applies to the Aes Sedai.

Stefan Mitev
115. Bergmaniac
@ Isilel - "Moiraine in the series proper is a very urbane character, but what is more, every other Cahirienin woman that we saw in any detail is the same in that respect! Dena, Breane Taborwin, Colvaere, Selande, etc. So, why was Moiraine suddenly transformed into a blushing prude in NS?"

Excellent point. This bothered me too. Let's not forget the festival of Light tradition in Cairhien, with women walking the streets half-naked and kissing every man who comes near. Moiraine being a prude seems strange.

As for the Moiraine being too close to Elayne in personality in NS part, I also got similar vibe. Apart from what you mentioned, there was also the whole "Siuan is too stingy" thing (and vice versa from Siuan, who's appalled how much Moiraine spends), repeated way too much, which mirrors Elayne and Nynaeve in this respect, especially in TFOH. Though Siuan was a lot more justified than Nynaeve IMO, Moiraine spent a fortune on dresses in NS. ;)

Tigraine - Amys told Rand "But Janduin could forbid her nothing; had she asked the moon on a necklace, he would have tried to give it to her. So she stayed, and in the last fight, before Tar Valon, she was lost, and the child was lost. Janduin could not forgive himself for not making her obey the law.”

The whole story is really weird. What the hell was a woman so far along in her pregnancy doing so close to the battlefield? How did she manage to get lost?

"Even greater problems are introduced by Siuan and Moiraine already seeing a big problem with recruitement and then learning for certain about the existense of the BA and doing nothing for 20+ years.

What is more, Siuan didn't behave as if she believed in the BA until TDR in the series proper and was also totally clueless about the pervasiveness of the BA until Egwene's reveal - which she really shouldn't have been after NS."

Definitely agreed. The number of novices had shrunk from 100 to 40 in the 20 years in between, yet Siuan apparently did nothing to increase the numbers, even though as we saw later, there are so many girls able to channel who were there to be found with a bit of effort.
John Massey
116. subwoofer
The other thing that is ingrained upon us from the beginning of the story is the myth of the institution that is Tar Valon. It is this promised land and becon of civilization in a world rife with unrest, evil and civil war. No other city can hold a candle to Tar Valon when it comes to beauty, architecture, their library, and beyond the Stone, Tar Valon has not fallen. It is like going to meet the Wizard. When we get a peek behind the curtain, wowza.

Moiraine is our first exposure to what an Aes Sedai is supposed to be like and we assume that many others are cut from the same cloth. When we get a full look at Tar Valon, from Egwene and Nynaeve's perspective we find that the place is a huge beurocracy. The Tower reminds me of big government. A monolith that keeps going from momentum because it is too big to stop and something that is very slow to change.

There are many prevailing dogmas that keep the place running and are taken on faith and are not examined in the least because they are done by rote. Aes Sedai not marrying, power determining a place in the pecking order, normal people do not question the actions of a full Aes Sedai, all other women that channel are wilders... gah. The results of all these dogmas are evident, Tower numbers dwindle, new blood is not being found to replace the old, important weaves like Traveling, Healing, making cuendillar are lost, and the Sisters are more isolated from the rest of the world. In this whole story, the only people that hold to traditions and their oaths are the Borderlanders.

The reality of all big beurocracies are that they are slow to change and short of what happened- civil war, do not turn on a dime. What I find very interesting is the commentary that if women ruled the world, they could not do any better than guys. I am not coming at this from an sexist POV, but just my impression of what I read. The Aes Sedai are the last bastion against the DO... and they are barely hanging on. The meetings of the Hall, in both factions really draw to light how politicking can kill progress. Everyone has their own soap box and is beating their own drum. There is much in the way of off screen maneuvering and some appaulling decision making- re. Elaida and only some of this can be attributed to the mechanations of the BA and not the folly of the Sitters and Amyrlin.

At some point, any point, in one of the dozen books I was expecting, somebody- not Egwene to say, "hey wtf is going on around here?! Tarmon Gai'don is around the corner and we're it. We are all that is standing between happy days and the end of the world. May the Creator help us, cause I don't see a horde of Trollocs buying the ' it is not wise to question Aes Sedai' schtick."

I could play the blame game and blame Siuan for not doing much in her tenure, but let's face it, anybody that was even suspected of looking for the Dragon ended up dead. That Siuan lived for so long is a testament to her skill. And we do find that she did some things in the interest of the Light, it just seems few and far between. At the time, Siuan was the youngest Amyrlin, and as others have said, she did not have the advantages of Egwene to solidify her seat, she had to do it the hard way by guile and manipulation. Not bad for a fisherman's daughter.

I must have winter on the brain because every time I see M&S all I think of is tire ratings.

William Fettes
117. Wolfmage
Isilel @112

I don’t really share your negative sense of NS, but you’ve made several interesting and provocative observations as usual.

”The most immediate and obvious change was that Moiraine suddenly got a personality transplant from Elayne as if RJ had just one shablon for a "young princess in training to be AS". Moiraine in the series proper is a very urbane character, but what is more, every other Cahirienin woman that we saw in any detail is the same in that respect! Dena, Breane Taborwin, Colvaere, Selande, etc. So, why was Moiraine suddenly transformed into a blushing prude in NS?”

Which scenes, in particular, did you have in mind that show Moiraine being prudish? I’m trying to think, but my recall about exact details is not as good for NS as it is for the main books. (A reason, I think, I will enjoy this re-read all the more.)

The main thing I can think of is the back and forth with Siuan over the footman Cal and her old flame Cormanes. The implication I got from this exchange was that Moiraine had probably not slept with anyone, and her experiences were limited to kissing Cormanes a long time ago. I admit that is a little discordant with her sophisticated and worldly attitude shown in the main books, including her easygoing acceptance of Lan’s sexual conquests. But she is, after all, rather less experienced and emotionally mature here. And, she isn’t so much disapproving over the sex as she is over Cal being a lower class footman and Siuan being distracted from their cause, isn’t she?

Or did you have in mind the occasions where she feels embarrassed, including Myrelle’s concentration-disrupting pranks, her naked testing and the fireside blanket scene with Lan? Without addressing all the specifics, I would argue that’s still fairly consistent with liberal sexual morality, and certainly Cairhienin reserve, which is a funny Janus-like creature. Cairhienins are quite capable of being both weirdly fastidious in public, whilst simultaneously doing all kinds of saucy things behind closed doors on their estates, as Hurin is shocked to find out from gossiping servants at Barthane’s manor.

I also don’t think her chastising the novice for reading Hearts of Flame is very significant. As I believe she subsequently admits to reading it herself, and she is more just trying to emulate Aes Sedai haughty and put the novice in her place.

”Wittyness - yes, older Moiraine is actually an exception among the female characters in that she clearly has a developped sense of humor, though dry and understated one. Most of her interactions with Nynaeve are firmly tongue-in-cheek, for instance. And a lot of those with TR youngsters in general, ditto.:”

Oh, I definitely agree with this. Her dealings with Nynaeve are a wonderful combination of ironic teasing, sympathy and implacable insistence. She definitely has a subtle sense of humour.
Kimani Rogers
118. KiManiak
EvilMonkey@113 and sub@114 - Some good and valid points re: my posts@94-96. Let me see…

EM – Your arguments are basically that: 1) the Aes Sedai are conceited due to 3 millennia of being the top dogs… er… cats; 2)the AS’s consistency, stability (hah hah hah, oh wait you mean in the general sense) and inflexibility are part of what allowed the Prophecies of the Dragon, the stories of the Dark One and the Forsaken to survive and not be lost throughout time; and 3) it was due to the AS that the Westlandians knew about the importance of the Dragon’s coming and would be primed to react appropriately to his mission.

Sub – You believe that the AS are human with human flaws and that there is no automatic wisdom that comes along with being able to wield the Power. RJ imbued all of his characters with flaws, including the Forsaken (interesting that earlier I was joking with you about the AS having egos as big or bigger than the real-life Spartans, btw); Mat and Perrin’s humanistic flaws are comparable to the AS’s.

I’ll try to tackle you guys in order. EM first...

EM: I don’t really disagree with you. I don’t think that your points and mine have to be mutually exclusive or anything. I think you’re pretty much conceding that the White Tower has been rigid and unchanging over 3000 years. I allowed for some rationalizations for the behavior and I think you bring up some other good ones. It’s hard being part of an organization that has been Queen of the Hill for 3000 years, in the sense that the situation required that their attitudes and practices had to be consistent, rigid, and inflexible.

The Aes Sedai had to be the ones to constantly remind the world about the perils of the Shadow; the infamousness (infamy?) of the Forsaken; and the slight, unpredictable and dreaded Only-Hope (“Help me Obi Wan”) that was the Dragon. They had to try and corral all the nations together in order to survive the Trolloc Wars and the War of a Hundred Years and a host of other major events. Maybe it could also be rationalized that having to be the perpetual “Big Sister” or “Responsible Mother” type figure led to the maintenance of the ego and air of superiority that the AS held. That and they could freaking set things on fire with their mind (Tends to remind me of Drew Barrymore in that great “B” movie, Firestarter. “Back off! Just back off!” But, I digress again).

So, yeah, they’re an institution that’s been around for centuries. But, so has the monarchy of the Seanchan. That doesn’t make it right. We all have problems with the some of the ways the Seanchan operate. And, our moral foundation and belief systems tell us we are right to do so. I don’t think that the Tower’s stance is unbelievable, or takes me out of the story with its ludicrousness. I can believe that the Aes Sedai can function the way they do, with their arrogance and ego; and with a major blind spot for their massive incompetency, close-mindedness and inability to adapt. But, that’s the crux of the matter.

All organisms need to adapt in order to survive. That’s one of the main things you learn from nature; those species that couldn’t adapt due to a changing environment became extinct. Like I said, “Change or Die.” The Aes Sedai are clinging to their old ways at a time when the fate of the world could depend upon their ability to change according to the times. The Savior from the Prophecies is here. The status quo can no longer be enough. The Dragon has to lead, they need to follow or get out of the bloody way. I think this is the lesson that they’ll need to learn at the Fields of Merrilor. But since RJ and BSW are often unpredictable, I wouldn’t be surprised (although I would be slightly annoyed) if I ended up eating my words…

(running long again, so I'm splitting posts up again...)
Theresa Gray
119. Terez27
I don't understand the point in splitting up posts. It doesn't make them any easier to scroll through...
Kimani Rogers
120. KiManiak
Part 2,

Sub, your turn.

God, yes the Aes Sedai are human. If I ever even hinted at something different than that, well then that was not what I meant. Being human, they have flaws. They are prone to jealousy (Elaida), ambition (Beonin, Elaida, and almost every other Aes Sedai), underestimation (Siuan, Romanda, Lelaine), overestimation/overconfidence of their capabilities and their superiority (Elaida, Jolene, and almost every other Aes Sedai), fear (Moria and her great speech re: the Ashaman, Teslyn, Jolene, etc), and a host of other flaws, but I don't think I need to keep on listing.

We as readers have continuously pointed out the flaws of the various characters, sub-organizations (the Green Ajah is one of the biggest failures as a group of all time, based on previous examples; unless they have some kind of awesome secret up their sleeve in AMoL), organizations, institutions and governments. Perrin and Mat’s flaws have been pointed out at multiple comments. Even the pro-Mat crowd acknowledges his shortcomings (I may not like it, but I'll do it). :-)

So, I agree that the Tower is made up of very human members. But, as an organization, it needs to adapt or be swept away. It’s the end of the world; it's "Go" time, baby. What are you gonna do; try the same old crap that you’ve done before in the face of a threat exponentially greater than the ones you’ve faced in the last 3000 years?

Or do you swallow your pride, acknowledge that you may not know everything and try to work with (and if necessary, under) the Champion of the Light (the side you are supposedly on) that was turned out by the Pattern (and, according to what you’ve been taught, has been reincarnated for this role countless times) and had been part of those very prophecies that you’ve been keeping alive for the last 3000 years?

Is Change hard? Sure. But do you want to win? Or do you want to maintain your superiority? What's the ultimate goal; what is the most important thing to you. The commoner understands this. The nobility even understands the need (although, as I’ve previously remarked, they are somewhat resistant to some of the finer points). The Aiel and the Sea Folk have chosen to follow (with, again the aforementioned exceptions; and admittedly, the Sea Folk were all kinds of difficult in coming to this realization). The Aes Sedai are still fighting the fundamental truth of their reality. I allow that they have a huge blindspot due to their ego. But they need to either overcome that, or see their organization be overcome. Change/Grow/Adapt/Evolve or Die.

The Aes Sedai can either bow to the winds of change, or be swept away... (Hah! Look at me trying to wax all poetic and stuff)
Kimani Rogers
121. KiManiak
Hey Terez.

I liked your Demandred page. Boy was it long, but it was thorough.

As for splitting the posts... well, it seems to work better for me when huge bits of text are broken up. My preference in reading someone's posts and scrolling through different opinions is that its easier for me to read through, reread or scan if the main points are broken down into different sections instead of one huge massive wall of text.

Sorry if you don't feel the same :-)

Edit to hopefully make this a little more clear.
John Massey
122. subwoofer
@KiManiak- I think my 116 finishes what I started at my previous post and responds nicely to your 120.

Theresa Gray
123. Terez27
@KiManiak - I added a couple of sections to it. There were some other commentaries from people here that I need to use in revision on other articles...if I can remember where they were. Continuation thread, I think...
Kimani Rogers
124. KiManiak
Sub @122

I like your post at 116. I don’t know if there needed to be a response to my post at 120, but I think you gave a pretty good representation of what the Tower and the people within it have suffered and lost in their mission to preserve society and ensure the survival of the species over the 3000 years. Large organizations/bureaucracies do suffer from certain limitations, and are definitely slow to change, if they change at all. I definitely wasn’t trying to represent that it should happen easily; only that it needed to happen. I think part of what you were saying (or at least, what I interpreted you saying) is that change in large institutions is easier said than done, and that’s a good point. The obstacles that were in place to allow for large scale institutional change were (and continue to be) many.

I still think that the White Tower needs to adapt and make radical changes in order for it to survive and be relevant post Tarmon Gaidon. But I think your point (as I interpret it) that there were many difficulties to that occurring is an incredibly good one (or I’m completely misinterpreting you, in which case… well… whoops; my bad). And instead of taking another shot at the WT by comparing it with other groups that have adapted, I’ll just leave it and say that I still do hope that we see some move towards change in AMoL.
Jonathan Levy
125. JonathanLevy
100. subwoofer
We hear about the BA having their own oaths, but are they the three and are they sworn on a Binder?
I think I remember Galina thinking to herself at some point about how she replaced her Oaths with "a new trinity". I think this was when the Shaido were running her into the ground in ACOS.

104. subwoofer
One of the hardest things for folks to do is have some self reflection, introspection- look at yourself, good and bad and acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. I was just lamenting that in the odd sitting of the Hall nobody made the astute observation "hey, where is everyone? We gots a lot of empty seats!"
Well... the problem is that "hey, where is everyone?" would not count as an astute observation in the Hall. It would count as a serious gaffe, or a boorish comment, akin to standing up in a Womyn's Feminist History 101 class and saying "On average, men are stronger than women". Political Correctness shuts down thought and debate. I'm sure you can think of plenty of modern equivalents to "hey, where is everyone?".

107. Alisonwonderland
Careful though. Jordan may not have left enough notes to flesh out a proper prequel. :( Otherwise, I'm with you.

@many re: Aes Sedai wealth.
I think a good analogy for the wealth of the White Tower would be the wealth of the Church in medieval times. The Church accrued lands, bequests, and legacies given by people for the salvation of their souls - becoming (at least in England) one of the largest owners of land in the country. The WT might play a similar role here (though we do not see it happen onscreen)
Birgit F
126. birgit
Which scenes, in particular, did you have in mind that show Moiraine being prudish?

"Are all the camps like this?" Moiraine asked. "I would think that men fighting a war would have their minds on that, not on ..." She trailed off, her face heating. "... spawning like silverpike," Siuan whispered under her breath. Moiraine only just heard, but the words deepened her blush. Why ever had she asked such a question in the first place?
"Cairhienin," Meilyn breathed. She sounded very nearly ... amused! But she went on in a serious tone.
Which explained a great deal, and left Moiraine feeling that her face might burn off. There were things one did in public and talked about, and things that were done in private and definitely not talked about. She struggled to regain control of herself, performing mental exercises for seeking calm.

NS ch. 5
Cairhienin are prudish in public, but not in private or at some festivals. Malkieri seem similarly shy in public but not in private:

"So your luck still holds with women, too." Ryne's laugh had an edge. Perhaps he fancied her himself. "The Light knows, they can't find you handsome; you get uglier every year. Maybe I ought to try some of that coy modesty, let women lead me by the nose." yet he was Arafellin to his toenails. He actually started conversations with women who had not spoken to him first. Lan, raised by Bukama and his friends in Shienar, had been surrounded by a small community who held to Malkieri ways. If Lira did share his bed tonight, as seemed certain, she would discover there was nothing shy or retiring about him once they were abed, yet the woman chose when to enter that bed and when to leave.

NS ch. 16
Mikey Bennett
127. EvilMonkey
I totally agree with you that the AS need to adapt, change, evolve or die, Follow or get the Flub outta tha way. Furthermore, I believe Eggy is doing her best to change some of the attitudes of the old guard, making a start on developing some of those customs that are stronger than law from scratch. One Amrylin, no matter how pattern-blessed she may be however, is no real match for what Sub describes as the uber-bureacracy also known as the White Tower. The things she was instituting in TOM are nothing more than a stopgap measure that with any kind of luck will help them to survive the LB. The changes that obviously need to be made to the Tower in a way that will last cannot come from Eggy or any other Amrylin. They can initiate those changes, foster them, and or encourage them, but if she doesn't have the support of the sisters then she might as well be punching a pillow for all the lasting impression she'll make. The changes that will make the Tower into the effective organization we all know it could and should be therefore must come from the novices, the Accepted, the new minted idealistic Aes Sedai. Fortunately there's a sizable new crop of powerful channelers in the minors, the majority of them with direct allegence to Egwene Al Vere. Without the proclaimation which was one of her first original ideas many of those powerful channelers would not be there. Assuming they all survive the LB, these new women have the power to make the changes Egwene wants into an inescapable reality. They are a powerful tool for change, and as evidenced by the creation of the novice families you know they wont just stand pat and watch as the Tower continues to degrade due to business as usual. I even see Nynaeve as the reluctant but capable leader of the common sense faction. Man I hope she doesn't die.
John Massey
128. subwoofer
@JL- thanks for the reference- I vaguely remember the BA had Oaths, I was just not sure they were done on a Binder. This makes me think of how many Binders there are out there and if the Tower has them all marked and accounted for. There seems to be some discrepancy with this as Verin would still be alive if one was where it was supposed to be.

As to the other, c'mon, gimme a break here. My point is that the Tower is dwindling to extinction and the Hall, which is supposed to be the governing body, is not, to my knowledge being remotely proactive about the number or sisters. And it is not just quantity. Until the SGs came along and before them, Siuan and Moiraine... and Elaida, it is of note that not many powerful channelers entered the Tower. Boorish or not, somebody should have stuffed it with proper manners and sounded an alarm as to what was happening. If allowed to continue, Tar Valon would really be in no position to fight in TG at all.

James Jones
129. jamesedjones
58 subwoofer

To quote Lanis, BAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm away for a weekend and what do I get? Observations accusations of hottub incitement.

As for the chapter, I'm reminded of a favorite quote (no idea where it came from): "If you want someone to act like a child, treat them like one. If you want them to act like an adult..." The Aes Sedai treat the novices like children, and the accepted like - slightly older children. It's no wonder they behave the way that they do.
Maiane Bakroeva
130. Isilel
Wolfmage @117:

Which scenes, in particular, did you have in mind that show Moiraine being prudish?

Well, in one of the chapters above Moiraine is seriously discomfited by showing a bit of leg... while the series Moiraine was completely unfazed by communal baths, having to run starkers through an Aiel encampement or being occasionally oggled by the super-boys. And all those other Cahirienin women in the series acted like older Moiraine.
Again, Cahirienin only being saucy behind closed doors isn't at all like what we see TGH, or TFoH/LoC, where they act very differently in that matter, however supercilious they may be in other things. In fact, this notion only appears here in NS to explain abrupt changes to Moiraine's character.

Subwoofer et al:

Yes, sure, a certain amount of complacency, rigidity and incompetence would be expected from the WT, but IMHO it was taken to the unbelievable extremes for the level of power and prestige that the WT still had/has to be plausible. WT doesn't have a religion to back it, after all, and while they do have a certain amount of brute force via OP, they can't actually afford to use it.
As has been demonstrated by the early volumes, a travelling AS faces a lot of dangers and unpleasantness that she mainly deals with by being discreet. About half of AS are out of the Tower at any time, so it should be flat-out impossible for them to be as oblivious as a body to the way things truly are as they are portrayed in the later part of the series.

Ditto the FS. Looking at historical/RL great villains and their minions, they certainly had tons of weaknesses, but they still were incomparably more competent and dangerous than those clowns.
What is more, everybody in AoL, starting with LTT himself looks like an idiot, since they were unable to deal with this collection of bumblers, whom the ignorant 3rd-agers were able to dispose of with contemptious ease.
Much has been made of Rand now finally possessing LTT's memories, but in the light of the above, why should it be so heartening?

EM @113:

First, she was the Tower Spymaster for the Blue for the first 10 or so years of her AS life.

Which should have made it all the easier for her to subtly track down wilders and set up their recruitment, no? I always thought that it was pretty incongrous that all those huge spy networks somehow managed to contribute zip to novice intake. I mean, the Red one was already geared to pay particular attention to things that could point at early manifestations of OP usage, so shouldn't they have been at least as successful at finding female sparkers as male ones? And the Blue network is generally the biggest and the best organized, so ditto.

Generally, IMHO, it makes no sense that Siuan had no plans for TG, no ideas how to deal with the BA, etc. By all means, those plans could have been revealed as obsolete/unworkable, but there should have been _something_ as she had known for 20+ years that all of this was coming and was supposedly a fairly capable and smart individual.
Yet the NS ret-con makes her look like a complete moron in the early books, where BA revealing themselves is clearly a huge shock to her and makes her resort to completely improvised stop-gap measures.

JL @125:

Since the WT doesn't promise any favors in the afterlife in exchange for property bequests, I doubt that many people apart from AS themselves or rare individuals who completely believe in their work could be motivated to will their fortunes to it.

IMHO, ruling over the largest and safest city in the world, positioned on one of the best trade routes, and possession of the oldest and most secure bank in the world adequately explain their affluence. And of course, gifts for services rendered and tributes from the Borderlands can only help.
It does open the can of worms re: why and how the AS could still be so respected in the Borderlands, but never mind.

KiManiak @118:

The Dragon has to lead, they need to follow or get out of the bloody way.

Except that it would have been exactly the wrong thing to follow him mindlessly the last time around, so the things aren't as clear-cut as all that.

Speaking of AS and their lack of families and involvement in communities*, I always thought that it was yet another result of Ishy's corruption of Hawkwing.
Those with strongest ties to the population were likely exterminated disproportionally, as they would have been loath to leave and could have been blackmailed to give themselves up. Those pregnant would have been unable to defend themselves reliably. Etc.
A lot of things are "the first in a thousand years" - the first AS queen, the most powerful channelers since, etc. IMHO it is not a coincidence that this figure hearkens to Hawkwing's era.

* retired AS actually seem to participate in lives of communities, if Namelle sisters were any guide, but they do so incognito, so the net result is the same.
John Massey
131. subwoofer
@Isilel- love what you said in regards to me and completely agree:) Have a couple of thoughts on other things...

Ahhhh- here is an example of what I was expecting from a Hall sitting.

Egwene felt bile rising in her own throat. Ten. Just ten. She had been so sure. Siuan had been so sure. Logain alone should have been enough, given their ignorance of the law involved. Pelivar's army and the Arathelle refused to admit that they were Sitters should have primed them like a pump.

"For the love of the Light!"(emphasis me;)} Moria burst out. Rounding on Lyrelle and Lelaine, she planted her fists on her hips. If Janya's speaking had gone against custome, this tied it in a knot. Displays of anger were strictly oforbidden in the Hall, but Moria's eyes blazed, and her Illianer accent was thick with it. "Why do you wait? Elaida did steal the stole and the staff! Elaida's Ajah did make Logain a false Dragon, and only the Light knows how many other men! No woman in the history of the Tower did ever deserve this declairation more! Stand, or hold silent from now about your resolve to remove her!"Lelaine did not quite stare, but by her expression you might have thought she had found herself attacked by a sparrow. "This is hardly worth a vote, Moria," she said in a tight voice. " We will speak later about decorum, you and I. Still, if you need a demonstration of resolve..." With a sharp sniff, she rose, and gave a jerk of her head that pulled Lyrelle to her feet like strings.

I know that it is out of line, and flaunting Hall tradition, but sometimes people need to shake things up to get other's attention or people- Aes Sedai- plod along in the same groove and get no results- definition of insanity- and the Tower keeps on decaying from the inside. Also, it is a damn shame that Moria is BA and it makes me think that she did what she did to pull more strings for BA purposes. Good thing she had so little faith in the Strength of Egwene, but still. Point is, sometimes flaunting decorum is necessary to get results.

Edit- @JEJ, I was merely suggesting that you were er.... manning the jets, so to speak. heh:)

And I see the spacing has not been fixed for using the quote fuction or cut and paste... er TOR wizards, assemble!

Valentin M
132. ValMar
Isilel @ 130
I personally often tend to be rather cynical. I am aware of this and try to keep my cynicism in check, and sometimes try to do so with others.
So I tried to see if I can temper your critical points in the above post (and previous). Unfortunatelly the "defence" couldn't come up with anything. So there's that.

Very good point on Hawkwing. He waged total war vs the AS. Practices adopted by the traumatised AS during this time became the norm in the following centuries.

I thought of one thing which should be kept in mind when discussing AS ineffectiveness- 1 in 5 is BA. So even the ones who became BA purely for ambition and are not actively participating in BA sabotage, these AS have gained their position not due to ability but due to connections. The Power-strenght based hierarchy has similar effect.
Where such practice is common (like my own country) the effect is scary. Mostly due to the effect it has in people's mindset. Simply put- being good at what you do becomes irrelevant. The implications of this are numerous and obvious.
John Massey
133. subwoofer
@Is- IMHO 20 years of travelling the globe in search of the DR would expose anyone to a number of cultures and er... experience. Time also allows a person to be comfortable in their own skin. Most kids these days do not have the self confidence gained from adulthood.

This also brings to mind that the Tower could help bolster their numbers by claiming the ageless look is an affordable alternative to Pro Active. So far in the chapters I have heard no ... sororal... talk about dealing with acne or other young woman issues.

Couple of other things. My relief for Rand coming into LTT's memories is not the glad revelation, just that Rand is finally who he was meant to be. No more doubts, no more questioning sanity, no more wondering if Rand has enough channeling knowledge. Rand is now the Dragon, so that is one box checked off the list. It is similar to the relief I felt when Perrin finally accepted who he was and forged the Hammer. Still waiting on Mat...

And I think the knowledge that Rand has gained in studying with Fel and Min and looking things up on his own, plus the answers of the Finn, will point Rand in a much better direction than past attempts.

Oh yeah, since the Wheel reminds me of a constant cycle of reincarnation, not sure about the promise of an afterlife angle either.

Edit- as Val Mar pointed out, that is an incredibly powerful insight in regards to the lasting impact of Hawkwing! I think I posted Ba'alzamon's quotes on Theoryland saying similar things. Lemme just see about that... brb.


"A thousand years later I sent the Trollocs ravening south, and for three centuries they savaged the world. Those blind fools in Tar Valon said I was beaten in the end, but the Second Covenant, the Covenant of the Ten Nations, was shattered beyond remaking, and who was left to oppose me then? I whispered in Artur Hawkwing's ear, and the length and breadth of the land Aes Sedai died. I whispered again, and the High King sent his armies across the Aryth Ocean, across the World Sea, and sealed two dooms. The doom of his dream of one land and one people, and a doom yet to come. At his deathbed I was there when his councilors told him only Aes Sedai could save his life. I spoke, and he ordered his councilors to the stake. I spoke, and the High King's last words were to cry that Tar Valon must be destroyed."

- TEotW ch 14.

Yeah, RJ was dropping heavy hints from book one. I shoulda been paying attention.

Amir Noam
134. Amir
Jonathan Levy @125:

The exact quote from Galina is from aCoS, chapter 40 ("Spears"):

"She had been broken free of the Three Oaths on joining the Black Ajah, replacing them with a new trinity..."

Of course, it is not spelled out whether these new Oaths were on the Oath Rod or not, but given the ageless look of the BA, we can assume that at last one of them is.
Stefan Mitev
135. Bergmaniac
"Yes, sure, a certain amount of complacency, rigidity and incompetence would be expected from the WT, but IMHO it was taken to the unbelievable extremes for the level of power and prestige that the WT still had/has to be plausible. WT doesn't have a religion to back it, after all, and while they do have a certain amount of brute force via OP, they can't actually afford to use it."

I couldn't agree more. The way they are presented, especially in the books since LoC, including NS, it really stretches plausibility that the Aes Sedai were able to remain so influential, respected and/or feared. Their influence should've been reduced to a way lower level long ago. I don't get why they are still so revered in the Borderlanders especially, given that they've done almost nothing to help the fight against the Trollocs and let Malkier to fail without sending help in time. Amadicia and Tear are doing fine without Aes Sedai influence, so you got to wonder how the Aes Sedai managed to still hold such influence among the nobles in the other countries.

About the lack of novices in the Tower, especially such who are really strong in the Power - I think this is partly because of the idiotic ranking system. I could imagine many Aes Sedai, especially those among the strongest, not willing to recruit novices who will end up being stronger than them and thus having to defer or even obey them in a decade or so. It's an understanable attitude, especially given that most of the time, the Tower doesn't really need strong channellers much, and after all few Aes Sedai expected the Last Battle to occur during their lifetime.
John B
136. torgo02
@ Woof, way back at #58.

Thanks for the greeting. I’ll have those donuts on your desk in the morning.

Off topic, but do you live near Banff? I herald from Minnesota myself, but I’ve done several backcountry hiking trips through Banff and Kootenay. Beautiful country. And you’re exactly right. Nothing in the mountains is as close as it seems. Trying to find an infant Rand on the slopes of a huge mountain would take days/weeks. And that's assuming he stays in one spot.

Bill Reamy
137. BillinHI
subwoofer @133 re Still waiting on Mat... Do you really think Mat has not accepted his role fully? Certainly he is not a Great Captain in the sense of Ituralde and others, in that he did not gain all his knowledge on his own but had it stuffed into his head by the *Finns, but especially when he is in battle mode, I think he has definitely and fully accepted his role. Sure, in his internal monologues, he is still as snarky as ever, but that's his basic personality. I don't think that's going to change and it shouldn't, IMHO. Even when he gets back together with Tuon (which better happen in AMOL!), I don't see any big changes happening in him.

As for Rand and Perrin, I guess you could say they both fully matured at about the same time: Perrin's witnessing of Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount not only choked me up, but I think it's when Perrin really starts to put it all together, finishing up with his forging of the hammer.
138. archaeo
Yikes! I spend a weekend away from this page and look at what happened. Lots of awfully good discussion, for one thing. I'm in the midst of a move and still have work, so I haven't had a ton of time to really get into the flow of the conversation; in the meantime, I'll hit on some of the bigger points.

First off, KiManiak@many, along with everybody else re: AS effectiveness and silliness in the run-up to T'G, I think it's really important to remember that the Tower has dwindled in many ways since the AoL, with the decline in initiates being only one marker. Indeed, I think you could chart one long decline since the death of Hawkwing; the AS became increasingly insular as the entire world was Balkanized.

And while Jordan doesn't really ever shove it into our face, it's obvious the AS of the late 900s have some serious problems. Just looking at the history of the Amyrlins we know well, the Black Ajah dictated the leadership of the entire Tower for, what, 30 years or so? Probably longer?

The point is that, when the Dragon Reborn appears, the Shadow has pretty much crippled the Tower. There hasn't been strong leadership from an Amyrlin since Tamra's death, and after Rand comes of age, the whole world blows up at once. Indeed, only a few months after Rand declared himself at Tear, the Tower had been broken.

I'm not saying that people should give them a break; I'm saying that they were totally broken, and Egwene barely has a hold on them now, even after all her work. Jordan definitely intended the AS to be virtually useless, and our reaction to that is delayed because the story focuses for a very long time on the handful of scarily competent AS (Moraine, Verin, Siuan, etc.).

For what that's worth, anyway.

Re: Playing Pranks, haven't any of you guys been in a dorm or something? I remember two people I lived with going through a lengthy prank war, including peanut butter in sheets, hidden CD players set to go off at 4:00 AM, and a variety of other clever tricks. These young men were 23-24.

Re: the bounty, if the Tower can afford to give every AS 1000 gold crowns a year, surely it can afford 100 for every lady who gave birth within a certain period of time. A 3,000-year-old bank probably has quite a bit of cash on hand, not to mention all the other sources we hear about. I'm sort of content to let this one go, though; I can't really get worked up about finances, unfortunately.

Finally, Terez27@123, even when I totally disagree with you, your arguments are hard to discount. On the other hand, I can't think of anything to say to this; I fully expect Demandred's plan involves multiple fronts, causing the Last Battle to be fought over the entirety of the continent.

Hopefully I'll come back later to like, actually engage with this stuff instead of spewing BS about the AS. *rimshot*
John B
139. torgo02
Hey BillinHI, you bring up a good point about Perrin's witnessing Rand's epiphany via T'A'R. Does anyone here think (as I do) that that moment was Perrin's second time he had to be there for Rand per Min's vision? (the first being Dumai's Well) I get the impression that Perrin's growing mastery of T'A'R in that scene somehow affected Rand to help him fight the shadow within him. Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into it and it was simply a literary device to revisit that important moment from another POV.

Chris R
141. up2stuff

any chance that the Second Doom in your quote form EOTW is in reference to the discrepancy in the prophecies regarding Rand bowing to the Crystal throne, or Binding the Nine Moons to him.

Seems to be saying that if Hawkwing had not sent away the Seanchan, his empire might have survived. I wonder if sending the tampered prophecies with them to follow for 1000 years or whatever established a belief contrary to what their role needs to be in TG. Maybe they ARE to submit to the Dragon as everyone else is, but wont be able to because of their canon.

Thoughts anyone?

Julian Augustus
142. Alisonwonderland

Let me get this straight, you are comparing Moiraine circa 20 years old with Moiraine circa 40 years old and complaining that she has changed during those 20 years so it is a retcon? You are not allowing for the very real probability that the young Moiraine in NS, who came to the Tower as a cloistered princess around 17 years of age, might blush when confronted with open sexual talk that is new to her, but that the mature Moiraine of 40+ in the series proper, who has been to the borderlands several times and seen all types of peoples and cultures, would take sexual innuendos in her stride?

It seems to me that as far as you are concerned Jordan is damned when he does and damned when he doesn't, because you surely would have been the first person to point out how improbable it is that Moiraine's attitudes towards sex wouldn't have changed even a bit in 20 years of globe-trotting.

Edit: I see Subwoofer @133 makes the same point in the first paragraph.
Ken Ray
143. Maclir
Re: Moraine's prudery in NS compared to how she is in the main series.

To me that is completely understandable. In NS, she is young, and has lived a pretty cloistered life to date. In the main books, we see her 20 years later, far more mature in every sense. She has explored the world, and has seen so much more of life - one would be very surprised if she had not had her eyes opened, and become far more accepting of different customs.
Theresa Gray
144. Terez27
@up2stuff - That's at least part of it. Obviously Ishamael's plan was for the Seanchan to show up around Last Battle time and make things difficult. Hawkwing's empire might have survived on Randland if Luthair had been around to succeed him (or the daughter sent to Shara for that matter...though her line survived in Mayene).
Chris R
145. up2stuff

Cool. By the way, your Demandred theory was great.

James Whitehead
146. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@109 KiManiak, I agree with ValMar@99 regarding your 'wall of text' warnings. Anyway, I enjoy reading your musings so it's not as if I, or others from the responses, great your postings as if they were in Old English. ;-)

I am reminded of an old Bill Cosby joke about 'dip in the road' signs. The sign is before the dip so you look for it, still hit the dip, and then wonder what happened. The better way, in Cosby's mind, was to hay a sign after the dip that said "You have just hit a dip" so that you'd know what happened.

Maybe a sign aftwards saying "You have just read a wall of text post?" ;-)

The Sparta-TW comparison is interesting but definitely as Sparta became more & more xenophobic which lead them to being passed by by the rest of the world.

Not sure who said it regarding Aiel birth legitimacy and bastard concerns but I never thought the Aiel cared too much regarding that. A place like the three fold land leads to a very high mortality rate. Aiel clans would therefore need new members (i.e. babies)constantly & effective ones at that. Besmirched births wouldn't be much of a concern.

Also, when Rand enters the Waste, isn't it said that it is every Maiden's dream who won't give up the spear for her child that her child is the Car'a'carn?

Finally, regarding the WT's inflexibility regarding change; it is ironic that the AS who must surrender to the one power in order to control it, their interactions in the world at large is more reminiscent of Rand's descriptions of trying to control saidin. Not going with the flow, so to speak, but hammering peoples & nations into submitting to the resolutions they (the AS) feel are best.

Also, as things spiral further & further out of control that's when people have a habbit of sticking even harder to their traditions & beliefs; it's a scary world out there (as Stinky Pete would say). And don't forget that there were those Aiel clans who had been told, by their dreamwalkers, to go to Rhuidean or the clan would cease to be & still didn't go.

"You have just read a wall of text (small though it may be)" ;-)

Theresa Gray
147. Terez27
@up2stuff - Thanks! Assuming you're talking about Roedran (only one small part of the article!) it's not exactly my theory. I argued against it for a long time, until the Brandon quote that changed everything. *sigh*
148. archaeo
Terez27@144, it's exactly this kind of thing that makes me wish that, once in awhile, Jordan had told a bit more than he showed. The subtlety of the series has its merits, but sometimes I think things like the Luthair/Ishamael connection have been too underemphasized. See also: Messana and the Tower, Halima and the SAS, Demandred and his super sekrit plans, etc. It makes it fun to suss out on subsequent readings and it adds a lot of texture to the story, but that comes at the expense of well-established antagonists.

I'm not asking for dumb obviousness, like Messana sitting Egwene in front of a laser and explaining her plan. I mean, the whole series has been full of Demandred popping in once or twice a book to remind us he's around. I'm simply saying that, by severely limiting information in order to preserve the surprise of later plots, Jordan missed many opportunities to develop his antagonists and clue the reader in on their competence and ability.

Not that I mind what we got, of course.

Bergmaniac@135, In the end, the Tower has the prestige that any 3,000-year-old organization would have. Really, the series begins with every major institution in serious decline, and it has taken 13 books for our heroes to sort things out even halfway. Ishamael has spent 3,000 years popping out and messing with everything (probably according to the dark prophesies he reads before bedtime) and by the time our heroes are running around the rest of the Forsaken have infiltrated every single major base of power.

The Tower is just as broken as everything else in Randland and has just as much misplaced self-importance as well.

So, uh, all that work I had to do, I should probably get back to that. : )
lake sidey
149. lakesidey
Been following the comments, but unable to say much today as I had massive loads of work (on V-day, my bosses evidently "love" me!)

Just popping in, therefore, to add a few points. OK, maybe a small wall-o-text.

It isn't only the mores of a person that change over time but of a place as well. Especially in times of stress. So the Cairhien of 20 years earlier might itself have had significantly different mores from those we see today (after a war, a succession "civil war", the loss of all the trade through the Aiel Waste...). Which would partly explain why today's Cairhienin don't really match what Moiraine was like when she came to the tower. Not that I felt the difference to be that drastic, but a few commenters felt it was unrealistic...

But what I would give to have been there the first time Lan takes Moiraine to Fal Dara: "And these are the communal baths" he said, in a carefully level voice. Moiraine managed to maintain Aes Sedai dignity by a hair. This was....scandalous! There were some things one just did not do in public!

@135 Berg: I am not sure about that, a lot of credit goes to one who brings in a novice with high potential, not to mention that one would get first shot at trying to convince the noobie to join one's own Ajah, potentially strengthening it. I seem to remember Moiraine pointing out to Siuan something of the sort in tGH (?); when Siuan points out that Elaida has brought a strong novice (Elayne) to the tower, Moiraine says something like "these two will be as strong, and neither is likely to choose the Red".

@114 (and a dozen other places) Sub: You said "I...have been ruminating in between errands with the family and making lunch etc..." Are you sure you don't mean "I...have been running errands with the family and making lunch etc in between ruminating..."?

@ 130 Isilel: "As has been demonstrated by the early volumes, a travelling AS faces a lot of dangers and unpleasantness that she mainly deals with by being discreet. About half of AS are out of the Tower at any time..."

That's a very valid point. And it is often precisely those Aes Sedai, who have been continuously out and about, who have a clue. (With honourable exceptions like Elaida of course - she wouldn't know a clue if it put an a'dam around her neck). Look at Moiraine, Verin, Cads... But - most of the Aes Sedai just go out for a short time, and for a very specific task. As such, they expect to be treated royally (and often are - observe Merean's treatment in the Aesdaishar in NS - she gets pretty much the same treatment as royalty, quite literally!) and are quickly back in the tower. So it is unlikely that they would really notice "the way things are", wrapped up as they are in their own snobbishness.

It is the ones who regularly get their hands dirty, so to speak, who are generally more worldly-wise.

Possibly I might be carrying it a bit too far here, but I feel that Nynaeve's attitude compared to Egwene's in recent times supports the above (if we ignore Elayne, the exception who proves the rule). But that's probably just me.

Also, you said "everybody in AoL, starting with LTT himself looks like an idiot, since they were unable to deal with this collection of bumblers, whom the ignorant 3rd-agers were able to dispose of with contemptious ease."

While I don't disagree with the overall sentiment, I think we ought to take into account that the FS were only 13 of the most powerful remaining dark side channelers. There were plenty more at the height of the war, and LTT (the greatest general of his time, so some say) did defeat a fair number of them. Couldn't hurt to have him around now, I say!

End wall-o-text/ (Hi there KiM! You're contagious...)

Edit: Since Torgo got the donuts, I'm bringing along some coffee to the bunker. Bring on the snakes and foxes!

150. Sniffersoundskindadirty
I was thinking about all the sister's mentioned here, and there might be another very reasonable explanation for it. If anybody else mentioned this let me know. Hierarchy structure in the tower was based on the power of the AS. So what if Moiraine just dismisses other Accepted from her POV because they aren't on the same level as her and the others she does mention? It seems to me that the exclusion of the other potentials would make a whole lot of sense when looked at with that rationale, especially for Moiraine who came from nobility.

She would tend to just sort of 'look past' those others that were beneath her station, and take it as a part of normal AS life. Pretty much the way that the others do.
Tess Laird
151. thewindrose
Novices and Accepted are told never to measure power amoung themselves. So looking at something like that is almost beaten out of them(probably literally), then in a complete 180 when they become sisters, one of the first rules they learn is that the Aes Sedai hierarchy is based on how powerful in the one power a sister is. Check out chapter 12 in New Snow Entering Home - when Moiraine and Siuan have their meeting with First Selector Eadyth.

Simon Southey-Davis
152. Glyph
lakesidey @64 "I still think of Nynaeve as closer to nigh-knave than nineveh"
B.Loppe @67 "I also have never weaned myself of the tendency to say 'Ny-neeve'"

*rushes for TEotW glossary*
Ah, you guys had me thinking I was going crazy there for a moment. OTOH, since the listed pronunciation is indeed "NIGH-neeve", I guess you're in luck!
Stefan Mitev
153. Bergmaniac
Unless things had changed drastically in 20 years, Moiraine's life in the Sun Palace would not have been cloistered by any means. The Cairhienian noblewomen we've seen have been far from shy and didn't hesitate at all to use seduction and sex in Daes Dai'Mar. Rand got immeaditely hit on by three ladies in TGH during the visit at Barthanes mansion. later Colavere kept sending him young noblewomen to try to get into his bed, then tried it herself.

lakesidey @149 - I remembered that bit about gaining prestige by bringing a strong novice to the Tower, but i am not sure if that's enough to usually overcome the reluctance of bringing in girls who will end up being above you in the hierarchy. Elayne was a special case, since she was stronger than anyone in the Tower in last 1000 years. Someone strong, but not miraculously so, wouldn't bring much prestige. Not sure too that bringing up someone gets you an advantage in pushing her toward your Ajah, certainly we didn't see anything like that with the Supergirls, though of course they were unusual cases in many respects.

BTW, come to think of it, why should Elaida and the Reds get any credit for Elayne coming to the Tower? She was the Daughter-heir, she'd have come to the Tower anyway even without an Aes Sedai in the palace to tell her she can channel. It's not like Elaida discovered her in some backwater village or in the slums of Caemlyn.
Valentin M
154. ValMar
Bergmaniac @ 153

Re: Moiraine primness. We can compare her with Elayne. Andor is rather prudish as a culture and El would have lived more cloistered life than Mo, being the Royal Heiress. And still, Elayne is much more relaxed than young Mo on these matters.

Your last paragraph is true too. The editor maybe could've looked at this?
155. Sniffersoundskindadirty
@thewindrose Being told one thing and actually doing it are two completely different things. The sisters may have beaten it into their heads to not look at such things during their training, but if an Accepted is intelligent it would be easy for them to see how the raised sisters relate to eachother and adopt a similar stance.

Even without the matter of strength to consider, Moiraine mentions these particularly sisters by name because they are the ones that left an impression on her (either for good or ill). So, I don't see only these characters being singled out as just a way for RJ to name drop.
Stefan Mitev
156. Bergmaniac
But we see in the next few chapters that Moiraine hadn't figure out the ranking system of the Aes Sedai before she was told about when she got the shawl. There were a few examples while she was still Accepted when she wondered why a certain sister defered to another, and later on recalled them in light of her new knowledge of the way the hiearchy worked and thought "I got it now". Siuan seemingly had no clue either before she got the shawl. This seems somewhat implasible, epecially for Siuan, the genius pattern finder and puzzle solver, but let's cut the girls and JJordan some slack and not be too pedantic. ;)
John Massey
157. subwoofer
Zoiks! I do the Valentine day shuffle and folks be a posting like champs:) Yay New Spring, we gots some good conversation going.

@Torgo- thanks for the donuts- it helps keep us borderlanders fortified through the long seige of winter:)

I live about 5 hrs worth of driving from Banff. Good enough for weekenders when I have the time.

@up2stuff- I have several thoughts on that, but Theoryland has flogged that horse too. As Terez pointed out, the world would have changed if Hawkwing did not split his forces. I really like the idea of one land, one people, and the biggest hint as to how impactful it would have been is the Finn hinting to Rand that -

The north and east must be as one. The west and south must be as one. The two must be as one".

@BillinHI- well, the fact of the matter is that Rand and Perrin have now accepted who they are and are not making excuses anymore. Mat is starting to come around, but he still protests when people call him 'lord', he does his best to avoid fighting, even when it always lands him in the middle etc. IMHO Mat is the best general in all of Randland, bar none, and I think it is time he accepted that. The things that endear me to Mat are also the things Mat has to overcome... to some extent. Don't get me wrong, I don't want him to stop being Mat, but some things have to take place. Mat is the general for Rand's armies and can outgeneral anybody put in front of him. Mat is also the Prince of Ravens for the Seanchan Empire. Mat also sounded the Horn. Like it or not the Last Battle is one fight Mat cannot avoid, and when he embraces that, then all three shall be as one.

William Fettes
158. Wolfmage
Bergmaniac @ 153.

“Unless things had changed drastically in 20 years, Moiraine's life in the Sun Palace would not have been cloistered by any means. The Cairhienian noblewomen we've seen have been far from shy and didn't hesitate at all to use seduction and sex in Daes Dai'Mar. Rand got immeaditely hit on by three ladies in TGH during the visit at Barthanes mansion. later Colavere kept sending him young noblewomen to try to get into his bed, then tried it herself.”

Good point. That is, unless RJ really intended to convey something of extra significance about Moiraine’s decency in being ashamed of the Dammodred name. Accordingly, you could argue that she is not really the same ‘type’ as the wanton ladies of Barthane’s manor or Colavere’s girls (those that weren’t coerced). But the Foregate festivals at least show that a certain kind of noble-abandon is relatively common within Cairhienin conventions. Also, I’ve always loved Moiraine’s parting advice to Rand: “if that reserve broke, it could do so to a surprising degree.” That has always summed up the Cairhienin people to me – thoroughly stitched up and reserved to a fault until they let finally let loose their rowdy inner-selves and then all bets are off.

My feeling is that we also need to be careful about distinguishing between feelings of embarrassment at sudden or public nakedness and broader attitudes to sex. It’s not impossible, or even remarkable, to imagine someone becoming more liberal in both respects over time. But I think Moiraine would probably be more likely to develop more comfort with her own body over time simply through the passage of time. Hence, being naked is more embarrassing for her here. Whereas, I'm rather more dubious about the sex issue, given she is a hardcode prototypical Blue who commits all her passion to her causes. So, where did all this experience come from in the intervening years? Would she really develop much more liberal attitudes just as an observer of the human condition? Perhaps, I guess, but it's rather speculative.

I also think it somewhat stretches credibility that a highly attractive young noblewoman like Moiraine would not have enjoyed some private experiences beyond kissing Cormanes back in Cairheinin when reserve did break.
lake sidey
159. lakesidey
@153 Bergmaniac: I also can't think why Elaida should get credit, but it is an inescapeable fact that she does. I quote Siuan from tGH (Ch 4, Summoned):

"... Elayne has potential. More than I have ever seen before. Already she shows progress. The Red sisters are swollen up like puff-fish with it. I don't think the girl leans to their way of thinking, but she is, young, and there is no telling. Even if they don't manage to bend her, it will make little difference. Elayne could well be the most powerful Aes Sedai in a thousand years, and it is the Red Ajah who found her. They have gained much status in the Hall from the girl."

And Moiraine's reply ".... And there is no chance these two will choose the Red (Ny and Eg). They are amused by men, exasperated by them, but they do like them. They will easily counter whatever influence the Red Ajah gains in the White Tower from finding Elayne."

Interesting statements in Moiraine's thought immediately after - "
Those were the two main concerns in the Hall of the Tower, that fewer girls who could be trained to channel the One Power were found every year, or so it seemed, and that fewer of real power were found. Worse than the fear in those who blamed Aes Sedai for the Breaking of the World, worse than the hatred from the Children of the Light, worse even than the workings of Darkfriends, were the sheer dwindling of numbers and the lessening of abilities. The corridors of the White Tower were sparsely populated where once they had been crowded, and what could once be done easily with the One Power could now be done only with difficulty, or not at all."

So Moirane, at least, again shows that she is aware of all of this.

@158 Wolfmage: Perhaps Moiraine was considered as a potential heir to the throne (she herself points out in NS, reluctantly, that her siblings were not really contenders to succeed Laman) and hence was a little more sheltered than most. And Moiraine was enrolled when around 15 or 16. Note that Elayne, inspite of her "climbing trees" escapades and liberal opinions on sexual topics, is not really allowed anything in the way of practical experience. (Heirs to the throne must perforce behave with a little more restraint than others when choosing their consorts. Look at Prince Ch....oh wait...scratch that)

Alice Arneson
160. Wetlandernw
Just catching up... a little... So only a few comments, since y'all have been doing such a fine job. :)

JimF @89 - You missed my point @82 completely. It doesn't matter whether "the slopes of Dragonmount" is a thousand-square-mile, trackless wilderness of trees, brush and ravines, or a few square miles of cultivated farmland with a house every half-mile and a village every five. The point is that, as Accepted, Siuan & Moiraine don't have a snowball's chance in the Blight of getting there. In Chapter 2, shortly before the Foretelling, Moiraine was being frustrated that "since the Aiel arrived, Accepted were confined to the Tower Grounds as strictly as novices." From then until Tamra's commissioning of the Accepted to collect data, they couldn't even get into the city, much less across the bridges. Even with that mission, each Accepted was accompanied by four Tower Guardsmen who had instructions about where they were allowed to go: the camps near the city. If you read the recap, much less the actual chapter, you should know that they had no chance of going anywhere near the mountain in any time frame that would have done any good in terms of actually finding the baby.

Alisonwonderland @107 - I have always wished that RJ had written that book instead of this one. I never have really forgiven this book for a) not being Knife of Dreams and b) not being a prequel that actually told any stories I wanted to hear. I'd really love to see that one written; Brandon has dropped some tantalizing comments about what's in those notes.

EvilMonkey @113 - Good stuff! Well said, and very valid points.

subwoofer @114 - ditto!
Kimani Rogers
161. KiManiak
Good comments and discussions today; sorry I'm only getting to them now...

EM@127 – I agree that Egwene had a difficult institutionalized bureaucracy to battle against in the WT. I didn’t want this to turn into another discussion about my issues with Egwene, but Egwene’s stance against the Dragon’s plans is in the back of my mind when I talk about the White Tower needing to adapt and change their perceptions of themselves and their role in the Last Battle.

I could respect if Egwene were doing anything to get the Tower to work with Rand and give him a chance to prove himself and his plan for Tarmon Gaidon. But Egwene was leading the charge against him. She is the main actor in opposing Rand’s plan, not allowing for the possibility that he may know more and be more capable than Aes Sedai. She was the one lording her role as the Amyrlin seat over the Dragon (“Rand al Thor. You will not turn your back on the Amyrlin Seat!” The Amyrlin’s Anger, ToM). She is the one determined to bring the leaders of the various nations that ally or owe allegiance to Rand to turn against Rand and be on her side, and by extension under the White Tower (and therefore, her) leadership.

She does absolutely nothing to see if Rand's plan has merit, and questions or disregards Nynaeve and Elayne when they suggest that maybe Rand may have a point or that his plan should at least be worthy of consideration (she writes off Nynaeve's opinion as being around Rand too much; slightly condescending in my opinion).

Basically, she’s playing the role of the infallible Amyrlin of the infallible, all-knowing, always-capable, above-question Aes Sedai. I won’t even get started on her perception that the Windfinders and Wise Ones needed to be “associated” with the White Tower and where/how she most likely intends for that association to ultimately end up.

When I said the AS need to change/evolve/grow or die, I didn’t mean because of Egwene; I meant it may have to be in spite of her and her views that the Aes Sedai are the end-all and be-all. Will the WT's needed evolution ultimately come from wiser and more open-minded Novices (like Sharina Malloy, maybe) slowly instituting changes? Who knows…

Isiliel@130 – I’m not sure if you're against the AS’s need to adapt and allow for others who may know more to take the lead, or if you’re specifically rebutting the suggestion that following the Dragon will lead to things working out.

If it’s the former, than I respectfully disagree and will point out that they’re not even allowing for the possibility that someone knows better than them; their arrogance and ego has been a bone of contention for many readers, and their incompetence and ineffectiveness has been well documented.

If it’s the latter, then the only reason we as the reader know the first time LTT's plan to use both saidin & saidar to properly seal the Bore wouldn’t have worked is due to RJ’s interview that said so (it’s not known by the AS in-story, any more than the AS know about the Land of Madmen or anything else RJ mentioned outside of the story proper); and we the reader also know that Rand has learned at least one method to deal with the Shadow’s taint (cleansing Saidin in WH) as well as exploring multiple ways to properly close the Dark One’s prison (his research with Harid Fel & Min, discussions with Cadsuane, advice from the *Finn, etc); so we have reason to believe that he may have worked out (or be in the process of working out) a way to properly heal the bore. Otherwise, why do you have issue with the Dragon being the one to lead the various factions in the efforts to defeat the Dark One?

Btw, I do like your point about Hawkwing and his possible impact on Aes Sedai practices and perceptions.

Sub @ 133&157 – Hmm. You think Mat still needs to accept who he is? I don’t know; just because he doesn’t let folks call him “Lord Mat” or “Prince Mat” doesn’t mean he isn’t willing to accept responsibility for the safety and success of his men. He doesn’t run from fights because he doubts his ability; as of TGS and ToM, he’d rather avoid fights because he’s matured and learned that battles and war aren’t as glamorous as they’re made out to be in stories.

I think Mat's accepted who and what he is as much as Perrin or Rand have (except, yeah he doesn’t like to be called “Lord” or “Prince” still). And he is coming for his Horn; he told Teslyn to let Egwene know he wants it back. I hope that he has realized by now that he needs to be there for the Last Battle, and I definitely hope he’s there at Rand’s side at the Fields of Merrilor.

archaeo@138 – I agree that the White Tower has been broken and is barely standing (“But it still stands,” as Egwene said in TGS. God, I really liked her in that book!) I don’t think the AS are useless; I think they have great potential, but yes, the Shadow did a good job of crippling the WT for decades, if not centurties…

ValMar@99 and Kato@146 :-) Thanks. Yeah, half the time I just don’t even include the “Wall” warnings anymore. I went to my niece’s 2 year old birthday party yesterday and my 92 year old grandfather gave the blessing. Let’s just say that longwindedness runs heavily in my family :-)

Btw, Kato, I liked your comparison between the AS needing to surrender to Saidar in order to control it, yet their actions in dealing with the world tend to be more similar to the male method of seizing Saidin.

lakesidey@149 – Good point about the AS who spend a lot of time outside of the Tower tending to “have a clue.” We have a small sample that we’ve really received insight about (Verin, Cadsuane, Moiraine as you mention). I’m curious, though. Romanda was retired and supposedly lived in the real world. Maybe she kept herself away from the “common man.” Maybe the same with Adeleas, and Vandene; and Toveine was on a farm and may have only interacted with the farmwife and her occasional young fella. Oh, and I applaud your Wall-of-Text! Keep it up! :-)

Terez, :-) I was willing to try, but I think leaving this as one looong post kinda makes it awkward and unwieldy. Shoot, I'm rolling my eyes at the length of this bad boy; I would half expect the rest of you to, also :-)

EDIT: Hah! Lakesidey, you got me! :-) Obviously, I meant "My 2 year old niece's birthday party..."
lake sidey
162. lakesidey
Rolls eyes @KiM's post:

Oh, and "I went to my niece’s 2 year old birthday party yesterday and my 92 year old grandfather gave the blessing." Wow, a birthday party that lasted two years? I salute the old man! (And I thought *I* talk a lot...)

I just realised, you know, Wall of Text would have the acronym...WoT. Maybe we're doing something right after all?

Unrelated to anything above - I was wondering: Sharina Melloy appears in Nynaeve's accepted test - as advisor to the queen of Malkier. Presumably that is a possible alternate reality for ten years or so down the line (if that is how the acceptatron works). Could she be Malkieri? Melloy doesn't sound Borderlander, but she might have had a different name pre-marriage. Or was she just chosen to be the advisor on the basis of her strength (the way Elayne wants Nynaeve to be the Aes Sedai advisor to Andor, and for that matter the way Elaida was Morgase's advisor)? Any ideas on this, anyone?

leaves Wall o' Text half built. Dreamspikes are way cooler than walls, nowadays!

Jonathan Levy
163. JonathanLevy
130. Isilel
Also, 142. Alisonwonderland and 143. Maclir
Well, in one of the chapters above Moiraine is seriously discomfited by showing a bit of leg... while the series Moiraine was completely unfazed by communal baths, having to run starkers through an Aiel encampement or being occasionally oggled by the super-boys. And all those other Cahirienin women in the series acted like older Moiraine.
Other people have addressed this, but I'd like to add one more point: In the scenes you quoted we are not getting Moiraine's POV. We're getting the POV of gawking country bumpkins. Of course Moiraine appears calm and controlled to them.

Re: White Tower vs. Church comparison
Yeah, there might be more differences than I thought of at first. Still, I think the comparison has some merit, even if the original sources of income are different.

132. ValMar
AS have gained their position not due to ability but due to connections. The Power-strenght based hierarchy has similar effect.
Good insight regarding the BA and its pernicious influence. But the power-based hierarchy is similar (though not congruent) to an ability-based hierarchy, no?

134. Amir
Thanks for the quote! :)

135. Bergmaniac
I couldn't agree more. The way (the Aes Sedai) are presented, especially in the books since LoC, including NS, it really stretches plausibility that the Aes Sedai were able to remain so influential, respected and/or feared. Their influence should've been reduced to a way lower level long ago. I don't get why they are still so revered in the Borderlanders especially, given that they've done almost nothing to help the fight against the Trollocs and let Malkier to fail without sending help in time.
I think this is actually rather common, and not surprising at all. Take a real-world example. Is the United Nations influential and respected? Surely it is, yet what are its accomplishments? Are they commensurate with its reputation? Yet the West believes in the United Nations, but not because its effectiveness has been proven repeatedly; The West believes in the United Nations because it is a reflection of one of our most deeply held values: That conflict can be avoided by goodwill and negotiations.

Similarly, for Randlanders, the White Tower is more than a conglomerate of channeling women whose effectiveness is measured objectively and who may be discarded like an unreliable ISP if they screw up once too often. The White Tower is a symbol of humanity's struggle against the Shadow, and against the chaos which followed the breaking. It is a symbol of Hope, and will not be abandoned so long as Hope abides.

141. up2stuff
Nice idea, we'll have to wait for AMOL though :(
164. archaeo
KiManiak@161, since you brought it up... Egwene's opposition to Rand is a comedy of very silly errors.

First, Rand shows up in the Tower and doesn't even try to reassure Egwene about anything at all. While we can all recognize how much better he is, this is the first time Egwene and Rand have come face-to-face since she left to join the SAS. It isn't too much of a stretch to see his actions in this chapter as crazy, and Rand deliberately allows Egwene to do so by refusing to stick around and prove that he's not bonkers.

Egwene's dealings with Nynaeve and Elayne get shortchanged throughout the book. She's busy plotting to bag her very own Forsaken, while Nynaeve has quite a bit on her mind and Elayne doesn't want to spill the beans about the bond. If they would actually discuss the issues, one would assume that Egwene would, at the very least, have to intellectually engage her issues.

See, the thing is that we, the readers, know that Rand is the main character. We are privy to his innermost thoughts. Everybody else isn't. He is a man who can channel, a fact that pushes a lot of cultural buttons. My point is that Egwene's actions might be annoying, but bowing to Rand's demands and handing over the keys to Tar Valon would be ridiculous. It's annoying because we know she's wrong, but her wrongheadedness is a necessary and justified aspect of the series, etc.

And I've gone and talked myself into a circle. I think I'm just repeating myself anyway. We'll know much better in AMoL, when Egwene is actually forced to confront these issues, along with everybody else.

Sub@157, I think I agree to a certain extent that Mat still has to accept his role with the Seanchan, but they're still nominally enemy forces. Mat has accepted leadership in his characteristic fashion, but accepting his role as Prince of the Ravens will require the Seanchan making some pretty fundamental changes.

Is it 2012 yet?
Kimani Rogers
165. KiManiak
archaeo@164 - Yeah, I think we've had a similar discussion about Egwene before :-) Talk about going in circles :-)

Something tells me that when the reread gets to ToM you, I and possibly a few others may be revisiting this conversation again :-)
John Massey
166. subwoofer
@Ki- imitation is the sincerest form of flattery;) Good times!

Mat- the biggest step towards Mat accepting who he is was when he went with Thom to the ToG. Mat, like the other TR boys, has always claimed that he does not want to dance on AS strings, heck, one of the things he was killed for was a wish that netted him a Power wrought medallion. Mat makes a big move to rescue Moiraine, the Aes Sedai that started it all and he even sacrifices an eye in the process. IMHO Mat's next big move is to earn his "trickster" title and he is going to use his luck to fool the DO into doing something unexpected.

Keep in mind though that all the while Mat is using subterfuge and still denys his role. On the way to the Tower Mat takes his first step by telling Noal and co about his memories. Like Perrin telling Faile or Rand talking to Min, this is Mat outing himself. I feel that in the next book we are really going to see Mat as he was meant to be as the master tactician. We have only seen minor stuff from him up till now, next book we are treated to large scale engagement. And that will be because Mat has accepted who he is, we are in on the beginning of that, but we have yet to see it come to fruition.

Seanchan making fundamental changes- just wait until Mat meets Tuon again, this time with Artur riding shotgun.

Rob Kerr
167. useofweapons
Small linguistic note:

As well as having sororal be the complementary adjective to fraternal, a linguistics newsletter has recently promoted the extremely obscure materteral as the female complement of avuncular. However, both avuncular and materteral would apply only to one's mother's brothers and sisters respectively, so it also recommended amital (from amita, Latin for one's father's sister), and coined patruitic (from patruus, Latin for one's father's brother). So we have a full complement of relationary adjectives, should we choose to use them. is the site, recommended for anyone who needs another timesink
Valentin M
168. ValMar
JLevy @ 163 (re: my 132)

Do you mean that the Power-strenght hierarchy of the AS is similar to an ability-based hierarchy?
I do not think it is similar. Firstly, the way AS use the Power in general makes it irrelevant whether AS XW has 10% more capacity than AS YZ. Sheer strenght deference is a relic from the lawless years after the Breaking, IIRC.

Secondly, sheer strenght does not equal ability, though it helps. Many AS know unique waves which usefulness and relevance is not directly relevant to the amount of saidar used. Others can be better learners, more dexterous with their weaving (right term?), etc.

In summary, I do believe that strenght in the power is important. But I think (and know many here agree) it is wrong to be used as the default decider in AS hierarchy. It's like using height, chest size, gender...

So, it is my belief that the Power-based hierarchy is a redundant relic of the violent times of the Breaking. It is unsuitable for the current age, effectively promoting brawn over talent- when brawn is largely unnecessary.
E.g. today the executive ruler of Sweden (the PM I assume) is very likely to be 40-50 yrs old slight woman. 1200 years ago it would've been tall, barrel-chested brute viking whose chief quality was the ability to split a man's head in half with an axe.
Maiane Bakroeva
169. Isilel
Bergmaniac @153:

I remembered that bit about gaining prestige by bringing a strong novice to the Tower, but i am not sure if that's enough to usually overcome the reluctance of bringing in girls who will end up being above you in the hierarchy.

Well, that's simple - at the time RJ didn't yet come up with with the OP hierarchy (it makes it's first appearance in LoC) and not coincidentially didn't yet dumb down the AS either. In Moiraine's PoV in TGH, she thinks about the AS of Siuan's retinue and OP strength never enters her evaluations. Nor do their defer to her in any way.

KiManiak @161:

Maybe she kept herself away from the “common man.” Maybe the same with Adeleas, and Vandene

The Namelle sisters were invested in the life of their village as wise women to whom the inhabitants came for advice. That was before the general AS dumbage, though - they were also much cooler and wiser back in TGH than after their re-appearance in LoC. I always thought that it was a pity...

Re: prim and prude attitudes of most good women in WoT in general (and a sharp contrast with attitudes of most good men), they just never made a lot of sense in the setting to begin with, IMHO, and extending them to one of the few important female characters that didn't exhibit them previously (and comes out of culture ditto) just seems out of character to me and generally feels strange. Diverse and distinct characters are more interesting. Also, the whole thing about Moiraine initially being a follower that again unnecessarily hearkens back to Elayne and Nyn/Egs.
Personally, instead of all this amalgamation, I'd have preferred to see more uniqueness.

And now for something completely different:

She does absolutely nothing to see if Rand's plan has merit

Since Rand had no intention of explaining his plan, that would have been apriori impossible, no?
Not to mention that what we have seen in Rand's and Min's PoVs strongly suggests that Rand didn't even have a plan at the time when he confronted Egs, beyond riling her up so that she would unite the peoples/armies for him and breaking the Seals no matter what.

If it’s the latter, then the only reason we as the reader know the first time LTT's plan to use both saidin & saidar to properly seal the Bore wouldn’t have worked is due to RJ’s interview that said so

Well, objectively speaking there was always an even chance of that being the case. Many readers just tended to disregard it because they couldn't believe that LTT could have been even partly wrong, Dragon and all ;).

Personally, I always thought that LTT's plan must have been flawed because:

1) In a setting that depends on yin and yang balance so much the answer that comes from one half and is violently rejected by the other can't be right/optimal.

2) If one of the strongest ta'veren ever couldn't convince 7 suitable female chanellers to support him, then he must have lacked the backing of the Pattern on this matter. In fact, the Pattern sometimes uses opposing ta'veren to maintain the balance as we have learned as early as TGH, which would explain the success of the Fateful Concord.

3) Having Lanfear responsible for the Bore and female channelers in general being responsible for the Breaking and the taint would be laying out the "women are the source of all evil" meme a bit thick, IMHO.

Speaking of AS need to change - don't I tediously pontificate at every opportunity that they have to? And am I not always frustrated by their lack of sensible preparations for TG?

But IMHO "shut up and blindly follow or get out of the way" is not the answer.
In fact, much as I deplore the AS still being entrenched in their ways, I am also very bothered by Rand still IMHO being entrenched in LTT's "my way or the highway" mode of thinking.
Stefan Mitev
170. Bergmaniac
Lakesidey @152 - Sharina was recrited in Murandy, seems highly unlikely that she's Malkieri, and if she was, Egwene would've known - she's after all the star pupil of the Tower. Egwene would've told Nynaeve that when she mentioned Sharina to her.

Strength in he Power doesn't seem to have that much to do with who becomes advisor to a ruler among the Aes Sedai. After all they are there for political purposes, not to take part in battles. Elaida was a special case due to her Foretelling about Royal Line of Andor. And Elayne wanted Nynaeve for advisor because she's her friend, not because of her power.

Come to think of it, it's a bit strange that so far Elayne has had no advisor sent to her by Egwene and the Hall. Does that mean she won't get one since she's an Aes Sedai herself? Unlikely, since at one point in WH she mentioned she wanted Nynaeve for the job and then in KoD Elaida sent Duhara for that role. On the other hand, with the Gateways and TAR terangreals, there isn't much need for an advisor at hand, she can always communicate with the Amyrlin and the Hall directly.

Egwene's opposition to Rand's plan doesn't bother me, since he didn;t tell her any plan beside the really risky "Let's break the seals" parts, and deliberately provoked her to oppose him. The part that bothered me was that apparently she and the other Aes Sedai did nothing to prepare an alternative plan or research what to do to seal the Bore. I hope it happened offscreen, since otherwise it would be yet another episode in the dumbing down of the Aes Sedai to a ridiculous degree. Even if the Hall were too busy playing politics and Egwene hunting Mesaana and organising Merrilor, there should've been a research team of Browns digging every possible info on the seals, the DO, the Bore, etc, if they had even a bit of common sense.
John Massey
171. subwoofer
@Isilel, If I haven't said it before, I really love reading your posts. You always come at things from a different viewpoint and your insight always has me thinking about things differently. There is always points that I have not even considered.

I had not even thought about Mierin being the root cause of the DO's escaping. Mind you, I have a feeling if I stroll over to 13D or the wiki, I would find chapter and verse about Mierin's actions imitating Eve in the Garden of Eden. And the gender balance really has me going now. As to one of your points though, in some countries, silence is not a legal form of consent, but could the "hands off" attitude of the female AS be construed as doing as much harm as LTT in some readers eyes? They did not approve of what LTT proposes, but they also did little to stop him. I'm not saying I agree, just pointing it out, but what you say has me nodding my head.

It is also very interesting what you say about the Pattern and balance. I am on the fringe of something because as I read ToM, when Rand goes to the Tower, most of the Aes Sedai are in a state of paralysis because of the tug of Rand's ta'vereness, so obviously it was in full effect. Egwene on the other hand, did let Rand go, but she apparently was not much under any duress of telling him she doesn't agree and this isn't the last coversation. The Pattern does oppose Rand when he does stuff that is out of order.

As for the balance of yin/yang, I do believe that this is where Min comes in. It has always bothered me that even though Min is an Oracle, she has such a diminished role in terms of Rand's lovers. Elayne is destined to be Queen of Andor, and Aviendha is slated to be a great Wise One, but Min has visions that she cannot explain clearly so where does that leave her? Min's connection to Fel, some of her studies that even Cadsuane approves of, I feel is Min's ticket to the big time. Her connection to Rand's heart will have him listening to her when he doesn't listen to anyone else.

Hmmmmmm. Must ponder some more...

@Lakesidey- came down with illness. Have to stay away from baby- banned to basement by wife, leaves me time to ponder my navel and blog. Tried going to work, they sent me home saying to keep my infectious self, to myself. wah.

Chris Chaplain
172. chaplainchris1
A couple of quick things before this post fades to Limbo. @170 Bergmaniac, totally agreed on the Aes Sedai - both that Egwene's opposition doesn't bother me, since Rand deliberately instigated it (and since, despite his instigation, she DID trust him enough to allow him to leave), and that I hope she has AS researching the Seals and the Bore. (Though we should note that such info may be limited, and might be common knowledge among AS. But the fact that Saerin and others were able to dig out a few details on Mesaana means there might be info on the other Forsaken - and I hope that's being looked up too, for all the Forsaken that Egwene doesn't know are dead.)

Beyond that, in all the thoughts about AS ineffectiveness, one thought has recurred a lot over the last few weeks. And that is that, despite it all, the world *will* (assuming we win) owe its continued existence to the Aes Sedai. Not to them alone, of course, and not to them primarily, but nevertheless it will owe them. Because the Aes Sedai, out of all other channelers that we know of, preserved knowledge of the technique of linking.

Notice that the Seanchan a'dam prevents linking, and that neither Wise Ones nor Windfinders knew the technique. It's been pointed out that both WOs (especially) and WFs (grudgingly) have strengths that the AS do not. But in knowledge of the Age of Legends (apart from the Aiel Rings) and in general channeling knowledge, the AS win out. And though they may be "half-trained children", they alone preserved the knowledge of linking.

Without that, there'd have been no use of the Bowl of the Winds to end the drought that was killing everyone. More importantly, without linking, Nynaeve wouldn't have known how to link to Rand so he could cleanse saidin. Without that, there'd be no one to link with Rand and use Callandor in the Last Battle.

That's to say nothing of saving the world by training Moiraine, or various other accomplishments of individual AS. (Siuan, Cadsuane, Nynaeve, Egwene, Elayne, etc.)

Continued in next post...trying to cut down my "average words per post" meter!
Chris Chaplain
173. chaplainchris1
Next, another AS centric post, to discuss their (lack of) Last Battle prep. I'm completely blown away by (had totally forgotten, in other words) the news that the Tower hasn't fought in battle since the Trolloc Wars. Man, no WONDER the "Battle Ajah" so comprehensively sucked against the Seanchan. Dust off all the arguments about how asinine this is, and how the Greens whose purpose is to "stand ready" should've been standing ready along the Blight border, fighting off Trolloc raids, reducing Borderland casualties both through killing Shadowspawn and healing wounded humans (with Yellow help!), maybe staging raids of their own to cut down Shadowspawn numbers, and *argharghargh* STANDING READY for the LAST BATTLE!

At least Browns like Masuri did some research on Shadowspawn. (Did anybody ever research causes of the Blight, or possible cures?)

Anyway, if there are 2000 or so years of history behind AS not participating in battle, then I have more sympathy for Siuan as Amyrlin and the lack of Last Battle prep. Pushing the Greens to get ready or practice battle weaves would've been FAR harder than I think we credit, given that it hadn't been done in 2000 years. That is a LONG time, and Siuan would've had to push very hard to have any impact - and pushing very hard on something like Last Battle prep would certainly have made her a target for assassination.

Likewise, progress on rooting out the Black Ajah would be incredibly tough. When Seaine was (she thought) ordered to hunt the Blacks, the only person she dared go to was her best friend from novice times, Pevara. Siuan's best friend is out hunting the Dragon Reborn, and Siuan's running interference for her - who else is she gonna confide in? It's not the kind of thing you can do alone and expect to survive (Even if Siuan had sussed out the Black’s twisting of the Oath Rod – which is questionable. Prior to the in-text explanation that the Oath Rod had been used to unbind, I’d assumed Blacks could lie because of the DO’s power – just as he kept the Taint from the male Forsaken, and later proved able to disrupt Keepings and other weaves). Her most likely choices would've been Leane and Sheriam – and confiding in Sheriam would've lead to death and disaster for the whole world.

Siuan had her hands full, with the normal Amyrlin duties, running interference with Moiraine, fighting the growing Red influence, and knowing she was surrounded by murderous Darkfriend AS who she couldn't afford to have recognize her as a threat.

And notice that the precise time she came out into the open - managing to have the Hall recognize Rand as the Dragon, a huge accomplishment, clearing the way for open preparation for the Last Battle at last - is the precise moment when the Black Ajah struck, getting her deposed, stilled, and scheduled for execution.

All things considered, Siuan's abundance of caution seems like the wisest course, and the one dictated by the Pattern (i.e. the author!).
Chris R
174. up2stuff
Okay, I am admittedly confused about the debate on Moiraine's behavior. It seems like we think she was sheltered and reserved before her time in the tower and life as AS, then more worldly. The issue SEEMS to be that she should not be sheltered as she seems based on the willy-nilly carousing of the rest of the nobility, during the Feast of Fools.

Oh, uh, Thanks Wolfmage for making the point I was groping towards, and doing better.

But isnt that the POINT of the festival? Behave contrary to every aspect of life and station for the festival with abandon? I always pictured the Cairhienen as Reserved and proper generally. I am probably missing the point completely, but this is what my quick assessment of this disucssuion is.

Also, I kind of thought that all of the celebrants were at least partially covered, from the neck up. This would at least provide the illusion of animosity where as her reactions to the situations we are discussing, were completely in the public eye.
Chris R
175. up2stuff
There is another aspect to the "Dont judge strength as Novices/Accepted, then Judge Strength as Sisters". AS judge in regards to deference. That is the message I got from the Selector's speech. "If someone is stronger than you, shut up and listen. You are seen, not heard and get her some tea if she is stronger than you."

I suspect the reasoning for Novices, etc is to avoid the tendancy of young people to bully those they are stronger than. Also, the weaker students might get jealous or discouraged if they think too hard about the time they will likely spend before reaching the shawl compared to ones like S & M, who will likely be in and out. I seem to remember Ny running into a LITTLE of that since she went right to accepted.
lake sidey
176. lakesidey
@170 Bergmaniac: That is actually what made me wonder - why did Egwene have "a light of mischief in her dark eyes" while telling Nynaeve of Sharina? Could it be because she's Malkieri? Might not only be the "finally someone stronger than you" thing, since Nynaeve is practically constantly with Alivia these days.

Talking of which, that has to hurt - imagine being stronger than anyone you know, and then Talaan, Alivia, Sharina happen to you....makes me sympathise with Cads, who has been the strongest she knows for three hundred years and suddenly now there are dozens of stronger folks!

@171 Sub: May your a-basement be short....get well soon!

@175 up2stuff: Faolain's early behaviour with the supergirls was a direct reaction to the short/non-existent novice stays they had, I seem to recollect.

Chris R
177. up2stuff
Isilel @169

I'm just curious, but what example are you using of Ta'veren "opposing" each other in TGH. It's escaping me. Also, are you implying that Latra Pose was a Ta'veren? I did not recall that.
Julian Augustus
178. Alisonwonderland
Lakesidey @149
It isn't only the mores of a person that change over time but of a place as well. Especially in times of stress. So the Cairhien of 20 years earlier might itself have had significantly different mores from those we see today (after a war, a succession "civil war", the loss of all the trade through the Aiel Waste...). Which would partly explain why today's Cairhienin don't really match what Moiraine was like when she came to the tower.

Precisely. Perhaps an example should drive this point home even further. Take the kids that grew up in the US in the mid-sixties in comparison with those that grew up in the mid-eighties. Same country, only 20 years apart. Yet, does anybody seriously contend that the '60s kids have the same values and mores as the '80s kids because it is the same country? Absolutely not. So why do we expect it of Cairhien?
Valentin M
179. ValMar
Alison @ 178
How about the kids in Florence in the 1540s and 1560s? When people could travel about 20 miles per day and ideas, images, and fads couldn't be transmited instantly across the world.
Howard Covey
180. Howdy
The biggies here – as far as I can see are the diminution of the Tower – noticed by Accepteds and – yes that off the cuff comment about some men not touching the spark until 30 or so… which of course smacks our collective hands about Taim and how he was able to stave off the madness for 15 years or so. I’ll buy that he was just late to the party – and in being so – was a lot more capable of handling/ learning than a 20 year old would have been… ah – but that’s not here is it…

(Though for the record – I never thought Taim was Demandred either. Demandred was the Foresaken that didn’t seem to want or need a disguise/position in The World. He understood that part of being Foresaken was manipulating under the radar. Always thought it was very telling that Lews Therrin wanted him dead most of all – after Ishmael was gone. Of course I’m probably forgetting his “reveal” in the last few books – or it happens in the last one – so don’t slap me too hard…)

As far as the beginning of the search goes… well it’s the beginning of the search.I never did understand why they didn’t send parties with Gaidin trackers straight to Dragonmount to at least see what could be found? The need for secrecy? The dread of maybe finding something? The unsurety of what to do with it if they did? For that matter - what would Tamra have done with him if she had found him as an infant??

Yes a tad bogglesome.
Terry McNamee
181. macster
I always thought the bit with Moiraine teasing Perrin in TDR (when he was worried about Faile watching him) about some girls liking a pair of strong shoulders was funny, if not an actual joke. As for Mat, she does finally make a joke at his expense after he rescues her in ToM, when he complains about not realizing she and Thom were interested in each other and that he wasn't going to be marrying them: "I can see why the Seanchan empress had to have you, Mat. You certainly have a mind for romance."

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